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.
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.
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.
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.
My sketchbook thread:
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.
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?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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sketchbook: w176 love of the color dirt
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.
* Find a person you like to be friends with.
* Begin to treat that person as your friend.
True, just start treating people with openness and pretend you are old friends. People eventually go with it, because why not?
When I wave to a student at school and smile, even though I never spoke to them before, they automatically start smiling and waving back. LOL
You've gotten some great advice already, but I thought it might help to add that you don't have to find someone with whom you have absolutely everything in common. It's not likely to happen. Personally, I have friends that I do specific things with, and not too much else. For example, I have a friend who loves to go to matinee movies. She goes every Saturday. Once every month or so, I will go see one with her. Afterwards, we go out for lunch or drinks. We don't really have anything in common- there's at least a decade between us and we are in totally different stages of life. But we are still friends. When I want to go to play pub trivia or go kayaking or go to a museum, I go with other friends. When I was little, I had one or two friends that I did absolutely everything with, but as an adult that's not the case.
The other thing I'd add is that I have quite a few friends who are quite the opposite of me. We dont have many interests in common and we have very different personalities, but we get along great and enjoy finding activities that we both enjoy, or trying activities that the other person loves. I've dragged her to the museum and she's dragged me to a golf tournament. All that to way you need to get to know people as acquaintances before you can decide if you'd like to be friends. Just because they haven't seen your favorite movie, or heard of you favorite artist, or even like art, doesn't mean you couldn't be great friends. You don't have to connect on every level, as long as you have a good time with eachother.
Last edited by erinc; March 10th, 2012 at 01:31 PM.
Sorry, duplicate post.
Last edited by erinc; March 10th, 2012 at 01:30 PM.
I agree with the above advice and I'll add: figure out who the extroverts are at work and in art sessions. They will be easy to talk to because they will fill awkward silences with their own chatter. They know lots of people by virtue of being extroverts and if you hang around them they will lead you to other people. At that point you have to seize the day, like Doug Hoppes said, and take opportunities to invite people out or ask to go along if they're planning something.
At first just practice your small talk. Be positive and cheerful, nobody wants to be some stranger's therapist, and don't act needy or desperate for friendship. Some casual acquaintances will eventually turn into friends, others won't, but casual acquaintances are worth having anyway. If nothing else they give you someone to talk to at the bus stop or in the staff room, and if you're introverted then you can get a lot of social mileage just out of water cooler conversation.
Most of my friends had nothing in common with me. With a lot of my friends, I was in a love-hate relationship. If you can make fun of your friend and fight with them over the pettiest things and yet stick together, they're probably the best type of friends you can have.
To be honest, you don't really need "close" friends, just acquaintances you are on good terms with are pretty much like friends. You don't have to be a social butterfly 24/7.
Yes, act as if you're old friends, but be positive and cheerful. Sharing joy is caring, but not sadness. Not even close friends want to be your therapists.
Anyway, POST SOME ART. If you're not that gifted in the social department, people are more likely to look over that if you had other outstanding traits. Personal experience.
Also if you smile often it seems to work like a magnet for people. Just overdo this or it will look wierd .
People are naturally scared of the unknown. Everyone wants to be liked. Nobody wants to stick their neck out. Most people don't feel 'good enough'. When you realize these commonalities you can control how they effect you.
Don't worry what people are thinking about you because most likely they're worrying about what you think about them. Be out going because you have nothing to lose. You'll be more respected by others if they think that you're not plagued by the same fears they are. The key to interacting with others is to show confidence in who you are. Don't be afraid to be yourself. There will always be people you won't like you for no appearent reason... try to like them anyways. Be truely friendly and even your enemies will respect you. Show interest in people even if they're mind numbingly boring. Try to see the good not the bad. Keep in mind that everyone has something they could teach you.
Its not easy. You have to forge youself into who you want to be. I used to teach martial arts (Shorinji Kempo) and the one thing I found that shapes peoples view of you more than anything else is how you view yourself. Self confidence is king.
You’ve been dedicating the last 6 years of your life to art so why not give something back? Setup a local sketch group. Go out and do something you really love with like minded people. Give advice and help to those who may not be as advanced as you are. You will be surprised that with the act of giving you often receive more in return, that is how you make friends.
Last edited by Velocity Kendall; March 10th, 2012 at 08:16 PM.
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facebook: Alface Killah
ha rollerblades, lame.
i mean, how do you go into shops? or on a tube? get a skateboard like a man you batponce
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facebook: Alface Killah
If you are so passionate about art then you must have other interest that fuel that, dont you? Like a genre of movies, music, videogames? if you ask me, its a lot easier to connect with people with at least some common grounds established beforehand.
For ex. groups that get together to play DnD (just to put up an example), they will often have meet ups, open sessions for new comers and stuff like that, and everyone that goes there is mainly, above liking the game, attending to socialize, so the situation is much more easy going than say approaching girls in middle of class and asking them if they like wizards or barbarians better.
OK here's the basis of your mistakes. I don't know how many friends you need, what kind and how close but, if you need a friend, you can't be introverted, closed like a shell and expect the other person not only to look past that, but also stick around until you decide to open up. I mean, what is one supposed to do? Look into a crystal ball to figure you out? Doesn't work that way. If you are introverted, it probably means you are afraid. But of what? Rejection? You being introverted makes others feel rejected by you too. And really, what's the worst that could happen to you by opening up? You could and at some point WILL get hurt. But hey, it's part of life and that's a life worth living. Call someone up, go out, drink, get a light buzz and laugh at stupid poster signs together. Experiences make relationships and the best art too.I'm just very introverted, but I'd hope people would be kind enough to see through that.
"Don't judge a book by it's cover" Frank Frazetta 1928-2010
DA gallery http://michaelsyrigos.deviantart.com/gallery/
CA Sketchbook http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=131601
If River Man really means he is shy or antisocial or has social anxiety problems, then that is a completely different animal and, short of therapy and medication, I would think meeting people in a familiar location, taking someone you know along, and practicing conversations (or maybe even rollplaying) might be helpful. Managing the stress of being with people would be the issue I think, not finding different people to meet.
Confidence! Approach, Speak, Smile, and if your infromt of a big group, do something rememberable.