Pushing People Away

Miserum

Well-known member
#1
I have an issue where I tend to push people away after getting to know them. We'll be getting along just fine, even great. But then I start to fade away and avoid them. The initial few contacts before we become fully-fledged friends go great, but then I recede into my shell. Once the initial "how to make friends" (basic introductions, feeling out the type of person they are, exchanging jokes here and there, having a couple of long conversations, or even hanging out a few times) stuff is out of the way, I become afraid that they eventually won't like me, that the "real" me will be exposed; that is: the stupid, ugly, flaw-filled me... and that they will not accept me as I am. I fear I will run out of jokes, or intelligent or interesting things to say. I am afraid I will not be entertaining or cool enough. I am afraid I will embarrass myself through my actions. I am afraid I will not be accepted for my deepest beliefs and interests.

So usually when this happens, I try hard to prevent it, and by trying hard, I become someone else. That is, not the real me. I just become different... and that person (fake me) is definitely not the interesting, cool person that existed during the lead-up into the friendship. Anyone have any ideas on overcoming this hump? How to continue the momentum of beginning friendship into deeper friendship, and not to be phased by the transition or the fear of being "exposed"?
 
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#2
I've struggled with a similar problem for many years. I feel like I could make many friends, people seem to like me (as far as I've been told and as far as I can tell). But I think my psyche has been damaged by a few experiences which were for me, almost unbearable.

For instance, on more than one occasion I had 'bitten the bullet' and accepted invitations to party's, or bbq's etc. I knew one or two people there but I ended up standing on my own. It was so damn awkward. I felt really uncomfortable - and of course then it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy as such, as in people pick up that you're uncomfortable and then they avoid you. What makes this scenario for me even harder to deal with is people always seem to talk about someone else they know. But... if I don't know them, how am I supposed to be able to relate - let alone be barely interested in what they're saying.
I really don't care for 'Oh hi Frank, did you know John's sisters brother in law, Tony, well you know his uncle is a barber right? well his friend bought a new car and he's only done 5000 klm's in a year and....blah blah blah....
So I have always struggled to feign interest. It got me to thinking though that if someone's talking about something I find interesting, I find it quite easy to talk to them. So initial conversations I CAN... find easier too.

The next part for me is where I can relate to your problem.

For me, when it comes to hanging out with someone, (one on one with a woman it doesn't really seem to happen) but I get this... disconnect.
I don't know how to describe it really.. it's like something inside me.. geez I really don't know how to put it into words. I guess I can (I know this sounds corny lol) almost understand a lone wolf. He doesn't need a pack of wolves. I don't know.. does that sound stupid? :rolleyes: yep, it sounds stupid lol..
I long for some good mates again - doesn't have to be many, maybe 2 or 3, who we understand each other and accept each other. Are there for each other and just want to hang out at times. I doubt it'll ever really happen though. Funny thing is growing up, right up until I was about 30, I had mates. Always. I was one of the lads. I guess something happened to my psyche along the way and SA set in.

Weird huh? I long to have friends but don't like/am uncomfortable being around most people lol.
My SA is my weakness yet I also find my strength in it.

Anyways, I haven't provided you with any actual answers or insight, but if you come across some I'd appreciate if you'd share them :)
 

LoyalXenite

Well-known member
#3
I guess I can (I know this sounds corny lol) almost understand a lone wolf. He doesn't need a pack of wolves. I don't know.. does that sound stupid? :rolleyes: yep, it sounds stupid lol..
Doesnt sound stupid to me, but then I literally have a lone wolf tattoo on my shoulder :LOL: I've always felt like a lone wolf, as cliche as it is to say it. But not in the tough Im a lone wolf way, but in the more realistic aspects of an actual lone wolf, like im wandering and searching for a pack and a place to belong. But then throw in the fact that I have BPD its no wonder I push people away and feel like theres nowhere I fit in or belong, its literally one of the main components of BPD.. Guess I had no chance from the get go
 
#4
Doesnt sound stupid to me, but then I literally have a lone wolf tattoo on my shoulder :LOL: I've always felt like a lone wolf, as cliche as it is to say it. But not in the tough Im a lone wolf way, but in the more realistic aspects of an actual lone wolf, like im wandering and searching for a pack and a place to belong. But then throw in the fact that I have BPD its no wonder I push people away and feel like theres nowhere I fit in or belong, its literally one of the main components of BPD.. Guess I had no chance from the get go
Yea I totally get that, like the lone wolf thing, it's not the 'I'm a tough guy' crap. It's more just, I'm not a pack wolf.
 

Sacrament

Well-known member
#5
I think people with anxiety/introverts have a tendency to do this because social interactions are exhausting. It's not necessarily because the other person's become boring or uninteresting to us, but because prolonged interaction is draining. At least this seems to be the case with me. The feeling you get when you get home after an exhausting hang out sesh and can finally be yourself 100% is the bee's knees.
 

Kiwong

Well-known member
#7
This is the risk we all need to take in life - rejection. It will happen. But there will be people who will see the good side of you, and will stick by you. They are the people to seek out. But if you don't take the risks you miss out on life.

At parties and BBQs we probably think that people notice how uncomfortable we are, but to be honest they too intoxicated to even notice you.

Developing social skills takes practice, and building confidence involves experiencing more positive interactions.
 

Miserum

Well-known member
#8
This is the risk we all need to take in life - rejection. It will happen. But there will be people who will see the good side of you, and will stick by you. They are the people to seek out. But if you don't take the risks you miss out on life.

At parties and BBQs we probably think that people notice how uncomfortable we are, but to be honest they too intoxicated to even notice you.

Developing social skills takes practice, and building confidence involves experiencing more positive interactions.
This is just what I needed to hear after a long and painful day. Thank you Kiwong.
 

Miserum

Well-known member
#9
I've struggled with a similar problem for many years. I feel like I could make many friends, people seem to like me (as far as I've been told and as far as I can tell). But I think my psyche has been damaged by a few experiences which were for me, almost unbearable.

For instance, on more than one occasion I had 'bitten the bullet' and accepted invitations to party's, or bbq's etc. I knew one or two people there but I ended up standing on my own. It was so damn awkward. I felt really uncomfortable - and of course then it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy as such, as in people pick up that you're uncomfortable and then they avoid you. What makes this scenario for me even harder to deal with is people always seem to talk about someone else they know. But... if I don't know them, how am I supposed to be able to relate - let alone be barely interested in what they're saying.
I really don't care for 'Oh hi Frank, did you know John's sisters brother in law, Tony, well you know his uncle is a barber right? well his friend bought a new car and he's only done 5000 klm's in a year and....blah blah blah....
So I have always struggled to feign interest. It got me to thinking though that if someone's talking about something I find interesting, I find it quite easy to talk to them. So initial conversations I CAN... find easier too.

The next part for me is where I can relate to your problem.

For me, when it comes to hanging out with someone, (one on one with a woman it doesn't really seem to happen) but I get this... disconnect.
I don't know how to describe it really.. it's like something inside me.. geez I really don't know how to put it into words. I guess I can (I know this sounds corny lol) almost understand a lone wolf. He doesn't need a pack of wolves. I don't know.. does that sound stupid? :rolleyes: yep, it sounds stupid lol..
I long for some good mates again - doesn't have to be many, maybe 2 or 3, who we understand each other and accept each other. Are there for each other and just want to hang out at times. I doubt it'll ever really happen though. Funny thing is growing up, right up until I was about 30, I had mates. Always. I was one of the lads. I guess something happened to my psyche along the way and SA set in.

Weird huh? I long to have friends but don't like/am uncomfortable being around most people lol.
My SA is my weakness yet I also find my strength in it.

Anyways, I haven't provided you with any actual answers or insight, but if you come across some I'd appreciate if you'd share them :)
I know I said I'd have more to say on the weekend. And, well, the weekend is here and I find myself at a loss for words.

But I will say this, I am in my early thirties. In my late twenties, I was dropping long-time friends like flies. I too, was one of the lads. A bit too much of the stereotypical toxic masculinity perhaps got to me--that is, all of the playful insulting. I already had had a low opinion of myself, and I guess the juxtaposition of this with seeing all of my friends be successful in most endeavors that normal people seek, and the floundering I was experiencing, broke me. I only have a few friends now, and I feel that many of those relationships are on thin ice.

I just want someone to accept me for who I am, without me trying. Why is that so fucking hard to find man? I am a lone wolf as well... so is my dad. Though I don't wish to be.
 

Miserum

Well-known member
#10
I think people with anxiety/introverts have a tendency to do this because social interactions are exhausting. It's not necessarily because the other person's become boring or uninteresting to us, but because prolonged interaction is draining. At least this seems to be the case with me. The feeling you get when you get home after an exhausting hang out sesh and can finally be yourself 100% is the bee's knees.
The bee's knees indeed Sir Sacrament. The deep, mask-worn lines from the mask I wear at work are finally relieved by week's end. I thought being unemployed was bad, but working full-time might be even worse. But who knows, maybe I will be able to adapt. Interesting perspective though.
 

w*n*c*a*m

Well-known member
#11
Aside from my anxiety is that I have a terrible trust issue. Everytime I meet new people, no matter how good is their impression to me, I always have this default perspective that people are not nice until proven otherwise. Because of that, I usually stay on a polite relationship with them- nice and friendly but never close. What makes it harder to connect is that most of the time they do end up not nice at all. I don’t know maybe I just have a very high expectation with people, I’m not expecting them to be saints. I just want to befriend someone whom I can really trust. Unfortunately I easily get discouraged when I meet someone who’s like very nice and friendly to me yet most of her stories are about shady things about another person yet I see her talk so nice and affectionate with that same person on Facebook. I get skeptic to people who gives subtle shady comments to me or to any person I know. You know, words that is masked as a compliment but with a hint of negativity. Eg. “Oh that’s a nice place just be careful because I heard they have lots of lethal spiders out there”. They seem to be very common and it’s not like I’ve only witnessed them act like these ones. So it already gives me a hint of what that person is.

Another issue is that I do meet people whom are genuinely nice but I am such a lazy socializer. Like I only really want to socialize with people when I feel like to because being an introvert I prefer being with myself. But then people expect me to meet them often, to hangout or go out and most of the time I just really dont feel like doing it. Eventually they get tired of inviting me and maybe think that I’m not interested. I still talk to them now and then but I couldnt create a deeper connection because of my ‘laziness’.

I think the only times that i could really make friends with nice people is when I often see them in a neutral environment like in school. But I dont go to school anymore and I consider workplace as a stressful place to create friendship. So yeah friendship is such a rare occurence to me. Lol
 

Miserum

Well-known member
#12
Another issue is that I do meet people whom are genuinely nice but I am such a lazy socializer. Like I only really want to socialize with people when I feel like to because being an introvert I prefer being with myself. But then people expect me to meet them often, to hangout or go out and most of the time I just really dont feel like doing it. Eventually they get tired of inviting me and maybe think that I’m not interested. I still talk to them now and then but I couldnt create a deeper connection because of my ‘laziness’.
I experience the same thing. I wonder if it's due to being afraid of losing that initial connection, that connection being "I think you're genuinely nice." What if they aren't actually nice? But in either case we lose; if we don't go and hang out with them, they become distant and we may have missed out on genuine friendship. If we do hang out, we sometimes find out that they aren't actually that nice, and so we distance ourselves from them.
 
#13
I experience the same thing. I wonder if it's due to being afraid of losing that initial connection, that connection being "I think you're genuinely nice." What if they aren't actually nice? But in either case we lose; if we don't go and hang out with them, they become distant and we may have missed out on genuine friendship. If we do hang out, we sometimes find out that they aren't actually that nice, and so we distance ourselves from them.
I think my main issue is that creating real connection to people requires some vulnerability and I don’t want to do that unless I am convinced that the person is to be trusted. I dont want the person end up judging me or backstabbing me if he/she gets to know the real me.
 
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