To think there's something wrong with me?(24 Posts)
Hi. Not sure if this is an AIBU exactly, but I spend a lot of time lurking on here (first time poster) and I figure if there was ever a bunch of people who could give me the kick up the arse I need then it's you guys.
I'm 6 months pregnant with my first. OH is great, family are lovely and I actually get on with my MIL. So that's most reasons to complain all tied up.
I'm starting to think that I'm intrinsically unlikeable. People just don't take to me. I've been in my new job now for 2 years, and somehow I'm still the newb who never gets invited out to social events. I used to have friends, but in recent years they've all moved to different cities. And I'm not sure I've got what it takes to make new ones. OH and I have fairly formalised double date type scenarios with other couples, but that aside my social life is pretty much non-existent. My sister, who recently moved to a new place and has managed to acquire a large group of friends, says you make a lot of friends through pregnancy classes etc., but I'm starting to doubt my ability to do that, and fear it will be the same as at work. There's a 4 hour time delay between me and my OH getting home in the evenings, and I seem to spend all of that time watching TV and compulsively eating. Feeling pretty low if I'm honest.
Is it possible that there is something about me that just puts people off? There are people like that, right? You can't quite put your finger on why, but you just don't like them. Then again I'm fairly paranoid and definitely feeling sorry for myself. I don't know - I submit my rather pathetic problem to the MN panel for their judgement.
<Braces for the flaming>
Maybe. Probably not. Who knows.
But you won't make friends sitting there watching TV and compulsively eating all night will you?
What hobbies have you got/could you have?
I think I can get along with people easily, I can strike up a conversation about anything really. There are people who I find a bit difficult, I can't really say what, it's more like a 'vibe' they give off?
At work, do you ever initiate anything social or wait to be asked? The same with your friends, does it always have to be formal arrangements or have you invited someone over for a casual coffee? It's those little things in which you put yourself out there that gets you noticed and builds confidence.
Having a baby does give you something to chat about it's true. If you can't face making friends now make sure you go to groups with the baby and when people speak to you, chat back.
I'm sure you are not unlikable. Some work places are very cliquey, you have probably been unlucky and this has knocked your confidence.
You are likeable... your style of writing is good, interesting, amuses the reader. So... is the job maybe not quite your thing/not suited to your personality? You'll be giving up/stopping for maternity leave soon anyway?
I have very few friends. I give them up along the way as they let me down (and I don't expect much except vague contact!). I'm quite self-sufficient though, so I think I might put people off, but I'm very chatty and can talk to anyone about anything! I love talking and listening to people - doesn't mean they are friends though particularly. Perhaps you do the same... if you're happy with your home/family etc... does it matter too much? Are you having a boy or a girl or don't you know? names?
I think very, very few people are "intrinsically unlikeable". I'm sure you're not one of them. Do you still make an effort with your work colleagues or have you sort of given up?
It is difficult to make new friends as an adult but like others have said, you have an excellent get-in with the pregnancy and the baby. I've made SO many friends this way in the last year and I'm not the most outgoing person ever.
If that all fails I'll be your friend OP
I haven't found I made many friends through DC unfortunately. Met a few local girls through NCT and luckily some of my existing friends are starting to have children so can spend time with them, but baby groups/classes etc have been really rubbish for me. I completely sympathise with you. I do have friends, already so i don't think i'm intrinsically unlikeable (and i doubt you are either!), but I haven't made any friends spontaneously at the playground for example. I have come to the realisation that my face is just a mardy face when resting (aka bitchy resting face) and I suspect my not having the local accent makes some people a bit wary of me (am not posh, but I sound it). So i'd say throw yourself into as many activities/antenatel classes as you can handle, but try not to be disappointed if you don't instantly meet lots of like minded potential friends. The key is getting out there and being open to it, but its not always your fault if it just doesn't click for you with certain people. Good luck!
You need to do three things
1) join any baby classes/groups going
2) ask other mums lots of questions to get the conversation rolling
3) exchange mobile numbers - be proactive if you like someone. Suggest getting together and arrange it.
I met some of my closest friends while a mother
IME if you are not confident in who you are this can be off-putting to others. You need to work on your self-esteem and learn to like yourself.
Your sister's right that the baby will really help - you automatically have at least one thing in common with the other women at the baby-weighing place or in the ante-natal class or wherever.
You're right that there are people I just don't instinctively like and can't put my finger on why - but none of those people have anything in common, IYSWIM. There's no generic reason why I don't click with them - there's not a type. And those people have plenty of other people who do like them.
Please try not to overthink it, because that will make you awkward and tense and you'll be in some hideous Catch 22. Enjoy the baby and see what happens - accept all invitations, make some of your own, ask questions and look interested in the answers - and you'll get there.
Sounds like you are moving between worlds, so at work perhaps they don't want to ask you out for drinks and you aren't yet in the mum world. You don't sound remotely unlikeable.
I would think in terms of making one or two friends, not a whole bunch. There's something about some groups that I think can be quite hard and if you don't fit in with a couple of people, you don't with the whole group. I would try to find one or two mums-to-be or work colleagues that you gel with for some reason, or have a giggle with, so that saying 'do you want to go for a coffee and a chat' or 'how about meeting for lunch' doesn't seem a big deal. Not all those encounters will turn into long friendships but you have to start somewhere.
I didn't make long lasting friends in baby groups thb, my best friends are those I made friends with as I have something in common with them (beyond having a baby at the same time) so may be older, childfree or with older children, just get on well and am interested in their lives and vice versa.
This sounds like me a year or so ago, but I decided to change I joined a few fb mummy groups which have introduced me to lots of other local mums. Also have you checked out mn local I have met mums through there too.
Sitting back and expecting others to invite you rarely works
Your not unlikeable at all you just need to be more proactive. Good luck.
Thanks guys, I really appreciate the support
There are a few people at work I get on with, but they're mostly blokes, who tend to go on blokes nights out. I have male friends, but somehow it doesn't seem to go like that at my work - either it's a big everyone type outing, or you hang out with your own gender. Most of the women are in fairly insular cliques and pretty bitchy to boot. Yes, it is a pretty cliquey place, that's true - not very friendly to new folk at all. Think many of them have decided I'm not their sort. But it's a job I really love, so I'm going to tough it out. I'm generally friendly and chatty with people at work, don't think there's anything I do that's that objectionable. Hopefully they'll come around.
I have an event coming up which I'm thinking of inviting work people to, but I'm a bit nervous about it. On the one hand I could put a poster up like most people do, but if no-one comes I'll feel like a massive loser. I could invite specific people, but then run the risk of alienating others by excluding them. Bit scared to put myself out there tbh.
I've had to give up a few hobbies due to pregnancy, e.g. running due to PGP. I sometimes do charity work. I do have a distinct lack of things to fill my days with. Obv that situation will be resolved in a few months time, and I will probs look back on these empty hours with longing! I suppose I should try to develop a social hobby, but no idea what. I looked at helping out at my local animal shelter, but apparently they're inundated with volunteers. Any suggestions welcome.
I'm starting an antenatal class next month, so we shall see. If anything I suffer from trying too hard to get along with/be liked by people, so I don't want to come on too strong and seem desperate. But I will be do my best to be open and maybe proactive... It's the same as at work - I fear the knock backs more than anything.
KrisBH I do wonder if I'm the same, although instead of mardiness it's geekiness. People tend to assume I'm a) vegetarian, b) a librarian, and c) extremely steady and buttoned down. I often have people remark in surprise/horror 'wow, you're eating meat!' or 'geez, I've actually heard you swear!' which I find quite bewildering as I've never told them I don't eat meat and I swear like a trooper. I've often puzzled over how I give such a wrong impression and what to do about it. I must admit though it is quite entertaining to see people's reactions when I slip the c bomb into a casual convo.
I've had similar thoughts in the past. I know I'm not an especially horrible person, but people don't seem to take to me, and I don't have the same ease I see in others in social situations.
I've come to the conclusion that I just don't have especially good social skills. I get by, but I have to try to put in a bit more conscious effort iyswim.
I find I make friends more easily through activities, as doing something together takes some of the pressure off, you have something automatic to talk about, and it's more clearly a venue for making friends rather than looking for a partner.
I think there's a big crossover between friendship and familiarity, and if I see someone often and they are nice I would start seeing them as a friend. Having kids helps here a lot, as you see people every week at toddler groups or whatever, and it's a time when people might appreciate some company during the daytime, plus kids playing together os a good excuse to invite people round. You have to put in effort, though, to go to groups when you maybe would rather not, or to ask people over when you don't know them well yet.
I bet you aren't at all unlikeable!
Oh, and my top tip for starting conversations at baby group is to compliment someone's child, then ask a related question, e.g. I love her dress, where did you get it? He is walking so well, did he start very early?
I often feel I don't seem to know know all the rules to a situation. I go for just saying something nice now, and it works more often than you think.
And thanks SourSweets - I just might take you up on that
I could have written your post at times in my life, OP. My experience is that having a baby forced me to learn many lessons about myself and I gradually have been working it out a bit. Learning meditation practices relating to Loving Kindness and mindful compassion helped me vastly. They have helped me to "warm up" and also be more open and less controlling. Also when I changed my hairstyle to something softer, people became warmer and more open with me. Weird, eh?
Consciously or not, when you chat with someone new, maybe you guard your conversation, offering up very little of yourself. That and perhaps missing cues wrongfoot people since avoiding exchanging information puts up a barrier and as a consequence you unintentionally put off potential new pals.
I agree with your DSis and previous posters. From maternity onwards I found DCs are a great ice-breaker. A few exchanged sympathetic or encouraging words or sometimes just an eye roll.
A new chapter is just around the corner. You can reinvent yourself if the mood takes you. This isn't to say the 'old' you is defective.
You don't sound unlikeable. But if you think you are, this will be conveyed to others in a subtle way. That is kind of how it works. It's like, if you don't give a monkeys about what people think that also comes across to others. It's weird but you have a lot of power.
I think you just need to learn to like yourself. You could write down daily some positive attributes about you or if something nice happens, write it down.
I don't think this is anything to do with you being unlikeable OP! I also doubt there's anything wrong with you either!
The thing that you need to remember is they're your work colleagues, they're not your friends! Sure, it's great if friendships develop but more often than not they don't, and this is just about them as it about you. Think back to school, we're not friends with everyone in our classes and usually end up with a few very close friends. If you're lucky, the workplace is like that. I've been working for over 15 years now and it was only in my last job that I finally found myself with quite a few people I had masses in common with we became actual friends. Before then, I thought it was usual to not make friends at work/socialise outside of the office with them and never thought anything of it.
I've been in my current job for a year now and I've not made any real friends here. At first it bothered me but now, I'm fine with it. If I'm honest this is because I have no real interest in my colleagues outside of the workplace and I have to confess I find them quite difficult to make conversation with anyway - they're terribly cliquey and 80% of my office is 10 years younger than me and they've not yet grasped that I'm not ancient and have lots of stuff in common with them! Do you really want to be friends with people there? Do you? Ask yourself this honestly? Do you like actually like them as people/want to spend more time with them away from the office because if you don't, don't waste your energy. As others have suggested, look for activities and possible friendships outside of the office
Good luck OP!
You're definitely likeable to two people- your OH and your MIL! If you have achieved the incredible feat of getting your partner's mother to like you you can't be going too wrong .
Have you asked OH if he has any idea why you might be having difficulty making friends? I wouldn't worry about it though- in about 3 months you'll be mega busy and have a perfect conversation-starter with you at all times! Good luck.
sansucre that's an interesting point you make. There is a very sociable group at my work who regularly appear on FB talking about their fun times, which I do envy. But, having worked closely with several of them, I'm forced to conclude they're actually a bit knobbish and not people I would actually want to hang out with. So yeah, perhaps not being invited out by them isn't the end of the world.
JessieMcJessie - tbh I think I'm just very lucky to have a nice MIL! I sense there will be more interference and potential for strife once her grandchild arrives, but for now all is well and generally she is a very nice person.
Since posting I've been invited on a girly excursion by work people. I am trying to be more proactive re inviting people to meet up and being chatty with people at work and at baby classes. Have decided to do the poster thing for this event I have upcoming, and approach the work people I like direct too. I am also making more effort to see my far away friends. I spoke to a good friend about all this, and she was v encouraging re my likeability and social skills. Felt like a bit of a knob for asking, but it was good to hear I'm not a total blundering idiot.
I will endeavor to be more proactive and less mopey in future. Cheers all for your ideas and encouragement.
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