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I can't seem to socialise and make connections with people

CyanCircleCyanCircle Posts: 2Member
This discussion was created from comments split from: Hi, I'm Gill, I'm a PSHE Specialist.

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  • CyanCircleCyanCircle Posts: 2Member

    Hi Gill,


    I'm 29 and I have congenital muscular dystrophy. I can't seem to socialise and make connections with people. I sometimes go out to meet people, but I don't know how to start conversations. I often think that I might be acting strange by going up to people and simply talking to them. I also don't know how to build friendships. I’m friendly with people, but I tend to avoid talking to them too much in case I might be too “in your face”, which means I don’t talk to them much at all.


    I also like to have a girlfriend, but I’ve lost a lot of confidence now that my health has changed. I’m using a machine to breathe, I can’t feed myself and I have someone with me all day. I don’t know if I’ll be able to bring myself to try and meet someone.


    Do you know of anywhere that could help me be better at socialising?


    Thanks
  • PSHEexpertPSHEexpert Posts: 168Volunteer community adviser Pioneering
    Hi there! 

    Thank you for your post - I think it's a really complicated issue, and one which needs to be talked about more openly.  The fact is, socialising can be really difficult if you're feeling a bit unsure of yourself, and the anticipation of meeting new people can really intensify that.  It's important that we acknowledge that straight off, and let me be really clear in saying that this is MUCH more common than I think we like to admit.  I really get what you're saying about going up to people and talking to them, too.  I always used to think that because it often feels a bit artificial, that it wasn't a real connection and therefore wasn't going to work.  However, I now feel a bit differently - I think by necessity, first conversations and introductions are by their nature a little bit artificial because you have to instigate them.  So, with that in mind, I think I would be focusing on taking some of the pressure off that situation.

    A good way of approaching that would be to seek out a situation where everyone is in a similar position.  Have you thought about using a forum such as Meetup to find out about events, groups, etc that are local to you?  I have used it myself and have had some really enjoyable (and varied) social experiences because of it.  What I found was that as a new member of a group, if I contacted the admin and let them know I was coming, they would keep an eye out for me and make a couple of introductions, which really, really took the pressure off.  You don't mention where you're based, but I am in Birmingham and found that there were quite a few different (and reasonably regular) things happening, including (which might also help with the girlfriend end of things) a very relaxed social night for singles...not specifically a speed dating type thing, but a social event where it's understood that everyone there is single and potentially "looking", as it were.  The other benefit of these kind of semi-arranged events is that they're often focused on an activity (cinema, meal) or a shared interest (book group, debate group), which can - again - take off some of the pressure of trying to start a conversation, or think of a question that won't come off as weird or trying to hard (or all of the other things we often worry about when we're trying to make a good impression).  I have found another website more recently too - called HeyEvent, which gives you local listings of things and links back to Facebook Groups, where again, you could use that as a way to ease into it by making a contact before you arrive.

    I get the feeling that that kind of social setting - where there's a bit of an "in" (i.e. through an existing group member, or a shared activity etc) could be a supportive one, especially as you very likely wouldn't be the only newbie. 

    Wishing you luck and thinking of you! 

    - Gill 
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