Social Anxiety Support Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My lack of friends since teenage years has made me helpful/very helpful to people so that I can then be friends with them. Over the years I got into the habit of helping so much that now I find it very hard to say no thinking that I already don't have good friends and if I agree to help people, we might become friends and I won't have to feel alone.
I get excited prior to helping people and then I go beyond my means to do it even if it means lying to people I really care about. And then many days later I'll realise that those people are now using me and I don't want to be a bad person which is why it's hard to say no.
what can I do to not be so helpful everytime despite of what's it's costing me?
 

·
SUS Member
Joined
·
10,863 Posts
Well, first you should understand that you can't force anyone to like you or be your friend, no matter how nice or helpful you are. Friendship is a result of compatibility, not how much you are willing to sacrifice for another person. The vast majority of people are not compatible enough to be friends, so the vast majority of people will not be swayed by your actions.

Trying to get people to like you by being nice/helpful is almost always a losing strategy. You end up wasting an enormous amount of time and energy trying to force each person you meet to like you instead of using that time and energy to meet new people who will like you because you're compatible (not because you're helpful).

Think of it this way: let's say you want to learn about how the heart works. Would you go to the library and pick up the first book on the first shelf at the start of the library and read it hoping to learn about the heart, and then move on to the next book on the shelf, and the next book, etc.? Or would you go the shelf that has the books about human biology?

Trying to make friends by being nice to each person you meet is like trying to learn about the heart by reading every book in the library in the order they happen to be shelved. This is a terrible strategy. The correct way to make friends is to talk to a lot of people (go from shelf to shelf looking to see what's on them) until you meet people you are compatible with (find the shelf with the books about the heart) and then invest your energy in those people (read the books about the heart).

The reason why people keep taking advantage of you is because you offer your help to people who are not compatible enough to be your friends. The good people who are not compatible will not want to exploit your kindness, and because they're not compatible with you they will tend to drift away. But the bad people who are not compatible will take advantage of you. So your own behavior creates an environment where the only people who stay in your orbit are the very people who are taking advantage of your helpfulness. As a result, it may seem like nobody likes you, and that all other people are just using you, but the problem is with your strategy. There are people out there you will be compatible with, and there are people out there who will not use you. But you have to stop trying to get everyone you meet to like you. You have to change your strategy so that you keep meeting new people, until you meet the right people, instead of investing heavily in the wrong people.

I realize that this is a forum for people with social anxiety and that this is basically the opposite of how you probably want things to be. I suspect your problem is very common for people with SA precisely because they're hoping they can avoid interacting with more people than they absolutely have to. Probably most people with SA try to turn the people they happen to know into their friends, and probably most of them fail owing to incompatibility and experience being taken advantage of. This is one of the reasons why SA can have a negative impact on your life.

It's not wrong to say no to other people. It does not make you a bad person because you have an obligation to take care of yourself, too, and often that means saying no. You have to always keep yourself in the equation; you have to look objectively at the situation and say: "This person needs X, but I need Y." And then you have to treat your own needs as being just as important and worthy of satisfying as theirs. You have to treat yourself like a good friend. Sometimes that means you help the other person, sometimes that means you help yourself.

When you think this way, you will be able to set and keep boundaries, because boundaries are just the way that a person treats themselves with the same dignity and respect that they treat other people. You should also remind yourself that helping the other person will not necessarily make them like you any better, and it will almost certainly not make them any more compatible or bring them any closer to being a friend. You help people when you can because it's the right thing to do, not because you want to buy their friendship.

You may also want to read about attachment issues, since most of this stuff begins in childhood with the way we learn to interact with our parents. It may be that the only way you could get attention and support from one or both of your parents was by being very helpful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You're absolutely right. I don't really like talking to people alot, and tend to avoid social gatherings. However, when I feel someone is interested in talking to me or if I find someone who's nice to me, I take it as a sign that we could be friends, maybe it's because I feel lonely most of the times and that I need people who could be there for me. And it's also true that I've never really gotten attention from my parents and that made me look for it outside. But I'll now try to say no because I sometimes feel I've a fake friendship with my friends ( they're probably not even my friends).
Thank you for your advice, it did help me.
 

·
SUS Member
Joined
·
10,863 Posts
when I feel someone is interested in talking to me or if I find someone who's nice to me, I take it as a sign that we could be friends, maybe it's because I feel lonely most of the times and that I need people who could be there for me
Well, it might be a sign that you could become friends. But many people are just friendly, or are just being polite. They're not trying to deceive you, that's just how many people without social anxiety interact. Ofc you will hope for more if you're lonely and looking for friends. That's natural. Just try not to read too much into their behavior. We all need people to lean on.🤗

I'm glad I could help. 🙂
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, it might be a sign that you could become friends. But many people are just friendly, or are just being polite. They're not trying to deceive you, that's just how many people without social anxiety interact. Ofc you will hope for more if you're lonely and looking for friends. That's natural. Just try not to read too much into their behavior. We all need people to lean on.🤗

I'm glad I could help. 🙂
Yes, will do that. It'll take some time but I'll definitely won't let all this happen to me anymore. Probably won't imagine alot anymore. 😅
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
I'm the same, a total people pleaser who can't stand conflict. It's the first step to realize that people are only using you so well done for that. It's baby steps from here on out. self-reflect. Take a step back. You don't need to try and please either everyone or those people who only take from you. They're not worth anything.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm the same, a total people pleaser who can't stand conflict. It's the first step to realize that people are only using you so well done for that. It's baby steps from here on out. self-reflect. Take a step back. You don't need to try and please either everyone or those people who only take from you. They're not worth anything.
Yeah me too, just can't stand any argument or physical fights. However, it does get difficult as I feel myself falling back into the same pattern again, but I'm realising my mistakes sooner now. I feel most people are nice to me that's why it gets hard to differentiate between a person just being polite and a person coaxing me to use me. But I guess that's how life will be and it'll definitely take me some time to learn the right way for myself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
648 Posts
First of all, never be ashamed of being helpful. It's a great thing to be, and we need more people to be helpful like yourself. Having said that, you're right - some people will abuse that goodwill. It is worrying that you'll cost yourself and lie to people close to you to help others.

I think helping others and pinning your hopes on that to make friends isn't a good idea - you set yourself to fail when the other person might not even be considering that. Help people because you're a helpful and good person, and because being helpful is a good thing to do to others.

Secondly, remember that your time is finite in this world, so prioritise your close friends and loved ones, who you trust will be there for you rain or shine. Don't undermine the close relations you have for the sake of helping someone random!

Finally, on the ability to say no, I can relate - I also found (and still find!) this hard. It's scary and uncomfortable. But remember, you only have so much time, and you can't help and please everyone. At the end of the day, you have to be your own spokesperson, because often no one else will do it for you. Maybe coming up with a filter to figure out what are hard 'nos' will make that choice easier. It's hard at first, but it's a good and important skill to learn!

Much love <3
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
First of all, never be ashamed of being helpful. It's a great thing to be, and we need more people to be helpful like yourself. Having said that, you're right - some people will abuse that goodwill. It is worrying that you'll cost yourself and lie to people close to you to help others.

I think helping others and pinning your hopes on that to make friends isn't a good idea - you set yourself to fail when the other person might not even be considering that. Help people because you're a helpful and good person, and because being helpful is a good thing to do to others.

Secondly, remember that your time is finite in this world, so prioritise your close friends and loved ones, who you trust will be there for you rain or shine. Don't undermine the close relations you have for the sake of helping someone random!

Finally, on the ability to say no, I can relate - I also found (and still find!) this hard. It's scary and uncomfortable. But remember, you only have so much time, and you can't help and please everyone. At the end of the day, you have to be your own spokesperson, because often no one else will do it for you. Maybe coming up with a filter to figure out what are hard 'nos' will make that choice easier. It's hard at first, but it's a good and important skill to learn!

Much love <3
Yes, I'll be prepared to say no next time no matter what the other person would think of me. I can't be nice to everyone everytime, especially when it's toxic for me. For now, I'm trying to be my usual self without giving too much to random people. Hopefully day by day, I'll learn when to say no and how. Thank you for your advice. 😊
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top