I'm having a problem which is leaving me feeling pretty down and depressed and I'm not sure what to do about it. Also just a warning this letter might be somewhat jumbled as I’m bad with words.
Basically, I’m lonely, not just for a relationship but for any form of social interaction in general. After high school I pretty much lost contact with all of my friends; my only one left is my best friend but with her job and her going to college we barely get to hang out. Honestly, most of my friends are online, but I've also been losing them as well. Over half the people on my Skype I barely see anymore.
I want to meet new people and make new friends and even maybe one day find that special someone, but I’m just not sure how to go about it. I am in every sense of the word .... a shut in. I don't like leaving my home that often. Usually, I only leave if its a necessity or if a friend invites me over, and with the latter barely being an option I don't go out and do things. I have only left my house once for a job interview in the past two months.
I've read some similar letters you've answered and I recall you recommending to go out and get hobbies etc., but I don't have any hobbies or interests that could get me out of my house. The only thing I could think of is a small fur meet that goes on in my town once a month, but I've been too nervous to go because 1) I have severe social anxiety; 2) I don't know how to approach anyone there since I wouldn't know anyone and I would be kinda embarrassed to just pop up out of nowhere.
Sorry if this letter was kind of unorganized and I hope answering this wont be too much trouble or a bother to you, and thank you for taking the time to read my letter.
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The solution to your problem is to overcome your social anxiety. No social anxiety, no blockade against meeting people, and once you are able to meet people you will make friends, and once you make friends, your loneliness will be gone.
There’s a difference between just being shy and having social anxiety—it’s a difference of degree, really. People who are merely shy can generally function in society, though timidly, while those with debilitating social anxiety find that it profoundly affects their ability to have a normal life. If you are spending most of your life “shut in” your home it will make it hard, if not impossible, to hold down a job, go to school, or have friends and loved ones in your life. And it sounds like a problem that is growing worse for you, given your statement that you had friends in high school but now are becoming more and more disconnected.
Some people believe that the advent of the Internet and social networks can be the solution for social anxiety because you can interact safely through a keyboard or webcam. But, as you are discovering, this notion is fallacious. As you become more disengaged from life (you have no hobbies or interests because you are not interacting with the real world around you and, thus, become remote from it, intellectually and spiritually) you have less and less to talk about. People, quite frankly, will find you boring and uninteresting to interact with. This explains why you are losing friends and contacts.
Papabear is finding this an increasing problem in the furry world, and, likely, the rest of American society as well. I’ve lost count of how many text conversations I’ve had like this:
Furry: how are you?
Papabear: I’m fine, thanks.
Furry: what are you doing?
Papabear: I’m working, how about you?
Papabear: Great. Did you want something?
Furry: just to chat
Papabear: Okay, what do you want to chat about?
Furry: I dunno
Papabear: Well, I better get back to work then
Furry: Don’t go I want to talk
Papabear: Sure, what about?
Papabear: (making an excuse) Oh, gtg, my boss is calling me. Bye!
If this sounds like you, then maybe you can see the problem. It’s not fun to talk to someone with nothing going on in his head. The way to do that is to get involved with your life, so here are some things you can do to overcome your anxiety:
There is nothing more dull and isolating than being a hermit. Interacting with people is how you learn things, and when you learn stuff you gain an interest in this incredible world around you that is filled with fascinating, wondrous things to get excited about, and when that happens, you will have begun to live again, and part of living is finding friends and falling in love.
It’s all interconnected, Ati, but you have to take the first step.
4/5/2014 11:08:22 am
It's pretty mean to lie to someone you don't want to talk to. If you don't want to talk to them, please at least have the decency to tell them why, and tell them so, otherwise they'll never learn.
4/8/2014 03:09:08 am
That's a nice thought, but in the situation discussed it is not always practical. Obviously, these two have come to words and failed to resolve their differences, and I'm quite sure the other person knows very well why the writer of the letter does not like him, so reiterating that would be pointless and counterproductive. As I suggested, Ati should simply state that they have an acknowledged disagreement and that fighting about it will get them nowhere. That is not a lie, it's a frank affirmation of the situation.
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