I want to use fidget toys in lectures but get anxious people think im stupid because of them.


I recently talked to a professor of mine about my school accommodation and success plan. It’s a small class and he knows all our names. Since I talked to him about my brain, He calls on everyone in class except for me. I play with a fidget pad in class under the desk to help me learn but I get anxious people notice it and think there is something wrong with me or that im weird. I just ordered more fidget toys online because my fidget pads texture was changing and I want to be able to use my new ones in class. I just want to be able to use fidgets openly in public and not be anxious people are judging me. Any tips?


I always fidgeted (shaking my leg) or did origami or twisted a wire into weird shapes or played with my keyring or magnets or doodled or something. Started this years and years before I even knew ADHD existed. I always told my classmates if asked that my hands have to be doing something as it seems to help me focus and think. Later some of them would even pass on strange fiddly toys to me as they knew I enjoyed them!

I don’t have any real advice for you as I didn’t care much about people judging me. But perhaps you can point out fidget toys help you focus better or else you would get bored & distracted. You don’t have to go in any details. If your classmates notice your fidget pads, it is more likely they are curious about them rather than judging you but my saying won’t necessarily help your anxiety. Good luck!


I am an almost 40 yo. I have a couple of fidget toys that I use a heap. I have a basic fidget spinner that I use in the car and at my desk and when I am somewhere that it’s probably not appropriate for me to be playing with toys I have a tungsten ring that I wear it’s nice and heavy it’s super smooth on the inside apart from a word laser engraved onto the inside of it. On the outside it has a lightly textured surface with a few grooves cut all the way around it. When I want to I just slip it off and play with it.

Just do what you do and don’t sweat the small stuff. Your education is such a short period of your life but important do what you need to to get through it and be happy.

If your worried find something like my ring that will just blend into most situations but give you the input you need.



The key thing, i think, isbto be able to fidget in such a way that you are focused, without diatracting other (because hey, they want to focus too! :sweat_smile:).

If you are anxious about the way you fidget in that situation, then your anxiety will not help your own concentration, surely?

So the thing to find is something you don’t sweat about. There was a great tip on here a while back for how to fidget invisibly in a job interview. The tip was to wriggle your toes inside your shoes :smiley:

If you did that every day, you would probably wear out your shoes and socks, but do you get the general idea? Things that blend in to everyday life are turning a ring that is still on your finger, sucking on a cherry pit (when cherries are in season :wink:), doodling with a pen on paper, rubbing a lock of your own hair wrapped around a finger, of course this one only works if you have long enough hair…

‘proper’ fidget toys should work too, but only if you are not distracting other people or stressing about what they think.

Have fun experimenting and let us know what works out best for you?


One of my tungsten wedding rings is a two-piece design where the outer ring spins freely. It’s a good subtle fidget device during formal events.

I’ve wanted to get a quality fidget spinner for awhile now, but have always found better ways to spend the money since it tends to be tight recently.

I am a chronic leg bouncer. Drove my mom nuts when I was growing up. Now it just drives my spouse nuts.

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I think there may be two possible solutions here. One is less noticeable ways to fidget. Like spinning a pen (assuming you don’t throw it across the room, like I do). I just got a bike chain fidget that I really like. It’s pretty discrete and can be used one-handed.

But the other side is what other people think of you. I’m not a therapist, so grain of salt and all that. But I usually try to either remember that what people think of me doesn’t matter, in the grand scheme of things, because those people don’t matter to me and my life (not in a bad way, just that they’re strangers and will likely always be strangers and who cares what strangers think?), and/or that they’re so worried about what everyone else thinks that they’re probably not even thinking about ME. They’ve got their own issues. :stuck_out_tongue:

Most people are pretty nice, and pretty oblivious. And the mean ones aren’t worth your time and energy.

Obviously, that doesn’t always work, but sometimes reminding myself helps me feel a little better about whatever weird thing I’m doing in that moment.


@CoyDahlia I also use a bike chain fidget at work cause of its size and ease of use. I have only had maybe a few people actually ask me what I’m doing and I just say it’s a fidget and that’s it. I was uncomfortable using this at work at first but don’t let the anxiety get the best of you and do what you need to help yourself.

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I make my own fidgets. I tend to find the smaller, pocket sized ones at most get a “oh hey what’s that” question if they’re noticed, and the spinner rings almost never are noticed unless I point it out to show off.

My general experience tends to be that if it’s small enough to hide in your hand, most people aren’t going to notice it at all.


Ok, this set me googling. I wondered what kind if job you do where a bike chain is a good sized fidget… I am now enlightened :joy:

(yeah, yeah, you’re allowed to laugh at/with me on this one. Come on, I live in the Netherlands, we have a lot of bike chains, we have a lot of bikes, I just didn’t know about using tiny bits of them on a keyring as a fidget… :rofl:)


I used to doodle, mostly, back in class. I didn’t know about fidgeting at the time, or ADHD for that matter, so it wasn’t really a conscious choice. It actually got me more respect than sneers from my classmates. Then again, they already thought I was weird, so that didn’t factor in.

Except in Geography. That was so boring, I tuned out completely and wrote letters instead. Helped my grades, too, because the teacher thought I was writing down everything he said.

A lot of college peers - women, mostly - picked up knitting in class. When the prof complained, they claimed it helped them concentrate. Same principle: There’s a lot of fidgeting you can do that doesn’t look like fidgeting if you’re concerned about that.

But I wouldn’t worry too much. If people pick up on it, just explain that it helps you concentrate, and could they please hold that thread of yarn or you while you’re making knots at the other end? I’d rather they pick up on my fidgeting than on my anxiety about it.

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Sorry I hyper focused at work yesterday on one project and finally after 5 hours of intense troubleshooting I got burned out and so physically tired that my focus finally broke. Yes I kinda did laugh a second at that but it’s ok most people don’t know about these types of fidgets. They work best for me since there made of metal and can be cleaned easily if I get them dirty, I can just drop them into the ultra sonic cleaner and it’s back to normal again.

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