How to lose friends and alienate people.

Almost all advice I read suggests starting off by making small talk to strangers to get over social anxiety. If you are a hermit just go out and talk to people on the street, in shops, in elevators (we don’t have many elevators in this city) at bus stops, just anywhere.  You will get better and better at it and before long it will become second nature .It makes no allowance for depression and being  suicidal, for being older and whether  it’s normal to speak to people of different ages or sexes, for being paranoid and for being socially inept including physical manifestations like blushing, stammering, mind freezing and acting awkward. It makes no allowance for things going badly and keep going badly or for other people being aggressive or nasty back to you. Why on earth do they assume it will just keep getting better? Success breeds confidence, not repeated failure.

You see I thought therapy tried to cure you of all this crap first so that you could go into social situations more confidently when it appears to want you to force yourself into social situations over and over again straight away and work it all out yourself as you go along.

I dont see it possible for me to do therapy as I can’t find any starting ground to begin with. if even the supposedly simple things cause overwhelming anxiety then what the F**k do you do? Drink heavily? If I tried to go round my city tomorrow making small talk to strangers I would be shit. I am miserable, have poor body language, a shit voice and  massive paranoia and apart from the weather which I find a pathetic subject  and exceptionally corny I have no small talk subjects I feel comfortable with whatsoever. As I am well over 40 I would feel uncomfortable speaking to younger women in case I appear creepy and women in general in case they thought I was coming on to them.  I can almost guarantee being ignored or looks of total disdain. If somebody says yes it is crap weather then that is the end of the conversation and awkwardness ensures. I don’t have 50 follow up lines at the ready.  This massively increases feelings of being disliked and a freak and then makes me more avoidant.

What f**king planet do therapists come from when they assume socially inept hermits go round making witty banter to strangers and do great and that failure does not affect them. Absolutely none of the books explain the basics of small talk in detail, they basically just say do it and assume you know it all. Going to a party or meet, you act weird(shy then), you have shit small talk, people avoid you. Staying in a stressful situation for 90 minutes until the anxiety subsides is not really possible without looking a twat and does not actually help you talk to people or make conversation. Do you hang a sign around your neck? Nervous anxious person. Do not disturb for 90 minutes!”

Even more importantly most strangers don’t talk to each other at bus stops or say hello to other strangers on the street anyway. When I was younger and at my worst even when occasionally somebody spoke to me first I could barely think of an intelligent response so no witty banter or conversation happened. I often felt awkward which just made others awkward and then they never spoke to me again. I even get paranoid thinking that if I did it regularly as advised then the same people would see me again and think , “Christ its that weird nutter who speaks total shit about the weather ! Look the other way!” because people hate awkward strange loners and that’s why you stay an awkward strange loner as you are always on the outside looking in.

A whole load of social skills need to be learnt before you even start to make regular small talk with strangers and even then you still need to be motivated and enthusiastic to force yourself to go into situations repeatedly. Its pretty hard to fake confidence though and that is vital to start with. And of course if you have no family, no job and never leave the house your range of subjects and interest to other people is going to be limited anyway.

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12 thoughts on “How to lose friends and alienate people.

  1. followthevampire August 13, 2017 / 12:23 am

    Yeah, that’s why i’m on this website, to read blogs from other people with anxiety and feel less weird….and it actually true that some people need to learn how to act normal. like, learn to do all the things that other people do naturally. It’s a weird journey. a lot of psychotherapists aren’t good at talking about this subject, because it’s a specialty.

    • klodo August 13, 2017 / 6:37 pm

      Yes, I am still quite shocked at how bad so much treatment for mental health is. How on earth can a doctor be looking social anxiety up on Wikipedia as the patient talks to them?

  2. oryx1993 February 26, 2018 / 12:27 pm

    I completely agree with you that it is so hard to expose yourself to things that scare you when depression takes away all motivation to do so. When I wasn’t depressed I still managed to have a somewhat normal life and do the things that stressed me out because I was scared of the consequences if I didn’t do them. Now I don’t care anymore, and I have no energy left to expose myself to stressful situations. People don’t get why I can’t do all those things anymore, since I used to be able to do them, but they don’t know about the anxiety and panic attacks that were behind it. It’s as if I’ve had so much stess that my body and mind suddenly decided to shut off completely, and no scary consequence whatsoever will make me face my fears.
    I feel like I’m losing all my friends at the same time, as I have nothing to talk to them about since I don’t do anything all day. I’m too ashamed to tell them what is really going on, so I’d rather avoid meeting them and lie to them when they ask questions about my life.

    • klodo February 26, 2018 / 8:05 pm

      Thanks for your comment and sorry you are also having a rough time. Yes, its very hard to socialise when you feel so down. I was thinking about my old friend from school today and if I would like to see him again after all these years. After all would he want to hear that my life has turned into a total disaster and see how sad I am? It would be embarrassing for both him and me.I dont even use my real name on Facebook or anywhere online in case the few people I did know from school and work hunt me down. Thats why many people stay avoidant and I was going to write a post about it next. Depression takes away hope and motivation and yet all advise for anxiety is to just get out there and expects us to be enthusiastic. Do you have any closer friends or family who understand how you are felling and can talk with?

      • oryx1993 February 26, 2018 / 8:51 pm

        Thanks you for your reply! I use my real name on Facebook but not anywhere else. I am very hesitant to post anything on Facebook as for me it’s about the same thing as talking to a large group of people and possible reactions make me very anxious. I understand your mixed feelings about getting in touch with your old friend. I have a few (3-4) close friends but since my depression I have been avoiding them as they always ask questions about my life and don’t understand me being so passive about everything. On the one hand, I feel nostalgic about the bond we used to share, but on the other hand, I feel like we don’t have anything in common anymore. In fact, hearing about their normal lives is very painful for me. They all have jobs, hobbies and moved out of their parent’s house (1 friend is even engaged). It just reminds me of how far I’ve fallen behind. They are very judgemental about me not having a job yet and still living with my parents, so I don’t want to tell them about my social anxiety and depression. I feel like they wouldn’t consider me as their ‘equal’ anymore, and would just feel sorry for me and push me to do the things I dread. I don’t know if you’ve read my most recent post but my parents don’t understand mental illness either. My sister just anounced her pregnancy and I don’t want to burden her with my life – which seems so trivial in comparison with her new baby. Anyway, sorry my reply is so long, but I recognise so much of my own life in your posts, and it’s a relief to know I’m not the only one going through this. Are you still in touch with your family?

      • klodo February 27, 2018 / 7:32 pm

        I see my brother and sister but we are not very close.There are a lot of past memories and things never forgotten. My parents are both dead now,my dad over 25 years ago and my mum 4 years ago. I did see your post yesterday and just reread it again. Its so obvious that all our problems do in fact come form our upbringing as again there are many things you said which are so similar. In fact i remember my dad being embarrassed to be out with me as I was limping when I was still at school as if it was something to be ashamed of. My right hip always causes me problems and when I had an X ray 20 years later they found out it was twice the size of the other one, the doctor could tell what age it had happened and yet couldn’t understand why I had never seen anyone about it at the time. Yet my family never even considered seeing a doctor. I just limped for 2 years!

  3. oryx1993 February 28, 2018 / 3:42 pm

    Wow, that sounds like downright neglect from your parents. I sometimes wonder how much of our lives is in our own hands. Is it possible to change our habits and our views on the world as adults, or is all of that already determined in childhood? Lately I’m finding it harder not to be angry with my parents all the time. It seems like they didn’t put much thought into the way they raised me. I know they tried their best, but that’s not good enough. My mom didn’t even quit smoking during pregnancy. I don’t want children of my own, as I don’t want to pass on my anxiety to an innocent child. And if I did want a kid, I would read books on how to raise it, instead of just ‘going with it’ and hoping it turns out okay. But maybe that’s my perfectionism speaking, and I shouldn’t be so hard on my parents. In any case, I wouldn’t want to be responsible for putting another miserable human being on this planet. If I could have chosen, I wouldn’t want to be here.

    • klodo February 28, 2018 / 7:58 pm

      I dont know how much of our personality is choice or is predetermined. Some intellectuals on the radio implied that every single action we do even if I chose to jump in front of a bus in 10 minutes could be due to all past actions and is beyond our control. Its like our parents were probably the way they were because of the way they were brought up and it just keeps going back. But some people question everything and some just act out of instinct like sheep. Only today when cleaning out my fish-tank I got enraged thinking of how my mum treated me at times ad if she even deserves forgiving. She also smoked during pregnancy. In fact I never forget my pet budgie dropping dead with slime coming out its mouth as both my parents smoked so much that they probably killed it and also damaged their own kids lungs. I am sure if people like us did have kids we would do our best rather than neglect them simply because we know the mistake sour parents made but then I think would we pass on our shyness just from being brought up in the same house as us. Some people say that everything is our own fault for not taking responsibility as we are adults but this is complete shit. if you look at most people you know married with kids they did not go through any of the same problems.They are not braver or nicer or have any better morals, often they are worse. Having severe SA is on par with having serious mental and physical disabilities for keeping someone alone and stopping them having a normal family life..

      • oryx1993 March 2, 2018 / 12:25 pm

        I completely agree. Even though I’ve always had some friends I’ve always felt alone, because I’m always a few steps behind in life. When I had good grades in university, they picked on me for not having a student job. When I had a student job, they picked on me for not having my driver’s license yet. When I had my driver’s license, they laughed at me for being such a bad (and anxious) driver. It just takes so much energy out of me to pretend to be normal, and I feel like I’ll never be normal enough, since everything is always going to be harder for me. Instead of being proud of me for achieving all those things, my friends and family always find the next thing that is not up to normal people’s standards. They take their normal lives for granted, and I feel like oftentimes they don’t even deserve it.

      • klodo March 2, 2018 / 7:25 pm

        This is all so true and yet completely ignored in all self help books and they even pretend people dont care or notice our differences. Well done for even getting a license though! I have never even had a lesson although to get a license in the UK I think I have to have someone who is in a professional job and I have known for 2 or more years act as some kind of reference so I could not learn even if I wanted to as I only know one other person and they are from an anxiety forum! Its the same with getting a passport so I could never travel abroad.

        People form a pecking order and then put people like us with any kind of mental problem at the bottom. Thats means even when we feel more confident and do try to do something we still often get ignored, rejected and ridiculed. I have posted on here before that I was very overweight when younger and lost almost all the excess weight when I started work and did body building to build my confidence and then when i got more muscular they said I had breasts as a shy man like me wasn’t allowed to have muscles! I realised then that sometimes you couldn’t win regardless what you do!

  4. oryx1993 March 2, 2018 / 9:27 pm

    Thank you! Although I almost never drive anymore because it makes me so anxious. I don’t know what the system is in the U.K. but in Belgium anyone who has 8+ years of driving experience can function as a driving instructor, so my dad taught me, which was probably not a good idea. After every session he used to joke around and tell everyone about all the bruises he got from my driving, which didn’t exactly boost my self-esteem. I understand you live in a big city, so I imagine you not being able to drive is not too big of a problem? But not being able to travel abroad because you have to have a reference is a ridiculous law! I get why the U.K. would have strict laws for people trying to get into the country, but people trying to get out of it? How is that relevant? Well, at least the U.K. is a vast, beautiful country, so I imagine there’s still many places you haven’t been that are very worthwile.

    I think the most exhausting aspect of having social anxiety is no matter how much we try to fit in, normal people always immediately pick up on the fact that we’re different and ridicule us for it. It’s really tragic you did all that work, only for people to be jealous and create another insecurity.

    • klodo March 3, 2018 / 8:06 pm

      Driving was not so much a problem in the past as my workplace was on the bus route. However our trains are quite expensive so getting anywhere out the Midlands where I live is a bit hard. In fact getting to London despite only taking just over 1 hour from here is about £70 which is too much as I would like to go back more often. Its the very thought that its impossible for me to learn to drive or go abroad that makes me angry even if I wanted to. You would think since the UK has been in the EU for all these years (Shhh about Brexit!)that it would be more easy. I always wanted to visit France and Italy although a distant dream its now impossible.

      Your dad sounded like mine was. In fact I think he gave my sister one lesson and then she went to a private instructor as he was so critical. if he was easy going I would no doubt have asked him to teach me. My uncle was an instructor but in mad families we never got on so it did not matter.

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