Loneliness and social issues

yorkshirecomrade

Level 3 Valued Member
ok, I’m going to keep this fairly brief.

Has anyone struggled with and overcome loneliness and social interaction issues?

I have a young family, 2 sons (4&2) and we never seem to be invited to bbq’s or parties or celebrating birthdays etc of our friends. I know my own issues, I struggle with small talk and I find interaction with strangers quite difficult to initiate or sustain.

Has anyone ever felt similar or had similar issues and come out the other side? Cheers
 

Ryan T

Level 5 Valued Member
I struggle with small talk and I find interaction with strangers quite difficult to initiate or sustain.
I find it challenging as well, however I push through it. I'm always trying to get up the courage to meet new people at my church, but I struggle with it.

I have a young family, 2 sons (4&2) and we never seem to be invited to bbq’s or parties or celebrating birthdays etc of our friends.
As hard as it seems, perhaps invite folks over to your own bbq. Or go out to lunch etc...

It's cool that you post this on a forum that's dedicated to strength. I'd say strength comes in many forms and it's a skill, so I take that to mean that it may not come naturally, but it can be improved.

All the best and continue to work towards equiping yourself more to handle tough situations.
 

Bret S.

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Disclaimer: Not an expert on any of this.. But I do have 1 son and 2 daughters.

I would say you are very fortunate to have your 2 sons. Take good care of them and yourself and don't sweat the small stuff, in other words enjoy your life and family and let everything else work itself out.

I myself don't seek out social interactions but have no problems socializing as I'm not shy. Some people thrive on a big social network.. I'm not one of them. My GF is much more social than I am. Being super social is a choice and not a requirement in life and most people you meet are too wrapped up in their own sh!t to care about you and your problems. Sometimes I meet people I can connect with but first you have to have something in common. Meeting people for the sake of meeting people isn't on my to-do list. If I meet people with whom I have nothing in common I'm nice to them but don't really have much to say after some small talk.

Find friends you can relate to on some level and it's all natural.. if you try and force it... well, it's not natural and not easy.
 

crazycanuck

Level 8 Valued Member
I can't add much to what others have posted above. Some good points there.

Have you ever read the book "Quiet" by Susan Cain? She also gives a TED talk on youtube about being introverted, and the positive traits of it. I do agree it certainly is a challenge in a society that values "go-getted-ness".
 

yorkshirecomrade

Level 3 Valued Member
I find it challenging as well, however I push through it. I'm always trying to get up the courage to meet new people at my church, but I struggle with it.

As hard as it seems, perhaps invite folks over to your own bbq. Or go out to lunch etc...

It's cool that you post this on a forum that's dedicated to strength. I'd say strength comes in many forms and it's a skill, so I take that to mean that it may not come naturally, but it can be improved.

All the best and continue to work towards equiping yourself more to handle tough situations.
Ryan, thanks for words

I do organise bbqs etc and it’s never a successful response I get, which is disheartening. I will work hard at this.
 

yorkshirecomrade

Level 3 Valued Member
Disclaimer: Not an expert on any of this.. But I do have 1 son and 2 daughters.

I would say you are very fortunate to have your 2 sons. Take good care of them and yourself and don't sweat the small stuff, in other words enjoy your life and family and let everything else work itself out.

I myself don't seek out social interactions but have no problems socializing as I'm not shy. Some people thrive on a big social network.. I'm not one of them. My GF is much more social than I am. Being super social is a choice and not a requirement in life and most people you meet are too wrapped up in their own sh!t to care about you and your problems. Sometimes I meet people I can connect with but first you have to have something in common. Meeting people for the sake of meeting people isn't on my to-do list. If I meet people with whom I have nothing in common I'm nice to them but don't really have much to say after some small talk.

Find friends you can relate to on some level and it's all natural.. if you try and force it... well, it's not natural and not easy.
Bret, thanks, your words mean a lot and you echo a lot of how I feel.

I don’t make time for just anyone, if I don’t have or feel a connection I don’t even try, I must admit. I consider myself an introvert and you’re right about being lucky to have my sons, I just don’t want my lack of skills to rub off on them
 

yorkshirecomrade

Level 3 Valued Member
I can't add much to what others have posted above. Some good points there.

Have you ever read the book "Quiet" by Susan Cain? She also gives a TED talk on youtube about being introverted, and the positive traits of it. I do agree it certainly is a challenge in a society that values "go-getted-ness".
No but I will look her up, thanks for the tip.
I run a business so I don’t have an issue with “go-getted-ness” I’m just concerned my social skills will have an impact on my kids
 

Bret S.

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Bret, thanks, your words mean a lot and you echo a lot of how I feel.

I don’t make time for just anyone, if I don’t have or feel a connection I don’t even try, I must admit. I consider myself an introvert and you’re right about being lucky to have my sons, I just don’t want my lack of skills to rub off on them
Maybe Bugs Bunny has the answer.. He said, 'Don't take life too seriously, you'll never get out of it alive'.. Or something like that, wise words from a bunny IMHO :cool:

P.S.
My son is alot like me, and nothing like me...
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Ask people questions and get them to talk about themselves. It's pretty interesting when you can draw out things that they might be wanting to talk about but the people ordinarily in their lives have stopped listening. They will walk away feeling good and enjoy your company.
 

MattM

SFG1
Certified Instructor
I'm pretty introverted and I would prefer to not meet people that I don't already know, it's not weird to be like that.

However, I would question if those people are really your friends if they're not inviting you to celebrate things with them.
 

Bret S.

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I just don’t want my lack of skills to rub off on them
I’m just concerned my social skills will have an impact on my kids
Max&meSedona5-18.jpg

We may be similar in appearance (only he's handsome and the girls chase him unlike me:p)

That's where it ends.. You can't influence or shape your kids if you try. Only God can do that. Believe me I've tried .. I'm only fortunate and thankful that he's already a better man than me..
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
Being super social is a choice and not a requirement in life and most people you meet are too wrapped up in their own sh!t to care about you and your problems.
This ^
I'm from a big family, I get along with just about everybody, I can shmooze enough to feel fine leaving any social engagement. But, I don't much care for many of them. I can also say that turnout from invitations can be all over the map for a lot of reasons - don't pin too much on it.

Your kids are young and that can be a lot of work and feel isolating at the same time - it was for me for bunch of years. My twins are 10 now and it is a much more engaging relationship.

I agree with the simple advice from Anna C, if you want to engage more is a good way to build your shmooze skill.
 

Bret S.

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
This ^
I'm from a big family, I get along with just about everybody, I can shmooze enough to feel fine leaving any social engagement. But, I don't much care for many of them. I can also say that turnout from invitations can be all over the map for a lot of reasons - don't pin too much on it.

Your kids are young and that can be a lot of work and feel isolating at the same time - it was for me for bunch of years. My twins are 10 now and it is a much more engaging relationship.

I agree with the simple advice from Anna C, if you want to engage more is a good way to build your shmooze skill.
Big family growing up too, then after my grandparents passed everyone scattered and I left for the military. Lucky for me I liked everybody as it would suck to have to deal with undesirables.

Now most all the immediate family is in Sedona (7 hrs away). My 20 yr old daughter is in college locally and my 16 yo son and 15 yo daughter are almost 2 hrs away. It seems like only yesterday my family was together as a unit. So to @yorkshirecomrade I say cherish time with your family as there are no guarantees. My ex wife decided to leave and that was it, you never know..
 

Groove Greaser

Level 3 Valued Member
Has anyone struggled with and overcome loneliness and social interaction issues?
...
I struggle with small talk and I find interaction with strangers quite difficult to initiate or sustain.
...
Has anyone ever felt similar or had similar issues and come out the other side? Cheers
I'm just gonna share a little bit about myself so you know where I'm coming from. I'll include a TL;DR at the end if it gets too long.

My degree is in philosophy and I attended seminary and studied theology. I'm really into personal finance and wealth building and I'm absolutely obsessed with health and fitness. These are my favorite things to talk about. I don't know about the people you meet in day to day life, but most people I know want to talk about anything BUT philosophy, religion, personal finances, their diet, or how often they exercise. I do okay at social functions, but often fail to find "normal" things to talk about. If it weren't for my wife being the social junkie she is and "driving" at most of these engagements I'd be lost.

But here's what I know about myself, I wasn't always socially reserved. In fact in school and in many situations I'm very outgoing. I realized that I do best when I know what to expect before I go somewhere and I know in advance that everybody is working towards the same goal. I absolutely thrive in these environments. For instance, working on a Habitat for Humanity build - I get to know everybody since we're working on the same thing together with the same goal. Most of the conversation centers around the task at hand and additional conversation flows naturally from that.

I think this also explains why I love Brazilian Jiu Jitsu so much (well, there are many reasons). But I get to hang out with a group of guys on the regular who are as obsessed with BJJ as I am. And sure these relationships don't form instantly, but with time they become very strong. I saw the same thing at a recreational indoor soccer club I belonged to recently.

(TL;DR)
My point is this - sometimes "ordinary social interaction" isn't your cup of tea (I don't enjoy going to bars and clubs - so I don't). Figure out a situation you feel comfortable in (hopefully involving people you'd like to get to know better) and insert yourself into those situations. Just like strength - show up, get your reps in, and you'll see improvements.

Cheers
 

Adam R Mundorf

Level 5 Valued Member
I'm really into personal finance and wealth building and I'm absolutely obsessed with health and fitness. These are my favorite things to talk about. I don't know about the people you meet in day to day life, but most people I know want to talk about anything BUT philosophy, religion, personal finances, their diet, or how often they exercise.
Dude, we'd be best friends!
 

Smile-n-Nod

Level 5 Valued Member
Most men (I have some experience being one) develop friendships around shared activities. Seek people who have interests similar to yours (anvil shooting, beetle collecting, whatever). Spend time with them during the activities and engage them in conversation. You'll find people whom you enjoy spending time with.

When I was in my early 30s, I always had had a hard time meeting people. I finally forced myself to go to a singles group at a new church (some groups are meat markets, this one was not). I kept showing up and hanging around, trying to meet a bunch of different people. People eventually invited me to join them for golf, dancing, helping people move, etc. And even though I wasn't trying to meet someone special, much to my surprise I eventually did, and we've been married 20 years and have two daughters.
 

Snowman

Level 6 Valued Member
As a fellow introvert, I'll add what I can. I think there's an important balance between knowing when to pretend like you're an extrovert and when to indulge your introvertedness. I can count on one hand the friends that I can just sit and shoot the breeze with. They're people I know well, have interesting things to say, and they can carry a conversation without much help. When it comes to run of the mill social interactions, people do love to talk about themselves; finding the line between being interested and being prying can be tricky but worthwhile. Mostly, I like to develop relationships by doing things with people. Being social for the sake of being social doesn't work well for me. I know how it feels when work and family are the only things you "do," and you don't relate to anyone at work. I was only in that situation for a year, but it was a little rough, to be sure. I don't have much else to add, and pretty much everything I've said has already been said at least once anyways (I also recommend the book Quiet). Just know that your not insane ;)

For what it's worth, my wife is even more introverted than me, and our two year old son is turning out to be a raging extrovert, at least compared to us. If your kids want social interaction, you may just have to allow them to be in situations where they can develop social skill via trial and error, with a little guidance.
 

dc

Level 6 Valued Member
Social skills are like any other skill, the more you practice the better you’ll get.
There’s plenty of champions in various fields that aren’t naturals, they’ve just put the work in.
If you want to change put yourself in situations you find uncomfortable until they no longer feel uncomfortable. Anything is achievable if you put the work in.
 
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