Help me learn to make friends when I don't feel like I deserve any.
January 29, 2007 11:28 PM Subscribe
I've become dissatisfied with my social skills. Please, help me learn to act more like a normal human being.
posted by MadamM to human relations (25 answers total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
Since I was a little kid, I've preferred my own company to that of others. I spent most of my time in elementnary school on my own and I never felt a lack. I rarely socialized outside of school and didn't really understand why other people did. I mean, I sae my friends at school every day. What was the point of seeing more of them when all I wanted to do was read or play imaginary games on my own? The last few years, though, I've started to feel like I somehow missed out on friend-making 101. It's not that I have a problem making them; I've usually never had trouble making friends with people when I'm in a new situation. It's just that I can't keep them, or I can't turn a casual friendship into something more. For instance, say I'm in a class with someone I know casually. I'll spend the entire semester or whatever hanging out with them, talking, working on projects, whatever. The problem comes when I see them outside of that context; I usually don't even acknowledge them. Not because I don't want to, but because I assume they don't want to talk to me. My first assumption is always that people don't like me, which leads me, I think, to sometimes treat people badly in an attempt to ward off their rejection. I can easily make the first move when it comes to getting acquainted with someone, but the next move, the one that turns into actual friendship, is something I'm incapable of. This also causes me to lose touch with friends I no longer see in class or whatever. We just drift apart, and I can't seem to be the one who keeps things together. This has happened with people I've known since elementary school and with people I meet randomly over the summer. Even on something as dumb and superficial as facebook, I'm never the person requesting to be friends. I just hope people will come to me and when they don't, I think it's because they don't like me, not because they may be waiting for me to do it.
This probably isn't very coherent, but I'm trying my best to tie a bunch of things I've noticed about myself together into something that makes sense. Mostly I think my problem is a basic lack of that old school counselor stand-by, self esteem. I really just don't think I'm all that great. I make my friends laugh all the time, people don't usually actually recoil from me and seek out my company fairly often but I assume I bore people, that I come across as fake and strange and uninteresting and awkward. I'm shocked when someone wants to talk to me (barring my closest friends). Being a 17 year old girl, I worry about my physical appearance as well. Sometimes when I look in the mirror I'm surprised by how not-ugly I am, because my working image of myself is not particularly attractive. Sometimes I think things will get better in college, but chances are that no matter what my circumstances, I'll still find myself running up against the same problems. Now that I'm more or less done whining, I suppose I should ask a question. How can I change myself? Have any of you felt this way, and how did you create a normal social life for yourself? How can I feel like an integral part of a group instead of a pathetic hanger-on? How can I change my wokring image of myself into something that deserves other people's time and attention?