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Friday, April 16, 2010

I Have Trouble Making Good Friends and Meeting Men

Dear Ms. Curtiss:

When I was 22 I had a nervous breakdown. The major trigger in helping me through it was your book. I have recommended the book to many people since then and I thank you for your help.

Whenever I get depressed, I pick up that old copy and it helps me to snap out of it. I am generally happy but I have one problem that is always a trigger for feeling awful. I was wondering if you could help me. I moved to a new city about 3 years ago and I find I've had a
problem making good friends and meeting men.

I am 30 and anxious to settle down so I feel the need to go out every weekend not only to meet men but because I don't want to feel lonely. I have tried very hard to make good friendships but I don't have people I can rely on I feel like every weekend it is a battle to make plans and it shouldn't be that way. I will call everyone I know, totally put myself out there, which is hard for me since I am shy, and ask acquaintances if they want to hang out.

I don't know if it is me or the culture but people just don't want to go out or they are leaving the city, have other plans, whatever. I even ask people who I don't even like that much! That is how much I don't want to be alone on a sat night. Its ridiculous but it causes me so much stress and pain. I feel like I'm begging for friends. It is truly a battle and I see no end in sight until I meet someone! Or maybe get over the obsession!

Do you think I should try to ignore it and learn to be happy on my couch with a book on a Saturday night or continue this struggle to have a good social life. Even my mother is worried about my social life, asking me what I am doing every Friday and Sat night. She just wants me to meet someone and so do I but it is doubly painful to be single and without reliable fun friends to go out with.

I am just wondering if you could help me think about this in a more positive way so that I don't freak out about an upcoming free sat night on a Monday. I know it is crazy but I truly do! I don't know whether I should stress it...my mom says I have to work at meeting a man...I have to put myself out there. I wish I could relax and not care. I just can't seem to find a healthy solution.
I hope you can offer some advice.

Thank you.
p.s. please don't include my name (first or last) if you post this!

Yes, you should continue to pursue friendship. If you are shy, it will be more difficult and you should be working on your shyness because it is either just lack of social practice or a bunch of repressed fear that you need to address. Probably a bit of both.

It is necessary to have like-minded friends. And yes, it could be worse, you could be in a bad relationship. At least you are free to move ahead right now, you don’t have to wait. And you should move ahead with addressing your shyness. Read chapter ten in Depression is a Choice for getting in touch with repressed fear and take a Toastmaster’s, International course in public speaking. This will help immensely. There are groups in every city and they are very inexpensive. You will not only be addressing your own social skills you will be seeing you are not the only shy one as you see others working on their own skills.

I would also suggest you read Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People. It is an old book but a wise one.

Today many people use the Internet to connect with people, although you have to be careful and meet in public places. It may be hard to connect in such a busy world in a new city. I’m sure you are not the only lonely person out there. I would suggest you look up some current books on dating ideas on amazon I would suggest that you check the local papers for free events of the kind you are interested in so that you may meet like-minded people at them.

Join book clubs, single clubs, photography clubs, any kind of net-working or community group is a good idea, church groups or college groups if you have an affiliation with those. And I would also suggest volunteer work rather than just sitting at home. You may meet people who are also volunteering and at least you will be with people. A. B. Curtiss

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I too am lonely and having a diffiult time making friends. I've reached out, but it seems that most people my age, already have their network estblished and will only go so far in accepting me into that.
So I joined a gardening club as I love working with plants.It has become my social outing as some of us go out for lunch after the meetings. I haven't been able to make close friends with them yet, at least not as close as I'd like, but I feel it's a step in the right direction and with time and patience I'm sure I'll get closer to someone. Just wanted to share this with the person whose letter you posted, to encourage her to join something she has an interest in. it helps!