This discussion is meant to be along the lines of https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=703676&page=3 , although the premise is not to seek approval. I use the label "socially dysfunctional" in a very broad sense here (in an attempt to avoid the derogatory "socially retarded" that gets thrown around, but which I think describes me perfectly), not strictly sociophobes/people with social anxiety like myself, but in general anyone that has any difficulty whatsoever making meaningful/any relationships with individuals or groups of people, big or small, for whatever reason. For adults or otherwise independent people who feel adequately described by the above paragraph, I would like to hear how you go about your daily life, how your family, co-workers, or friends (if any) treat you about it. Are you happy with the way things are? If not, can you change something and if so, what is stopping you from doing it? I'll spill the beans: I'm in my mid to late 20's, don't have any friends, made it through college and high school without ever going on a date, and generally have a fairly low opinion of myself. I've only held a few unskilled jobs before my university education (started when I was 22, 26 now). Guess you could say I'm a "nerd" in the social sense, but unfortunately I don't have a "nerd's" grades to show for it (hasn't stopped college mates from coming to me when they want help/an explanation, which I always give and enjoy doing it). There are a number of reasons for my lack of social experience but that's not the point of this thread, as I'm more concerned with the immediate future rather than explaining my past (which generally causes discomfort for me). I am 100% sociophobic, walking into a bar or any casual social situation with people I don't know very well is nearly impossible for me. When I meet someone new and the conversation progresses beyond the subject at hand into personal matters, I usually end up cutting off the conversation or changing the subject. The reason is simple, I feel pretty embarrassed about my lack of life experiences and from past experiences of trying to open up, I generally don't like the type of looks or comments I get when people find out (if they pry hard enough) about my lack of social activity, lack of sentimental partners, etc. I have been berated regularly for not having a facebook account, for a mild example. Other interactions have just been downright hurtful and humiliating, and have been so many that I've ultimately given up on making friends or approaching potential sentimental partners altogether. What can I expect out of future casual interactions that I'll inevitably run into in a "real" job, for instance? I'm heading into my 30's and I feel like the past 8 years of my life haven't amounted to anything outside of two academic degrees (1 pre-university and one bachelors), neither of which are going to make me prosper, but at least one of them has given me some (actually a lot of) satisfaction while I was doing it. I'm trying to prolong that feeling by taking my chances at the academic ladder despite knowing well I'm not being the hottest applicant in the grad school app pile (could be my low self-esteem speaking here), but I'm still throwing out over a dozen applications in the next few weeks, while improving standardized test scores and doing non-stop gap-filling of my undergrad curriculum with self-study. Don't really have any plan B here, the employment situation is terrible where I live and I've pretty much exhausted all options that don't involve spending money on a masters (which I don't have) just to be employable, so I've got everything (literally all my savings) riding on this. I don't really know what I want to get out of this thread, just feeling lonely and lately I haven't been able to drown out the negative voices in my head with my usual escape routes: academics and the usual internet banalities/humor. Haven't seen the shrink in almost two months now (yep I'm on pills, going for almost a year now with clinical depression) and I figured writing something would be a good idea. I have been hitting the weights hard again and it does make me feel better on the outside (posture, less back pain, etc.) but not on the inside. But I'm not as much of a nervous wreck as I was just a few months ago and I feel like I'm at least doing something useful preparing my grad school apps, in lieu of my uneventful job hunt, while studying old and new stuff and trying to get better at what I want to do professionally some day, etc. I have started enjoying music again which I lost interest in for a long time, which is probably a positive thing.