I don't know how to make friends

Postby pizaaaa » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:31 pm

Hi there,

I am almost 27 years old and I still haven't learnt how to make friends. I do have friends though, but there are very few of them and they are all over the world, since I have moved quite a few times within the last 8 years. I am definitely an introvert, even though I work in sales and I am able to easily socialize with people, but my relationships with them never go beyond superficial acquaintance. Even when i make friends, they stop actively seeking my company in a few months after I meet them.

I got used to this and lack of friends doesn't impact my well-being so much anymore. I have a close relationship with my Mom as well as my boyfriend. But as a normal human being, I still always feel a tad bit lonely without friends.

I am pretty, stylish, progressive, into running and outdoursy stuff, overall I find I am interesting. I can be a little bit too serious, sometimes sensitive and heavy at times and maybe needy? But the problem with neediness is that I am confident I already have a complex about my inability to form deep relationships, so once I meet somebody I connect with, I really crave their attention. It's like hunger.

I also learned to be very independent and self-sufficient due to the fact that I don't have too many close people around me. But sometimes I really want to let it go and ask for somebody's help. when I do though, people tend to take forever to respond or they just ignore...my boyfriend tells me to not take things personally. I try not to, but it is extremely discouraging, when such things happen not just ocassionaly, but pretty much every time. So I have to continue to rely on myself.

Anybody has an advice to provide? I realize that it's something on my end that prevents me from forming deep relationships, but I can't quite figure out what it is. I mean I am who I am, I should accept myself the way I am, but why is it so hard to keep people around me?

Thanks
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:15 am

pizaaaa wrote:...sometimes sensitive and heavy at times and maybe needy?....once I meet somebody I connect with, I really crave their attention. It's like hunger.

I also learned to be very independent and self-sufficient due to the fact that I don't have too many close people around me.

Anybody has an advice to provide?...why is it so hard to keep people around me?


Because you are needy, but tell yourself otherwise. You ask yourself if you are "maybe needy" as if it is a question, but say you crave attention and it's a hunger. That conflicts with what you want to believe, that you are "very independent". These are conflicting beliefs.

People find it difficult to be around you, because both of these beliefs push people away. A person that is "very independent" pushes people away, pretending not to need anyone and a "needy" person also pushes people away. You hold two conflicting beliefs about yourself, neither is accommodating of holding stable friendships.

I recommend you start challenging your beliefs. Maybe you're not so independent as you want to believe, maybe you push people away by being needy while presenting a front of independence. It is a bad combination of beliefs if you want friends.
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#2

Postby pizaaaa » Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:34 am

Hi Richard,

Thanks for your reply. The thing is that I don't really demonstrate my neediness. It's internalized. Externally I do ask people out a couple of times, if that doesn't work, I move on. But internally I become bitter about this experience and it does make me feel lonely and crave attention.
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#3

Postby Livetowin » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:47 pm

Based on your description of events, it sounds as if you have a predetermined assessment of people to disappoint you, which may be leading you to subconsciously sabotage the bonding process before it can organically take it's natural course. Having a builtin expectation that people are not going to invest in you may be inserting a pattern of behavior (from you) that insures that will be the case. Perhaps this is why you feel any request you ask is best defined as 'needy' (by your measure) because you already assume you are bothering them. This in turn influences your emotions to find disappointment early because you're inserting what you imagine to be their attitude about you thus feeding your jaded opinion about the whole process. This could also explain why your boyfriend observes you taking some matters too seriously. Don't place so much weight on the early stages of meeting people.

Another feasibility is you're not removing your professional cap when you enter the private sector. Your sales job likely demands immediate results through the influence of your personality. This expectation may have bled into how you feel people should respond to you in a non-business scenario. I don't know what kind of product you sell, be it cars, insurance, homes or services, but you might want to examine if you are using the same personality to meet people in private. A professional personality is geared to be more aggressive because there is an agenda towards a financial goal. Sure you can still sell an amiable personality to achieve these results, but there is limited life span on those engagements because it's predicated on results. Your introduction invariably leads to a sell which then pivots to seek out a closing of the deal. Real life relationships require a different approach that is less aggressive, more giving, and not hampered by an expectation to get something. Some food for thought there.
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#4

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:06 pm

pizaaaa wrote: The thing is that I don't really demonstrate my neediness. It's internalized.


Again, it circles back to challenging what you believe.

You are onto the answer...you know it is something you are doing. If it was clear what you were doing it would be easy, right? You can't figure it out, because it is elusive, you can't seem to pinpoint what is going on.

You BELIEVE that you are internalizing, but that is not what people pick up. You believe when you interact or respond that people are not picking up on this internalization, but that is not necessarily the case. It seems the evidence points to the opposite.

People don't outright tell you, "I don't like you so I'm not going to respond to your messages anymore," right? Instead, you pick up on their feelings based on subtle ways in which they respond or don't respond. The language they use is short or long, they ask questions or are curt. The same as you try to hide or internalize your interactions with them, they too are hiding their true feelings in a response. But, you can pick up on their feelings, right? Well, they can pick up on your feelings.

You believe you are "very independent" and internalize any demonstration of neediness. I challenge that belief. But, it really isn't for me to challenge, but for you to challenge. Might you be wrong?
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#5

Postby pizaaaa » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:44 pm

I can definitely try to change this belief and admit to myself that I can act needy, take things personally and not feel safe during my interactions with people. I have no problem admitting that I have an issue. But my question is - how do I stop swinging from being independent (even if it's a facade) to feeling needy? How to become stable in my communications with people? These are the questions I can't find answers to and that's why I keep swinging.

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#6

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:57 pm

pizaaaa wrote: But my question is - how do I stop swinging from being independent (even if it's a facade) to feeling needy? How to become stable in my communications with people? These are the questions I can't find answers to and that's why I keep swinging.


You keep swinging, because you have conflicting beliefs. You believe you are independent and you believe you are needy. This causes instability. It isn't a clear cut, black and white, yes or no that you are independent and needy. You are confused about what you really believe. You say you are needy? You used a question mark as if you are uncertain and then you say you internalize this, so others only see the very independent you.

You will stop swinging and gain stability in your communications when you truly figure out and admit to yourself what it is you actually believe, verses what you would like to believe.

Take out a piece of paper or type out on digital paper what you think you believe. Make a list that starts with, "I believe..."

-1- the world is round
-2- pigs can't fly
-3- friendship is important
-4- I'm very independent
-5- I have high self confidence
-6- love is real
-7- aliens exist

Then begin to question those beliefs. Challenge yourself to prove yourself wrong. Gather evidence that shows your beliefs are flawed. In some cases you will have a tough time proving what you believe is flawed. Other times you will experience a mental conflict, you won't feel like your being truly honest, you will find examples where a particular belief doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

Start with the beliefs that are having a negative impact on your life. For instance, whatever you believe about aliens probably isn't doing much one way or the other to negatively impact your life. If they exist or don't exist, so what? But, if you believe you have high self confidence, yet under scrutiny you can demonstrate examples of low self confidence, then maybe that belief is something you need to accept so that you can then move forward with improving that area in your life.

Once you have solidly explored your beliefs, make sure you don't have conflicting beliefs. You can gain stability as you begin to better understand yourself.
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#7

Postby pizaaaa » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:15 pm

Hmmm... thanks for the clarification. It helps! But when I analyze my feelings/opinion on this I can't give a two-three word answer. Am i independent or needy? My answer would be:

I crave a certain amount of attention & love that I can't seem to get for a number of reasons. I mostly internalize my neediness and hide behind the facade of independence, because I am worried in my communications with people I will demonstrate this neediness and seem desperate/not cool. You're right, people probably read off these mixed emotions and aren't happy with the energy that I am giving away.

As you can tell, this isn't a straighforward belief. But yes, I am definitely not truly independent. I act that way because it is safe.

How can this belief now help me improve in this area? How can I stop being needy?
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#8

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:35 pm

pizaaaa wrote: How can this belief now help me improve in this area? How can I stop being needy?


Are you familiar with cognitive behavioral therapy? The basic idea is you start by identifying what it means to be "needy" in your mind. An example might be a text message you are about to send and you really hope the person responds, because you crave their attention.

Roughly the idea is that you intentionally don't send the message and then after 30 minutes, 8 hours, 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, you ask yourself what impact not sending the message had on your life? Did not sending the message negatively impact your life? Did you stop breathing, did the world stop spinning? What exactly was the horrific negative consequences of not sending the message?

The above is a very rough idea of CBT, but basically you scaffold, going from easy behaviors you can take to deal with being "needy" to more difficult behaviors of not being "needy". It is a bit more difficult to describe because "needy" is rather subjective. A more concrete example is a person afraid of heights. They take a 1 step up a ladder, then 4 steps, then 8 steps, then they are standing on a roof, then the top of a building, then a cliff. At each stage they ask themselves if they are okay, if they are breathing, if the world is still spinning, if there is anything truly negative about heights. They might still not necessarily enjoy heights, but the issue doesn't control their life anymore. The small action of taking a first step, then 4 steps, begins the process. If "needy" is something you want to work on, use a similar process. Figure out your small steps you can take related to being "needy".
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#9

Postby pizaaaa » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:09 pm

Thanks a bunch Richard! It does make sense. I sincerely hope that my neediness is the reason why I can't make friends lol. Otherwise it will be a wasted effort. As you noticed, it's so subjective and so hard to pinpoint how people feel about you and what you did wrong/right in the process of building a relationship.
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