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Old 02-27-2012, 05:53 PM   #1  
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Default Why I Make More Friends Online...

i've recently come to the realization that friends in real life are not very abundant for me. i have the 3 ladies that stood up with me at my wedding, a few people i used to work with, my husband, and maybe a couple of friends-by-proxy that would be there for me.

apparently i don't go through these awkward stages online. or at least not nearly as painfully or as obviously. even though i do read things that make me want to offer comfort or advice, i just don't know what to say because everything i come up with sounds a bit trite or cliche.

i never really learned *how* to make friends, because of where i grew up. i knew a lot of people since the age of 5. and those i didn't know, i knew somebody who did know them, and there was that easy ice breaker. now i'm an adult living away from everyone i ever knew, and i've figured this out! i think. there are stages, and they are painful.

the stages:

stage 1: the shy stage

at first, i am very quiet. i will say hi. i'll say bye. i'll answer questions addressed to me with as few syllables as possible, and mostly i'll just watch the people around me. i need to know what personalities i'm around because that dictates which part of my personality i should show the most. apparently, i have facets and they can be contradictory. who knew?

stage 2: the awkward stage

this is the stage where i've decided "hey this person is interesting, i would like to know them and possibly become friends with them!" so then i try to overcome my natural instinct to keep my mouth shut so i don't appear stupid, or potentially offend them because "i hate bugs!" could offend some one nowadays and i don't wish to have my home flooded with PETA flyers. the only problem with that, is it's forced. i end up looking like a doofus, a snob, an idiot, a b*tch, or a know it all... which isn't likely to breed friendships. i don't mean to offend or come off like those things, i just want to contribute and my natural abilities for conversing are, apparently, broken.

stage 3: trying too hard

by this time, the herd is thinned. anyone who was willing to talk to me when i was a mute had to stick around through the "did she just say that?" stage, and a lot of them don't. my sense of humor is a bit off. i'm not a movie buff so i don't catch those references, and my taste in music isn't nearly as varied as a lot of people. if i had started with a group of 100 potential friends, the people willing to still try or put up with me is probably reduced to about 5. those are usually the people who have somehow picked up on my discomfort and awkwardness and are willing to see what is behind all that mess, or in the case of how i met my best friend... forced into proximity with me because of a group final project where groups were assigned. when left with these people, i try really hard to be ME. but i'm so worried about how these new people are going to react to ME that i end up trying too hard, and over-doing it. which just doesn't go over well. thinning the herd even more.

stage 4: friendship!

if you can put up with me not talking, and then sounding like a jackass, and then trying to hard to overcome sounding like a jackass, apparently i can settle in to comfort and just be my weird, pervy, sarcastic, nerdy self without any reservations. my friends know this and love me anyway. they made it through the awkward stage and know what kind of friend i am, so they are willing to look the other way, or just laugh at me when i do something dumb.

kinda wish i could eliminate stages 1-3 and just turn them into one comfortable "getting to know you" stage. *sigh*
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:11 PM   #2  
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Eh, I'm so similar.
Trying too hard.
Watch out, that girls on fire! But still, slightly awkward.

Very few people "get" me.
I say what I want to say in front of very few as well.
But those few people love me.

I'm cool with it.
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:26 PM   #3  
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Mandy, I've never had many 'real life' friends. I tend to do better online, also. My last 'real life friend' called me up one day {after 10 years} to say that the 3 hours she allows me to spend with her a week is taking too much of her time away from her kids, so that was the last I heard from her. I would love to have an exercise/diet partner or someone to just pal around with but apparently its not going to happen, but I think in place of your 'trying to hard' I would put 'not trying at all' for myself.
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:40 PM   #4  
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That's pretty much exactly how I am with people in person as well. Mostly I've never been able to get past the trying too hard stage because I move away! It's happened my whole life, every time I've gotten close to making a "real life" friend I've been uprooted. At this point I don't even know how to meet anyone. =/

I have several dear friends I've kept in touch with online for 6+ years, and correspondence with them is very important to me. But it's really not the same as having face to face social contact, which I only have with my husband at the moment...
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Old 02-27-2012, 07:43 PM   #5  
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Those are my stages too...I'm currently in stage 3 with two people and have been actively trying to stop.

*does not have IM open wanting to talk to them...*
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Old 02-27-2012, 08:52 PM   #6  
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I am right there with you, every step (and stage) of the way. I hardly see the one friend I do have locally and we text sporadically. It's so much easier to hide behind the computer. It's also easier to face rejection that way. I've gotten to the point that I try to avoid social activities because A) I'm so self-conscious and B) I'm terrified of that rejection. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with having a lot of online friends as long as you do have someone for that in-person contact. It is still frustrating though, for sure.
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Old 02-27-2012, 10:56 PM   #7  
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I am like that too, sort of. I have the shy stage, the awkward stage and then the "eff it" stage.. and then usually if people make it through me getting tired of trying to be normal then they usually last a long time.

I just uprooted and moved to a new state where I don't know anyone but my in-laws and the people I work with.. and I have NO friends here. I miss my few friends back home.. but I have absolutely no idea how or where to meet new people. I even want to go back home for a weekend just to see my friends and have someone to hang out with for a day.
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:32 AM   #8  
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I am very socially awkward and I often wish I had a friend. I tend to socialise online but always end up feeling out of kilter with everyone else and the subject of bullying or jokes.

Thing is I start out innocent and allow myself to be who I am, sometimes a bit funny (my partner and I laugh and joke a lot! We share the same silly humour) sometimes kind and empathetic/sympathetic ... a good shoulder. I think I make a good friend because I am so darned loyal and caring. I don't catch off-colour jokes or clever sarcasm or ragging ... it goes straight over my head and, I think because of that, I tend to be seen as a wet blanket or strange. Nor do I `gush', I find it horrifically embarrassing when someone does that ... the whole `darling you are so wonderful and I go all soft when I see you log in each day!'.

Eventually it ends up with me withdrawing, getting quiet and feeling left out, invisible and lonely. There are moments when I have felt that here and I just am not accepting it and post because I am determined to belong somewhere!

I play WoW, I belong in a guild and I am socially awkward enough to know that at least some of them feel I am odd and tease me. I wish people were more honest sometimes so that when I do challenge them about it they don't backtrack. I have said the occasional thoughtless thing, of course I have ... we all do ... but then I realise, and apologise and mend fences.

I guess I just want someone who pops around for a coffee and chat, a laugh and a shared feeling of goodwill ... every now and then.
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:34 AM   #9  
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Lol it was like you were just describing me. I'm exactly like that. So quiet at first and then I try to actually talk and usually end up making an idiot out of myself and somehow sticking my foot in my mouth. And I to make perverted jokes alot when I'm nervous and trying to be funny. So I don't have very many friend either, just some really oold ones from when I was a kid that I'm still close to.
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Old 02-28-2012, 01:42 AM   #10  
kon-fyoo-zed say it aloud
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oh, good. i'm not the only one.

and i'm sitting here laughing to myself thinking "if we all gathered together, it would be silent for 10 minutes, then totally awkward, then maybe normal."

which, coincidentally, was kinda like the first date i had with my husband :P
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Old 02-28-2012, 08:49 AM   #11  
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I used to be an introvert and very shy, but decided to change that because I wanted to make more friends - so now I'm very extroverted.

You would think that would result in it being easier for me to make friends, but no, that's not necessarily true.

I feel like I go straight into the "trying too hard" stage, which results in people who seem like they want to be friends on the surface, but no "real connections".

Compound this with moving 800 miles away from home. Yikes.

I've also realized recently, though, that it takes a while to really bond with a friend, so maybe I just need to be more patient.
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:56 AM   #12  
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Default re:

It's really ok to be like that if you're happy.

I've moved around a bit and made a ton of friends online. I've played online games for more than 15 years. (my log in name here is my name on most of those games).

I've made friends from all over the world, and you know what? I really like those different perspectives other than the ones I see at work every day. I'm also a software developer so that's a field not really filled with women.

I probably have two rl women friends and a few others who are men, and I'm perfectly happy with that.


Last edited by Vex; 02-28-2012 at 11:58 AM.
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