General Question

seekingwolf's avatar

Does one really need friends?

Asked by seekingwolf (9483 points ) December 31st, 2008

I’m just curious.

See, my problem is that I feel sad sometimes when I’m at college. The other thing is (although not necessarily a problem) I don’t have ANY friends at college. Really, I don’t. My mother and my therapist say that the problem is that I don’t have any friends and I need to get some ASAP. I’ve already tried to get friends at college before (due to the urging of my therapist) and it’s just not fun. The clubs are boring and I don’t fit in. I’ve given up.

However, my father and I say that the problem is that I’m unhappy, and I need to find ways to be happy…and that may include finding friends, but it may also not. I believe I can be happy without them, but I need to learn how on my own.

I wanted to know what you guys think.
Does one really need friends to be happy?
Or can you really be happy without them?
What should I do?

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76 Answers

mea05key's avatar

I do have times where I feel exactly like you. It happened to me because I lost trust in friendship because i find that people are generally selfish and often i find myself being dissappointed over this matter. I did try living my live without friendship at one point. I begin to live a recluse life and spent my college life on computer games in cyber cafes. I lived away from the society and could not care less about anything. Now i believe that people need someone around them. Friends and family are crucial. I find courage and determination from some of the people i know. It really helps to beat the bad times i have.

ITo answer your question, i dont think one can be happy without friends. You should ask yourself why you act that way? Generally, humans are socialable creatures and need companies in their life. So try to find the problem here.

seekingwolf's avatar

Yeah, that’s how I feel many of the times.
See, I don’t drink and I don’t like parties, etc…it really limits my social life. I don’t identify with anyone at college, I just don’t feel like I can relate. How did you manage to find friends?

I am already close with my family, and I do have a boyfriend, albeit he is much older than I am, so it’s not like I can meet college friends through him. He and my family are my source of human interaction.

I have lived a solitary life before, through elementary school and middle school. I was…content, until I got my depression.

I have good grades and want to keep getting good grades, so it’s important that I am happy or else I won’t succeed. I have NO Idea what to do.

Jeruba's avatar

Your father and you are right. Friends are a surpassing treasure, but they cannot fill a hole in you. You must do that yourself. And what do you fill the hole with? You fill it with yourself.

One very good way is by giving yourself wholly to something greater than yourself (not necessarily in any religious sense). Another is by meditation. There are many ways.

And when you are happier, you won’t think of friends as something to “get.” They will find you.

scamp's avatar

I think both sides are right. It is important to have friends to share with, both good times and bad, but You should also be able to be happy with yourself…by yourself.

Your Father gives advice by saying you need to find your own happiness because if you can’t be happy with yourself, how can you expect others to be? But that happiness is definitely enhanced by having a few good friends to be with from time to time.

You’re going through a period of change in your life, and you are learning wonderful new things, and not all of them are in the classroom. Embrace the new things happening right now as you go through this remarkable time of discovery.

It’s good to have time alone to reflect on where you want to go in your life, but don’t do this completely alone. Meet some new people and experience what new friends can add to your journey.

seekingwolf's avatar

Oh I know how to happy on my own…I’ve done it before, and I’m sure I can do it again.
I’m not afraid of being alone either…

I just want to be happy, that’s all. I just wonder if I need friends to be happy. I’m sort of hoping not because I’ve tried and I can’t find any friends. You gotta believe me when I say that I can’t. It’s impossible.

Jeruba's avatar

You can be happy without. Friendship contributes to happiness, but happiness does not require friendship. Everything you need to be happy is within your power. It does not depend on someone else.

mea05key's avatar

I think first of all you must get out from your comfort zone. Try to push yourself to make an effort to say Hi to a stranger that you meet in clubs and society. THere is no harm doing that. The worst you can get is a boring conversation. But if you are lucky, then you might find a long lasting friend who shares the same interest with you.
I don’t know you in terms of your personality. Are u the shy kind of person who finds it hard to start a conversation ?

seekingwolf's avatar

@mea

I’m an odd sort of person. I can be shy or uber assertive. I get really bored with people easily. I’m not into sports, gossip, clothes, dating (in college), going to movies with other people (I prefer to go by myself)... see?

I’ve approached people before and it just didn’t end well (always ended in a boring conversation). I’m just never interested. Ugh.

scamp's avatar

I agree with Jeruba. You can be happy without friends. You just have to decide to be happy, then do what it takes to get there.

Practice looking at the positive aspects of things, and teach yourself to not dwell on the negative.

In every situation, train yourself to list what’s good about it, and before you know it, it will become automatic.

seekingwolf's avatar

You know, the thing is, I can never relate…

I’ve grown up very differently from other kids. Both parents are doctors and I’ve had some pretty odd life experiences. I also work in hospice and I’ve gone to India to do hospice work in Calcutta. Most of the people I’ve met at my small college haven’t done anything cool and just are so boring.

I also have a lot of odd interests/hobbies too. I mean, I just can’t relate to anyone my age. It’s an issue, sure, but sometimes, it’s a blessing.

scamp's avatar

I think you are going to be just fine. The work you do can’t be done by a heartless type of person, so it shows you have a lot to give. You are probably much more mature than the others around you, and that tends to seperate you from them. But this is only for a short period of time. In a few years, you will be able to be around people who share your interests, and your social life should pick up.

Don’t worry about being different. Embrace what makes you excellent. I think you’re right when you say it’s a blessing. You will reap the rewards in the years to come.

mea05key's avatar

I believe that what Jeruba and Scamp say is true to a certain extend. You define your own happiness and it does not matter how people look at it. ANd there is really no rush to find a friend. Just look around and be ready to open yourself to the people around you. You will someday find the friend you are looking for. The world so huge and filled with different sort of people. More importantly, try not to judge someone too critically. TRy to see better side of someone. It helps sometimes.

seekingwolf's avatar

Thanks for your encouraging words. I hope you guys are right.

I’m trying to befriend some of the older students (like sophmores and juniors) but they have friends and don’t want to waste their time with me. I take 300 level Latin courses and the juniors in my class really dislike me…I think they don’t like that I am a freshman and I don’t struggle with the material and they do. :( I never was snobby or anything, just really, really nice. Oh well

We’ll see what happens.

nikipedia's avatar

To answer your initial question: You don’t need friends, but they sure make things a lot easier.

I hate to be so unkind, but if you are having trouble making friends, maybe it’s because the people you meet are picking up on your perception that you’re better than they are. Frankly: you’re not. And that’s nothing personal, nor is it an insult. People all have different stories, different strengths, different abilities.

Drop your assumption that you’re smarter and more interesting, take genuine interest in other people, and I’ll bet you anything friendships will start to develop naturally.

seekingwolf's avatar

@nikipedia

I never said that I was better than them, I just am not interested in anything that they do. I have literally zero common interests. It’s very hard to take interest in people in my college since it’s mostly about drinking, clothes, sex, and uhm, yeah.

Honestly, it’s not my fault if they don’t like me because I’m not frittering away my time with parties. I have tried to each out to find people like me and I have been unsuccessful. I think it’s because of the lack of people who might have more in common with me, not because of me.

cheebdragon's avatar

Friendship is overrated.

haha i had to edit my answer to make sense

nikipedia's avatar

You don’t need to say it for it to be completely apparent. Do you or do you not believe that your interest in Latin is somehow superior to their interests in “drinking, clothes, sex, and uhm, yeah”?

I have bad news for you. Drinking is an important social ritual that has been the centerpiece of many significant cultural events for thousands of years. Don’t want to partake? Fine. But don’t look down on those who do. Same goes for clothes. Everyone wears ‘em. Some people want to discuss that. And sex? I’m pretty sure we know the popularity of that activity. (Hint: it’s more fun than Latin.)

cheebdragon's avatar

yeah but you shouldn’t have to pretend to be into things that you’re not interested in, just so you can have a friend, that’s not a true friendship, its a lie.

seekingwolf's avatar

Latin > getting drunk, IMHO.
Why? Because it’s not a waste of time.

Drinking is fine. I drink when I am at home but never at college because I hate beer. But it’s getting DRUNK (drinking with the PURPOSE of getting intoxicated) that I have issues with it. It’s stupid, honestly. That’s all anyone ever does at my college. If you came to it, you’d understand and see what was really happening.

And honestly? I do think Latin > sex with a guy my age.
With my bf? Geez, that’s a tough choice honestly.

and thank you @cheeb
I can’t feign fake interest to get fake friends. What’s the point?

cheebdragon's avatar

“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not.” ~Andre Gide

skfinkel's avatar

Have you had friends in high school? And did you have fun with them? The answer to that question might tell you something about your need for friends. It is true that some people are “loners” and may not need lots of friends, but usually you might find one or two people with similar interests.

seekingwolf's avatar

@skfinkel

1) Did I have friends? – Yes, but only a few. We never got together outside of school.
2) Did we have fun? – Yes, the few times that we saw each other, we did.

So I don’t know where that leaves me on the need to have friends….

Trustinglife's avatar

Here’s a possibility…

Seek friends outside of your college. I am 28 now, but vividly remember struggling to relate to many of my peers in high school and college. I also didn’t drink (then).

I didn’t do this consciously, but what worked for me then and now is finding friends that are older. It’s just normal for me now. My friends are 10–30 years older than me – nearly all of them. I just started dating a woman 15 years older than me. Who knows why. It works for me.

When you say you’re dating someone much older, and have no shared interests… I thought this possibility might be worth your consideration.

windex's avatar

Question:
How is your relationship w/your bf (do you have a bf Just to have a bf?) or is he the one?
Do you think a lot? I mean ALL the time? If so, about what?
What do you think about money?(concept)
What do you think about Flags?
What do you think about having Countries?
What do you think is the meaning of life?
What is your take on religion?

I would LOVE to hear your answers to these questions.
You sound like a VERY interesting individual. (Not sarcasm)

Do you believe that today is JUST another day (new years shmnew years)
Do you find that humans have their priorities mixed up?
Do you HATE humans for being so selfish? and only caring about themselves?

Please please answer my questions.

Thanks

having friends is pretty much pointless, because people just USE each other and only want to know what they can get out of you, BUUUUT having said that, you actually have to do the same thing. Call your “Friend” when you have a flat tire and he/she will come pick you up.
Honestly, I believe that no one DESERVES my friendship. WHY? because I would give my LIFE for a “FRIEND” but he/she would stop “calling” or “hanging out” w/me if I’m not benefiting her in some way.

But then again, I live in Southern California with a bunch of materialistic bastards. I really don’t know if the world (meaning humans) is becoming more and more sucky! OOOORRRR it’s the fact that we’re growing up and finding out that what our parents told us was not true

P.S. I just added you as a fr…I mean to my Fluther!

seekingwolf's avatar

@Trustinglife

Hmm, that is something to consider. My guy is 15 years older than I am, but he lives a bit away so he’s not in town. (although he comes to see me often) The town my college is in is kinda dumpy and not much to do…but…
Before Christmas break, I went to this dance which was basically “contra” dancing and this group meets every Wed. There were about 3 kids there my age but they stuck together and didn’t associate with me. (fine by me!) I ended up meeting some nice 50–60 year old men and women who taught me how to dance! One guy offered to be my dance partner again next time so I guess I’ll be going back!

Outside of that, I am not sure what else. I am thinking of volunteering next year at the local nursing home (by myself though, the college community service doesn’t volunteer there, their loss!) so that should be interesting.

Honestly, friends are friends, regardless of age.

seekingwolf's avatar

@Windex

wow thanks, I’ll add you to my fluther as well. :D

I’m not going to thread jack, so I’ll send you my answers/response in the form of a comment. I’d be happy to answer, ^_^

jessturtle23's avatar

Don’t assume that everyone else isn’t interesting to you. If you can’t make small talk with someone because you feel the topics are beneath you then you need to realize that small talk is just that. Those people you think you can’t be friends with because their topics of conversation seem unimportant to you may be intelligent and could teach you what you need to know about social interaction. Bite the bullet and listen.

augustlan's avatar

I think Trustinglife and Scamp are on to something. While you may be in the same ‘place’ physically as your age-mates, you are in a different place mentally. If you remain unhappy at your current school after next semester, you might consider switching to a school that caters more to older students. Or at least a school known for serious academics rather than serious partying.

I wish you luck on your quests, both for friends and for happiness. I hope you find both in the new year.

wundayatta's avatar

The best way to make friends is to go through a kind of initiation experience with them. Examples of what I’m talking about are basic training for soldiers, basic training for a number of different jobs, basic training for college (the first few weeks of freshman year), and any other intensive learning experience that you share with other newbies.

If you are doing something that everyone else is doing, and you haven’t bonded with anyone, you look around to see who else hasn’t bonded, and that’s who you stick with. You make nasty comments about everyone else (I exaggerate, of course).

Frankly, I don’t know if you are in a position to make friends this way. Your best hope is the things you are already doing: the volunteering, etc. If you’re politically minded, I’d get involved with a community organization, or a campaign of some kind.

As to being happy with yourself, you got me. That’s one I’m trying to figure out, for much the same reason as you are, and I gotta tell ya, I’m pretty fucked on that one. My current strategy is to ignore the issue (this is not helping ;-). I don’t mean ignoring it as in pretending it isn’t there; rather, I mean just accidently on purpose not noticing it. And guess what? It really helps to hang out with friends, in order to do this. Sigh. I don’t have many friends, either. I do, however, have a family, and that generally takes up a lot of time and the psychic space I might otherwise devote to feeling bad.

I don’t think the prognosis is good on you making friends. Maybe I’m projecting, but I suspect you don’t really want to. I think you want to prove you can do it on your own, whatever “it” is. Life, I suppose. So, if that’s a done deal, then don’t waste your time pretending. Be on your own. Be nice when you do interact. But don’t go being hopeful of meeting a friend. If it happens, it’ll happen in it’s own good time.

Meanwhile, you must have a lot of work to do, right? You must love to read. You probably care about the world a great deal. In fact, too much. I’ll bet you feel an obligation to save it. A word or warning on that. If you go down that road, depression will be your constant companion. You can never be good enough. I’ve tried. Hell, I am trying. I wish I didn’t have this compulsion. I wish I didn’t have this standard for measuring my life. It guarantees me serious troubles, psychologically. As if being bipolar weren’t enough.

Ok, so it’s two in the morning (and I haven’t been drinking, just fluthering), and I’m riffing on stuff you didn’t say, and I suppose I’m totally off the mark. Please forgive me if that’s the case. I don’t mean to be flipant about it. Well, I guess I kinda do. It’s my defense against digging a hole, climbing in, and pulling the dirt in after me.

seekingwolf's avatar

@augustian my mother is wanting me to transfer, but I don’t think I can. The school offered me a lot of money to go here, so financially, it’s best to stay here. I’m going to have to make due with what I have.

@daloon
If friends are necessary for me to be happy, then I would want them. If I can be happy without, then I will do without. As for me wanting to “help” the world…I want to, but not in the way that you’re thinking of. You’re right, I do read a lot and I do care a lot about things, but I’ve accepted things…like world hunger/poverty, etc.

I think the best thing I can do for the world is to not have children (that’s just me, I’d be a terrible mother and I hate kids anyway) and be a productive member of society doing what a love. That is all.

cak's avatar

Amateur therapist, here…also a mom! I read everything you said, but something really stands out. You said you lived a solitary life in elementary and middle school. During those years, we are learning how to socialize, how to relate to others and the skills to make friends. Then, in middle school, depression set in. At a time where you could have potentially developed those skills, you have a big hurdle thrown at you.

You are close to your family, you have experienced things, in your young life, that most of us never will – but still, you missed out on that time to grow in social skills. It’s not a bad thing, but it did probably have some impact on you.

It seems that while you are advanced in other areas, you are behind in this arena. That doesn’t mean that you won’t grow and eventually change; however, it does mean that you might have a little while to go, before you are ready to even be open to friendships.

Your idea to volunteer at the nursing home, is a great idea. While you are there and helping out, it will give you a chance to open up to people, more. I’m not talking about spilling your guts to someone, I’m just saying that it will reinforce your ability to include people in your life. I would suggest, though, that you slowly work on finding a way to relate to people closer to your age. There is absolutely nothing wrong with older friends, but down the line, you might realize that you missed on that part of life, relating to your peers.

People underestimate what can happen in college. You see all the happy people on the brochures, but they don’t necessarily put the rate of depression and unhappy kids in college. It’s a shock to a lot of students – so much so, that some get “lost” while there and struggle.

If you aren’t happy, it might be showing on the outside, another hurdle for you. People are less inclined to approach you, because they might not know how to get past that unhappiness. Until you make peace with that, you will continue to keep people at an arm’s length…or further.

Another concern, is the fact that you easily bore of people and really may not give them the chance they need to get to know you more. Which is a shame, you probably have some interesting things to talk about, given your background.

As far as the others not liking you in class, because you outperform them, unless you are being smug able your accomplishments, then understand that unfortunately, that is how life can be. Once you are at the top, there is always someone there, ready to knock you down a few notches.

Don’t discount others because they might not have the same interesting things to share, you never know what is in their past. You might be passing on people that have done amazing things, too – just not in a foreign country.

For now, it just may not be your time, but don’t throw in the towel, for life. Develop more social skills, work on resolving your unhappiness and slowly try new things. You might just have to try some of those things over again. Depression and/or unhappiness can really cloud how you feel about things.

Truly, if you are miserable at that school, you might just have to consider a transfer. I understand that they threw money at you, but it just might not be the right fit.

I wish you luck and hope that you resolve what it is that is making you unhappy and hope college turns into a meaningful, happy experience.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@seekingwolf, the scholarship is immaterial if the experience is not delivering for you. It sounds to me that you need a school with a more diverse and cosmopolitan student population. Or you can double up on classes, graduate in record time, and move on to a better graduate school experience. My older daughter had social problems in college. It wasn’t until she did a summer program at an Ivy League school that she realized the friend problem wasn’t her; she had no problem making friends in that program, with people from all over the world. She’s had a great grad school experience. My younger daughter is at a state university for financial reasons, and says the same thing.

Even though you don’t fit in with provincial people, there are people there who are worthwhile getting to know.

Another thing you might want to consider is checking into whether your school belongs to the university consortium program. This is where you pay tuition at your school, but can attend another university for a year.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@Cak, fabulous answer. I agree with you 100%. What you described applies entirely to my oldest daughter, who is similar to seekingwolf. Her grad school experience is much better than undergrad.

janbb's avatar

I don’t have much time to weigh in, but this is a great thread and I hope you are getting some ideas, seekingwolf.

It seems to me also that part of the problem could be the college and that a transfer, if at all possible, could help. My son had some friends in high school but not many but then went to a great college with many bright quirky kids (two of whom started Fluther) and there he had a (generally) great time and made many friends. It really did make a big difference for him.

If you have to stay where you are, I would recommend two things. First, find out what you are passionate about doing (i.e., painting, writing, hospice care) and spend a lot of time doing that. See if you meet anyone through that but don’t focus on meeting people. Also, look around and see if there are any other quirky students – maybe from foreign countries, or writers, artists. If you can, try to talk to them and see if they have more depth than the others.

I think there is a fluid dynamic between one’s own happiness and having friends. You have to have an inner core of selfhood from which to reach out, but then having friends can enrich your happiness greatly and give you boosts in the low times. I can be happy alone now, but I have a great core of rich friendships that add so so much to my life.

It’s a real plus for you that you do have the support and love of your parents, a boyfriend and a therapist.

Keep seeking, wolf!

seekingwolf's avatar

@Cak thanks for taking the time to type that out. :)

Yes, you’re right, I was very much alone when I was younger. I was also alone in preschool too and they held me back a year there when I was 4 because I wasn’t socializing well. :( I was never a mean or violent kid, I just, didn’t socialize.

All this makes me very confused. I have an older boyfriend and I socialize well with older people, but never my peers. Honestly, it scares me! I have NO Idea what to talk about with them-not the faintest idea!

I think even my younger brother (w/ Asperger’s) knows more about making friends that I do! What do I do to learn? Is it too late? I feel there something innate about making friends and I am totally missing something. Why that is, I’m not sure. I know I didn’t want playdates with people b/c of my bro and sis, and I worried how people would react.

I really want to work in the nursing home b/c I miss working in hospice when I’m away from home. (there’s no hospice in the town). It really is something that I like to do. I’m hoping that will help with the depression a bit and I’d also appear happier to others. I’m already on tons of meds but I’d rather not up those!

Honestly, on the best days at college, I am content, on the worst days, I am miserable. I’m not miserable ALL the time, so in a way, I think there’s still hope for me there. Thanks for your answer again. :)

seekingwolf's avatar

@Alfreda

I think I would have done better at a more diverse school (socially that is). I would love to graduate early, but that doesn’t look possible as I am a Neuroscience major plus a Latin/ancient Greek minor, and I’m premed. :P

Academically, I couldn’t be happier at my current college. Seriously. The profs are awesome and the work is hard, but I can always get help if I need it. They don’t even offer ancient Greek, but my Latin prof says he will teach me it next year if I want (independent study – same what I did in high school). Awesome!

@janbb Thanks for the advice. I would have loved to do hospice work here, but there’s not one available. Most of my interests revolve around books or writing…but I also like computers and music, but usually only stuff from the 70’s-90’s. I’m going to keep looking at the clubs and seeing what’s available (I don’t think my therapist would let me give up anyway!) and we’ll see what happens.

The two pivotal points in my life are my father and my boyfriend. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have them to lean on.

scamp's avatar

@seekingwolf I just want to add that I applaud you for your attitude on drinking/drunkeness. I had some pretty wild times in my youth, did my share of drinking/drugs, and frankly, I thank God I got through it. I shudder now to think of all the stupid and dangerous things I did back then, and I am happy that you don’t feel the “need” to do the same to have fun. From what I have read in this thread, you have a life plan, and that kind of stupidity is not included in it. I think you know how to have a drink when you want one, and how to do so responsibly.

You mentioned aspergers in your family earlier, and my SO is an Aspie, so I understand the symdrome and it’s social implications. For a brief time, I wondered if you may have aspergers, because of the high intellignece, but low socialization in your life. My SO has interests that are mainly his own, and not shared by many others, because they seem too highbrow, or not mainstream enough for most.

As I said before, you are mentally beyond the others your age, so I can understand why you seek the company of people who are older and more mature than your schoolmates. I think what you do for others in hospice and nursing home work is valuable to both the people you serve and yourself. I think that helping others validates you both socially and emotionally, and what a wonderful outlet that is. It is a very positive win-win situation.

Let’s face it. You march to your own drum, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. It seems that you have been pretty much a loner most of your life, and except for the opinions of people who seem to be trying to push you into being more social, you seem to be ok with it.

I see you as a person with a bright future, and one who has much to be proud of. I hope that you will be able to meet some like minded people at your college soon. But if you don’t, just remember this will only be a few years which is a drop in the bucket compared to the life you have ahead of you, so you will get through this. You said your boyfriend understands how you feel and is good for you. You may just want to look at college as where you get your education, and do your socializing after school and with the people you are comnfortable with. Hold your head up and be proud of who you are. I think you are a remarkable person!

jlm11f's avatar

First off, let me admit that I have not read all the above answers. I simply don’t have the time or motive to do that right now. Forgive me if I am repeating other answers, but I thought I could put my 2 cents in:

Does one really need friends to be happy? – Need is a strong word. So no, you don’t need friends to be happy, but having friends sure makes happiness a whole lot easier to achieve. The biggest time one needs a friend is when they are sad/lonely. If they have friends they can lean on, they won’t be upset for nearly as long as those that have to work their way through their problem alone.

Or can you really be happy without them? – Sure you can. But who doesn’t like having some people to hang out with, exchange stories with etc?

What should I do? – Well, honestly, I find it terribly hard to believe that you simply can’t relate to a single student in your entire college. In your profile it says you are studying neuroscience and Latin. Are you involved in the clubs/extracurricular organizations that deal with the two? Such as Bio Majors, Latin afficianodos (they probably plan Spring/Summer trips and so do fundraising for it during the semester year). You can always find out what extracurricular organizations are available in your college through the college website or Student Extracurricular Affairs office. Once you join some, you are bound to meet people who share at least one interest with you, since they are in that same organization! Another great way to meet people is a politics organization (so your college’s Democrats or Republicans club) and volunteer organizations (Kiwanis).

Also, you mention that you don’t drink and the like and this inhibits your chances of socializing. I disagree. I have never drank alcohol, smoked anything and that does not deter me from going to parties. As long as I am with people I like, I can have fun there, and be the designated driver or just leave when people get too drunk.

Since you like to study, have you considered going up to some people in your class and saying “wow that Final looks like it’s going to be hard. want to study together?”. In most challenging classes, people have study groups. Chances are good a person will tell you “I am already studying with 2 other people. But you are welcome to join us!” Score!

Another point I would like to make is that you said that “college is all about alcohol and sex”. Mmm. No. Sure, the two are major constituents of it, but each college will have people like you who don’t engage in either. Those might be harder to find, but you really need to reach out there. Unless you are doing all of this and really are trying and still not making any friends (very hard to believe), I suggest you go to the mirror, give yourself a pep talk and go out there! The other day I was sitting in the Student Union and a guy just came up to me and asked if he could sit with me. We got to talking and I learned about his country/culture (Greece) and I told him about mine. We just had a simple discussion but now whenever we see each other on campus, we make a point to just wave/say hello. I don’t think you need to go that extreme when you are starting out, but I was just giving an example of how easily friendships are formed if you are just willing to try.

Lastly, I am curious. How much older is your boyfriend? You don’t have to answer that if you don’t want to.

seekingwolf's avatar

@scamp thank you for your kind words.

People wondered when I was younger if I had Aspergers, but really, I don’t…I think I picked up some traits of it from my brother, but mainly my father (who I believe is Aspie but was undiagnosed) because he’s my role model.
Honestly, I only drink at home, and when I do, it’s only one because I get giggly.

We will have to see how things go. For now, i’m just going to keep doing what I am doing and hope that good comes my way. :)

seekingwolf's avatar

@PnL

Oooo I would love it if my school had a Latin club or something. Unfortunately, there is only one classics prof and he tells me that there are about 8 upper Latin students in all, and that number is dropping. I’ll be in a 300 level class next semester, and I think we’re expecting like…2 people, including me? Crazy!
The Neuroscience has a club-type thing, but you have to be an upperclassman, and have a certain GPA. I would like to join that when I am older, but not now obviously. :)

Studying with others seems like fun, but honestly, I do work better when I’m alone. I wish I could study with others, and have tried, but I don’t think I learn the information as well.

I know that college isn’t all about alcohol and sex :) I guess I sort of get carried away when I talk about that. I just need to find some people like me, and I’m hoping to do that through classes next semester, but we’ll have to see.

Lastly, my boyfriend is 15 years my senior. My roommate (total surprise) is also dating an older man (she’s a recluse too), so we are both on the same page. I couldn’t ask for a better roommate.

Jeruba's avatar

Maybe your roommate is a potential friend?

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@seekingwolf, a boyfriend who is 15 years older will only increase your social alienation in a college setting. Not to say that you need to date someone your own age in order to socialize. My daughter had a long-term boyfriend in college who was 5 years older, and it created socialization problems because his social experience was normal for his age; at 19 he was not socializing with 24–26 year olds; he was hanging out with age mates. We have found with my daughter that there are specific stages of development that you need to go through in order to function in the world at large. Not to say that you need to drink and go to frat parties to in order to navigate the world at large, but you need to understand why that’s fun for some people, and what’s appealing about that sort of behavior. School is not only about academics; it’s about personal growth. While you may be able to function with people who operate on your own intellectual level, most of the world does not operate at that level, but are still worthwhile and have something to teach you about the world at large.

I’m not saying this to sound mean, or scare you. Perhaps you need to approach socialization as if it were a learning experience. Work on accepting people with their shortcomings and making friends. Things are cyclical.

cak's avatar

@AlfredaPrufrock, thank you!

seekingwolf's avatar

@Jeruba well, I’m trying to be friends with her, and it’s a work in progress! She’s never had a friend before. I’m her first friend (she has social anxiety), so she’s kind of nervous about it, but I’m working on it with her.

@Alfreda I don’t see why having an older boyfriend would increase the my social alienation. I never tell anyone at college about him (except my roomie) because I know they wouldn’t understand. He means a lot to me, but my life doesn’t revolve around him. I still have much time to devote to possible friends and still be with him at the same time (the two would never mix, and honestly, I’m cool with that. With me, friends and relationship is always separate). I’m sorry, but if I have to end the relationship to make friends, I say no, because I’d be extremely sad and my grades would go down. Totally not worth it.

The thing is too, I’ve tried dating guys my age…it just. doesn’t. work. I’ve met many guys who were totally my type, much smarter than I was, and they wanted to date me, but I couldn’t date them or even like them, no matter how much I tried. I am not attracted to guys my age at all; it’s a personal preference that stems from when I was younger. My first love was when I was FAR too young (he was 17 years older, yeah, oops) and now I am happy with my boyfriend. We have a supportive, open (open as in able to talk about issues) relationship and he is very good for me. I enjoy our talks and my time with him.

Honestly, I have no idea what’s fun about drinking to the point of barfing. I’ve been to one frat party and I left 30 min later because the pot smoke made me sick. I don’t intend to go ever again. I suppose “losing control” can be considered “exciting” by most my age, but I think that’s scary.

I am quite sad now. :(

Jeruba's avatar

@SeekingWolf, I do not honestly believe you will miss anything important if you never understand the point of frat parties or drunken orgies. With all due respect to Alfreda and the others, I would assert that it is really not necessary at all to understand why it appeals to some people. I think it is only necessary to understand that it appeals to some people. By way of comparison, some churchgoers are best served spiritually by a formal, highly ritualized and dignified style of worship, and others prefer a free-wheeling, outwardly expressive and spontaneous type of church experience. Neither will probably ever really see why the opposite style works best for some people, and they don’t have to see; they just have to understand that different people have different needs, and they have to respect the differences.

The most popular and culturally familiar styles of socializing seem more predominant than they really are because they are so loud, both literally and figuratively. It is very hard for alternatives to be seen and acknowledged in our society, but they are there. In time, @SeekingWolf, you will find a congenial group without ever having to become a partygoer. You are wise to look among the older young people, those who have already outgrown what some never need to go through at all.

And maybe—who knows?—you will become a wild party gal when you hit 45. That’s okay too!

Through my early 20s I had a boyfriend who was 16 years older. I appreciated his level of maturity. Through high school and into college I had little patience with the shallow interests of most of my age-mates. I was not into fashion, school sports (any sports), parties, shopping, etc. And I did not have to be. I have never wished that I had been. I did have friends, a few (and I never wanted many), and that was enough. No one should be pressured by the media and by one’s peers to try to squeeze into a mold that simply does not fit.

@SW, I would simply caution you thus: allow yourself your differences, but do not congratulate yourself on them; they are not actually quite as significant a deviation from the norm as they may seem. Humility, remember, is about understanding where we truly stand in relation to others. And do not cherish your specialness to the point of losing a valuable sense of commonality with your fellows. The points of contact may seem few, but they are genuine and valuable. Don’t worry, you are not in danger of blending in and disappearing. Don’t force yourself either way. Stay in tune with yourself and you’ll be okay. But remember this: every person you meet, every single one, has something to teach you.

augustlan's avatar

Beautifully said.

seekingwolf's avatar

@Jeruba your response is beautiful. Thank you for taking out the time to write it.
I can see that your experience is similar to what I am experiencing now. I’ll try to keep in mind what you’ve said…well, not just you, but everyone here on this thread as well.

You know, it’s going to take time for me to really get used to the idea of people my age excessively drinking. It bothers me a lot for some reason, I don’t know. But I do need to get used to it, even if I don’t actually partake or go to parties.

You know, I’ve had social problems since I was young. I always figured it was just me, perhaps I was missing a skill that others have, or that I just couldn’t relate to my peers for a variety of reasons. However, I am starting to wonder if it was my attitude toward others that has hindered me, and screwed me over socially in college. That really bothers me…and spurs me to change.

I have no words left for now. I’m feeling hopeful. :)

cak's avatar

Jeruba, beautiful!

cak's avatar

@seekingwolf – I’m so glad to see those words, “I have no words left for now. I’m feeling hopeful.”

Wonderful!

Jeruba's avatar

@SW,

> However, I am starting to wonder if it was my attitude toward others that has hindered me,...

Good for you, sweetie. Go where that takes you. Don’t be afraid. It’s better on the other side. To make a change does not necessarily mean you were wrong before. It just means you saw the turning of the path, and you followed it.

Intellectual maturity and social/emotional maturity do not always run on the same clock.

janbb's avatar

Kudos to everyone and especially you, seekingwolf. You’ve been given a lot to think about and it sounds like you are.

Maybe you can get a sense of the value that friends can have from this thread.

augustlan's avatar

This is Fluther at its best. It really warms my heart!

shadling21's avatar

Great question, great answers, all. <3

Trustinglife's avatar

@SW, I have noticed when you answer other people’s questions, you have demonstrated care and thoughtfulness. What else could a friend ask for?

Good luck in your quest for happiness – and friends!

seekingwolf's avatar

Thank you for all of your kind answers everyone. :) This has really helped me a lot.

I’ve been mulling things over, and I know that I need to change some things (like my attitude) if I am to be happy at all. I’m not sure what to do yet, but I’ll figure it out. I know I’m on the right path now. :)

I can’t thank you enough!

Trustinglife's avatar

Oh shoot, I have another thought. Something to try out.

When you are in class or some social situation with your peers, and you’re having that thought again that “we have nothing in common”... look to see if you are also experiencing any fear. The belief that you’re different from them, and maybe superior, could have fear rooted underneath it. That would be my guess.

If there is no fear, you’re probably just not interested, as you say. But if there’s fear, I invite you to befriend it. Does your fear want to protect you somehow? What do you think?

windex's avatar

ahhhhhh….I CAN’T Believe I didn’t think of this before, it would’ve been so funny.

too late now, but should’ve posted a link to adultfriendfinder

;P

Jeruba's avatar

I’m glad you didn’t. This thread was serious and sincere.

seekingwolf's avatar

@TrustingLife

I know there’s fear. I’m thinking a fear of rejection and maybe something else, but I don’t think it’s all that different from anyone else. I just let it affect me a lot. No one wants to put themselves out there, and then be rejected. It really hurts me and it hurts my confidence and when it happens, I just shut down and give up.

So yeah, I would say that there’s fear there, and it can explain a lot of the “avoidance” that I do.

Trustinglife's avatar

I’m the same way. We may see those kind of situations the same way, you and I. My experience is that fear of rejection experience is especially strong around people who aren’t “my people.” When I’m in a setting where I really dig the people, it’s not there as much, and I’m much more open and eager to get to know people.

That seems consistent with what several of us said here on this thread: find a way to meet new people where you’re more open to finding things in common.

In the meantime, enjoy Fluther – it’s such an easy, safe way to “meet” people, and gasp – make friends. And sincerely… good luck in your life. I’d love to hear about any successes – any new friendships!

Introverted_Leo's avatar

Wow, I feel like I can really relate to you, SW. (And everyone’s answers on here are so thoughtful!) I’m in a very similar situation. I’m 20 now and am in my third year of college, but I transferred after my second year to a new college, which I’m now enjoying immensely thanks to the wonderful professors there.

Anyways, I haven’t always been a “loner” type. Growing up I was as outgoing as a person could be! I wasn’t afraid to try anything. But then in elementary school my family chose to move to a new state across the other side of the U.S., so I had to leave everything I knew and loved behind. It was hard, and I pretended (after a brief period of grieving) that it didn’t bother me. Truth was it did, and I didn’t realize it until much later on.

Over the years I’ve become a much more reticent person. I’ve always loved hanging out with friends, but as time goes by you start to realize that you must leave people or they must leave you because life carries you in different directions. This was something I had to learn at a fairly young age, but I’m still trying to sort out how that really makes me feel and how it’s been affecting me.

I like to spend a lot of time by myself (hence the screenname “Introverted_Leo,” which is actually almost a kind of a paradox if you’re into astrology). And, like you SW, I also find myself mingling with older people more and more. I think it’s because they offer a bit of wisdom and deep insight that’s missing from younger people because they haven’t yet experienced as much in life. I wouldn’t say I’m extremely intelligent or anything like you (if that’s what you meant to communicate), but I’m sure my level of intelligence is well above average. When I moved to AZ I realized this because I found myself taking lots of accelerated classes and stuff, and that’s how I made a lot of my friends, through those classes and orchestra (I played the viola for a while).

Anyways, I really do have a point(s), so bear with me if you can!

To move along, I used to be the person who always held the “parties” or get-togethers, and parties for my friends usually included video gaming, laser tag and discussing religion, philosophical stuff and sometimes politics. We’re pretty nerdy like that, lol. (BIG sci-fi fans, as well.) But there came a time where I started resenting these get-togethers for some strange reason because, as I reasoned in my head, I realized that if I hadn’t called people to get together than no one else would take the initiative to do so. This was my theory. So, being the somewhat analytical person I am, I decided to stop calling people as much (though didn’t stop completely) and planning get-togethers to see what would happen. Sure enough our friendships started breaking off. But there was, of course, more to it than making calls to get together. I think I also did this because most of my friends were starting to branch off in different directions in their lives, going to different colleges in different states, hanging out with new cliques of friends with whom I could not relate to, etc…I think I may have secretly resented these changes, so I retaliated and shrunk into myself, into the little introverted cocoon I occupy today.

College has been a challenge. It’s not that I’m horrible at meeting new people; it’s just I don’t like to get too close to people anymore. I guess I figured, “If people are just gonna end up leaving, then what’s the point? People come and go. No sense in getting any closer than you have to.” So I started being a super loner. Thing is, like you SW, I’m okay with spending the majority of my time by myself. I just don’t see the necessity for friends at this point in my life, not a great number of them, anyhow. I still have a couple of people I can call up every now and then and talk to and hang out with, but we do it so intermittently. I, and one of my friends, we mostly keep to ourselves. But (and this is my reason for having found this site, I believe) sometimes I wonder if it’s okay to be so…unpopularly “non-social.” I don’t like the idea of parties and getting drunk and having sex either, and I’m not extremely outgoing and always wanting to go places. I value pretty calm environments most the time. I came from a party school (it used to be the number one party university in the nation), and so I understand where you come from in that regard, as well. It’s just not who I am.

I guess my insecurity lies in being okay with just having one or two close friends. I also don’t like the feeling or idea of “needing” people, but that’s probably just a pride thing. I’m the sort of person that wants to be as independent as I can manage, but I do understand that we need (good) relationships in our lives to help us learn and grow and to get us through the difficulties of life. American society seems to revolve around the idea that being uber social is the best, maybe even the only, way to go in this life, but that’s something I can’t accept. (Network, network, network! Get to that social! Date that new guy(s)! Ugh, don’t even get me started on dating…) It goes against the very fiber of my being.

Idk, perhaps you are like me in the sense that you are extremely introverted as well? (When I say introverted I mean that you actually feel drained if you spend too much time around people, and unlike those who are naturally extroverted most the time, you don’t get your energy or don’t “recharge” by being with other people but by spending time alone.) Now, when I’m with people who are close to me I’m actually very extroverted. I thrive off the energy that comes along with being part of some sort of familiar community. But if I don’t feel a real connection with the people around me then I’m extremely introverted. I will keep to myself because I know subconsciously that we’re not on the same wavelength. If that makes sense. <_<

Anyhow, I’d like to apologize for the gargantuan post! I’ve said a whole lot about myself, but I hope maybe it’s been of some use to you. (Being less of a social person, I tend to go full speed ahead when I actually write/type out my thoughts since I usually don’t talk too much about them.) It’s my first time here, but it’s good to know that there are smart, caring, genuine people out there who can offer sound advice in addition to all their wonderful traits!

And for the record, SW, if I lived near you or went to your school I’d totally want to be your friend. You sound like a very smart interesting person, and I really do mean that! :)

augustlan's avatar

@Introverted_Leo Welcome to Fluther. You can be our friend :)

shadling21's avatar

@Introverted_Leo – That was a long post, and I’m glad I read it through to the end. It sounds like you and I are very similar people (both introverted, not interested in crazy parties). Thanks for posting!

Introverted_Leo's avatar

:) Thanks. But yeah, it was rather long…

seekingwolf's avatar

@Introverted_Leo

Wow…that was a great post. I can totally relate to you from what you’ve told me and I’m glad that you relate to me as well. :) Honestly, this is has made my day.

I wasn’t having a very good day. Perhaps it’s the weather because I found myself staring out the window and watching the flakes fall for a while. You are SO right about how American society pressures us into being uber social. My parents (particularly monther) are really pushing me to be social and I think that pressure is what makes me feel worse (although they are well-intentioned).

Honestly, you sound a lot like me and I think you’d make a great friend. :) I am introvert myself (well, maybe not on the topic of politics…) but otherwise I keep to myself. I find that when I talk to another introvert one-on-one, we bring each other out our shells a little. It’s a wonderful feeling.

I wish you went to my college…sigh
But you know, this makes me feel better. :) To know that there are people out there like me is always a welcome thought. I know that many times, society has an idea (like a mold) of how everyone “should” be. When it seems that everyone fits it but me, well then I have days like today. Knowing that there are people like you out there gives me so much hope. I wish you the absolute best and thank you so much for posting. :) You are truly insightful.

Introverted_Leo's avatar

^_^ I’m glad I didn’t overwhelm you with my verbosity! lol

seekingwolf's avatar

Overwhelm me? ^_^ hehe no. I enjoyed your story very much.

augustlan's avatar

@Introverted_Leo Lurve for ‘verbosity’!

cak's avatar

@Introverted_Leo – lurve to you, and if I could, I’d lurve you, again!

Wait…I can!! :)

augustlan's avatar

Fluther friendships, FTW.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

oh i’m a bit late on this, but still. i’m pretty sure i’ve seen you mention an interest in psychology, so chances are you know that social interaction and sense of belonging are naturally important to peoples’ well-being, etc. that being said, i don’t think you need to be friends with everybody. you have a right to be picky about the people you want as friends. i mean, you seem to be cool with most of the flutherers here, so obviously you’re not just completely asocial. maybe not looking for friends is best, and they’ll sort of come to you?
if you’re not that open about yourself or your interests, opening up just a bit more could give others a chance to approach you, you know? a bunch of friends aren’t absolutely necessary, but i think it’s helpful to at least have one or two, even if you’d rather spend the majority of time alone. i don’t think being a loner is necessarily a bad thing. if you’re comfortable enough to spend time with yourself, i think that says something positive about you.
personally, i think you can be happy to an extent without friends, but i’d assume that you’d still feel like you were missing out on something. but i don’t know, i’m kind of just word-vomiting all over this page, and i’ll stop now. :p

seekingwolf's avatar

@tiffyandthewall

It’s okay that you’re a bit late. :)

I know that social interaction is very important to people and honestly, we need it, in one way or another (online or IRL friends, etc.).

I’m happy to say that I’ve found a few new friends here at college. Although I don’t go out very often (studying…) I do have a couple that I study with, a couple that I eat meals with, and I go out to the occasional movie. It’s not a “group” really, just some people here and there that I like.

In retrospect, I think my antisocial roommate really hindered me in my friend-making process. Now that she’s gone, I’m doing much better. I’m happier as well! I feel more fulfilled than I once did.

I guess first semester in college can just suck for some…It wasn’t until this semester that I’ve really come into my own.

Thank you for your words. :)

janbb's avatar

Sounds good, seekingwolf. First semester is really hard, glad you’re finding your way.

shortysith's avatar

The older I get, the more I realize that there are two sides to friendship. It can give you a lot: memories, fuzzy feelings, advice, comfort, etc. But it can also make you feel like shit too because if you are anything like me, I put too much faith in people who don’t deserve it and it hurts you. You don’t have to have friends to be happy. be happy with who you are, and find things you like doing. You are bound to meet another soul on this planet that can relate to you, and you can be friends.

Vincent_Lloyd's avatar

Honestly I think no…See I like you since you share what quality I have (not to brag or anything if I am) but we just don’t really fit in anywhere. But I like that I’m different. And I like you also since you are….And you have a pic of a wolf as your profile pic. And I will add you. So don’t feel sad since friends aren’t everything. Friends can give you many positive things but also give you many negative things as well. But I’m always a friend to usually anyone out there. So don’t feel bad about it!. Hope this sorta helped.

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