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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!

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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