I'm a 20 year old girl who has had little experience with real romantic relationships. I also have trouble with friendships---though I am super extroverted and can mix and mingle in parties with ease, creating sustainable friendships is very difficult for me. I'll be going on exchange in France for 5-6 months in January. I'd like to practise and build intimate friendships and romantic relationships (short-term, but meaningful!) when I'm there, and try to get a handle on WHY I usually have trouble. How can I do this? More deets inside.
I've decided to include a link to my OKCupid (Yes....done the online dating thing for a while now...) to my question.
I think if you were to see my profile, you may get an idea of what sort of person I am, what my interests are, etc. I've met a lot of guys, mostly mediocre experiences (some have led to be good friends!)but no solid connections.
I have heard all my life that I am an overly "intense" person, too emotional, way too energetic and outgoing, almost exhausting to be around. I'm also really talkative and have a lot to say. I'm really expressive.
All of this can be very annoying to people, including potential dates, so I've worked on it. I've become a LOT better at sustaining conversation--though I know at times, especially when I am nervous, it's hard for others to get a word in edgewise (this is horrible to admit)--I've become better at listening, understanding the energy of the other person, become a lot less annoying/anxious, and have also started to realize that NOT everyone will like me/want to hear me out/hangout with me. I don't have to try and force everyone to like me, which I think is part of why I behave the way I do.
However, I still have a lot of difficulty. I've NEVER had a best friend. I have a lot of friendly acquaintances and I always end up meeting new people, but these friendships are on-the-surface and not intimate. What I crave is an intimate friendship. And hopefully, an intimate relationship. I don't know what is wrong with me, but a lot of people stay at the "good friends, but not BEST friends" zone. I feel as though most people can only take me in small doses. :(
I've had one real, serious boyfriend. I was 16, and he was great, but as you can imagine, I've changed a lot since then. And it was almost a fluke that I found someone who could handle my weirdness! Unless I change, not sure if it will happen again.
Often I will hang out with people, and it'll be fun, but I am left feeling empty--as if I have given so much of myself, and they haven't given me any at all. And also, that I overexerted myself/made a slight fool out of myself. It's very offputting.
I'll be going on exchange to Lille, France in January. I am very excited! Preparing to study/work/travel/socialize/everything in France is terribly exciting and I totally can't wait! Ahh, a taste of freedom. It feels like a clean slate : it'll also be an opportunity for me to break the "MEET LOTS OF PEOPLE, HANG OUT ONCE OR TWICE, MEET OTHER PEOPLE, HANG OUT ONCE OR TWICE" pattern I've been building up. I want to create a reputation that isn't "Yeah, she's cool/okay/fun" but also "she's a great friend", something more meaningful to people.
I know I probably shouldn't be dating with any real seriousness, but I want to try honing my dating skills. I have gone on a lot of first dates that have not worked out. I'm just so anxious and way too talkative and energetic on first dates. How do I calm myself? Should I keep an OKC profile in France? And in general, how can I tweak/better my profile/photos/etc? :) Lots of my friends have found relationships online, and I'm not embarrassed by my profile at all.
In short, how can I make this exchange trip to France one which will help to IMPROVE my social skills and help me build more intimate friendships/relationships? Do you have any other advice at all?
Thank you so much!