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Problems with social interaction, lack of friends, not being liked ...

(32 Posts)
Sylvana Thu 14-Apr-11 11:18:49

I know its my own fault, but I can't seem to change. I cannot sustain friendships, I don't even want friends.

I know I have some sort of mental health issue, but I don't know what it is as its never been diagnosed. I went to my GP 5 years ago. She prescribed Laxapro which I took for a year but I didn't find them much help tbh. I didn't go back.

I wouldn't classify myself as 'depressed'. I do have the odd down day but its not continuous. I am fairly content with my life, I have a lovely dh and I am a busy working mum. I have stress like everyone else, but nothing major. I have always had a negative outlook on life, I try my hardest not to be downbeat as I know this impacts on family and everyone around me.

In work I'm at my best. I joke, laugh, smile, chit chat with my colleagues. Its weird, I don't find it hard to interact with people at work.

But outside of work is a real problem. I avoid neighbours, other mums at the school gate, I can't keep in touch with old friends/colleagues.

Birthday party invites for my dc's are drying up and I know its because of me. I have alienated myself from the other mums. They probably think I'm stuck up because I don't want anything to do with them. I can't blame them for thinking this because that is how it must come across. Little do they know I'm dying inside. They all do coffee, text, arrange play dates etc, so my issues are impacting my dc's social lives because I cannot bring myself to be part of that.

I attended a football match with my ds last Saturday and all the other mums and dads where watching the match in pairs/groups while I sat on my own.

I just feel so sad

Can anyone identify with me ? Or help me figure out what is wrong ?

Bideyin Thu 14-Apr-11 11:28:23

Are you just a bit shy Freak? Have you always felt like this?

Sylvana Thu 14-Apr-11 11:32:59

Yes, I am shy and have to push myself to do things. But I know I was a miserable person in the past. I probably suffered from post natal depression after my dc's but didn't seek help at the time. I can look back at how I was 15 years ago and I realise I wasn't a very nice person. Its no wonder I have no friends. I'm a nicer person now because I'm in a better place.

Bideyin Thu 14-Apr-11 11:38:18

You get on well at work and find that sort of interaction easy. Could you use this as a stepping stone to making new friends? Develop these work relationships further?

How old are your children?

Sylvana Thu 14-Apr-11 11:52:16

15, 10 and 8.

I do see my colleagues outside of work occassionally but most people want to see their own friends after work. I'm not looking for friends anyway, I don't seem to need them, odd as that may sound. I just wish I could learn to interact better with people on a daily basis in order to avoid my dc's becoming social outcasts.

ariane5 Thu 14-Apr-11 11:56:26

i can really sympathise, i feel the same and really struggle with day to day life, social situations etc.

i hope things improve for you, i wish i could offer some advice but sadly i dont have any! i just wanted to let you know that you are not alone in feeling this way

Sylvana Thu 14-Apr-11 12:15:09

Thanks girls I have to go out now but thanks for your time.

HappyHome Thu 14-Apr-11 17:09:00

I can sympathise to some extent as I also don't always feel the need to be surrounded by friends. To be honest the more people want to be friends with me the more I back off. I think this more down to past experience with pushy friends in the past though and also partly down to being happy in my own company.

I have in the past made friends with other Mums at school but now as my Ds is older (he's 11) and is going to a different school I can see that these friendships won't last as the friendships were based around my DS having things in common with their DS's rather than me having common ground with their Mums.

With other the parents just take it slowly a step at a time. I know thats its hard sometimes but a friendly smile and a hello as you are passing is a good start.

Good luck smile

Sylvana Thu 14-Apr-11 18:58:13

Thanks Happy, yes I do try to look people in the eye and smile, even if its all I can manage. I can relate to backing off from people, some of the mums have tried to include me over the years but I just can't go there, I don't know why. Glad to hear I'm not alone.

TheAtomicBum Thu 14-Apr-11 20:19:35

Hi Freak

Oh yes, I can relate to exactly what you saying.

I noticed a few things about what you posted that I'd like to ask about.

It doesn't sound like a case of being shy to me. Do you feel nervous around people, or just different? Like you can't, or don't know how to, connect? As if you have nothing in common to say to them?

You say that you don't really want friends for yourself. Was there a time when you did? You have said that you feel people don't like you. So is it that, because of whatever has given you this impression, you gave up trying and have learned to live without them?

You said that you are sometimes down, but not actually depressed. I got the impression that it wasn't so much down as detached. Are you are an unemotional person? Paticularly at these times? Or at least seem it to others? And people assume that this is sadness? What makes me think this is also that you don't want to change because you are down about it, but because you can see that it will harm your DC's.

Sylvana Thu 14-Apr-11 22:00:37

ATB, I feel its a real effort to speak to people, I can't be bothered, small talk doesn't interest me ... I have no desire to know whats happening in people's lives (I know that sounds awful). I'm nervous at the thought of having to speak with people, but when I have to do it, I'm actually very capable.

I only had a couple of really close best friends growing up, not a wide circle of friends. I realise this was a mistake because I was too dependant on them and never pushed myself to make friends with lots of people. I have zero social skills as a result.

I know I appear unemotional and aloof to others but I am extremely emotional and over-sensitive. At the match last Sat I walked to the back of the car park and cried my eyes out. I remember sitting there thinking there must be something wrong with me, this can't be normal

TheAtomicBum Fri 15-Apr-11 10:12:32

Freak, there's nothing wrong with having no interest in small talk, or to not be nosy about people you don't even know. And it in no way makes you a bad person.

So do you hide your feelings from other people? You say that you are nervous about the thought of speaking to people, but are fine when you are actually doing it. Are you afraid of you're social skills or how people will react to you?

You said in the thread title about not being liked, but you haven't really shown that anyone dislikes you. I wonder if the main issue is the fear of rejection, or the reaction you will get. Perhaps it's why you are OK in work and once you have been assured that they aren't going to say anything nasty to you?

KnickersOnOnesHead Fri 15-Apr-11 10:29:23

I can totally sympathise op.

I do anything to avoid interaction with other people because I just don't know how to. I make sure I'm the lat one in to pick dd up from school, I shop late at night etc etc

I have 3 people that I could say are friends.

Sylvana Fri 15-Apr-11 11:48:18

TAB, I find people react to me in three ways:

1) They acknowledge me with a quick hello and continue walking (thankfully, because I don't want them to stop). They think of me as quiet and any attempt at a conversation with me would be awkward and uncomfortable for them, so they leave me alone. The majority of people are like this, they keep their distance, they probably feel sorry for me but they are polite and kind.

2) Some people reach out to me, see me as a bit of a challange lol! They go out of their way to talk to me and include me. If I don't respond it doesn't put them off -they keep trying until they get to know me. These people are usually very confident, abrasive, with big personalities and would be in the minority. I get alone with these people the best and they usually become good friends.

3) But there are some people with whom I don't gel with at all. It can range from being ignored, snubbed, glared at, to talking behind my back. These are the people I know don't like me. They have unfortunately formed a wrong opinion of me because I couldn't prove myself otherwise. A couple of girls in work are like this, some of the mums in school, former school friends, ex colleagues etc.

This is the group that upsets me the most because they are totally black and white, they have no understanding that some people may have problems and can't conform to the 'norm'. They have no empathy and will all too quickly put you down as a bitch or stuck up.

Knickers, it isn't an uncommon problem, there are plenty living with this but its finding the solution to overcome it thats the problem. I would say it has its roots in lack of confidence and low self esteem. Its an affliction, no doubt.

zikes Fri 15-Apr-11 12:12:05

I identify pretty strongly with everything you're saying. I have no idea what the answer is.

TheAtomicBum Fri 15-Apr-11 12:33:56

Now that I can identify. Group number 3 used to be a lot more common in my life, and bother me a great deal more. The answer is to somehow manage to ignore this group, and realise how unimportant they are. If they are outside of the circle of people you care about - their opinion of you does not matter. You can't please everyone.

I wonder if it's this group that made you come to the belief that you were not a nice person, which again I've seen no evidence of.

topsi Fri 15-Apr-11 16:48:37

I can relate 2 u alot Freak. I hate most social situations. I can just about function at work because I know 'the rules' and topics of conversation revolve around work issues and I know when the day will end and how long I have to keep 'the show' up for.
Some people I can manage to get along with Ok because as you say they have large personalities and are very bubbly and talk is easy for them.
Most of the interactions I have the thought at the back of my mind is often 'when will this conversation end please'.
I will often have to think very carefuly in situations as to what I 'should say' as saying the right thing doesn't come naturally. Such as saying thankyou for someone's hospitality or saying good bye to someone or if someone is telling me a story that I should react to. I feel this is somewhat 'aspergic' in nature although I have been told by a professional that I am not aspergers.
I often watch how others handle socila situations and try to copy or learn from them.
I am often not interested in other people's lives and feel a real emotional detachment from them.
I am also put off from having friends because of the suffocating feeling of them ringing up to chat or worse of all popping round!!
Just thought I would share my feelings and experiences but true to my nature the thought of starting a conversation with you even over the internet fills me with dread
I was on Effexor for a while (AD) which seemed to make me feel less socially stunted.
I wish you well x

Sylvana Fri 15-Apr-11 22:02:49

Yes topsi, having friends would feel totally suffocating to me too. Its ridiculous isn't it because most people love having lots of friends to socialise with. Having a facebook page would be my worst nightmare grin

Aspergers had crossed my mind too, but there are other symptoms that definately don't apply to me.

TAB, you are absolutely right, the opinion of a few should not matter at all and their treatment of me has had a negative affect on how I view myself. This is something I need to work on as the rational part of my brain tells me that its impossible for everyone to like me. Thank you for your kind words.

Writing all this down has helped a lot, I'm feeling much more positive. Hearing that I'm not alone is also comforting. But I know the further I retreat from the world the harder it will be to overcome this. It will have to be baby steps, but I'm determined to try for the sake of my dc's.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to offer your support and share your stories

Dunoon Fri 15-Apr-11 22:14:09

I feel like this and am beginning to think I should just try and live with it. I have avoided meeting up with good MN friends because I am scared of failing at a real friendship. I have 3 good old friends and maybe 2-3 not as close friends just to chat to but not say visit or telephone.
I do worry it will affect my DDs but they do have quite a good social life atm.

PavlovtheCat Fri 15-Apr-11 22:18:58

freak where are you? I relate completely. We can hook up and drink wine and be unsociable together grin

(the internet is easy, in person is not the same, so don't be fooled)

Sylvana Fri 15-Apr-11 22:48:55

Pav, I'm in Ireland so there is lots of water between us grin

Yes, I find de net soooo easy .... I wonder why that is hmm

Sylvana Sat 16-Apr-11 12:06:05

I found an article on Greta Garbo which throws light on social phobia and avoidant personality disorder. I can see myself throughout, e.g. the over reliance on one friend, over sensitive to criticism, over protective with dc's, the depression link etc.

It states some actors, politicians and other performers who suffer from this are able to assume a totally different persona when performing. This explains why I can do my job efficiently and confidently yet I go to pieces when I have to sit and talk to colleagues at lunchtime in the canteen.

It will hopefully be helpful to others who suffer similarily on this thread.

www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/expert_advice/article564882.ece

bistokids Sat 16-Apr-11 21:59:52

As an altenative, please look up 'social commnication difficulties' and see if that drops any pennies.

TotalChaos Sun 17-Apr-11 19:09:07

Interesting post, a lot I can relate to here, except I do want friends, and have some, nearly all ones I have met in RL since having my DS I have met through the internet. I also struggle with neighbours/school gate mums - partly I think that because I can't control the interaction as easily as they will have seen me getting stressed with my DS etc, and feel judged about state of house/garden etc and partly through feeling different, struggling with small talk etc. Some of the avoidant personality stuff rings a bell - massive fear of rejection, but the Aspergers stuff comes closest, think I at the very least have lots of AS traits.

Bear in mind re:kids that as the kids get older your friendships or lack thereof with the mums will take on less and less importance.

decena Sun 17-Apr-11 22:33:25

Freak, I can also totally relate. I have always been very happy with my own company but have always had a couple of close friends. Now that I have kids, I have, for whatever reason, become very unsociable, I avoid busy school pick up times, etc. Now my social phobia (whatever you want to call it) is "spreading" and whereas before it was just the other mums, now I think that people at work don't like me, even some of my friends! This makes me awkward and find it difficult to chat easily which then puts the other person off.

With all this facebook and mobile phones etc, everyone else seems to be having huge friendship circles (even if I realise that many of this so-called friends are mere acquaintances) and it makes me feel even more solitary.

I don't actually want any more friends but I feel that I should have more then get very down when I find people are not approachable, then I back off and I have been told that others find me intimidating!

What the answer is, I don't know. For me, I really need to come to terms with the fact that I don't really want more friends and should stop the daft feeling of being left out!

I do try to make the most of my life with my DH, family and kids and just hope that my attitude doesn't rub off on the children.

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