Is it paranoia, or does everyone secretly want to ditch me?
July 25, 2010 8:56 PM   Subscribe

A few months ago, a group of people I'd been hanging out with regularly dumped me without saying anything--they just stopped including me in plans and stopped responding to me. I realized that something was up and didn't push. I've been making new friends since then, but I'm often worried that these new people (or any friends) might also secretly dislike me or be considering friend-dumping me too. What should I do?

maybe-relevant things:

-later on, one member of this group of people (the sole one who didn't stop responding to me) basically confirmed to me that they intentionally began leaving me out, so I know it wasn't an oversight or mistake.

-I've done a course of CBT for social anxiety, which was helpful. But this experience kind of ruins the whole CBT concepts of not assuming the worst and not being able to read people's minds and so forth. Apparently these people did hate me, and when they stopped responding to me, it was intentional and because they disliked me--if I had those thoughts (which I'd actually been pretty good at getting rid of at last!), they weren't cognitive distortions. Now what? My biggest challenge is that it's hard for me to make overtures of friendship to people unless I know them very, very very well; I'm always afraid that it's unwanted, so I don't like to ask or reach out at all. Now I'm super-paranoid. (Unfortunately, getting more CBT therapy is not an option right now.)

-I didn't press the remaining friend too much to find out why this happened because I'd already cut my ties with these folks and didn't want to put her in a strange position, but she said some vague things like "you seemed ungrateful" and "general awkwardness." She also said that she disagreed with them. I am trying to be more aware of being too negative or critical (that's the gist of what was meant by ungrateful) and avoid that.

-I'm just totally on high alert. I met someone (a friend of a friend sort of thing) last week who kept telling me she liked me (in a platonic way) and implying that we should hang out, and I friended her on facebook, and she accepted and then a few days later unfriended me. It feels ridiculous to be obsessing about something like that, but my brain is just going off the deep end - what the hell did I do? She didn't unfriend other mutual friends she met at the same time as she met me. Maybe the most logical thing is that it was some mistake or something that has nothing to do with me, but the events of the past few months taught me that sometimes the shadow is actually a monster - i.e. someone not including me or unfriending me actually was because they really disliked me, and that they disliked me for a good while before that when I thought everything was OK.
posted by clever anonymous username to Human Relations (25 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: My question isn't totally clear because I don't know if this is paranoia/cognitive distortions or not. So I'm leaving this more open-ended about how to proceed as I meet new people and try to make and keep friends.
posted by clever anonymous username at 9:06 PM on July 25, 2010

Going to be brief- has to do with carrying the weight of the friendship. People want to have friends, not be friends, and it's unattractive. Solution is to stop caring. They dislike you. Embrace it. Accept it. That's their right. Who cares? You don't need them. You don't like them anyway. They were just generic friends. Meet people you genuinely look up to and admire and want to serve in some way, not people who you think have enough in common with you not to reject you. Be a friend to someone worthy.
posted by Nixy at 9:22 PM on July 25, 2010 [9 favorites]

I've been ditched by friends before, and with the same social anxiety caveats. It helped me to frame it as a simple case of bad fit - we were clearly not suitable as friends, if they could act in this way, and I am better off without people who would treat me like that.
Every friend is a new experiment in chemistry; some will blow up, not all of them will hold their flavor, but that's no reason to stop trying new combinations in search of fantastic flavors.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 9:24 PM on July 25, 2010 [16 favorites]

You obviously have a solid amount of introspection, as well as consideration and concern for others. Those qualities, coupled with abundant mental energy - and a few social blows - are enough to make you come across as edgy and/or overly sensitive. Especially to those not willing to take the time, not needing new friendships, or people dealing with their own issues.

Maybe a few things to try...focus less on reviewing things said or done previously, and reroute that energy into defining what you need moving forward. I'd be willing to bet big that you'd really appreciate people in your life who are direct and not afraid of confrontation. Makes things clear and you know where you stand. Try to seek those types out. You may not always like what they say, but there's not a whole lot of separation between what's out front and what's going on behind the scenes. Those types are rarer to find, and so you'll have to put more of that extra mental energy into it!

Find other outlets for your mental energy. If you don't, it may fold in on itself and you could be stuck in a loop of ruminating. I personally enjoy this type of thinking, but I DON'T enjoy it when the 'data' is things I've done or said, and the analysis has bearing on my self esteem. Learn some things about communication, anthropology, whatnot...and test it out on situations having nothing to do with you. You'll learn a lot an take a needed break from yourself.

Recognize that this is a fragile time. When my best friend dumped me 5-6 years ago, I was sketchy and untrusting for a few years. Now I'm stronger, but it was one of those long, painful lessons. In the meantime, I got real good at calibrating my measure of who I should and shouldn't let into my inner circle.

Your unfriending FaceBook friend...a million reasons there. I doubt she was fearing for her life or thought you were dangerous, so anything short of that is benign and forgivable. On either side of the equation. But it always helps to make up short stories for people when needed. For example, if I go on a date with somebody and they're not interested in me (but I'm into them), I tell myself something like "Maybe I looked like an old friend of theirs who died, or I reminded them of somebody they used to work with, or I had a mannerism that was just like that ex-gf of theirs." Or if there's online weirdness, "Maybe they don't want person X to see what they're up to." Whatever it is, I make sure the story has nothing to do with me. Cause here's the thing (and this is important):

A problem doesn't really exist until somebody brings it to you. Don't go around preemptively addressing or solving things that may not need your attention. Assume the best of everybody else. If there's really something worth worrying about, they'll let you know. And if 'friends' bottle it up and don't tell you until it's too late...well, that's crappy and passive-aggressive of them. How can you carry on if they don't give you a chance to change and grow?

Good look finding new friends who love you for all your awkwardness and consideration. Also, silly and/or goofy people who don't take everything so seriously are wonderful...they give you room to breathe and fuck up or whatever. We're all works in progress. Sheesh.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:45 PM on July 25, 2010 [27 favorites]

the events of the past few months taught me that sometimes the shadow is actually a monster

I know that you're just using this as an analogy. But I think this line of thinking is part of the problem. The idea that if someone dislikes you, rejects you, it is a monstrous, scary thing.

ALL OF US have someone who dislikes or has disliked us. EVERYONE does.

I think learning not to assume that people judge/dislike you is only part of dealing with social anxiety. But I don't think you have addressed the other part. The part of learning to be okay with it when someone DOES judge/dislike you.

As you've found out, it's never going to work to tell yourself that it is all in your mind. Some of it is in your mind and some of it is not. It is definitely a lot harder to figure out what is in your mind and what is not, than to say it's just all in your mind. It's hard to become okay with people disliking you. I think that part of what has helped us to survive as a species is caring what others think of us, because if you can stick together with other people then it's easier to survive.

But I think anyone can learn how to do both those things.

-Anyone can get better at telling when people really don't like them and when they're just anxious.
-Anyone can get better at not being destroyed by it when someone else doesn't like them.

I think it's also possible that if you have been socially isolated for a long time, your social skills are a bit rusty. This is another thing you can learn about, work on, and improve at.

I think it might help to focus on working on these 3 things, rather than on CBT again.
posted by Ashley801 at 11:54 PM on July 25, 2010 [5 favorites]

Those friends sucked anyway. They got together and collectively dumped you? Who does that?? And someone didn't like the idea but went along with it anyway, really? In like, eighth grade, right? Those aren't true friends.

You know what would happen in my group of friends? The person (THE one person) who was having trouble with something you did would say something like this in person, when alone with you, after a nice dinner: "hey, I just wanted to bring up something that was bothering me. I know that things come up at work for you a lot, and it's partially just because I'm really over-working myself and feeling starved for free time, so I'm extra-sensitive to time-related things these days, but I'm still hanging onto the fact that you were 20 minutes late the last time we hung out. I know that you apologized and felt terrible even without me saying anything. And I don't want to make you feel bad again, really, but well, I just had to tell you that I was still feeling grumpy about it." You wouldn't be able to not face up to exactly what you'd done and how your friend felt about it, but you'd feel loved and accepted the entire time. And they'd be almost apologetic for being mad and want you to know it was a passing emotion that they were bringing up so that they could get over. It's like, fact: you did X. fact: they're feeling pissy about it. fact: they love you anyway.

Anyway, my friends are total bean-platers, (and I love them for it), but I think my boyfriend's friends would be more like "dude, that was fucked up, what the fuck?" They'd be visibly repelled, and then they'd get over it. Or my non-bean-plater friend would just send a text like "when are you getting here? If you're not here in five minutes, I'm leaving, the hostess is giving me the evil eye."

Anyway, this may not answer your deepest questions about whether you're worthy of friendship or help you address your social anxiety while in the process of making friends. But just don't take that one group's actions too seriously.
posted by salvia at 1:06 AM on July 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

"Apparently these people did hate me"

This is an extreme formulation. It is quite likely, for example, that one or two people in this group took somewhat of a dislike, and the others followed along with strong misgivings. "Hate" implies an unlikely degree of antipathy and "these people" implies an unlikely degree of unanimity.

You really did have an unpleasant experience, and this group has let you down. But by no means is it necessarily as bad as "these people hated me."

This might seem excessively optimistic, but I find it helps to actively seek the most benign take on things that you can.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:51 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

They [might not have been] cognitive distortions in that instance. That instance is not a guide to any other instances. The vale of your investment can go down as well as up, etc.

It seems that now, you're overgeneralising. You've seen the one black sheep in the flock and you're assuming that the whole flock is made of black sheep. You're also mind-reading when you decide that other people hate you. You can't see into other people's heads. They might have deliberately left you out of things, but that's not because you're at fault. That's just because you guys didn't mesh. Sometimes that happens.

Try reaching out more to more groups of people, and individuals. If people don't want to be friends, they'll let you know. But don't get too hyped up on having a new friend that you have to hold onto forever because you're worried that someone else won't come along. You're in a catch-22. You say you only befriend people you know really well, but how do you get to know people really well unless you befriend them? People, generally speaking, are nice. There is probably only one black sheep in the flock. So far, you have a sample of one. That's not scientific, or any kind of guide to what the rest of the flock is like.
posted by Solomon at 2:20 AM on July 26, 2010

People can be shallow jerks. People who were once nice to you can even become shallow jerks. You can't make people like you. I think if you concentrate on doing things you enjoy, and learning new things, especially where there are other people who enjoy the same things, you'll have new friends before you know it. Try to distract yourself from meeting new people by learning the new activities or mastering the ones you already know.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 2:24 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

The only thing you can and should do is: Be yourself.

To thyself be true.
posted by Flood at 3:00 AM on July 26, 2010

Ugh, where did you find these people? I lived through years (20+) in mortal fear that people didn't like me or were only pretending to like me. Sometimes that was the case, which only compounded my social anxiety as it has for you.

It's quite possible that your former "friends" were just jerks. Stupid cliques and social rules can happen even after high school. From what you say, I think that your social skills are better than you give yourself credit for, since you sensed them withdrawing and didn't get needy or pushy.

Going forward, find people who are more like you. You say you're "critical," but could you just be snarky? Find other people who are "critical" about the same things, and perhaps a friendship will flourish. Pursue your interests to find other people like you -- book clubs, a community class, a sport.

Approach friendships with the same caution as you would a romantic relationship. Don't give yourself away too quickly -- reserve some information about yourself. Hold back terms like "friends" and "best friends" (even in your mind) until you've both invested enough time to really be yourselves. I used to get all caught up in whether I was being a good friend and ignore indicators that I was not getting what I needed out of a friendship. Prioritize your needs for a little while and find people who appreciate you, awkward quirks and all.

And don't let some people who've burned you discourage you or make you think it's all your fault. Friendships come and go, and people fade in and out of your life (which means you fade in and out of other people's lives). Do your thing, and you'll find yourself picking up friends along the way.
posted by motsque at 4:13 AM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

If there was a queen (or king) bee in this circle that delights in recreating high school drama, surrounded by people insecure enough in adult life to go along with it, then good riddance! Honestly, you deserve a social set that handles problems in one of the ways salvia outlined.
posted by availablelight at 4:17 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Huh. What do you post on facebook? Is anything political, do you swear often, that kind of thing? I've both lost friends and unfriended people over similar things without telling them why, and I haven't been told why, just quietly defriended. I always assume it's because I can be an opinionated jerk on the internet and it really doesn't bother me too much. If it's not that and you just do run of the mill social interacting, then I don't know.

In my experience, the only time a friends' circle has unceremoniously dumped someone is when that person was legitimately scarily crazy but did not recognize it. We stopped talking to a couple after the man of the couple ate Christmas dinner with our good friends, then claimed that the woman good friend was his long lost first lover and the child she'd given up for adoption as a teen was his. They'd just met that night. They insisted for a week (and his wife just backed him up), it was odd and scary and my poor good friend was beside herself and was about to try to track down the baby's real father after 11 years to end the insanity. When we told them why we could not be friends with them anymore, they just did not understand what they did wrong (this was not the only instance, but the last straw). However, you do not seem like you're that type of person, so these people who dumped you could just not deal with outsiders too well.

Do you have any long-time friends still kicking around? If you do, I would ask them, point-blank, if you have any social weirdness that would explain a group of friends dumping you and that you'd rather they be honest so you can fix it. If they've got nothing, I think it's safe to assume the friends who dumped you were just kinda jerks and Facebook girl was a total anomaly.
posted by kpht at 5:21 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

You're better off not having people as friends than having people who secretly don't want you around as friends.
posted by madcaptenor at 6:00 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

If it were me, I would ask the ex friend if she has any concrete suggestions of how you could gave acted differently. Say you would appreciate some pointers for future situations.

Then you can decide whether your ex friends had a point or whether the problem was entirely on their side.
posted by Omnomnom at 6:55 AM on July 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

Is having friends worth the risk of people not liking you or dumping you?

This is the CBT stuff you already know: people are probably not thinking "I hate you stop talking to me I hate you".

Let me challenge the other part of your thinking: "I can't handle rejection. I can't handle loss. I can't deal with people who don't want to be my friend."

Untrue. You're dealing with it fine now. Sure, you're anxious, but you listened to your instincts, they were right. You made at least one friend. Your life isn't over. I mean, did your house get lit on fire and now you only have your computer and a jar of peanut butter? Are you banned from facebook? Is your phone now punching you every time you look at it funny? Did you lose a foot? No! You just don't have this group of friends.

Well, you didn't have them before, and you'll be fine without them now. You can handle rejection. You did handle rejection. And you can handle it again and again. You are brave. You are strong. You can deal with it when things go wrong. Get back out there and make more friends.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:18 AM on July 26, 2010 [4 favorites]

Hey, the sort of question I asked MeFi about last fall! It's been long enough to think and reflect so a couple of suggestions:

* If you're familiar with CBT, then you're familiar with all or nothing black and white thinking. I'd say 99.9% of the time, what you're describing in your head is exactly that - black or white thinking.

* I also went through mental review about what I might have did wrong, how I could be a better friend in the future. While it's always good to check your assumptions/behaviors and strive to be a better friend - the truth is that true friends don't pull guilt trips or vanishing acts. As others said, pulling a stunt like this w/recriminations is maybe appropriate when you're in the 8th grade, but not when you're an adult. People who are true friends are fine with speaking up & working through their differences.

* Also not true friends if maybe one person got their panties in a wad over something and the rest of the group is fine with going along with it. I saw this happen with another group of friends, where they used a minor issue (that was not really any of their business) to give vent to some of the resentment/jealous that was simmering below the surface. I'm still superficially friendly with these people, but chose the supposed bad friend in the split because it kind of pointed out to me who was the actual, true blue generous friend.

For the short term, it probably will suck and you're going to feel pretty vulnerable over what happened. But just remember that anybody who was a friend worth truly keeping, would not behave that way. Learn whatever lesson you feel is valuable about how to be a good friend, but please don't take their behavior as a true estimation of who you are.

*Hang in there. It does suck for awhile, but gets better. The same former BFF who was always too cool for school up and joined Facebook after the fallout. I've blocked her, but from responses I can still tell that she's friended all of our mutual friends. It stings a little everytime I see a response from one of them, where it sounds like all the inside jokes or outings that made me feel like a special BFF are now somebody else's. I haven't said anything about it to these friends (because what would it do other than make more than one drama queen in the situation?). Seeing her treat other people as such a super awesome special friend has made me realize that I was just the random recipient of that attention. She just stuck longer with me than other people and now she's moved on to happy new shiny friends.
posted by green_flash at 9:35 AM on July 26, 2010

Response by poster: Good answers so far...

I don't think I can get on board with never making overtures, like doublehappy suggests. It feels like shooting a fly with an elephant gun: sure, it would get rid of anyone that doesn't want to be friends with me, but I think it would also get rid of a lot of other people. If I had a solid established bunch of old friends around, maybe it would work, but I am not in that situation. I would really like to have a lot more friends, and I don't think the way to do that is wait for other people to reach out or to avoid reaching out to the people with whom I've been friendly.

A few things:

I'm done with the people that dumped me and that doesn't burn anymore. It's water under the bridge and around the bend and down the waterfall at this point. I've been meeting new people who truly seem more awesome and a better fit. Mostly, this has been good. I'm just having a hard time with the worries that that experience has created in me. I'm (possibly) over-alert and sensitive and doubtful with these new people sometimes. Sometimes I get worried that my behavior is wrong in some way and will scare them away, or that people are only being friendly and tolerating me because they feel sorry for me and they're just a little more patient than this last group, or haven't known me as long so their good will hasn't yet been eroded. [iamkimiam's suggestion of looking for very up-front people is probably a good solution to this at least in the short term, because I think my worst fear is having people tolerate me until they get tired of tolerating me.] And I do really want/need to meet (more) new people and make (more) new friends - the past two years have been a lot of me finding my way out of some isolation.

I don't feel comfortable pressing the remaining friend for more details. At this point it was a long time ago, and she was vague when I asked her a few months ago. I did ask if there was anything I could do differently and she didn't really give any suggestions. She's a vague but friendly person in general.

Facebook: I don't post really anything political. It's mostly "does anyone want to do X" or "ooh, look at this neat thing" sort of stuff. So that remains a mystery. Oh well.
posted by clever anonymous username at 9:38 AM on July 26, 2010

There's a lot of good advice here, with regards to re-framing things and looking for more up-front and mature people. Seems to me that, in addition, you may gain more confidence and comfort for yourself by improving your social skills. I know there are a lot of books out there that claim to help, though I don't know which ones are worth checking out. Maybe it can help you pinpoint where you might be coming across in ways you don't intend.
posted by moira at 10:17 AM on July 26, 2010

The social anxiety thought replacement/mantra that I've found helpful is, more or less: "Assuming the worst is not a *useful* thought ... It doesn't open doors, it closes them. I can never know if people like me, but assuming that they do like me furthers my goal to have more connection in my life." This is a philosophical shift away from valuing the so-called truth of a subjective thought more than the usefulness of a subjective thought. If someone dislikes me, there's nothing I can really do about it that I wouldn't already be doing to be kind and moral. It's their responsibility to communicate their preferences, I could ask but guessing and being miserable is pointless.

Whenever I've been defriended on Facebook I've assumed that it wasn't personal and approached that person as a friend, no dfferently, when I saw them again in person and it's always been well. People make up their own rules for managing friends lists. Maybe they like to keep their friend number exactly equal to the sixth through eighth digits of pi. Maybe they view Facebook as a series of RSS type feeds. I've had people disappear because they got sick of it all and then reappear when they reactivate their account. Who knows. But if I like them as a friend, the solution is always the same, treat them like one.

To that end, I really don't agree with the "play hard to get" advice. As a person overcoming social anxiey, I do have to work harder to make and maintain friendships. Shrinking away would be my natural state if I wasn't mindful. Overcompensating a little in this department would never put off a true friend.
posted by Skwirl at 10:36 AM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm done with the people that dumped me and that doesn't burn anymore.

I hope I'm not just repeating myself when I point this out--you will survive if this happens again, and there are more friends out there. It's okay to mess up. It's okay to push people away. Try to accept that you will fuck up, everyone fucks up, and it will be okay anyway. It's better to fuck up than to be alone.

Learning to accept the risk of a bad outcome seems to be a tool that is useful for a lot of anxiety (and it is very useful for me). I am a huge hypochondriac (like, for real, not in the colloquial sense). It doesn't work for me to say "I'm not dying. I know I'm not dying. Nothing's wrong." I just can't convince myself of that because part of me will always think that I might actually be dying. You know what? I might be right. I might be dying, and I am taking a risk by not going to the doctor. The only thing that works is telling myself: "you know what, if I'm dying, that will suck, and I'm terrified of it, but undergoing unnecessary medical procedures sucks more, so I'm not going to the doctor until my next regularly scheduled appointment."

I think that you're in a similar situation. There is, realistically, a risk that you will push people away and lose friends. Telling yourself it won't happen again is not that helpful when you know that it can happen and it has happened before. You can have all the social skills in the world and some people still won't like you.

But having people not like you is a risk you have to accept in order to have a fulfilling social life.

If, for whatever reason, you need to work on your social skills, do so. But don't put your social life on hold while you're working on them. Do both at once. You need the social interaction and intimacy, and you will have to take reasonable risks in order to get what you need.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:02 AM on July 26, 2010

Well, you say yourself that you're meeting new people who are "more awesome and a better fit," which means you know now--even if you didn't realize it then--that the group you used to hang out with wasn't a 100% perfect fit with your personality. That doesn't make you a bad person and it doesn't make them bad people, it just means that somewhere along the line there was a personality conflict and someone in the group (and I bet it was one or two people, not everyone) decided they'd rather not keep inviting you to things.

All of that is shitty, but you should take some comfort in the fact that you evidently *do* have the ability to tell when you're not meshing well (or as well as you could) with a group of other people. Otherwise you'd be writing into AskMe saying "Oh my god, I thought we were all besties and they were the friendliest and nicest people I've ever met and I have no clue why they don't like me, it seemed like we all got along so well."

You can't ever protect yourself perfectly from other people disappointing you in surprising ways, but every time it happens you hopefully get a little better at recognizing the signs that things aren't working out. Protecting yourself isn't about never putting yourself out there, it's about trusting in: (1) your ability to recognize when maybe friendships or relationships or new jobs or whatever aren't going very well, so you don't overly-invest yourself too early and get badly burned; and (2) your ability to stand up, brush yourself off, and keep going even if you do get burned.
posted by iminurmefi at 11:41 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here's the shitty part--you have social anxiety. The worst part of it is that you're probably going to have to go through a few iterations of shitty friends before you get to having some good friends. It sucks, but I'm going through it myself, and it's how things seem to work. Basically, because you and I have social anxiety, we're sort of willing to just take acceptance wherever we get it. In this case, with a shitty group of asshole fuckheads. You're ungrateful? Well, if they liked you, they'd tell you. They don't. So fuck 'em and move on.

As for your Facebook friend, she sounds like a perfectly nice girl, but who knows what her damn deal is? I can tell you for sure it's not you.

Now here's where I blame you: stop worrying about yourself so damn much. When I'm anxious, I'm insufferable, and I guarantee that you are too. Just remember to be outwardly reflective and care about others first. Ask them questions. Make them feel cared for. They will in turn care for you. I am guilty of this, and I suspect you'd be the same way if you're anything like me. If not, well, I don't know if you're actually doing anything wrong, or if they're just a bunch of dicks. What I do know is that it didn't work out. They can all collectively kiss your ass.
posted by satyricaldude at 2:52 PM on July 26, 2010

satyricaldude: "Just remember to be outwardly reflective and care about others first. Ask them questions. Make them feel cared for. They will in turn care for you. "

They will reciprocate only if they're truly a good friend. In my experience, I've run into a lot of people who are great at taking support from a person, but they never seem to give any back. I tend to give these people a "three strikes and they're out" type of thing. Friendship is, of course, bi-directional. Many people will make time in their lives for accepting help, but they can be too busy when they should give help to others. Just a thought.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 3:16 PM on July 26, 2010 [4 favorites]

Just wanted to say one last thing:

"Those friends sucked anyway. They got together and collectively dumped you? Who does that?? And someone didn't like the idea but went along with it anyway, really? In like, eighth grade, right? Those aren't true friends."

"If there was a queen (or king) bee in this circle that delights in recreating high school drama, surrounded by people insecure enough in adult life to go along with it, then good riddance!"

I was part of a group who recently did this. It was a guy who had been brought to our poker game by a friend of ours, who moved away very shortly afterwards.

The guy:

Texted all of us all throughout the day wanting to text-chat and got manic when he wasn't replied to right away, texting "where are you? what happened" over and over. Even after being told we can't usually text during the day.

Regularly texted the female members of the group (only) asking to go out for drinks, 'innocently' mentioning his girlfriend was gone that night.

Got breaking-furniture drunk at every game, even after having been talked to about that.

Tied someone else for the win in a tournament game, then drunkly, angrily, wouldn't split the pot, which he had physical control over. He had no memory of doing that the next day.

After this last episode, we didn't invite him again. We didn't get together as an evil 8th-grade-esque committee and giggle over it. It was more like "Wow, that's really fucked up what happened at the game on Sunday night." "Yeah, people are pretty upset about it ... my boyfriend's upset too that he's been inviting me out alone for drinks when his girlfriend's gone." "Maybe we just shouldn't invite him next time."

I'm not saying that you've done anything this egregious, OP. I don't know that you did anything at all wrong, in fact. From everything you've written, you sound totally nice and normal. And I agree with all the good advice everyone else has given.

Still, I think that just because one is anxious over their social skills and whether they're doing anything wrong, and that sometimes that anxiousness is just paranoia ... it doesn't mean that at other times, it's not a valid worry.

Some people have said things along the lines of "if someone doesn't like you, fuck them." Generally I agree with that, but I just want to say, it's not good to take that too far. Sometimes it is good to consider whether there is something you have done that needs changing, or if some aspects of social skills need work, or feedback from someone else. It's just a matter of balance. Not going all the way to the extreme of doing off-putting things all the time and not caring, but not going to the other extreme of fixating on it.
posted by Ashley801 at 3:40 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

« Older Cheap lapel mic?   |   The invisible std monster strikes Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.