Originally Posted by sociallybehind
I went to dinner tonight with some acquaintances and I didn't say more than 10 words throughout the entire dinner. I left that place feeling like **** and stupid. And wondering why the #@!$ do I care so much about how I am perceived that I stay almost mute.
I moved around a lot and didn't grow up with many friends. I moved again to start high school and I didn't adjust properly so this is where my problems started. Now, almost 9 years later, I did not build proper socializing skills and I fear that it's too late to change. To put it bluntly, my mind is F'ed up. I'm not joking. I'm not a crazy person or anything, but I have a screwed up mind that makes it hard for me to get close to others. I'm so withdrawn and insecure underneath it all. I'm paranoid.
I'm comparing myself to these people I had dinner with because they grew up in the same area, went to elementary, middle, high school with the same people so they have lifelong friends. They grew up socializing instead of someone like me who spent the majority of the past 9 years isolated and inhibited. So they have laid the CRUCIAL building blocks especially in high school and continue their social success. I, on the other hand, am awkward, quiet, and what hurts the most is that I was not supposed to be like this. I can not be myself while makes it hard for me. I'm a talkative guy around my family but I can never show this side around others. Why can't I just be consistent?
I heard once that the ages 13-17 are the most important for your psychological and social development. Those were the worst years of my life where I spent all day isolated, withdrawn, addicted to the internet to escape my reality.
I came home tonight thinking that I hate my life. I just want to be myself around others, but I can't. There's this mental wall and this will hold me back for the rest of my life....
I can relate to feeling like an outsider too. I have spent most of my life worrying about being pleasant to everyone else so they wouldn't reject me. It is a waste though.
I only moved once in my childhood, but I was not what you'd call popular for the preteen & teenage years. I was a girl the cheerleaders would make fun of. At my old age now (40), I still think sometimes that people can tell by looking at me that I was that unpopular girl that everybody rejected. Of course they can't tell, but, doesn't stop me from having those thoughts.
What can help is to try like hell to not jump into other people's minds and read them. Chances are, you're wrong anyway, you know? Then later, you could try imagining that they are thinking good things about you.
You know how your real self is--like when around your family and you are relaxed. That is the personality that people will like. The Real you is the most important one and you putting on an act is a way of protecting your real self from getting hurt. If I act a bit fake and get rejected, oh well, at least they aren't rejecting the Real me. I totally have done (still do) the same thing a lot of the time. But a little at a time, you could let it out around others and pay attention to the fact that they are
accepting of you and do
I know it's really hard, but try to stop comaparing yourself. It's a terrible habit that only makes you feel worse (I know from experience) because you always lose, don't you? But you lose because you are thinking bad things about yourself that aren't true in the first place, or good things about others that are exaggerated & inaccurate.
It is definitely not too late to get happy & be who you want to be. It will take some practice at feeling comfortable in different situations, and building on feeling confident about your real self, but you are not permanently damaged because of what happened in your teen years!
Would it be easier for you to go out to eat with just one other person? You went out in a group and a lot of the time us SAers get drowned out in a group, fade into the background, and end up feeling like "failures."