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How do I make friends?

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Katie 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #305841

    Katie
    Participant

    This is a question that has always confused me. Like, how do people make friends? Seriously. I was a freshman in college last year, and I remember my class was about to start orientation week. I was actually extremely excited to start a new chapter of my life. Everyone was new and I wondered who I would end up being friends with. Well, what ended up ACTUALLY happening was I watched everyone around me form into friend groups, while I ended up making friends with no one. I seriously don’t know why that happened. And it made me really sad too because for a while I believed something was wrong with me. I thought that maybe people thought I was weird or ugly (because I seem to have extreme anxiety about being ugly when I know deep down, logically I am not). I think it lead me down a dark path of analyzing my appearance and trying to do anything I could to become more beautiful. I asked myself “what do I even look like to others? Am I ugly? Am I pretty? Am I average?” I legit had no idea and I just wanted to improve my looks somehow because I wanted to become that really pretty girl who everyone wanted to be friends with because of her beauty.

    I think I’ve realized now that people weren’t going to become my friend no matter what I looked like. Because it is more about personality and developing connections with people. I still struggle with accepting my appearance and thinking I’m not good enough, but whatever. I just know I am a really shy person and that is probably why I can’t make friends. But I can’t change my shyness no matter how hard I’ve tried. Is there some way to do it? There have been points in my life where I force myself to be outgoing and I am the happiest during those times, but I always return to being shy.

    I’m seriously just confused as to how people make friends. It makes me super sad. I’m so shy but I feel like my shyness is caused by the rejection of other people. I try to pay attention to others’ reactions to speaking to me and if they seem uninterested, I back off. I don’t want to push it. I am thinking that maybe becoming a happier person in general and acting very happy and bubbly will naturally attract people who will be attracted to my happiness. Because that’s what I’ve noticed most very happy people do.

    • This topic was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by  Katie.
    #305855

    Mark
    Participant

    Katie

    I think you got it. Be happy. People around you will be attracted to that. The thing is that you have to be real and not to be fake.

    Why don’t you try this exercise? Just be yourself and don’t pay attention to how people respond to you. It seems like you’re very sensitive and therefore modify your behavior according to how people respond. Try just being yourself out there.

    Why don’t you try this exercise? Just be yourself and don’t pay attention to how people respond to you. It seems like you’re very sensitive and therefore modify your behavior according to how people respond. Try just being yourself without that.

    Mark

     

    #306011

    Peggy
    Participant

    Hi Katie,

    You stood on the sidelines being shy watching everyone else making friends.  You are happier when you force yourself to be outgoing but then you recoil into your own comfort zone called shyness.  You then project your own thoughts of your own external appearance on to all those potential friends and start questioning how ‘they’ see you when the truth is you don’t see yourself in very complimentary terms.

    Begin by being your own best friend – be comfortable in your own skin – like yourself for who you are – be happy with yourself.  College is a place of education – not a beauty pageant (a bit like life really).

    I’d like to ask you a question.  Have you judged everyone in your class the way you expect them to have judged you?  If not, why not?

    Peggy

    #306941

    Katie
    Participant

    Mark,

    I will try it and let you know how it worked. My only issue is with how to act happy when I feel I am not a naturally happy person.

    #306943

    Katie
    Participant

    Peggy,

    I kinda have, but not really. I feel like I “judge” everyone else to avoid feeling upset because I am not friends with them.

    #316131

    Vesper
    Participant

    Katie,

    I just wanted to write to you and say, you’re not alone in finding it difficult to make friends. I have struggled with this most of my life. I grew up with a “best friend” who lived in the house next door. We were inseparable in our youth, but eventually she moved away and I have struggled with finding another close girlfriend for decades. For a long time, I thought it was me. I never felt the ease with which some people strike up conversations or the quick wit that allowed them to make everyone laugh.

    Then I got older, and wiser, and I realized a few things. First, many of the people I admired were not actually any better at making friends than I, they just lacked the energy to care as much. If I failed to get someone to like me, I saw it as a referendum on ME (my value), whereas they were like, “Meh, plenty of fish in the sea.” They cared less about the outcome, so therefore they were less afraid to venture the risk. I don’t want to say they were superficial, but in some cases they were not seeking deep friendships.

    Second, I believe my experience with a childhood “best friend” of 20 years gave me a skewed perception of what adult friendships are like. Some can be deep and lasting, but I will say I have gotten used to the idea that people are meant to pass in and out of our lives. You may connect deeply but for a brief time, or you may learn a lesson from them (some good, some bad) and then you grow and change and sometimes you let go and move on. Be your OWN best friend, you will never have to say goodbye. Love yourself above all others. Look at yourself in the mirror every morning and stop seeing the flaws. Smile at yourself. See the face smiling back at you. Find the one thing you love best about that familiar face and say it out loud. “You have beautiful eyes.”

    Last, whenever I start to feel lonely and really get deep in my own head, I force myself to turn my attention outward and zero in on someone I think could use a little love. Feeling unattractive? Pointedly seek out that girl you pass in class every day and tell her you love her shoes. Don’t be insincere, but it’s not hard to find something to compliment. Smile when you say it. I guarantee you she will think you’re the most beautiful person she’s seen all day. Feeling lonely? Buy that old gentleman on the bench a cup of coffee. He’ll be stunned, and you may feel awkward, but I can guarantee you will make his day.

    I have come to believe that MY purpose in this life may not BE to have a lot of friends. I used to want to be that person, but fate dealt me a different hand, and I have come to see the beauty INSIDE me. No, not everyone appreciates it. Sometimes I freak people out, but I hope you know that says more about THEIR insecurities than yours.

    My daughter’s name is Katie, and she’s about your age. I hope you don’t mind me reaching out to give you the same advice I would have given her. I somehow have a feeling you probably really do have beautiful eyes! 🙂

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

    #318055

    Katie
    Participant

    Vesper,

    Thank you, that is really good advice! And it put a smile on my face 🙂

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