To think I will never ever fit in or make friends?

(120 Posts)
Dineatmydiner Mon 14-Jan-13 14:58:22

Is it possible that you can never ever learn social skills or fit in with people?

I've not had friends all through school. College was going to be my chance! Nope messed up again. Then university. And work. No friends.

I don't do anything wrong in the sense of being mean or horrible or raving on about boring stuff. Maybe I am boring though just by being? People talk over me as if I'm invisible or don't exist. Even my ex boyfriend used to do it.

There's another conundrum. I've had relationships but i guess looking back I was targeted by abusive men who probably saw how desperate for interaction I was. It certainly made me put up with a lot from them.

I just don't know what to do anymore. I'm alone all the time. I don't work (health stuff) but even if I did I doubt I would make friends. I manage to get spoken to but if anyone more interesting enters the room I will get cut off and talked over.

I should emphasise again, I'm not the kind of person who chats on when the other person is sending "I'm bored" signals. I'm very cautious of this due to worrying if that's why I had no friends.

I've been asked before by someone if I was sure I hadn't been missed for a diagnosis of aspergers but I've read into that and while a lot of it fits me, there's still some that doesn't so that rules that out.

Am I being unreasonable to think that I'm just someone people don't want as a friend and ill never fit in? I wouldn't want to be friends with me I guess!

narmada Tue 15-Jan-13 00:03:17

On the basis of what you have just said,I think there is quite possibly something in the aspergers suggestions. Could you talk to your GP about gettIng an assessment?

The imagination thing is something of a red herring and some people on the AS do have very active imaginations.

nearly2013 Tue 15-Jan-13 00:09:24

Ikwym about getting cut off and talked over when other people enter the conversation. I can be like that too, Have you tried the aspie quizzes online? I have but didnt score that high tbh, less than I would have thought.

drfayray Tue 15-Jan-13 01:01:26

Hi. I read this OP and wondered if I should post. But I don't like the way you are feeling and I want to help if I can. Please bear in mind that I am being honest here and am not boasting.

I am the total opposite. I am the person that people want to be friends with and the one that people go to at parties etc. The key is confidence, and a bright happy smiling face. Also listening to what people say and remembering those things and perhaps referring to those again later. This shows that you were indeed interested in them.

I also give of myself; I share stuff that has happened to me - not the shite stuff, but joke and laugh a lot. When I go somewhere and see people I know I always go up and smile and say hello. Always. Many people are shy and may come across as unfriendly. Making the first move helps a lot.

It has taken a fair bit of work but I really like myself as a person. I walk tall (am tall and wear heels too), and I try to walk like I own the world (and I do really grin). I smile, always and I listen to what people have to say and remember.
Being a good friend is very important to me and this means that I get good friends back.

When my marriage broke up, two years ago I was a very different person. But I turned things around. I did something that was totally outside my comfort zone: Latin and Cuban dancing. This has brought me so much joy. And new friends. Masses of diverse people who seem to enjoy my company as I do theirs.

Oh another thing I do: if I see a person that I think I like, I ask them to do something with me. I make the first move. Recent example: there is a lovely woman who is doing her PhD in dance and observes in my classes. I have spoken to her and she just exudes such beauty within and without. So I asked her to join me in a quick dinner before a dance party. She agreed and we had a lovely couple of hours chatting. Later on she said that she was glad I made the first move as she liked me but was shy. Now I have a new friend grin and so does she.

You need to find something you enjoy doing and there will be likeminded people. Then remember, you are a worthwhile person. We all are. Find things about yourself that you like, write them down and remember them.
I did this. My list? I am kind, friendly, generous, clever, imaginative with my dress sense, learn things very quickly, enthusiastic, motivated and beautiful wink. Haha! And then I think, wow, I am amazing! Who wouldn't want to know and be with me? It works!

Please please do not think I am being boastful here. I am being honest and do not like the way OP presents herself.

SashaSashays Tue 15-Jan-13 01:54:06

To an extent I used to be like you OP. I had people suggest I had 'something wrong with me socially'. It wasn't that I didn't have any friends but only 2 and I yearned for more.

Then I met my DH, the social butterfly that he is and I sort of learnt how to make friends and now I have quite a few, have strengthened my previous friendships and I'm sort of social myself.

Things I learnt are (hope these dont sound patronising):

As cheesy as it sounds if you don't want yourself other people won't. It's hard but you have to improve your self esteem.

You have to reach out, lots of people are shy and scared of rejection, so most people are looking for someone else to make the first move. Do it gently if you're nervous, a vague suggestion to someone at baby group if they mention a cafe or seem thing they like "oh I really want to go there, we'll have to go some time" and then warm up to more definite stuff.

Look for people like you, is there another person who is alone or the quietest in the group. Often things like baby group might seem cliquey but they're just all clinging to eachother to have sme kind of interaction, someone will like you!

People love self depreciation that doesn't make them uncomfortable.

In terms of deepening friendships, people need you and they also often need signs you care. Remember details, text and ask how something they mentioned went. Show some vulnerability, people like to feel needed so when you share something with them they feel you trust them and they can therefore trust you etc etc.

Also really focus on it not being that personal, if someone who doesn't know you rejects then they aren't rejecting you so don't take it to heart it's usually more about them. They've got a lot on their plate or whatever. If they don't reply immediately just see how it goes maybe bedtimes overran and then they were busy. Taking a more relaxed approach, however hard, does seem to help.

Anyway hth, guess its all quiet obvious, but truly things I never realised.

LesserOfTwoWeevils Tue 15-Jan-13 02:07:38

Don't have any helpful suggestions as I have the same problem myself.
But I wanted to say you sound absolutely lovely—bright, articulate, thoughtful, considerate, self-aware without being touchy. You would make a wonderful friend to anyone who has the sense to make friends with you.
I really hope you find a way out of this stuck place soon.

BabiesNeedInstructions Tue 15-Jan-13 02:11:17

Those women in the past were using you to stoke their egos, and were able to do so as your self-esteem is so low. How about trying to 'fake it til you make it' for a while? Try out some of the behaviours drfayray and sashasashays describe and see what happens. They're right, everyone loves a winner, so act like one even if you don't feel like one.

Booyhoo Tue 15-Jan-13 02:44:40

hi OP

i just wanted to let you know you aren't alone. your Op sounds very similar to me. i also tick alot of teh boxes for aspergers but i'm not really interested in a diagnosis.

sadly i have no answers for you. i am a nice friendly person and i'm not rude or obnoxious. in fact i'm probably a bit too quiet in social situations for fear of being perceived as too talky. i also think i must be incredibly boring to others so that is always in the back of my head that people dont really want to be talking to me.

i hope you can find a few answers. it can be really lonely. i'm glad i found MN but i would love to have more than just 1 close friend.

pooreyecontact Tue 15-Jan-13 04:55:23

Hi. have you tried some of the social skills books for children e.g. unwritten rules of friendship? I also find it useful as an adult.

the thing that comes across from your post is that you're afraid of appearing boring. I think that's the wrong concern. to make friends, you need to be interested not interesting. That is you have to find the other person interesting and want to know what's going on in their life.people love to talk about themselves. if you are genuinely interested in the other person, they will find you good company. So build up slowly, remember what they said and ask about how things went, give compliments and don't focus on one person. Make small talk with a few people and maybe one will click.

Loveweekends10 Tue 15-Jan-13 05:42:10

You sound glum. People tend to avoid glumness. In order to make new friends try to be a bit more upbeat and don't reveal all your health stuff etc etc until you know they are proper friends.
I'm sure you are lovely and I'm not saying don't be yourself but sometimes in order to meet new people we have to smile and laugh. It's human nature and basic psychology to gravitate towards happy looking people.

exoticfruits Tue 15-Jan-13 05:49:23

Have you thought of volunteering for things? It is often easier to get to know people if you have a task. Joining something that really interests you is another, at least you enjoy doing it and if you make a friend it is a bonus.

mrsscoob Tue 15-Jan-13 08:24:32

I thinks you sound lovely too. It must be hard to meet people if you're not working or getting out much. i dont know what your health issues are but if its possible my advice is to pop along to your local leisure centre and see if they run any martial arts groups. They are brilliant for meeting people and boosting confidence. They always welcome newcomers with open arms and as your daughter gets older she could join too.

rainbow2000 Tue 15-Jan-13 08:31:50

I find as well i give out to much information on the first meeting trying to be liked.

mayihaveaboxofchoculaits Tue 15-Jan-13 08:58:18

Well I think I would like you very much.
you try ,you're thoughtful and kind and you are intelligent and have acheived a lot in your life .
But this lack of connection is soul sucking and isolating.
I can see similarities between you and I. I've just started with a counseller (accessed through local psych initiative -but you can go to your doctor- we meet up at the docs surgery- shes very cbt) after many years of not connect. Its not something to have pills for, but you have to get some help while you work through how to deal with social situations and make connections with "good"people. You probably have defensive thoughts which protects you from being hurt,but which are stopping you from moving on.(on ther other hand, what your feeling may be entirely reasonable and you need to get help and support finding people who are receptive to the "real" you). Having a counseller to" hold your hand" may be what will help. take care.x

Eliza22 Tue 15-Jan-13 09:11:23

You know, I think you sound fine. I DO think you're very self-focused where this issue is concerned and that can be like going into any social situation with an "I don't count" beacon on your head.

Try to relax about this. In real life, rather than the (sometimes) false world of say, Facebook friendships (my niece has 2 thousand plus "friends") people often have few REAL, genuine friendships. I have 2 close girlfriends and maybe 3 or 4 who I keep in touch with in a kind of lackadaisical fashion. I'm not hugely sociable. I'm in a local choir who do the rounds of charity functions/Christmas carol singing sessions but frankly, I don't much enjoy the "social" pub bit we do at the end of a "season". I'm a quiet person and am often talked over but for the few who really know me, I'm good company and have a grand sense of humour. I (and many people do this) just am not good at "leading" in a social situation.

You've had some sensible advice here. You're intelligent, perceptive, sensitive and sound like an "OK" person, to me. Just do what you want to do.... Find something you enjoy FOR YOU. You may find one or two people who drift into your orbit who are, like you, potential friends, just waiting to meet a like minded soul. smile. Now, have a good day, don't think too hard about all this and believe you're an "Ok" person. You are.

CailinDana Tue 15-Jan-13 09:18:06

Might sound like a strange question, but how are you with eye contact? Eye contact is very very important - I am a sociable person and make friends easily but lack of eye contact really puts me off, I just can't have a conversation with someone who doesn't seem engaged.

Eliza22 Tue 15-Jan-13 09:25:34

Oh, and my son has Aspergers. Eye contact is very, very difficult, for him.

fancyabakeoff Tue 15-Jan-13 09:52:03

Drfayray. You are boasting and you would quite frankly frighten me to death! Boasting about your own fantastic overbearing personality does not help a socially isolated person. Geez Have a heart!

shotofexpresso Tue 15-Jan-13 10:03:43

I don't like to say things lie this , but maybe follow the lead of undiagnosed aspergers?

you seem very normal in type , which is why I find it very odd you have no friends like you're saying, maybe in real life your social intelligence is not as good, I mean this is the nicest way I can only think from what you've said that there must be something else, because you seem pretty normal to me.

starlightraven Tue 15-Jan-13 12:01:11

I can really relate to a lot of what you've said. I am very shy and find it hard to make small talk and make the 'first move' with people. I have social anxiety disorder, which for me is like an extreme shyness, which causes me to worry a lot about saying something stupid or embarrassing myself. When I'm in groups of people everyone else seems to make friends so easily and chat away, whilst I'm left on my own and feel left out. I know it is my fault for not speaking up and being more outgoing, but going from being an extremely shy person to having the confidence to speak out is a mission I am finding extremely difficult.

Social skills are like anything else - they develop with experience. You just have to keep trying to mix with people and improving your skills. The one thing with me is if I think someone looks down at me or thinks they can walk all over me I will stay away from them. It's very important to me to be respected by others. It requires some self confidence and self respect though, which can be difficult when people don't treat you right and you desperately want friends.

One thing I have found useful is going to meetings arranged online. I was a member of a social anxiety/shy website where I met people in a similar position to myself. It was much more stress-free than normal meetings and I didn't feel like an outsider. I'm not sure if you regard yourself as shy, or whether you have aspergers/something else, but perhaps it is worth considering.

Anyway, I know how tough it can be feeling left out and lacking social skills. But it can get better, and there are good people out there who would treat you like a real friend.

elsbells13 Tue 15-Jan-13 12:55:00

Lots of good suggestions on here.
One thing might be to look and see if your local college does classes on presentation skills or public speaking? As it seems that is an area where you are quite shy, knowing when to speak up etc. Many local colleges do a range of classes spread across the day and evening.

Dineatmydiner Tue 15-Jan-13 13:27:04

Thank you so so so much for the replies everybody! You've all given me so much to think about and I really appreciate it!

I do struggle with eye contact unless its somebody i know well so maybe that plus the things everyone have said about self esteem and probably radiating a lack of it is putting people off.

I think my first step in sorting this is going to be sorting myself out and to try and feel worth something if that makes sense? Maybe if I feel better about myself that will break down some of the barriers between me and other people and I won't feel so out of place.

I do worry though that once I get past the initial hi how are you type stuff I won't know what to say next. My mum says baby groups would be good because I can ask about their babies and have that in common but I wouldn't know what to say after that. How does a conversation go from the common interest into more general stuff? Or is that something that just happens naturally if you click with someone? I suppose I forget sometimes that you won't click with everybody so I get disheartened easily by each time where I shouldn't.

Thanks again for all the advice! It's definitely making me consider things I hadn't even thought about before! :D

TheSecondComing Tue 15-Jan-13 14:27:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fromparistoberlin Tue 15-Jan-13 14:35:43

I think its a confidence and self esteem issue, and mayve you fo have mild asp- who knows?

I also think your concern is even higher as you think your daughter will pick up on it, and that a valid concern BUT unlikely

you sound very articulate, but (and yes its cheesy) I think if you focus energy anywhere its on

developing self esteem
being comfortable in your own skin

there are many kind people, but I suspect cos of your low self esteem you gravitate to the bitchy ones?

I also think it would be helpful to explore warts and all how you come across to strangers?

people are cruel, and tend to be wary of people that seem to have issues and have very low self esteem. sad but true

Look, I dont know. but life is for living and I would consider getting some counselling if I was you, to explore whats the barrier/blocker??

good luck xx

fuckadoodlepoopoo Tue 15-Jan-13 15:03:10

Poor you op.

I have a friend who i think might have aspergers and she has trouble keeping friends. I don't see her so much now because it got exhausting.

If we were meeting up she would be obsessing about it and texting constantly with updates of how many minutes away she was, i just wanted her to chill out. She sends massive emails going into huge detail of every little thing and posts huge posts on facebook with so much personal information!

The reason we don't really see each other now is partly because i went through a difficult time and she couldn't empathise but instead got horrible about it and sent me one of her very long emails being really critical of how i was and how boring i was to be around because of it. Some time later i caught her slagging me off on facebook although she denied it and since then ranted about a suggestion i made on there to a problem she was having. A huge rant that was a bit embarrassing. She also would not accept it if i couldn't make a night out or something. She can not put herself in other peoples shoes and see that they have their own commitments.

I do wonder if she wonders why she can't keep friends.

My dad also never knows when to talk and when not and Im pretty sure that if he were a child today he would be diagnosed with something. It means that when i talk he just talks over me. It doesn't sound like you do that though.

That thing you said about the seminar was it? When they just started talking over you. I've had that happen to me and i don't know why it is. I start talking and then i notice that suddenly no one is listening and their attention is elsewhere. Its really upsetting as it makes me feel stupid. I usually just stop.

Im fairly confident and very chatty and friendly and not that quiet so i don't think its because they don't notice me. I generally don't hang around with the people who did that because i realised they are a bitchy lot. I think it can be a form of bullying.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Tue 15-Jan-13 15:10:44

Yes baby groups are a good idea. It takes time because you tend to talk over the baby stuff with the same people week after week before it starts to move onto other subjects. I find it helps to have topics in mind, like something new opening nearby or something you've seen on telly or in the news, your genuine interests. Sometimes i just mentally think over my last week and talk about that and see where it goes. Like, i just saw that film have you seen it? Or I've usually hurt myself (accident prone) so i tell people what I've done and then it usually gets a laugh (must be the way i tell it!)

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