How do I make friends and start enjoying life?
November 29, 2011 11:23 AM Subscribe
I'm in my 20s and I always thought my life would be better than this by now. I'd love some advice on how to make friends and be happier and improve my life generally.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (36 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think I'm depressed. I had depression in my late teens and I spent months self-harming and drinking too much and I used to regularly have to sit down and give myself a pep talk halfway through getting dressed because the idea of putting clothes on and leaving my bedroom seemed completely beyond my reach. This isn't like that - I'm functioning. I'm just not happy, and it feels like I've spent years hoping that soon I'll make some friends and have interesting hobbies and people will like talking to me and life will be fun.
As it is, I have hardly any friends and can't seem to make more. In fact, people seem to actively avoid me. I've had two family members visit my city recently and either not even tell me they were in town or mention it and then ignore various messages I sent suggesting we meet up. To be honest, I don't think I'd seek me out as a friend either. I'm pretty boring. I used to have hobbies but I've recently moved cities and can't seem to make myself start any of them up again. I'm shy and it would just mean meeting even more people that don't want to be friends with me. So I spend half my life hiding in my room wasting time on the internet and not doing work or housework or exercise, and feeling guilty about being lazy and unmotivated. I'm not passionate about anything - I feel like I'm drifting through life.
I have a great family but I can't talk to them about this. They're all really cool, upbeat people and they're busy with their own lives. Also, every time they ask how I'm doing I panic and say that 'life is great! and all my new friends are great! and I'm so busy and productive, yay!' and then they go on and on about how nice it is to hear me so happy.
I've had a few sessions of therapy before, but it was for major things and I'd feel really stupid turning up at a doctor's or therapist's office saying 'I can't make any friends and my life is boring and sometimes I cry because nobody likes me'. I feel self-indulgent enough even writing this whiny mefi question - I know there are a lot of people way worse off than me.
So, apart from that, what practical steps can I take to make my life better and be happier and make people like me more? (I'm already doing some volunteering, before anyone suggests that. And I've read most of the commonly recommended books like 'How to Win Friends and Influence People' etc.) Or do I need to just stop whinging and resign myself to the fact that I'm never going to be the fun happy person with loads of friends and that I just have unrealistic expectations of life?
Thanks in advance for any advice! Even 'oh, honestly, just get over yourself!' comments would be appreciated - I probably need a healthy dose of perspective. Throwaway email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, if anyone doesn't feel comfortable posting below.