How can I stop feeling so worthless? - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2020, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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How can I stop feeling so worthless?


I just can't figure out what's wrong with me. I've talked with a bunch of counsellors (in person and online), constantly trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong in social interactions, why I have such a hard time connecting with coworkers, classmates, co-Meetup attendees. They haven't seen me in a real-world social setting so they wouldn't know, but they all think that I articulate myself well and don't come across as particularly awkward. Of course, I usually feel comfortable talking to counsellors because I know that they will not become my friend so I have no such expectation. But with meetups and classes, it's different right? People make friends with each other all the time. They chat, get to know each other, pay attention to what the other person is saying, grab coffee, lunch, text each other, maybe even hang out on the weekend if they really like each other. I just can't figure it out. Hardly anyone I meet seems to want to have conversations with me. In a group, people often seem to turn away from me when I try to talk to them. I don't smell, I don't have awful hygiene, I do try to smile a bit (even though it can be hard to fake happiness sometimes). I either feel like I'm repelling everyone, or that I'm simply invisible.

I know that there are often compatibility issues between me and others, like not having enough in common. But if it happens again and again, surely there must be something that I'm doing wrong. Maybe I'm too boring for others, who knows.

Not sure if I'm looking for advice, or words of support. Can anyone relate?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2020, 04:50 PM
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I don't know, I feel like I have trouble making friends because I am quiet, don't know what to say at the right moment, and if there is a chance of going out and meeting up for food and a drink I avoid it because of anxiety and introversion. I don't necessarily think people are repelled by me...but if I don't put in the effort they can catch on to that and react in that way too.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2020, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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I don't know, I feel like I have trouble making friends because I am quiet, don't know what to say at the right moment
Wow, I'm exactly the same! It's sooo hard to find an opening in group conversations. And I don't want to sound stupid, so I am usually very careful in the words that I take out of my mouth in these situations.

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I don't necessarily think people are repelled by me...but if I don't put in the effort they can catch on to that and react in that way too.
Hmm, you might be onto something there. Though, what if you put in the effort and they don't reciprocate, and you're scrambling your head trying to figure out, "What did I do wrong?" Sometimes, no matter how much I think, I always come to the same conclusion that I did nothing wrong and they just weren't being a good friend (for example, me asking an old classmate to hang out several times, and they would either ignore my messages or tell me they're 'busy').

I know I'm not the most interesting person in the world, but that doesn't mean I am a worthless individual that is not worth anyone's time though... right...?
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2020, 07:05 PM
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Hmm, you might be onto something there. Though, what if you put in the effort and they don't reciprocate, and you're scrambling your head trying to figure out, "What did I do wrong?" Sometimes, no matter how much I think, I always come to the same conclusion that I did nothing wrong and they just weren't being a good friend (for example, me asking an old classmate to hang out several times, and they would either ignore my messages or tell me they're 'busy').

I know I'm not the most interesting person in the world, but that doesn't mean I am a worthless individual that is not worth anyone's time though... right...? [IMG class=inlineimg]/forum/images/SAS_2015/smilies/tango_face_plain.png[/IMG]
Obviously not. Idk I can only speak from my own perspective. If someone asks me to hang out and I don't respond or if I say I'm busy...the problem wouldn't be with the other person it would be with me and how I deal with situations or what's currently going on in my own life. So unless this person is an extrovert who goes out a lot and makes friends easily... I wouldn't take it as an offense. It doesn't mean there's something wrong with you. Social interactions are tricky
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-22-2020, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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Obviously not. Idk I can only speak from my own perspective. If someone asks me to hang out and I don't respond or if I say I'm busy...the problem wouldn't be with the other person it would be with me and how I deal with situations or what's currently going on in my own life. So unless this person is an extrovert who goes out a lot and makes friends easily... I wouldn't take it as an offense. It doesn't mean there's something wrong with you. Social interactions are tricky
Thanks. I really appreciate your response. I was honestly a little afraid that my thread was going to get completely ignored by everyone. I hate how I rely so much on external validation to make myself feel good. I don’t want to have to put pressure on someone to reply either, though. I probably take things way more personally than I should. 😞

I really am a worthless person, though. I don’t know how to act natural in social situation, my mind often goes blank and I don’t know what to say or how to say it. I don’t know how to get people to be interested in me, ask me to hang out, invite me to things. I do these things to try to make friends, but these feelings are often not reciprocated. I don’t know how to pass myself off as interesting because that’s what people seem to care about the most. Making friends with interesting people who have lots to talk about. I’ll never be good enough in that regard, I am such a nobody.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-22-2020, 01:42 AM
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This is a complex subject, and I can only type with difficulty atm, otherwise I would say a lot more.

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Originally Posted by brianlee99 View Post
Wow, I'm exactly the same! It's sooo hard to find an opening in group conversations. And I don't want to sound stupid, so I am usually very careful in the words that I take out of my mouth in these situations.
Do you think most other people are worried about sounding stupid?

When you are overly concerned about not sounding stupid, or not offending people, or not making people angry, you restrict your communication. You restrict your behavior, too (risk aversion). This tends to make you boring to other people.

People do this to avoid negative reactions, but it also eliminates positive reactions -- you're not giving people anything to respond to. Interesting people are interesting because they don't inhibit themselves; as a result, they create strong reactions, both positive AND negative (look at the way Trump polarizes people).

You cannot be interesting and universally liked (or rather, it's extremely rare); you can either be ignored for being too 'nice' (inoffensive and inhibited) or make both friends and enemies at the same time (outspoken/uninhibited). If you want friends, you have to take risks expressing yourself. Playing it safe will make you dull.

But this has nothing to do with your worth. Everyone has worth. But that's another big topic.

I love Society. It is entirely composed now of beautiful idiots and brilliant lunatics. Just what Society should be.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-14-2020, 10:58 PM
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I just can't figure out what's wrong with me. I've talked with a bunch of counsellors (in person and online), constantly trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong in social interactions, why I have such a hard time connecting with coworkers, classmates, co-Meetup attendees. They haven't seen me in a real-world social setting so they wouldn't know, but they all think that I articulate myself well and don't come across as particularly awkward. Of course, I usually feel comfortable talking to counsellors because I know that they will not become my friend so I have no such expectation. But with meetups and classes, it's different right? People make friends with each other all the time. They chat, get to know each other, pay attention to what the other person is saying, grab coffee, lunch, text each other, maybe even hang out on the weekend if they really like each other. I just can't figure it out. Hardly anyone I meet seems to want to have conversations with me. In a group, people often seem to turn away from me when I try to talk to them. I don't smell, I don't have awful hygiene, I do try to smile a bit (even though it can be hard to fake happiness sometimes). I either feel like I'm repelling everyone, or that I'm simply invisible.

I know that there are often compatibility issues between me and others, like not having enough in common. But if it happens again and again, surely there must be something that I'm doing wrong. Maybe I'm too boring for others, who knows.

Not sure if I'm looking for advice, or words of support. Can anyone relate?
I can relate to this. I feel the exact same way. Though I have a stutter so its hard for me to talk to people. But even when my speech was better than it is now, I still felt like most people got easily bored by me.

What I personally have found to work well is to engage yourself in an activity that you're passionate about which involves a social component. Like playing in a band, or gaming (two controllers) or playing poker. Focus on the activity itself and less on the socializing part, and just let it flow.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-15-2020, 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by brianlee99 View Post
I just can't figure out what's wrong with me. I've talked with a bunch of counsellors (in person and online), constantly trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong in social interactions, why I have such a hard time connecting with coworkers, classmates, co-Meetup attendees. They haven't seen me in a real-world social setting so they wouldn't know, but they all think that I articulate myself well and don't come across as particularly awkward. Of course, I usually feel comfortable talking to counsellors because I know that they will not become my friend so I have no such expectation. But with meetups and classes, it's different right? People make friends with each other all the time. They chat, get to know each other, pay attention to what the other person is saying, grab coffee, lunch, text each other, maybe even hang out on the weekend if they really like each other. I just can't figure it out. Hardly anyone I meet seems to want to have conversations with me. In a group, people often seem to turn away from me when I try to talk to them. I don't smell, I don't have awful hygiene, I do try to smile a bit (even though it can be hard to fake happiness sometimes). I either feel like I'm repelling everyone, or that I'm simply invisible.

I know that there are often compatibility issues between me and others, like not having enough in common. But if it happens again and again, surely there must be something that I'm doing wrong. Maybe I'm too boring for others, who knows.

Not sure if I'm looking for advice, or words of support. Can anyone relate?
Heya It's good to see that you're going out to meet these groups, that's an awesome way to interact with others! I think it's important to know that automatically going to these groups doesn't guarantee friendships. Remember, all kinds of people come to these, and just like in life, you can't be good friends with everyone. So don't judge yourself based on whether you make friends or not - it's not as black and white as that! Sometimes people won't be friends with you because there's a mismatch in interests, attitudes etc, and that's okay, in the same way that none of us can be good friends with everyone else. The best thing you can do is ask a friend or counsellor how they think you come across. It's hard for you to know in your own shoes, but if you trust a counsellor or friend to tell you the truth, they can give you their opinion which can help a lot!x

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-21-2020, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Heya It's good to see that you're going out to meet these groups, that's an awesome way to interact with others! I think it's important to know that automatically going to these groups doesn't guarantee friendships. Remember, all kinds of people come to these, and just like in life, you can't be good friends with everyone. So don't judge yourself based on whether you make friends or not - it's not as black and white as that! Sometimes people won't be friends with you because there's a mismatch in interests, attitudes etc, and that's okay, in the same way that none of us can be good friends with everyone else. The best thing you can do is ask a friend or counsellor how they think you come across. It's hard for you to know in your own shoes, but if you trust a counsellor or friend to tell you the truth, they can give you their opinion which can help a lot!x
Thanks for your kind words. Unfortunately, I have had this problem my entire life. Childhood, adolescence, university, adulthood. I've NEVER been good at making friends and I could never figure out why. Sure you can cite lack of compatibility, and I think that factors into why so many of my potential friendships fail. But that can't be the only explanation.

It's rather depressing, honestly. I'm already the type to fear rejection, but since no one asks me first to hang out, I always have to "make the first move", as it were. But I often get ignored or rejected. I don't know if I subconsciously make people dislike me. Or if I'm really boring or uninteresting. I've considered all the possibilities. Maybe I'm even autistic, who knows XD
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-21-2020, 02:06 PM
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Wow, I'm exactly the same! It's sooo hard to find an opening in group conversations. And I don't want to sound stupid, so I am usually very careful in the words that I take out of my mouth in these situations.
Me too. Group conversations can be kind of stressful. Even in a small group with 2 other people, I usually end up fading into the background while they do most of the talking. Especially if the others are close friends. But I think a lot of the time, people don't even notice that we're being really quiet or it doesn't bother them.

I'm sure you're already doing some of this, but - Of course try to smile and seem approachable, maybe sprinkle in some humor and see how they react. Bring up things they're passionate about (ideally a shared interest) so that they're more likely to get chatty. Or you can ask their opinion on something.

I also think being able to relate to someone can go a long way. For example, you're in class and both you and the person sitting next to you failed a test. You can start talking about that. As a quiet person, we are used to sitting back while others talk. Pay attention to people. You may have seen them laugh or complain about something...You can use that observation to your advantage.



Also, I just wanted to say that I'm sorry you're feeling this way. But you are definitely not worthless or alone.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2020, 03:07 AM
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I usually feel comfortable talking to counsellors because I know that they will not become my friend so I have no such expectation. But with meetups and classes, it's different right? People make friends with each other all the time.
maybe some way to take the focus off the demands you are placing on yourself? treat life like its not a do or die situation, like if you approach everything the way you are with counsellors you will relax more. don't place so many goals on yourself, once you remove them you can be yourself more, you can relax and you'll be more like you are with the other people. then people will be more receptive towards you.

think about it this way, you are in the park playing with a ball. you can worry and overanalyse how you are gonna kick that ball so you make a perfect shot to the point where it stops you kicking the ball or you worry so much that when you go to kick it you miss. if you just don't concentrate too much on how you are gonna kick it and just relax and kick it however you like you will have more fun and other people will be able to play with you. because they will see how relaxed you are the element of judgment and overanlysis has been removed along with any awkwardness.

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2020, 03:16 AM
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This is a complex subject, and I can only type with difficulty atm, otherwise I would say a lot more.



Do you think most other people are worried about sounding stupid?

When you are overly concerned about not sounding stupid, or not offending people, or not making people angry, you restrict your communication. You restrict your behavior, too (risk aversion). This tends to make you boring to other people.

People do this to avoid negative reactions, but it also eliminates positive reactions -- you're not giving people anything to respond to. Interesting people are interesting because they don't inhibit themselves; as a result, they create strong reactions, both positive AND negative (look at the way Trump polarizes people).

You cannot be interesting and universally liked (or rather, it's extremely rare); you can either be ignored for being too 'nice' (inoffensive and inhibited) or make both friends and enemies at the same time (outspoken/uninhibited). If you want friends, you have to take risks expressing yourself. Playing it safe will make you dull.

But this has nothing to do with your worth. Everyone has worth. But that's another big topic.
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Originally Posted by RSxo View Post
Heya It's good to see that you're going out to meet these groups, that's an awesome way to interact with others! I think it's important to know that automatically going to these groups doesn't guarantee friendships. Remember, all kinds of people come to these, and just like in life, you can't be good friends with everyone. So don't judge yourself based on whether you make friends or not - it's not as black and white as that!
yea, well put. the way I see it inhibition can really stifle our potential. hope some of these points help you, brian.

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2020, 08:02 AM
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The reason you probably feel comfortable and OK with a counselor compared to how you feel in general social situations, is because you know, in advance, what the parameters/limits of your interaction with the counselor are. And since you are Ok with these and accept these, again in advance before your appointment, you do not ever feel anxious or stressed, or feel the way you feel when you are in open ended social situations. You probably feel OK too, with non-personal social interactions, like the check out clerk at the grocery store, or meeting with a doctor, going to some official place, etc.

With SA, people are perpetually guarding themselves against perceived negative experiences/opinions/criticisms when they are with other people - you don’t know who will say/do what or when and thus, how can you protect yourself. This is a key and common element with SA.

Your perception that “I am not experiencing what other people experience in social situations” is just that - a perception. You have probably become over analytical about this, and this may have increased the perceived experience of you being treated differently.

The root cause of SA is what thoughts/stories a person chooses to keep in their mind, about themselves and other people. Thoughts include beliefs, opinions, fears, worries, imagined things, fantasy. None of these are true or real, but they seem that they are because the mind does not know the difference between a real thing and one that is not. All unreal things (those things which only exist in our mind) are not true by the way, ever.

A large percentage of people go through what a person with SA goes through, only in a much smaller/milder way and not to the extent that it affects their lives or makes them change what they may have wanted to do. The overwhelming majority of the world’s population still want to be accepted/liked, and worry about how they look, talk, dress, etc., but they are much less affected by rejection, indifference, not having friends/partners than people with SA are affected.

You may also be trying too hard to make yourself acceptable to others, instead of being natural and letting things go and come, as they will. You may not actually need to have any or much social interaction. Its not actually true that everyone is social and needs to have friends and a partner. Some people want/like to have that but there is huge variance in this (as there is in how much/with who, etc) but this variance is not allowed to manifest in society.

And if you are perhaps trying to "mold" yourself on what you think other people want, I can tell you this is a fruitless endeavor. How someone gets to any one opinion they have is 100% unknown, even to the person who holds it. Secondly, opinions are constantly changing and person A can decide, in any moment, that what they opined about 1 hour ago has now changed.
So, how are you going to keep up with these two unknowable things, perpetually? Thus it is impossible to try to get acceptance from others because of what you do/say, even if you knew what people wanted/liked, which you won't ever, as even the other people don't actually know why they like what they do.

Lastly, the number of people you have experienced the social situations that you have is probably very small and some may even be the same people, over and over. There are 7.5 billion people on the planet - why worry about what an unmeasurable minuscule % of them think or feel about you?

There will always be people who will like you and will not like you - this is something you will never ever have any control over nor can you affect it in any way.
But you don't have to care or worry about either, because the truth is that you (and everyone) can be quite fine, whether someone likes you or not, wants to be your friend or not, thinks you're cool or not, thinks you're funny or not, etc.

But being natural is probably not possible while you harbor untruths about yourself and others in your mind. So I would think you would benefit from learning about what SA is and how you can overcome it, which I did about 5 years ago.

I can tell you more if you want, so PM me if you’d like.
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