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!

TheBuickStopsHere Tue 15-Jan-13 15:27:05

You know, it's just really, really hard for some people. My child has Aspergers so, a definite diagnosis there, I know but the autistic spectrum is vast. Many of us, undiagnosed or not, are somewhere ON that spectrum.

With my child I just reiterate that yes, social situations are tough and that she therefore must learn how to "be" in those situations. That it means actually, she's not dumb, but rather, real clever because aside from doing stuff that is hard anyway..... She ALSO must concentrate on the social rules many of us don't EVER have to think about. We just do them automatically.

Just be yourself. People who talk over you are ignorant. It's not you.....it's them. And OP, you don't NEED friends like that!

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 15:40:36

I'm dead good at making chums - honest. I'm one of the people who is likely to talk over you (it is by far my worst habit and I'm not proud of it....doesn't mean I don't listen, though, and if someone points out I'm talking over them I am immediately contrite).
You want to know my best tip for making people like you?

LISTEN to people, and remember something they say..."Oooh, my dad's having his ingrown toenail operated on next Tuesday..."

Then you see the person the following Wednesday. "How's your dad? He had his op yesterday, didn't he?"

One of the reasons I need to employ this tactic (I am actually interested in people, though) is because I have a very poor attention span and fidget and look around all the time. People think I'm not listening, when in fact I am.

You're coming across as thinking too much and I would find you hard work because of this, and may well end up talking over you in my incessant drive to communicate with people (tosser alert...I know how that sounds, but I'm trying to explain that it's not personal. You are putting barriers up that really don't need to be there by monitoring yourself all the time....you only need to do this some of the time).

Give yourself a practical exercise at a baby group. Target one or two mums and strike up a convo. Remember something....she's going out for a friend's birthday drink....visiting work with the new baby...whatever. Return to group, where hopefully you'll see one of both of the mums....resume convo and drop factoid in, asking for an update.

Stop analysing interactions and DO them (even if you have a post mortem when you get home).

Let people talk about themselves. Most people think they're boring, or uncool, and feel lonely occasionally, so they like to talk. Fake interest if you need to...it'll keep people coming back.

Also, when you get cut off...again, it's nothing personal. Don't retreat - for every ten times this happens to you, if you try to join in with the new person or people, I reckon at least one or two times you'll succeed.

KumquatMae Tue 15-Jan-13 15:46:31

OP I could have written all your posts myself! I have no friends, I find social situations incredibly difficult, to the point where I am shy and awkward around family, and I have a real problem with eye contact. The only adult person in the world I can make proper eye contact with is my DP. I met him online and we talked for ages before we met.
I sometimes think I display quite a lot of aspergers traits but don't think a diagnosis would actually help me in any way so I've never done anything about it.
Just wanted you to know you're not alone.

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 15:51:10

Just reading through the previous posts - I think Second Coming and I were separated at birth......

We sound like gits (awaits telling-off), I know, BUT we're coming at you from the perspective of the people you find intimidating or dismissive...and we want to help.

Have a list of topics that you keep abreast of. Nothing contentious or depressing (and I'm afraid I do mean previous awful relationships....that is for when you're properly chums).
err...telly, hobbies (get one if you need to), latest bargains you bagged.
Come back to us with some suggestions and we'll have a look.

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 16:00:51

Oh yeah - and another thing.
I target people (I sound a real charmer now).

I earwig nearby conversations and consider whether the person talking is worth bothering with (for me, that is, not in general....I mean will we click or not), then I'll either make the effort or not. Gives you a better strike rate. I pretend to fiddle with my phone and sort of "tune in" to nearby convos.

Oh my god, I sound horrific. I'm actually quite pleasant.

TheSecondComing Tue 15-Jan-13 16:03:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OP, at the risk of sounding a bit strange, are you sure you need friends in real life?

If it's causing you this much stress, tbh you shouldn't keep forcing yourself. I'm pretty much the same as you - I do not do well in social situations, often get talked over or at, and so on.
I found I was much happier when I stopped wasting head space on having to "make friends", and just got on with my life. Just have an emergency stash of "conversation pieces" like news stories in case someone feels the need to talk to you, and you'll be fine grin

Of course, if you do feel like you need to have friends, you can follow some of the advice other people have given you. But tbh, in my experience, it's very rare that social people can actually make proper friends to those who lack social skills - they just take advantage. If you must have friends, look for fellow quiet/uncomfortable people.

TheSecondComing Tue 15-Jan-13 16:11:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 16:12:46

See, I'm as far from being on the spectrum as poss - although I am a gobshite - I have very leaky boundaries that I've only managed to tighten up over the past few years. Hence, rather than having people hanging off me like I used to, I'm more cautious and stand-offish.

I don't mean that I'm so wildly magnetic that people can't resist, it's just that I over-empathise and get tied up in knots with people. Then have to ditch them when it all gets too much.

What is coming out v clearly, though, OP, is that it's a numbers game, and there are also very simple rules that you can make for yourself, even if you don't "feel" them. You've had some good tactical advice here from people who have managed to go through life making friends despite being massive gobshites.

Second, I can emphatically state that I do not need friends. At all. I have the internet if I want to talk to people! I accept that I am a massive minority of people, but we do exist grin Hence my question to the OP.

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 16:17:20

Need friends?

My reason for living is other people!

However, GalaxyDefender makes a good point about social people finding it difficult with not-so-social types. I'll think (despite "feeling" your hesitancy and understanding it) that you should cast it aside and pretend. What I will never get is you not wanting to take that step (even if you're inwardly shitting it).
That will lead to brash pep talks about bulls by horns....just get on with it.....for fucksake just DO IT!!!

Game over.
So, maybe you need to target the right sort of people - quiet, introspective etc etc.

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 16:19:07

Hey - Galaxy...where are you?
Anywhere near the OP?

Dededum Tue 15-Jan-13 16:39:23

Some people need people to feel regenerated and others need time out to feel revived.

I am definitely an introvert and find people, especially large groups tiring. I find most people quite boring, no doubt they feel the same way about me, especially women superficial, non confrontational and bland blush. Would much rather have a conversation about politics, religion etc.. than avoid those subjects.

I think in our super over stimulated society it is easy to feel that the super friendly, extroverts are the norm and if you aren't like that there is something wrong with you.

Don't know what your health issues are, but that is hugely more important than making friends. If you get your health sorted, get a job then other things will follow. What you need is confidence, not friends as such. If something is a chore then maybe don't do. Maybe there is nothing wrong with you, but the extroverts who need to be in a group to get their self confidence?

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 16:47:22

Thing is, Dededum, once you've gone through the superficial stuff, you get to the important subjects....just not with everyone. It's knowing who will fit into what sort of friendship that's important to maintaining these friendships.

Dededum Tue 15-Jan-13 16:50:38

I am on the outskirts of a group of 5 mums, sometimes get invited along, they are all perfectly nice, intelligent woman. As a group they know each other so well, they want more from me emotionally than I am prepared to give. After lunch with them I feel so drained and ill for a few hours.

I really wanted to be their friends, then when I was excluded a bit, felt really upset. But actually when I get included I want to run screaming from the room.

Big hugs

Think of the ability to find solace in your own company a gift not a handicap.

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 16:54:49

Unfortunately, the OP has said she's alone all the time, and sounds so sad. No-one's suggesting that she makes herself extrovert, but that she learns a few practical ways of weeding out and reaching out to people who she could genuinely get along with.

FWIW, I actively loathe large groups of people - I'm happiest in groups of three or four....but I have LOTS of groups of three or four, IYSWIM. All different - well, mainly!

Pinot Tue 15-Jan-13 16:59:27

I wonder if you're an introvert? It's OK if you are - we're quite normal, we just find being with people exhausting and need to recharge afterwards. We get energy from quiet tasks, whereas gobbier extraverts get their energy from company of others. Hence introverts find social skills harder as (a) they sap energy and (b) we have soooo much less experience of them.

It's OK to be whoever you are - I agree with Galaxy in that respect. Being a loud friend magnet is not the 'ultimate perfection'. I hope this thread has given you ideas - but also helped you understand what your perfect scenario would be.

Also, it is very hard to give your trust once it's been abused before. I have no advice on that I'm afraid - but going slowly would be my instinct.

HannahsSister40 Tue 15-Jan-13 16:59:36

lots of groups of 3 or 4? See, that's what marks me out as an introvert. Because that would be my idea of hell. I have three or four close(ish) friends and that's all I want. Lots of groups of 3 or 4 would exhaust me, not to mention bore me. Who's got the time for that anyway?

Dededum Tue 15-Jan-13 17:06:17

Here here Pinot / HannahSister40 - look live the loners.

OP - you are not unusual, but you need an introverts way of reaching out. Because yes it is good to have some social links. For me some friends made through work, travelling, kids...

My husband works away a lot and I am studying and can go for a week without adult company no probs. it is good to have him back, most of the time.

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 17:08:27

I work from home - although I'm in constant contact online and over the phone with the people I work "with". I also nip out for a quick coffee with neighbours/walk the dog and so on. This is three days a week - four days a week I like to see people. By Thursday evening I'm desperate for a change of scene and new faces - I get a lift from being with people and I'm strongly interested in others. So I make time!
I don't think extroversion is the ideal - we need all sorts of people in the world.
Genuine question, introverts - do you find extroverts offensive or intimidating?

I ask this because I come across this in RL - a couple of people that are introverted (but married to extroverts) say that they find extroverts bullying!

badguider Tue 15-Jan-13 17:10:15

I feel for you OP - i'm sure you're lovely but just lost the habit of chatting with people, perhaps because you don't go to work or any other regular commitment where you're forced to be friendly with people.

This is just a suggestion but how about focussing on having lots of friendly interactions with people rather than the pressure of 'making friends' so for example chat to the person in starbucks who asks how you are this morning, or a waitress, or the librarian in the local library, smile and be friendly to everybody till it becomes second nature, you've nothing to lose if the waitress thinks you're a loon... but it's all getting into the habit, then when you are in a baby group type situation you'll be open and warm and find it easier to chat naturally.

btw. I am ACE at superficial social stuff... and see loads of people socially but i find it hard to open up enough to have really in-depth friendships.

Dededum Tue 15-Jan-13 17:13:37

Not bullying so much as intrusive - prying into my life. What I hate is mindless chatter.

I am not unconfident or shy. I am the person first on the dance floor, will start a conversation with anyone.

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 17:19:14

I'm seeing a lot of "mindless/superficial" comments.
I do have to say that not all of us extroverts are mindless - for me, it's reaching out to others, deciding who's a goer (and for me that means smart, well-informed, not necessarily opinionated, tolerant and interested in the world...and I mean the world, not X-Factor!)

To do this you need to start out trivial, then you suss out the ones you can go further with....I've had convos about holographic theory on third meetings! With some I never get past chit-chat, although I know they're nice, kind people.

Pinot Tue 15-Jan-13 17:20:56

Absolutely Dededum - I chat to everyone and am terrific at small talk etc, but I like my boundaries and when I'm done chatting I am done grin Then I need a book and some quiet time to recharge.

The freedom that comes from realising you're an introvert was, for me, overwhelming!

It's OK to be just you. That is enough. I am enough. I don't need to copy anyone else and try to fit that weird role. I am enough.

Dededum Tue 15-Jan-13 17:21:05

Maybe because I am introverted I don't have the energy to wade through the chatter.

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