Social Question

Scarikah's avatar

Why is it so hard for me to get along with people?

Asked by Scarikah (427points) October 11th, 2011

I’m not mean. I don’t take advantage of people. I’m actually a very helpful person. But I have very little friends. And it’s hard for me to make more. I was thinking that maybe it’s because I don’t party like everyone else around me. I do know this though..they always tell me I need to loosen up and enjoy myself. And I always honestly am, so I wonder what it is that makes them think I’m not.. I don’t know, what do you think?

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58 Answers

Buttonstc's avatar

What precisely do you mean by “very little friends” for starters.

Many people, including myself, would be in the category of very little friends because our definition of the word “friends” makes definite clear distinction between that and “friendly acquaintances”.

I can count my lifelong true friends on the fingers of one hand. But these have lasted for over 20 yrs. and still going strong regardless of location or changing circumstances. These are the people whom I know I could absolutely count on when the chips are down and won’t bail on me no matter what. I could call them at 3 AM if I needed emergency help and they would do their best to help and not consider it an imposition. And I would do the same for them.

I have lots of friendly acquaintances with whom I don’t have nearly that strong a relationship and some would consider that as friends. But there is a BIG difference.

If you have a few loyal friends (even if only one or two) that’s fine. All the rest of the social acquaintances and their opinions don’t really matter.

As you get older you’ll develop more of these type of loyal friends. The rest will come and go and it doesn’t really matter.

A few friends who truly have my back is all I need to get through life.

I happen to also have others with whom I’m “friendly” but if they all disappeared or deserted me altogether, I’d still be fine. I don’t need a whole lot of friends as long as I have that handful for life.

I think Facebook has done a bit of harm to the word “friend”. I constantly get “friend” requests from people whom I don’t know and have never met or even exchanged an email with. Just because they happen to know someone who knows me is not enough qualification to be my Facebook friend or any other kind.

The whole Facebook use of it has horribly cheapened the word friend. I don’t need a thousand Facebook friends and it doesn’t male me inferior.

A friend is a relationship. You really don’t need that many. As Oprah has said: as long as you’ve got your “Besties” youre all set.

Screw the party crowd. Live your life doing what you’re comfortable with. Screw the party crowd and the Facebook fakers.

They aren’t the ones who will bail you out of jail after driving drunk or sit by your bedside in the hospital. Stick with the (very little) few friends you already have and live life on your own terms. Don’t let others guilt you into going to parties with a lot of drinking drugs and screwing around. Go where YOU are comfortable.

Be yourself and friendships will bloom naturally as you go through life. You won’t have a ton of them but you will have those who accept you as you are and don’t want to mold you into some artificial party ideal.

Your “besties” will develop naturally and mutually when you stay true to yourself.

Scarikah's avatar

I have..a small number of friends. And the numbers get smaller all the time. They..replace me. I don’t think they do it on purpose, but they do it, and then they just stop talking to me. The only time I hear from them anymore is if I put the effort in. And I grow tired of being by myself, but I also grow tired of being the only one trying to keep in touch or set up dates to hang out. I suppose it doesn’t really matter. I just wish it came easier. All of my siblings have more friends than they can count. It’s just weird to me.

silverfly's avatar

I’m guessing you might want to do some self reflection. Many times our problems are our own fault. This may not be the case, but it’s worth looking into. Try writing down some thoughts and see if you’re creating this world for yourself.

I had a friend like this – he blamed everything and everyone but himself and he was completely miserable. Life can get pretty frustrating when you’re in the victim role.

Buttonstc's avatar

If they so easily drop you for someone else they weren’t a true friend to begin with. The ones who are won’t be dropping you.

You’re young and it takes time.

Secondly, you are not you’re siblings. Stop comparing yourself to them. Each of you is an individual and my hunch is that they have lots and lots of friendly acquaintances which seems attractive to you. It ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

The first time a negative life event happens (drastic illness, addiction, divorce, family suicide, bankruptcy, etc etc) they will scatter like the wind. That’s when the friends emerge who will stick closer than a brother. All the rest don’t matter. No matter how many.

You get a friend by being a friend. You will come across the sticking kind eventually. There just won’t usually be a lot of them. You may have to wade through a bunch of superficiality to find the one gem worth sticking with. It’s QUALITY not quantity which is important.

Scarikah's avatar

Maybe, but I do try to take a look at myself pretty often. I don’t see what’s wrong with me.. I move a lot. And maybe that’s the problem. One of my sisters has noticed that she has at least one problem similar to mine and that is her unwillingness to do anything that she finds immoral. And for some reason people don’t take kindly to that. Even though we never insist that they stop. We just don’t want to be involved.

Also, I do have the sort of friends that are always there when something goes wrong. Well, one. Tina. But otherwise she is never around. But it does make me happy to remember that. So, thank you. Tina has never let me down when things go bad. :D

Scooby's avatar

There’s nothing wrong with being introverted, as we get older we tend to come out our shell more… you only look young so don’t sweat it, there’s plenty of time to make friends, the trick is finding loyal friends, who will stick by you & not leave you at the drop of a hat. Also there are the people we think are friends when really they’re not…. It’s good to be guarded in this respect too, be yourself not what others may want, the right friends will come along in time….

Buttonstc's avatar

Always always stick to your principles, morals and goals in life and screw those who don’t like it. They don’t get to vote on your life. It will be what you make of it.

I’m guessing you’re still in HS and you’re parents are making the moving decisions. Once you get into college and/or the job market you’ll have much more control of your life and can stay wherever you want for as long as you want.

Moving around a lot does have it’s challenges. But it will give you preparation for real life. There are plenty of “military brats” now adults who’ve looked back on all the moving and can now appreciate some of the positive qualities it added to their character development.

In everything in life, the way outer circumstances affect you is determined largely by how you view it. Because of your frequent exposure to new people all along you’re likely less sheltered and a better judge of people than you realize. This will stand you in good stead through the rest of your life.

Put your time and energy into your TRUE friends and just forget about the rest who don’t like your principles or morals. Don’t ever compromise these.

Coloma's avatar

Quality over quantity. I have let go of two long term “friends” this year when their issues and how they were effecting me, could no longer be denied. People come and go throughout our lives, and truly quality friends are hard to find.

Often when we are being true to ourselves, living in our own integrity the pool shrinks of people that we can truly relate to on the levels we aspire to.

Reasons and seasons and all that jazz.

NEVER comprimise yourself and your values just to fit in!

One should never “settle” in any relationship just for the sake of shallow companionship.

Things are ever changing and you will find friends that are a good fit for you eventually. In the meantime, learn to become your own best friend and get really clear on the type of people you wish to have in your life. :-)

Scarikah's avatar

No, no. I’m 22. I used to move with my Dad a lot, then I decided to live with my Mom. (They’re divorced) And then I couldn’t decide if I wanted to live in Alaska or Arizona for the rest of my life. But just recently I have decided upon Seattle. My girlfriend and I are moving there together for permanent. Then maybe everything will start to be normal and I’ll have consistent friends. You think?

I have never and would never do anything just because everyone else will only be my friend if I do it. I’m smart. I am. I promise. I’m just so ready for my life to start and it’s hard when I don’t know who’s going to be around or who should be around. I don’t know anything.

Scarikah's avatar

Oh, and I was not less sheltered. People I know tell me about just how truly sheltered I was. I was raised Pentecostal. And not allowed to have sleep overs or go trick or treating or anything. Even while in church the rules were “Sit down and shut up.” We couldn’t make a sound or we were in BIG trouble. But..all the adults around thought we were just the best behaved children they knew. Really we were just scared.

Kardamom's avatar

You might be looking for friends in the wrong places and have a distorted view of what a friend is. You should definitely not compromise your morals. It’s OK to say, “Hey Mary, I don’t want to rain on your parade, but I don’t smoke or drink and I don’t feel comfortable going to parties and stuff where that’s going on. So go ahead to the party without me and maybe we can do something like go hiking on Saturday instead.” That way, you’re not coming off as being a party pooper, rather than a friend who relates to Mary in a different way than the party friends do.

Or if you find out that someone you thought was a friend is really doing something bad, like underaged drinking or doing drugs, you might have to re-evaluate your friendship with someone like that.

Also, I’ve found that it’s much easier to find friends that you relate to easier, if you find them in places where you are involved in activities that are already fun or special or important to you. You are not likely to find real friends in a bar (although it does happen that people meet people in bars that end up being friends) but if you are interested in say cooking, or painting or photography or poetry or whatever it may be, you are likely to find people that have common interests and passions as you do. But if you stay holed up in your house, you aren’t going to find people easily.

Even if you are an “introvert” (and that can have many different meanings to different people) you still owe it to yourself and to other people, who have to interact with you throughout your life, to learn how to be a good conversationalist, and someone who puts other people at ease and makes them feel important and listened to and comfortable. If you are not that type of person, other people (potential friends) will not flock to you. Or if you appear to be needy, or stand-offish, or put forth some type of “don’t bother me” body language (that you may be unware of) that will turn people off too. I’ll use your avatar as an example. In that picture, you look like you are hiding and unhappy. I’m not saying that you should change your avatar, but if you look like you are scared and unhappy, people are not as likely to come up to you and make conversation than if you look happy and approachable.

You also need to learn to make the first move with people. You can practice this technique at the grocery store. I do it all the time, I used to be quite shy and quiet, but one of my good friends was always talking to total strangers about all kinds of regular every day things. She could disarm even the grumpiest grump. So I started trying to do what she did and it’s worked out very well, not only with friends, but at work, and around relatives. You just need to learn to lighten up and casually start talking to people (don’t run up to them and bombard them with tales of woe).

Older folks at the grocery store seem to really appreciate having people, especially polite, interesting young people talk to them (a lot of older folks suffer from loneliness, because of loss and the “generation gap” and because older folks are generally marginalized in our society) So by talking with oler folks, whenever you meet them will give you both a positive boost in your life. Below are some sample opening lines when you see an older person at the grocery store. You can practice your conversational skills and make someone happy at the same time.

“Wow, that is a beautiful squash in your cart. Is that a butternut squash? I’ve been learning how to cook lately and I’ve wanted to experiment with cooking squash, but I’m a little leery. How do you prepare it?” (That was your opening line, it wasn’t weird or intimidating and is likely to start a whole conversation. Add to it, ask more questions and tell them a little bit about yourself, then thank them and say that maybe you’ll bump into them in Vons again)

Or if you see someone pondering in the baking aisle, sidle on up and say, “Hmmm I was thinking about making some kind of dessert this weekend, now that fall is here. What do you think? Should I make a pie or a cake? I’m not the best baker in the world, but I’ve made it a goal this year to bust out the cookbooks and start baking. What are you getting?”

Or if you see a gentlemn in the canned vegetable aisle, you could say, “So what looks good tonight? I was thinking about making some soup, but I’m just not sure. I’ve been eating frozen pizza all week and I figure that I should really boost my vegetable intake. What are you getting?”

Or if you see a couple in the meat department, you can say “Wow, those steaks look great! Are you guys barbecuing tonight? My Dad’s really good with the barbecue, but we haven’t really done it since summer. How are you preparing those steaks, are you going to put some kind of a dry rub on them or do you have some type of a special marinade? I’ve been watching the food network a lot lately and they do some incredible things with barbecue.”

Now believe me, this will get easier as time goes by, but by practicing in the grocery store, you will simply get the hang of conversation and learn how to give and take, and not to appear scared or needy, just friendly. Don’t push it too far, just keep it light and fun and always say that it was night talking to them or nice meeting them and then smile and wave and say bye. And by practicing with these folks, there is no pressure on any one. This is just a way to learn to be nice and friendly and learn how to easily talk to people.

Then when you go to your activities (the one’s you’ve chosen that are interesting to you) you can try out your new conversation skills. Keep it up and practice practice practice. You will become a different person. Still your same self, but a more confident, pleasant person.

Give it a try and let us know how it works out. : )

Scooby's avatar

Time to live your life on your own terms now, live a little & taste a little bit of what you fancy, you can let your guard down a little at times…. Who knows you might even enjoy it….. No need to be a scared kid anymore. :-/

Scarikah's avatar

I’ve decided I like you guys. You give such good advice. :D
About my picture though..I was just so super happy to have that teddy bear. My girlfriend gave it to me. I should probably practice my happy faces in the mirror or something if I can’t even look happy when I actually am. :D

Kardamom's avatar

Have your girlfriend take a look at you and ask her if she thinks you look scared or angry or un-approachable (even if you aren’t) I remember in junior high school some of the girls and guys would stand with their arms crossed or looking down at their feet or fumbling with their hands. Ask your girfriend if she notices you doing that, or if you have a furrowed brow or anything that makes you look un-approachable.

Also, study the hosts on those shows like Entertainment Tonight. Notice when they’re walking and talking or just standing and talking, they use (formulated believe it or not) hand gestures when they talk. Often they’ll hold a pen or a notebook in one hand and pass it casually back and forth while they are gesturing (mildly) with their other hand. It’s a technique that actors and hosts and newscasters learn so that they don’t look stiff. Watch and then try it out.

Scarikah's avatar

Well, I do know I cross my arms a lot. Something I picked up in middle school. :) Yay.. Hard habit to break. I also bite my nails. Even harder.

Scooby's avatar

Nail biter her too :-/
Pursue your own interest & hobbies too, there’s a fair chance you’ll meet like minded people who’s company you’ll come to enjoy also,,,, in the real world as well as here ;-)

Scarikah's avatar

Yes. Good idea. There’s just not many places you can go to sit around and drink coffee and/or Monsters, while talking about crime dramas, the various different forms of love, musicals, what’s wrong with the world today. Not here anyway. Palmer, Alaska. I’d have to walk 5 miles into town first. It’s too cold for that. Perhaps I’ll get a ride from a family friend or something.

Scooby's avatar

Horses for courses here, you’ll find a lot of folks to banter with, with similar interests, welcome BTW, stick around, have fun & just be yourself….

Scarikah's avatar

I shall do so. YOU KNOW WHAT I JUST REMEMBERED? (Sorry, very excited.) As I was typing the word “Shall” I remembered that there was a girl I used to work with that was very put off by the way I talk. Such as using the words “shall” or “siblings.” She hated it. But I won’t be changing that, I talk how I talk and that’s just how it is.

Scooby's avatar

Good for you ;-) don’t let people dumb you down…...... they’ll try all the same….

Buttonstc's avatar

As long as it’s not “shalt” or “thou shouldst not” etc., you’ll be fine.

The only ones who can get away with talking in KJV English in the rest of the world are the Amish. They get a pass on that one. Anyone else doing it gets looked at weird :)

But on second thought, direct quoting Shakespeare cannot be a bed thing.

“This above all, to thine own self be true. And it will follow as the night follows the day that thou canst not then be false to any man”

To thine own self be true are good words to live by back in his day and in any age, especially now.

wundayatta's avatar

Are you the kind of person to whom people say, “You think too much?” Sometimes people are not comfortable around people who aren’t happy all the time, or who try to analyze things in depth. They might see you as a kind of downer because they just want to run around being happy and not thinking about much.

Scarikah's avatar

@Buttonstc Hahahaha! Yeah, I’ll avoid doing that.

@wundayatta I don’t know. Maybe I do. I always thought I should be a lawyer. Because I am able to argue both sides of an argument, even when I think it’s wrong.

I did ask my girlfriend about the…crossing the arms and furrowed brows and such though. She said no to that, but that I am too quiet and shy. So there we have it..

Scarikah's avatar

Actually..that’s not really helpful at all. How do I not be “too quiet and shy?”

blueiiznh's avatar

If you are introverted or shy, some people may think you are “standoffish”.

If that is the case, try to just be around and join the conversation with whatever is on your mind. They are your feelings and opinions and others should respect it as such.

Buttonstc's avatar

Regardless of what your gf thinks about the arms crossed posture, body language experts agree that it creates a perception of being closed off or defensive and maybe even hostile. The opposite of open, accepting or welcoming. If that is not your intention it’s generally unwise to create that perception.

It’s widely taught in sales training that if your prospect is sitting or standing with arms crossed that they are resistant to whatever ideas you’re presenting.

You might find it interesting to read a book or two on body language. It’s a fascinating subject.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

Different people have different ideas concerning the things that mean what they say they mean as opposed to what they mean TO THEM.

I honestly believe that it is because people don’t have a good enough understanding of English words anymore.

I don’t think you need to lighten up at all, but for the record, I get that a lot too. I can be a bit pragmatic and logical at times when most other people are being completely sarchastic.

I think too much which tells me that you’re on average probably a lot smarter than most people give you credit for and take it as your being a kill joy instead.

Sound right?

LuckyGuy's avatar

Check out my name. If you didn’t know me, what kind of a person do you think I am? Actually, I am not worried at all but that is the first impression a stranger gets.
Now look at the name you selected. Is that how you act? Or would Sweetkah be a better fit? Given just that data point, who would you prefer to be with?

I’m sorry if I sound like your mom but…. “Stand up straight, smile like you mean it, and listen when others speak.” :-)

Scarikah's avatar

Haha, I actually didn’t even pick my name, but yes, good point. My youngest sister picked it because she wanted to share the wonderful world of Fluther with me. :D
Can’t help that Scarikah rhymes with Erikah. Just like she can’t help that Trashly rhymes with Ash-Leigh. Although she insists that it’s Crashly..

LuckyGuy's avatar

Think how much nicer Erikahh sounds.

Your mom just called me. She wanted me to tell you; “Now, young lady, stand up straight and smile! We didn’t spend $3500 for Invisiline braces so you should sulk.” ;-). .

Scarikah's avatar

…That’s really creepy.

HungryGuy's avatar

Drum roll please.

Just find some taller friends….

Scarikah's avatar

I only have one short friend. She’s 4’11’. And that would be Tina. Everyone else is taller than me..

jerv's avatar

I can think of a few reasons. I know I tend to not get along with people that don’t have a sense of humor, or that are too “by the book” since I am a casual wise-ass who takes many rules as mere guidelines.

Being an Aspie also sometimes makes things difficult.

HungryGuy's avatar

@jerv – Brothers in arms! As you just observed, my humor also tends to go over most people’s heads :-p

I sometimes also think I have a touch of aspie sometimes…

Scarikah's avatar

Oh, I do hate it when people think that just because I don’t think their jokes are funny it means that I also don’t know it’s a joke or maybe I just don’t get it. Was I supposed to laugh? Isn’t that like lying? Would have been funnier had I said something like “Why is it so hard for me to see eye to eye with people?”
Can’t help it if my sense of humor is not the same as yours. So, see? I know why we wouldn’t be friends. Easy.

AshLeigh's avatar

@Scarikah, more friends than I can count, ehh?
I actually have like five friends, so there. The rest are just people who I know. I counted. ;)
Also, you’re a great person, and you sure as hell do have a sense of humor. You put up with living with Justin and I, so you obviously have a great sense of humor. ;)

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@Scarikah I like you too honey… Be good to you and don’t let them get you down. You’re a good girl, stay that way… I did let the world get to me. It’s no fun.

Here… For you, enjoy!

Find someone who loves you… and always hold tight to you and everything beautiful that you are, too many people with bad intentions are fast to try to take that light away…

Don’t let them.

AshLeigh's avatar

@Scarikah… I just saw that Trashly thing. >:(
You know I hate that. Jerk.
We’re in a fight. ;)

Scarikah's avatar

Trashly was just an example. I wasn’t calling you that. Justin just called you Bubbah Gump though. And he says he’s going to name his son that. Also, he slept in today, and nobody woke him up for school. This is all your fault. Now he’s high and talking to me. We’re in a fight.

AshLeigh's avatar

I thought he was still sick, so I didn’t think to wake him up.
We’re all in a fight? :D

HungryGuy's avatar

@Scarikah – Sorry! Didn’t mean to sound snotty. I have a dry sense of humor and it gets me in trouble sometimes :-p

Scarikah's avatar

@HungryGuy Forgiven! :D


@AshLeigh Yes, we’re all in a fight. And Justin is also in a fight with Stephen now. And he’s always in a fight with Tina, and Tina won’t take me out for coffee so I’m in a fight with her. And Stephen won’t stop hitting on Dad so I’m in a fight with him. Now, find a reason to be in a fight with Tina and Stephen and it will be the best fight of our lives. Mmkay? Thank you.

AshLeigh's avatar

@Scarikah, alright, deal. I’m in a fight with Tina because she has owl eyes. And I’m in a fight with Stephen because I don’t know his middle name.
Mmkay, welcome. :D

Kardamom's avatar

Is it just me, or does anybody else get the feeling that we’ve wandered out of Fluther Land and gone over into Facebook Territory?

Scarikah's avatar

@Kardamom Ignoring that..

@AshLeigh You know..I don’t know his middle name either. I only just found out my cousin’s middle name. Tyler. His name is Damon Tyler Sloan. After Alice Cooper and Steven Tyler.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Kardamom WTH?! Yep. FB has landed

Ladies, you could PM one another while in Fluther.

Scarikah's avatar

Well aware, thank you. I don’t know why you guys have to be party-poopers..

Kardamom's avatar

I will refer to the Q. Why is it so hard for me to get along with people? When you have a personal conversation on a public forum, it tends to alienate the people who have no idea who or what you are talking about. Also, watching people argue is also very off putting.

I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, but these are the types of things that make it hard to get along with other people, when you don’t consider the context or the venue.

These last bunch of comments between you and @AshLeigh made it seem like we’d un-comfortably and inadvertently peeked at a private Facebook site. And then I thought to myself, I can’t imagine carrying out a public fight with anyone of my Facebook page. No one wants to see that.

If you truly do want to get along better with people, you have to pay attention to where you are and the appropriateness of what you are saying, and who your audience is.

Scarikah's avatar

Well, if I could delete the question I would. Just for you guys. The few, the proud, the offended when I talk to my sister in public about who’s middle names we do and do not know.

P.S. We are not having a fight. It was a joke. If it were a fight we would fight in person. Ridiculous. THIS is probably why I don’t get along with people. Because nobody can tell when I’m joking and when I’m serious. Also, I’m serious right now. Just so you know.

SpatzieLover's avatar

You are in a Q & A site. I have flagged the off-topic responses. It appears to me, that you and your sister have other means by which to communicate. If you both want to say something “off-topic”, you could address one another by whispering

Scarikah's avatar

Oh, well thank you so much. Thank you for deciding the means in which I may talk to my own sister. Very thoughtful of you. I shall ask your permission before I do anything from now on. :D

“If you both want to say something “off-topic”, you could address one another by whispering”
Really?! MAY I?!?!

I already flagged the question and asked that it be deleted.

Scarikah's avatar

I’m done with this. None of this matters anyway, I don’t even know what I’m arguing with you about. I honestly don’t care. I don’t like talking to people this way, and it makes me feel horrible. So I’m leaving now, because I’m not this kind of person. And if you want to stay here and be petty about everything then that’s your issue. If the rules are so strict that sharing a joke with my sister causes a fight then this isn’t my kind of place anyway. I’m not that uptight.

AshLeigh's avatar

Ugh. If you don’t like it just unfollow the thread. No need to be mean. Mkay, thank you. :)

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Extended personal conversations are best suited to PMs. Please take it there, guys. Thanks!

Kardamom's avatar

Heavy Sigh…..

AshLeigh's avatar

I know we did go a lot off topic, and I didn’t think anything of it.
I’m sorry if it was annoying, or rude, or whatever. But in the future, can you guys please go a little easier on new people? Instead of being mean about the rules can’t we just let them know they’re breaking the rules, in a nice way? She deleted her Fluther, because the only people she’d talked to had just been fighting about a simple question.
I should have told her we should take it to PM, but I didn’t. So I take complete responsibility for that. But can we be a little more welcoming, and wait a little while before we claw their throats out?
It really is hard for her to get along with people…
Again, I’m sorry for going off topic. (Although this is off topic too, I guess.)

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