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I'm socially inept and unable to make friends.

(14 Posts)
MarbleFox Wed 13-Apr-16 19:43:09

I've just turned 21, I'll be attending university in September. Moving roughly two hours away from home, my family and the very few friends I have. I'm so worried I won't make friends when I go to university and end up lonely/depressed.

I've had ongoing mental health issues since I was 13 and was eventually diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder when I was 18. At the moment I'd say this is under control and I'm doing well. I'm on medication, seeing a therapist, eating well, exercising etc.
However, despite my recovery I still find it excruciatingly difficult to make friends. I don't know how to greet people or introduce myself and I find it difficult to maintain eye contact or a conversation. I'm constantly wonder what to say and where to look, I normally end up shrinking into a corner and not saying anything sad I just can't build relationships or maintain them! It all seems so difficult and foreign to me. I think people misjudge my lack of social skills for rudeness too.

I'm just at such a loss as to what to do, how can I overcome this?

MarbleFox Wed 13-Apr-16 19:45:04

Apologies for the typos! My phone has a mind of its own.

Heirhelp Wed 13-Apr-16 19:48:01

I don't havw any specific advice but make sure you inform the uni support services of your issues and lots of different union groups as you can.

Cuttheraisins Wed 13-Apr-16 19:50:19

I really feel for you. It must me very hard and I don't want to give you advice that will make you feel worst, but please remember that you will not be the only one ,owing in to a new, strange and stressful environment.

Most people starting university will be starting from scratch, will be making new friends and may experience loneliness too - being away from their homes an family and friends.

What I used to do was to 'spot' other people who were on their own - one of the mistakes I have made too many times was to try and make friends with 'popular' people. I learned that it was much easier to engage and make genuine friendship with people who didn't have many friends, as they were also socially awkward. I hope that makes sense.

Something else I noticed over the years (I am 44) is that many of my friends are from other countries, languages and culture and who also found it hard to make friends. I hope I am not saying anything politically incorrect...

MarbleFox Wed 13-Apr-16 19:50:26

Thanks smile I had planned to do that and will definitely follow through.

CalleighDoodle Wed 13-Apr-16 19:51:07

I agree. Join groups that have the same interests as you and a few totally different to try something new.

MarbleFox Wed 13-Apr-16 19:52:31

That last message was to Heir but thanks for the reply!

MarbleFox Wed 13-Apr-16 19:53:18

I appreciate the advice but my problem isn't people, it's knowing how to interact with them when I do. Should I post this in the mental health thread?

timelytess Wed 13-Apr-16 19:55:54

Build your self-confidence by joining groups, learning new skills (look for short courses, a day here and there), say 'yes' (except to anything you don't want to do) and smile a lot.
I'm learning this now, at 58. You're going to crack this and have a fabulous life. Never compare yourself with anyone. Notice that you are perfect right now. www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYi4FKUQpR8
Don't be desperate for 'friends'. Let people come and go.
Enjoy.

Cuttheraisins Wed 13-Apr-16 19:58:33

i learned to ask questions, about themselves, their lives, their hobbies, passions, families, etc. Generally people like talking about themselves and being a good listener counts for a lot in making friends. Yes post in mental health, you might get a different more experienced perspective .

MarbleFox Wed 13-Apr-16 20:17:35

I like the asking questions idea and the confidence building, thank you smile

InsufficientlyCaffeinated Wed 13-Apr-16 20:31:35

The good thing about university is that there's a club for pretty much every niche interest and it's far easier to strike up conversation with people when you have something like the club in common.

Also everybody is new and lonely which makes it easier to meet people. The default questions in the first few weeks are what course are you doing, where are you from & what's your name. Just those will get you an in

shiteattheseaside Wed 13-Apr-16 20:46:47

Following as i have same issues. I find it so hard to know what to say to people, i dont understand how others can find it easy/can talk about anything

camelfinger Wed 13-Apr-16 21:17:25

I found fresher's week to be a letdown. I came across so many twats in that first week and didn't think I'd ever make any decent friends. However, after that it settled down and it was easier to talk to people without the pressure of having to say something interesting.
In the early days you might get away with just asking a few questions eg where someone comes from, what they're studying etc. There will be a few key chatterboxes but essentially even the most socially at ease people will struggle to a degree in a situation like this, so lots of others will be in the same boat as you.

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