Can’t make friends
Ok, I think anyone who meets me thinks I’m a very lucky person. Indeed I’m grateful for a lot I’ve accomplished. I have a well payed job (not making millions but enough for my family), a wife and great kids. We leave comfortably in a decent house.
However one thing has always tormented me since I was little. Despite my best efforts to always be nice and respectful, people tend to not like me. Mostly other men. Many are polite with me and receive me well, but always in a group there are a few who don’t seem like me at all.
In some groups, a few doesn’t even bother to look at me and say hi. But in most groups, whilst we can engage in good conversations during say a party, nothing really develops after and effective becomes more an acquaintance rather than friends.
Feeling I have is that wether I’m there or not it is indifferent. When I try to be more present and speak up to be more of a presence in parties, my voice seems to fade away as people seem to hear but not listen.
This is killing me as I struggle to be part of any group. I play sports and can’t bind with the team, resulting in slowly stop to being part of the team. At work, I don’t make the strong bonds between peers. I can’t make friends with the parents of my kids friends, and miss opportunities to create a nice group of friends for them as well.
Any suggestions or words would be much appreciated.
Thanks and apologies the long text.
I have did fered from a similar issue for most of my life, so maybe I am not the best person to give advice 😂 when I was a child I had no problems and had lots of friends but when I went to high school it all changed and I struggled to connect with anyone. I found some people at university who I really connected with but sadly lost touch, people moved away etc. And then I got my first job and it all changed for me, suddenly I was surrounded by 20 or so of “my people”, they were like family to me and I was extremely happy there for 7 years. But it all changed (long story) and the company ceased to exist. Since then I have again struggled to find my niche and have come up against some people who have been downright horrible to me for no real reason I can see. And some people seem to dislike me on sight for no real reason I can see. What I will say is that maybe you are not everyone’s cup of tea but just keep persisting until you find “your people”, you may be the type (like me) who rarely connects but when they do, connect deeply. The other thing I will say is that I grew up in a very strict household as a child so was taught to be a people pleaser so I was always polite etc. But the reality is that people gravitate towards honesty and authenticity, people want to see your soul. Paradoxically I have found that people seem to respond positively to me more now that I have decided that I am going to be myself and be less “people pleasing”, I think people can just sense ”fakeness” and trust you a bit more. The other thing is that I joined a group sport and, although people didn’t necessarily warm to me immediately, over time they became more open and studies have shown that people learn to respond positively to you if they see your face repeatedly, so that may be another way?
Thanks for your post.
I understand exactly how you feel, often I feel that people look right through me as if I'm not even there. Often they will begin talking over me when i'm part way through saying something or won't even acknowledge me.
I am rarely ever included in anything or I am always the last person that anyone ever considers if at all. I am invisible.
Reading this anyone could be forgiven for thinking that I might have a difficult personality or that i'm somehow offensive in some way. But people have often from time time told me that I am a good person and I think that generally I am a pretty normal,well adjusted, average guy,but those same people for some reason don't then want to have much to with me, it's almost like that I just get taken for granted all of the time.
I, like you have also been lucky and accomplished a lot in my life for which I'm grateful for. I'm just getting tired of always being the one to make the effort to get to know people and get nothing back in return. I'm very frightened as I get older of always being completely on my own.
Sorry I don't mean to make this post all about me, and I guess this might not be much help to you. I just wanted to say that there are other out there whom feel the way you do and that you're not alone. Unfortunately I don't have any answers for you, but I at least completely get how frustrating and sad this can make you feel.
All the very best to you, take good care of yourself. Maybe the good people out there may have some suggestions or insight for us?
Thanks heaps for sharing. That is exactly it. I’m always trying to be very approachable to everyone, specially when meeting new people. Always making an effort to be nice. But I don’t see to get much in return. Like you, I’m also a very regular adjusted guy, easy to talk to, very reasonable. But yet many people simply don’t like me for no reason. They seem to want to make a point to not talk to me or look at me at all. People that I cross paths with regularly.
I have tried different approaches, from be very talkative and pro active, to be reserved and give a lot space to people, but the end is always the same. It happened many times for me to engage in a very captivating conversation with someone(s), to not be remembered next time.
I understand your fear to be alone on your own. I feel the same as don’t se to have anyone to be with other than wife and kids.
I’m not sure about you, but I’m very tired of all of that to the point of starting opting to withdraw completely. My bday is coming and wife asked if I wanted to do something. I told her I don’t. I know we would have a full house of guests but none would make me feel really welcomed. Same with sports, I’m almost giving up playing because can’t feel that group feeling that everyone else in the team seem to have.
It is indeed very frustrating, as you said, hopefully there is some good people out there that can give us some insights.
All the best!
Thanks for replying. I do shoes already and have been doing for 4 years with my current team. Many of them welcome well, but far from becoming actual friends. Everything ends when the game ends till the next game, whilst they seem to bind very well amongst them. Some are indeed very nice, but there are others who makes an effort not to look at me at all.
It seems sometimes that this is a bit of alpha-dog thing. I.e. I’m reasonably good at what I play and those who are not are the ones who generally are very nice to me, whilst those who are good don’t like me. Perhaps because I don’t try to be an alpha-dog and don’t act like one. But what ended up happening is that those are normally the very vocal people that everyone listens to, and occult if they don’t like me (can’t say why) they won’t talk good things about me, of course.
I get your point of stop being people pleasing. I tried that too, but I forget to most of times, it is not natural. Or when trying not to be people pleasing I just ended up building a wall in front of me.
What you said about honesty and authenticity, I see this happening more with women and less with men. Don’t know if you feel the same.
I've found sensitive people to be those who struggle the most in some ways. When I say sensitive, what I mean is those who are sensitive enough to be able to sense/read a room easily, for example. I like to see sensitivity as an ability, btw. So, it's like you can feel who are the alphas (as mentioned), who are the narcissists, who are the one's who are considerate, who are the open minded wonder filled (wonderful) ones and so on. Everyone's just got a vibe to them. To add to the challenge, we can also sense our self being triggered. I'm a gal who tends to feel a little rage when someone intentionally ignores me for some reason. When we're a seriously easygoing, kind and thoughtful person and treat others with consideration and respect, such rudeness can be triggering. I think what we could be sensing is some form of self righteousness from people who have given themself the right to treat others poorly because it suits them.
Human nature absolutely fascinates me. In the early years of primary school we're all pretty open minded about who we play with but then it becomes about finding the tribe we vibe with (a sense of belonging). In secondary school, if you find your tribe or tribes it's great, if you don't then that's years of what can feel like hell on earth for some. Some tribes are brutal (psychological cannibals who will eat you alive bit by bit), some are easy going and will let us in conditionally and some are unconditional. Same deal beyond secondary school. A lot of folk remain tribe kind of people and that's not our fault. You could say exclusion is the fault.
I find an added test comes down to being somewhat of an introvert. My introverted nature serves me well in a lot of ways but there are some cases where it doesn't. While it can take a lot of time and effort to become a part of a friendship group, I have to really push myself outside my comfort zone with both time and effort. Easy to do what's easy, much harder to achieve what lays beyond our comfort zone. Have to say, the people I always get along with the easiest are sensitive people. You just get a sense of where each other is coming from. Sensitive people are typically philosophical in some way, wonderful and open minded (they do wonder about a lot), they sense when each other needs inspiration, compassion, an open heart and listening ear etc. Perhaps the most amusing part comes down to chatting with another sensitive who can also sense all the highly triggering people in the room. Makes for amusing conversation 😁
Thanks for the reply. I can relate to everything you said.
This ability, as you called it, fells more like a karma. I don’t think the self righteousness out there on many occasions even realise their rudeness or what it can cause. So they can continue live in their blissfulness of their ignorance. Whilst I, same as you, get triggered by their rudeness or inconsideration. I often feel rage as well, but I tend to absorb that. I have tried a few times before letting it get out, but I think had always resulted in a poorer outcome for me. Even though, as you can probably guess I would have tried to do in the most respectful way. It did lead to what I think is a very good emotional intelligence from my end, but not sure if that was worth it.
I fell this is very exhausting, and continues to drain a lot of my energy almost every day. Which is what I think leads to being introvert, the need of self time to recharge that energy. Hence my recurrent thoughts of withdrawing completely and not put effort in meeting people (even close friends).
I would guess the number of sensitive people is much smaller than the rest. Or I’m very unlucky. The vast majority of people are in the “let us in conditionally”, I think, and that is why it makes so hard to make the strong friendships. It never feels like natural friendship when you have to be aware of the terms of engagement. I haven’t had much luck in finding people that are also sensitive. I guess it would have been amazing if I could have someone like that next to me.
Interesting your point about the open mind in the early years of primary school. Coincidently or not, young kids seem to like me a lot, almost instantaneously. And that liking seems to grow more and more as they spend time with me.
I think kids are naturally drawn to inspiration, kindness and all the good qualities of a person. I think they have a tendency to bring the best out in us too. They can naturally trigger the adventurer in us (who loves to add ventures to life), the wonderer (who wonders why the sky is blue or the leaves are green), the feeler in us (who longs to connect with and feel a sense of joy), the clown in us (who just thrives on nonsense and other amusing stuff). Kids are amazing people who can help us re-member our self or put our self back together.
I used to find depressing people...well...depressing. You know the kinds of people who lead you to feel like you're not good enough, you don't deserve the time of day, you don't measure up in some way etc etc. Then I began to wonder about them, what makes them tick the way they do. Then I decided, on occasion, to follow my sense of wonder and let it speak for me. I smile when I say expressing our sense of wonder aloud definitely does not make us popular. Can sound like 'Do you know why you're so degrading? Has anyone ever led you to wonder about that?' or 'I can't help but wonder what leads you to be so rude/arrogant. I have to know as it's driving me crazy not knowing'. At first, when I began with such wondering, something in me said 'You can't say/ask that!'. Then I realised it often comes down to the way we've been conditioned. 'Don't be confrontational. Be careful what you say. Don't upset anyone. Think before you speak'. And on it goes. Before you know it, the people pleaser in you has been fully channeled to life and you can have a hell of a time getting it to take a back seat to the wonderer in you who's desperate to drive the conversation.
Should add I also wonder about amazing people. I wonder what makes them so amazing, so thoughtful, so open minded, compassionate, caring, sensitive (able to sense so easily). Again, I smile when I think about how we can be suddenly labelled as 'rude', 'an a-hole', 'horrible', 'thoughtless' etc, when we come to wonder out loud at depressing highly questionable people. I figure, we haven't suddenly turned into some horrible person, we may simply have given our self the freedom to wonder in ways that feed our self esteem 🙂
Honestly I have the same problem. I've kind of lost faith in people lately.
I've actually gotten used to not expecting anything from anyone. I'm scared of attaching/making friendships to anyone anymore.
I agree with the other user mentioning that people who are more sensitive get attacked so much more easily. It's like people see an easy target and attack or don't even bother. Extroverts tend to misunderstand introverts, and unfortunately those with the loudest voice get heard despite most likely not having anything to say. A few people I've met along the way and have been lost to suicide were the loveliest human beings.
Sometimes I literally can hear people ripping into me from the other side of the office sometimes and have to bite my tongue and 'be the bigger person' and not acknowledge pathetic behaviour. Unfortunately, childish behaviour might come out when someone is uncomfortable, stressed or threatened somehow? I have no idea. Don't take it personally otherwise it may eat you alive.
I'm also not the best at small talk when i'm not feeling my best and tend to be very awkward and put my foot in it and then regret saying anything.
It messes with your confidence and self worth and any attempt to open up to someone feels like it somehow may get used against you. Or some weird 'mirroring' behaviour ends up happening in my workplace and it makes me feel even more insular and wanting to detach even further.
I also dated someone recently who made me feel so good at the start and then progressively so uncomfortable, misunderstood and like there was something wrong with me for not feeling anything for this person as they tried to turn me into someone I didn't want to be.
Anyway, do you feel it could be an inherited problem? ie. do you have relatives that this also happens to?
Has it happened to you as a child? Could it be a worry that has resurfaced from a childhood trauma? Or are you just a bit more of a quiet person?
I'd say just chill, and try not to focus on the desire to have a group or belong - at least for a little while. Work on your confidence and self worth. If you've met a few people you get along with in the past, chances are you're just probably going to click with a smaller pool of people. And that's alright. Maybe you're the kind of person who is better at fewer, deeper friendships rather than anything loud and surface level.
Perhaps focus on a hobby instead and perhaps you can bond with others through that hobby?
Are you comfortable doing solo tasks? Do you like your own company? Can you try a new hobby without fear or embarrassment?
You're very lucky to have a wonderful wife and great kids to keep you company when you get home. There's nothing wrong with that. A lot of people don't even have that!
Focus on what you are good at and start there. Just know, unfortunately this happens to a lot of us.