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Need to make new friends

  1. May 23, 2014 #1
    This may be kinda long, but I have to get this off my chest and possibly find some answers. So bless you if you actually read all of this and have a desire to help.

    This is the first summer in a long time that I'm not taking any classes, and I find myself not having anything to do. I'm kinda just sitting on the internet most of the day. Occasionally I'll go out to eat with one of my friends, or go to my friend's house on the weekend, but other than that, I just work and stay home. I work part time and get off work about 10AM, so I have the whole day to do stuff.
    I feel like everyone else is finding new and exciting things to do every day, and I'm just kinda wasting my life. It's kinda depressing.
    I only have 2 longtime friends, both of whom I've known since childhood. I feel like I'm growing out of them. They both work fulltime jobs and are both pretty lazy and never have any money. They're pretty much going to be working fulltime and never going to have any money for the rest of their lives.
    It's not that I'm a unsociable recluse or anything. I love going out and meeting new people, but I just don't like forcing it. I want to meet new people as a consequence of the activity that I'm doing.
    For example, whenever I'm taking math or physics classes, I kinda just sit there and take notes and get out of there ASAP. I never really form any relationships. But I really enjoy labs, because I work with a partner, and I get to talk to them and get to know them. I took a bunch of theater classes, not only because I love theater, but because it allows me to be social without it being forced.
    Other than meeting people as a consequence of activities, I'm really clueless on how people meet. I'm really conscious about not seeming creepy or imposing on anyone, so I don't just walk up to random people and start conversations. I'm at a point in my life where I feel I have to get moving, and I set a goal for this summer to do something new every day and meet new people if the opportunities present themselves.
    I want some more friends that I can treat like my other two lifelong friends, such as calling them and saying "Hey, what's up, what are you doing today? You wanna hang out?" I know a bunch of people from work or school and none of us have that sort of relationship. At work, I feel like this person sees me every day at work, and there's probably some kind of negative association they have for me because of the circumstances by which we encounter each other. But there's very few of them I'd want to hang out with outside of work anyway.
    I know a few people from school, but we never really got that close. The ones I did get close with, I haven't seen in a while and I think it would be kinda weird just texting them after all this time. A couple of them being girls that I was pretty interested in.
    And that brings me to something that may be a big source of my problem; I don't currently have a girlfriend or even any prospects of one. I think a girl would normalize me, because I think I've drifted off the path I'd like to be on quite a bit. That path being my mental state. I feel like I'm unstable mentally (not in a dangerous way or a "I need medication" way). I can get really upset over things that shouldn't really upset me all that much. Like if someone on the road is just driving like they have a special privilege and do something that I feel is disrespectful towards me for no reason, then I'll get upset and feel like I have to get them back in some way. So I'll honk at them or something... just a little something to make me feel like I didn't let them get away with what I consider an injustice. If I forget to honk or if I let them get in front of me after they passed a bunch of cars in a long line to cut in line, then I'll be upset for a while. I'll keep thinking about it and be disappointed in myself for letting it happen. I think that might be a result of being alone too long. I think I've gotten kinda eccentric in certain ways because of not having enough recent social experience.
    So, finally, my question is how do I make new friends? I made a resolution this summer to go places and do things, and right now that will have to be done mostly alone. But I want to go places where I could meet people normally and not just intrude on them.
    For example, I went to the beach a few days ago; hadn't been to the beach in a while. I saw a bunch of nice looking girls who were sunbathing alone. I could have been that guy to go up to them and try to start a conversation, but obviously I didn't. That would be sort of a faux pas to me. I need a reason to talk to them, and not just go up to them and bother them. I know some people would say "Just go up to them and try to talk to them, and if you're lucky, that will be the start of a beautiful relationship. And if she gives you the 23 skidoo, then move on to someone else." The problem with that advice is I still bothered that person, and I guess I feel like that reflects badly on me. I feel that they'll think negatively of me, or at least it will be an uncomfortable situation, and I'm extremely sensitive to uncomfortable or awkward situations.

    So does anyone have any ideas on what I can do and where I can go that presents circumstances conducive to sociability within the boundaries that I've set up? Or maybe you have a diagnosis for my mental problems?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 23, 2014 #2
    Sitting indoors at a computer is not good for your serotonin levels. Without good levels you find it more difficult than the average person to be naturally sociable and to seek out situations that will allow it. Could you find something outside you like doing? If you concentrate on making a good diversified life for yourself, the relationships should happen naturally.
  4. May 23, 2014 #3
    "I want some more friends that I can treat like my other two lifelong friends, such as calling them and saying 'Hey, what's up, what are you doing today? You wanna hang out?' "

    This is how you make friends. I think the crux of your issue is that you're sitting in bed wondering why majestic things aren't happening to you, why you haven't met a beautiful girl, why you haven't gone on amazing adventures with friends. My favorite quote from The Death of a Salesman is as follows:

    "The world is an oyster, but you don't crack it open on a mattress!"

    Apply this to your life: You want a girlfriend, but don't want to talk to girls on the beach. You want friends, but think it's odd to text people to hang out. There's an obvious hypocrisy and disparity here, and you won't be happy until you settle it.

    I can be paranoid, too. Sometimes when I text my friends, or maybe even mere acquaintances that I feel might want to hang out, I get the sneaking suspicion that I might be bothering them. But I'm not. You won't be, either. I'm sure you're observant enough to understand when someone does, or does not, like your presence. Don't let irrational paranoia convince you that your friends aren't your friends, that approaching an attractive woman to strike up a conversation could somehow reflect badly upon you, that merely living your life should be a painful experience.
  5. May 23, 2014 #4
    That's exactly what I'm looking for. I like doing pretty much anything. I have a lot of interests. But I don't really know where to go.
    Well, there was this girl who was in one of my classes at school, and she basically tricked me into giving her my number, and she would text me, and she was bothering me, because I had no interest in her. I don't want to be that person.

    I'm very good at reading people's feelings and intentions from what they say or text and how they say it. I guess I just need to make more calls. I can pretty much know what the deal is from one call. I've made the decision to pretty much end a couple of, what I thought, were good relationships just based on a few texts which gave me a good indication they just didn't want to bother with me anymore. The last thing I want is to be where I'm not wanted.
  6. May 23, 2014 #5
    I would have chatted those girls up for sure. Not everything has to be all business, besides if you can spend some time with 2 nice girls, why the hell not?

    The problem is you think too much. Not an offense, I did too, I still do, but I know when to think and I know when to act. I can relate very well with this "I'm not talking to her, cuz I don't have a reason to BOTHER her". Translation: "I have no ego, I am afraid, I don't even think she likes me and blah blah blah..".

    That's a problem if you sit on your arse all day every day. I don't know the science of it, but the socialising part of your brain diminishes so to speak, proportionally to the time spent sitting on your back side. It helps if you move around even 30-40 minutes in the fresh air.

    I know you must think you are soo smart and your explanations a.k.a excuses for everything are totally justified. Why? Because I think I am oh soo smart, too. Here's the difference. I am able to not give a **** at times whereas you are paralized by fear (this fear makes you look for alternatives in your head, which leads to thinking too much and overthinking). If it truly didn't matter to you, why couldn't you even say hi to those girls, eh?

    Alright, this looks very offensive, but it's not...at the very least not meant as so. Take it for what it is.

    You speak of relationships with people as some sort of status and your "need to make friends" rings very hollow to me. Something is wrong, but what, can't say for sure.
  7. May 23, 2014 #6


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    When you're out of school for the first time, or home for the summer and most of your old friends have moved on, or maybe you have, it can be extremely difficult to make friends. A university environment makes socializing nearly impossible to avoid at times, so when you get awy from that, it can be tremendously difficult to meet people. In the outside world, it seems that most people already have their groups of friends and forming a new set of relationships requires overcoming a rather large social action potential.

    Things that you can do that might help...
    1. Volunteer. The SPCA needs dog walkers. Hospitals need volunteers all the time. Or what about becoming an auxiliary police officer?
    2. Start exercising on a regular basis if you're not already. This can really help to build up your self confidence.
    3. Try learning a martial art. For the record, this generally isn't a great way to meet women, but it can be a geat way to meet other people.
    4. Check out some of the local activity groups (writer's group, chess club, etc.) in your area. If there's nothing that interests you, start something new.
    5. Concenrtrate on your own self-development for now.
  8. May 24, 2014 #7
    I know you don't mean to be offensive, because you took the time to read my post and respond. That means you care at least a little bit, and I'm appreciative.
    And what you said is the kind of stuff I need to hear. Be blunt.

    And you're exactly right, I think too much about everything. Over-thinking has not done me very much good. It causes problems in my academics as well.

    I'm not afraid to talk to girls. I think what I'm afraid of is the type of person I'll look like if I do certain actions. I'm also afraid of uncomfortable or awkward situations. Really afraid of that. For instance, I was at the gym and this guy walked up to a girl and started talking to her, and she immediately understood what he was getting at and said "I'm married, sorry", and he said "Ok" and walked off. For some reason, that seems like an awkward situation to me. I was probably 10 times more uncomfortable about that exchange than he was. I have no idea why that made me so uncomfortable. Actually, I have another example of just how much I fear uncomfortable situations. If I even see an uncomfortable situation on TV, like on a reality show or something, I'll turn the channel and actually try to get as far away from that channel as possible to mitigate my association with that uncomfortable situation. I mean, I don't have to do that, but it's one of those silly urges I have. I've never actually told anybody that until now.

    And yes, I do need to get out there, but one of my main problems is where is "there"? I'm specifically looking for somewhere to go or something to do where socializing with hitherto strangers is not out of the ordinary.

    What do you mean I'm speaking of relationships as a status?

    Thanks for the response.

    That's totally true. And I like socializing a lot. But as a physics major, I could go through most of my classes without having to talk to a single person. I think in a few of my math classes, I did that.
    Volunteering is an idea. I gotta see what kind of volunteering there is I can do. Or that I can deal with. I don't think I can do hospitals. I've spent my fair share in hospitals and I don't like the atmosphere.
    I think I may look into the auxiliary police officer thing
    The work I do is manual labor, so I get plenty of exercise doing that, but I've found that I need to do a little something extra to keep my stomach flat. I have to stay vigilant on that thing. I used to do martial arts, kick boxing in particular, and that was my form of exercise. But I don't really do that anymore, so I needed something else, so I've started learning some dance moves. Getting a skill and exercise at the same time, I think, is the best way to stay in shape.
    I was planning on contacting a local gymnasium to see if I could go there and practice my flips. I want to learn how to do a backflip somewhere safe. I think the only girls there would be 15 and under, though.
    Local activity groups is a good one. They have some at my school, but none of those interested me. Maybe I'll see if I can form a theater group. I'd love to just be able to get a group together and perform a play where everyone who auditions can get a part, and no one is rejected.
    And as for self-development, I try to better myself every day. I'm learning Japanese through the Pimsleur program right now, which I think is pretty good. I also work on my vocabulary. And I try to learn a new dance move. But when I stay inside on a nice day like this one, I feel like life is a race that everyone else is running, and I'm just sitting down at the starting line.

    But yes, what you suggested is just what I'm looking for. If anyone else wants to add more, that'd be great.

    Thanks, guys.
  9. May 24, 2014 #8


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    What you have posted seems mostly "me" centered. Don't forget that other people might actually want to make friends with you if they get half a chance!

    FWIW the three "most significant others" I have had at different times in my life all started the relationships themselves (and I'm most definitely not a Brad-Pitt-lookalike chick magnet!)

    Make sure your plans are realistic. For example the idea of starting a theater group is fine, so long as you have access to a rehearsal space, and an suitable sized and affordable venue for your eventual production. Finding an existing group and joining it is probably a simpler option. Even if they don't want to cast you in their next production, every amateur theater group I know needs more people to work back stage, and if your real motivation is meeting people that's just as effective as being an actor.
  10. May 25, 2014 #9
    You have to hand it to it to that dude in the gym - he levelled with her and she levelled with him right off the bat. Nothing wrong with that. If the girl is married it isn't written on her forehead (haven't seen women wear their rings while working out either) and you won't find out if you won't talk to her. Hell I've had those moments too.
  11. May 26, 2014 #10
    In the loosely remembered words of Dave Chappelle, awkwardness is a white-people thing.

    Situations are only awkward if you feel that way. You seem overly empathetic, to the point of feeling awkwardness in the place of another, when that person may not even feel awkward. Try to understand that many of these scenarios are regular occurrences, and that simple unexpected happenstance isn't awkward.
  12. May 29, 2014 #11


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    So do you think you yourself have special privilege on the road? - you do not actually say so, but it is just your usage of that term to describe someone else's behavior on the road; a behavior which then leads you to feel, for some irrational reason, personally disrespected. The other driver doesn't know you, you don't know them. Take note that an emotional response of becoming upset and feeling that an injustice has been committed can escalate into an uncontrollable situation. Road rage can start out with just the most minor of occurrences, so do not let emotion dictate decisions. Lets hope you don't go there. I just thought I would point that out in case you find, in reflection, that you are becoming more irritated at the way others drive.

    Keep your hand off the horn, reserve your horn hand for only accident prone situations, be happy, and let things like that pass. You will find you become less frustrated as a driver, experience less stress, and will begin to realize that you are only one of thousands of commuters that share the road - each commuter possibly thinking, as you do, that every one else is taking up space on the road and hindering their own travel plans.

    By the way, most people do become slightly agitated as a passenger in a car driven by a horn happy driver, and do not enjoy the experience.
  13. May 29, 2014 #12
    That's a good way to think about it. Instead of feeling like someone would be doing me a favor, I can think of it as me doing them a favor.
    Some could-have-been relationships were almost started like that for me, but then they just didn't start, and I wondered if my action, or inaction, caused it. Then I dwell on it and think about what I could have done differently, and really reach no conclusive information.
    I wish all the girls were like that girl I'm not interested in, in that they make it clear they like me and even ask me if I want to hang out with it being just the two of us. Only girls I'm not interested in do that, apparently.
    You're right, that sounds time consuming. I guess I'll see if one already exists. I really don't know how people have so much time during the semester for all this extra-curricular stuff anyway. I think it's because I waste so much time.
    I remember she held up her ring to show him while telling him she's married. But that probably made me more uncomfortable than him. I was thinking "wow, that's so embarrassing", and at the time, he was probably already thinking "I think I'll do some pull ups".
    I think I need to be desensitized to awkward and uncomfortable situations. At least to the ones I consider awkward and uncomfortable. Not sure how to do that though.
    I wish I could just not care, but I over-think everything, and I feel that if someone, for example, tries to merge in front of me, when there was plenty of room for them to get in behind me, then if I let them in, that's just reinforcing that behavior. And that's the reason they try that crap to begin with; because people just let them get away with it. It bothers me. I wish it didn't, but I actually can't get over it for a while if I let someone take advantage of me or walk on me, like they do to other people.
  14. May 29, 2014 #13


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    I know what you mean. You even have some stupid idiots trying to win the Darwin Award with large trucks, attempting to squeeze in - well who is going to win that contest. Or motor cyclists riding down the line between cars in stopped traffic to get ahead - it will just take one car to not notice him and nose to another lane and the motorcyclists is in the hospital. One guy passed me really fast, one time with no traffic at night, with his girlfriend following, and way up ahead he lost control I presume or did something else idiotic and ended up in the ditch with his radiator steaming. Coming around the corner I saw her stopped at the side, and him in the ditch and I stopped if they needed assistance, but he seemed OK enough to walk from his car. ( I wondered why she never followed him into the ditch ). so his being a bozo cost him a car, a towing, a what ever the police decided to do to him.

    As long as they don't take someone else's vehicle out with their driver personality ( as opposed to their regular personality ), which then, by pointing out their failures in being courteous on the road, as you do, does have some merit.
  15. May 30, 2014 #14
    I feel like I'm the same way. I'm done with my semester at a community college and getting ready to transfer to a university this coming fall. I don't really have much planned this summer besides the whole enrollment process, getting better familiar with the university, and contacting some faculty members about undergrad research.

    I often avoid talking to women, and I think I can identify some specific reasons for it. Maybe these can help elucidate why you might cognitively restrain or are afraid of talking to women.
    - I'm afraid of making other people (other women and men alike) jealous and upset because by going up to a girl and talking to her, I've sort of given her "preferential treatment" over other girls, or in regards to guys, there may be other guys who may have had prior interest in her.
    - I'm afraid that by talking to a girl, I will get judged on my preferences - kinda like making people think "oh, so you like THOSE type of women... which means you are shallow because you are into beautiful women instead of less beautiful women" (sounds kind of ridiculous, I know, but that is part of my thought processes).
    - I'm afraid of getting into a situation I'm not prepared for, since I'm not experienced with talking to girls, taking them out on dates, etc. I might get pass the breaking the ice part, but then what? It would be quite terrible if all that ends up happening is I get her number, and end up constantly texting her until we get tired of it and stop communicating entirely. Something similar to this happened once (she blocked me on facebook lol).
    - I rationalize it and tell myself "You know what, I don't need a woman right now, since I got academics/etc. to focus on, and don't want to get distracted. I can wait until later in life when I'm more established and have some free time." At the same time, I'm worried that if I don't go out there and meet women, I will be less likely to find someone I am compatible with, and I'll end up settling with someone I'm not completely happy with, or remain alone.
  16. May 30, 2014 #15


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    Whenever I'm looking to find a new activity, I search around a site called Meetup. There are groups of every kind there and you should have no problem finding people with similar interests to yours.
  17. May 31, 2014 #16
    The penalties for the behavior I see on the road needs to be 10 times more strict than what they are now. There needs to be jail time handed out for criminal negligence. The fines for reckless driving also need to be higher. Start at a thousand and work from there. Also, more license revocations need to be issued. Take the bus from now on. Caught driving with a revoked license? Go sit in a cold jail cell for a month.
    And those are not exaggerated penalties; people are dying because of that crap.
    No, it's not any of those reasons. That last one might fit a little bit. I've been putting it off because I wanted to get a better apartment first. That will probably be a year from now at least.
    That's interesting. A lot of those groups are for older people or just women, but maybe I can find something that I would be interested in.
  18. May 31, 2014 #17


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    Depends on the area you live in. Most of the groups that I'm interested in are things like electronics and programming which I wouldn't consider old-people groups. Now if you consider 30 old, I'm sure that will change eventually. :tongue2:
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