I'm in a funk through completely failing to take my romantic/social live into my own hands. How do I fix this?
So I feel like I’m a bit of an Ask MeFi cliché – 26 years old, introverted, never had a girlfriend, too few friends in general and feeling lonely and disconnected. I’ve read tons of other questions from people in a similar situation and have taken on board all of the good advice contained therein (Meetups, online dating etc. etc.) but putting it into practice is proving tough.
I think that my social problems stem from the fact that I am just so completely passive the whole time. I’m the perpetual ‘friend zone’ guy. When I’m with a girl I like, inside my head I’m screaming at myself to say something flirty or touch her on the arm or whatever (low stakes things) but out in the real world I’m not doing anything. It’s like romantic catatonia. I can react to things fine – when a girl makes the first move – but this has happened to me only twice in ten years and spending all my time hoping for something which might never come is a recipe for disappointment so that’s not a winning strategy.
It’s the same situation in my platonic relationships. I do have a few close friends whom I can invite to things but I always feel like they are far more important to me than I am to them and that holds me back a bit. As for acquaintances or strangers: see the aforementioned catatonia. I have a pair of tickets for a sporting event next month (which none of my friends are interested in) and I’m already dreading trying to psych myself up to invite someone to come, chickening out and then feeling like shit when I’m there next to an empty seat - not because no-one wanted to come but because I didn’t even give anyone the chance.
I need to be able to be vulnerable
but it’s like there’s a brick wall in my mind which I can’t break through. I have tried to make myself open up to my closest friend about how I’m feeling but whenever I try I just clam up and then get really angry with myself.
My mum said something to me which made me wonder if I might have low self-esteem. We were going through the yearly ritual of her trying to make a big deal out of my birthday and me wanting to do something low-key when she said something like “You know you deserve to be made a fuss of as much as anyone else”. I think
that I think I’m worthy of affection/happiness etc. but maybe holding that opinion based on reason and actually believing
it are two different things. It might be an indication of the current addled state of my brain that I’m unsure if I’m really feeling what I think I’m feeling!
Because of my introversion, I find that my everyday life at work – an open plan office with small talk, having to ask people questions and talking on the phone – exhausts me. I spend all my emotional capital at work so that when the time comes to invest it in something which is important to me there’s nothing left in the bank.
I’m incredibly frustrated with myself. The reason I’m unhappy is a lack of romantic/social connection and the only solution to this is to reach out to people. I know this but I can’t force myself to do it. It’s like this perpetual battle of wills with myself that I never win and it’s driving me crazy. The dissonance between who I want to be/what I want to do and who I actually am/what I actually do is maddening.
I feel like I’ve always know that the way I am would cause me problems in life. I remember at an early age feeling pretty horrified when I began to realise that it was the socially expected thing that guys do the asking in life! Outdated gender stereotypes aside, I had always kind of assumed that my frustration with myself would build up and eventually I would be able to channel that frustration into breaking through the passiveness. But it seems like the frustration has reached a zenith recently and no breakthrough seems likely so I don’t really know where to turn.
I want and need to connect with people romantically and socially but I just can’t seem to take any action towards making it happen. I’m completely passive and reactive in social situations and I need to change that.
I think my question is: does this resonate with anyone? (The catatonia/brick wall part) If yes, how have you dealt with it? Also, is it altogether wise to try and fight against my nature so much? When it’s getting in the way of things I want I have to, don’t I?