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Help with dismal social situation


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Hi everyone,


I've come to realize that I lack social skills. I am a junior in college and can count the friends I have using the fingers on one hand, and I'm not even particularly close to them. I have such a difficult time starting small talk and trying to keep a conversation going. One of the problems is that I don't even care enough to try at times. I mean, I do want to have friends I can share my experiences with, but it's just easier not to try and live life on my own, yet I know life will be less fulfilling that way because we're social animals. I am a very introverted person; I like my solitude and would rather have a few friends I can count on than many friends, but right now it seems like I have neither. Sometimes, college feels really lonely because I hardly have friends here. And the problem is compounded by the fact that I go to college on the other side of the country, so I see my family or friends back home only a few times a year.


I feel that it's already too late. I'm already a junior. I'll graduate next year and move on with the next phase of my life, whether that be entering graduate school or the workforce. I'm almost resigned to the path of friendless college years, but I worry about having to deal with this for the rest of my life. My social skills are very poor. Even when I have things to say, I refrain from speaking because I always end up fearing what others will think of me. Sometimes I can't think of ways to carry on a conversation, or think that I am boring the other person. When I've had a few drinks, I feel more socially "normal", and am able to socialize with less inhibition, but I can't live my life drunk.


A recent experience acutely reminded me of my lack of social skills. I went on a spring break field trip to Europe with 20 other students (most of whom did not know each other), and I was on the sidelines, ignored and friendless, the entire time. The trip lasted two weeks, and the whole time I was pretty much silent and extremely inhibited socially. There were some people that naturally fit in because they had good people skills and could make people laugh, but I was on the opposite end of the spectrum. I should have had fun on the trip, like most people did, but instead I felt terrible about not being able to integrate myself within the group. This summer, I will be studying abroad for two months, and I don't want the same situation to come up. I want to improve my social skills before then. I don't expect to be the life of the party, but I want to be able to hold a conversation and maybe make friends.


I feel like I've wasted a large portion of my college career. College should be about meeting new people and new friends, but I don't have the skills to make that happen.


Why is it so difficult for me? Any help?

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Alot of people can't stand to be alone at all, so the upside is that you enjoy your solitude.


I think that the more you focus on it the harder it probably gets. Could you get involved in activities that bring about conversations more naturally rather than having to try to make small talk? Maybe some kind of volunteer organization where you're working at something like a food bank or Habitat for Humanity or a club revolving around an activity that interests you might make things a little easier and would be good practice for you before you go away.

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Absolutely you should use them! Don't feel awkward about it at all, that's what they're there for. I can tell you that I've seen alot of students come to these forums with posts very similar to yours. Going to college or university and being away from family can be a very lonely time and you a can be sure that the counselors at your school will be very familiar with what you're going through and they'll be able to offer very practical and useful advice to you. Just talking about it will start to make you feel better. Why don't you go tomorrow and get started so that you can start to look forward to your trip this summer? It sounds like a great opportunity and you could have a great time...it would be nice if you could start to look forward to it rather than feel anxiety about it.

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