From a teen in the U.S.: I don’t like people. I don’t like talking to people or being around them. I have always been socially awkward and shy but I haven’t always been this antisocial or numb, but ever since I graduated high school and had a falling out with my best friend, I just avoid human contact at all costs.
The aforementioned friend has apologized and tried to become friends again and I tried as well but I seem to never want to talk to her or have nothing to say. I don’t talk to anyone at my factory job or at night school unless I absolutely have to. Everyone seems so fake and I don’t want to be part of it. The only person i talk to now is my boyfriend of a year and whenever I talk to him it feels more like something I’m required to do than something I enjoy doing.
I miss the joy I used to find in interacting with other people, but no matter how hard I try I don’t feel anything positive when I interact with people. I feel so lonely and feel like I have no one to turn to because I don’t want to burden people with my depression and incoherent thoughts, so whenever I have to talk to people I feel like I have to put on a fake face. I was just wondering if this is normal or how I can get over this indifference to people.
A: No. This isn’t “normal”. It certainly sounds painful. It sounds to me like you are so discouraged about your ability to connect with people that you have given up. You justify it by convincing yourself that you don’t want to “burden” people. But it is more likely that you have lost your own confidence about how to interact with people. I’m concerned that your relationship with your boyfriend is going to suffer if he is the only person you are comfortable with. That puts a lot of pressure on your relationship.
It’s very difficult to solve problems with social skills by staying alone. You can’t think your way out of this. Ideally, I’d like to see you in a group therapy situation. Group therapy provides a safe place to talk about your issues and to practice interacting/communicating with others who are going through the same thing. You will give each other feedback and support while you make changes.
If you are unwilling or unable to get into group therapy, please consider getting involved in some kind of sport or club or volunteer work that will keep you in touch with other people in a way that puts the focus on what you are doing more than on each other. That will give you more experience with more kinds of people until you feel more socially comfortable.
Please follow up and get yourself into a group and/or activity.
I wish you well.