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Thread: I'm unable to grow close to anyone

  1. #1
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    I'm unable to grow close to anyone

    Hello. I wanted to talk about something that's been bothering me for a very long time.
    Mostly since middle school, I had a hard time forming bonds with others. An obvious reason is because I have always been extremely shy, but even those who are shy have at least a few close friends. I had a lot of problems and mistakes I have made during those times that would be so long a list that I probably shouldn't write here, but mostly relating to low self-esteem, being excessively defensive and trying to be someone who I wasn't for fear of being judged. Pretty stereotypical traits of some middle schoolers.
    I did end up making friends after going through others who most likely didn't truly appreciate or respect me, but looking back, I was nothing but a second, if not third or fourth choice. I was nobody's best friend. I was always like a background character who would soon disappear. I hardly ever contact the friends from when I had left.
    In high school, I was mostly seen as the quiet, smart, kind of smiley girl. I did make friends who I would have lunch with and sometimes go out with, but again, I was still insignificant. Meaning, I wasn't able to form a real bond between anyone. I don't remember ever talking about my feelings or something difficult I was going through to anyone who are my "friends". I was a girl with this calm, happy persona who no one ever really got to know.
    I just don't know why I'm like this. Maybe it's because I'm very insecure about myself, maybe it's because I'm extremely introverted or shy, maybe my past experiences prevents me from opening myself up to others as a human being. I don't know the reason and I don't know how to find it out or fix it.
    I'm just tired of this life in which no one knows who I am as a person, not even myself at this point, and going through this endless cycle of talking to new people and quickly drifting away, and then trying to meet other new people and having the same thing happen yet again.
    Sorry for not making much sense. Any advice or comments about similar experiences are appreciated. Thank you for reading.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Are there troubles at home? The good news is you are able to make friends and seem to have good insight. Join some clubs and groups and sports. You can make friends that way without feeling in the spotlight or the need to be "best".

    The best way to make a friend is to be a friend. That means caring about people and taking the initiative, inviting people along etc. It's not about emotion dumping or using friends as therapists.

    If there are problems with perfectionism, you may want to talk to a trusted adult family member teacher etc about that.
    Originally Posted by chippie008
    my past experiences prevents me from opening myself up to others as a human being.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    It makes sense and the answer is in your own post - fear of being judged. That fear comes from your own inner self - a tendency to judge others harshly and yourself even worse, a belief in perfection that doesn't exist in reality, a refusal to recognize the simple fact that to be human is to be flawed. Learn how to be kinder and more forgiving to yourself and to others and you'll find that forming deeper friendships is not that difficult anymore. The wall that you are putting up is your own to take down by admitting that you are not perfect first to yourself and then out loud to others. Instead of hiding behind a fake all is well smile, show some humanity. Start with baby steps. Also, consider trying some counseling to help you along - think of it like getting a personal coach to help you come out of that defensive shell.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DancingFool
    It makes sense and the answer is in your own post - fear of being judged. That fear comes from your own inner self - a tendency to judge others harshly and yourself even worse, a belief in perfection that doesn't exist in reality, a refusal to recognize the simple fact that to be human is to be flawed. Learn how to be kinder and more forgiving to yourself and to others and you'll find that forming deeper friendships is not that difficult anymore. The wall that you are putting up is your own to take down by admitting that you are not perfect first to yourself and then out loud to others. Instead of hiding behind a fake all is well smile, show some humanity. Start with baby steps. Also, consider trying some counseling to help you along - think of it like getting a personal coach to help you come out of that defensive shell.
    Great post, and I agree. If you're in school, your tuition covers mental health counseling on campus. You've already paid for the service, so why not use it and work with an expert in this area?

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  6. #5

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    I understand you!

    [QUOTE=chippie008;7204592]
    hey there :)
    look, i understand exactly what you're going through.
    I feel like I'm listening to my experience, but through another person's perspective.

    I used to be really worried- is there something wrong with me? Am I going to ever mean something to anyone?


    Even my closest friends don't know enough about me.
    I felt, feel, semi-automatic.
    That I don't matter to anyone.

    Reading the other replies to your post, I can't help adding that I have tried.
    Tried my best to be a good friend, express myself a little.

    In fact, there are many people out there who trust me and open up to me, but they little realize that I myself never confided in them.

  7. #6
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    I really appreciate your reply. Thank you for sharing your similar experiences.
    It's like I know that I need to express myself, show who the "real me", and "open up", but I just don't know how to do that.
    It's like I don't even know my own personality anymore, so how am I supposed to express it?

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    What is your life like? Do you work out? Do you have any hobbies? What do you like to do on your spare time? What music do you listen to? All of this is part of who you are.

    Generally, you connect with people who enjoy similar things. In big social settings that's more difficult as not everyone is going to like every single thing you enjoy. Thus, how do you find some common ground with someone then? Well, people are more receptive to others who show interest in them / what they like.
    Say, you dislike tapestries but met a friendly fellow who loves them. So you start to ask questions about tapestries and then see were the conversations takes you.


    It's less about you, more about showing interest in others. The more you show a genuine interest in others, they will reciprocate. Lastly, others are more captivated by those with a positive attitude and a friendly smile.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by chippie008
    It's like I don't even know my own personality anymore, so how am I supposed to express it?
    By saying this ^.

    First you can thank any friend who opens up to you for trusting you with what they've just said. This helps them to feel heard.

    To help them feel understood, you can repeat back something they've told you and explain that you can appreciate why they feel the way they feel. If you have a similar experience to relate, you can ask them if they would like to hear it.

    One thing you can confide in someone who has confided in you is that you don't even know your own personality anymore, so you find it difficult to express it. But you remember what it was like to believe that you knew yourself, and you can recount examples of that time and how you believe you're no longer that person.

    There's no shame in growing away from who you were when you were younger. So identify the personality traits to which you aspire, and talk about those. Explain your difficulties in getting there. Thank the person for hearing you.


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