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Marmalade Hat
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
WARNING: This is going to be very long and self-indulgent. I just thought my story and the things I've learned would be helpful. It's stuff I would've loved to have read back when I was more awkward and lost.

In the past 3 years, my life has gone through many great changes. A lot of them due to me making fantastic progress with my SAD. My account may have been created in 2016, but I started lurking in this forum over a decade ago. I expressed and related to many hardships on this site, especially while I was a teen. My last couple posts on here were about me having a promising Tinder date and meeting with a fellow SAS member, @Virgo. Just to clarify, @Virgo and I weren't going out. A quick update on both of those before I share my journey: I broke up with my Tinder girlfriend after 3 months, and I haven't talked to Virgo since 2018 (I hope she's doing alright.)

When I left the site, I was at a pretty bad place. At 22 (almost 23), I wasn't in school, I had a sh*tty part time retail job, I still lived at home, and I had no friends whatsoever. I was stuck. Something had to change.

The first big step for me was quitting my job. I found a full time entry-level position in production, which wasn't something I wanted, but it paid much more than being an assistant manager of a small retail store. I stuck it out. Cut to now, I'm still there, but I'm now a proficient operator with 2 certifications, with talks of making me a supervisor/manager. I didn't plan on sticking around that long, but I'm content where I am. I still don't know what I want to do, but in the meantime, I'm making pretty good money. Enough to pay the bills (more on that later.)

The second big step is my relationship with my girlfriend. We met in early 2018. We were co-workers, and I noticed she would flirt with me every time we talked. Like, blatantly. One of my biggest problems when it came to women was the "fun" aspect. I didn't have it. When I look back at every missed opportunity I had as a teenager, it was mostly due to my lack of... personality. I would NEVER dare to flirt back to a girl, because what if she took it the wrong way? My strategy was to be as benign and inoffensive as possible. And it almost never worked. Even when it did, I was giving the girls a false impression, so it would never last. I decided I was going to flirt back with this girl. Cut to three years later, she's currently passed out on my bed, nude, with a giant carton of Goldfish next to her. I wouldn't have her any other way. Having her in my life has really helped me break out of my shell.

The third big step was reaching out to people. This is the big motherf*cker, so I'm segmenting this into multiple paragraphs.

I started with acquaintances who I let slip through the cracks. When I said I had "no friends", I meant I had nobody to hang out with. I had many friends as a kid, but slowly lost them throughout high school through various means. I took a long look at myself and realized that I was always banking on other people to initiate conversation and plans with me. I figured it was time for me to be the one to take initiative. I got curious how my one friend was doing, so I just chatted him up out of the blue. He was ecstatic to hear from me, and soon after, we started hanging out again. After this, I reached out to other people with varying results. Some hung out with me, some I just share memes and exchange likes with on social media, and others basically told me to get lost. That's fine, though. People grow, or in some cases, they stay the same. Drop them and move on. Also, as an adult, I'm not expecting to have friends in the same way as I did as a kid. People are busy. If I can see someone once every couple of months, that's perfectly fine.

With strangers, I try to make conversation whenever possible, even if it's just waiting in line somewhere. I have gotten good at being able to do small talk. Not just the typical bullsh*tting we all hate, but actually turning those mundane subects into real conversation. Case in point, the dreaded, "Can you believe this weather?" Instead of just nodding and going, "Mmhm," try to relate it to another time when the weather was like this, preferably something with a story attached to it. As someone who listened a lot of freeform podcasts and radio shows, I noticed just how easy it was to turn a conversation with a simple comment like that. If you don't like the way a conversation is going or think it isn't going anywhere (and if the situation permits it) just subtly change it. I've made so many aquaintances/friends in the past 3 years, and my ability to carry a conversation with that simple trick is largely responsible.

A lot of the isolation and black sheep-ishness I felt within my own family has disappeared ever since I made an effort to actually reach out to them. Actively making plans to see them or talk to them. I recently set up a big fishing trip with my father and brother, which is a responsibity I previously wouldn't have taken. They're usually the ones who would make plans like that, but I decided to make all the moves myself.

Lastly, there's various little things I've done that, I believe, helped me stay focused, like: diet, exercise, meditation, persuing my hobbies, traveling, reading, learning, etc. Just self-improvement type stuff you hear about all the time. It's cliche, but this type of stuff really does boost your confidence. I find that if I stop moving, I tend to want to stay that way. That's why I'm always trying to do something other than sitting on the couch and watching TV. Speaking of which, I've also cut down on my vices, such as: laziness (laying in bed/sitting on couch), social media, internet, weed, junk food, and porn. All toxic sh*t that needs to be moderated. I've kicked porn at this point (not on a moral/relationship basis; it was a legitimate addiction dating back to my teenage years that I needed to drop), and everything else I consume in extreme moderation. Those vices breed contempt and they're just a waste of time. They have their place, but they shouldn't take up significant chunks of your day, every day. Also, they're all coping mechanisms, and unhealthy ones at that.

To wrap everything up: I recently bought a home in a new state. Not too far away, just the next state over (lower taxes, you know,) but far enough to where I don't know anybody. Living in an area where I know 0 people is pretty exciting, and I see it as a challenge.

So in conclusion, I'm not perfect. I'm still a pretty awkward dude and that anxiety is still there, but I have found my way around it. I acknowlege that it exists and it doesn't define me. I hope my story has helped at least one other person. If not, at least it was fun to type.
 

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You came back and shared your story. That's pretty cool. I am not gonna lie though. I do feel a little bit of envy here at your story. I want a place of my own so bad. Reading your story, I am reminded that the only way to get my own home is by working consistently and aiming towards higher positions/pay (which is what I have been trying to do all these years actually...hmmm... it's just taking me a little longer 😅) You saved yourself from the hole @NoEgo. You really did. 25/26/27...you are in the prime of your life. Good luck with everything!
 

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Ends by saying "i am not perfect"

I dunno man....that story sounds pretty hot 🔥 impressive to me !

Way to go
 
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