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Today my therapist told me that I should try to make some friends. She said that I should take my kids to the park or something like that and talk to the other parents there. That I should just go up and say hi and start a conversation.

Ummmmm, yeah right! Do people actually do that? I can't talk to someone I don't know very well. They will probably think I am just a dumb idiot. My words always come out jumbled anyway and that is with people I know, I can't imagine what it'd be like with someone I don't know.

I told her I couldn't do it and she said I should try. I can't try. And I don't know what to tell her at my next appt.

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Me, I can never just "start" a conversation either--the other person has to. Hell, even my coworkers who I've known for mo nths, I can hardly start a talk with them! So I wish I could give you some hints or something, but all I can say is that I'm pretty much in the same boat...

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for me, i only do it at work. we have set conversations, so it's easy to "sound friendly" even if i'm not.

someone looks at something, you tell them about it and someone else who maybe really liked it... they mention they're dieting or on a special diet, you can ask questions and sound like you are relating...

but for total strangers without a special outline set out for me??

not so much.

unless someone is doing an activity with me that gives us a starting point, or says something so interesting i have to butt in, i'm actually pretty quiet. *shock to those who i babble to non stop lol*

abi

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Guest Guest_patheral_*

This is going to sound strange, but it works. Take your kids to the park, sit down next to a person - or group of people - who doesn't seem too weird and watch your kids play for a bit, then *talk to yourself*.

I don't mean have a conversation with yourself, but say something out loud, while keeping your eyes on the kids, that somebody might agree with, like, "Wow, it's hot/cold/windy/whatever today!" OR "Man, those kids over there are loud/bossy/building a great sandcastle." Whatever.

The person next to you may either agree or disagree, if they don't, you can look at them and say, "Don'tcha think?"

Conversation started.

Or not.

But at least you made the effort.

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I find it very awkward to start talking to a stranger. I like it better when I'm left alone. My advice would be to talk about the other person- compliment their clothes, kids, choice of stroller. Ask about any and all babies & tell them all about your babys colic, bowel habits and sleeping pattern. This is what people talk about, I'm not kidding.

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Asking questions is a good way to start. Summer is coming up...asl about other parks...do some have swimming pools...camps for kids...is there a good coffee shop nearby...where did you get that coat...

Makes you feel less stupid than just coming up to someone and yacking.

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friends? who needs friends when you got voices.

like every thing we do it takes practice. kinda like here. i'm sure the first time you logged on, you lurked around the forums for a little while before you posted. its the same out there. if the first day you just go to park and "lurk" thats fine, its a baby step. the next day day just say hi and that might lead to a conversation.

i can tell what has not werked for me, wearing a full gas mask and surgical gloves. i think it scares people, but there is a lotta germs at the park. Bringing your dog and working on the "Kill" command. Picking on the other kids.

good luck, the first step is always the hardest.

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Hi,

I dont talk to strangers. at all. ever. (well except when I would get drunk at bars

good luck,

december

LOL!!!!!

Asking questions is a good way to start. Summer is coming up...asl about other parks...do some have swimming pools...camps for kids...is there a good coffee shop nearby...where did you get that coat...

Makes you feel less stupid than just coming up to someone and yacking.

This is perfect advice.

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My closest friend, who NEVER met a stranger, made friends everywhere--the gym, Wal-Mart, everywhere. She even made friends with waitresses in Shoney's--and I mean FRIENDS, exchange name and phone number kind. I used to look at her in awe, before I realized that that unending charm and ability happened when she was either 1) really "up" or 2) not on her meds, cause we eventually figured out she is the most BP1 person I have ever known. But boy, she can charm the pants off a dog--and I love her for it, cause I coudl just adopt those friends, and didn't have to make any of my own.

I try, really hard, to make small talk with people, but its excruitatingly hard for me. In fact, even leaving the house most days is downright painful. Combine that with a town where nobody likes anybody, and you get someone who has lived here 18 months and knows not one other person than her husband. NOT ONE. I try going to stuff--church,yoga, scrapbook things, etc., but if, like me, you do not believe in socializing with those with whom you work (dont' shit where you eat) its horrible to meet anyone here--and if you are as MI as me, impossible.

I had a therapist here who told me the same thing--"Oh, you and your husband will find a group of friends"--well, how? When,? Where? She said that every week for about 4 weeks before I figured that wasn't worth the co-pay. It was like she just thought we would just magically make friends--and neither of us are like that.

I have ,however, had some terribly meaniingful conversations in bars and at concerts with complete

strangers--lots of beer and speed makes you socialble as hell. Ah, the good ole days--

What to do? I have no idea--even when I make small talk, it goes nowhere, and I feel incredibly foolish, usually. Yeah, the woman I speak to--or even a guy--may be yearning for companionship as well--but it never goes far enough for me to determine that, because people around here are so fucking wary of everyone else.

I long for just one friend here--just one person I could call and hang out with, and go to Starbucks, and the beach with--just one. But I have about given up. I wish you luck, and more guts than me.

Me--getting off the couch is a biggie for the day. Sigh--

china, wondering what ever happened to that girl who went to South Dakota?

P.S. Can you tell that I am terminally homesick???

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i'm the outgoing one, and my best friend is the one in the shell. we seem to fit well.

i noticed him sitting alone in the cafetaria during freshman week at our college. i was a teaching assistant and wanted to befriend a poor freshman, so i went up to him and said "saving this seat for me?" and sat down. he looked like he was about to throw up all over his tray ;) but we've been peas in a pod ever since.

sometimes, you've got to get out of the comfort zone. not to say you have to be like me and just go for it, but doing things like WZ and asking questions to the other parents in the park, or complimenting what someone is wearing and then getting into a conversation about the store which leads to all kinds of other topics, you get the drift. when you do it a couple of times, it won't feel forced, and you'll feel good about it. it just takes some practice i think.

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I think you should try what your therapist suggested--but you may have to break it down into smaller steps if it is too intimidating for you. Like start by just taking your kids to the park on a regular basis. Then practice making eye contact. Then practice saying hi. Then practice giving compliments or asking a question. This should lead to conversations some of the time. The easiest way to do it is to break it into as many steps as you need to.

P.S. Before, during, and after the situation, you should challenge thoughts like "people don't like me" and "if someone gets to know me they will use it against me later" with cognitive therapy techniques. Actually, whatever negative thoughts you have before you enter the situation give a good indication of what you should do. For example, the first thing that popped into my mind for my most recent exposure practice, which is talking loudly when having a conversation in public, is "People will look at me like a freak." So, when I went into Target last night looking for anti-constipation meds, I was like "So, where is the anti-constipation stuff?" to my husband really loudly. No one batted an eyelash.

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What about instead of going to the park maybe going to a scheduled mom's group. That way your kids could play with other kids and you could interract in a situation where everyone is interraciting instead of where you are forcing the interraction.

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i prefer regulated situations, especially those of the one-on-one variety, to random open wandering around in hopes of striking up a conversation. if this isn't possible, then i'll try to introduce some neutral or positive object to be the focus of mutual attention. at the park, this could be the antics of one of the children, or a discussion of playground equipment (don't laugh, this has worked) or landscaping. sometimes i bring bubbles. sometimes somebody has brought a pet. if both of you are able to discuss the thing in a pleasurable (or not completely terrible) manner, you might ultimately be able to move from this kind of direct object discussion to discussion of non-present objects of mutual interest. this might even evolve into a conversation.

i just wish people weren't always so interested in talking about other people. drives me crazy.

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Single men are viewed as dangerous in this society. I had a couple friends who were clients but they drifted away & got worse. Other than that have not met anyone; my social contacts are limited to my mental health workers. I plan to see about volunteering at a charitable agency in town.

I've had an issue with extreme fatique caused by the Geodon but will be meeting with my APRN to (i hope) correct that. In my experience friendship in this culture does not exist; people are in it for narcissistic reasons & they will cut you loose at any time. It's possible to have aquaintences but don't expect too much. Most USers lives revolve around family, work, & maybe a small circle of aquaintences. There is no room for anyone new. It's all hermetically sealed.

Subcomandante Marcos, EZLN, Mexico: http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d90/sala...ante_marcos.jpg

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I am very nervous about talking to strangers. I don't know how to answer questions like "how are you?' I hate lying and saying Good or Fine when usually I feel uncomfortable at the very least.

but if a chance encounter happens and I accidently bump into someone (my balance is not the greatest), I can usually pull out the charm and act like it's a joke. I used to be very outgoing and loving attention.

Makiing FRIENDS is an incredible rarity, I think. Relationships are fragile and take work. I've screwed up too many to trust.

My tdoc suggests that friends may come out of joining one of the support groups that she leads- Anxiety, Borderline and Skills training. Or sitting in on a local writers group- no pressure, just watch or read something you wrote (shudder) or have someone else read it for you- stuff like that. Sounds more safe to me.

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