Social anxiety disorder has left me with a complete lack of social life (talk about stating the obvious).
Ok, that is an understatement. I only mention it because its really something that I regret ever experiencing. Even though I have suffered through SA my entire life, Ive always, secretly, wished for a decent circle of friends and some sort of social life.
While that may sound contrary to my basic introverted personality type, it is high on my list of things I want to resolve in the near future. I look at it as a natural evolution from the improvements Ive made over the past few years – the next step, if you will.
Its no fun being alone. Ok, maybe there are a few individuals that truly enjoy solitude, but Im willing to bet that the majority of people (those suffering from social anxiety) wish they had more friends and any social life at all. I think its a basic human need, regardless of whether you are outgoing and confident, or introverted and timid.
The depressing part is that it seems as though everyone has a massive circle of friends and a full social calendar. Well, at least thats the way it appears on the surface. From the moment I leave for work in the morning, to when I get home at night, I sense that every person I come into contact with has got a smoking social life.
As an example: Everyone at work gets the odd personal call – some get more than their share. If I accidentally overhear a conversation, its usually someone making plans with the person on the other end of the phone.
I dont have anyone phoning me. Its obvious that I lack any social life at all, and its a little embarrassing. Im sure that by now they all realize that I am not the most sociable person – and the fact that Im the only one that doesnt get personal calls simply confirms that.
Outside of work, I sense the underlying social structure all around me. No one seems to be alone – seriously. Everyone seems to be going somewhere or doing something – or at least, they always have something scheduled for the weekend. This really makes me uncomfortable. Am I really that misaligned from the rest of society?
OK, enough negativity. Its obvious that the only person that can change things, is me. No one is going to hand me anything on a silver platter. If I want a social life, Ive got to go and get one.
There is one thing that is hard to get over, though. It has to do with the fact that if Im so out of touch with what is deemed to be a normal social life; can I bounce back from that? In other words, am I too far gone?
Also, how does a middle-aged guy go about establishing a brand new circle of friends? Most people my age are married and would not want to hang out with a single guy. It would have certainly been easier starting something like this years ago – But, better late than never, as they say.
More importantly, what methods could I use to get the ball rolling? What are the first steps? How does one just go and get an instant social life?
Well, thats just it: you dont. The only way to go about this is slowly and deliberately.