How do I connect with people, myself/find people to connect with?
September 25, 2016 8:26 PM   Subscribe

For a long time I haven't really been close with anyone. I don't really have anyone I would consider a close friend even though there are probably people who would consider me their close friend. I feel like I can't find people who I can relate to or feel comfortable with. Most of the people I hang out with are by default; they are old friends who I fell out of touch with but then moved in with recently so I often hang out with them and their friends. I try to make it work, but inside I just don't feel the connection or desire to be truly close. They are all extremely into music and the arts. I used to be more like this but feel like I'm desiring a different lifestyle. (Though I still appreciate music and arts and do enjoy some of the company)

Sometimes I get the feeling like we are all just like robots, and when people around me are talking I wonder why our social processes are so complex compared to other animals and how strange it is. It's like I'm disassociated from the socializing process. The sad thing is, I know connecting with others is probably one of the most important things in life, yet I'm just doing such a shitty job at it. Sometimes when I'm talking to people I will just feel this wall in my body against them, and in my head intrusive thoughts keep popping up about how I don't fit in with that person, or analyzing why they are acting the way they act. I keep trying to overcome this and telling myself to love others or try to find something we have in common but i find it hard to concentrate or act engaged. It leaves me feeling as though I'm being fake or I worry that they can sense my feelings. I often worry people can tell I'm judging them. It's not that I'm judging them it's more that I am just trying to figure out where I belong. I can think someone is a great person but still not feel like they are the right kind of friend for me. It is so frustrating and leaving me feeling so lonely and empty.
So my question is how do I connect with people? How do I connect with myself to better understand what I need?
posted by oracleia to Human Relations (4 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Is it possible that you're depressed? I also have difficulty connecting right now and I know it's tied to depression.

Have you tried expanding your social circle, going to different events and places to see if you are able to connect in different settings or with different people?

Therapy may also be helpful. If nothing else, it gives you someone to talk to whose job it is to listen.

I'm sorry you're having a rough time.
posted by bunderful at 9:25 PM on September 25, 2016 [4 favorites]

Are you taking enough time out from socializing to recover?

Maybe you just need to find your people - find one or two good people you can relate to at least, and then you can ignore the rest.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 9:43 PM on September 25, 2016

This sounds like a mental health issue to me, to be honest. Are you under the care of a mental health professional you could bring this up with? If not, is that a possibility?
posted by DarlingBri at 9:46 PM on September 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

You say you are desiring a different lifestyle. . .can you expand on what you mean by that? It seems important to getting good answers to how to solve this. If you're running with a crowd that doesn't make you happy, maybe we can help you to find a group that fits more with what you want.

It does sound like you have (or have developed) some amount of social anxiety. Can you think back to a time when this wasn't an issue for you? What was your life like then? What did you value about your interactions, that you aren't getting now?

From your previous question, I see that you've been struggling with anxiety and depression that's been medicated not to your satisfaction and are at university. Uni is a great place to expand your social circle, but it sounds like you need to get a better handle on your metal state before that can be a satisfying thing for you.

If you can go to your student health or an outside clinic and try a different medication, something more directly related to dealing with social anxiety and stress, that might help a lot. I know the last round wasn't awesome, but medication is a hit or miss thing, and sometimes you have to try several before you find something that works, so don't give up.

Perhaps you can use your athletic inclinations or musical ability to your advantage here, and find some people into a sport you like, or who also play instruments that you can hang out with.

FWIW, I had a very hard time connecting with people at uni, and it didn't really get solved until I made friends with a couple of my professors. The way they accepted me and guided me through my experience was so wonderful. They also connected me with other students who were dealing with similar situations, and they became my main social group for the rest of my time there. We had weekly dinners at one of the prof's houses, and the other one brought me along to a bunch of really interesting cultural activities I would have never found on my own. So don't only look to your peers for support, any there is a TA or adjunct or a teacher that you can connect with on a deeper level that will help you find what you need.

Best of luck :)
posted by ananci at 11:03 PM on September 25, 2016

« Older Creative ways to practice assertiveness   |   Best response to patients who say "you look too... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.