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Why Can’t I/Don’t Want to Connect with People

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My friends all say I don’t reply enough. I always cancel plans and ignore calls. It sounds awful and I feel guilty, but I can’t seem to care about my relationships with people either romantically or otherwise. I get bored with people after a couple of weeks. I’m not particularly nervous or anxious to be around people and I’m popular enough in school. I’m not scared as to why I’m alone, I know I don’t have to be, I’m scared as to why I’m choosing it. I hate telling people personal details. I feel uncomfortable telling my mum I feel sick or have a headache. It’s just those little things and I can’t understand. I don’t know why I act like this. I seem to breeze through each day tired and numb. I barely sleep. (From Dublin)

Why Can’t I/Don’t Want to Connect with People

Answered by on -

A.

What’s important is that your reactions bother you. This tells us something about the fact that they seem to be outside of your control and what you want. This irritation is a good thing. It is what is needed to motivate you to change.

Begin with searching for a time in your life — or a situation now where you are simply okay with being with people. While I here this is an issue for you across the board — I’ve also had experience finding that what we think is EVERYWHERE actually isn’t. There may be one or two people, places and situations that are more tolerable than others. We are looking for a differential. When are these feelings NOT present? This gives us something very powerful to work with.

If you can find this situation (perhaps with family, cousins, a teacher, in church, a childhood friend, etc.) then explore what makes this situation different from the others. It is curious to me that you begin with “My friends…” implying that there are people in your life already that you see as your friends. Find those who are, somehow, different than the others, you feel closer to, and explore why. What makes some situations and people easier to accept than others? The differences may be subtle, but important to understand what makes even the slightest difference in how you relate.

Then build on this. The trick with this situation is to realize you are getting exactly back from people what you are putting out. This is a skill set that can change. If, indeed, you want better relationships you’ll have to change your behavior. Explore whose calls, emails, and texts you return more often and ask yourself why. Then build on this. To change what you get back from others you’ll have to change how you approach and react to them. The “why” behind this is nowhere near as important as the what to do to change it.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Why Can’t I/Don’t Want to Connect with People

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2019). Why Can’t I/Don’t Want to Connect with People. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 14, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/04/07/why-cant-i-dont-want-to-connect-with-people/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Apr 2019
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 6 Apr 2019
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.