Tag: friendship

I’m Disappointed With Online Dating

People raved about online dating on a couple of sites that I really trust, Ask Metafilter and Captain Awkward. Five years ago, at age 18, I was excited to try it.

I found OkCupid too confusing to use towards the end of my time there. I couldn’t see who liked my profile or messaged me anymore. I tried following the help instructions and still had no luck.

I also tried Craigslist, Plenty of Fish, and Match. People on Craigslist sent mean emails about my weight. They told me that they were flagging their ads because they didn’t want to see fat people on the site. They were very persistent about booting me off of the personals section.

All of the dating sites I’ve tried share the problem of people writing very sparse, vague profiles. For example, people wrote, “I love to laugh,” “I like to watch movies,” or “I’m looking for someone adventurous.” Their descriptions sounded alike. I had no idea from reading these profiles how these people thought or what it would be like to spend time with them or anything like that.

Very rarely, I’d have a brief relationship with someone I met online. I think all of these relationships fell apart partly because of my poor social skills, and partly because they had no respect for me.

I didn’t just want to date. I wanted to make friends, too. The only site I could find for talking to people as friends was the platonic section of Craigslist. One person I met wanted to start a business with me without a business licence, another associated with people in a violent gang, and so on, so nothing worked out. If there were more sites for people looking for friends, I would’ve tried them.

I’ve been trying so hard for five years to meet people online. I’ve gotten nowhere. It seems to work for other people. The person who runs Captain Awkward married someone she met online. I don’t understand why I have no luck with it. I just spent another $60 on Match the other day. I probably made a mistake doing that, since I’ve been on it for over six months and only gotten one date out of it.

Also, I hardly ever see any people near my size on these sites. I don’t care whether a romantic interest is fat or thin, but I know that other fat people are more likely to be willing to date me, so it’s discouraging to see all of these thin people. However, there are even fat people who aren’t willing to date fat people. Dating while fat sucks. Match allows me to see what body type(s) people selected (Plenty of Fish doesn’t show this) and only a small fraction of people are willing to date a fat person. It’s very intimidating to think of not only my weight, but all of the other factors working against me. I’m currently on disability, I don’t drive (I use public transportation and would not ask a romantic interest to help me get around), I’m Unitarian Universalist and Pagan (everyone seems to want an Atheist or a Christian) and so on.

Maybe it’s time to give up trying to meet people online.

My mom and therapist think that I  should switch to meeting people in person. I’m not confident that I can succeed at that, either, which is why I tried meeting people online in the first place, but I’ll try..

Advertisements

My Thoughts on Improve Your Social Skills, by Daniel Wendler (Kindle edition)

I found this book to be comforting. He believes that the reader deserves a place to belong and wants everyone to feel loved and accepted (Wendler, 1). He describes the reader’s life as a gift to those who love them and those who will love them in the future (Wendler, 1). The book makes me more hopeful that I’m worth connections and will be able to find them. I feel calmer. I’ll return to these sentences again and again. I admire Wendler’s gentle compassion and am inspired to be gentler and more compassionate, myself.

Wendler has studied social skills in his free time and gone to school for clinical psychology. At the time that the book was written, he had given hundreds of hours of social skills coaching (Wendler, 4). As a child, he was diagnosed with autism, and it was difficult for him to understand socializing (Wendler, 4). When he was in high school, he realized that his problems weren’t due to a character flaw, but due to the fact that he needed to work on his social skills (Wendler, 4). People have criticized my character and personality before, so it’s a relief to hear that I can learn how to improve at socializing.

Wendler reassures the reader that if they experience a social failure, worst case scenario, they can always try again with someone else (Wendler, 14). He explains how to look for signs of comfort and discomfort in someone’s body language. There’s a chapter with tips for making conversation, such as that asking questions shows interest. The chapter after that covers group conversations.

He writes about empathy, starting with understanding your own emotions. He says, “Your problems matter, because you matter,” and I appreciate his caring (Wendler, 71). He encourages the reader to act on their empathy (Wendler, 78).

The chapter about meeting people is built upon the idea of participating in groups that are related to your interests. I’m uneasy about his suggestion to make conversation with customer service workers, since they may be too busy to talk, but the chapter is otherwise good (Wendler, 90).

Wendler explains what makes someone a good friend, which is helpful both for figuring out who to be friends with, and for being a friend. He says that a good friend likes the person, cares about them, accepts them, and treats them respectfully (Wendler, 97). I love that he devotes an entire chapter to explaining how to support your friends. One of his suggestions is to ask someone if they want advice before offering it (Wendler ,113).

There’s a chapter about dating. His outlook about relationships is very healthy. He says that both partners need to have other relationships, hobbies, and goals outside of the relationship and support each others’ interests in these things (Wendler, 137).

I recommend this book to anyone who wants suggestions about improving their social skills.

Works Cited

Wendler, Daniel. Improve Your Social Skills. 

A Therapist and a Forum Reacted Badly to Me Saying That I’d Like to Have Close Friends

Content note: interpersonal difficulties

I told my (now former) therapist that I’d like to have close friends. I mentioned that I’d like it if we could share details with each other about our lives, and she said, “Why should they share details with you?” which made me angry cuz it seemed like she was accusing me of wanting to interrogate people, when I meant it in a spirit of curiosity, warmth and openness. If she wants to be a private person in her personal life, that’s fine, but it’s not fair that she shit on me for wanting to get to know some people well and let them know me. I wasn’t saying that every conversation had to be a deep heart to heart or that we’d need to talk every day like I would with a partner. I hate it when people twist my good intentions into something bad, something that they act like I’m appalling for.

Shaken, I told a forum about my experience with her and asked, “Is it okay to want close friendships?” Without knowing anything about my behavior, only the fact that I want close friendships, several people ganged up on me, all of them accusing me of similar things: being imposing, invasive, intruding into peoples’ personal space. I wouldn’t do something imposing or invasive or intruding like asking someone I didn’t know well a personal question or continuing to try to befriend someone who wasn’t interested. I hate it when people accuse me of acting in ways that I don’t act. It’s not fair. I don’t deserve to be labelled these things just for asking if it’s okay to want close friendships. I’m furious!

I’m no longer interested in becoming close with anybody. The therapist and the people on the forum got hostile in response to me expressing a desire for closeness with others. If people in environments that are designed to be especially supportive are getting hostile with me for this, people in everyday life would probably react with even more hostility. I thought that closeness was something good and special, but it seems that at least some people view overtures of friendship as a threat. I dunno how to tell who would be this way and who, if anyone, would be like me (which I doubt, I guess I’m just fucked up), so to be on the safe side, I’ll treat everyone as if they would consider any overture to mean that I’m a bad person, and not make any overtures at all. I need to protect myself from further hostility. My mental health can’t withstand it. I’ll just deal with being isolated for the rest of my life.

I’m Having Trouble Finding Support Outside My Family

Content note: gets into my interpersonal pain

Currently, my parents are the only people I have in my support system. I don’t wanna overwhelm them, so I’ve been trying really hard to change this, but it has been difficult. My experiences with therapists have been very painful. Calling a hotline has resulted in pain. Asking for help on forums has also made me feel worse. I rarely make friends and haven’t been able to keep the ones I’ve made. I feel that people have unfairly made negative assumptions and judgments about me. I feel that people have been hostile towards me. I feel like I have been blown off. I feel like my hopes have been shit on. I don’t feel understood. People have accused me of attacking them when that wasn’t my intention, and I don’t understand what I did that makes them think that. I can’t tell if they’re villain-izing me on purpose as an attack or if I’m making mistakes with my behavior that make me come across badly unintentionally.

Lately I’ve been finding people confusing, disappointing, threatening, and chaotic. The thought, “Fuck people, I’ll just stick to myself and my family from now on,” has gone through my head. I’ve been tempted to abandon my hopes of finding friends, community, and romance and get back into work/school/volunteering, and do nothing but consume media all day or maybe even just go into a hibernation state for the rest of my life.

In spite of the lack of support system, I made some breakthroughs with my recovery that I wrote about earlier, but as the conflicts that have been happening in my search for support have added up, it has been unraveling. I had a bad conflict with my therapist and need to start fresh with a new one, but I’m not sure if I can gather the strength to find one. If I can’t get it together, I’ll lose my Social Security income and become homeless, so the pressure is intense. I’m suffering so much. I dunno if I’ll ever be okay again.

A Friendship Didn’t Work Out

I lost another friend, but it might be my fault this time…I dunno. She was, at that point, my only friend, and thus the only person I could ask to be a personal reference for a volunteer job. She declined, and I said, “I understand,” trying to be nice. However, I was crushed, and felt like she really screwed me over. I was so sad and angry that I unfriended her. Declining to be my reference seemed like yet another part of a pattern of being more distant from me than I felt from her, and I didn’t feel like I could deal with being friends with someone in a situation like that. Now I’m friendless, and I probably deserve it.

How My Date Turned Out

Content note: feeling of hopelessness

I thought that my date with Ky went well. He asked about my blog, and I appreciated that he showed an interest in it, since it’s such a big part of my life. We laughed a lot. At the end, I asked him if he’d like a hug, and he said yes. I said that I had fun, and he said that he did, too. However, he ignored the message I sent asking him out again. That’s typical for me. After dealing with this yet again, I have little confidence in my ability to read how well a person likes me. Being ignored after a first date is a particularly painful way to get rejected, but it’s how it usually happens for me, which sucks. I’ve made dates with four people since my last relationship, and all of them have rejected me. One even changed his mind about meeting me before our date. I’ve been in ten relationships, and every single time, I’ve been the one who was dumped. The constant rejection is excruciating. This time, my sleep problems (swinging between extremes of not sleeping enough and sleeping way too much) got worse, and I’ve been fidgeting and barely eating anything. It’s so rare that I see anyone who I can message on a dating site, for reasons such as they indicate not wanting to date a fat person or that they’re looking for something casual, that I can’t easily just jump back into dating after a rejection. Coming across another person that I can try with is a painfully slow process. I’m in a horrible mood and don’t feel very hopeful about being able to find a partner, or even local friends (I have one friend, but she lives in Seattle).

I Worked Things Out With My Friend

I was afraid that my friend Clare wasn’t interested in our friendship anymore cuz she would give me vague responses in our conversations. I told her what I observed and asked if she was happy with our friendship. She said that it’s taking time for her to get used to being back in contact, since I was still a minor when we were last in touch, and to gauge how to relate to me now that I’m older. Her responses have been vague cuz she prefers to talk about books that she has read, and I’ve talked a lot about books that I’ve read. I offered to read books that she has read so that we can discuss them in a way that’s more comfortable for her. She sent me the link to her Good Reads account so that I can follow what she’s reading. I’m glad that I tried to find out what she was thinking instead of giving up out of discouragement. I understand now that she needs some time to process, and I’m glad that we figured out a way to discuss books that works for both of us.