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Do you think it might be better for my mental health if I gave up on making friends? I guess I've never been the type of person who makes friends easily, but I do have a handful of friends so I know it's possible for me. They just all live far away. After I graduated college a few years ago, I moved to a new city for graduate school and I have had a really tough time making friends. I thought grad school would be an easy way for me to find a community of people in the city I moved to, but that didn't end up working out. My old therapist and my mom told me it's probably because I naturally don't seem very approachable or open, which is true, but I did try. It's just that me trying hard to make friends is probably still nothing compared to how most extroverts are. Plus, I don't have a ton of "normie" interests (I'm sure most of you can relate) so it can be hard for me to think of things to talk about when I'm just getting to know someone. I don't blame the other girls in my class because of course they would rather talk to other girls who automatically know what they're talking about. And now I work fulltime so it's even harder to meet people.
I wonder if it'd be easier if gave up and stopped trying to force myself to make friends. I know at this point the only way I could make friends is to approach people at events or join a club or something. It sounds so overwhelming I don't know where to start and I get so anxious thinking about it. There were a few times I worked up the courage to go to an event by myself and talk to someone, but it always fizzles out. I keep beating myself up and saying I need to try harder, but maybe I just don't have the personality to go up and become friends with strangers. I can't even make fucking small talk with the cashier when I'm at the grocery store, so how could I expect myself to get close enough to a stranger to start hanging out? Instead of forcing myself to do something that brings me so much anxiety, then failing, then beating myself up for not trying hard enough, maybe I should just accept that my life is going to be mostly solitary for now and that's how it is? But I'm also afraid I might look back on my 20s and regret not putting myself out there and making friends, so part of me thinks I should just try even harder. Has anyone actually had success as an introvert in "trying" to make friends they're happy with? Or maybe doing the opposite and accepting solitude?
It's a difficult question anon, and heavily depends on how much you really want to have friends? Most of friendships people have are actually pretty superficial, just a very long small talk, and it doesn't necessarily sound like something you enjoy. Deep connections are very rare and while they require work to keep up of course, they happen naturally, if you have to force it then it's most likely not going to develop in this direction anyway. I'm a huge introvert with some social anxiety (worst mix) and after years of struggle - vicious circle of trying really hard, failing, beating myself up about it (much like you say you do) and feeling even more insecure about attempting further - I've started working on actually accepting my reserved personality. It lead me to a realization that all this time I was struggling for something I don't even actually want - because I don't really enjoy that much regularly hanging out with people to talk about general superficial subjects and even though in the media having a fun group of friends is shown as ideal, it's not actually ideal or necessary for me. I still long to meet someone with whom I'll be able to connect better, and every time i happen to meet new people - new coworkers, friends of friends, situations like that - I try my best to get to know them well and open up just enough to see if they're interested, it didn't work out for me yet but it's ok, maybe someday it will and that's fine. I try to put myself in new situations sometimes - like hobby meetings and so - but only occasionally and I enjoy them more feeling less desperate to meet someone there. It does feel lonely sometimes and there are days when i feel envy seeing my colleagues meet up after work or so but I remind myself that this is not what I really want to have and keep up in my life. It may sound like a cope maybe, but I really believe sorting out your priorities and needs and choosing a thing better suited to you, being aware of that choice's advantages and disadvantages, is really helpful.