Posted by SingingMenstrual (327 posts) -

24 years old, second year student.

Disclaimer: My life (school, work, family) is great, I'm thankful everyday for basically having a guaranteed life. I have a set of skills and a personality that I know will get me a great career. I'm head-strong and I don't lose sleep over what I'm about to describe. My life is going according to plan. I fix all of my problems. Except for one.

My problem is that I'm a complete alien when it comes to sustaining human relationships. I'm great at making friends, I'm funny, knowledgeable, opinionated, and rather handsome. But after I make these friends, I drift out of their lives just as I drifted in. Instead of COLLECTING my life's experiences and acquaintances into a ladder that promotes and elevates me socially into a more experienced young man every day, with friendships growing stronger, I enjoy these brief experiences separately until they fade away, and then I wonder where the fuck they went.

I describe myself with one word: Reset. I had so many points in life where I was surrounded with good people, had great weed sessions, went to Budapest with over 30 colleagues, etc... But after each one of those points, I reset myself into a lonely student studying. Time and time again.

The reason is my inability to differentiate between being perceived as overly attached/nagging/imposing, and simply being friends with people, calling them and joking with them. Therefore I always end up being an indifferent stranger who does not keep in touch. In fear of exposing the contents of my heart and being seen as overly-open or too imposing or overly-attached, I become an acquaintance that your relationship with does not go anywhere.

My perception of the 'social cool' and 'social image' is just so off and so exaggerated that I end up behaving in the way that makes me look like I'm not interested in anything other than mere small talk. Problem is, when I DO pass the small talk barrier, I get into weird zones of conversation and turn people off. I dunno how to walk the line between the two. I don't expose my weaknesses because I can't tell which weaknesses are OK and make me humane, and which weaknesses are "too much information" and will make you consider me a bitch.

My current thought: I'm being a bitch, I sound like a drama queen right now. Stop analyzing and perpetuating your problems, get on with your life, idiot! Get off the fucking internet, too.

My blessings are my curse. The fact that I have a clean trauma-free past makes me an alien within people most of whom have had scars they're hiding. The fact that I have literally zero insecurities makes people dislike me, as if I'm hiding something or wearing a fake smile hiding evil inside. I'm the movie character who has nothing to lose and nothing to hide - you dig up dirt on him and you find nothing. This makes me suspicious and un-relatable. I'm so sterile and clean-cut and transparent that people find me extremely uninteresting.

If people were adventurous quad-bike riders who wake up every day to conquer crazy terrain (meeting other exciting people) and live to tell these stories, I am a completely straight and clean highway, my asphalt is sturdy and my lines are clear, there's no thrill here for you, you just drive forward.

I no longer want to go out and try to make friends because I don't need more former-brief-friends whom I only smile and nod at today - they're multiplying like rabbits. I need someone to talk to..

If you read this, I thank you. If not, I understand.

#1 Edited by Drekly (162 posts) -

Bud, this is going to sound weird but this is exactly where I am right now (24, in the same situation) and I'm in the middle of counselling, I actually went to a group session yesterday afternoon.

I have people who want to be my friends, I have a fantastic fiancee and I feel like the luckiest guy in the world, BUT I'm terrible at being a 'good' friend in the traditional sense. I'd much rather just keep to myself and you can't fucking do that.

Message me if you want, we can maybe talk about shit.

#2 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11275 posts) -

I hope it goes well for you!

And if all else fails, maybe you can sell your life story to be made into a movie. I mean, you already have the tagline about nothing to lose and nothing to hide!

Moderator
#3 Posted by BaconGames (3482 posts) -

Counseling is DOPE. Especially if you find the format that works for you, it's a legitimately great way to sort yourself out as best you can with someone as qualified as can be. I will say that my counselor is who I needed to challenge me on my assumptions and stuff going on and when stuff was actively being thrown out or reconstruction, he or she can also be the person to prop you up in that process. If it's an option you can afford, I absolutely endorse it.

#4 Posted by thornbush (32 posts) -

Good luck!

I'm 23 and I'm currently waiting to go into counselling for the 2nd time (different issues) but the first time helped so much with things at the time. I really hope it helps!

#5 Posted by Chop (1999 posts) -

Good luck, Duder.

I have a lot of the same issue when it comes to keeping friends, so I understand completely.

#6 Posted by Rmack (1078 posts) -

I'm 28 and just signed up for something similar. Different reasons, of course, but still...you ain't alone, duder. It's good that you knew to get help. Best of luck!

#7 Posted by Daze (61 posts) -

Out of curiosity what is the difference between a psychological counseling program and seeing a therapist/psychologist?

#8 Posted by Irish87 (146 posts) -

I'm 26 years old and I'm a psychology major. Moreover, I've been seeing a therapist for a four YEARS now. I did it in the beginning as a way to overcome my overeating and social anxiety. After four years I'm 117 kg lighter and relatively anxiety free, with exception to the ordinary, otherwise healthy anxieties we all must suffer.

I still go to therapy, however. I only go once every few months, though. I see it as no different than going to the dentist, but with a lot less discomfort.

It is probably one of the greatest decisions I've made in my life. I think if a lot more people were open-minded about psychology as a whole, we'd have a lot fewer tragedies. So congratulations! You're awesome for realizing you may benefit from this. May, of course, is the keyword. You may also find it to be a complete waste of your time. Nevertheless, you're willing to try it and that's better than a good chunk of our population.

#9 Posted by zFUBARz (632 posts) -

Good luck Duder, Word of advice, It probably won't be easy at first, your skills at being likeable but shallow (in terms of relatability) will get you through a few sessions without cutting too deep, but eventually you'll have to. You say you have nothing interesting or odd about you but that's a lie, everybody is interesting in some way, even if it's scary or depressing, it's still interesting. The simple fact that you don't know what is appropriate to open up about tells me you either have more to say to people than you think, or that you're lying about that to make your story more interesting, which also would say a lot about you. Either way, Therapy will make you think about those things and why they make you uncomfortable, if it doesn't then it's not the right type of therapy or therapist for you, don't be afraid to move on to something new if it's not working out. but don't give up right away either.

@daze Theoretically? Psychiatrist has an MD and so can prescribe medication, Psychologist has a post-grad degree, either at the PHD or Masters level, but doesn't have to go through actual medical school(Many of these people get into the research and teaching side of it.) and so no drugs, other than recommendations. Practically though, anybody can be a therapist or a counselor, priests, yogi's, hairdressers, as long as you don't claim to be something you're not, anybody can charge somebody to come talk and listen to them. You get what you pay for in most cases though, and people with no real knowledge to back it up will not be of much help beyond the superficial.

#11 Edited by zFUBARz (632 posts) -
#13 Edited by BambamCZ (147 posts) -

edit: I had pretty much the same problem, but in the end it got solved when I met one person that 'clicked' with me and then other people snowballed on the relationship and now I have a group of very close friends that I would never had if I hadn't met the friend that managed to find her way through my 'walls'. I really hope the counseling helps, every change should be welcome.

@shadowskill11 said:

Sigh... 1st world problems.

And you're on a wesbite focused on video games...your point?

#14 Posted by supamon (1333 posts) -

Best of luck! First step in solving a problem is recognising you have it and take steps to address it. I'm probably broken somewhere inside myself but I wouldn't even know how to go about fixing it.

#15 Edited by hollitz (1556 posts) -

If you've got some free podcast time during your week, I'd recommend checking out The Mental Illness Happy Hour. It's a fantastic podcast. And I've noticed that lots of people without troubled pasts often feel ashamed of issues--even though there's no reason to. You don't need to "earn" issues.

Seeking help takes courage. Proud of you for doing it, duder.

#18 Posted by alwaysbebombing (1620 posts) -
#19 Posted by SingingMenstrual (327 posts) -

@bacongames: @hollitz: @thornbush: @mooseymcman: Thank you for the kind words guys, seriously.

@bacongames: At the end of the day I will find someone to talk to, bounce some ideas off of, so I'm optimistic about it.

@chop said:

Good luck, Duder.

I have a lot of the same issue when it comes to keeping friends, so I understand completely.

@rmack said:

I'm 28 and just signed up for something similar. Different reasons, of course, but still...you ain't alone, duder. It's good that you knew to get help. Best of luck!

Thanks. How have you attempted to fix this ridiculous problem?

@dudeglove: there are people with serious mental issues that actually need help from professionals and medication. Being weird, and not being able to make friends with people is also normal. It seems to me his problem is just avarice. I do understand the point in trying to reform yourself into a form that isn't actually you instead of accepting what you are and find a couple people out of the 8 billion on the planet like you.

I agree with you, I find myself shaking my head at the fact that I have this 'problem' and that I call it a problem. It is because I think it's a first world problem that I've told myself to man up for years and tried new friends time and time again, without giving up, as my post tells you. I'm a fortunate and lucky motherfucker for having a good life, I know this. But at the end of the day my attempts to 'grow a pair' have failed miserably, and I simply cannot ignore the feeling of loneliness and social hopelessness inside, it eats away at me, it hurts, it is what it is.

It's either seeking help or another 10 years of trying to 'find a couple of people out of the 8 billion like me,' I'm only living once so I won't take this chance.

#20 Edited by shrillgore (28 posts) -

"Instead of COLLECTING my life's experiences and acquaintances into a ladder that promotes and elevates me socially into a more experienced young man every day, with friendships growing stronger, I enjoy these brief experiences separately until they fade away, and then I wonder where the fuck they went."

Almost everyone experiences this. Ever heard the old adage: "you're lucky if you have one true friend in your entire life"? People and friendships change constantly, it's really rare to be friends with someone for your entire life, no matter how good your relationship is.

#21 Posted by Dark_Lord_Spam (3387 posts) -

Here's a question for those of you who have progressed through this: how does one go about finding an effective therapist for social anxiety counseling? I've encountered the boilerplate "how depressed and anxious are you on a 1-6 scale" quiz too many times to be confident I'm seeing the right people. But then, it may also be a case of not ever sticking with a single person for any length of time. There's a list of local therapists almost perpetually open in another tab, but the only deciding factor I've used so far is financial limitations.

"Instead of COLLECTING my life's experiences and acquaintances into a ladder that promotes and elevates me socially into a more experienced young man every day, with friendships growing stronger, I enjoy these brief experiences separately until they fade away, and then I wonder where the fuck they went."

Almost everyone experiences this. Ever heard the old adage: "you're lucky if you have one true friend in your entire life"? People and friendships change constantly, it's really rare to be friends with someone for your entire life, no matter how good your relationship is.

There's a difference between the natural separation caused by time and distance and a total collapse that happens because one or both sides couldn't commit themselves fully.

#22 Posted by Superfriend (1564 posts) -

@drekly said:

I have people who want to be my friends, I have a fantastic fiancee and I feel like the luckiest guy in the world, BUT I'm terrible at being a 'good' friend in the traditional sense. I'd much rather just keep to myself and you can't fucking do that.

Why the fuck not? Honestly, I know quite a few people who get by with just having a fiancee and family and not giving two shits about friends..

#23 Edited by tommytoad (37 posts) -

@superfriend: Agreed. The notion that you HAVE to have friends, a social life, etc etc seems like it's something that's forced upon us these days.

I get that human interaction is kinda great and perhaps needed to some degree, but everyone deserves to be or be left alone if that's something they need, either temporarily or on a larger scale.