To wonder if I'm destined to be a socially inept loser forever?

(68 Posts)
MaggieDoesntGoHereAnymore Fri 02-May-14 20:47:26

This is embarrassing but I have no friends. I've never really had friends to be honest - in Year Four at primary school I became 'friends' with a girl in my class and that was okay for about a year or so until she went off with another girl, leaving me out. I say we were 'friends' because I found out recently that she didn't actually want to play with me but her mum and the teachers made her so I wouldn't be alone. It was pretty much the same in secondary school and college - no friends and I was always alone.

I always make an effort to be nice to people and I would never intentionally be mean or hurt someone but I am socially awkward. I don't really 'get' people if that makes sense - I find them confusing. I always want to fit in but I don't always know how to engage with people or know when it's my turn to speak. I always end up making a fool of myself by saying something embarrassing or inappropriate but not realising it. Sometimes I genuinely do not know when it's my turn to speak or what to say so I just stay quiet.

My social awkwardness has meant I was bullied at school and college and even at work. Some of it was really nasty and aggressive but I won't go into that. I've even had people tell me that I'm a 'weirdo' and a 'creep' which upsets me because I try so hard to fit in and make friends but end up failing sad.

I'm now 23 and I honestly cannot see things improving. Like I said I've never really had a friend so when I hear people talk about how they are such good friends with x, how they can tell them anything and talk to them about anything and just seeing them have a good time together makes me upset because I've never had a bond like that and I desperately want one. Except I don't know how.

I've spent ages trying to figure out what it is with me and why I'm the way I am - I'm an only child but I know lots of other only children who aren't socially awkward and are outgoing, popular and have plenty of friends so I don't think that's it. I can't figure out what else it could be though.

Is there any hope or am I destined to be a friendless loser forever?

coqdargent Fri 02-May-14 20:51:49

Maggots couldn't read and run.... Where are you and what are you doing? Work or otherwise? I too find it really hard to make new friends I'm lucky I have school friends but I've come to realise I do t need a whole load of friends just a few good ones. Can you join any clubs/groups in your area? My really good friends now are ones met at NCT. Not offering much but want to say I know it's hard confused

coqdargent Fri 02-May-14 20:52:27

Maggie not maggots shock in not helping! X

PoundingTheStreets Fri 02-May-14 20:55:05

Maggie flowers

Your OP is articulate and well written. You don't sound remotely socially inept. What you sound is chronically lacking in self confidence. But that's something you can work on.

Have you considered assertiveness classes?

PrincessBabyCat Fri 02-May-14 20:55:53

Do you have Aspergers? Just curious, don't have to answer.

Uhm.. I don't know any good advice about making friends. Have you tried reading some body language books/websites to see if you're doing anything off putting?

Try figuring out what your hobbies are, and join some groups based on that. People with similar interests have an easier time bonding. smile

Hikonyan Fri 02-May-14 20:56:21

I don't have any friends either sad so I suppose I'm not much help.

I'm an only child to as it happens.

suzanski Fri 02-May-14 20:56:59

Maggie, what a shame you've found yourself in this situation. Perhaps you should look for some help in relation to the autistic spectrum? I don't know much about it, but in our city there's an awareness campaign saying that 1/100 people are on the spectrum, which of course is very wide. I think that if you seek some support you'll find there are strategies to help you read people a bit better, and hopefully find a friend or two. IO' d agree with coq above, you don't need loads of friends, just a couple of good ones you can trust, and who "get" you.

MaggieDoesntGoHereAnymore Fri 02-May-14 21:00:59

I'm back at college right now, doing an access course but even though everyone else has made their own little group of friends I've been pretty much left alone again. I'm also working even though I'm desperately trying to find another job as I'm having serious problems in this job regarding bullying.

I've been trying to look at going to university in September as my chance to start fresh where nobody will know me and be my chance to finally make some friends but then I worry again in case that doesn't happen and history repeats itself.sad

ThatBloodyWoman Fri 02-May-14 21:03:47

Remember that it's also perfectly ok to be self sufficient.

I love my own space, don't actively seek casual friendships but have very few long term friends.I like individual sports.

Some of us are just not wired to be gregarious.

samsam123 Fri 02-May-14 21:04:17

only child as well as no friends -so is there a link. at 50 it doesn't bother me one iota

YouTheCat Fri 02-May-14 21:06:18

Maggie, I'm also socially inept and constantly say the wrong things. I don't really have many rl friends and don't handle being in a group well. But I'm in my 40s and, though it bothered me when I was younger, it doesn't bother me now.

It's great that you're planning on going to uni. Have you any specific interests or anything? There are always loads of clubs and societies and it might help if you have something in common as a starting point for conversations.

ThatBloodyWoman Fri 02-May-14 21:11:03

I think you're right You.

Specific shared interests are a good starting point for friendships -especially things where there is a reliance on others (ie sub aqua).

I am crap at small talk -it stresses me, and I'd rather stand alone than with a crowd feeling out of place.

But if there is a subject to discuss, things are so different.

Perhaps there may be a Womens Group, or similar?

KnittedJimmyChoos Fri 02-May-14 21:13:24

The problem is getting into a cycle, of negative behaviour and expecting negative reponses.

The good news is you are sooo young and have plenty of time to work on this.

A really good way to make friends and make it easy for yourself...is by doing a hobby, do you like sport? Tennis, hockey, rugby....or reading...perhaps join a book club.

As a first step, it would help if you could put yourself where other people will share the same interests as you, so immediately you have something in common.

After all, those of us with DC, that is all we have in common when we go to toddler groups alone or join NCT groups, nearly all sentence openers are..."how sweet, how old is she/he whats their name" Even for confident people, its hard!

Although it should not count one bit, appearance does count.

Do you present yourself well?

Apart from feeling friendless, are you comfortable with your own company, are you confident?

This comes across in body language, slouching, trying to make yourself seem small, the way you stand....a tiny bit of confidence helps enourmoulsy...

Always remember nearly everyone new you speak too, also feels nervous...and everyone's number ONE FAVOURITE SUBJECT IS THEMSELVES.

Work on posture, presentation, eye contact, compliment someone, ask them a question seem interested. It may only be a moment of conversation but the next time you see them, you can nod or aknowledge them.

KnittedJimmyChoos Fri 02-May-14 21:15:02

And learn about yourself but try not to become too self absorbed but look at your parents, are they social, have parties, friends? any other reli's like this?

I had a friend who was awful to guests....and another friend said, don't blame her if her own parents never had guests and were not welcoming...she will not have seen it in action as it were...

AwfulMaureen Fri 02-May-14 21:20:52

Maggie....do you have any special interests? What are they? Mine are pretty "odd" and as a result, I've found it hard to make friends in the past too...never fitted in at school...all that.

Now I'm 41 I realise that it's very probable that I am on the Autistic Spectrum....mildly....enough to "pass" in society but if I saw a specialist, I'd get a diagnoses for sure.

Part of my issues involve difficulty reading physical social clues, remembering faces and relating to other people....I find conversation as in normal chit chat VERY hard. Do you have special interests?

Alice2014 Fri 02-May-14 21:36:26

Maggie I literally could have written that post myself! Today I went into a parent group for the first time - spoke to one person and left after 5 minutes because I was overwhelmed and felt it was too much. I've self diagnosed Autism, and was proud that I made first contact and spoke to that one lady.

Very few people understand what it feels like, and the worry / analysis that comes before and after. I really think hard about what I'm going to say, but am better at judging when it's my turn to speak, but because I think about what I want to say I've often missed my chance.

I've decided though I'm desperate to make friends, I'll start by attending group social events and attempt to join in aiming to stay longer and speak to more people eventually.

You are not alone, I think this must be very common, if you look around and see who has their head held high and smile on their face, chances are they are just as uncomfortable and as unsure as you are.

MaggieDoesntGoHereAnymore Fri 02-May-14 23:08:04

Do you have Aspergers? Just curious, don't have to answer.

I don't think so. I have some little quirks though...I think I'm just a quirky person.

My cousin has Aspergers and we are similar...I just think I'm odd.

rabbitrisen Fri 02-May-14 23:13:11

If you are brace enough, could you tell us what you have been called "weird" and "creepy" about?

rabbitrisen Fri 02-May-14 23:13:31

brave not brace

AgaPanthers Fri 02-May-14 23:16:24

If you are similar to your cousin, why di you think you don't have Aspergers?

MaggieDoesntGoHereAnymore Fri 02-May-14 23:25:10

If you are brace enough, could you tell us what you have been called "weird" and "creepy" about?

Usually it's when I'm with people and I can't think of anything to say and just stay quiet. I've been called "weird" for that as apparently it's creepy to not say anything. But like I said I generally cannot tell when it's my turn to speak or what is appropriate to say so find it best not to speak.

I can also go off in a daydream and apparently get a 'far away' look during this time which people find odd.

The thing is though, I can kind of understand where they are coming from. I think I would find that creepy too. sad

AwfulMaureen Fri 02-May-14 23:29:06

Maggie not knowing when it's your turn to speak is quite common for those of us on the spectrum. The daydreaming thing too. Its incredibly liberating for me now that I've accepted my weirdness isn't weird. It's an actual THING....something I can't help.

I'm not saying you're autistic....how could I know that? but you could start by speaking to your GP about it all....there is loads of help...even for adults. And you know that on MN special needs there are lots of conversations about it too.

AgentZigzag Fri 02-May-14 23:29:41

I'm 'socially awkward', although I think a lot of the times when I've thought I've said the wrong thing, it's actually me overthinking/endlessly replaying what's been said and coming to the conclusion that I've fucked it up (when I've asked people I trust whether I did or not they've said no).

The problem with feeling awkward is that it's difficult to keep it from seeping out into the interaction, which other people pick up on and respond to by feeling/being awkward, which you then pick up on and it makes it even worse! It's a vicious circle.

I reckon though that people actually prefer it when you let them see yourself for who you really are, good and bad bits, rather than you not saying anything at all. People don't mind if you say something 'wrong', and if they do they're soon over it. It doesn't necessarily colour what they think of you as a person, and so what if they think something negative? You have to take the risk that someone will get in an arse with you so you can experience some positive friendships.

You're only 23, plenty of time to get your head round it. I wouldn't advise it, but alcohol helped me in that it let me be a bit more gobby open, you need to find a way to relax and let people get to know you.

Anyway, creepy and weird is cool grin

MaggieDoesntGoHereAnymore Fri 02-May-14 23:32:03

Re: hobbies. I have hobbies and they're not odd, I like playing hockey and drama however even when I do these things I still don't tend to make friends from them iyswim. Most of the people there are nice but even if I get on with someone I still struggle to actually make friends with them and develop anything into any kind of friendship.

I also did kind of have "friends" for a short period in secondary school, in Year 8. Again I say "friends" because they weren't really friends...it was three girls who pretended to like me however would then do things such as intentionally exclude me or if they did invite me places would spend the time making fun of me and not in a friendly way either, in a very nasty way.

AgentZigzag Fri 02-May-14 23:32:18

Creepy and weird for not saying anything?? WTF? grin

It's not at all, I've known genuinely creepy/weird people and it wasn't because they didn't feel confident enough to join in a group conversation.

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