First of all: for those of you curious of my state of things - I'm doing fine. I've learned how to battle my constant inner chatter and my inner critic to the point where I can remain fairly clear-minded about things even when tired and under pressure of deadlines. Good stuff! I'm being more honest with myself than I ever was, which often leads to realizations of things that I'd rather ignore because they're "ugly" (like that I'd rather shy away from something than commit to it, even if it means leaving dreams unaccomplished). I'm making progress, and it's great.

Sometimes, though, I'm hitting a wall that I can't seem to be able to climb alone, and while I'm still looking for a therapist (I must admit: I'm still reluctant to do it due to the inner critic wordlessly telling me that I don't deserve it, and the wordless beliefs are the hardest to counter), I could use your support and outside perspective on things.

Essentially, I'm friendless, and I don't know how to make them (at least in my general social group at the moment, which is first-year students). I have trust issues and a bad history of trusting and submitting to people that hurt me, which definitely plays into my social anxiety. I'm reluctant to go out and seek relationships for... a reason I can't quite put my finger on yet (introversion? shyness? "undeservedness"? lack of energy?). Those, though, I feel like I can work on within a relationship, given that I have a strong wish against putting anyone dear to me through the emotional neglect my parents left me; I'm willing to talk things through with my friends and romantic partners because I find it an extremely effective way of solving interpersonal problems. The problem is that people don't seem to be attracted to me in any way that means "spending time with" or "replying to the interest with the same", and I think I know why it happens.

I've been looking for a connection for so long - and had a series of so many bad ones so far - that I'm putting extra effort into appearing a nice guy, with a constant smile to indicate that I'm not a threat, that I'm looking to be appreciated and so on. The way I see it, this extra effort repels people silently: they tolerate my presence and even uphold a chat every once in a while but when it comes to "Hey, how about we walk around together?" (this is how I always ask girls out - not sure if I translate the request properly, though), they bail out, in one way or another. "Sorry, I have so much stuff to do" and so on, you know the drill. It repels them because it looks needy - and it looks needy because it is.

And it's irritating. I'm a natural helper, head over heels when someone's playing a victim, so I'm attracted to such people. I have no idea how to spend time with people who aren't playing victims because I'm afraid to connect in a meaningful way. I don't know what's it like to have good friends, what to do and not to do for and in such a relationship, and there's no manual - I haven't encountered any readily available, anyway. I'm sure there are plenty of books written for people like myself on Amazon or somewhere similarly high-profile on the Internet, but please don't point me to any: even if I have the money to pay them at the moment, there's no freaking way I can order them because there's no way I can pay for the books in USD because Amazon doesn't take WebMoney (a prominent Russian e-money bank), and transferring from WebMoney to PayPal, while possible, is such a damn mess of actions and confirmations and fees (how about a flat $5 fee for a start?) and... best leave it at that: I'm not ordering books from Amazon any time soon, and I'm not reading translations.

Anyway. From what I'm reading, it's not about making people like me to be friends with them, it's about finding people I'm comfortable enough with to be myself. It's most reasonable, but I haven't found such people nor see the prospect of finding them any time soon. While I won't admit it often (because stoicism in this regard is what keeps me sane and not lusting for any connection I can find), being alone is terrible, and I'd like to have friends. Is it possible that I've already found people that could be my true friends and am just reluctant to admit it because it would mean I'd have to trust them? I have no idea, which is why I'm writing all of this in the first place. How much do I tolerate from people, especially when they're being self-centered assholes? Is it normal to be a self-centered asshole around one's 20th birthday and am I just to roll with it? I have no god damn idea.

From what I've heard others say in a quiet voice, people are scared of me - of talking to me, specifically. A friend of mine once said: "People just don't know how to come to you, what to tell you, what to talk about". And, well, I grant you: I don't realize it very often, but I might be imposing physically, at 1.88 m of height and a few weeks worth of beard or a neat mustache plus chinbeard combo. I'm also often quiet, preferring only to say things that matter (and a whole lot of what people say doesn't seem anywhere near worthy enough to me). Maybe it's those two factors. Maybe it's because I prefer to be alone to staying in a company talking about stuff that doesn't begin to matter ("Hey, wow! Our teacher looks so different without a beard!", while maintaining no serious interest in the young man, academical or otherwise - oh fuck off). Maybe it's because I've alienated a whole portion of my group be stating views opposite of what's expected of me (I once told off a teacher for being a nasty hag of a woman in front of the whole group; no regrets - I spoke the truth and got away with it, academically - but they stood with the abuser later in our in-group conversations, one of my groupmates even stating "You have too ideal ideals").

I didn't mean to turn it into a rant that it is, but it expresses my feelings regarding the issue well. It's frustrating to remain in such a position with seemingly no way to go and no energy to move if there is a way. This whole thing is like cooking for me: I'm as bad but also as sufficiently motivated to get better at it. What do I do? How do I lose the neediness? How do I make friends?


(I have assumed you are in Russia, since you are using WebMoney?)

I read one thing between the lines of your message... grasping. You are trying to reach out and catch something that is elusive... and that thing keeps eluding your grasp.

But you don't "catch" friends. Like sitting in a park with birdseed in your hand, you need to be available, still, comfortable, and then the birds will come to you.

I'm assuming a lot about you, but all I have to go on is this black text on a white background... but what I see is someone who is not sure of who they are, of what value they are, and yet wants other people to see what you yourself can't even see. That's a tall order.

My suggestion is that you start volunteering. Go to your local food bank and volunteer. Find a local theater and volunteer there. Organizations like this are always in need of help, and are a great place to improve yourself. As you help others, you help yourself. And you discover things about yourself. And you get to see how OTHER people see you, and connect with you.

And - quite honestly - these kinds of organizations always have "weirdos", and know how to deal with them. So your awkwardness won't be a problem. And as people support you, and show you gratitude for your help, that will help you find your inner value, pride, and help you become strong in your self.

And keep talking. Keep communicating. Keep reading.

Like fitness, it is a process that takes time and effort, but the payoffs are immeasurable.

I wish you good luck and much progress!

posted by ThatFanficGuy: 1068 days ago