When it comes to interpersonal relationships, I’m having a difficult time managing. I only have 3-4 good friends, and I haven’t had a girlfriend since before GW Bush was re-elected in 2004. Lately it even seems like the few friendships I have are suffering. I cant figure out how to move forward from this point in my life.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (11 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
(TL/DR at bottom)
I’m a early 30s male and I only have 3-4 close friends, and the only thing I have to talk about with them is work or industry stuff. I don’t go out and do anything interesting so I don’t have anything personal to talk about - I don’t have gossip or interesting stories of trips to other cities and people I’ve met, just how I spent my weekend sleeping and watching movies. One of my good friends I’ve known forever moved away to another city this year.
I’ve been in this slump for a long time now - the last time I really felt like I was an adult with friends was 4+ years ago, on a vacation to Portland with a good friend of mine. Now all those friends are married and will soon have kids. The only vacations I take are to go visit relatives across the country. Even if my friends had the time to go, they don’t have the money anymore (thank you economy). I have places I want to visit but I feel like its so lame to go by myself - that and I cant trust myself to force myself to get out of the hotel room in a big city I’ve never been in before.
I haven’t been in a relationship with a woman for longer than 5 months, and that was once, right after college in my mid 20s. Other than that, I have no successful experience with women to speak of - its either them rejecting me or me being oblivious to them and their presumed interest in me. I’m so oblivious, once it wasn't until 5 years later than I thought back and realized a girl was interested in me.
One of the things I’ve realized recently is that I find myself not able to relate to people outside of, for lack of a more accurate term, “nerd culture”. I spend most of my free time sitting around reading stuff on the Internet (here, reddit, tech and environmental blogs, etc). I don’t get outdoors, its usually hanging out at a bar a few times a month with a few friends or going to hang out at a friend’s house. I don’t watch much TV outside of news, sports, and the occasional Daily Show, so I don’t have much to talk about at the water cooler. I do volunteer with a STEM program for middle school kids, but most of my work is in the background doing technical stuff (run the website, manage electronic submittals, etc) not interacting with people.
But lately all I’ve wanted to do was sit inside, alone, and sleep. I’m not even tired, but I’ll sleep to pass the time. I’ll enjoy my dreams more than I will being awake and bored, so why not? I don’t even want to play video games anymore - I’ve got all three game systems and haven’t played a game in months, I just bought ICO/Shadows of Colossus and played 15 minutes and quit.
I don’t feel like I have much to say to anyone who isn’t some ultra-supersonic-type computer, technology or environmental nerd like myself. Even outside of those nerd interests, my other interests tend to be very niche - commercial aviation for example.
Maybe I’m just a boring person. Maybe my social skills have rusted and I’m struggling to use them in their damaged form. Its quite different than my youth, when I was always calling up my friends (probably to the point of annoying them) to hang out and play video games or play football outside. Its almost as if I’m permanently zoned out as an adult (socially at least, I’m smart and respected at work).
I’ve been struggling to reconcile these things, to figure out a path forward. I don’t have any internal motivation to change, to get out and do something - I have the unreasonable expectation that solutions will fall into my lap. One of my friends invited me out to go rock climbing, which seems way out of my comfort zone, especially for a first effort. On the girl front, I’ve tried dating websites to no avail - 50+ messages sent out in the past year or so with zero responses (it takes me an hour to craft a 3 sentence message - I have a hard time figuring out what to say or what to ask to prompt a response; but I do type in full, grammatically correct sentences which I hear is a plus).
Other notes I’m adding based on searching MeFi for similar issues
- Yes I’ve read “How to win friends and influence people”, its on my Kindle so I can read it again anytime I want.
- I enjoy talking to people when I’m teaching or explaining something, or they’re teaching me. I spent 45 minutes talking to my boss the other day at work, explaining the complex details behind electric cars and batteries.
- All of the hobbies/interests I have are strongly male dominated, and quite frankly I’m sick of being so involved in male dominated hobbies.
- No pets, I have a weird work schedule, long 12+ hour days at work with Fridays off. I wouldn’t want an animal to be stuck at home for that long with no one else around.
- I feel like I have poor social judgment skills, again most likely because they haven’t been used much before. I don’t know what to say, or not say, so I just don’t say anything lest I make a mistake. I have this incredible memory where I can remember almost every dumb/embarrassing thing I’ve ever said or done but I cant remember most of the “good times”.
TL/DR (because this is over two pages long): I have very few friends, haven’t had a girlfriend in over 8 years, my social skills feel very rusty and I have no motivation to get out and do anything to fix it. My life is in a rut. Email if you must email@example.com