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Dear Wendy

I can’t get along with people

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  • #1065257 Reply

    Ever since I was a child I’ve been known for being very hard to get along with. I was always in trouble for bullying others, not having any friends, misbehaving, and just being very unlikable. Even now very hard to be friends with. I always struggle talking to people and I rarely start conversations, and most of the time when people talk to me the conversations are dry. I have very limited interests and I only really get along with people who like the same things I do, but even then it’s hard. When I do have friends I feel like we only get along by us bullying others. I feel like I’m never on the same maturity level as anyone I talk to. I’m starting high school next year and I’m pretty sure I’m going to be lonely like I was this year if I don’t change something, but I honestly barely even know what I’m doing wrong. It’s almost like everyone understands something except for me. I know I’m not gonna be popular but I’d like to have at least a few or even just 1 friend who I cam actually get along with and I don’t want people to hate me.

    #1065361 Reply

    Hi Benji. I think you should talk to your parents-if you can.and they are supportive types, about seeing a counselor or therapist. It may be possible you have some dis-order such as autistic aspects or some other issues that make it hard for you to relate to people socially. I do not think you can figure this out on your own.
    If getting help through your parents is not an option,I would see the counselor at your school and explain your problem and ask for help. They can help directly or refer you to, find you. more help. Good luck.

    #1065388 Reply

    What Peggy said. It’s possible you’ve got some kind of neurodiversity and if a counselor can figure it out, they may also be able to give you really specific strategies for relating to people. Even if there’s nothing specific or diagnosable going on with you, I do think they could help you with social strategy. Without knowing you, it’s hard to say what would work, but definitely talk to your parents about your concerns. They may have health insurance that covers behavioral health stuff and counseling for you. You sound smart and like you want to change, so that’s encouraging.

    #1065439 Reply

    Shy introverts have friends. Shy introverts who are bullies — not so much. Most high schools draw from a wider area and are larger than middle schools. If that is the case at your high school, then it is a chance for a somewhat fresh start and making friends with new people. Also, most high schools have clubs and activities, which you could join to meet people and broaden your interests. So much of high school conversation is about school and pop culture. Sometimes, if it is not a natural inclination, you have to force yourself to participate in pop culture: songs, TV, movies, books, blogs an Youtubes that are popular or just that you like and can talk about. You can always talk about things at school.

    This is just an add-on to the excellent advice from prior posters. But really, stop the bullying.

    #1065697 Reply

    I think talking to your parents, or seeing the school counselor, or both are great suggestions.

    It’s pretty great that you’ve noticed you have a problem and you’re taking a step to resolve that. Keep it up. I salute you. Truly. Some people get stuck on this exact issue for decades. Good for you for trying to do better at such a young age. I’m impressed.

    You don’t have to only be friends with people who have the same interests as you. Being able to talk and relate to others, even with no interests the same as you, is how you get to really know people, find out about hobbies or interests that you might actually enjoy, and sometimes people you meet will have friends they know who DO have the same interests and hobbies as you. That’s how you build a community.

    And you do not know everything you like and dislike, even if you think you do. Keep an open mind.

    And for god’s sake, please try to stop bullying people. Most of the bullies I knew had some serious issues. I hope you’re okay. Please talk to your parents/counselor at school. I know how hard it can be to ask for help. It’s a really hard step but one that brings a bit of relief soon afterwards.

    #1066072 Reply

    I don’t at all agree with the speculation that you may have a diagnosable issue. It could be that you’re a standard eighth-grader who is socially awkward. (Most eighth-graders are, I promise.) There is no way for us to know, here on the internet.

    I think Ron is right: best place to start is to stop being mean to others. When any friends starts it up, just say, “oh, Joe/Jane is all right.” Then just change the subject.

    You seem self-aware, which is awesome. You want all the right things for yourself. You’ll get there. See a counselor if you want to, if you think it may help. Try not to self-identify as “hard to get along with.” Just start trying to change that script within yourself at least. Maybe “typical new high-schooler figuring it out.” Let that be your new label.

    #1066659 Reply

    According to Johns Hopkins,

    “ An estimated 26% of Americans ages 18 and older — about 1 in 4 adults — suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time.” NAMI says 21%.

    The WHO says, “ Worldwide 10-20% of children and adolescents experience mental disorders. Half of all mental illnesses begin by the age of 14 and three-quarters by mid-20s.”

    It’s quite common to be dealing with something.

    I have a close associate whose teenage child is in the hospital on suicide watch. That child’s friend died by suicide. A lot of kids are not okay right now.

    It is definitely worth just talking to someone to find out if there’s anything at all going on with the LW that could be treated, like social anxiety or a learning issue. If there’s not, which statistically is more likely, then they can definitely give you ideas on how to relate better to your peers. Kids who act out and/or bully are not typically well-adjusted kids. There’s likely something here that can be addressed.

    #1067057 Reply

    It’s worth checking out. The mental health angle —- to be sure. But it’s also worth just … oh, you know… trying to actually be fucking nice.


    #1067316 Reply

    If you ever read reviews of films etc, you’ll know it is easier to sound clever being mean or nasty about a film or book. It’s harder to get laughs appreciating the good things. That’s just how life is. But if you practice trying to see the good others have missed, that can work for you in lots of ways.Sounds like you are having a right hard time.Try to imagine someone seeing the good you are hiding (you do have good in you, or interesting, or something worthy of note) and imagine doing that towards others. Sounds like you are trying to think beyond bullying, you might find something worthwhile to say if you just keep with that.And most people your age are as awkward and shy as anything however they might appear, having a different look on life can make you interesting, as long as it doesn’t rely on pulling others down, as that’s a recipe for disaster (nobody needs enemies until they are really successful, when they are pretty old and have got as far as they are going to get, when it can help them stay grounded) and you don’t need it yet. Good luck.

    #1069832 Reply

    Sometimes, when we feel small and weird, we want other people to feel worse. It doesn’t help. I suggest practicing kindness, when you practice it does become easier. At first it will feel unnatural, it will get easier the more you do it.

    Try this… every day
    1. Practice gratitude. Every day find one thing – even one little thing – that went right or is pleasant. Maybe your toast came out perfect. Or you found a stick of chewing gum in your desk. Take pleasure in the little things that go right.

    2. Practice self kindness. When we feel small, sometimes we want other people to feel small too. So every day, out loud, tell yourself something that you do well or you like about yourself. It sounds crazy, but you have to be kind to yourself. Kindness to yourself will make it easier to be kind to others.

    3. Practice kindness to others. Making other people feel important and heard will make them think better of you. If someone has a different
    interest, you don’t have to convince them that your interests are better and you don’t have to agree that their interests are great either. Ask them about a time that they really enjoyed whatever it is they love. They like baseball? Have they ever gone to a pro game? Minor league game? What was the best part? They like playing sports? What made them choose that sport over other sports? They like foreign films? What is their favorite so far and why? You don’t have to go crazy. You don’t have to tell people they are the best or coolest or anything.

    But seriously, people will remember how you made them feel. You can choose to make them feel small and stupid, or you can choose to make them feel visible and interesting.

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