I think my liver hurts.
November 13, 2010 9:48 AM Subscribe
I crave human warmth, but have a hard time forming relationships with people.
posted by anonymous to human relations (26 answers total) 70 users marked this as a favorite
I have no social life and few friends. No close friends and no best friends. I get on fairly well with myself and rarely give any thought to the fact that I spend almost all of my leisure time alone. But every once in a while I become painfully aware that there could and perhaps should be other people in my life.
I'm a guy in my mid-twenties. I've always tended to be by myself. My parents found this curious when I was very young. When I was 10, my mother gave me "How to Win Friends and Influence People" and had me memorize passages from it weekly.
We moved repeatedly when I was in grade school and I was often the new kid trying to infiltrate existing networks of friendships. That's how I explained my lack of friends to myself. I mostly "got along with" rather than "made friends with" others. In high school I was friendly with several classmates and enjoyed talking to them, but was never especially close with anyone. I did not go to prom and my picture did not appear in the senior yearbook.
I went to a top-tier university on a sizable need-based scholarship and made few friends there. I had very little spending money, while my schoolmates bonded over drinks, at shows, and so on. I spent most Fridays at the free, alcohol-free student "social," chatting with passers-by and reading. Some people were fascinated by me and kept introducing me as "very erudite" to their friends when they stopped by.
I find that I maintain useful relationships and stop maintaining them when they stop being useful. I am friendly with housemates and coworkers, but when I move on, I discover that these relationships are just borne out of proximity. I try to stay in touch, but feel no particular need to, and neither do they. And it doesn't really bother me.
I consider myself shy, but I can be direct, open, witty, voluble, even provocative. I think I'm occasionally pleasant. I just can't be intimate. I'm always trying to decide how to act. There's always an element of calculation. Performance makes me tired. Interaction makes me tired and it's often frustrating.
Everyone always seems to be trying to explain to me what's wrong with me, but the explanations contradict each other. I censor myself too much. I don't censor myself enough. I'm too snobbish. I'm too mild. I'm too attached to routines. I don't follow through. I'm too anal. I'm too devil-may-care. & c., & c.
It doesn't help that my interests are esoteric and solitary. I don't watch blockbusters. I don't read popular fiction. I don't care about mass media. I have few strongly-held political opinions and I don't want to express them. I don't like religion or organized sports. I feel odd doing social things — like going to movies or concerts — alone. I like nerdy things, but not ninjas, pirates, zombies, vampires, Jon Stewart, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I am not an engineer or a computer programmer. This makes it difficult to find like-minded others and have conversations with them.
Life is challenging and expensive if you don't have a support network. Looking for shared housing is a drag. I can't bum rides with friends. Having medical procedures done becomes more complicated if there's no one to take care of you.
I have no idea how to develop a social self. There's an element of inertia involved: I don't get invited to places, and I'd hate to invite myself, so I don't meet new people. I am the oddity, the extra one, the fifth wheel. I'm not even sure what I expect from this AskMe. Probably not a "solution." If nothing else, it feels good to express how I feel.
I often see suggestions to enter therapy on the green, so I thought I'd add that I have never received professional psychiatric care, I don't know if my issues demand such care, and I have no idea how to pursue this care. I don't want to self-diagnose as XYZ, but if a diagnosis could help me understand myself better and work around my limitations, I'd be happy.