Well, where do I even begin? I have one million things floating around in my head about what exactly to type. Now that I know what I’m going to time, my anxiety will probably be through roof tomorrow. Right now, my hands are shaking, heart’s racing, and I’m covered in sweat. I just hope I have the courage to leave this and not feel compelled to delete it. But here goes nothing. Thing is, being an effective communicator is not exactly something I am good at. For starters, as far back as I can remember, I've always felt more comfortable being alone. I grew up that way. As a kid, it never bothered me to find a corner of the park to go play in by myself. Really, I preferred it that way. I think it was a general lack of trust for other people. And as I got older it seemed second nature to me to be alone. I never thought anything of it. I never really viewed it as a problem, I thought of it as just I was a normal person who just preferred being alone. In reality, it was my comfort zone and it and to an extent, it still is. But it wasn't until a few years ago that I started to notice things about myself.
I don’t have a lot of friends, but I do have a small inner circle, if you will. But even then, I noticed as much as I have in common with them, I was still different. Early on, I would blame that on the people around me rather than myself. My friends love going to parties, meeting new people, being in large groups, talking about their everyday problems and confiding in one another. I just never had the urge to do all/any of those things. I didn't bother me to keep to myself, or so I thought. Slowly I started comparing myself to all the other people my age. Most people my age crave interaction with others, having friends, going to social gatherings, being in constant contact, expressing their feelings to close ones, confiding in people, and being a part of something. And while those things are nice, it didn't faze me to not have any of that. Not that I didn't go out and do things, I just always did them by myself. Once I kind of started to get that feeling that something was wrong. I chalked it up as nonsense, and to prove it to myself I tried to be more open and active with groups of people. Looking back at it, I think because of all the time I spent doing things be myself, I found I've never really developed social skills. I found it difficult to hold conversations with people without that awkward silence finding its way into the conversation. Even worse, I found I actually got extremely uncomfortable interacting with people. I can make small talk with a clerk at the gas station or a person in an elevator, but casual conversations scare the bejeezus out of me. I never really had anxiety before this because I never forced myself to interact with people. But after I read up on social anxiety and detachment disorder I found they described me to the letter.
When I would interact with my friends, they were able to express their affection and their thoughts for/of me better than I could for them. Not that I didn’t like them, I just always had difficulty showing it. Whenever I would try, it would be interpreted wrong and ruin the friendship. Guys would think I’m too eager to be their friend and girls would think the only reason I would talk to them is because I was infatuated with them. With a lot of girls I would meet, relationships always entered my mind, but I always preferred to be friends first. But still, it never worked, which over time, didn’t make me very optimistic. Relationships in particular have always been a sore subject for me. Everybody that knows me personally always wants to see what that side of me is like. Attracting a girl was never a problem, keeping her attention however was. It was incredibly frustrating not being able to send the right message and come to a mutual understanding. Because of my fear of being around people and facing rejection, it was an incredibly long process to get in a certain mindset and muster up the courage to ask both girls and guys alike to casually go and hang out or even talk with me. Deep down, it would frustrate me when I would get rejected because of the difficult mental process I had to put myself through leading up to asking them.
The ones that didn’t reject me terrified me, because I would dread those inevitable thoughts of wondering WHEN it would happen, and not IF it would happen. I was always convinced it would happen because of my inability to effectively communicate and show the appropriately due degree of affection. There have been SO many times I wanted to give up. Initially, I almost deleted my profile on here a few times as a result. Somehow, I have been able to not only stop myself, but consistently message people on here. Ironically, I hate being ignored and I hate it when people disappear on me. Simply put, that’s rejection. At the same time, that’s what’s I’ve been known to do out of fear of interaction. I am by no means proud to admit that, quite the opposite actually. And as you might be able to guess, I am also very reluctant to admit any of this.
How do you tell people you want learn to be friends without making them afraid to interact with you? How do you tell people “I avoid friends and strangers alike, but I’m trying to be your friend right now”? What do you say when people say “you need to open up more and not go be by yourself”? How do you forge friendships/relationships with this floating in your head every second of your day? In fact, this is all so frustrating; it’s reduced me to tears several times, which is A) not something I do a lot of and B) something I NEVER admit to. I’m proud to admit that this site has helped me a lot. I found it difficult to meet people on here with this problem. This doesn’t surprise me, given the fact that most people with these thought patterns typically don’t try to interact and relate to people. I’ve been privileged enough to be able to both talk with certain people on here on a consistent basis and chat with a few others. And I’ve gotten better about remembering that even if all those friendships amount to nothing in the end, they are still worth having. Yesterday, I slowly began to realize just how much they mean to me and how much I find myself looking forward to that interaction as each day passes. Which If you understood anything I’ve type so far, you would know that that is not a feeling that I am familiar with having. It’s both strange and to a small extent, unnerving to me. I will not stop. I refuse to give up. That is the reason I am still here. In the meantime, I am currently taking steps to see a therapist and further my understanding of what it means to be a friend.