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I have only a few friends. Do I have the potential as a

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sociable person? My mother says that...
I have only a few friends. Do I have the potential as a sociable person?
My mother says that when I was a very little kid, I was good at making friends by approaching and talking to them, but I also liked to play alone, like painting or making mud pies. As I grew older I got more and more introverted, find it hard to be around people. I tend to get either too aroused(not sexually) or too bored around people. And this makes me think that I might not really want to be around anyone. But most of the time I feel really lonely and want to make more friends. My friends are all ill: one is a schizophrenic and another is brain damaged, and still another used to be depressive. I am a schizophrenic myself. I'm not saying that these people can't be good friends, but I feel a bit inferior to so called 'normal' people. But whenever I'm around 'healthy' people I feel totally out of place. But I'm not that comfortable around my ill friends either. When I'm around them I feel as if I lost sight of who I am, and I'm constantly worried if they come to dislike me. And this worry makes me stay alone anyway, getting harder and harder to make new friends. Honestly I don't know what I can expect from friendship. But I think there should be something good about it. Because being alone all the time is painful. And you have to go through tough times alone. Anyway, I consider myself boring and who wants to be friends with people like that? One of my friends told me that he might visit my country, but it made me so nervous. I might choose not to meet him in person even though I've always wanted to meet him. But I'm afraid of losing him forever if he knew who I was really like. I've had some boyfriends so far, but all the relationships were only superficial. So I always got tired of pretending someone else in the end. I don't know who I am and I worry too much about what people might think of me. The older I get, the more introverted I become. I'm worried about my future.
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Mental Health
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7/5/2011
Mental Health Professional: TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist replied 6 years ago
TherapistMarryAnn
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,896
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi, it is great to hear from you!

Thank you very much for requesting my help. I have a couple of appointments this morning I have to attend to, then I will be able to give your question the attention it deserves. I am sorry for the delay and I understand if you need to have your question answered right away by another expert.

I will reply as soon as possible.

Thanks again,

Kate

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Mental Health Professional: TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist replied 6 years ago

Thank you for your patience with me getting back to you.

It sounds like you may have poor self esteem and some social difficulties as a result. However, you do not seem to have a communication issue. As I read your question, you seemed very thoughtful and you communicate well. Your ideas flow well and you get your point across. So communicating is not an issue nor is your ability to get your thoughts and feelings out. That means we are looking at something going on emotionally.

You describe your desire to be social but you also withhold your impulses to reach out by telling yourself that "normal" people would not accept you. But I want to challenge that notion. There are many people in the world and all of them have their own unique personality and traits. To think that none of them would want to be your friend and enjoy spending time with you is a false belief that you have convinced yourself is true. It is not.

Making friends with others can take many forms. You do not have to find someone, make a friend out of them then spend quality face to face time with them at appropriate intervals. You can be friends with people in many different ways. For example, I enjoy talking with you. We may only communicate via Just Answer, but it is still a relationship and I enjoy it. You can make friends through a blog, a forum, in a class setting, or just talk to someone while in a store. You don't have to form deep bonds, you can just say hi and comment on the weather. Depending on how you and that person get along, you may have just started a friendship.

You may also want to consider working on your self esteem so you feel more confident when you do communicate. Since you have already worked in therapy on some your issues, here are some self help resources to help you:

Self-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem by Matthew McKay and Patrick Fanning

The Self-Esteem Workbook by Glenn R. Schiraldi

Healing Your Emotional Self: A Powerful Program to Help You Raise Your Self-Esteem, Quiet Your Inner Critic, and Overcome Your Shame by Beverly Engel

You can find these on Amazon.com or if you have a library near you, they may have them available.

Don't let the thought that you have a disability get in your way and make you feel you are not normal. You'd be surprised at the number of people that walk around everyday with "disabilities" such as depression, anxiety, alcoholism and abuse. Many are on medication and are hurting. They just hide it well. The kind of people you want to be friends with are the kind that understand that no one is perfect and we all have issues. That is the kind of friend that will stick with you.

I would encourage you to meet your friend that is visiting your country. See him as someone who accepts you and wants to be with you. When he visits, make him feel welcome. You don't have to go all out, just be nice and spend time with him. And if you feel safe with him, tell him that you are nervous about his visit. A good friend would want to put you at ease.

Let me know if I can help any further,

Kate

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Mental Health Professional: TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist replied 6 years ago

I haven't heard from you. Did you have more questions or want clarification?

Kate

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Yes I do have some more questions, but I need some time to think about them before I can write them down. I'm sorry about that. Thank you for your patience.

Mental Health Professional: TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist replied 6 years ago

No problem. I am glad to help.

Kate

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Hi Kate,

Sorry for my late responce, but yesterday one of my ill friends came over to my place and asked me if she could sleep over. I was surprised, but OKed. She is schizophrenic and is much more severe than me, and kept talking based on her delusions for hours on end, and as I realized she hadn't gotten any better at all after her recent hospitalization a couple of weeks ago, I burst into tears. She didn't know why I was crying, and kept on telling me her delusions as the facts. I was confused, angry, and sad. But I did some cleaning the room while she was talking, and I prepared meals for her. This made me feel better. I felt I could be there for her. She called me her best friend, and honestly I have mixed feelings about it, but she gave me a chance to learn how to be myself while I'm around someone else.

You say I could be friends of some of 'normal' people, but at what point should I tell them I am schizophrenic and am living on the dole? It sounds like such a boring way of living and I think no one would be interested. Well I do have a few hobbies like drawing, vegan cooking and sewing, but that's about it and I don't feel up to joining any clubs nor online seminors on these. But do I need to to make friends?

I've already told him that I'm nervous about his coming to my country. Shouldn't I told him yet? He replied 'it's your choice, I'm happy whatever you choose.' But now after I let the schizophrenic friend sleep over at my place, I think I could feel more comfortable about his visit. Should I tell this to him or not?

You have suggested some ways to work on poor self-esteem, but does it take time to work on it? and could it be painful during the process?

Mental Health Professional: TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist replied 6 years ago

That is good news about your friend staying over. It sounds like it went very well and you were able to work through some of your issues about your friendship.

One of the key parts of being a good friend is listening. If you are willing to allow your friends to talk to you and you listen, that brings you closer and allows the other person to learn to trust you. Good listening and trust are two of the most important components of a good solid friendship.

You can be friends with so called normal people but only if you wish. Part of making friends and maintaining relationships is finding people you feel you can relate to. Looking at friendships based on your disability is only one way of looking at it. You could also seek out friendships based on who you are as a person- someone who enjoys sewing, vegan cooking and drawing. If you choose, you do not have to allow your disability to define you. It is part of who you are, but it is not you totally. If you would make a friend with someone without an obvious disability, do it based on you as a person. If they are truly a good friend, they will be willing to accept the rest of who you are. Being friends with someone who is schizophrenic is no different than being a friend to someone who has Bipolar, depression or alcoholism.

It sounds like the friend that is visiting your country is very nice. He sounds very willing to make sure you are comfortable with his visit. It is ok to let him know that you decided that you are comfortable with his visit. You do not necessarily need to tell him why. It's up to you. Maybe once he gets to your home and settles in, you can discuss it. It will give you something to talk about at length.

Self esteem improvement does take some work and some of it may be uncomfortable, but I would not describe it as painful. Working on past issues like abuse may be a painful process, but self esteem is generally something most people can work on at a slow pace and as they choose to.

Kate

TherapistMarryAnn
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Satisfied Customers: 5,896
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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