How do I keep friends when I'm avoidant?

Lamb

Well-known member
#1
I know the logical answer. Step out of my comfort zone, make a collected effort to keep in contact and hang out. But these actions feel like things I will have to relearn and force myself to do. How hard is it to text someone right? People ask me that alot. My answer is, incredibly hard for me most of the time.
I don't want to intentionally appear like I don't care about people but that's what happens when I don't make a collected effort to check in on them. And it isn't that I don't care. I know that if I don't take those common actions these friendships will disintegrate. I do it anyway. Yet I want friendships? Makes no sense to me.

Eventually, that feeling of wanting social contact does wane, which I know is something alot of people can't tolerate and call a friendship at the same time. I'm sure alot of people consider me a flaky person. I don't know if it's become a part of my personality now.

There's one friend of mine who understands how I am. We can go months without talking and then pick back up as if I had spoken to her yesterday. I want friends, and feel like I'll have to make a collected effort to gain some more again. Also, the older I get the harder it becomes.

Spring/Summer are coming up- two seasons I dread. I think it's a sort of seasonal affective disorder where I become irritable and depressed.

Maybe I just haven't clicked with the right type of people? what the heck is my problem. lol :idontknow:

If anyone here is learning to manage friendships, feel free to share. For those that aren't why do you think you struggle with them?
 

ImNotMyIllness

Well-known member
#2
I have three great friends that I met in college. We can go weeks or months without talking and then pick up where we left off (At least with two of them, the third can become estranged at times, but we quickly warm up to each other again).
With my best friend, I'll call him every week or so. Sometimes we both get busy and we may not talk for a month or two. But, I do make an effort. I feel they're always with me, even when they're not.

It's all about making quality friends. People who you click with. Great interpersonal chemistry is hard to come by. I've only found it in three people so far. But, they are enough.
 

ImNotMyIllness

Well-known member
#3
Decide if these relationships are worth continuing. If they are, then you do need to put in some time. Even the best of friendships need nurturing. If you're not exactly crazy about your current friend roster, try to meet people that you mesh better with.
 

Lamb

Well-known member
#4
Decide if these relationships are worth continuing. If they are, then you do need to put in some time. Even the best of friendships need nurturing. If you're not exactly crazy about your current friend roster, try to meet people that you mesh better with.
I think meshing will be a rare find. Very rare
 

ImNotMyIllness

Well-known member
#5
Isn't the rest just fluff?....chatter?........I don't see the point in maintaing friendships unless you either a) are professionally networking with them or b) you mesh well together. Have great interpersonal chemistry. At least that's how I feel.
 

EscapeArtist

Well-known member
#6
Ugh me too.... I have one friend that I don't see for months and feel very badly about. The only other friend I've had since I've become so agoraphobic is a guy that would basically force me to hang out with him by coming to my door or calling 10 times. Anyways, I don't know what to do about this either. Right now I'm thinking that exercise could help? Maybe it would give us more social energy and thus more motivation to hang out more often..Idk
 

Lamb

Well-known member
#7
Isn't the rest just fluff?....chatter?........I don't see the point in maintaing friendships unless you either a) are professionally networking with them or b) you mesh well together. Have great interpersonal chemistry. At least that's how I feel.
When I think of meshing, I also think of sharing similar interests. The reason me and the friend I can go months without talking too click are because we have very similar personalities. I can't say the same for hobbies. Maybe I'm lacking in hobbies. I seem to grow disinterested in things easily. Or maybe I enjoy things, (like art, hiking) but don't do it often enough to have acquired alot of knowledge in it. I hate having to think about improving in hobbies to gain friends. It feels like homework.
 

Lamb

Well-known member
#8
Ugh me too.... I have one friend that I don't see for months and feel very badly about. The only other friend I've had since I've become so agoraphobic is a guy that would basically force me to hang out with him by coming to my door or calling 10 times. Anyways, I don't know what to do about this either. Right now I'm thinking that exercise could help? Maybe it would give us more social energy and thus more motivation to hang out more often..Idk
Well that sounds interesting. I wonder how I'd react to a person like that. Haha

I think that the sunlight in summer and spring time would exhaust me. Example, jogging. I'd think "oh, there's my 30 minutes of sunlight!" and want to go back inside for the day. Social energy? hmmm. Figuring this out is going to make me go crazy.
 

ImNotMyIllness

Well-known member
#9
I think it has more to do with personalities jiving. Me and my best friend can talk about anything....usually, we're talking about nothing. We just enjoy listening to each other joke around.
 

Flanscho

Well-known member
#10
I keep the friends I have by doing stuff on a regular basis. The first few times I'm nervous, but then it becomes a habit.

Like, cooking. A few months ago I asked a friend, whether she likes to meet and cook something up together after work. So, I was nervous at first. I did know her, but never did something just with her without any other friends nearby. But it worked out fine. We do that about weekly now, and quite often another friend joined too. That way we get to know each other better while doing something regularly that I know.

Or, video evening. On sunday evenings we meet at a friend, order pizza and watch two movies. The first few times I was very nervous too, but over the years I got more and more comfortable.

And so on and so on.
 

gustavofring

Well-known member
#11
I know what this is like. I've put off contacting people for long as well, and thus have lost quite a few friends. Hell I've even not talked to my brother in a year. I have a few friends I keep in touch with though, but often weeks go by without. It depends a lot on my mood. When I'm feeling good and confident I usually have bigger willpower to call friends. However, I find that I shouldn't let it depend on my rare good moods so much.

Why do we avoid contact with friends? Probably because there's some fear (of rejection), unworthiness, or resistance and pain of sorts. Or simply a feeling of "meh can't be bothered tonight", but maybe that also has underlying fear. Do you think this is true OP, or are there other reasons?

We associate the reality that we have to call /text friends and nurture the relationship, with fear instead of positivity. We thus build up resistance and wait for the other person to make the move. You mention you do WANT friendship, so action from your part does have to come.

I think one of the keys to snapping out of such behavior is to stop associating contact with friends with fear or resistance and instead take a positive approach to it. Stop wailing around in cynism and fear, and just take action. Keep working at it, so momentum builds, to the point where it comes semi-naturally. Not sure if it will ever come naturally to people with SA and AVP though. Another thing that might help is to simply clear the mind before you make a call or text. Stop the stream of thought so that you become very relaxed and don't feel that terrible strain and effort. Also accept that you will feel a bit nervous, it's fine, but you shouldn't let this dictate your life by avoiding moments that make you nervous. You'll find the moment of nervousness will soon perish as you click and bond again with the friend.
 
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#12
I reckon its something to do with how uncomfortable we are in our own skins - when we relate to other people, we watch like crazy what's coming out of our mouths - for me saying things that could be considered personal or outlandish is tough to do, and even tougher to force. So, feeling bad about myself in others peoples presence. When we arent with others, we arent reminded about those feelings coz we're busy avoiding it all, ya know?
 

Barrier

Well-known member
#13
Isn't the rest just fluff?....chatter?........I don't see the point in maintaing friendships unless you either a) are professionally networking with them or b) you mesh well together. Have great interpersonal chemistry. At least that's how I feel.
But what if you just don't seem to be able to find the people you have chemistry with?
 
#14
But what if you just don't seem to be able to find the people you have chemistry with?
That's a problem. For me, I had to do something crazy in college-I joined a Fraternity (not the stupid drinking type). Pledging was very tough and it was during this experience that I met my best friends. The situation creatted tight bonds as well as the sense of knowing who you DIDN'T click with.

If you're not in college or no longer in college. It will be very difficult. Had I not met them as friends......................I don't know what I would do?
 
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jaim38

Well-known member
#15
^The library is also a good place to meet people. I met some friends there. Or maybe a bookstore, or comic book store. Places that you're interested in.
 

Lamb

Well-known member
#16
I think it has more to do with personalities jiving. Me and my best friend can talk about anything....usually, we're talking about nothing. We just enjoy listening to each other joke around.
I can do this as well, in my head though (for some unknown reason) I've always believed that sharing similar interests with the other person are a prerequisite for achieving the ideal friendship. I don't really know where I'm going with this guys lol. Maybe I feel what I have with the people currently in my life isn't enough (with some exceptions), or that I cannot provide enough to sustain these relations. It never feels like enough.
 

Lamb

Well-known member
#17
I keep the friends I have by doing stuff on a regular basis. The first few times I'm nervous, but then it becomes a habit.
It doesn't become a habit for me. Then again, I've never been good at maintaining habits (except the avoidance of course) or routines. Hmmm, perhaps that's part of it.
 

Lamb

Well-known member
#18
I know what this is like. I've put off contacting people for long as well, and thus have lost quite a few friends. Hell I've even not talked to my brother in a year. I have a few friends I keep in touch with though, but often weeks go by without. It depends a lot on my mood. When I'm feeling good and confident I usually have bigger willpower to call friends. However, I find that I shouldn't let it depend on my rare good moods so much.

Why do we avoid contact with friends? Probably because there's some fear (of rejection), unworthiness, or resistance and pain of sorts. Or simply a feeling of "meh can't be bothered tonight", but maybe that also has underlying fear. Do you think this is true OP, or are there other reasons?

We associate the reality that we have to call /text friends and nurture the relationship, with fear instead of positivity. We thus build up resistance and wait for the other person to make the move. You mention you do WANT friendship, so action from your part does have to come.

I think one of the keys to snapping out of such behavior is to stop associating contact with friends with fear or resistance and instead take a positive approach to it. Stop wailing around in cynism and fear, and just take action. Keep working at it, so momentum builds, to the point where it comes semi-naturally. Not sure if it will ever come naturally to people with SA and AVP though. Another thing that might help is to simply clear the mind before you make a call or text. Stop the stream of thought so that you become very relaxed and don't feel that terrible strain and effort. Also accept that you will feel a bit nervous, it's fine, but you shouldn't let this dictate your life by avoiding moments that make you nervous. You'll find the moment of nervousness will soon perish as you click and bond again with the friend.
In response to your question Gustavofring, I think all of the reasons you mention factor in. Mainly, it's seeing taking the action of reaching out as a chore majority of the time, especially when people seem to grow fed up with me and express their emotions in a forceful, strong manner that I need to try harder. Why is it a chore? Beats me. Maybe I'm use to having friendships fade so I don't put in alot of effort? Rarely do I have expectations of others, so when someone has them for me- I'm a bit startled. I don't like being confronted with conflict, am rather opposed to it, and when it's staring me in the face pertaining to how I act or my personality, I grow defensive and get the urge to resist the request of the person even more. If someone were to ask for example, "I need you to take a more active approach to attempting to spend time with me, or the friendship is going to wither and I'm going my seperate ways" my action is the exact opposite because I feel as if I am being threatened. As if there is a deadline I need to abide by. Generally, no amount of love for that person will allow me to bend to their need.

I'm use to growing up in a family that has very little social ties or emotional interactions. I too, can go months-years at a time without speaking to my brothers. I do like your suggestion of trying to make it a semi-natural action. It IS something I want to change, I'm just unsure, realisticly, how much train of thought I will be able to rewire. Ah, I think I'm rambling- hope that makes some sense.
 
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Barrier

Well-known member
#19
I also feel I don't have that (I think) natural urge of 'oh I need to contact him/her again!'. When I have it it's out of guilt, cause I usually just forget. It's not in me.
 

Lamb

Well-known member
#20
I also feel I don't have that (I think) natural urge of 'oh I need to contact him/her again!'. When I have it it's out of guilt, cause I usually just forget. It's not in me.
I agree. Or if I feel I've let too much time go by without reaching out, I won't even if I get the urge. =/
 
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