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  #1  
Old 9th February 2020, 16:40
felina felina is offline
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Default Is there any hope?

Hi, I have been a member here for a few years but have never posted anything. I'm feeling increasingly desperate though and wondering if there is any hope for the future. I am 34 (female) and have had social anxiety probably all my life. I just cannot connect with people and can't form genuine friendships or relationships. I just feel like I have totally failed at life. I do have a job and I know that is something to be grateful for but I find the social interaction aspect so stressful and it never gets easier. Anyone I meet never gets past being an acquaintance, I just can't do anything deeper. I also never meet people and actually really like them, I usually am annoyed or intimidated by them. I have no life basically and feel increasing panic that my life is slipping away and I haven't done anything, been anywhere etc. My hopes of finding a partner are pretty non existent now and I feel upset and also a bit embarrassed about it (never had a relationship). Is anyone else in a similar position? Anyone ever managed to turn things around and have friends etc at this stage in life? Thanks x
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  #2  
Old 9th February 2020, 17:01
Ian Ian is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

Hi Felina,

Totally relate to this i am in exactly the same situation.
I think it is excellent you do have a job though, well done, it is very difficult living with SA, I only have friends online.

Ian
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  #3  
Old 9th February 2020, 18:02
gregarious_introvert gregarious_introvert is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

Hi feline, I'd say welcome to the forum but it's probably a little late for that! I remember joining and feeling that if I didn't make my first post immediately, I'd probably never pluck up the courage to do it, so I can't imagine what it took to make a post after almost six years!

Yes, there is definitely hope - and for you, I hope that things change earlier in life than they did for me (I was twenty years older than you when I started having a social life). You say that you don't really like people you meet, that you feel either irritated or intimated by them, that you can't connect: are you able to determine a reason for this? Is it lack of shared interests, or different views on life, or are you just meeting obnoxious people? Do you see it as a problem with them, or with you? I don't know how much you've been reading posts during your time here, but you may have seen me give this advice before: instead of trying to fit in with the people around you, try looking for people who fit in with you; by this, I mean that, if you have any interests or passions, look for groups (on Facebook, Instagram, meetup or wherever) who cater for your interests and try to build contacts there - a single shared interest can go a long way in bonding.

It's certainly not too late to find a partner either - you would be surprised how many people your age (or close to it) had not found anyone by that time, but are now in happy relationships. Of course, not liking people you meet would be a barrier to that, but if you do find people you get on with, a relationship may well emerge from that (and if not, there is always internet dating, in which you can be specific about the type of person you want to meet and filter out those who aren't agreeable to you).

I can't claim to have turned things around at your stage in life - as I mentioned, for me it came twenty years later - but it is possible. These days, with a high divorce rate, there are quite a few women your age, or not much older, who are coming out of lengthy relationships and looking for friendships - or people moving to new areas, or who have also had difficulties in forming close friendships in younger life and looking to do so in their 30s and 40s (or late 20s). I'm sorry to keep returning to this one theme, but if you can address the reasons you're not getting on with people in the first instance, then there is every hope of finding friendships and/or relationships in the future.
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  #4  
Old 9th February 2020, 20:42
Tom1985 Tom1985 is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

Quote:
Originally Posted by felina
Hi, I have been a member here for a few years but have never posted anything. I'm feeling increasingly desperate though and wondering if there is any hope for the future. I am 34 (female) and have had social anxiety probably all my life. I just cannot connect with people and can't form genuine friendships or relationships. I just feel like I have totally failed at life. I do have a job and I know that is something to be grateful for but I find the social interaction aspect so stressful and it never gets easier. Anyone I meet never gets past being an acquaintance, I just can't do anything deeper. I also never meet people and actually really like them, I usually am annoyed or intimidated by them. I have no life basically and feel increasing panic that my life is slipping away and I haven't done anything, been anywhere etc. My hopes of finding a partner are pretty non existent now and I feel upset and also a bit embarrassed about it (never had a relationship). Is anyone else in a similar position? Anyone ever managed to turn things around and have friends etc at this stage in life? Thanks x
Very much relate to this. Also 34 years old, not working but a full time student at university. Keep myself to myself at uni really as due to the age gap between myself and most students (who are 18/19) makes it hard to make friends, also don't live on campus. I don't look to be social tbh just come and go.
Have one friend nearby can meet up with but haven't seen for months. suffer with depression so often don't want to be around other people if feeling low.
Ashamed and dismayed at myself that i'm at this point in my life with nothing.
Mid thirties would have liked to have my own family, house, decent paid job, circle of friends but have nothing. Feel like I've wasted so many years and also scary to think i'm heading towards 40. Don't have many hobbies or interests really and am usually at home reading, playing video games, nothing that gets me out the house. Pretty dull life, worried for the future, hoping I can make a decent life for myself after I graduate but whether things will fall into place for me I can only hope and pray.
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  #5  
Old 12th February 2020, 11:12
felina felina is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

Hi,

Thank you to everyone who has replied and shared their story. I'm not sure how the replying thing works so hopefully I have done this right! It is honestly helpful just to know that I am not the only person. When I said i don't like people I meet I think it's mostly a lack of connection and just feeling that they don't understand me/I don't understand them rather than them being obnoxious. I think that is a good way to think about it though gregarious_introvert- to try and find people who fit in with me instead of the other way round. Your story does give me hope though - what was it that changed things for you? I have joined meetup but have not plucked up the courage to go to anything yet, has anyone had any success with meetup and been able to make friends? Tom1985 I totally understand the feeling of having wasted so many years and feeling ashamed of where I am in life, it's great that you are at uni though, i don't think I'd have the courage to be a student at this age so i think that's amazing- i really hope that things improve when you graduate.
Thanks
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  #6  
Old 13th February 2020, 00:37
scarlettgirl scarlettgirl is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

Hi, Felina. Exactly the same situation as you; 34 with a job but not much else to speak of. Feel like life is slipping away. I wish I could offer some advice, we just have to keep on keeping on I guess. I hope you meet some people you can form a connection with. I do understand the feeling of being irritated by some people though.
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  #7  
Old 13th February 2020, 01:09
Bluebear Bluebear is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

Hi Felina. I also feel irritated by some people. For me its just the smug, unfriendly, mean, arrogant people in the world who I can't stand. I hope you find this site helpful.
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  #8  
Old 14th February 2020, 19:58
JamesG_UK JamesG_UK is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

Hey felina, this sounds so familiar to me. I'm 35, so I think I understand the sense of 'life slipping away', and I have (and still do) spend a lot of time reflecting on the past, and that it was largely wasted to social anxiety.

I wanted to say that things are a lot better for me these days. I don't have a social life and like you, I really struggle to form connections with people, but desperately wish that I could.

I used to be absolutely crippled with social anxiety...study and work were sometimes almost unbearable. Now I have a respectable career, feel comfortable interacting with strangers, I've been volunteering and getting by quite well I think. I think most people would struggle to believe I have SA these days.

I'm nowhere near where I'd like to be, but I really do think things have become so much better for me, compared to where I used to be.

Have you come across CBT?

Wishing you well,

James.
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  #9  
Old 15th February 2020, 02:17
gregarious_introvert gregarious_introvert is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

Quote:
Originally Posted by felina
Hi,

Thank you to everyone who has replied and shared their story. I'm not sure how the replying thing works so hopefully I have done this right! It is honestly helpful just to know that I am not the only person. When I said i don't like people I meet I think it's mostly a lack of connection and just feeling that they don't understand me/I don't understand them rather than them being obnoxious. I think that is a good way to think about it though gregarious_introvert- to try and find people who fit in with me instead of the other way round. Your story does give me hope though - what was it that changed things for you? I have joined meetup but have not plucked up the courage to go to anything yet, has anyone had any success with meetup and been able to make friends? Tom1985 I totally understand the feeling of having wasted so many years and feeling ashamed of where I am in life, it's great that you are at uni though, i don't think I'd have the courage to be a student at this age so i think that's amazing- i really hope that things improve when you graduate.
Thanks
Hi again felina, sorry I haven't replied to this earlier but I've been a bit busy the last couple of days so not been here. What turned it around for me was, firstly, someone being able to show me why I'd faced so much social rejection over the years (which, in my case, was an issue with non-verbal communication because of my autism) and help me to understand non-verbal communication better, then building a life through meetup, SAUK meets, the Ramblers and such - it's interesting that you mention joining meetup and not plucking up the courage to do anything, because it took me 2 1/2 years to do that. I ended up running five meetup groups as Organizer (not all at one time) and being involved in several more as Co-organizer or Event Organizer, so my time there was successful (I passed on my groups to other Organizers last year because my partner didn't want me involved anymore) - although I did have the advantage of being able to tailor activities to suit my interests (I love travelling, so I started a meetup group devoted to travel, for instance).

If you are thinking about that first meetup, my advice would be to choose something which fits your interests (for me it was walking, I only attended meets which involved walking until I felt confident doing other things) so you are more likely to meet like-minded people.
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  #10  
Old 15th February 2020, 08:27
Tyger Heron Tyger Heron is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

Of course there is hope, there is always hope, it is why you are here, it is why I am here. I have only just found this site and all though I have zero problems jumping right in here, the idea of meetup terrifies me. Aslo I have no idea how to connect with people, seems I can do it one in a billion, it has happened before but..... well, once it has gone it is painful.

Also on the spectrum so I know that non-verbal cues are an issue, never thought to address it, never knew how. Anyway not meaning to hijack this thread, just quickly introducing myself and to say just that, that of course there is hope, it is why we are here.
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  #11  
Old 15th February 2020, 09:13
JamesG_UK JamesG_UK is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gregarious_introvert
Hi again felina, sorry I haven't replied to this earlier but I've been a bit busy the last couple of days so not been here. What turned it around for me was, firstly, someone being able to show me why I'd faced so much social rejection over the years (which, in my case, was an issue with non-verbal communication because of my autism) and help me to understand non-verbal communication better, then building a life through meetup, SAUK meets, the Ramblers and such - it's interesting that you mention joining meetup and not plucking up the courage to do anything, because it took me 2 1/2 years to do that. I ended up running five meetup groups as Organizer (not all at one time) and being involved in several more as Co-organizer or Event Organizer, so my time there was successful (I passed on my groups to other Organizers last year because my partner didn't want me involved anymore) - although I did have the advantage of being able to tailor activities to suit my interests (I love travelling, so I started a meetup group devoted to travel, for instance).

If you are thinking about that first meetup, my advice would be to choose something which fits your interests (for me it was walking, I only attended meets which involved walking until I felt confident doing other things) so you are more likely to meet like-minded people.
This is an inspiring message. The fact that you became an events organiser...that's fantastic! I've not plucked up the courage to attend a meetup yet, but I think it can be a really great thing for people like us, once we've arrived (which is the hardest part of all). Walking is a big part of my life too. If you can find a meetup that caters for your interests, that can take some of the pressure off. I will check out some local groups later
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  #12  
Old 15th February 2020, 23:19
shygal33 shygal33 is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

Hi Felina,

New here, I can totally relate. I am pretty much in a similar position as you. Although, I struggle every day with this, I believe there is hope! Not giving up - I have been trying different activity classes just to get out there and also manage stress/anxiety. Trying not to compare oneself to others and self-care is so important. I really wish to meet and make new friends that are understanding and accepting of SA. Really wish there were SA meet ups nearby or an area that is easy to travel to. I would love to connect with others that want to breakthrough this and have a laugh along the way. X
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  #13  
Old 16th February 2020, 15:14
JamesG_UK JamesG_UK is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shygal33
Really wish there were SA meet ups nearby or an area that is easy to travel to. I would love to connect with others that want to breakthrough this and have a laugh along the way. X
Whereabouts are you shygal? Yeah, I think SA meetups would be one of the best things for anyone with SA. Being able to realise that we're not dealing with this alone and recognising that this is a relatively common condition can be so helpful. Plus, knowing that everybody in the group is experiencing (or has experienced) very similar doubt, uncertainty and fear can really take the edge off the anxiety of meeting new people.
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  #14  
Old 16th February 2020, 15:31
gregarious_introvert gregarious_introvert is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shygal33
Really wish there were SA meet ups nearby or an area that is easy to travel to. I would love to connect with others that want to breakthrough this and have a laugh along the way. X
Hi shygal and welcome to SAUK; I made a post about a year ago in the meets section, saying that I would be happy to host a meet in any part of the country, but I got only one response and that indicated a very large area, from which it was difficult to pinpoint exactly where the meet should be. As things turned out, last year didn't go as planned and my life got turned upside down in the spring, leaving no time to arrange SAUK meets (although I did attend some); however, I still stand by my pledge so perhaps I could arrange something not too far from you? I can understand if you don't want to reveal where you are on the forum, but feel free to PM me if that's something which might appeal to you - of course, I can't guarantee that others would be interested, it may be that there aren't any (or many) SAUK members nearby, but I am willing to give it a try.

The above also applies to anyone else reading this wanting a SAUK meet local to them - my PM box is always open (I recently cleared out a lot of messages, it does get full quite often).
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  #15  
Old 16th February 2020, 18:00
anewyear anewyear is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

^maybe worth a thread in the meet section here with a poll? That way people can stay anonymous if they'd rather whilst giving an opinion? Not quite sure how to carve up into manageable regions but if anyone has the geographic knowledge for that then it has to be GI..!!
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  #16  
Old 17th February 2020, 00:05
gregarious_introvert gregarious_introvert is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

^ That's a good idea, but (a) I don't know how to make a poll and (b) I don't know how many options one can have in a poll. Of course, if someone more technically minded were to set one up for me, or give me an idiot's guide, I'd be happy to.
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  #17  
Old 17th February 2020, 13:51
Jen. Jen. is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

A poll is pretty easy, just click the check box next to "Yes, post a poll with this thread" at the bottom of the page when creating a new thread, click post, then fill in the information on the following page.

The mainland is usually divided into 11 sections:



You can have a poll with up to 30 options though, if you want to make it even more specific, and you can allow people to vote for as many options as they want.
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  #18  
Old 17th February 2020, 17:33
Jimmy77 Jimmy77 is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

Quote:
Originally Posted by felina
Hi, I have been a member here for a few years but have never posted anything. I'm feeling increasingly desperate though and wondering if there is any hope for the future. I am 34 (female) and have had social anxiety probably all my life. I just cannot connect with people and can't form genuine friendships or relationships. I just feel like I have totally failed at life. I do have a job and I know that is something to be grateful for but I find the social interaction aspect so stressful and it never gets easier. Anyone I meet never gets past being an acquaintance, I just can't do anything deeper. I also never meet people and actually really like them, I usually am annoyed or intimidated by them. I have no life basically and feel increasing panic that my life is slipping away and I haven't done anything, been anywhere etc. My hopes of finding a partner are pretty non existent now and I feel upset and also a bit embarrassed about it (never had a relationship). Is anyone else in a similar position? Anyone ever managed to turn things around and have friends etc at this stage in life? Thanks x
You certainly aren't alone Felina, if that is any consolation. SO many people are messed up. And SO many people feel like failures. In fact, I would guess the majority of the population could relate to your post in some way.

I'm not in great shape myself, plus I'm 43 (what I wouldn't give to be 34!). I can totally understand the sense of embarrassment, and also your fear about the future. And I know what you mean about struggling to connect. The sense of failure and shame makes it even worse, doesn't it. I tend to push people away because I don't want them finding out about my pathetic failure of a life.

In my experience, the key to building friendships when you are over 30 is a mutual interest. You have to offer something. Do you have any interests? Music? Painting? For example, if you love art galleries, you could join a chat forum, or even go to a class, and then, when you meet someone who also likes the paintings of David Hockney (to take a random example), you have a way in. You can say "oh, that's interesting. I meet so few Hockney fans. Maybe we could meet for a coffee some time and have a chat about him." That sounds so much more natural than "would you like to meet for a drink and be my friend"! Obviously it doesn't have to be painting - it could be horses, karate, knitting...anything.

You probably assume that everyone else has made their friends at school or Uni and don't want any more, but that just isn't true. Lots of people are lonely, while others don't actually like many of the friends they do have!
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  #19  
Old 20th February 2020, 11:48
Coffee Coffee is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

Yes there is a lot of hope.

Change does take a lot of mental effort flexibility though. Main thing is to try to approach it with a sense of humour, especially about yourself, to look after yourself physically while you work on things, and to seek as much help and support from as many sources as you can.
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  #20  
Old 20th February 2020, 21:03
Custard_cream Custard_cream is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

Hi,

You can definitely change, however impossible it may seem.

Have you been to see a doctor, write down everything you struggle with, how you feel etc, and give it to the doctor. I had CBT and have been on anti-depressants for the last 6 years. I managed to make friends with someone from this forum who I meet up with once a month or so. Going to see a doctor has changed my life. I am still anxious in some social situations, only have one friend, still have never had a relationship, but things have improved so much. I'm 32.

Message me if you want to chat.

CC
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  #21  
Old 29th February 2020, 00:32
Ello Ello is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

I'm in the same situation as you, I'm 33 and I've been trying to overcome agoraphobia and anxiety issues for years. I know my life is passing me by and being wasted but whenever I try to rejoin society and make changes it doesn't work out. I have no family, no job, no education, no hobbies, no achievements and I just feel totally inadequate and dull compared to other people. I can't make friends or form relationships and I don't feel like I have anything to offer to anyone. It gets very lonely but even with a lot of effort it doesn't look like it will get any better for me. I was told that being social isn’t always something you are and for some it’s something you have to practice so I guess we all have to keep trying or just accept how our lives are.
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  #22  
Old 29th February 2020, 13:06
Midlife Bookworm Midlife Bookworm is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

I guess there is a mix between deciding to keep trying to adjust oneself to be more mainstream and accepted by others, and deciding to accept yourself as you are and enjoying more solo hobbies like going to the cinema by yourself. On YouTube Marty Nemko the careers counsellor has a good video with a title like "when you've been rejected a lot" which covers exactly this choice. It has been hard for me to accept that others, by and large, don't want to be my friend and there are multiple factors like me being very overweight, unemployed through disability, and socially awkward. I enjoy the few social opportunities that come up for me, when SA permits, or just being around others in Spanish class for a couple of hours a week. Really for me part of the problem is a shortage of in-person socialising (I get plenty of online chat through here) and part of it is a lack of energy and drive to fill my days with activities - not doing much all day needless to say doesn't help my mood much.
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  #23  
Old 5th March 2020, 09:22
Bennykay Bennykay is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

I know exactly how you feel, you sound exactly the same as me, only a female version and slightly younger. I'm 40 now and found the older I get the worse I feel. For me meeting women has always been an impossible task so when dating websites came out I thought I'd have more of a chance, how wrong I was, after 15 years of being ignored, swiped left and being told I'm not their type made things much worse mentally, years seem to pass me like weeks now, I've accepted the fact I'm always going to be alone and depressed and frustrated and angry and spend most of my days wishing I wasn't born
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  #24  
Old 5th March 2020, 11:16
Midlife Bookworm Midlife Bookworm is offline
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Default Re: Is there any hope?

Welcome Bennykay. At the risk of sounding PollyAnna, I think there are some helpful ideas in the book "Living alone and loving it" by Jane Mathews. In particular, she speaks of the importance of accepting the life you actually have and making the most of it, rather than forever mourning some other parallel life where you have the partner and kids and house with the white picket fence etc. Even though the books seems written mainly for a female readership, as a man living solo I still found it quite helpful.
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