#1 Edited by MikeHawk (382 posts) -

So I have a friend that lives with a highly distorted view of reality. Nothing is mentally wrong with him, but he is absolutely terrible at reading others' perceptions of him. He thinks he has a good amount of friends when most of them hate him because he annoys them to death. The few friends he actually has are nice to him either out of pity or because they're generally nice people (I'm some combination of both). He lives in a world where girls actually like pick-up lines without a hint of irony. He also has no He just entered college and while he has made a couple real friends, he has already made a lot of "friends" that can't stand him. Lastly, he loves basketball and he wants to eventually play college basketball. While he isn't a terrible player, he is so far from playing at even the Division III college level and didn't even start varsity in high school.

I've had to watch him live his fake life for about 4 years now, and I feel like I need to do something about it. As one of his only friends, I feel like it's my responsibility to help him realize that he's been living a lie. Is it better to let him live in his fantasy world where he is an amazing basketball player, has a lot of good friends and can effectively flirt with women and likes his life? Or is it better for me to burst his bubble and actually try to help him become a more desirable person who people genuinely like, but risk him losing all of his confidence and self-worth?

#2 Posted by Akeldama (4239 posts) -

Let him live his life and live your own.

#3 Posted by bybeach (4736 posts) -

We all do what he is doing to some degree. In ones mind one wins imaginary fights or has some cushion against reality. But I would not play psychologist with him, and if he is annoying, how much of that is realized covert aggression. Some ppl. simply learn how to be successful needledicks. If he is sincere in his delusions, then perhaps he will suffer enough disappointment that life will sort it out. Sometimes that is the best way.

But maybe he needs real help with a personality disorder.

#4 Posted by BraveToaster (12590 posts) -

Did you befriend him out of pity? If so, you're part of the problem.

#5 Posted by shivermetimbers (763 posts) -

So most people who hang around him think he's a douche and he's pretending they're not? It seems like he's pretentious, which is a problem I myself have once in awhile. I don't know the kid, so I really can't say if he's the one living a pretend life or you yourself are pretending that he believes he's more important than he actually is. Maybe he is self aware that the world around him hates him, but he goes on being himself anyway. You can't do anything about that; people will be themselves even if the world tells them to fuck off. If you tell him that he's not as well off as he thinks he is, will he believe you or care? My guess is no.

#6 Posted by phish09 (1109 posts) -

You honestly don't sound like a very good friend. Why not just go your separate ways? How do you know that you could make him a better person? Maybe you're the one that is delusional and that people don't like...maybe you're not, but how are we supposed to know. I'd say, why make a bad situation any worse. If you don't like your friend then don't be friends with him, nothing good ever comes from trying to change people.

#7 Edited by MikeHawk (382 posts) -

@Axxol: I guess you could say that the things he does that bother others don't really bother me as much. I consider him a friend, but at the same time, I do pity his situation. I don't know if that counts as befriending him out of pity or not.

@shivermetimbers: People don't think he's a douche. They just make fun of him behind his back and think he's really strange.

@phish09: I might not be the best friend, but he sees me as his best friend because I actually answer his texts and like to hang out with him. He's also fairly dependent on me because his home life is terrible and I'm someone that will listen to him.

I guess it's just hard to see it happening and realize that he doesn't get it. Maybe you guys are right and I should just let him figure it out in his own time

#8 Posted by Video_Game_King (36124 posts) -

Yes, but you have to do it in a very special way for it to take effect. Here is that special way:

  • Find somebody who looks and sounds exactly like him.
  • Make the person look a bit more shadow-y, with bright yellow eyes.
  • Knock your friend out and drag him to an unknown location.
  • Have the shadow-y person be there, ready to spout all of his deep personal flaws.
#9 Posted by mazik765 (2315 posts) -

The other option being....killing him?

#10 Posted by Still_I_Cry (2494 posts) -

You could just stop being his friend. Sounds like you don't like him.

#11 Posted by shivermetimbers (763 posts) -

@MikeHawk said:

@shivermetimbers: People don't think he's a douche. They just make fun of him behind his back and think he's really strange.

It seems to me that the people he hangs around with aren't nice people if they have to resort to insulting him behind his back. You don't seem to be a good friend if you don't defend him.

There's only so many ways you can tell him that people around him hate him and if you're his friend out of pity, then you're not a friend at all, you're just his servant.

If you want to be honest with yourself, you can tell him that you don't care for him and recommend that he take socialization classes.

I'm no expert psychologist as you can tell, but you can try it.

#12 Posted by Kiefer (14 posts) -

You're the one in the fantasy world, Mike.

#13 Edited by mutha3 (4985 posts) -
@MikeHawk: Your friend sounds like he's autistic. Not the self-diagnosed internet variety either!   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism
 
Then again, I'm just hearing your side of the story here and neither of us are able to give anything resembling a proper diagnosis. What did your friend say when you tried telling him about this "delusion" he's living in?
#14 Posted by dudeglove (7688 posts) -

@mazik765 said:

The other option being....killing him?

#15 Posted by BonOrbitz (2175 posts) -

@Akeldama said:

Let him live his life and live your own.

#16 Edited by DevWil (842 posts) -

@bybeach said:

We all do what he is doing to some degree. In ones mind one wins imaginary fights or has some cushion against reality.

i like this sentiment.

how do you know you're not the crazy one, OP?

if all you're going to do is make him less happy, that doesn't seem like a very friendly thing to do.

#17 Posted by Vegetable_Side_Dish (1724 posts) -

#21stcenturyproblems 
 
Oh and God forgive me for using a hashtag..

#18 Posted by craigbo180 (1739 posts) -

I think it might be you who lives with the distorted view of reality, having to live a life playing second fiddle to your super popular best friend you are changing reality in your own mind and only feel safe confiding the reality you perceive with strangers on the internet.

#19 Posted by DeeGee (2116 posts) -

@mutha3 said:

@MikeHawk: Your friend sounds like he's autistic. Not the self-diagnosed internet variety either! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism Then again, I'm just hearing your side of the story here and neither of us are able to give anything resembling a proper diagnosis. What did your friend say when you tried telling him about this "delusion" he's living in?

People can be weirdo's without being autistic =P

#20 Posted by mutha3 (4985 posts) -
@DeeGee said:

@mutha3 said:

@MikeHawk: Your friend sounds like he's autistic. Not the self-diagnosed internet variety either! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism Then again, I'm just hearing your side of the story here and neither of us are able to give anything resembling a proper diagnosis. What did your friend say when you tried telling him about this "delusion" he's living in?

People can be weirdo's without being autistic =P

Yes, definitely, but not being aware when people dislike you and failing to pick up on social cues are pretty telling signs.
 
Sure, its definitely a possibility that he isn't, but  its just what OP's friend behavior made me think of.
#21 Posted by Juno500 (382 posts) -

@mutha3 said:

@DeeGee said:

@mutha3 said:

@MikeHawk: Your friend sounds like he's autistic. Not the self-diagnosed internet variety either! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism Then again, I'm just hearing your side of the story here and neither of us are able to give anything resembling a proper diagnosis. What did your friend say when you tried telling him about this "delusion" he's living in?

People can be weirdo's without being autistic =P

Yes, definitely, but not being aware when people dislike you and failing to pick up on social cues are pretty telling signs. Sure, its definitely a possibility that he isn't, but its just what OP's friend behavior made me think of.

Autistic people have difficulties with basic levels of communication. This doesn't sound like it at all, not even close.

#22 Posted by Jimbo (9776 posts) -

Touch him on the shoulder.

#23 Posted by MikkaQ (10270 posts) -

He'll probably realize it himself at some point, let him have his own revelations.

#24 Edited by mutha3 (4985 posts) -
@Juno500:
 

The manifestations of autism cover a wide spectrum, ranging from individuals with severe impairments—who may be silent, mentally disabled, and locked into hand flapping and rocking—to high functioning individuals who may have active but distinctly odd social approaches, narrowly focused interests, and verbose, pedantic communication. Because the behavior spectrum is continuous, boundaries between diagnostic categories are necessarily somewhat arbitrary. Sometimes the syndrome is divided into low-, medium- or high-functioning autism (LFA, MFA, and HFA), based on IQ thresholds, 


 
Aspergers Syndrom too, falls under the autistic spectrum. Lets look at the wiki description for it:
 

Asperger syndrome may lead to problems in social interaction with peers. These problems can be severe or mild depending on the individual. Children with AS are often the target of bullying at school due to their idiosyncratic behavior, precise language, unusual interests, and impaired ability to perceive and respond in socially expected ways to nonverbal cues, particularly in interpersonal conflict. Children with AS may be overly literal, and may have difficulty interpreting and responding to sarcasm, banter, or metaphorical speech. Difficulties with social interaction may also be manifest in a lack of play with other children.

Sound a little familiar?
#25 Posted by JasonR86 (9611 posts) -

@MikeHawk said:

So I have a friend that lives with a highly distorted view of reality. Nothing is mentally wrong with him, but he is absolutely terrible at reading others' perceptions of him. He thinks he has a good amount of friends when most of them hate him because he annoys them to death. The few friends he actually has are nice to him either out of pity or because they're generally nice people (I'm some combination of both). He lives in a world where girls actually like pick-up lines without a hint of irony. He also has no He just entered college and while he has made a couple real friends, he has already made a lot of "friends" that can't stand him. Lastly, he loves basketball and he wants to eventually play college basketball. While he isn't a terrible player, he is so far from playing at even the Division III college level and didn't even start varsity in high school.

I've had to watch him live his fake life for about 4 years now, and I feel like I need to do something about it. As one of his only friends, I feel like it's my responsibility to help him realize that he's been living a lie. Is it better to let him live in his fantasy world where he is an amazing basketball player, has a lot of good friends and can effectively flirt with women and likes his life? Or is it better for me to burst his bubble and actually try to help him become a more desirable person who people genuinely like, but risk him losing all of his confidence and self-worth?

It isn't your place to determine whether his view of reality is distorted or not or tell him how he should view himself, his life, and where he is going in the future. What he does and how he lives is his business. Butting your way in to it is not only disrespectful it is inappropriate. Only offer your opinion on something like this if you are asked and even then make it clear that what you will tell him he might not want to hear. I don't know about everyone else, but I felt uncomfortable reading this post. It is filled with this sense of superiority. As if you know what is 'right' and he doesn't. If I were you, I would be careful about those viewpoints and realize that how you view the world and everyone else's place in it isn't necessarily the benchmark. We all view the world differently and telling people that they view the world and their place in it 'wrong' is incredibly pretentious.

#26 Posted by Juno500 (382 posts) -

@mutha3 said:

@Juno500:

The manifestations of autism cover a wide spectrum, ranging from individuals with severe impairments—who may be silent, mentally disabled, and locked into hand flapping and rocking—to high functioning individuals who may have active but distinctly odd social approaches, narrowly focused interests, and verbose, pedantic communication. Because the behavior spectrum is continuous, boundaries between diagnostic categories are necessarily somewhat arbitrary. Sometimes the syndrome is divided into low-, medium- or high-functioning autism (LFA, MFA, and HFA), based on IQ thresholds,



Aspergers Syndrom too, falls under the autistic spectrum. Lets look at the wiki description for it:

Asperger syndrome may lead to problems in social interaction with peers. These problems can be severe or mild depending on the individual. Children with AS are often the target of bullying at school due to their idiosyncratic behavior, precise language, unusual interests, and impaired ability to perceive and respond in socially expected ways to nonverbal cues, particularly in interpersonal conflict. Children with AS may be overly literal, and may have difficulty interpreting and responding to sarcasm, banter, or metaphorical speech. Difficulties with social interaction may also be manifest in a lack of play with other children.

Sound a little familiar?

You said "Not the self-diagnosed kind" by which I assumed you meant it wasn't Asperger's Syndrome. Yeah, that idea is more reasonable, but it's still kind of a leap considering what little we have to go on.

#27 Edited by MikeHawk (382 posts) -

@mutha3: I'm pretty sure he doesn't have Aspergers, despite showing some of the symptoms. There is a kid in my dorm who has mild Aspergers and it is way more noticeable than the things my friend does. This kid is very timid and shy. He apologizes for everything, and I mean everything. My friend is very outgoing and friendly, but comes off as a creeper because that's exactly how his dad behaves (no Aspergers there, either). With his dad as the main male role model in his life, he subconsciously learned this awkward way of interaction from watching his dad talk to people.

@JasonR86: yes, it does make me sound elitist to criticize his way of life. It's just hard to watch him invite 15 people who he considers his best friends to a birthday party but 3 of them actually show up and the rest make up excuses why they couldn't make it. His upbringing was very bad and he has the potential to do a lot with his life. He just needs to re-learn how to be a friend and decipher who would make a good friend, as terrible as that sounds (see the part about his dad). I'm not perfect, but I know that this may or may not decide if he ends up a deadbeat like his father or a successful person some day.

#28 Posted by mutha3 (4985 posts) -
@Juno500 said:


You said "Not the self-diagnosed kind" by which I assumed you meant it wasn't Asperger's Syndrome. Yeah, that idea is more reasonable, but it's still kind of a leap considering what little we have to go on.

Sure, hence:

"Then again, I'm just hearing your side of the story here and neither of us are able to give anything resembling a proper diagnosis" 
#29 Posted by Cloudenvy (5891 posts) -

You couldn't sound more pretentious to me even if you tried.

#30 Posted by BombKareshi (996 posts) -

You sound like you've got one hell of a superiority complex, duder. Stop judging your "friend".

#31 Posted by Juno500 (382 posts) -

@JasonR86 said:

It isn't your place to determine whether his view of reality is distorted or not or tell him how he should view himself, his life, and where he is going in the future. What he does and how he lives is his business. Butting your way in to it is not only disrespectful it is inappropriate. Only offer your opinion on something like this if you are asked and even then make it clear that what you will tell him he might not want to hear. I don't know about everyone else, but I felt uncomfortable reading this post. It is filled with this sense of superiority. As if you know what is 'right' and he doesn't. If I were you, I would be careful about those viewpoints and realize that how you view the world and everyone else's place in it isn't necessarily the benchmark. We all view the world differently and telling people that they view the world and their place in it 'wrong' is incredibly pretentious.

I kind of agree with this.

And even if you did talk to him, it's not the kind of thing that he's going to just accept. It's more likely that he wouldn't listen and possibly stop being friends with you.

#32 Posted by TooWalrus (13140 posts) -

You clearly can't let him continue to live this way. Your friend must die.

#33 Posted by OhdK2 (48 posts) -

Sounds like he has confidence issues. If he's smart enough, he'll figure it out one day. In the meantime, his ego will shoot the messenger.

#34 Posted by Jerr (531 posts) -

Wait till he's in his 40's and has a massive epiphany that his life is meaningless in a larger universe. Or, you can expedite the process by inciting in him an existential crisis! It's fun!

#35 Posted by JasonR86 (9611 posts) -

@MikeHawk:

I get the impression that you really do care about the guy and you're not trying to sound pretentious but that is exactly what you're doing here. It really is none of your business. You're role as a friend is to enjoy his company and vice versa. You aren't his counselor. That oversteps your boundary as a friend. By coming at him with this, all you'll do is confuse your role and friendship with him.

But, if you really feel like you have to do something then lead by example. Show him how to be a good friend, how to socialize, and how to set boundaries by doing it yourself. If you do anything else I'm afraid you'll just alienate him and go down a very "superior" road with him.

#36 Posted by shivermetimbers (763 posts) -

@MikeHawk said:

@JasonR86: yes, it does make me sound elitist to criticize his way of life. It's just hard to watch him invite 15 people who he considers his best friends to a birthday party but 3 of them actually show up and the rest make up excuses why they couldn't make it. His upbringing was very bad and he has the potential to do a lot with his life. He just needs to re-learn how to be a friend and decipher who would make a good friend, as terrible as that sounds (see the part about his dad). I'm not perfect, but I know that this may or may not decide if he ends up a deadbeat like his father or a successful person some day.

What makes a successful person in your eyes? I'm curious... If your "friend" is acting eccentric and he has few, if any, good relationships then that's his choice. Is this person happy or miserable with himself? If he's not miserable and you feel pity for him, then you are the one with the problem here. If he is miserable and you do care about him, then it's best to be supportive of him and give advice, but he himself will have to figure out whether or not his personality is making him happy and whether or not he should change it.

#37 Posted by Galiant (2185 posts) -

Don't bother. It's not your place to "correct" anyone's life.

#38 Posted by TheHBK (5466 posts) -

Sounds to me like you are trying to come up with an excuse to have sex with him.

#39 Posted by Dagbiker (6939 posts) -

Ignorance is bliss, and Knowledge is power.

#40 Posted by BlinkyTM (1054 posts) -

Just take the pickle man.

#41 Edited by Aegon (5421 posts) -
@craigbo180 said:

I think it might be you who lives with the distorted view of reality, having to live a life playing second fiddle to your super popular best friend you are changing reality in your own mind and only feel safe confiding the reality you perceive with strangers on the internet.

Woah....Wooooooooooaaaaaaaah broski.  
 
JGL: "Give him the kick!"  
 
Actually that's probably more like Shutter Island than Inception. 
#42 Posted by Buscemi (1106 posts) -

I agree, kill him.

#43 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

I don't think that posing this question to the internet is going to give you any valuable answers. There are simply too many subtle things that you simply cannot explain to us or that you might be missing.

That said, you could probably find a middle ground between the two extremes of confronting him and never talking to him again. Or killing him.

This also won't help at all, but I had a friend who definitely DID have a personality disorder and was much as you described. He wound up living at our house for a summer and that was a really weird situation. I can sympathize with you.

#44 Posted by Tireyo (6409 posts) -

Leave him alone... or risk losing your friend. Sometimes it's worth the risk, but sometimes it's not. (Most of the time it's not.) Some things are left for us to figure out ourselves.

#45 Posted by TheVideoHustler (406 posts) -

Nah bra you gotta let him figure shit out on his own