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I never see my friends IRL

I make friends easily enough, but I never want to get together with them. Is there something wrong with me?

Well, you might want to make the effort with one or two, says our elder.

Dear EWC

Hello! I’m not sure this is so much a question as it is me looking for thoughts/opinions on something I’ve been thinking about. I’m a 18 year old male and my personality type is infj, if that is helpful in anyway. So basically I haven’t seen any of my high school friends in person for around a year. I’ll sometimes talk and play games with them a couple days a week for a few weeks, but then always end up stopping and not talking to them for two to three months at a time. They’ll invite me to hang out with them every once in awhile but I’ll always turn them down or make up excuses. It’s not that I have anything against them or don’t like them, it’s just that I simply don’t want to.

At first I thought it was because of my social anxiety, even though they are my friends. But then I had the sudden realization that I’ve always been like this, I’ve always been extremely antisocial and always used to make up excuses so I wouldn’t have to hang out with them, even when I was really young. I just always preferred to be alone and do my own thing. I then thought about it more and realized a lot of my family is like this as well, my parents rarely go out, and my brother and one of my sisters don’t do that much stuff with other people, except their significant others. I recall my brother telling me once that he doesn’t really “hang out with people” and it’s not because he has social anxiety or is awkward, he’s actually one of the most charismatic people I know. That comment is what really got me thinking about this. During these hiatuses I have I never really feel lonely, or at least that’s what I’ve convinced myself. I don’t feel lonely but I’m honestly not sure. That said one social outing (it doesn’t even really have to be social, just be around people seems to be enough) and I’m good for like two months.

Some side thoughts: Most of the stuff I do (animation, mountain biking, drawing) is all stuff that is done alone. I’ve never had trouble making new friends at work or at school, but I’ve realized they are “situational friends.” Though I’d consider some of my friends from school really good friends, yet I still refuse/have no desire to hang out with them. I’ve always had an interest in psychology and sociology, I enjoy people but I guess not talking to them. Sorry if this is hard so answer, I just wanted to talk to someone about this and see what kind of insight/thoughts they would have. I guess in summary, is there something wrong with me!? Haha. Thanks a bunch.

Treefrog replies

I’m not a professional psychologist so it’s “opinion” on my part and if you gain some insight, all the better:-)
I think that “anti-social” is often a misused label. I’m married to a wonderful person who could be a poster child for socialization. She thrives on being with people, talking to people. She remembers names, faces, events, and what all. Me? I enjoy being alone and my hobbies and interests in retirement reflect that. She understands that I’m happy and content with myself. It isn’t a matter of me having any special “anxiety”. I don’t fear social encounters, I just happen to like being by myself. (Although I must admit, I hate crowds.)

That being said, I can certainly understand how others might view this as being “anti-social”. I don’t see it that way. Maybe I’m an “introvert”? Who knows what kind of label should be slapped on to me? Am I worried? Nope. Tyler, I think there is room in this world for both the talkers and the listeners. It might just be that you are more of a listener than a talker.

However, I must admit that it is good for one to have a close friend or two to whom one can turn to when facing challenges or there is a need for advice or feedback. That is a social relationship that should be nurtured and treasured. It is something I think you might do well to work at. And it works both ways. It brings personal satisfaction when a close friend confides in us and makes us feel valuable. It gives us a sense of “worth” that can be had in no other way, certainly not at a cocktail party.

If you feel that this socialization trait (or lack thereof) is affecting your ability to enjoy life, somehow preventing you from obtaining what you seek or making you anxious then it might be well to drop in and see a professional counselor and talk it out. Instead of trying to analyze yourself let a professional give you the “once over” and offer advice.

I hope this little bit of advice helps. Please do feel free to write back anytime.

Letter #: 417007
Category: Friendship

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