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How do I make friends?!


sdjeff

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I have two freinds. they are married but separated and at war with each other. THis has been hard on me for a lot of reasons. Besides them and my sister and a guy I know with sz that lives too far away I have nobody.

I've been trying to reach out online but I have had little to no success. I have a myspace page and a profile at nolongerlonely.com. I've been too afraid to do much on either. I can't afford the popular dating sites. besides, online stuff is awquard.

Even then, I need real flesh and blood people I can touch and see. That I can drive to.

I've tried to go to clubs and bars but all I do is sit there and stare at my drink. I watch the people around me having more fun than me. The very thought of approaching somebody is completeley terrifying. I'm sure I look pretty unapproachable anyway.

I can't find people with common interests mainly because I have no interests. Nothing really holds any pleasure for me anymore. I have nothing to talk about.

Flesh and blood people scare me but I need to learn to get along. I just don't know how.

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Hi Jeff,

Flesh and blood people scare me too. And sometimes they annoy me. And lots of times I've had no interests. I've also found clubs and bars to be wastelands for the most part (but that part of my life is a long time ago).

My guess is that you are a young guy. Are you a nice guy? You probably are. You sound like you are shy. Maybe instead of focusing on the larger, more unpredictable problem of friends, you could think about something you might like to do.

This will sound corny, but it is true. People love their hobbies, and they love it when someone else wants to get interested in it with them. That's one way to meet people. I don't mean woodworking alone in your basement. Here are some things I have tried and liked: horseback riding, fly fishing, hiking, downhill and cross country skiing, watercolor painting, biking. Biking is the favorite, and cyclists are generally congenial types, enthusiastic about riding.

Ok, I lean towards the outdoors for my activities, and I tend to be a loner, but you don't have to be. you can start that way if you want, and share your activity when you are ready.

I know all this is hard. Friendship is something that happens when you are not paying too much attention to it, IMO. I am a middle aged houswife wrapped up in taking care of my kids. I'm not all that social, and I did not expect to find a close friend at this stage of my life. But I did. Or one found me.

This will happen for you too. If you think you are not interested in anything, that is where you should start. Allow yourself the joy of having some fun. The friend(s) will follow.

Be well,

Alice

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I know you said a lot of things do not hold your interest, but is there SOMETHING you could enjoy at least a little that you could volunteer for? There are all kinds of opportunites where you can be helpful, meet other people and possibly develop longterm friendships.

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usually meeting people at bars won't work because the people you meet are either drunk or just interested in finding someone for that night. not all of them, like when i go out i am neither drunk (anymore!), or out to find someone for the night, but i do have a boyfriend so that would rule someone like me out for you.

alice and wz are right- people generally won't find you, you usually have to find them. in the case of my best friend, i found him, and he was on the receiving end of being found. he was so shy that i had to almost stalk him to get him to come around, but when did, it was very well worth it.

finding interests and people who share your interests is a good way to start out. do you like to read? even a book club that meets every so often would expose you to people.

are you trying to meet friends, a girlfriend, or just all of the above? obviously you don't want to go to dating sites on the net to find friends, that is, unless you want to date your friends, who you haven't made yet ;)

but i'm not an expert at the friend thing either. this has been informative for me too, as i generally am a loner and don't reach out to people very often. i don't have many close friends. i've scared them all away by being bipolar.

loon

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i read this article in psychology today at my shrink's office (yes yes, it's a silly magazine. and the link sucks because you can't read the whole article). anyway, i'm not sure that i learned anything practical from the article in terms of making friends, but i found it interesting that they've found that people feel closer to people that they do things for rather than the other way around. so asking someone to do something for you is somehow more psychologically bonding than doing something for that person.

i wish i had some practical advice for you.

making friends seems like such a complicated dance that i'm amazed there's even an article about it.

volunteering sounds like one idea. i've made friends volunteering at animal shelters before. not saying you should go to an animal shelter, pick your own cause, just that being around people all the time doing things with them is maybe the easiest way to ease into knowing people and making friends. if conversation falters at least there are envelopes to stuff or dogs to walk, etc. and the act of volunteering at the same place automatically creates a common interest between you and the other volunteers.

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Places to volunteer:

Nursing homes

Libraries

Boys/girls clubs or YMCA/YWCA

Big Brother

Soup Kitchens

Habitat for Humanity

Literacy Volunteers of America

Food banks

Arts organizations (museums, historical houses, community orchestras)

Salvation Army

Churches & Synagogues

If you look outward---and find someone you can help---you will meet other people.

If you look inward, the only person you will meet is you.

I have also met people while hanging out in bookstores, walking in a park, visiting a zoo, attending a public performance outdoors and visiting museums.

olga

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Oh my god, Penny, you're going to drive me nuts. Haha. I'd really like do read the rest of that article. ;)

I suck at making friends. I am very friendly, and I am actually really good at making aquaintances- people that you're friendly with, but don't ever see outside of a given circumstance (work, class, the grocery store, whatever). But I can almost never seem to bring people, even people who I like and seem to get along with, from that aquaintance level to a friend, to someone I feel like I could call or hang out with outside of given circumstance.

I also really will probably never ever call you until I feel really comfortable with you or unless you've given me clear parameters about the call (I have no idea when it's appropriate to call people so I just don't unless I'm absolutely positive it's okay, like they've cleared it with me beforehand or they're my sister), so you have to be pretty proactive to befriend me. Most people don't want to chase after someone to be their friend, so I don't make many friends. Haha.

But... I know the (very very) few people in my life must really like me, because they basically have to claw at me tooth and nail to get me to return their phone calls.

Anyway... my only piece of practical friend advice is make one friend and then become friends with all their friends. Some people think this is bad practice, but it's almost the only way I've ever made friends in my life. It's the only reason I know more than 6 people on the planet. If you can be friends with one person who you think is pretty cool, chances are a lot of their friends are pretty cool, too. It's easier to befriend your friends' friends than it is befriending a stranger.

Heh.

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First of all you must develop some interests. If you have no interests, it's really hard when you DO meet people if you have nothing to talk about, nothing to share, nothing in common.

If you can't think of anything, I'd suggest you do a "brainstorm" and write down anything that comes to mind that you might like to do one day, and things you've seen or read about that interest you. Write it down, no matter how small or how crazy it might seem. Then, depending on what you've written down, try to think of ways you can develop these interests. Since I don't know you and what you like, I'll give some suggestions:

sport: there might be clubs you can join, eg. tennis club, kayaking lessons, a tramping/hiking group, dancing lessons? (very social), a swimming club, the gym, group fitness classes like aerobics, a local walking group

hobbies or books: there might be clubs in your area for certain hobbies, visit the library and see what they have going there, read the newspaper to find out about upcoming events in your area.

travel: go on an organised tour somewhere, long trips or short day trips from your city. It's not always tourists on there, local people do them too at times.

How about an evening class in something? You might get ideas when you see what's being offered. A class in making cocktails? a cooking class? learn to play chess class?

Just some suggestions.

It's easier to make friends when you go to a place or event where people are open to meeting other people, rather than going about their daily lives.

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Jeff: I find that I'm much more approachable when I put myself in places that are designed to be more social and less pickup oriented. I know what you mean about the bar scene. I also know what it's like not to have many hobbies. What do you do that makes you feel good? Combine that with other people that are the same way and you have instant rapport. For me personally, I like Karaoke. It breaks down the barrier between you and other people in the bar. It's the only thing I've ever done in a bar that I'm willing to do by myself. You might have to stretch a little and take some risks. You might have to put yourself in situations that are initially uncomfortable but will warm up to. What about a walking club? There's something about walking with other people that makes it very easy to talk and walk, and exercise helps your mood.

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