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I have a hard time caring about other people


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I've always been a bit of an introvert, but until now I thought it was just because I was depressed. Now that I'm getting out into the world, going to school, exercising, and being around people more I've learned that I'm just not inclined to interact the way everybody else seems to.

 

This is mostly evident at college where groups of complete strangers are thrown together at the beginning of every quarter. For the first couple of weeks we're all mostly quiet and there might be a bit of idle chit-chat. I'm comfortable with that. Afterwords though people start forming deeper bonds with each other while I'm still staring blankly around the room or focusing on the subject matter.

 

It makes me feel pretty cold saying this but I just don't care enough about any of the people that I meet to want to get to know them at a serious level. I ask people what their names are, where they grew up, what they're majoring in, etc. but I do it more out of politeness than genuine interest. When I see other people interacting it seems like that stuff actually matters to them. They somehow use these trivial factoids about each other to form lasting bonds and start doing things together. I just don't get it.

 

I even feel the same way on the internet. Just by looking at people's post counts and join dates I can tell that I engage with others a lot less frequently than seems normal. People on forums read a ton of threads and spend time interacting with total strangers, but I don't spend much time reading anything if I can't directly relate to it. When I do pay attention to other people's posts I mostly see it as a duty to those who've paid attention to me and not as something that I have a genuine desire to do.

 

Is it just a matter of going through the motions? Do most people only pretend they care about each other until they actually do? Is there some sort of basic human trigger or social drive that I'm missing?

 

If somebody were to ask me if I had any friends, I'd have to say no. There are people that I'm familiar with, and we might chat for a few minutes or run into each other at a group event every couple of months, but I spend the vast majority of my time alone. Don't get me wrong, I'm still more comfortable being alone than, say, going to a party or something, but there's definitely something missing here.

 

It's really quite bizarre to me. I hear things like "make new friends and keep the old," "friendship is forever," "a friend in need is a friend indeed," "BFF," and what have you, but it all just bounces right off of me because it's so foreign. I feel like a total alien! What the hell?

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Im not sure if its schizoid but you should also look at how being depressed for a long time can have permanent effects or just lower your enjoyment of life. I hope that this isnt too hard for you because ive been depressed for a long time and its hard for myself to sometimes just see how bad things really are for me. I think its good that your trying because where im at right now i dont see myself doing that anytime soon. Hopefully this is something you can deal with and try to enjoy life alitte bit more.

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Schizoid? No I don't think so. I think you are intuned to the realities of life. Most people do just that..pretend to care. I envy you so my friend...because I'd love to be left the hell alone half the time by most people, yet I somehow attract tons to me. I am happy alone. I don't think everyone is alike. Some people are meant to observe and not be around the masses. Some people need huge heaps of so called buddies to feel important. I find i'm stronger alone. Always have been. Do I think you are an alien a freak? No I think you are wise beyond your years and that you forget not many people are on your level so its natural you will feel like an outcast.

 

I'd recommend maybe trying out budhism for you. If you are like this naturally, detatched and introverted, maybe you will see that you are actually on the right path..not going crazy like you think.

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hey lonely past. at first, u are definitely not schizoid!;p secondly, Feeling the way u feel may be because u seek a deeper connection with a human being and u want to get to that point fast and as direct as possible. U want to open urself, u have lots to say, express, shout etc, so much to give& take. These all had been stored inside because u want to feel safe in the connection then open up, care about and let others care truthfully about you as well.. i also see relationship forming a hard and slow, sometimes even vain procedure, but i know i want to get near to the persons i already love, my family, and create relations with the outer world so we both have a starting to do. always remember this: hear ur thoughts-try judging urself as less as possible, begin listening to the aspects of urself that are blocked cause they seem less familiar than other aspects. repression etc creates problems. better loosen up a bit on them, start a conversation with ur feelings, see what that Feeling and the other have to tell u. Let them "have a speak" in a sort of way. Acceptance is blessing, and so is cooperation with oneself.

 

Very Good luck to you my friend

We all suffer in one way or another

But lets suffer less;p

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Thanks a ton guys!

 

I'm still kinda frustrated, but at least now I know it's a normal human frustration.

 

I do practice meditation (though I'm not buddhist) and do spend a lot of time thinking introspectively and trying to make sense of my life. I'm emotionally open with myself, but like I said I've never had that level of openness with anybody else. I think angakog is right in that I want cut right through the surface stuff and get to this point with another human being.

 

Like everything else in my life impatience seems to be the prohibiting factor. I've always given up before I manage to get past the idle chit-chat so I've felt like that's all there ever is. I suppose I just need to stick with it longer.

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Hi LonelyPast,

I can relate and understand very well to what you are saying. I too find it difficult to relate to some people in a chit-chat kind of way (read superficial way - it seems so pointless at times - and with the people I work with the level of conversation is to say the least very "base" (read crude) at times, and not very intelligent - sorry what someone thinks about the latest Xbox game just doesn't do it for me - but that is just me - I'm interested in different things). I personally prefer to relate to people as who, what, and why they are - find out more about them and their life, I'm genuinely interested in them. I personally find it's quite effective - if you say to people that you understand them it generally does create a sort of bond, and they are grateful - they feel understood, and validates their feelings and ideas .

 

I don't know if it is my prejudice or ignorance, but I sometimes wonder if people who relate at the chit-chat level are uncomfortable relating at a more feeling level (scared of their feelings, scared at their friends finding out what they are "really" like). I also suspect some people just don't know what a feeling is. Some people express what I call "socially acceptable" emotions, a group of emotions that are "OK" to have but do not express their real emotions for some fear of being ridiculed. There are people out their who relate at a more intelligent / feeling level - this forum is proof of that. You could do the Meyers-Briggs Type indicator test (there are several of the web) which give you an idea of what personality type you are (be careful I find it very simplistic, but with a strong "cult" following - I think people, and myself in particular, are far more complex that the descriptions that are given with each type - just man trying to make the very complex, simple and loosing much of the detail on the way).

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