October 2017
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overwhelmed and ineffectual / cowardly and shit at making friends


icon: "distance (two hands (from two people) just barely apart, facing each other palm to palm)"

I've been so overwhelmed this week; social without a break and a lot of that social was stressful. Last night I had planned to read for class and write and LJ, but instead I just watched hour after hour of Netflix. I couldn't get myself to stop, until an hour past when I had intended to go to sleep. I'm not entirely sure if the problem is meds-fail or emotional exhaustion or both. I hate it. But it helped to be uselessly absorbing for a while. I was able to finally do some necessary things today (bills and cleaning).

I went to my black feminisms class today which was really fantastic as usual; we talked about friendship and at one point, one of the professors asked everyone who wanted deep meaningful friendship to raise their hands. Everyone did. All but two of that class are people I think I'd like to be friends with. I wanted to ask people afterwards... even just one, but I couldn't do it. I left, and once I got to the parking deck I just started crying. I felt so useless and cowardly. I just can't initiate friendship in person: online is all I know how to do. I feel like someone who can't perform the most basic task of socializing. And I feel shamed because of the social attitude that online communication or online anything is inferior. So I don't want to make my inferior invitation to friendship.

Also I seem to always fail when I try to make friends. The only ones that have stuck are ones that reached out to me first. I have so many failed attempts. I'm not actually passive at starting friendship, I just fail constantly. I don't get it. Am I shit at choosing people? Or is there some quality that only exists if people initiate with me? Does no one take the way I initiate seriously? Or what? why can't I overcome this? maybe the strangeness is in the other direction, that I try to match or exceed the amount of effort the other has invested, but most people don't.

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Comments
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marchioness ══╣╠══
A black feminisms class sounds fantastic. I took a hip-hop feminism class with Brittney Cooper right when she was just formulating the Crunk Feminist Collective.
belenen ══╣effervescent╠══
whaaaat that sounds awesome!
tarakins42 ══╣╠══
I have the same problem with friendships and it makes me feel so alone and like I'm so screwed up. It just seems so easy for everyone else.
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
I feel ya.
delicatexflower ══╣just breathe╠══

aw, bel. it breaks my heart to know you cried. :( *hugs* you are not useless or a coward! making friends in real life is soooo hard! do you think it's possible you fear rejection. so, if the other person approaches you, you feel like it's mutual?

belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
Mostly it's a fear of people politely not rejecting me even though they want to. Rejection itself is pretty easy for me to deal with, but rarely do people just honestly reject others -- especially me, because I seem to intimidate people a lot.
pixiebelle ══╣╠══
Oh I know these feelings all too well. I can't make friends offline either. At work, I so badly want to be friends with a few of my co-workers, I think they're awesome. But I can't figure out how to make it happen. They get together outside work, text, ect and they all seem to like me well enough, but how do I get to the next step?

I wish I had the answers because I'd pass them on to you too. It's such a struggle.
wolfteaparty ══╣╠══
Ugh, I have the problem of wanting to befriend and feeling isolated from coworkers too, and wondering what their secret is when they go to happy hour, text each other, and hang out together off the clock! It's easy to feel like you're the only one and feel surrounded by people who easily make close friendships, but I think struggling to make friends is a common problem. It's so frustrating and saddening.
pixiebelle ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
polvodestrella ══╣stock: lights garland╠══
I can relate to what you say in there. I have very few friends who I can call and hang out with, one of them is a friend of my childhood and the other is somebody I met here in LJ. The childhood friend lives here, but I don't really see her that often because she has kids and usually is busy with them (even if she made me the godmother of one of her kids so with that we see each other more often now), and the one I met online lives in another country so seeing each other is not that easy (even if we talk every day on skype, on the phone, etc).

But, like you, I have issues making friends. I don't really know when that started as when I was a kid I didn't have problems with that, but now I feel like everybody already have their groups of friends and that they're not open to new friendships, if that makes sense. And I feel awkward starting a conversation, like you say I feel like I have a lot of failed attempts, and I can't even tell why.

Is sad how true communication between persons has become such a rare thing...
rubyelf ══╣╠══
When I worked and was busy out in the world working with people, I had friends. Then that stopped and now I have nothing, except my husband and people here on LJ.
siduri ══╣╠══
I don't think it is you. For whatever reason, it is becoming harder and harder to make friends these days. I can't put my finger on the reason why. People I meet will be friendly and chat you up but that is the extent of it. No one seems to want to put any more effort into establishing a friendship.

The friends I do have are slowly moving away and that means the people I know locally are becoming less in number. This is really discoursing, of course. I am very grateful for LJ because really, I would not have too many people to talk to otherwise!
jupitercornwall ══╣╠══
I grok this. It's easier to let people come to you and intitiate. If you put yourself out there, you risk being rejected, and no one wants that. If they are coming to you, then rejection is gone, and you can then flow into whatever the relationship is. Fear sucks, and feeling unable to move past the fear is even worse. I really really understand. You're weird, you're beautiful in an unconventional way, you're intense, and people don't like or don't know what to do with intense. You aren't vacant or vapid, and so other people can't relate.

You're afraid of them pushing you away from your reaching out, and that helps to make up you thinking that maybe you're shit at choosing people. Maybe you're "shit" at choosing people because you don't trust yourself, and so maybe you choose "bad" people on purpose, and therefore unconsciously reinforce that it's better when people reach out to you, safer, etc.
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
for me it's not about rejection. I put myself out there all the time and get rejected at LEAST weekly; I'm comfortable with that. It's more that I fear making people feel pressured. If there is distance due to it being online, people can say no with WAY less difficulty than if it is in person. So I suppose my fear is about people not rejecting me even though they would like to.

But I know that fear is not worth avoiding it, because people can always cancel later if they're really not into it. The bigger fear is the one caused by ADD and social anxiety (which comes in with strangers, especially ones I meet in a 'professional' environment): the fear of not being able to string words together in a coherent way that actually expresses me. A friend who read this post suggested I make little cards to carry with me that explain my lack of ability and my interest in friendship, and I'm DEFINITELY going to do that, it's a perfect idea that fixes the problem and reduces it from impossible to difficult.
raidingparty ══╣╠══
gobbolina ══╣Rorschach╠══
I also have troubles finding friends, kinda. Usually my friends find me. I don't know, I'm just bad at keeping contact. Most of the time I don't even want contact at all, though the people are nice.
I wouldn't have yvonne as my best friend today if she hadn't been so persistent at texting me and coming over. (In fact I didn't like her that much when we met first.)
I even woudln't have my current boyfriend if he didn't ask me several times if I wanted to go on a date.

I'm also afraid of groups of new people. Like, I was in roller derby training for almost 2 years, and I mean, the other girls were nice, but I just couldn't even talk to them properly. They seemed so "normal", and normal people scare. I always think they can "smell" that I'm different, that I have mental issues.
raidingparty ══╣╠══
(mental hugs)
Keep breathing. You're doing good.

There was something about strangers: Almost everyone reported having an enjoyable experience most of the time when people they didn't know started up conversations with them, but almost nobody felt good about starting conversations with people they didn't know.
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
Re: (mental hugs)
that is a good thought to keep in mind about reactions to strangers striking up conversation.
butterbyitself ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
I hope we figure it out!
wolfteaparty ══╣╠══
I think this trouble making friends is not an uncommon issue. I struggle with it too, it gets me down, and it seems to have been getting more difficult as the years go by, as if there is this invisible wall that is between me and other people, even if they seem superficially friendly (like coworkers and Facebook friends for instance). I have noticed a shift in our culture toward flakiness, too... people just don't respect other people's time anymore or don't want to go out of their way to talk to someone, and that, at least in my own experience, makes it hard to make friends and also made it really hard to find a partner. Most of my friendships are either old ones from college when it was, for whatever reason, a bit easier to make friends, or online.
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
Yeah, I can't think of any friends I have that weren't made by proxy (through a mutual friend) or through the internet (including internet-arranged meetup groups). Wait, there is one from high school! We were non-friends for like 7 years but are friends again now.
kmiotutsie ══╣╠══
something I'm thinking about [always] is astrology. It's fairly typical of sun-in-aquarius to be somewhat solitary: content to have very few social interactions and very few people close to them: they can be the type who are so much in their head that have one intense partnership (usually their sexual/romnatic relationships) is all they need to feel pretty socially fulfilled.

that said, I don't know enough about sun in aquarians to look at patterns or be able to guess how it fits with your moon (which is where emotionally relating to people comes in) or know if it's a january/february thing, since most of the aquarians I know are january aquarians and you're a feb. You're really astonishingly social, compared to most aquarians I know, though it's often a struggle for them too, now that I think of it.

tl;dr: I wonder if there's something in your stars that would clarify your social interaction style. #nothelpful #butconsidering :)
belenen ══╣aquarius╠══
my moon is sag and my rising is gemini! I don't know anything about sag moon except that I get along well with fire moons, but rising in gemini is all about communication.

Honestly I think that it's more that I am more stubborn than most aquarians when it comes to making connections -- a lot of them just give up because people don't live up to their ideals. My chart is almost all fire and water, with mercury as my only earth and then my sun as air. I'm curious about this too, now.
kmiotutsie ══╣╠══
zimtkeks ══╣╠══
Social norms can make things so complicated. I remember that as kids we just went up to someone and asked whether they wanted to be friends, and then we went from there.
But now people would probably think that is weird. There have to be all these baby steps of getting closer ...
Maybe you could go for a meal or a drink after one of the next classes and casually ask if anyone else would like to join you?
Oh, and I don't agree with society's opinion that online contacts are generally inferior. I don't like the term "real life", either. My online contacts are an important part of my real life, and some of them are way more meaningful than the conversations I experience face to face.
Also I find that the clearer you are in your thought, feelings, wishes, etc., the more reflective you are, the harder it is to find suitable companions, because it demands a lot.
belenen ══╣interconnectedness╠══
yesss, I am glad that you agree about online connections.

It does demand a lot. I wish people would be intrigued more often but usually they're just intimidated or repulsed.
webgirluk ══╣pic#118113725╠══
I relate so well to this entry and is very me in the sense of struggling to make friends and can't seem to bridge the online and offline gap of things. Like you, I just can't seem to manage it offline in a class or at work or somewhere, only online where we speak through words communication, initially. Even then, it's still rarer to find real deep friends but easier than every day settings.

I find it fascinating that you get to attend the kind of class that would even cover a conversation such as this and awesome but as well, I know it is still hard. It makes me think certain kinds of people who join and many others felt as you did in the class, wanted to reach out, but could not make the leap deep down as it is hard even then. This is a sad idea, but there has to be an easier method for people to come together than there probably is right now.

I have often wondered on the initiate or be initiated with dynamic too and you have inspired me to make a post on this soon.
belenen ══╣disconnected╠══
I think if not for the internet I might have just died of loneliness. I definitely would have stayed married to the only person who offered me connection. Whew, am I glad for the internet existing!
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on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.