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Thread: I haven't had any friends in 6 years.

  1. #1
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    I haven't had any friends in 6 years.

    For the past six years, my artwork has been the focus of my life. I have put an extraordinary amount of effort into my artwork, and I think I've accomplished a lot given that fact. I'm incredibly passionate about it, and I would never have been able to put in all of the work that I have on it if not for that passion. Art for me has never felt like a choice, but rather a destiny and a calling. I know no other life outside of art.

    But also for the past six years, my social life has decreased immensely. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I haven't had any friends in six years. I'm not blaming it on my involvement with my artwork, but who know's what toll that has taken on my social life. There have been people that I talk to, always only in structured situations like class or work, etc and most of the people I talk to have been on the internet. My relationships are shallow. There is no one I talk to on any level of depth.

    I used to have friends when I was young, in fact I had a LOT of friends up until 7th or 8th grade. Then things started to decline. I started focusing on my artwork, for one thing, and I stopped actively making new friends. The old friends I used to have started to change, in some cases becoming really rather mean to me, but I continued being friends with them regardless. Eventually, in high school, I got fed up with them being disconnected with and even mean to me and I stopped hanging out with them (at school, I mean. We didn't hang out after school for years. In fact, I haven't spent any time with anyone from school outside of school for these past six years.) I never made other friends. Then in college, there are people I speak to casually but I haven't made any "real" friends. There's no one that I hang out with outside of class.

    I became very depressed during high school, even suicidal for a period of time. I was extremely fat, weighing around 250 pounds at the heaviest period. I've now lost a huge amount of weight (I weigh around 145 now) and I'm no longer depressed, but I still feel a pervading and unshakable loneliness. There are periods when I'm truly happy, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm losing out on human connection, which is perhaps the most fundamental pleasure of human existence.

    I have never been invited to a party in my life. Also, I've never had a girlfriend (I'm male.)

    Before you recommend that I "get out more," know that I don't spend my life sheltered from the outside world. I have a job as an attendant and so I'm interacting with people constantly as part of my job. And then I'm at school most other days. I've tried going to school clubs and events, but I haven't ever connected with anybody at them.

    I don't think I'm repulsive. I'm very kind, or at least I make a conscious effort to be as kind and nice as possible. I'm not ugly, or so I think. I'm fairly talented and interesting, which should entice some people. And I'm decent company. I'm not an asshole, like the people I knew high school were. I'm just very introverted, but I'd hope people would be kind enough to see through that.

    Honestly, it has just been so long since I've made a friend that I really don't know how to do it anymore. HOW do people make friends?! (Don't say, "it just kind of happens which is INFURIATING.") Obviously I don't know how to do that.

    And don't recommend therapy. I'm not in therapy at the moment, but I've gone through a lot of it over the past few years, especially during high school. It helps some, but not much.

    This is part rant, and part discussion. What do you think I should do to help my situation?

    Also have there been any famous artists in history that were essentially islands unto themselves?
    Last edited by River Man; March 10th, 2012 at 02:23 AM.


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  3. #2
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    Having good art is a good way to get people to talk to you. Show us your art, lets be friends!

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    I haven't had any friends or proper acquaintances in six years, either. I also have Asperger's Syndrome (Why can't cats look at each other? Because they have AS. Hurrr), and I'm generally incapable of communicating very well with people outside of a text medium (And I have a tendency to flunk that, too). This doesn't make me a very good person to give advice on this subject, but there is one thing I'm quite sure of, and that's don't make your happiness dependent on other people. People will come and and go. People get divorced, friends end up hating each other, blah blah blah. I think people are setting themselves up for trouble when they get the idea that life will be wonderful if they have friends, partners or whatever.

    Actually, that doesn't really sound like very good advice, but those are my thoughts on the matter. And you know, I don't think you're doing too badly if there are periods where you are truly happy. Nobody is truly happy all the time, despite what their Facebook profiles might suggest.

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    You say you're around people regularly at your job and school. Are any of these people particularly interesting? Get to know them better, surely there's someone at your wavelength even if it does not seem so at first.

    If someone finds someone else interesting, they inituitively and naturally try to get to know that person better. This is how friendships (and relationships) just "happen". Of course we're making them happen, but aren't really aware of it because for most people it is a habit.
    For you, it is not a habit yet, but a conscious effort and choice. It may feel a little awkward, trying to figure out who's interesting and what to do next, but keep practicing and it will become normal!

    Anything interesting happening where you live? Art exhibitions, a new chocolate museum, a frozen lake as playground, a party, a tropical zoo? Ask people to go there with you. Having fun together is one of the best ways to make friends. Since you asked how to make friends... that's probably one answer.

    Other than that: if you find someone at your wavelength, sooner or later you're gonna do more than small talk, such as talking about personal stuff. You can tell if someone is a good friend if they do not judge you - and similarly, it's important that you don't judge them. Just listen and don't offer advice unless they want it. It seems like a no-brainer but you need to figure out how to make people comfortable around you, like they feel you do respect them, care about them, and yet don't judge.
    Last edited by Maidith; March 10th, 2012 at 03:38 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by River Man View Post
    Also have there been any famous artists in history that were essentially islands unto themselves?
    Henry Darger comes to mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by zx52hg View Post
    I haven't had any friends or proper acquaintances in six years, either. I also have Asperger's Syndrome (Why can't cats look at each other? Because they have AS. Hurrr), and I'm generally incapable of communicating very well with people outside of a text medium (And I have a tendency to flunk that, too). This doesn't make me a very good person to give advice on this subject, but there is one thing I'm quite sure of, and that's don't make your happiness dependent on other people.
    I am mildly Aspergic myself, and I kind of LIKE being an island unto myself. Thus I guess I shouldn't give advice here either - my friendships, such as they are, are mostly online ones, although I do have a few fairly close friends in "real life."

    I agree with zx52hg: perhaps it is not a good idea to depend too much on other people for your personal happiness. But you have made a good start by joining this board - start out with online friendships and then see if you can branch out into real life.
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    I don't know man, have you, for example, tried going to a (non-school) art course and meet people there? At least you'd all have something in common there, which generally helps.

    I'm fairly talented and interesting, which should entice some people. And I'm decent company. I'm not an asshole, like the people I knew high school were.
    Honestly, if you haven't had a friend in six years and can't connect with people, how do you measure how good company you are, you know, outside small-talk?
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    A couple of people have said that you shouldn't depend on other people, but that's kinda wrong. Humans are social beings, we need company.
    Why would you even draw if you don't have an audience?
    My advice, go out there and make an effort. How do you think other people make friends? They hang out with like minded people. You're into art? Go find an art class and ask if anyone wants to go for drinks later. That sort of thing. Its not hard to make friends.

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  12. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by zx52hg View Post
    I haven't had any friends or proper acquaintances in six years, either. I also have Asperger's Syndrome (Why can't cats look at each other? Because they have AS. Hurrr), and I'm generally incapable of communicating very well with people outside of a text medium (And I have a tendency to flunk that, too). This doesn't make me a very good person to give advice on this subject, but there is one thing I'm quite sure of, and that's don't make your happiness dependent on other people. People will come and and go. People get divorced, friends end up hating each other, blah blah blah. I think people are setting themselves up for trouble when they get the idea that life will be wonderful if they have friends, partners or whatever.

    Actually, that doesn't really sound like very good advice, but those are my thoughts on the matter. And you know, I don't think you're doing too badly if there are periods where you are truly happy. Nobody is truly happy all the time, despite what their Facebook profiles might suggest.

    Friends do start to hate each other yeah, they also start to be friends too. I've had friends I'm no longer on good terms with, and am still great friends with people that I met since before I could remember.

    If OP is saying that this is bothering him, then it's a problem that would be best looked into. OP; try to do as suggested and find out-of-school art classes or something similar as an activity that would interest you and get you among other people and talk to them, and do yourself a favour.

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    Yeah no. You shouldn't depend on people for your happiness, but proper social contact does play a pretty big role in how well you get on in life. As someone else pointed out humans are social beings and everyone has a need to be around people every now and then. It's completely normal, healthy even.

    zx52hg: Just because friendships and relationships end doesn't mean they're worthless. Everything ends. Even life ends; does that alone make life not worth living? I sure don't hope you feel that way.

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    Okay, totally understand where you're coming from. Very similar situation (not totally depressed, but similar at various stages in my life). What I found out is that the best way to have friends is to find people with similar interests and invite them out somewhere. Now, I'm not talking about a date.

    Here's a perfect example: Started a new job in Mass. No friends. Just went to work. During my work-day, hung out with a couple of co-workers who liked to camp. Same here. So, did the usual bantering about camping and I suggested "Hey! We should all go camping sometime". They thought that it was a great idea, but as usual, no-one does anything unless someone starts it. So, I said "How about next weekend?" We figured out our schedule and then all went camping a couple of weekends later.

    Now, the trick is that, you don't stop there. I invited several of the people to other events that I wanted to do. Eventually, they started inviting me to some of their activities.

    Next thing I know, I went from no friends to having some good friends... and from there, I met more.

    What I find is that you have to make the first move. People like it when other people invite them to something. At a life drawing session, ask some of the people that you talk with to an exhibit... or something as simple as invite people to go out for a couple of drinks after work.
    Last edited by Doug Hoppes; March 10th, 2012 at 10:02 AM.

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    You just did everything you needed to do to make friends.
    You voiced your problems to others, and that is what friends do. They talk about their inner most secrets and problems.
    I'm in a similar situation due to being in a country where I am alienated (UK guy working in China).
    Conversation is the key, open your mind to people and let them in, tell a girl she is beautiful if you think she is. If she shoots you down, it's her loss for not seeing a kind person offering a compliment. You lose nothing, but you have everything to gain.

    You just made a friend! Me.

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    I have a friend that is fucking ninja at making friends, and she once summarized her extremely effective method into a explanation like this:

    • Find a person you like to be friends with.
    • Begin to treat that person as your friend.
    • ...
    • Profit!


    Seriously. She fucking ninja at making friends, and I tried the method, and it really works. It called "making friends" for a reason. It is relationship you create.
    I have no intention of becoming a professional artist, I just aspire to become a really good amateur.

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    There are all kinds of ways to interact with like-minded people. There are meetup groups and other types of group activities like tours and clubs that share a common interest. Join some and make the effort to be around others. You could do some volunteer work for animal rescues or environment or shelter groups something you care about and a place where you will meet others with similar interests.
    Also if you like art, do more outside drawing and painting; you will talk to a lot more people about something you like to do and maybe even make some friends that way.

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