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Old 02-27-2011
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It's been a while since my last entry; but let me assure you that I haven't given up the fight just yet. In fact, things are going rather well. I've talked to strangers, made smalltalk with cashiers and made it a point to at least get out of the house once a day.

As great as things might be going though, I've been puzzled over why it doesn't at all make me feel better. In fact, I've been more anxious than ever. Giving it some thought, it can be easily explained. I've always been keeping myself locked up within the comfort zone of my own private little world where social interactions are avoided at all costs. While I had my periods of desperation, it was an easy life; I didn't expect myself to do anything and I just blamed the world for my problems. Now that I'm actually taking matters into my own hands, of course it's going to feel bad to be out of my comfort zone. The only times when I can feel at ease again is after I get home - my little oasis of aloneness in a desert of social interaction.

Nevertheless, the progress I'm making is what's keeping me motivated. Some things that I would have deemed 'just impossible' a few months ago are now within the realm of 'I might do this someday'. In fact, it's gotten to the point where I'm actually looking forward to some social interactions because it gives me an opportunity to get better at it. One of the main reasons why I've gotten to this point is that I've changed my expectations - even 'awkward' social situations are now considered a success, because at least I've been trying. Whenever I start talking to someone, I just expect it to go awkwardly, and I can still feel good afterwards.

Anyway, about the 'assignments'; it's not really working the way I wanted it to; sometimes the opportunities to complete then just don't arise. Maybe I should switch it up to some kind of 'point system'. In the meantime, I'm tasking myself with the assignment to talk to at least another stranger (complete stranger, and the conversation can't be 'business related')
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Old 03-06-2011
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OK, after almost a week without any updates... I feel like I'm crashing and burning. I was having some successes, but now I can't bring myself to do anything anymore. I'm withdrawing into my own little world again.

The reason why is that I've been to a party recently; something I've been looking forward to because it would give me an opportunity to use all the new 'social confidence' I found... or so I thought; at the party I was once again just an 'observer' in the crowd; just anonymously looking around watching how easily others strike up conversations with each other.

Now that I realize this, I have to take action. Luckily, I have another social gathering today. To set the bar low, my only goal is going to be to have at least one conversation with a random person. Shouldn't be hard, maybe it'll help me get back to my self-imposed exposure therapy.
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Old 03-25-2011
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It's been a while, and since I last posted I went to some parties (at one of which I got really, really drunk and made a complete *** of myself) but things have been going... okay.

Although today something prompted me to get back here because it's such a significant event; I actually actively flirted with my very cute hairdresser today, and much to my surprise she started to very obviously flirt back. The way I acted there... was exactly like the person I've always wanted to be.

While I think this event might still have been a fluke, it's a clear sign that my hard work is paying off, and that some of the techniques I've started to use recently are much more fruitful than anything I've tried in the past. In related news; I'm already looking forward to the next time I need to get my hair cut.
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Old 03-27-2011
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It seems I'm on a roll, as yesterday I had another semi-successful outing. I went out with some of my friends and spent half the evening talking to a girl and there might even have been some flirtation (I'm not sure, I'm usually very bad at picking up these signals). The funny thing was that I was basically my old anxious and shy self, but somehow it didn't matter a much - I did my best to be witty and charming, and at some points I definitely was.

Another funny thing was that tonight I had a dream about meeting girls, a dream in which I got much attention from them; but ultimately one of them came up to me and said that I was one of the ugliest guys there, and introduced me to a few of her 'not-so-good-looking' friends that she said liked me. It was interesting, as people usually tell me that I look very good (of course, those are always old people I don't care about and never cute girls), but I never see the 'results' from that - deep down, I feel ugly (even though I know I'm not) and it's where a big part of my confidence issues come from.
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Old 03-29-2011
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Still on somewhat of a roll; I feel more confident than usual and I have a lot of female contacts at the moment, a few of which I'm sure would go on a date with me if I asked. However, none of them really attract me. While it occurs to me I could continue the conversations so I can keep telling myself there are actual women interested in me, but it seems so unfair to them 'on the hook' so to speak.

For some reason I miss the feeling of having a crush on someone.
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Old 03-29-2011
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You are a very good writer! This could be an interesting novel... I'd read it!

Just sayin'.

Good luck with everything you'll find the girl soon, I can feel it in my bones.
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Old 03-30-2011
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You are a very good writer! This could be an interesting novel... I'd read it!

Just sayin'.

Good luck with everything you'll find the girl soon, I can feel it in my bones.
Thanks, I really appreciate that you've read my journal! I think writing away my anxieties is a great form of 'therapy' for me, and who knows, maybe I'll one day can compile these stories into a novel... but only if it gets a happy ending

As for today, not very interesting happens on my workdays - as I work in the male-dominated field of IT, my chances of meeting the girl of my dreams at work (as many people do) are literally zero. Nevertheless, I've been feeling good about myself lately, which is all that matters. In my last update I mentioned how I missed the feeling of having a crush on someone - and after giving it some thought I might have uncovered why. Through my desperate search for love on dating sites, my understanding of 'love' has been slowly devolving into a logical model where a set of parameters defines if I should be attracted to someone or not. It's mainly become about how much interests we share and how much our personalities are alike than how much she interests me or how much I might be attracted to her physically. I know it sounds shallow to say that 'looks matter', but honestly, exchanging long e-mails with girls whom I don't have any feelings for just because she expressed interest in me seems equally shallow (and probably even dishonest) and it's keeping me from contacting the ones I actually do find attractive.

Is it shallow to care about how someone looks? Probably. But after realizing this I've at least been able to approach the subject of love and attraction in a less parameterized and scientific way, allowing myself to have feelings and emotions about attraction. I'm not proud of it, but I guess it's also worthy to consider that the woman would also be much better off with a guy who really, really loves her than a guy who merely thought she fit a right "business-profile".

I see I've not given myself any assignments recently - to be honest, I've outdone any of the assignments I would have given myself when I flirted with those girls, but for old times sake - I really have to get to the gym, so that's going to be my goal for the weekend.
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Old 04-03-2011
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Well, I didn't go to the gym this weekend, but I did go for a long walk, so I kind of did some exercise...

Anyway; I have been making some great strides this week. It's been torture though, and I'm not kidding; It feels like actual torture that I'm putting myself through. I'm trying to be a little more social, but every interaction that's even an inch out of my comfort zone makes my mind go crazy. Every interaction I have with a women that's even remotely flirty or indicates that I'm interested always makes me feel really creepy and sad. These are things that other people consider normal, but without exception I feel like the worst guy in the world right afterwards.

Nevertheless, in the recent weeks almost all of these interactions have had positive results. It's strange but I guess that the world doesn't view me in the way I thought it did.
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Old 04-03-2011
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Well, I didn't go to the gym this weekend, but I did go for a long walk, so I kind of did some exercise...

Anyway; I have been making some great strides this week. It's been torture though, and I'm not kidding; It feels like actual torture that I'm putting myself through. I'm trying to be a little more social, but every interaction that's even an inch out of my comfort zone makes my mind go crazy. Every interaction I have with a women that's even remotely flirty or indicates that I'm interested always makes me feel really creepy and sad. These are things that other people consider normal, but without exception I feel like the worst guy in the world right afterwards.

Nevertheless, in the recent weeks almost all of these interactions have had positive results. It's strange but I guess that the world doesn't view me in the way I thought it did.
I've done a big event in the last 4 days. I can relate to you almost 100%. Ppl don't view you as you see yourself, I found. Despite feeling that strongly. Despite my mind going crazy as well, feeling so behind and inadequate socially and through other things, just putting yourself through the gauntlet or "torture" is the best thing. Will not feel that way right after heh boy I can agree with that. May not realize it till after or later, like I am now. It all adds up positive. It's just a bitch to go through, AND keep going through it. That's my challenge now, to NOT STOP, easily can... hope you don't stop either, Dutchy
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Old 04-04-2011
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I've done a big event in the last 4 days. I can relate to you almost 100%. Ppl don't view you as you see yourself, I found. Despite feeling that strongly. Despite my mind going crazy as well, feeling so behind and inadequate socially and through other things, just putting yourself through the gauntlet or "torture" is the best thing. Will not feel that way right after heh boy I can agree with that. May not realize it till after or later, like I am now. It all adds up positive. It's just a bitch to go through, AND keep going through it. That's my challenge now, to NOT STOP, easily can... hope you don't stop either, Dutchy
Yeah, exactly! It's funny how we all realize how we shouldn't feel bad, but it never gets easier, does it? Sometimes even the simplest things can make you feel so insecure, while it's only afterwards that I realize that hey, these people's lives don't revolve around making me feel bad - these people probably would actually like to see me doing well. I've been trying to tell myself this; that I can bloody well do what I want, that in this life, I have nobody to answer to but myself. I shouldn't have to jump through all these hoops just to please people I imagine are watching my every move. I fear it's a sad result of being bullied in high school - I'm still stuck in a mindset where I feel like every small mistake on my part could result in being made fun of. Anyway, I don't plan on stopping anytime soon, and from the sound of it you're headed in the right direction as well. I guess that's the beauty of this forum, to help each other to not give up.
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Old 04-13-2011
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I think that after last weekend I can say that I do have an unhealthy obsession with finding a girlfriend (after one particular incident that I should not report here). I'm calling it unhealthy because it's all I ever think about anymore. I don't know how to stop it either.

Perhaps the perfect example of this obsessive behavior is a business related trip I made a few weeks ago to a major eastern-european city. I had some time off to wander the city and do some sightseeing, but as I was walking the streets there, all I could notice was how very beautiful all the girls were (this was when I also discovered that eastern-european women are apparently 'my type'). Anyway, before I digress - while I enjoyed a short period of sightseeing, the fact that I spent way too much of my time trying to make eye-contact with random girls on the street bothers me enormously.

*sigh* The rational part of my mind seems to be absent lately. This is part of the "torture" I was talking about in an earlier post - facing the fact that I feel as if I'm going insane over something that's not worth going insane over. When I look at the situation objectively it seems only human that I have these feelings. There's an evolutionary force that somehow compels people to find 'mates' and 'procreate'. Speaking from a purely Darwinian standpoint; making sure your genes live on is the main objective in life. As a partner is required for this, it seems like only a matter of time before your body/mind starts telling you it's about time you started searching for one.

Perhaps it's noteworthy that I've previously always been able to avoid this desperation by secluding myself from the world. Staying home, not going out and the avoidance of any human contact has at least one benefit; it makes me calm and perhaps even content. The loneliness doesn't seem to bad when I hide myself in my own little world. However, as I've been trying to get out of this comfortable zone of aloneness for the sake of getting over my anxieties, so does my control over my desperation seem to slip away.

To at least get something positive out of all of this I'm trying to channel this 'obsessive energy' (for the lack of a better word) towards helping my get over my anxieties. It even seems to work to some extent.

Lastly - what would you guys advise me? Have any of you been in a similar situation before? Anyone have any tips on how to avoid the desperation while still trying to get out more?
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Old 04-13-2011
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It's hard to avoid the desperation: when out, you're auto-locked on all the couples walking together and always think "Why can't that be me?!", and you see the single people (the sad-looking ones) as reflections of yourself, like "That's what I must look like" or "That's how I'll end up" or something. This is the way it is for me, anyways, and it's mostly subconscious until I catch myself thinking like that. It's not so much avoiding it as suppressing it.

Usually the people who say that relationships aren't anything worth pining over are people who just haven't found the right person or are stuck in something they don't want to be in.
Like an ex-girlfriend once admonished me: don't settle! Meaning don't settle for someone just because you're desperate, just because you're lonely, just because it's getting late in the game etc. The more you go out, the better chance you'll 'click' with someone - you'll know the feeling when it happens: that internal dip-in-the-road feeling of attraction mixed with the instant-friendship mesh when you not only like the same things, but can nearly finish each others thoughts on what you like about them.
I don't think you can spend 'too much time' trying to make contact & meeting someone. I hardly spend any time trying that and all I do is moan to myself how I'm not in a relationship!
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Old 04-14-2011
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You're absolutely right, Hastings. Whenever I see one of those "lovey-dovey" couples I first get really jealous, and then I get really sad because on some level it feels as if I'll never experience that kind of 'real' love. It gets even worse that when I see an attractive woman walk down the street alone I think about how many great women there are in the world that I'll never have the courage to actually talk to.

It's a train of thought that leads to a downward spiral. Words like 'never' only lead to more negative thoughts.

Also, I can't express how much I appreciate your reminder to not 'settle'. In the recent past there have been some girls who were obviously crazy about me but whom I didn't feel any attraction for. Sometimes I trick myself into thinking that these are the only chances I'll ever have and that I should just force myself to be happy with whatever I can get.

Also (I just need to vent it somewhere) on one of those 'automatic matching dating sites' I just got matched to someone I recognize from around here who's also insanely beautiful and cute. I'm going to try to gather those scraps of confidence I gathered over the last few years to try to get her to go out with me. I have a new mission. (yeah, I know, I shouldn't build up my hopes too high before they get crushed again)

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Old 04-15-2011
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For something positive; I've been noticing that I'm apparently actually way more attractive to women than I always thought.

Don't get me wrong - people have always been saying that I'm apparently really attractive and handsome (I always heard this via my mother, so I just assumed there was a built-in bias) but I never saw any real-world indication to confirm this. If I was that attractive, why don't girls walk up to me to talk to me? If I was so handsome, why did this one particular girl that I like turn me down?

Nevertheless, apparently I only ever noticed the negative signals, because lately I have started to notice some things I've never noticed before; like random girls checking me out in the street.

This also puts some very puzzling events from the past into perspective. I've had two occasions where girls actually made an explicit point of telling me I was "really ugly". I always wondered why the hell anyone would be so insanely rude and insensitive, but I think that actually they were trying to get my attention and thought I was ignoring them. I've heard that extreme shyness can sometimes come off as arrogant - maybe that's what they were thinking?
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Old 04-18-2011
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For something positive; I've been noticing that I'm apparently actually way more attractive to women than I always thought.

Don't get me wrong - people have always been saying that I'm apparently really attractive and handsome (I always heard this via my mother, so I just assumed there was a built-in bias) but I never saw any real-world indication to confirm this. If I was that attractive, why don't girls walk up to me to talk to me? If I was so handsome, why did this one particular girl that I like turn me down?

Nevertheless, apparently I only ever noticed the negative signals, because lately I have started to notice some things I've never noticed before; like random girls checking me out in the street.

This also puts some very puzzling events from the past into perspective. I've had two occasions where girls actually made an explicit point of telling me I was "really ugly". I always wondered why the hell anyone would be so insanely rude and insensitive, but I think that actually they were trying to get my attention and thought I was ignoring them. I've heard that extreme shyness can sometimes come off as arrogant - maybe that's what they were thinking?
Same here with the first part: I focused on the negative and, looking back at all the chances of meeting these women, it's not a good view. Got to keep eyes focused forward from this point on. And these women never came up and introduced themselves because 90% of women just don't naturally do that, unfortunately.

As for the 'ugly' comments, could be they were anti-flirting to get your attention.

Which brings up a painful memory for me: back in junior high this girl a grade lower kept putting me down, but with a smile. She was a popular "bad" girl and was insanely attractive (had a shock of white in her blonde hair from a head injury) and guys just followed her everywhere. One day she pushed too far and I insulted her back in a bad way in a public place. She froze still and looked at me like I had just hit her, then bent her head down. She never bothered me or with me ever again.
Only years later I learned that she was really into me, and was expressing it in that way.
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Old 04-25-2011
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It's been some time again and after yet another fruitless trip to the club I'm thinking my 'newfound confidence' was mainly just an illusion. I thought I had finally found enough confidence to at least make eye contact, but yeah, I guess I'm still the old shy me I've always been.

To not make things too depressing; I've decided to go on a date with someone whom I think is great but not physically attracted to - but I'd still like to give it a shot because it could be a great learning experience. Also, I want to just go on as many dates as possible this year. So far I've had one. Nevertheless, it does seem that with each one I feel less nervous, so it's definitely having a positive effect.

One last thing; I'm discovering some wonderful surprises of dating in general; that sometimes someone can seem like the perfect woman when you first see them, but then they turn out to be completely different from how you pictured them - or in the opposite sense, someone who you thought to be ultimately 'not your type' might turn out to be actually very nice. Both have happened to me recently, and I'm trying to steer the conversation with the girl I'm starting to like more and more towards meeting up sometime.

Funny how I start off writing these posts thinking "I'm a complete failure" but by the time I finish them I'm starting to realize I'm not doing all that bad.
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Old 05-10-2011
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It's been quite a long time since I've posted here, but it's not been because of a lack of significant events. The bad news is that almost all of them had a negative impact on my life. Especially work is the most stressful it's ever been. I'm noticing that as stress builds, I'm starting to withdraw more and more into my 'safety zone'; I seclude myself from all human contact as much as possible to avoid any extra stress that might result from that. Of course, that's a recipe for disaster, but it seems almost hard-wired into my brain that whenever a lot of bad things happen I feel like I have to get away from people.

My never-ending "quest for love" also seems to take a back seat thanks to this phenomenon. I feel less confident which means that I'm more willing to accept that nothing is going to come out of it anyway. It seems to have been really bad timing though, as I met yet another girl online that I had been talking to for quite a while. I think I even started to develop some really genuine feelings of affection for her - just before she stopped replying to my messages (I'm sensing a pattern here).

Anyway; my honest conclusion is that my life isn't going the way I want to at the moment, and to make matters worse, the causes of it are largely out of my control now - even after I stood up for myself. Well, that's how life goes sometimes, and I've had a short glimpse of the good times that might follow after this 'work-related crisis' - things aren't looking as grim as I thought they were.
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Old 05-15-2011
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Gah, sometimes it feels as if life just likes to take a dump on me. Especially work seems to be getting more and more hectic and demanding - or perhaps it's just everyone taking advantage of my helpful and naive nature. In any case, as I said in my last update; until I can finally 'catch a break' and things slow down at work, trying to get rid of my SA will have to take a back seat. Like I said before, when I'm stressed I usually withdraw myself from any social interactions... and now, I'm more stressed out than ever, it seems.

They say life is like a game that gets harder as you progress, but to me it seems as if the difficulty level is at any point a lot harder than I'm ready to handle at that point. I always feel like I'm trailing behind everyone else. I thought finally moving out of my parents' house was going to change that, but while it has made me more independant, I feel more distant from everyone else than ever.
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Old 05-18-2011
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have been through this same experience when i moved out and lived alone. it was for almost a year, near the end of that period i disconnected myself completely from the world and was in to my worst period of depression ever at my life.
maybe ppl like us need someone to push us, even if we brag and still unhappy about ppl who make us do things (like parents or someone...) it leaves less chances to end up doing nothing at all. just my opinion on this topic....
Well, to be honest I don't think my life was better when I was still living at home. It's a bit of a 'doomed if you do, doomed if you don't' scenario; I had my parents there to push me, sure, but then I still felt bad about myself because they did a lot of stuff for me (I wasn't independant) and even worse; it was very harmful to my confidence as I saw myself as inferior to my friends who all moved out and were living together with their girlfriends. To someone already not too confident about himself, having to tell potential partners that you're still living with your parents is just plain old torture.

Anyway, the only choice I seem to have is to pick myself up, dust myself off and keep on fighting. While I often feel that life is unfair to me, there's nothing I can do to suddenly make it so. Life just sucks sometimes - feeling sorry for myself isn't going to make that go away. Nevertheless; I allow myself to be depressed for a couple of days (it's only natural) and afterwards I've hopefully learned yet another valuable lesson. I'm just hoping that at some point, I'll actually be lucky for a change.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latte View Post
just be sure that those couple days of depression won't last weeks or months. hope things will get better for you. don't wait for luck, make the change yourself
I know, I know... ...but sometimes I just have to tell myself it's okay to feel bad under these circumstances. Even people I consider 'normal' would probably have had a hard time if they were in my shoes, so I'm not going to criticize myself for not being able to pick myself up immediately.

As a positive note, I've been noticing that my usual periods of depression have been getting shorter and easier to get over. It seems promising, and I'm hoping that once I get out of this stressful time, I'll be able to triple my efforts.
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