Chris (lockemaison) wrote in avoidants,
Chris
lockemaison
avoidants

Just try, the rewards are astronomical

Just like everyone else, I was incredibly shy and avoidant for basically my whole life. Recently I just moved from where I lived basically my entire life, with my family and friends, to New York City, alone.

Yet, within 4-5 months, currently I live a life full of new friends and I keep making more and more at an amazing rate. It's amazing and I hope I can keep this up and my life stays like this as long as possible. Yeah, I do live alone, 34, single (just broke up), and I spend an awful lot of time doing things alone at home, going out alone, or wasting time at a computer. So I'm not some total change from my usual self, but I still enjoy a great social life. My only problem is going to that next step, where you become closer friends. But I am new here and I know all my old friends took ages to get close to and find, so while I'm lonely and scared, I think someday I'll get to that point again. The point is I am happy right now, and I'd like to say my thought processes:

So how did I get to this point? It was a very long process in many stages. My optimism and happiness didn't just start in the past months. I've had this attitude for about 10 years. But I never acted on it as much as I should have because in all that time I still had those mental blocks, feeling inferior, afraid of judgement, a consistent urge to run from everyone in all social situations. Oh, and I'm naturally shy of course.

I was so shy and so avoidant, I never even felt like I deserved much in the way of friends or that I was even a real human being. Then I got depression at 22. I eventually broke out of it within a year with meds and that's realized I had been wasting my life. So I started working on my attitude, reading self-help, etc. I didn't start trying to find a girlfriend until age 25 because after I got out of depression it took me that long to really realize that my life was passing by me and I hadn't so much as gotten a kiss on a cheek from a girl. I'd been doing better but still very much alone and scared of everything. That decision to find a woman is what got me started pushing myself even further. I spent the next few years trying for the first time to enjoy life, talk to girls, and make some friends.

However, I never pushed it that far. I found a girlfriend at age 26 finally, after an *enormous* effort and seriously pushing myself out of my comfort zone. However, my friendships with new people came and went quickly because I still felt like I wasn't good enough. The only friends I stayed close to were roommates and my girlfriend. I kept that life-message, though, to be optimistic and enjoy life. But I still kept to myself, afraid of meeting people. It wasn't until I got to New York that I really started to push it, and it's been paying off. I was pushed into a corner, alone, I had to do something or I'd suffocate alone forever.

For example of how I live my life today, under normal circumstances if people gather and say "let's go out to drink" of course I would not be a part of that and run away. But I don't do that anymore. I know that this kind of thing brings you closer to others, helps you network, etc. I've been living that example this year. I don't drink either, which makes this kind of thing all the more worse. But I can deal.

The reason I can now make myself go to an event like that is because when you start to meet people and have a good time, it becomes addictive when you succeed. You jump at the chance to be with a group and say hi and be friendly and try to click. It's exactly like when you find someone new to talk to in online chat. You're there to meet people and when you do, it's awesome that you get to actually talk to someone and maybe make a new friend when you have so precious few.

Yeah, I still have that awful urge to run every single time and all through the night. Yes, I'm still awkwardly quiet. Yes, there are plenty of times during these events that I just feel completely inadequate. Those feelings are not going away. But I know for sure that there is a reward if I get past it and do things right and show the people that I'm trying to be their friend and am earnest and honest.

Take for example this person. I had not met them before, but they invited people that they had only met on LJ or facebook to come party with them, and so I just showed up and introduced myself. And look what they say about me in that post, they want to be friends. During that party I was relatively quiet, plenty of times I really felt awkward, but I tried my best to be friendly and talk. This is only ONE example of the many times this has happened to me in the past 2-3 months because I've been running out there and just introducing myself to people, meetup.com groups, etc. I have made more friends in the past few months than I have in my entire life. Heck, I just now came back from drinks with a large group of new friends.

If a guy like me can get to this point, you can too. I only wish I wasn't 34 years old already. If I figured this out when I was 18 boy I would have loved my entire life. I am struggling to live the rest of my quickly fading youth like this as possible.
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