I think I've finally realized something – my inability to make friends isn't due to anything I've done wrong. It's because the people I associate with suck.

I've been going to these Social Anxiety groups looking for help when I don't need it. I talk just fine. Yeah, I have some issues but I think most people do. I'm not afraid to meet new people, I just need to open up a little, but I'm friendly and I don't think I come off as socially anxious like the other people in my group do.

What made me realize that a lot of people (a lot, not all) today suck is an interaction I had this morning with a fellow student. This is someone who is, for all intents and purposes, rather friendly with me. Despite this fact, I have failed to create any sort of deep connection with her. Why? Maybe our "conversation" today will show you:

*******

Me: Good morning!

Her: Hey! When did you come in? I didn't even see you!

Me: Oh just now, someone was walking in so I decided to slip in the open door.

Her: Ah I see.

Me: I saw your proposal for your website, it sounds really great!

Her: Oh thank you! What are you doing yours on again?

Me: An author, I just picked some of his books up a few days ago so I decided to make it about him.

Her: Ah I see, that's cool.

Me: I wasn't sure what sort of features I should try to add since most people probably won't have heard of him and I wasn't sure what I could do that people would use.

Her: Yeah.

Me: But I figure, even if no one uses something, I can still put it up and make sure it works. I'm thinking of doing a review section, allowing people to comment on the different books.

Her: That's cool.

*******

What ended up happening was she began to tune me out. She began to turn away bit by bit and became more and more disinterested. But you watch – at some point, she'll bring up her own website and expect me to listen in with extreme interest while she discusses her fabulously awesome ideas!

The class before this one, I asked her for help with an assignment that I missed and she brushed me off. All she told me was to read the articles the professor had listed but none of them seemed to indicate how to actually finish the project so I was confused and embarrassed. I felt stupid compared to her, compared to Miss. Perfect. And yet when she messes up her code in class, I help her look over it and I've never once asked her for help with my own because I'm almost always able to do the necessary work without needing assistance. Just today her code wouldn't work so I pointed out what was wrong because I understood the error message and she didn't. Is it too much to ask that she help me in the same manner? What about me suggests that I'm there for everyone's use and can be tossed away whenever?

I went to this Social Anxiety group thinking it'd help me. I went there after I was suggested it by my counselor/therapist/whatever. But you know what? This group came about 4 years too late. If I had taken part in it between the ages of 13 and 18, it would have helped me. But I'm 22 now and I've had 3 jobs, been to 3 schools, and been in 3 majors (a lot of 3's in my life atm, huh?). I've been there, done that. I've forced myself to endure uncomfortable interviews, trained myself to behave a certain way, have forced myself to talk more and more, bit by bit, and have grown from being a scared – strike that – terrified little girl drowning in her tears to a grown woman who, while still in the process of growing, can handle herself quite fine. This group is a waste of my time. It will never teach me how to be friends with people who are self-centered and self-serving and I don't want to be friends with that kind of person anyways so screw it.

It seems to be an issue with my generation. Almost no one I know really shows an interest in other people. Almost everything is designed for a ME ME ME mentality – Facebook, MySpace, Twitter. Do I really need to know that you are brushing your teeth now? No. Do I really need to befriend 10,000 total strangers to look "cool"? No. I think it's a cultural thing and I'm not going to sweat it anymore.

1 Comment
  1. quiet1 4 years ago

    I realize that this reply is 7 years too late…
    It’s been my experience that most people lack listening skills. They like to talk about themselves and want to be listened to. However, they provide very little feedback when you have something to say.

    When they respond with, “oh okay”, “I see”, “cool”, it’s really disheartening and difficult to keep the conversation going.

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