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!

Heavywheezing Mon 14-Jan-13 15:00:38

Are you an only child?

You sound similar to me. Friends are hard work though. All those platitudes.

Could you really be bothered with that?

ResolutelyCheeky Mon 14-Jan-13 15:04:13

It sounds a little like low self esteem really. Maybe a chat with your GP?
If there is anything you are really interested in then maybe yolu could join in with some activities with 'like minded' people and then you would all have something in common?
I have low self-esteem but not in the same way as you. Don't forget you always have your MN friends smile
Sorry to not be more help. Someone will be along any minute.

manicinsomniac Mon 14-Jan-13 15:04:33

Gosh, I don't know, what a horrible situation to be in. I suppose there are people who never fit in or make friends but there is usually a reason, either of their own making or not, and you don't seem to have a reason.

One reason I'd say that you can make friends is that you've had relationships. Even if they weren't ideal you are obviously capable of connection in that way. Personally, I find it hard to grasp that people can have relationships but not friends as I'm the total opposite (very sociable and make/keep friends very quickly and easily but have never ever held down a romantic relationsip)

If you feel like you don't want to be friends with yourself that that is perhaps not helping you - you might come across as unfriendly or uninteresting purely because that is how you perceive yourself, not because that is how you are.

Have you tried meetup.com. I think there might actually be groups specifically for people who find interation difficult. What about the parents of your children's friends - any luck there?

WorraLiberty Mon 14-Jan-13 15:05:17

I think there's someone out there for everyone...the trouble is where to find them.

But luckily we have the internet and that might be the best place for you to start. Do you have any specific interests or hobbies that you can find a cyber group for?

Your typing makes you come across as articulate and intelligent and it's very easy to read so that goes massively in your favour.

Who knows, you could well make friends that way and end up meeting them in RL.

OP you don't sound boring at all, you have a lively writing style, don't worry about that. It's probably just that you have a quiet voice or something like that.

I don't have the problem that people don't notice me, never have and sometimes I'd have loved to be invisible, but the fitting in thing is just not going away, and I always thought it would, but it's seeming less likely......

I think very few people have need of NO friends though. I like having people around me quite some of the time, even though they drain me! Please keep trying......what about that site, meetup.co.uk or something like that, you could try that/

I have plenty of friends who could happily fit an Aspie diagnosis. It's all about having things on common. Why not take up some hobbies that other people who find interaction difficult enjoy? Role playing games spring to mind. DO things that are fun to you and a bit nerdy. You'll meet people. I don't know if you carry any weight but I did and Weightwatchers was great for meeting friends. We have a running joke that we won't lose the last 5 pounds because we love it so much!

Dineatmydiner Mon 14-Jan-13 19:19:19

Thanks for the replies everybody smile

I'm not an only child, one of four. Sometimes I wonder if that's why I struggle because I always had them to fall back on when I was younger.

I would love to try going to a hobby group or baby group but I am scared of the same pattern repeating itself and feeling worse than I do now. I just can't bear that feeling when I'm treated like I'm non existent. The worst one was in a seminar at uni, in groups, we were trying to come up with ways we could do the experiment we had been given. Everyone did a suggestion and then I started saying mine. I had started speaking (so it wasn't a case of them not hearing me) and was explaining my idea like the others had when one of the girls just went "lets go get the equipment then" and they all got up. It was mortifying. For the rest of the experiment it was like I wasn't there. We had to use a microscope and take turns but when it was my turn, they just had another look instead. It sounds so childish but I felt so sad. Like I was a ghost. I know it sounds silly written down like that though.

It's like that with everything. I know it must be me because I'm the only common thing with each situation. I've thought it through and discussed it with family and can't pinpoint what it is. I don't smell, I don't have bad breath, I don't dress in an embarrassing way or in a way that makes me a target.

I desperately want to meet people but then if I meet them, it will be the same situation. That's why I spend my free time mainly on forums trying to talk to people on there. But even then I'm never one of the ones who makes actual friends from it if you see what I mean.

Sorry for the sob story I'm just stuck.

Is there anything I could be doing that makes people thing "oh no not her" that I'm not thinking of?

Thank you all for your replies, you've all given me a lot to think about.

fatfingers Mon 14-Jan-13 19:27:05

Are you a quiet person? You don't sound very assertive, which can lead to people walking all over you. Have you ever pulled anyone up when they've ignored you? In that example you gave, the other people behaved very rudely and you would have been right to say "oi, its my turn on the miscroscope".

Ebayaholic Mon 14-Jan-13 19:35:54

The only person I've ever known who had no friends was tight as a ducks arse. She had loads of money but would take a drink off everyone then leave when it was her round. Meanness is so ugly.

BabiesNeedInstructions Mon 14-Jan-13 19:35:59

Maybe you're targeting the wrong people. You don't sound like you often assert yourself, maybe for fear of rejection, but that makes you easy to ignore. And naturally sociable people sometimes can't be bothered to draw a quiet person out - It's easier just to interact with the noisy ones who put themselves forward.

What would have happened in your experiment example if you had said "hang on guys, I want a turn on the microscope too you know!" with a grin on your face? They might have responded positively.

But if you don't feel comfortable being assertive in that way perhaps you should seek out others in a similar situation. The woman sat on her own at the baby group, or someone else failing to be heard. Chances are if you make the first approach they'll be just as pleased as you would be in that situation.

The only thing that I can think of it if you're miserable and show it, and don't ask people questions. But it's obvious you have a sense of humour and you don't sound more self centred than other people...........to be honest OP it's not like anyone could pinpoint anything wrong about you from this thread. Are you really sure you don't smell?

KatyPeril Mon 14-Jan-13 20:41:58

I found a facebook group for local Mums helped me get out and about and meet people.

Lonelybunny Mon 14-Jan-13 20:46:30

I am the same , I'm on maternity leave and was in tears last night as I was dreading being at home alone again. I' don't go to baby groups yet as the ones I went to years back were clicky and I was just sat there like a lemon as usual sad all well I call them friends playground women talk over me and sometimes I don't even think they hear me ! So I just give up and walk out just me and my baby and go home alone again !

Zappo Mon 14-Jan-13 20:54:23

I'm interested as to what your family, particularly siblings think, after all they must know you better than anyone else.

For what it's worth you sound the sort of person I would have gravitated to at school and university but that's because I'm basically a loner at heart who is usually attracted to other loners or those who seem to be on the outside looking in for one reason or another.

I don't really have many friends now. I've shared houses with people and see them from time to time, I have a mum friend who lives nearby (friends because our DC play together but not really friends who would go out for a drink together) but I don't have a best friend or confidante at the moment.

I'm lucky in that i don't really feel the need to change things at the moment (too busy with young DC and like my own company too much in the evenings) but I do feel for you as I find other people's loneliness upsetting.

rainbow2000 Mon 14-Jan-13 22:04:56

Im the exact same im an only child and it goes back to my mother being overbearing.
I wasnt allowed to do anything and i think ive missed some steps.I find it very hard to make friends or if i do manage it for them to stick around,.

PariahHairy Mon 14-Jan-13 22:15:14

I totally relate. I did have friends at school, but once I left sixth form that was it.

I am not attractive and fat, but I do see other people in the same predicament with/making friends so that can't be it.

I don't know, it just never seems to happen.

For me I have just seemed to get more and more introverted as time goes on, as I have lost all hope of having a nice and normal life I have spent more and more time alone, so lose even the rudimentary social skills I once had.

I actually get mega anxious when I have to interact with my own siblings now. Le sigh.

Dineatmydiner Mon 14-Jan-13 22:43:06

I used to be good at making a joke of it and pointing it out like that until I was living abroad and a girl there was awful to me. I'd point out what she's done in a jokey way and we'd laugh about it while she apologised also jokily and then she would do it again anyway. It was horrible. Definitely destroyed my ability to make a joke out of stuff when it happens because its worse when they do it again when they must know they are if you see what I mean.

100% certain I do not smell lol. I have forced family to sniff check me and they would tell me. They also say they don't get why I don't make friends but on that they could just be being nice. Although me and my mum have sat down to try and figure it out before and I know she would tell me if I was doing something blatantly wrong because she knows how much its hurting.

PariahHairy, its funny you say that about your siblings because the longer this goes on for the harder it gets for me to talk to mine too. I stumble over my words sometimes with them and feel like they just want me to shut up like other people do. It's horrible sad

I do wonder sometimes if maybe I look unhappy and that's why people are put off. When I concentrate (so when at uni in lectures or meetings at work) my face goes blank when I'm thinking about stuff inside so maybe people assume that face is for them? So they could think I'm grumpy?

Its so frustrating and lonely and I worry so much that its going to rub off on my dd so she ends up a loser too. I couldn't bear to watch her be as lonely as I was as a child. That's why I want to fix it. For me too but a lot for her.

manicbmc Mon 14-Jan-13 22:50:25

Do you gravitate towards the talkers? I know I used to (having said that, I'm not overly blessed with friends but I'm not really that bothered).

There will be others (like you) at baby groups and other groups. Take a step back and see who is sat on their own or who seems to be struggle to find a voice and make for them.

narmada Mon 14-Jan-13 22:59:31

Oh poor you. I can see how upsetting this must be for you. YOu have a DD. Were you in a relationship with her father for a long time?

Who was it who suggested asperger's to you? Was it someone you trust? It's just that I heard something on the radio recently about how women in particular are often diagnosed very late in life and often do not meet the 'typical' criteria. What did you recognise in the diagnostic criteria as being accurate about yourself? Which traits did you think did not apply?

An aside... to the person who said "were you an only child?" - aaaaarghhh. I am one and I do get so fed up that this is wheeled out as a catch-all for any interpersonal difficulties...

ResolutelyCheeky Mon 14-Jan-13 23:23:23

Being an only child has nothing to do with it. I know many only's who are the centre of attention, they are used to having all the attention.
I think a drama group would be brill for you. Not only to gain confidence but to learn how to project (is that the right word? Maybe you speak quietly and timidly?
I bet loads of mn's would love to meet you for a coffee. There was a thread recently where everyone said where they lived and people were making plans. Anyone remember it?

TheSecondComing Mon 14-Jan-13 23:30:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dineatmydiner Mon 14-Jan-13 23:50:16

I don't gravitate towards the talkers although I have noticed sometimes a certain type of person adopts me as a pet project. It's happened three times in my life where a louder girl/woman has sort of messed with my head. Like had girly chats with me and stuff so I think oh my god I've finally made a friend but they play me with the stuff I say. A good example (of all three actually) is to tell me a guy we work with or study with likes me, I say they don't, they push and push until I start to think wow maybe he does like me, and as soon as I say yeah he is pretty nice, a couple of days later she will have got with him. Or they will use me to feel better about themselves. When I was pregnant one of these ladies adopted me as a project and as soon as I said I was pregnant she told me how she'd never have a baby before being married (I wasn't married), she would never have a baby while she was overweight (I was overweight) and then told me there would be not enough midwives at the hospital so "good luck". That's the extent of my experience with "friends" :/

I wasn't with dd dad for that long really, a couple of years. It was intense so everything happened quite fast really and ended as fast lol :/

The aspergers thing has been mentioned to me by my mum and my exP. My mum has told me that at primary school (20 odd years ago now!) they did have concerns about me because of my lack of friends etc and I do remember having to go and do some booklets with the teacher who ran the sen room. My exP has a sibling with aspergers so I think maybe that's why he suggested it. The things I do think fit are the bits like not knowing when its my turn to speak (so maybe this contributes to how quiet I am), I struggle to get past "hi how are you" type stuff (with the above girls I was mostly silent and agreeable I think so that's probably why I was their pet for a while), I like routine and struggle a lot when there's a sudden change to plans like when someone is late or a bus is cancelled (I tend to plan out every journey like a walk to the shops in a time schedule), I hate being touched unless I know its going to happen and I hate busy places or noisy places especially if I'm in the middle of it all. But all that could just be me being a very picky person. And I can hide all that if I have too like at work or uni (although it does make me stressed afterwards) and I don't think I'd be able to keep it hidden like that if I had aspergers. Also, when I was little I used to have imaginitive play with Barbies and dolls and stuff and that's a big part of it isn't it, struggling with imagination in that sense? Reading that back it would sound like me being picky means I don't make friends but I do hide it well so I don't think it is that.

I hadn't thought of a drama group, that does sound like a fun idea. It might make me more confident too if I get practise and stuff at being louder.

Dineatmydiner Mon 14-Jan-13 23:52:22

Cross post with second coming. I don't talk about anything about myself at all really. I end up being the listener usually. Plus I wouldn't want anyone knowing stuff like that anyway. It's bad enough family knowing lol.

manicbmc Mon 14-Jan-13 23:55:53

You don't have to tick every box to be an Aspie.

I'm sure there are some nice people out there who won't treat you like that. Well, I hope so anyway. Like I say, I don't have a load of friends but it doesn't bother me. I am in no way outgoing and unless someone talks to me I will be found in a corner of the staffroom, reading a book.

There are some good community choirs about, if you have the inclination. I hope you find a decent person to be friends with soon.

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!)

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.

Pinot Tue 15-Jan-13 17:22:14

weird for me i should say.

I'm not casting aspersions on anyone elses normal. Quite the opposite!

Pinot Tue 15-Jan-13 17:23:12

Dededum you should come to the introverts thread in "other Subjects" started by the awesome NorksAreMessy smile Unless you're on it already?

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 17:24:20

Never thought of it like that, Dededum. That's a valuable insight.

My chums, in my mind's eye, are like a display in a sweet shop....fab, enjoyable, different colours and flavours (in terms of personality and "being" IYSWIM). Every new person is like a new sort of sweet that's just been put on the shelf, waiting to be discovered.

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 17:26:25

Ha ha! Shall I have a look at the introverts' thread?

Oh my word, have only read Pinot's last post and want to shout "That's me!!!"
<elbows Pinot out of her body>

I am fab at small talk. Everybody tells me how sociable and chatty and outgoing and bubbly I am.
But I am rubbish at long, sometimes indepth conversations. They wear me out, I come home with a headache.

I am terrified of parties or get-togethers where there will be a group of people.
I love love love my own company (incl of course dh, ds, dd)
I have been known to get out of going to parties feigning illness as I just feel so uncomfortable and out of my depth sad

But I am happiest at home, with a good book. Am embracing that fully grin

Pinot Tue 15-Jan-13 17:32:31

grin S'great innit! We're normal! Just introverts grin

Seriously, come over to the Introverts thread. And get "Quiet" by Susan Cain (I think that's right - Norks will know) it's a fab book about how introverts actually rule the fecking world and are all colours of awesome are OK, thankyouverymuchindeed World.

Every word of what you said, BLNN, is classic introversion. 100% It's normal and it's OK.

Chandon Tue 15-Jan-13 17:32:53

OP, do you have a partner? What does he think? You cannot be that rubbish at human interaction if you have a child, you must at least have clicked somewhere with someone ;)

It is very normal to feel as you do, there are many writers who write about being " an outsider looking in", and wondering what they are doing wrong (all Anita Brookner novels deal with this subject, but not everyone likes her books.)

Being sociable is hard work, and It always feels like quite an effort to me.

And don't think in terms of "losers" and popular people, life isn't like that.

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 17:33:58

No way! It actually TIRES you? But the things that tire you, Behind, are the things that Dededum enjoys. Do you think that it's a case of either or, for introverts? You just can't do superficial AND deep?

Pinot Tue 15-Jan-13 17:35:15

Quite right Chandon.

And loners and losers are very very different things.

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 17:37:25

Value judgements - losersvloners - aside, though, the OP has said she's lonely, so we need a combo of people telling her that she doesn't need to worry about being wildly popular and other people telling her how to gather like-minded people to her. I hope we're doing that.

Dededum Tue 15-Jan-13 17:40:10

Maybe I am not an introvert confused

Don't like parties either really, can do them, easier if I don't know anyone if that makes sense. Then I can go into autopilot and rattle through work, travel, family...

I tend to hit the dance floor, love dancing, no talking required... Met DH at a club and we spent hours talking about how we loved dancing.

Pinot Tue 15-Jan-13 17:42:17

Dede, there are different types of introverts, same as there are for extroverts.

But yes - no derailing. OP, have a think about what you are and see what suits you.

There is not only one right way, that's my point.

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 17:43:50

Come on, Dededum...join us.......baaaahahahahahhhhhhhh.......
Release your inner gobshite....

Dededum Tue 15-Jan-13 17:45:48

There is a difference between being quiet and being an introvert. You can be both but don't think you have to be both. Maybe OP is just quiet not an introvert??

You can be loud, confident and an introvert. Thats me. Therefore could you be shy, quiet and an extrovert? IE: needing other people around you.

DO think OP you issues of health, maybe depression is what you should be concentrating on.

Chandon Tue 15-Jan-13 17:46:33

Ideas then: join a creative writing group, lots of writers are loners. Or a book club, lots of avid readers are loners. Or join the PTA

Nt sure about the drama club, as in my experience that is full of people who like an audience, and are not that good at listening ( broad generalisation).

Me, I am a part time loner. I have become more sociable with age ( at secondary I would often have lunch on my own as I could not face the whole group thing, and going up to classmates and talk to them).

TheLightPassenger Tue 15-Jan-13 17:46:49

Interesting thread. I am v socially anxious, so appear v introverted, have lost touch with most of my old friends through relocation/childrearing etc. Some great practical advice, particularly from TSC. I have problems being heard as well in convos, not sure if I talk too quietly or am bad at id'ing appropriate gaps in convos.

I am sort of the reverse to what
Pinot describes, hopeless at small talk, much better at long deep and meaningful one on one convo. I probably struggle to talk about myself, and feel more comfortable hearing others problems etc, but that sometimes leaves me feeling drained.

Dededum Tue 15-Jan-13 17:48:00

Maybe minouminou - but I am picky about my friends grin

Pinot Tue 15-Jan-13 17:49:20

Introversion is a huge subject - I can only represent the part of it tat is personal to me. But if any of these comments ring a bell, do investigate introversion - it may 'click' that your normal is just fine smile

I don't know mini...

I can do deep with dh and with two best friends. And I can do smalltalk with anyone and everyone.
But I cannot do the bit 'inbetween'. The bit that helps people transform small talk with a person into a friendship. Or I can for a little bit. But then after a while I find the get togethers hard work. I don't know the social 'rules'. Do I stick to small talk, will I run out of things to talk about, how do I know what is a joke and what is not...

I really only feel comfortable with dh and some very close friends.

School was a struggle. I did make some nice friends at uni.
I have never had many friends, I tend to have one or two close friends and then a selection of people with whom I am able to make small talk.

I always thought I was slightly odd?

Dh really does not 'do' people. He is, again, very happy to make small talk, gets on well with all the neighbours, always chatting to them over the fence.
But does not feel comfortable in social settings such as parties either.

tazmo Tue 15-Jan-13 18:44:50

Hi

I haven't read all posts - but I can sympathise. I had lots of friends at my first primary school and then we moved twice in quick succession landing in a small/parochial school in Scotland where my accent didn't fit in. I then had literally no friends in high school. I had one but she was a right beatch (was friends with her in 5th year, but completely blanked me in 6th year - doing my confidence a whole load of good and me spending all my time alone durin breaks etc).

Then I went to uni and made a real effort - I mean a REAL effort and was actually quite popular. Did a PhD and met my DH there and a number of other nice people -but my PhD didn't work out/I got depressed and lost a lot of friends there because I became introverted.

Then have moved between Scotland/England and met a few nice people (but was also not invited out in some social circles for one reason or another) - but since I've had children. My lord - the politics and it really feels like being back at school again!!! I find it really hard to make friends these days - and the people I do talk to - I haven't quite got to the coffee stage. Only one person took my number in soft play and we get on alright. Or so I thought - but the other day, she invited me over to hers - then said she'd got the chance to go to this place (where I know one of her friends stays) and she blew me out the water - saying she couldn't catch up on Mon and so could she meet up with me Thurs/Fri. So basically, I'm her 'filling in time' unless a better offer comes along. How do you think that made me feel?

My second antenatal class - we were all meeting up for coffee before the births of the babies. one of them was my neighbour. Then my neighbour invited all the women of my age group and not me over!!! Not sure what all that was about - but not very comforting.

I do have friends but they are over an hours drive away or overseas so I find myself on my own a lot in my town - and I've been here 10 years!!! I have also been omitted from several circles (not sure why?). My good friends say I can look totally unimpressed if I don't agree with what someone says - so maybe thats it. Have been called 'needy' by some people on mumsnet - which is totally not the case. If anything, I don't like to impose on other people so maybe I come across as aloof.

There was one 'odd' parent at my son's birthday party. I tried to make small talk - but she was really awkward with me and other mothers. My DH said he asked her to hold this mat against the bouncy cushion - and she said, I can do that - its just talk to other parents that I can't do. My husband thought she was slightly aspergers but found her really interesting. It may be worth getting a diagnosis if you feel you have this - at least you can say, My name is XXX and I have aspergers. Think you'd break the ice with that!

T

Phineyj Tue 15-Jan-13 18:46:07

My DH and my SIL are both introverts. He has some strong interests all of which involve what anthropologists call 'intermediary objects' e.g. Bikes, cars, models, wine -- so there's always something to talk about. It seems to remove the stress for him of noticing things about other people, remembering their/their kids' names. My SIL I imagine find me one of the scary extroverts described above. She never says hello to me, doesn't make eye contact, never asks me any questions... Yet her other behaviour suggests she quite likes me? I find this bizarre but I don't think people like this realise how off-putting it can be. She seems to be successful at making friends though the church she belongs to - she leads groups there and seems to be very valued. So OP, I think you need to find your 'intermediary object'/activity and then you will naturally get chatting to people.

Phineyj Tue 15-Jan-13 18:47:58

Er models as in trains, that sounded sleazy!!

Butterycrumble Tue 15-Jan-13 20:34:31

You know I was thinking of posting because I have a friend who has no friends really at all, I am more of a mother figure to her and would love to be able to help her have more friends. She is useless at making any, hopeless at social chat, probably hopeless at meaningful chat. She has had a difficult life, a difficult present, and is isolated and lonely.

She is however a truly lovely person, very capable of being a genuine friend, the last person in the world to be suddenly unpleasant or spiteful. She is honest, generous and just a bit out of step with society. Life has left her rather paranoid and increasingly unwilling to even try with friendships ... She has trusted new people too much sometimes.

Anyway op, presuming you are genuine, pm me if you fancy and I will mail you. Maybe I could set you up as pen friends/email friends and you could go from there!

Unfortunatlyanxious Tue 15-Jan-13 21:06:05

Something Tazmo has just said has really struck a bell with me. Apparently my feelings show on my face. I also find it incredibly hard to lie. For instance my workmate had her hair dyed a very different colour to her usual one, it looked terrible. Obviously I would not say that but there was no way I was going to cluck around her like all the others in the office saying I liked it.

I do struggle with this kind of chatter a lot.

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 21:10:25

You need to get a preemptive strike in, Unfortunate!

"LOVE the hair!" As you breeze past, then don't mention it again.

Dineatmydiner Tue 15-Jan-13 21:58:43

Aaah this thread is going to be like my little bible! Thank you so much everybody for your advice and thank you everyone who has shared their experiences too to show me I'm not the only one who feels like this!

I wonder if maybe I am a little introverted? Social situations do tire me a lot from how hard I concentrate on keeping track of everything that is going on. The feelings showing on your face thing is making me wonder too if when I'm talking to someone, because I'm concentrating on what they are saying, I wonder what my face is doing. Maybe I look bored or blank when I'm actually taking it all in? That would definitely put people off!

I am feeling a lot more positive after this thread and I'm looking forward to putting all these tips into practice once I've got myself sorted with feeling better about myself and liking myself. I think once I feel good about myself I'm going to give a baby group a go and have a look into evening classes or maybe some sort of hobby/activity group where I could meet people who might share a common interest. Even if I don't make friends there I guess it will be good practice and maybe friends will come with time once I (hopefully) get a bit better at reading people and situations!

Thanks again everybody, I really do appreciate it! :D

persimmon Tue 15-Jan-13 22:11:12

It's not that weird to have no mates. A lot of men don't seem to, as such. I have a theory that everyone actually feels 'outside', deep down.
If you are desperate for friends (I don't mean that unkindly) it can be off-putting. I think you need to build up your confidence and self-esteem so that you're not feeling so crap - this will automatically make you more attractive friend material.
You need to disconnect slightly from the idea that only friends will make you happy. Find something that YOU enjoy and build on that.You sound really nice from your posts.
Don't forget, a lot of people who you think are popular will have their own insecurities and sadnesses. You can be lonely surrounded by people.

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 22:28:12

Fab! Just thought I'd check this thread before bed, and was pleased to see you back.
Really hope it's helped.
Just one thought, though, after reading your last post; is your hearing ok?
I ask this because you say you struggle to keep track of what's going on.

Dineatmydiner Tue 15-Jan-13 22:36:55

See that could be another thing radiating off me that I hadn't realised, persimmon! People might be sensing that I really REALLY want friends so they kind of want to escape from me lol. That's something I will need to keep an eye on too I think!

Minouminou, I think my hearing is okay. I think its more a combination of nerves and not wanting to mess up plus while the other person is talking I'm trying to think of a response that will fit well and/or won't scare them off or bore them too much. So if I have a horrible thinking face then I could have been putting people off with that. Ill have to try and catch it in a mirror now lol!

minouminou Tue 15-Jan-13 22:40:33

Hah! You wanna see MY regular face! I've got a real scowl, but this doesn't affect how people see me once they talk to me! It's also v obvioys what I'm thinking and feeling, so, another way to frame this is to think of uourself as genuine. I wouldn't give your thinking face too much headspace.....

MarthaEntwhistle Tue 15-Jan-13 23:32:50

Hi OP.

I've never been great in social situations and have always really wanted to make friends, especially when DCs were small when it just seemed (and was)impossible.

But recently, I've started focussing on joining things just for my own enjoyment - a sports club, a cookery course etc. I've lost a little bit of weight and bought a few flattering clothes and I think I'm looking and feeling better than I've been in ages.

And something odd has begun to happen. People are acknowledging me. Receptionists launch into conversations with me; shop assistants start chatting about my purchases; strangers are smiling at me and saying "hello". Perhaps this happens to other people all the time, but it never happened to me. And its happening too frequently to be a coincidence.

So I'm thinking that, somehow, I must be giving off different vibes, looking/walking/behaving slightly differently as now people want to communicate with me. Its very strange, but very real.

Perhaps OP you need to forget the whole friends thing and simply do some nice things for you, and (like me) you might be surprised by what starts to happen.

exoticfruits Wed 16-Jan-13 05:49:15

MarthaEntwhistle has a good starting point- get into the way of just chatting to people that you might never see again like the receptionist, the elderly lady behind you at a supermarket checkout, the dog walker etc. It doesn't have to anything much- just a simple remark about the weather.

peacefuloptimist Wed 16-Jan-13 10:14:56

Hi Dineatmydiner

Your posts have made me feel sad. Sad because I can relate to a lot of what you say. Like you I also worry that my ds will turn out like me and struggle with loneliness as a child. I struggled with making friends when I was at school. My parents moved around a lot when I was younger (which didnt help) so I ended up going to lots of different primary schools. Everytime I would make a friend I would end up moving pretty soon after and end up at zero again. I often attracted the attention of bullies whenever I joined a new school which made me more introverted as I didnt want to reveal anything of myself to give them ammunition to use against me. The situation improved after I left primary but when I was in secondary school and sixth form I became very self-conscious of how others percieved me to the extent that I used to hide in the school toilets at breaktime or pretend to do work in the library so people wouldnt see that I had very few friends.

I have three siblings so when I was younger I didnt really care about not having friends because like you described I sort of leaned on them and had them as company. However my 3 siblings are all very much social butterflies which didnt help as they used to find it really funny and make jokes about how I had no friends and was a loner. My big sister is very much like how drfayray sounds. The life and soul of every party and people used to always compare me to her. I have had 3 friends who when I have introduced them to my sister within a short space of time have asked me why I wasnt more like her, which really crushed my self-esteem when I was younger. I used to look at myself in the mirror and say to myself I hate you. (I just realised that I am making the mistake people have told you about of revealing too much of yourself as it makes you sound glum and too problematic grin. Bad habits die hard. Oh well not trying to make friends just trying to let you know you are not alone.

As much as your thread has made me sad by reminding me of some things it has also made me happy to see that I am not the only person who was/is like this. I have managed to overcome a lot of the problems that I had to reach the point where I am happy with myself and I think you can too. Follow the advice of drfayray. A lot of what she said makes sense and I have seen it work from observing my older sister. Smile alot at people. Listen and look interested when they speak. Remember things about them and mention it next time you see them. Give of yourself (nothing too deep) it encourages people to also talk about themselves.

Another tip I would give for conversation makers or starters is to ask questions e.g. at a baby group somebody talks about their baby ask them "Is this your first?", if they say no ask about their other kids (i.e. "How many kids do you have? How old are they?" etc) if they say yes ask "How are you coping?" then you can talk a little bit about how you are coping as well. Sorry if this sounds patronising but I have learnt that people love to talk about themselves and love being given the opportunity to be listened to. One thing that I do as well is I tend to store up bits of information that I can talk about with others. For example I will read something interesting or something will happen to me and when I talk to somebody new I will find a way to bring that in to the conversation.

Be less self-conscious about the way you are percieved. I know this is hard but if you feel self-conscious you act self-conscious and people pick that up. Like someone said early when you feel confident, you act it and that attracts people. If you dont feel confident just fake it. Sometimes when I feel myself getting self-conscious I tell myself (I do a lot of self talk by the way lol) "I dont care what these people think. I have as much right to be here as them". Also dont worry about not gelling with everyone. I used to feel upset that unlike my sister I couldnt get on with everybody I met but now Im just happy to talk to anyone who will give me a chance and if there is someone I find it difficult to get on with or speak to I just brush it off and dont let it effect me.

For now gravitate towards structured social situations. What I mean by that is social gatherings where there is a specific purpose or task you have to perform. For example I tend to avoid baby groups where it is quite unstructured as I feel uncomfortable if I dont know anyone there. Instead I would go to something like rhyme time, or a class like baby yoga, or a course like baby massage or paediatric first aid and talk to people there. Learn new skills by doing courses. That helps you to meet people who have common interests with you and also gives you something to talk about. As you learn new skills this will help you to build up your confidence. Going to the gym regularly really helped me to build up my confidence as I was able to talk to people who I saw regularly and gradually get to know them without feeling that pressure of I dont want to look like a loner because I had things to do.

Dont feel like you have to make lots of friends. Make one or even two and nurture those relationships. I am very good at maintaining friendships with people and would rather have a few good friends then loads of shallow ones. Its fine to keep people as acquaintances. They provide companionship but at the same time dont need commitments.

Sorry for the essay. I know I have written a lot but your posts have really struck a chord and I just want you to know that there is nothing wrong with you. The problems you are having you can change. Being sociable and making new friends is just a skill that you can learn and I think everyone has the capacity for it.

Hope this helps.

Good luck

nearly2013 Wed 16-Jan-13 13:57:16

Thats great you are thinking of going to a class when you feel a bit better Dineatmydiner. I also worry about the thinking face thing, Im sure I do it too smile

nearly2013 Wed 16-Jan-13 14:03:35

I'm like that too TheLightPassenger. Lost touch with people, socially anxious and better at one subject than small talk.

Ragwort Wed 16-Jan-13 14:06:53

I have moved around a lot over the years so I constantly have to make 'new' friends, (apart my from two oldest friends that I have known since I was 5 smile) - the way I do this is to always join groups, do voluntary work etc. - in fact some of the things I do are within 'national' organisations so it is easier to transfer between areas. I therefore keep busy, am doing things I enjoy, positively contributing to society and meeting people - some of these people might become friends, some might not but at least I am out and about & not just withdrawing into a shell.

It might be (not wanting to be offensive) that you come across as a little bit 'needy' in wanting to make friends ............ in my opinion the best thing is to find something that you really like doing, whether it is dancing/joining a political party/singing/helping at a cats' home - it doesn't matter what it is, you will be active and with like minded people.

hooper02 Wed 16-Jan-13 14:57:08

I 'm like this too, feel really sick and anxious in social situations, esp if they don,t turn out as I expected. dd1 seems to be the same but dd2 is the life and soul of the party!

Dineatmydiner Wed 16-Jan-13 18:45:06

That's really interesting Martha! Hopefully it will work the same way for me too :D

Thank you for the essay peacefuloptimist ;) My siblings are also quite loud and I've had many comparisons to my sister who is close in age to me. She invited me out with her friends once and I had to sit there while they decided (out loud so I could hear) that I was definitely the uglier sister. Awkward lol. That thing you wrote about structured social situations definitely sounds like a plan for me. I do get nervous about the thought of baby groups because it sounds a bit too relaxed for a first social situation what with no one directing the session. I think I will see what structure sessions we have near here to go to.

I do think after reading everyone's posts that I might be sending out a mixture of nervousness and neediness so hopefully when I've worked on my confidence and maybe become less concerned about friends and more focused on just generally socialising that those signals will disappear. And the thinking face might be less visible if I'm thinking less about what to say next and more going with the flow.

Thanks again everyone :D its strange how optimistic I feel about this especially after years of it kind of wearing away at me. It's good! :D

Latara Wed 16-Jan-13 19:39:31

I had a lot of social confidence but due to serious illness i lost all my self-confidence.
My confidence with other people is gradually returning because despite getting so nervous i'm shaking - i literally do force myself to go out & do things & talk to people.

When i talk to people i'm sure that they can hear the tremor in my voice but i keep persevering & it seems to be working because i'm being asked by various people to socialise with them... not sure i'm up to that yet but i'll see.

OP - Do really keep trying - the first step is to smile a lot, & definitely 'fake' confidence if you can. It does take practise, so practise talking to people like the newsagent, the postman, an elderly neighbour etc etc.
Go to a favourite cafe regularly & say hi to the staff there, just smile as well & they should be friendly back. Then graduate to 'how are you' etc.

One thing is to learn to avoid the 'bitches' definitely in favour of the nicer people - bitchy types really do seem to want to make friends easily so they can use people.

Talk to yourself in the mirror to check your facial expressions - sounds strange i know but make sure you look smiley & animated.

When i was young & shy - people accused me of being 'stuck up' - i'd had no idea that i seemed 'stuck up' & it was awful to seem that way when actually i was just very shy.

Check to see somehow if people have that idea of you - i'm sure they probably don't but it's worth making sure that people realise you're shy not stuck up.

Yfronts Wed 16-Jan-13 19:57:24

A good way of getting people to open up is to ask them questions. Be interested in them.

IfNotNowThenWhen Wed 16-Jan-13 20:24:05

Hmm. I think maybe your loud sister and her awful friends can't have helped OP.
Some great advice on here.
I too think you should focus less on what others think of you, and instead focus on what you think of them.
Remember-you are also seeing if you like them.
It sounds like your self worth has become so low that you are crippled with self conciousness, and sometimes attract predators and users because of this. Some people feed off the insecurities of others and they can sniff out a victim a mile away. That is not your fault; it is their failing.

You sound great to me, and I am sure there is actually nothing wrong with you. Yeah, maybe you are on the Aspie spectrum, but that's OK. Lots of people are, and they find other like minded folk to be friends with.
My Dad always told me to bear in mind that everyone is insecure-some people just show it more than others.
Baby groups are tough. When I had ds I was very lonely and tried a couple of groups which I hated. All the other mums seemed to have known each other from school and were very overbearing . They made me feel like a real square peg(and I am quite extroverted).
Later I found a nice playgroup and began to talk to people. I do tend to sometimes say slightly inappropriate things when nervous grin but find that the people I get on with are the ones who have a sense of humour and find me charming (as opposed to obnoxious!).
Everyone fits with someone.
Agree about finding things just for you, things that you enjoy, and worrying less about saying the "right" things. I have met lots of people that are by the book "naice" and tbh often find them dull. It's the ones who are just being themselves and to hell with convention that I am drawn to.

SoftKittyWarmKitty Wed 16-Jan-13 22:25:55

OP, your posts really resonate with me because I'm just like you. As I've just said on another thread, I'm a quiet, shy introvert and in the past I've been perceived as snotty, snobby, distant, cold, boring, dull and lacking in personality. I don't have much confidence in social situations, especially large groups, and in the past I've been ignored, dismissed and talked over. In fact it happened as recently as last week. sad If I'm with friends and they ask me something, for instance how work is going, I'll start telling them and then one of them will wander off to deal with their kids, get their phone out and look at it, or even just start talking about something else. I stop talking then because it's clear they're not really interested.

I'd like more friends (I don't have many) but would like some friends that are a bit more like me. I wish others wouldn't be quite so judgemental of my personality but I can't change other people, and I'm not prepared to completely overhaul my natural personality just to fit in with the 'norm'. I'm not the kind of person who speaks just for the sake of it - I prefer to listen. After all, you can't hear other people if you never stop talking. We have one mouth and two ears for a reason.

I'm watching The Village on Watch, and Joaquin Phoenix's character has already been described as 'the quiet one' and 'not fond of speaking' and we're only twenty minutes in. I can so relate to that character grin.

ProudAS Wed 16-Jan-13 22:53:05

I've got Aspergers OP and your story sounds very familiar. Its difficult to get a diagnosis as an adult female and I went private through NAS in end.

A drama group can do wonders for confidence but make sure you pick a friendly one.

Eliza22 Thu 17-Jan-13 07:39:31

As I say, my son has Aspergers. I wonder wether I have a bit of it too. Never enough to be diagnosed. I see much of me (especially as a child) in him and I understand him in a way (you could say its just mum's intuition, I guess) that my exchange did, for sure.

But we are the way we are. I can "do" social to a limited extent but its hard, unless I'm with people I know very very well, and have done for years. Small talk's fantastically hard for me and I will avoid situations if I can.

As I say, I enjoy singing in a local choir but, the social side's something I can do without. I recently walked (quietly) out of a situation recently that I'd really had to work myself up to. I knew as soon as I arrived, I couldn't do it. When I reached my car, I felt this huge sense of relief.

I've always been like that. Actually, I accept how I am. If you met me, you'd be astonished I was "like that".

Eliza22 Thu 17-Jan-13 07:40:06

MY EX DH (exchange!!)

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