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Thread: I need advice on making friends and socializing.

  1. #1

    Default I need advice on making friends and socializing.

    I've been thinking about creating this thread on some forum for a long time now. I have been unsure about which forum would be best. I already frequent a forum specific for this kind of thing, but feel that I know all that will be said there (since I've been reading threads there for a few years). Since this is a support community, I figure it's worth a shot posting here.

    I think I know the answers...I guess I'm looking for a different kind of support.

    I have depression, anxiety, and maybe some other problems. I've never had many friends, and I went years without any real life friends or acquaintances from 14-21. I had one online friend during most of this time. Currently I have one real life friend, but he is off at university.

    I often notice on small forums how a lot of the members there know each other, and obviously talk to each other/do things online with each other beyond the forum, but I've never known how. How did they become online friends like that? I never see it happen in posts on the forums. Did they PM each other? Did one of them offer a IM ID via PM immediately, or did they keep PMing each other for awhile first? What did the initiator say? What did the other person say? How does it work?

    I'm sure to a lot of people these questions sound ridiculous and I seem like I've been raised by wolves.

    I was home schooled from kindergarten/pre-school until I got my GED (1 year from graduating). Until I got a job at 15, church was my only way of socializing. So when I was young, I only saw other kids 2 days a week (church + 1 day playing with my best friend). I spent the rest of the time mostly alone. My mom worked and spent most of her time either in her workroom or bedroom. My sister always hid in her room reading. School only took me 2 hours, and I only had so many video games to play.

    Anyway...I don't have good social skills. When it comes to talking, I'm never sure what to say. I guess I'm just very worried about being creepy or being rude, or that I will try but I won't be interesting enough or take enough interest into the other person and nothing will come of it. I will end up with quick tries where nothing materialized and I am once again left lonely, feeling like a failure. I guess I worry that I will just become more depressed than I am now.

    Something else I need to add in here: I am completely clueless about how to appropriately be supportive or helpful or show that I am indeed listening/reading (trickier with online interactions). Everyone is different (something that further paralyzes me--endless possibilities and preferences)--some people don't want simple, short replies over and over, others don't care and just want someone to listen. I guess I'm just worried that I could destroy any chance of friendship very easily, because it seems so hard for me.

    I have a problem caring about other people, their interests, things happening in their lives etc. I guess it's my apathy of my own life, interest, and events spilling over into everything else. It's not that I can't care, or that I don't care about anyone or anything. It's just hard. It's hard for me to feel.

    And the thing is...I can't fix myself. I've been on a lot of different medications over the years, I've been doing therapy for the past 3ish years with a great therapist, and I've been using a lot of different techniques...

    I'm just starting to wonder if I need to live a more normal and social life, and get support from multiple other people in order to get better. My plan of action for a long time now has been to work on and improve myself, mostly alone, before venturing on into the world and adding other people into my life. It hasn't worked out that well and it doesn't seem to be working anymore at all.

    So feel free to offer any advice for online or face to face interactions.

    TLDR: I can't think of a paragraph that combines everything above into something that will still be useful to me. Sorry.

  2. #2

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Sarevok View Post
    I've been thinking about creating this thread on some forum for a long time now. [...]

    I'm just starting to wonder if I need to live a more normal and social life, and get support from multiple other people in order to get better. My plan of action for a long time now has been to work on and improve myself, [...]

    So feel free to offer any advice for online or face to face interactions.[...]
    Sarevok,

    Welcome to ADISC! I know you've been here for awhile and have been posting some over this time...

    I think that you have the right things in your heart and mind... and, that's a good place to start...

    One of the best ways to fix ourselves... is to live and interact in this life... and just keep finding more things to it... (I haven't looked at your previous posts, or profile yet sorry)...

    It may be that really feeling for others is simply too emotionally expensive for you at this time... yet, if you know that you do care... that's probably a good place to start. Caring doesn't me you anguish and lament over worries of others. There is also a difference between alone, and lonely...

    To attempt an answer to one of your questions... We are social creatures by nature... and I think that would still be complementary to your situation to engage with others a bit... You pretty much have to work at being creepy, and some rude is negotiable when others know some of your limitations in socializing...

    My general rule of thumb is... if you don't know me that well... I can't take it that personal...

    Depression and anxiety do certainly create some obstacles... and both can feel 30-fathoms deep, while all the while perhaps no more than mere mud-puddles...

    I'm not sure that I've conveyed anything sensible or worthwhile to you this visit... my apologies, as I'm making a brief pass through this evening... I would like to encourage you to explore more, and I'm glad that you came forward!

    I'll spend some time reading up on you, to see if I can offer any intelligent response...

    Best regards,
    -Marka

  3. #3

    Default

    Back when I started posting online I would just randomly add people to my yahoo messenger and just talk to them. I remember the days where everyone said hi and then typed asl for age sex location and then asking whats up. Plus sometimes people would email me and start chatting. Then when forums got more popular than message boards, PMs started than emails. It also used to be I would leave my screen names in my profiles and I would get random IMs from people. Now I keep them private and people are free to message me.

    Some people post a thread online asking for friends and asking to PM them if interested.

  4. #4

    Default

    Hello Sarevok

    I to have depression and anxiety issues and it does add to the struggle to make friends, good friends, real friends.

    The one thing that I can suggest to make friends is find an area on this site that is of interest to you and then respond to threads there. As times go on you will have one or two people that respond then start to Pm and see what goes on from there.

    The next thing I can suggest is to do a little soul searching and ask yourself some tough questions along the lines of the 6W's

    When did you have good friends.
    What did you do with them
    where did you do it
    Etc. Etc. ect.

    Then go back and ask why did this change?
    What could have been different?
    Etc. Etc.

    Now for me.
    The big thing that happen to me that help me think about my issues came when I took a class to help my son with special needs.
    I did a synopsis of the class in the group "School House Rocks ADISC" called "collaborative problem solving.
    There is some real good thing to think about and the big thing is the lacking social skills and they way to look at them.

    So I hope this helps and incase you have not looked at the groups I would suggest going into that area and see if there are any that interest you. I will warn you some of them are not active. That is why I joined several and posted a discussion thread to see if anyone was there. So to cut to the chase You may have to join several to find one or two that are active.

    Good luck.

    Egor.

  5. #5

    Default

    Hi mate!

    On ADISC, I simply just sent PMs to people that I recognised from their posts and whom I seemed to get along well with. If they don't reply, no biggie. If they do, well, ask them about their interests! Chances are there's something you've got in common.

    Much of conversation is simply about appearing interested - you can nod, or murmur, or say things like 'okay' etc to encourage people to continue. 'Minimal encouragers' are what we call them in the lingo.

    If you want someone to talk to, feel free to PM. I'm still communicating with a couple of guys who I met before the <18yrs ban, as we luckily got contact details before the ban went down.

    Cheers, Kiwi.

  6. #6

    Default

    Hello Sarevok & others

    I'm not a person to give socializing advice and I sometimes feel the same about many of the things you have written (minus having the homeschooling experience, depression and anxiety). Even on this very forum, as friendly as it is, I sometimes feel like everybody must know everybody else and do some invisible stuff together and it's just me being a bit outside (and I know it's not the case).

    Socializing and making friends takes a lot of energy for some of us. Most of the time I feel happy just being on my own (I've been like that since as far as I remember). But there are some moments when I do interact with other people and I'm enjoying the interaction and it doesn't take much effort and feels completely natural. This usually happens when we have something in common, like a shared interest or similar experiences about something from the past.

    Often when being with a group of other people, I usually don't talk very much. I don't say anything, unless I feel reeeeally sure that I have something interesting to say and that the thing I'm about to say will actually be somehow useful to the others (this also applies to forum posting). I know that this is wrong or unnecessary and that people can have good and entertaining conversations without saying only interesting and useful information all the time. Sometimes it's enough to just say something short to let the other person know that you feel the same or understand. Although I know this in theory, I often forget it in practice and then I feel like I'm a bit disconnected from the conversation and that all the other people are somehow closer to each other and I feel a bit left out.

    Just two ideas:

    1) Quality is more important than quantity. It's better to have a few (even 1-2-3) very close friends than a lot of not so close friends. Maintaining friendships takes a lot of effort/energy/time and these are limited resources.

    2) It may be a good start to base it on something you are interested in. For example, on your profile I've seen you are in some amateur musicians groups. I know there are many amateur (and even some quite serious) musicians on ADISC, so perhaps some of these people could be good candidates for a friendship. Even if those particular groups are not very active (I don't know), you can find threads about music in the Mature Topics or Offtopic sections. And if there are no such threads, you can start one about something that recently got your attention or something you are currently doing or thinking about that relates to your interest in music and you'll see, probably there will be a few people responding to your thread. Then you can go PM some of them etc. (this will probably feel more natural than cold-PMing random people). Moreover, because it is about topics you are interested in and things you know a lot about, your confidence talking about them will be higher, which will help your social skills at that moment.

    I've just realized I've more or less said the same as egor managed with just two sentences:



    Quote Originally Posted by egor View Post
    The one thing that I can suggest to make friends is find an area on this site that is of interest to you and then respond to threads there. As times go on you will have one or two people that respond then start to Pm and see what goes on from there.
    Yes, some of us need a bit more space and time and effort to say what we want to say. But don't let that discourage you from saying it.

  7. #7
    Tremer

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Sarevok View Post
    I've been thinking about creating this thread on some forum for a long time now. I have been unsure about which forum would be best. I already frequent a forum specific for this kind of thing, but feel that I know all that will be said there (since I've been reading threads there for a few years). Since this is a support community, I figure it's worth a shot posting here.

    I think I know the answers...I guess I'm looking for a different kind of support.

    I have depression, anxiety, and maybe some other problems. I've never had many friends, and I went years without any real life friends or acquaintances from 14-21. I had one online friend during most of this time. Currently I have one real life friend, but he is off at university.

    I often notice on small forums how a lot of the members there know each other, and obviously talk to each other/do things online with each other beyond the forum, but I've never known how. How did they become online friends like that? I never see it happen in posts on the forums. Did they PM each other? Did one of them offer a IM ID via PM immediately, or did they keep PMing each other for awhile first? What did the initiator say? What did the other person say? How does it work?

    I'm sure to a lot of people these questions sound ridiculous and I seem like I've been raised by wolves.

    I was home schooled from kindergarten/pre-school until I got my GED (1 year from graduating). Until I got a job at 15, church was my only way of socializing. So when I was young, I only saw other kids 2 days a week (church + 1 day playing with my best friend). I spent the rest of the time mostly alone. My mom worked and spent most of her time either in her workroom or bedroom. My sister always hid in her room reading. School only took me 2 hours, and I only had so many video games to play.

    Anyway...I don't have good social skills. When it comes to talking, I'm never sure what to say. I guess I'm just very worried about being creepy or being rude, or that I will try but I won't be interesting enough or take enough interest into the other person and nothing will come of it. I will end up with quick tries where nothing materialized and I am once again left lonely, feeling like a failure. I guess I worry that I will just become more depressed than I am now.

    Something else I need to add in here: I am completely clueless about how to appropriately be supportive or helpful or show that I am indeed listening/reading (trickier with online interactions). Everyone is different (something that further paralyzes me--endless possibilities and preferences)--some people don't want simple, short replies over and over, others don't care and just want someone to listen. I guess I'm just worried that I could destroy any chance of friendship very easily, because it seems so hard for me.

    I have a problem caring about other people, their interests, things happening in their lives etc. I guess it's my apathy of my own life, interest, and events spilling over into everything else. It's not that I can't care, or that I don't care about anyone or anything. It's just hard. It's hard for me to feel.

    And the thing is...I can't fix myself. I've been on a lot of different medications over the years, I've been doing therapy for the past 3ish years with a great therapist, and I've been using a lot of different techniques...

    I'm just starting to wonder if I need to live a more normal and social life, and get support from multiple other people in order to get better. My plan of action for a long time now has been to work on and improve myself, mostly alone, before venturing on into the world and adding other people into my life. It hasn't worked out that well and it doesn't seem to be working anymore at all.

    So feel free to offer any advice for online or face to face interactions.

    TLDR: I can't think of a paragraph that combines everything above into something that will still be useful to me. Sorry.
    ok well just so you know you clearly truly care about people and that is amazing!!! you care so much your worried what they may think!? and think of it this way, if you already dont have many friends like you were saying then what is the wurst that can happen if you just be yourself. i know having bad anxiety can really cripple you with social interaction. but you must work on it. for me i am working on talking to girlss again. for example every girl i see i force myself to say hey! and even tell them how pretty they are! another thing i did awhile ago was wear a mask because i was so worried everyone was laughing at me so i walked around town with a v vandeta mask for like 2 days. man oh man ive never had so many looks and laughs in my whole life in one day! what im saying is its not something you can just be "good" at one day you must work on it. talk to someone that seems like you a simple hi how are you, can go a long way! dont worry if you dont seeem like you are paying attention to someone odds are you are, because you seem to care a lot about people! and when it comes to online interaction emote cons can show a little more "emotion" or if you really wanted to show how you feel "sigh*" "makes me feel sad" "i am listening" "i understand". idk if this helped but this is my perspective on social interaction :p ive broken it down to so many different levels, maybe that would help you aswell..? maybe not..? try not to over think it, as hard as that can be at times. anyways hope i helped somewhat.

  8. #8

    Default

    Thanks for all the replies people. I appreciate it.



    Quote Originally Posted by Marka View Post
    I'll spend some time reading up on you, to see if I can offer any intelligent response...

    Best regards,
    -Marka
    Cool. Thanks.



    Quote Originally Posted by egor View Post
    So I hope this helps and incase you have not looked at the groups I would suggest going into that area and see if there are any that interest you. I will warn you some of them are not active. That is why I joined several and posted a discussion thread to see if anyone was there. So to cut to the chase You may have to join several to find one or two that are active.

    Good luck.

    Egor.


    Quote Originally Posted by Avalanche View Post
    2) It may be a good start to base it on something you are interested in. For example, on your profile I've seen you are in some amateur musicians groups. I know there are many amateur (and even some quite serious) musicians on ADISC, so perhaps some of these people could be good candidates for a friendship. Even if those particular groups are not very active (I don't know), you can find threads about music in the Mature Topics or Offtopic sections. And if there are no such threads, you can start one about something that recently got your attention or something you are currently doing or thinking about that relates to your interest in music and you'll see, probably there will be a few people responding to your thread. Then you can go PM some of them etc. (this will probably feel more natural than cold-PMing random people). Moreover, because it is about topics you are interested in and things you know a lot about, your confidence talking about them will be higher, which will help your social skills at that moment.

    I've just realized I've more or less said the same as egor managed with just two sentences.
    Alright, I'll look into groups. Thanks for the suggestion.



    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiBoi View Post
    If you want someone to talk to, feel free to PM. I'm still communicating with a couple of guys who I met before the <18yrs ban, as we luckily got contact details before the ban went down.

    Cheers, Kiwi.
    Thanks. I might take you up on that offer.



    Quote Originally Posted by Avalanche View Post
    Even on this very forum, as friendly as it is, I sometimes feel like everybody must know everybody else and do some invisible stuff together and it's just me being a bit outside (and I know it's not the case).
    Yes! I've often times felt the same.

  9. #9

    Default

    Man oh man, Reading your post I couldnt help but feel like you and I are in a very similar situation. I also experience anxiety around people, Ive never felt like I "learned" to socialize growing up. During high school years I would change schools so often that at one point I just gave up bothering to meet new people.

    I figure you dont make many friends but the ones you do become more like family then friends no? This is what my life has been like for me, from childhood to my time in the service to now being a civi, I just learned to accept that Im an introvert.

    I've experienced situations during conversations where I stop caring about what im being told, even when its more dramatic than Oprah episode. Its not always about giving the one answer to bring enlightenment or epiphanies, most people feel better just putting their problems outside of their head and hearing it themselves outloud. You may not feel like youre supportive enough but the fact that you hear them through shows a lot of respect. sometimes it also helps to do something while you hear them out, like playing a card game thats is slow paced so you can stop and think listen without much distraction.

    Ive been on medications for depression before but I never felt right with any of them, this is my experience so if something is helping you, dont stop doing the right thing.

  10. #10

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Sarevok View Post
    Thanks for all the replies people. I appreciate it.



    Cool. Thanks.





    [...]
    I'm sorry that I haven't been able to tend to this more yet, Sarevok!
    I am still thinking about you... and tempting as it may be to try to force something out of myself... I won't do that, or try to foist something contrived on you...

    For a number of reasons...it's taking far longer than I would care, to be patient with myself in this... yet, it is what it is... and I hope you'll forgive my idiosyncrasies while we continue onward...


    Much care,
    -Marka

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