social issues, aloneness, anxiety, akwardness, help

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goldbeetle's picture
social issues, aloneness, anxiety, akwardness, help

im seventeen, never had a boyfriend, no friends. Im very shy, socially akward most of the time and i have a lot of anxiety when im confronted with talking or hanging out with other people.

we moved countries 4 years ago, and i made friends, at first, but then i developed anorexia, which eventually alotta my "friends" didn't want to deal with because it was scary and no one wanted this dark cloud, being me, hanging out with them. anyways i made some friends again after recovering but then i developed bulimia and here i am now trying to recover but the people i called y friends really don't care anymore, they don't really wanna hang out with me, i feel like they only invite me to certain things because they feel sorry for me and know that im alone. when i do hang out with them its weird…i don't feel "connected" if that makes sense. its like walking into a room with a bunch of strangers even though vie known them for a year or two. anyways ive always had problems with friends since i was young. ive always felt that i was the one being left out, that i needed to get more attention from others, i didn't work well in groups very well, and im an only child.

but id say for a year now, while trying to recover from my overall eating disorder i have had the most social anxiety in my whole life. im so scared when i talk to others and if someone invites me out i think to myself "oh god what are we going to talk about, im too boring to have a conversation with, 3 hours i just have to make some form of conversation for that long, etc" and it ends up in me just being this fake person who is purely there to make the conversation so that i don't have to label myself as the loner i truly am.

i don't have any friends anymore. im seventeen, everyone my age is finding their real friends, going out to parties, falling in love, having life experiences. yet i decide to spend my weekends sitting in my room watching tv and drawing, and my only friends are my parents (which i am grateful for because they are very supportive).
i don't know if its because i haven't met the right group of people yet, but my brain is always beating me up saying that "its all my fault i made my life this way, i am not meant to be here feeling sorry for myself, i just need to do more and make more effort to befriend people, im such a loner, etc." but you see i really don't want to go out with the people who used to be my friends. i feel like i don't fit in with them, and im an embarrassment because im so akward and shy and boring to them. its like there's no connection. i also feel like i can't talk to them about anything because they want nothing to do with my eating disorder because they've been through enough of that, even though im trying to recover i just feel like a burden when i talk to them about my feelings or any negativity, ahh i dunno how to explain it.

does anyone else have a sort of similar problem to this? how do i deal with being alone and just accepting it, im so lost right now. i feel like im ruining my own life even though im trying to recover i just feel like this is how my life will be forever. and then i get anxiety over that and the worrying just goes around in circles…all day.
i don't know how to not want this "special attention" that i think i should get when im with groups of people, infect i get very jelous of others a lot of the time and i don't know how to deal with that either. its humiliating i feel so stupid for even typing this but i am just so lost and freaking out.
please tell me about your experiences on this issue, about how you've dealt, or how your dealing, or just anything.

thank you very much.

samoshka's picture
I live in Korea and I've

I live in Korea and I've tried a lot to 'befriend' people. People that are different from me.
Frankly - with little result.
I came to realize that it's so unfulfilling, to have a chat just to have a chat.
I think that you need to find something that you really like - if you are drawing, come to an art's class, or arts seminar - where there are people, but not with a goal to know someone, but with a goal to learn something new. If you will be truly interested in another's person work, you could start discussing it with them. I don't like empty 'coffee break' chats, unless I'm in a mood for them, and it doesn't happen often.

It either sticks or it doesn't.
not your fault, just it's like this.
I am an engineer, and most of my coworkers are men, and I wanted to have some girlfriends. When I was in baby care leave, I though that I would get to know all the neighborhood mommies and I would create a circle. Well, i sort of did, but it just felt empty. they are not my people. Only one mommy, which i would never think I would become a friend to, we seem to stick. I don't even know why. maybe because we shared bread recipes (it's hard to find a good bread here!). Maybe because she showed me facercise. but it's something I couldn't predict. I was just glad to see her.
I think it's a matter of time and being okay with yourself. I have very low 'stick to me' rate, but it does sometime happen.

dollyanna's picture
I don't have many friends. I

I don't have many friends. I want friends, and although I am socially anxious a lot of the time I manage to push past it.

I am 25. And I find, as I get older, that I am okay with who I am. I like myself as a person most of the time. I think I have a lot to offer as a friend. And that makes a big difference.

I have a book called The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Branden. Working through the sentence completion exercises in the book has helped me raise my self-esteem and start valuing myself.

I talk to the barista in the coffee shop. I talk to people at my gym. I talk to people I don't know at work, in the kitchen. It's chit chat, nothing deeper, but I know that in the right situations this chit chat will lead to real friendships.

People don't 'stick to me' either, but I don't stick to them. I get very stuck in myself, my EDs, my depression, and I don't keep up with the few friends I have. That is something I am trying to change. It has been really awkward, but I'm getting there. Central to this is feeling okay with who I am.

I don't talk to the friends I have, with one exception, about my eating disorder. I talk to all you lovely people on here. My eating disorder isn't who I am. It's something I have, like the flu. It's horrible, and a big part of my life, but if someone you were getting to know talked about their flu, or their cold sores, or the boil on their bum all the time, what would you think about that? I would find it boring and self-indulgent. In a close friend I would want to listen, want her to tell me, but to get to being close friends we have to go through the acquaintance stage and this is where most friendships fizzle out.

People want to know you. What you like, what you can do, who you are. Are you funny? Are you kind? Do you do volunteering? (good way of meeting nice people) Do you have a hobby, a pet? Think about the things that make you, you.

Also, you're not ruining your whole life. It seems like people have lots of friends and very active social lives, but many people don't. You don't, I don't, samoshka doesn't, my friend L doesn't, my friend I doesn't, my sister doesn't, neither of my parents do. It's common. I think what most people want are a few really good friends, not 100 acquaintances who would come to your birthday party but don't know how to spell your last name.

When you walk into those parties, those events, you are very probably not the only one there who feels like that. Bravo for turning up! Others were invited and stayed at home. I think people wouldn't invite you if they didn't want to know you, because I remember being a teenager and teenagers are mean. Mean Girls is not a work of fiction. Try to remember next time you go there that you were invited because people want to know you. And try not to talk about your ED. I know this is counter-intuitive, but sadly we have to ration the feelings we put on show in order to get close to people. I'm sure you don't want to be defined by your eating disorder, so what else is there about you? And if there isn't anything you can think of, invent something! Get really into Gossip Girl, start crafting, get a pet. Sometimes I like to practice by inventing a different persona. It can be fun, but obviously this only works with strangers.

The final thing I have to say is probably the most important of all. People love talking about themselves. They love it. If you have a conversation with someone where you just encourage them to speak about themselves the whole time they will like you more. Think of questions to ask, the obvious (what do you study at college, do you drive, do you work, do you have brothers and sisters, where did you grow up, what do you do in your spare time) ones are good to start with. And learn the art of conversation continuance. If they drive, what car do they drive, have they ever done a road trip, can they recommend an instructor. You can have a great conversation without revealing anything about yourself. Your turn will come, but if you are the person after friends, you have to pursue them and woo them. It's like dating, only without the bases and flirting. You have to put on our best behaviour until you are a couple (ie. good friends), then you can both start sitting around the house in jogging bottoms and eating food out of the container (talking about your feelings, bitching about other people, getting real).

There's a great book called How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes. It has tips and tricks about speaking to people that really work. I've used them, they work.

I hope some of that was useful!

dollyanna's picture
Also, you are really

Also, you are really likeable. I like you, and I've never met you. We aren't in the same country, but online friendships can and do become real world ones. Something to consider, perhaps.

goldbeetle's picture
samoshka, yes i agree with

samoshka, yes i agree with you on the empty coffee chats, i cant stand them, i mean i have stuck with one person, my best friend who lives back home in california, for around 15 years now. so im not completely hopeless. but yes i just havent met the people that i click with yet i think. well yes i know that for a fact otherwise i would of stuck with them. its just going to take time, and patience, and it'll just come along in my life when im ready i think. and right now i just have to focus on recovery and learning about myself, who i am, because honestly im completely frazzled and lost ahah, ahh patience is something i must practice. thanks so much for your reply though i really related to it. xx

goldbeetle's picture
oh alice, thank you, its true

oh alice, thank you, its true i would much rather have two or three close friends than a group of people i can't relate to. and i do it's just they live back home in california, but i still keep in touch which is good. its awesome that you can push past the social anxiousness, thats something im stil really trying to work on, and as you would know its a hard thing to push past! i think its just a matter of patience and really learning about myself, and of course recovery. i find that i try to rush things so much, rush recovery, rush into finding friends, rush my art work, EVERYTHING haha i gotta slooooow down a bit, and things will happen as they happen. thank you for the book refrences, ill check them out when i go to the library, but mostly thanks for your insight, your advice really has helped me calm down a bit xxx

dollyanna's picture
Glad you are feeling better.

Glad you are feeling better. I know it's not much consolation, but as you get older you tend to care less what people think and become more comfortable in your own skin. Not helpful at 17, but even though I still have EDs and sometimes depression and I have only a few friends blah blah etc etc I still feel better about myself at 25 than I did at 17. I still think I am 17! But I like myself a lot more and I think this helps in social situations, I think it helps a lot.

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