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I am actually facing a dilemma. I will try to make this as short as possible. I am 25 years old this year and I do not feel like I have a stable social life. I do have lots of acquaintances but it seems to me that everyone is not interested to be regular hangout buddies/friends. I am not lonely to the point I have no one to talk with but I just can't seem to get into group of friends. This is not just an issue of being lonely, but a lot of things that I want to do, there is no one to go with, even with my current group of friends I feel ignored and we only get the chance to meet at a cafe that we all are regulars at, outside that, we seldom have interaction and they seem to plan their things without inviting me out. I have one best friend but he seems changing after he got a new girlfriend. I know it would be easy for you to say to just find other friends/new friends, but whenever I try to find new friends I also feel ignored/not taken seriously( It's not that I cant relate to people but I just dont have my "own" social life, Im always kind of "tagging along" and no one updates me on plans). People are friendly to me on the surface but I can't seem to establish friendships with people who are of similar interests/background with me. There are people who are interested in me but I am not interested in them in general because we do not share the same hobbies and they are always "broke" to do the things I like to do. I live in Singapore which is a city and I have travelled quite a lot and honestly a lot of things here just do not excite me. The only things that excite me here are Malls, Clubs, Coffee Shops, Movies and Karaoke which all require money. Those people who are willing to spend on those are all either snubbing me or taking me lightly. Help!! I need a social life and I do not know, I have been to a therapist but she keeps telling me things that I know already. I hope you can advise me. I can type more but I tried to just point out the main concerns. Thanks and hope to hear from you soon!
Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.
I believe that I can help you.
Let's start from the things that you know and what your therapist told you. Then we don't have to go over old ground. Take your time and give me your best answer on this and then I shall continue working with you. Please go right ahead. I shall be right here.
I do not see your response. I think that there may be a glitch in the JustAnswer system so I shall change to the slower but more stable Q & A mode. Chat usually works but there may be a problem today.
When you see this, please respond.
Elliott, MAE, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC
I am sorry there are some glitches in my connection.
I have ended therapy because I realised what she tell me doesn't even work, or if it works it is because of my own effort.
I have read this over and over again, Approach People! But most of the time I get turned down. That is what she was telling me, Approach people and be confident. I hear the same thing over and over again, yet my socia l life is lacklustre and I only get to go out with people when I "invite' myself, to me this sounds pathetic.
I used to have a best friend before as mentioned, but ever since he got a new girlfriend he's just acting too selfishly and only thinks of himself and the girl. I end up only meeting them at the cafe and whatever plans I plan with my best friend are ignored. I do not know what I am lacking, I suspected social phobia or aspergers, but my therapist said no, I just lack self-esteem. But when I try to ask people, everytime I am turned down.
I feel that nothing much is happening in my life to the point I start doing solitary activities but I try not to let it go out of hand. I almost got addicted to gambling because of this loneliness and lucky that I was able to stop. I just long for social life since I have been missing this ever since grade school. I was bullied in school before and I had to totally change my image from a "nerdy boy" to a fashionable "cool" guy now. But even when I changed people still treat me the same way, ignored. Although people are not mean to me nowadays this may be due to the fact that we are all grown ups now.
I am tired of wasting hundreds of dollars on the therapist and this has been going on for years. I cant seem to get people who have similar interest/ lifestyle to include me. Please advise.
Thank you for the reply! I have been trying to go to my favorite cafe just to make new friends and I have limited success, people treat me as acquaintance rather than friend/part of their social circle. I do not know when it is appropriate to approach a regular when were not seated in the same table/near, and I do not want to freak people out. I did try to approach people there but seldom does it work outside the cafe. I am yearning for an "active" social life since it is what I have been missing all these years. I am not totally deprived but there's just no security with the relationships I have and I feel like a tag-along since no one actually invites me.
As of karaoke , Karaokes here in my country are not the "open concept" type you can find like in other countries, it is usually a group will reserve a room and everyone will go there together.
From our short chat, do you have any idea what is going on? I mean I do try to reach out to people, but with very limited success.Either people reject me outright, or they are friendly to me but nothing develops. I seem to fail at developing friendships. The strange thing is, it is usually those who are of different wavelength that tends to stick with me...
I know that my best friend/closest friend needs time and space with the girlfriend, but I only feel stressed because he's one of the two "all-rounder" friends I have. All rounder meaning we enjoy a lot of things together, and sadly too he's not into karaoke.
I'm sick of people of the same wavelength treating me just like an acquaintance, when they see me , they see me, but they do not reach out to me or is it easy for me to reach out to them.
I feel so excluded and I hope to be able to build strong relationships with people of my wavelength.
I really yearn for your advice.
Thank you so much Elliott and hope to hear from you soon!
Thanks for the information. I would like to quote this one " Whoever likes you and befriends you are the ones who are REALLY on your wavelength and those are the ones to focus upon." ...
I realise that I mostly fail whenever I am the one who reach out to people. I am seldom taken seriously/it seldom works. Honestly, I have felt excluded all my life . They may be friendly with me, but thats where it ends, nothing develops.
what do you think is the problem with me? What are the "possible" issues I have why people are taking me lightly? Even those people with the same hobbies are taking me lightly. I know we haven't met so it's not possible for us to find a certain answer but, I hope you could help me list down possibilities on why I am facing this issue.
Everyone is just like an acquaintance and it feels very boring and lonely
Diagnostic criteria for 300.23 Social Phobia (from DSM-IV)
A. A marked and persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others. The individual fears that he or she will act in a way (or show anxiety symptoms) that will be humiliating or embarrassing. Note: In children, there must be evidence of the capacity for age-appropriate social relationships with familiar people and the anxiety must occur in peer settings, not just in interactions with adults.
B. Exposure to the feared social situation almost invariably provokes anxiety, which may take the form of a situationally bound or situationally predisposed Panic Attack. Note: In children, the anxiety may be expressed by crying, tantrums, freezing, or shrinking from social situations with unfamiliar people.
C. The person recognizes that the fear is excessive or unreasonable. Note: In children, this feature may be absent.
D. The feared social or performance situations are avoided or else are endured with intense anxiety or distress.
E. The avoidance, anxious anticipation, or distress in the feared social or performance situation(s) interferes significantly with the person's normal routine, occupational (academic) functioning, or social activities or relationships, or there is marked distress about having the phobia.
F. In individuals under age 18 years, the duration is at least 6 months.
G. The fear or avoidance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition and is not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., Panic Disorder With or Without Agoraphobia, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, or Schizoid Personality Disorder).
H. If a general medical condition or another mental disorder is present, the fear in Criterion A is unrelated to it, e.g., the fear is not of Stuttering, trembling in Parkinson's dsease, or exhibiting abnormal eating behavior in Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa.
Specify if: Generalized: if the fears include most social situations (also consider the additional diagnosis of Avoidant Personality Disorder)
Let me recommend a couple of books to you that my clients find very helpful in better establishing friendships.
I know that these books will help immensely.
If you would like to try some professional self-help workbooks instead of seeking a therapist, then I recommend the following book:
It does, basically, what a good therapist will do.
I hope this has helped.
I would very much appreciate positive feedback for the great effort I have put into helping you. I wish you great success and shall continue to keep you in my prayers.
Thanks for the response. I just wanna clarify regarding social phobia, although I do not suffer from panic attacks with certain people I certainly feel awkward, and the funny thing is, the more these people enjoy the same hobby as I do, the more awkward I am around them- because I "want" them as friends; and contradictory to that, I can make small talk with people who doesn't really interest me- but we got nothing in common beside small talk.
I do find it hard to talk to certain people for no reason, it's like my mind goes blank. So despite not suffering panic attacks, is it still possible that I have social phobia?
Is social phobia possibly the main reason that I cannot "develop" relationships.
Regarding the books, this is what I exactly wanted to say, what the therapist I have been seeing keeps telling me things that I have read in the books, and sometimes I find them hard to implement. I know the theory but to apply it is another story. Among all books you have recommended, which are the two best you can recommend in my situation?
One last thing I want to say is.. I know what you mean by people not having deep relationships, and I am actually grateful I have one or two friends who are understanding and I have a deep relationship with, but one of my goals here is to improve my "social life" or "social activities"- these people meet up regularly and I still have to find people who I can meet up regularly and enjoy things together- but as discussed earlier my bestfriend he is in the romantic stage, and my other 2 close friends who are girls- just do not enjoy the same things as guys , there's just so much to see and do in this world that I do not want to miss and I always believe the world is my oyster, this might sound very trivial or simple but I Just want to live life to the fullest and that is one of my dreams, but some things are just no fun. I do not want to miss this stage of life, I have missed out enough already in my school years as I was overprotected by parents when I was a child/teenager.
Thank you so much for your time and patience and hope to hear from you soon Elliott!
You could talk to your physician and ask for some anxiety medication to take just when you are going to be in a stressful social situation.
Either the beta blocker propranolol
or the antianxiety medication alprazolam, to be taken only in a low dose (0.25 to 0.5 mg), and only on an AS NEEDED basis because otherwise it could become habit forming.
You cannot develop relationships. You can only be friends when the chemistry is right and then you have to cultivate the friendships with attention and caring. If the ingredients are not right then don't worry.
Read the books, do the exercises, and improve your self-image and approach.
I hope that I have helped. You never said. I would be most grateful if you give me positive feedback for all of my time and effort and concern for you well being.
I shall continue to keep you in my prayers.
Just a follow up question as I seem to realize my strenghts/weaknesses and did some self evaluation.
I recently went to a party and was too quiet at the party, however I managed to add few people from the party in facebook and do chat with them, I think they might be good friend/acquaintance material but I do not know how to proceed, they seem friendly and responsive in facebook, and share interests that I do, it's just that I do not know how to be "in their group" or have regular hangout buddies, Honestly what I am tired of is people do seem to go out with me once in a while, but I am just jealous of the people who have their "OWN social life" while I am always left at the mood of people whether they want to include me or not.
I just want to stop to be in wishful thinking and wanna know what is going on.
Thanks and hope to hear from you soon!
I just want to stop to be in wishful thinking and wanna know what is going on. I always try and try and seem that, my social life is still the same.
There is always one or two who is close to me, but I tend to be disappointed in them when they go to different stage in life leaving me with no one to do things with, unlike most of the people I know they can just jump from one group to another, for me it seem all so difficult feeling excluded almost all my life. I want to have a social life I call my own and not seem pathetic. I feel pathetic