Why don't I like people? Yes, I've tried!
July 15, 2010 8:01 AM   Subscribe

This would be a fairly standard 'how do I make friends' question, except I know the reason I can't. Lack of social skills, not liking normal socialising exercises (e.g. parties), and living miles from anywhere are part of it, but before I get to those problems I have this one: I don't like anybody. Seriously, this is an even bigger problem than people not liking me.

No-one's good/interesting/intelligent enough for me. I'm not claiming I'm any of those things. I just get very little pleasure out of the company of normal people — and further disillusionment.

My standards are not too high! I hardly have standards at all, anymore. But when I meet or observe people, despite my best intentions, despite persevering with the same person for weeks (or in the case of family members, years), I feel, from the 'objective' position which places my consciousness outside the universe: is this the best humanity has to offer? Then empty, because I want to be part of it, but part of a better version of it.

I don't have a delusional god syndrome. I'm not misanthropic, either. I have romantic idealistic dreams of being friends with people. And lovers. But acceptable people don't exist. They're ugly and unattractive. I'm one of them, which I put up with. If I can put up with it in myself, why can't I put up with it in them? They remind me I'm human?

Sometimes I like fictional people. But I can't imagine us in a friendship, because I feel I'm not good enough for them. Ignoring the fact they're fictional.

I believe lots of good things about humans in general. I just don't like any individuals. Why would I want to be friends with anyone I don't like? But there's no-one else...

If I get beyond the 'I don't like anyone' point, the other problems are pretty insurmountable too. They're like one of those awful knots you can't get undone (except by slashing them in half with a sword, which defeats the purpose of freeing the rope), in that any solution is blocked by another of the problems.

I apologise for diluting aMeFi with more of this. I want love, most people want love. I've no doubt that one response to this thread is going to be 'you need psychological help'. This question's focusing a bit beyond that: how do I get this help? I've never met a psychologist/other person who had any remote understanding of me/what could help. Nor were they particularly interested. Excuse my rampaging ego, but I feel they were out of their depth. Most people with some experience of this commit suicide, I think. They're not very good sources of solutions. (I'm sort of ... indifferent, and masochistically curious about life and my limits at the same time. That's the best reason I can come up with for why I haven't killed myself yet.) Or should I morph into the cover art of an emo compilation album? I realise my problems aren't big on a world scale. But sometimes they make me scream, and the only thing I can think of that might solve them is magic or death.

None of this is absolute. I can have animated conversations with people, where the insincerity's less than the sincerity. It just doesn't last: however much temporary time-passing we've done, I don't much care about these people as people. And they don't form attachments to me.

Anyway, are there any people I might like? How do I discover the good qualities of those available to me, and allow low-level proximity love to form, rather than seeking intellectual love?

posted by anonymous to Human Relations (31 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
There's a lot to digest here, but a couple things for you to think about, as (I hope) you continue to look for a mental health professional to help you work through things:

I feel, from the 'objective' position which places my consciousness outside the universe... I don't have a delusional god syndrome.

I am having trouble reconciling these two statements, unless I am completely misunderstanding what you mean by a delusional god syndrome.

Sometimes I like fictional people.

Which ones? Is there a pattern - do they share particular traits or actions or accomplishments? Is there any way to look for people in real life who share those traits?

I can have animated conversations with people, where the insincerity's less than the sincerity

I wonder if you're confusing gravitas with sincerity. One can be quite sincere about relatively trivial matters in conversation -- just because the topic is light or passing, doesn't mean the person you're speaking with is insincere.

Or should I morph into the cover art of an emo compilation album?

There is of course a wide spectrum of possibilities between being disconnected and being an oversensitive snowflake. Think about how you might strike a middle ground.

I guess my first suggestion is look for people who like to do what you like to do - hobbies, politics, arts, outdoors activities, etc., and see if you feel some kinship, camaraderie, sympathy with them. Stick with it a while - give folks a chance to grow on you. Again, life doesn't have to be all gravitas and profundity. Have some fun with people. Don't look for deep connections right away, or even for a while - you have to make casual friends before you can find deep connections and long-lasting relationships.

Good luck, and do think about finding a counselor who might be able to offer even better advice than that which you'll get on Askme.
posted by aught at 8:16 AM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Go talk to a doctor regarding depression.

I think you need to adjust your expectations of others and yourself. Also instead of analyzing all aspects of your interactions with others, just try living in this moment, appreciating it for what it is.
posted by axismundi at 8:17 AM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Maybe your problem is your location? If you live "miles from anywhere" your peer group will necessarily be limited. The larger the sample group, the higher the probability of "outliers", eccentrics, visionaries who will interest you...

Therefore, you should move to New York City, London, etc.
posted by Spacelegoman at 8:18 AM on July 15, 2010 [4 favorites]

First, it sounds like you don't like yourself very much either ("I'm one of them, which I put up with."). I think you have to work on that first. It's hard to love other people when you don't love yourself. And you really, really, really should do this with a therapist.
posted by grouse at 8:21 AM on July 15, 2010 [4 favorites]

I've never met a psychologist/other person who had any remote understanding of me/what could help.

This is not true. You are telling yourself this lie for some psychological reason. Even if you are literally the smartest person in the world, many professional psychologists still have the knowledge, tools, and innate gifts to help you.

My guess is that you have some kind of social anxiety and it's easier to just tell yourself that nobody measures up to your standards than to admit that you don't actually know how to get to know someone because you've never given yourself the chance.

I'd advise you to find a psychologist and give them a chance. No matter how much you want to dismiss their insight and advice out of hand by assuming they're out of their depth, just humor them. Pretend that maybe there is a chance that you're wrong about them.

Or, pick one potential friend and try just getting to know them as they are. Stop comparing them to some ridiculous standard that nobody can (by your own admission) meet, and just get to know them. Even non-geniuses and unexceptional people can be good friends, you know.
posted by callmejay at 8:25 AM on July 15, 2010 [8 favorites]

You're trying to analyze friendship. Stop doing that. It will never seem worth your while until you make a friend because friendship is a social interaction and like all social interactions is mediated in very old parts of your brain... ones that don't care about logic. So: stop thinking about it and expose yourself to people and situations that are similar to those you like.

1) Friends don't happen overnight; you have to keep at it.
2) Any social situation has the risk of annoyance: build up a tolerance.
3) Ask for help even when you don't need it. It creates a bond.
4) Small talk is 2% about the weather, and 98% about social grooming.

And most importantly...

5) You will have to leave your comfort zone. Really. It's going to feel unpleasant. Right up to the point when it starts feeling good.

Perennial book recommendation for "other people suck and I hate them, but I want to make friends anyway": Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. Changed my life.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:26 AM on July 15, 2010 [5 favorites]

Recognize that this part of you that is judging everybody is irrational and wrong, in short. Stop trusting it. It's part of the problem.
posted by callmejay at 8:26 AM on July 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

I don't like anybody. ... I just get very little pleasure out of the company of normal people
Then why would you want to be friends with them? Not being sarcastic; you apparently do want to. So, seriously, if you can/will answer this, you'll probably discover that you do like people, at least a little bit, at least some things about them. And, as said above, the place to start looking for how to like other people is to start liking yourself and accepting (for the time being) the things you don't like about yourself. Maybe you can do this for yourself; maybe you'll benefit from an objective observer's feedback. But doing that will probably give you the most return for your effort..
posted by TruncatedTiller at 8:44 AM on July 15, 2010

Seems like your entire approach to relationship-building revolves around profiting yourself in some way, as a reward for your work and sacrifice. You use the word "persevering" like you're doing hard time in the hopes of a payoff. It shouldn't be about you or what you can get from the experience; in friendship, a self-centered focus is actually self-defeating.

Further, you say you're always disappointed that the people you encounter aren't "the best humanity has to offer." Offer whom? I'd like to borrow a page from Gandhi and suggest you be the change you wish to see in the world. What can you offer humanity? Try giving yourself with no expectation of a return. Do it simply for the enjoyment of letting others see who you are, unguarded. Lay bare your soul. Don't be afraid to show your vulnerabilities or your strongest talents. It won't come naturally but when you get it right, it'll feel great.

And I guess that's the reward. You'll only find it when you're not looking for it. There are other more tangible rewards too, but they're more like emergent properties of friendship than direct cause-and-effect responses. And they only manifest with the relationship is genuine and selfless. It's kind of a paradox: the harder you try to make it work (and it sounds like you're trying plenty hard) the less likely it is to happen. You just have to abandon your expectations, give yourself 100%, and go with the flow. You can't master-plan this stuff.

And seek therapy, you do sound depressed.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:45 AM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

They're like one of those awful knots you can't get undone (except by slashing them in half with a sword, which defeats the purpose of freeing the rope)

The term you're looking for is Gordian Knot.

Regarding your question, I went through a pretty similar phase. And to be perfectly honest, I think the problem was pretty simple: pride.

You say that you're aware of some of the faults/problems you see in other people in yourself, but that's certainly not incompatible with being overly proud. It probably just means the pride is more deeply rooted and harder to see in yourself.

What's most interesting about the attitude you describe (and which I've experienced) is that other people can tell! It colors all of your actions, your speech, etc. It tangibly changes how you come across to others, even if you don't think it does. If you feel detached you probably also come across as being detached, which means that people are not going to relate to you very well, no matter how wonderful they are.

For me personally what snapped me out of it was, curiously enough, my girlfriend breaking up with me. It sent shock waves through all of my tidy mental constructions. I think in the time preceding that I had also been going through a depression (very mild, but depression nonetheless). And I was at a stage where everything seemed uninteresting, people seemed pathetic and small, etc. I realized I'd even been subconsciously judging my girlfriend for a lot of the things she did.

And then, out of the blue, she broke up with me. It shook the foundations of the whole world I'd built up in my mind because I had been found lacking. I got over the breakup pretty quickly because I'd started to wonder if we were such a good fit after all, but that she had been the one to break up really threw me. The cognitive dissonance was really pretty overpowering, because, insignificant though the event will be twenty years from now, at the time it went against everything I believed, namely that nobody else deserved/was worthy of my company. The fact that someone else found me undesirable profoundly contradicted that.

And, thankfully, something clicked and I realized that my attitude had been pretty severely misguided.

Amidst all the self-effacement, your post has a Socrates-esque faux humility--"I am wiser than all, for I alone know that I know nothing." It's one thing, however, to say "Nobody has the answer to life the universe and everything, but I alone am at least aware of my ignorance with respect to that" and another to say "Everyone is pathetic, including me, but I at least realize how pathetic everyone is."

The problem is that while it's true that nobody knows the answer to everything, it is not true that everyone is pathetic.

Anyway, that's my diagnosis. A cure is much harder (I assume having a girl/boy friend break up with you isn't an option). I think you just need new perspective. Think about the people you know but aren't really friends with. Probably some of them make an effort to talk with you/be friends with you/invite you to stuff, and probably you reject them because the things they invite you to seem pathetic.

But realize that what you're rejecting aren't attempts to be good enough for you, they're expressions of pity. Because, from what I can tell, you probably come across as a loner without friends. You're like the African tribes who said "No thanks, we don't want your Western antibiotics; we'll stick with our witchdoctors, thankyouverymuch."

To them it probably felt like they were rejecting an offer of something beneath them, but really, from the detached, godlike perspective you seem to think you have, their actions actually look pretty pathetic. I trust my analogy is clear.
posted by resiny at 8:53 AM on July 15, 2010 [5 favorites]

But acceptable people don't exist. They're ugly and unattractive. I'm one of them, which I put up with.

Sometimes I like fictional people. But I can't imagine us in a friendship, because I feel I'm not good enough for them. Ignoring the fact they're fictional.

You are a person who can talk yourself into feeling just about anything. You're too good for real people and not good enough for your fantasies; you're too smart for psychologists but not smart enough to help yourself. How can that possibly be true? You probably know that these thoughts are perverse and nonsensical, but you've always had them and so they feel true.

Since you've always felt this way, it's comfortable. And any real change in yourself would mean subjecting yourself to massive uncertainty and possible failure. So you build this whole mythos up where you're special and unfixable, because if that's true, well, there's nothing to be done and you can just keep doing what you've been doing for the rest of your life. How simple and easy would that be?

Unfortunately, you have to change. You know that, otherwise you wouldn't have posted this question.

Read Feeling Good. Try psychology again, and don't stop going when you're challenged. It worked for me. Good luck.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:55 AM on July 15, 2010 [4 favorites]

You're making a lot of patently false statements for such a rational person, aren't you?

- No-one's good/interesting/intelligent enough for me.

FALSE. You haven't met everyone. Plus, you were in this lousy funk when you met a lot of people, so your perception is untrustworthy.

- I feel, from the 'objective' position which places my consciousness outside the universe. . .

NO SUCH POSITION. You live here. Only God gets to judge people from outside the universe.

- I'm not misanthropic, either.

YEAH, you are.

- I've never met a psychologist/other person who had any remote understanding of me/what could help.

FALSE. Also arrogant.

- Most people with some experience of this commit suicide, I think

FALSE. This just proves that you are far too willing to pontificate about things when you have basically nothing but your own inflated sense of intelligence to go on. Stop it.

- I can have animated conversations with people, where the insincerity's less than the sincerity.

AHA! Did nobody ever tell you that we're all a little bit insincere? And that--even when we are being sincere--most of us harbor doubts about our own sincerity? For real. But you are obsessing over this like its some fundamental discovery which poisons all of history.

You should see a therapist. And open your mind. You're not nearly as wise as you think.
posted by General Tonic at 9:01 AM on July 15, 2010 [9 favorites]

My guess is that you have some kind of social anxiety and it's easier to just tell yourself that nobody measures up to your standards than to admit that you don't actually know how to get to know someone because you've never given yourself the chance.

I agree with this. I don't think it has to do with any qualities that other people do or don't have or that no one "gets" you. I don't think it's about finding a particular kind of person you might like, it's about figuring out why you've convinced yourself that no one is worth liking.
posted by Pax at 9:09 AM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's pretty easy to tie oneself in mental knots, especially without other people to bounce thoughts off of. A suspicion about anothers' action and what it really means becomes more of a certainty as the ruminating thoughts echo around; in absence of confirmation we supply our own (confirmation bias). This is part of the reason why it's so easy to delude oneself into thinking things like 'I just don't like any individuals.' We project past problems onto people we haven't even gotten to know yet.

If you truly feel that 'I just don't like any individuals,' I'm going to suggest that you haven't paid enough attention to the people you've met, or talked with them in-depth. There are few people in this world that don't have several surprising, interesting, strange or wonderful things to reveal - it just takes time to get there. Once you peel back a few layers - by exploring many topics, doing many things with them, becoming a listener they can talk to in-depth - you'll start to see things you haven't seen or would not have expected from a surface read. That's the kind of thing that will turn around your assumptions about others as well.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 9:28 AM on July 15, 2010

  • Get treated for your what-you-need-to-get-treated-for.
  • While you're doing that, try to be more interesting. You're bored with everyone, including yourself, because you're doing boring things and being a boring person. This is not your fault. It is a symptom of your what-you-need-to-be-treated-for. But, while you're getting treated for it, try to keep in mind (as much as it will let you) that the world isn't entertaining or at all fulfilling unless you actually do things, yourself, that are interesting.
You are very young (I hope). I knew people who had similar issues when I was younger. The ones who got treated and aimed to become more interesting are interesting people who are at least semi-fulfilled now. The ones who didn't are now those angry and awkward middle-aged people who you edge away from on public transit. Or Tea Partiers. Please, get off the Tea Party Express.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:50 AM on July 15, 2010

What I got from this is that you don't like yourself and that is the root of your problem. This results in you not respecting people who might like you or want to have a relationship with you. You might be classifying people as unlikable or "out of their depth" because they don't see what you have (wrongly) recognized: that you're not worthy of their attention.

To even mention a delusional god syndrome is to purposely put us on a red herring's path. You do not think you're a god.

Accept yourself. Then make friends.
posted by ihavepromisestokeep at 9:51 AM on July 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

I have little to add, and what I might add is better and more concisely put by my good friend Nietzsche:
"Of friends.—Only reflect to yourself how various are the feelings, how divided the opinions, even among your closest acquaintances, how even the same opinions are of a quite different rank of intensity in the heads of your friends than they are in yours; how manifold are the occasions for misunderstanding, for hostility and rupture. After reflecting on all this you must tell yourself: how uncertain is the ground upon which all our alliances and friendships rest, how close at hand are icy downpours and stormy weather, how isolated each man is! When one realizes this, and realizes in addition that all the opinions of one’s fellow men, of whatever kind they are and with whatever intensity they are held, are just as necessary and unaccountable as their actions; if one comes to understand this inner necessity of opinions originating in the inextricable interweaving of character, occupation, talent, environment—perhaps one will then get free of that bitterness of feeling with which the sage cried: ‘Friends, there are no friends!’ One will, rather, avow to oneself: yes, there are friends, but it is error and deception regarding yourself that led them to you; and they must have learned how to keep silent in order to remain your friend; for such human relationships almost always depend upon the fact that two or three things are never said or even so much as touched upon: if these little boulders do start to roll, however, friendship follows after them and shatters. Are there not people who would be mortally wounded if they discovered what their dearest friends actually know about them?—Through knowing ourselves, and regarding our own nature as a moving sphere of moods and opinions, and thus learning to despise ourself a little, we restore our proper equilibrium with others. It is true we have good reason to think little of each of our acquaintances, even the greatest of them, but equally good reason to direct this feeling back on to ourself.—And so, since we can endure ourself, let us also endure other people; and perhaps to each of us there will come the more joyful hour when we exclaim:
‘Friends, there are no friends!’ thus said the dying sage;
‘Foes, there are no foes!’ say I, the living fool."
[Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human 376]
posted by dilettanti at 10:40 AM on July 15, 2010 [12 favorites]

Are you sure you need friends, or are you just trying to live up to social expectations? See this question.
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:53 AM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

I agree with most of the answers you've gotten in the thread. With regard to your assertions about therapists I would like to add...

"I've never met a psychologist/other person who had any remote understanding of me/what could help. Nor were they particularly interested. Excuse my rampaging ego, but I feel they were out of their depth."

Where did you meet these psychologists? If you were seeing them in social settings I believe that they probably seemed disinterested. Therapists are besieged by people for free "advice" every day. A competent therapist knows there is nothing they can do in a social situation to help you beyond encouraging you to go into therapy. Furthermore, it is boring and annoying to listen to a monologue at a cocktail party such as the question you posted here. How can they know you if you don't spend professional time with them? Why would they feel the need to tell you the truth, in such a situation...that your story is not really special or unusual at all? You are much more transparent than you think. If you are referring to therapists with whom you have had professional relationships, I suspect you judge them to be out of their depth because they refuse to buy into the overly intellectualized, specious frame you presented in your post. The odds are very low that your IQ significantly exceeds that of most doctoral level therapists, but if they are competent, you will not be blown away by dazzling displays of brilliance. In fact, if you were my client I would be completely disinterested in the bull shit rationalizations you invent to keep yourself stuck. The therapy would concentrate nearly exclusively on your specific real life experiences and emotions. I would ignore the intellectualizing because it is the mechanism you use to keep yourself stuck, not because I would be out of my depth or couldn't understand. Remember...You're the one who doesn't understand here.
posted by txmon at 11:24 AM on July 15, 2010 [6 favorites]

If your miles from anywhere, how would you meet a friend or psychologist that would be suitable to you? You need to summon the courage to explore the world and find the help that you need.

With that said, I suggest you first start with you. Go outside and run as long as you can. Even if it is for 2 minutes. Just go outside and run. Do it again the next day. And the next day. Do this for a month. No complaints. No excuses. Just do it. This does not involve anyone except yourself. Run farther each day. Tell me how you feel in a month.
posted by jasondigitized at 11:42 AM on July 15, 2010

You don't say how old you are, but I knew a lot of people like you (and bordered on being one myself) in high school and early college. Most people get over this in their early-20s. If you're older than this, seek (and accept) real therapy or get used to being alone.

I also really like jasondigitized's advice: work out. This is what helped me get over my similar feelings. Seriously taking on an unfamiliar physical activity will make you realize how incredibly human and imperfect you are, and give you a healthy respect for your betters, which you now seem to be lacking. It can also be a good social tool.
posted by coolguymichael at 1:08 PM on July 15, 2010

I know you're trying to be very honest and you're doing the right thing by asking for help. It doesn't help when other people chime in and call you arrogant in capital letters when you're clearly looking for some help. If you were suicidal, and said so in the post, everyone here would be walking on egg shells, but since you aren't, they think it's okay to be rude just because you made a lot of assertions. I can tell you that I wouldn't want to be friends with, or take advice from people like this, because they don't try to be helpful at all, they just try to antagonize you.
posted by nikkorizz at 1:08 PM on July 15, 2010 [7 favorites]

I agree with grouse, work on liking yourself, only then can you empathize and commune with the rest of us ugly humans.
posted by parallax7d at 1:16 PM on July 15, 2010

I had the exact same problem as you. Didn't like most people. Felt I couldn't talk to them about anything in depth. Tried a few shrinks, none of them "got" me. Started to think I must be arrogant or flawed. Contemplated suicide. Etc, etc.

Guess what? You're not crazy or arrogant. You're right. The main problem is how you're framing this in your mind. You're thinking in terms of "arrogance" which suggests the problem is that no one is good enough for you, and yet paradoxically, you're hating yourself for it. No. This is not a problem of "not good enough" - and once you reframe the issue and absolve your guilt about it, you can start to really make progress.

This is a problem of rarity. I finally found a shrink that I really clicked with, who really got me. He was 1 out of 5. I finally found people I genuinely liked. They were about 1 out of 10 or more. Most people don't like everyone, or even the majority of other people, on a deeper level, and that ideal is unrealistic. There is a definite phenomenon of "clicking" with people that is more rare than common.

The problem is that you're too sheltered. You haven't met enough people. There are 7 billion people on this planet. Just because the ratio of people you like to those you dislike is a bit choosier than most, doesn't mean that you can't find people you do like. It just means you're going to have to be self-aware about the issue and really try to expand your horizons. And on top of that, you're probably a bit weird or rare yourself. And on top of that, your belief that you should like most people because of your misinformed guilt about your "arrogance" is keeping you from progressing faster. You have a right to find people you like. You have a right to dislike people. You don't have to feel guilty about it. But don't frame it in terms of good enough/not good enough, because that's untrue and self-limiting.
posted by Nixy at 1:33 PM on July 15, 2010 [10 favorites]

It feels like your real question shouldn't be about friends, it should be about you. In response to that question, perhaps you feel or think there should be more to this world's experience then you're seeing. You are not the form you take, but something else, but until you've reconnected back to that truth you are living in this world to learn that. Get to know what isn't you, feel everything thats going on in your body until you find what is you and you'll be able to manage in this life a lot better, friends or not.
posted by parryb at 1:40 PM on July 15, 2010

People are afraid to seem interesting. So are you. Talk to strangers! Ask people what they do. Be generally interested. People never seem to want to tell you about the novel they're writing or their favorite band ever, but they will.
posted by wayland at 1:46 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding aught: which fictional characters do you like, and why? And why don't you think you'd be good enough to be friends with them?

Consider reading Dostoyevsky's Notes from the Underground and The Idiot, Eliot's Middlemarch, Dick's short story "Null-O", and Ullman's The Bug to get a new perspective on your own isolation, self-loathing, misanthropy, and inability to successfully enjoy others' company. In general, reading great literature increases my ability to empathize; as my lit teacher Mr. Hatch put it, great books are about different ways of being human. So they might do that for you as well.

And how do you find and appreciate the good qualities of people near you? One hint: We come together in shared joy and shared suffering. Sure, there's a geeky pleasure in intellectually consistent systems, and a purist camaraderie in meeting others who have the same standards and practices -- especially if you feel marginalized. But most good people's good qualities, the ones that help us bond, show up when we love and feel loved, or hurt and feel hurt. Look for that. It might not come out as a theorem, but as generosity, humor, and perseverance.
posted by brainwane at 1:51 PM on July 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

I would try thinking about what you really to get out of a friendship. And yes, I think your standards are too high.

I've made the same mistake of looking for that Best Friend. You know, the friend who you feel 100% comfortable with, shares all of your interests, has the same viewpoint as you, shares your sense of humor etc... This person doesn't exist. Yes, Jane may have poor taste in movies and music but she's really compassionate and generous. Joe doesn't quite get your jokes but it's a joy to bond with him over your passion of food. And although your friendships with them may feel superficial at first, one day you might find that they have actually become a Good Friend.
posted by joeyjoejoejr at 2:16 PM on July 15, 2010

I wonder if the problem isn't straight-up depression. Just one possibility among many, of course. But I think of depression as internal pain. And when I have physical pain, like a headache, no one's presence helps, and anyone who wants me to move my head or talk only increases my pain, for which I irrationally resent them. Nobody is good enough to warrant subjecting myself to that incredible pain.

I'm not a "prescriber;" you can check my comment history; but when I hear you talk about how nothing helps, no one helps, no therapy helps, and no one is good enough, I think -- uh, have you tried anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications? Maybe THAT would help.

When you say that you think that most people who feel as bad as you do commit suicide, I feel really bad for what you must be feeling and hope you find some solace and comfort.
posted by salvia at 6:19 PM on July 15, 2010

One thing that struck me about your question is that you seem to almost be viewing other people as rivals or challengers that need to be put to the test.

If you stopped trying to test people and were more willing to accept them as they are, flawed, self-involved, stupid, whatever, you might be more able to realise how incredibly interesting pretty much everyone is.

Read Austen. Seriously.
posted by litleozy at 7:02 PM on July 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

Truly, the happier I am, and the more I like myself, the more I like other people, too. Even people I've known somewhat for a while (people I didn't like so much), I begin to discover new things about them that are sympathetic and relatable. I'm still an introverty loner, and mostly always have been, but the times in my life when I branched out and made the most friends were the times when I felt most confident. People liked me more, and (probably at least partly as a result of that) I liked them more as well.

I think it's harder to trust other people when you don't feel so great. And it's harder to make friends when you don't trust people.

I'd say, worry less about other people right now, and whether you like them. You can try to be open to them, but it's not necessary to force yourself to try to make friends. I would say, focus on what you can do to make yourself happier and your life better under your own steam. Any good thing you do for yourself begets other good things in life. The more you can cultivate happiness in yourself, the more you will feel kindness toward others, and the more drawn to you they will be. (I think really, these things are all related, and an increase in any of them will help the others -- so if you have difficulty in one area, try to help another.)
posted by emumimic at 9:51 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

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