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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5467
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I have this question. Im a male, Im 20 years old and Im

Customer Question

I have this question. I'm a male, I'm 20 years old and I'm a college student. The problem that bothers me is that I kind of feel hard to get close to anyone. I try, I do my best to get to know someone, to become their friend, but none seems to try and be my friend as well and somehow it saddens me, really. In fact, there was only one person who I can say really wanted to keep in touch with me, but it made me angry every time he showed any sign of indifference, which ultimatle became the reason why we've not been talking for almost a year and a half, though I tried to reconcile with him. It seems I've really annoyed him. And now everytime anybody shuts me out in any little way, I come to the thought that it would be best if I just tried to sail my boat alone, so to speak. But something inside me is yet repelling that decision of mine. So I've decided to ask a professional about this issue and to learn your opinion about this. Should I try further to seek for any sort of communicating to others, or there is something that will always be a problem, something which is impossible to change, and that the course I've decided to take is the best?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like you might have been hurt before and find it difficult to get close to others. Relationships can be very difficult if you are fearful of getting hurt or find others to act in ways that make you feel upset. It keeps you from bonding with others in a way that makes you feel close and liked.

People often do not give clear signals that they want to be your friend or be close to you if they are your friend. Most people have their own issues, and those issues get in the way of bonding. And still many people appear to be close, when in fact they are together because of mutual interests but little else.

Making friends can be hard because it requires you to open up and be vulnerable. Liking someone means you have to share some feelings. You have to say "I am interested in you so here is who I am". If you find it hard to do that, you may not have as many friends as you want.

The way to address that is to practice being open with others. For example, when you go to a store, try starting a conversation with the clerk that checks you out. Say hello then share something you have in common with the person, such as the weather or news. Keep it simple and try to add humor. This will help you practice your social skills.

Join groups that have similar interests that you do. Ask family members to introduce you to their friends. By doing so, you open yourself up to a variety of people you can not only practice with but connect with.

Also, work on your own interpersonal skills. Here are some resources to help you:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200612/six-ways-make-friend

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/09/09/8-tips-for-making-friends/

Also, try letting go of offenses when friends are not as kind as you'd want them to be. People can sometimes not be aware they are hurting you or being ignorant. So try saying, they didn't mean it. Unless they are hurting you all the time, then it is time to re evaluate the relationship.

Keep trying. You seem to want to have friends so keep working on it. Even if you just have one or two good friends, that is a lot. People can have many friends and not be close to any or they can have one or two and be very close to them. So whatever works for you. But don't give up.

I hope this has helped you,
Kate
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I agree with you on a lot of points, but maybe I've described my issue not so well. The problem is meeting new people, having a conversation or adding humor while talking to someone, I've always been quite good at that, but the problem is that everything that is personal, it's always kept inside, just because I know you don't share such things with everyone you know, it has to be someone you're sure he feels the same way about you. But all the people around, they feel easy talking with me about anything, anything but anything personal. They don't even think of asking me for help when I see they need it. And even if they do, they feel like they shouldn't've, and shut me out openly. That's the thing, I'm the guy everyone talks to and always expect him to amuse them, but that's it, nothing more. LIke a clown who makes everybody laugh but nobody cares about what he really feels. I'm ok with making people laugh, I love hearing laughter around me. It's just... it's like there's some circle around me people would never try to step into, so I try to drag them in there, very carefully so they wouldn't notice it, but the moment they get an inch closer to me they walk away, lazily, but still away and no chance of dragging them back in since they've started moving in the opposite direction. And the more I think about it, the less sense it makes, because I have no idea why it happens

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the additional information.

It sounds like either it is the kind of friends you have or it is something going on with you that involves your interaction with friends.

Sometimes, without knowing why, we can attract the kind of friends that treat us in the way we feel we deserve. It could be that as a child, you didn't grow up in the best environment and learned that you deserve less attention or that you needed to make people laugh but that your own needs are not important. And finding out what causes you to feel like this might take some introspection and maybe counseling. Therapy can help you dig a bit deeper to discover what might be going on.

It is a good sign that you want to make friends and that the desire is there. It is healthy to want those connections. However, sharing on a personal level is more difficult. It requires that the person you are talking to his healthy enough emotionally to be able to handle that kind of interaction and that they will bond with you rather than hurt you.

Usually, taking the first step and sharing something about you helps. But if the person walks away, like you described your friend doing, then it is most likely the kind of friends you have. You are doing nothing wrong by trying to take the relationship to another level. Their reaction is what is wrong. So you might need to work on expanding your social circle and make friends with others who are not usually people you feel attracted to. Try some of the ideas we talked about in the past post and see if it helps. Also, do some personal exploration to be sure you are ok with sharing. Here is a link to help:

http://www.intropsych.com/ch15_social/self-disclosure.html

Kate
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5467
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.

Thank you very much for the positive rating and bonus! I appreciate it.

Relationships can be very complicated, but you are asking all the right questions to figure this out. Keep trying. You will find what you need. I hope the information we talked about helps you get there.

Kate

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