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Thread: tips on not letting yourself become self-isolated

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    Default tips on not letting yourself become self-isolated

    cuz i'm really good at it lol. like, i have a roommate, he's usually down to talk, but i usually feel busy and energetically drained and avoid him. i also have a work from home job. sometimes i have a moment like "holy shit i haven't *actually* talked to anyone for like three days, this is why i'm feeling fucking anxious right now."

    what are some good tips to stop this from happening?

    also, what are good tips to make friends in a new city (as someone who has self-isolated for much of the last 5 + years

    thanks

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    talk to us, we're your best friends FOREVER AND EVER

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    is this not... a problem other people have


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    Quote Originally Posted by lemontrees View Post
    is this not... a problem other people have

    I suppose if other people share it then you are no longer isolated with your problem.

    But I think many people feel this way.

    They just don't seem to meet each other IRL and like, heal their pain?

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    You could always make friends with a computer screen.
    It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarrelled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

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    I think this is one of those problems that doesn't have a uniform solution, but as long as you're going out there and trying things, there's a really good chance it will get solved and you will figure things out.

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    First step is to find the honest cause of your problem (and sorry I only call it a problem because you seem dissatisfied with your situation), then work to fix it. Why do you self isolate? Do you have social anxiety? Why?

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    yeah i've had social anxiety for a long time. i'm an... so-first... E4. lol.

    but another issue is that i'm scared that people will drain me, take me away from my own projects/ things I need to do. recently i've found that this isn't always the case; sometimes i have more time than I think I do.

    finally, i think i don't know where to begin with friendships. i prided myself for a while in being able to "go without" things that other people seem to need- i.e. "i can be more creative than others b/c i don't need validation," etc. "I have freedom b/c i'm holding myself 'separate' from others," "I can withstand a temp shitty living condition/ loneliness/ etc etc... if it's worthwhile to me." finally i realized not all "suffering" is worthwhile, and isolation doesn't equal freedom.

    anyway i think maybe my first step is to reach out more to people and not feel a dignity loss that they see i "need" them (and other people). i posted something on facebook today, a bunch of people responded. now i'm looking at possibly working on two interesting projects *together* with other people. it's a start.


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    Quote Originally Posted by lemontrees View Post
    oh i guess also for years i was too depressed to make conversations. plus if someone took an interest in me as a person i would immediately feel guilty b/c i secretly feel that i'm not a great person. moody, self-absorbed, emotionally manipulative etc.

    trying to be someone's friend is like being in free-fall. you have to actually be *you* for them (if you're trying to build real friendships eventually, not just... social contacts... but it helps too w/ social contacts if they can actually trust you) and i simply couldn't be me (this is an exaggeration but- you know what i mean.) these days i'm like "fuck it i'm at least an *ok* person. i can have friends too." it's hard b/c i literally had to learn how to have conversations about things that had *nothing to do with me*. ;____; but it's partially only b/c... i never interacted with others... so i didn't have shared topics of conversation.
    Now we are getting to the heart of the matter....

    It partly comes from a feeling inside, a neediness combined with a want of something like friends like in the actual TV show friends, it looks like to me.

    In my experience, those types of friendships don't just occur or are found when actively looking, it's too desperate, they develop over time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lemontrees View Post
    is this not... a problem other people have
    I would not elevate it to the status of a "problem", but yeah I recognize the situation, the basis may be different though. Most of my social interactions take place within 2-4 weeks of the year. I find dealing with the locals to be a tedious and counterproductive affair, interesting and worthwhile people tend to live in specific areas a few hours away by plane.
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    Do you REALLY want more people in your life or do you just think you SHOULD have more people in your life?

    For a very long time the only reason I tried to make friends was because I thought it's what I "should" do...not because I really wanted it. I guess it makes me a hermit but I don't think there's anything wrong with it. I have a fiancee and that is way more than enough for me. I suppose if I didn't have him, I would get lonely from time to time.

    IDK, I am THE WORST person to ask for advice on how to be social. I guess smile and look inviting? lol.

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    I identify with a lot of what you've said, @lemontrees. I have experienced some really debilitating social anxiety in my life, and getting a social life going after years of self-imposed isolation hasn't been easy. At least for me, isolation is extremely toxic. My mind becomes warped and cannibalistic with self-loathing. Being alone all the time would simply compound my conviction that I wasn't worthy of anyone's kindness. About five years ago, I went through a period (after the death of a loved one) where I didn't exchange more than three words with anyone for about six or seven months. That was a terrible time. There may well be people who see other human beings as an annoying imposition, but I found out that year that I certainly am not one of them. I need people. Only I didn't realize it at the time until one person punctured through that barrier and demonstrated how much easier life is when someone can stand at your side when you're staring into the overwhelmingly chaotic world.

    Creating a social life takes work, like any endeavor; whether it's learning a sport, or a musical instrument, or putting together a business or filming a movie. In fact, it's probably even more difficult than most other endeavors because a truly rewarding and "meaty" social life entails dealing with the messiness of human nature. People are often guarded or aloof, unpredictable or annoying, frustrating or unconscionable, frightening or intimidating, etc. And to make a real connection, you have to be willing to become "real." There's a scene from the children's book The Velveteen Rabbit that I like to think of a metaphor for becoming a friend, where two stuffed animals talk to each other about the possibility of becoming real:
    “Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'

    'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.

    'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'

    'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?'

    'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
    A bit more prosaic, I came across these three principles of friendship from social psychology that may help you figure what you'll need to do in order to launch yourself back into the web of interpersonal relations:
    The Three Keys to Fostering Friendship

    Beginning in the 1950s, sociologists began to delve into friendship theory. They came to the idea that true friendship relies heavily on three main conditions. Some people nowadays are beginning to refute this theory as our world grows evermore digital, but I believe they remain as true today as they were 60 years ago.

    Proximity: Being physically close to people for extended periods of time naturally lends itself to friendship. Again, some people try to refute this as not as necessary in today’s world. However, think about your high school or college friends once you moved away. It got much harder to truly stay in touch, and you likely drifted from most of them. Yes, you can see what they’re up to on Facebook, but if you don’t correspond regularly are you really friends?

    Repeated & Unplanned Interactions: This means bumping into Jake at the local coffee shop in the morning, or catching up with Will and his wife at church on a Sunday morning. These aren’t planned get-togethers; these are times when your paths cross randomly throughout town. Obviously, this is much trickier post-college. You can help this, though, by choosing to do your shopping, dining, exercise, etc. within your neighborhood. This increases the chances of running into people over and over again, and perhaps making new friends.

    A Setting That Encourages Vulnerability: Vulnerability here means people being able to let their guard down and truly be who they are. When you first meet people, no matter the environment, they tend to be cautious. They won’t let their sense of humor show, they won’t talk too much about their personal lives, etc. People are more likely to open up when you have a small backyard BBQ versus just meeting up at your local trivia night every week. It’s in smaller and more personal settings that friendship grows.
    Source: How to Make Friends In a New City
    "How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."
    -- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

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    thanks so much @Animal. i'm sorry to hear about that. i'll check out that link as well.

    i agree w/ human messinesses. I think that's a part of what i was trying to get at in my deleted post:

    trying to be someone's friend is like being in free-fall. you have to actually be *you* for them (if you're trying to build real friendships eventually, not just... social contacts... but it helps too w/ social contacts if they can actually trust you) and i simply couldn't be me (this is an exaggeration but- you know what i mean.)
    @7576 i think i secretly like and need people, despite the tendencies to withdraw. also i think it's sometimes a weird byproduct of not having work obligations or other buffers that would force you to engage. it's like... do you ever not leave your house for a few days, maybe b/c you were tired, maybe b/c you were absorbed in doing something... and then one day you realize you're feeling claustrophobic and should have left a few hours before? i know that's not a luxury most people have, but it's the best analogy i can think of. i hope that helped.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jessica129 View Post
    Do you REALLY want more people in your life or do you just think you SHOULD have more people in your life?

    For a very long time the only reason I tried to make friends was because I thought it's what I "should" do...not because I really wanted it. I guess it makes me a hermit but I don't think there's anything wrong with it. I have a fiancee and that is way more than enough for me. I suppose if I didn't have him, I would get lonely from time to time.

    IDK, I am THE WORST person to ask for advice on how to be social. I guess smile and look inviting? lol.
    Same.

    I don't have friends, but tbh I don't really need them that much. It took me a while to come to this realization that this is perfectly okay.
    Quote Originally Posted by jxrtes View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by lemontrees View Post
    thanks so much @Animal. i'm sorry to hear about that. i'll check out that link as well.

    i agree w/ human messinesses. I think that's a part of what i was trying to get at in my deleted post:


    @7576 i think i secretly like and need people, despite the tendencies to withdraw. also i think it's sometimes a weird byproduct of not having work obligations or other buffers that would force you to engage. it's like... do you ever not leave your house for a few days, maybe b/c you were tired, maybe b/c you were absorbed in doing something... and then one day you realize you're feeling claustrophobic and should have left a few hours before? i know that's not a luxury most people have, but it's the best analogy i can think of. i hope that helped.
    FWIW, that problem of feeling ambivalent about people (on one hand feeling annoyed or drained by them; on the other hand feeling claustrophobic without any human contact) solves itself out by finding the right people. They exist. There are people out there who aren't annoying or draining, but also will connect with you meaningfully. Also, it feels more draining and demanding in the beginning when you're out-of-practice. Once you get into the swing of things, it doesn't take as much mental or physical investment to engage. It just becomes one of the processes that your brain-body performs naturally without too much conscious effort. But it takes a little grease and gumption getting out of the "rusty" stage.
    "How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."
    -- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

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    Well there's a rhythm and tempo to everything. Like @Gilly said no matter what you are doing or who you are doing it with, Life will be amazing and wonderful one minute and tragically sad and depressing the next... the key I think is just to flow with everything. If you try to 'hold on' to all the good moments, you will break the second life gets a little difficult. Likewise, if you don't allow yourself to feel the happy moments of love & connection that's just as worse.

    Also beware of your own boundaries. Boundaries are a great thing to have. You do *not* make friends or become a good person by opening up too much and messing up your boundaries all over the place. It is perfectly acceptable to say "I don't wanna talk about that" and mean it, and move on. You give a little bit of your own vulnerability to see who handles it, not all at once- but droplets, and then you yourself gauge that for how much you can personally trust the person. It is very personal and very intimate, and it is not objective. A lot of people just want to see your insides ripped apart and bloodied because it makes them feel better about their own vulnerability. But I think, the best relationships happen when we boost each other up and not tear each other down.

    Also there is a lot of "I hate this person so everybody else should hate them too!" going on in this forum. We all just need to get over it, that will never happen. (same with the reverse, but that's a bigger 'duh' that doesn't get coddled as much.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by BulletsAndDoves View Post
    Well there's a rhythm and tempo to everything. Like @Gilly said no matter what you are doing or who you are doing it with, Life will be amazing and wonderful one minute and tragically sad and depressing the next... the key I think is just to flow with everything. If you try to 'hold on' to all the good moments, you will break the second life gets a little difficult. Likewise, if you don't allow yourself to feel the happy moments of love & connection that's just as worse.

    Also beware of your own boundaries. Boundaries are a great thing to have. You do *not* make friends or become a good person by opening up too much and messing up your boundaries all over the place. It is perfectly acceptable to say "I don't wanna talk about that" and mean it, and move on. You give a little bit of your own vulnerability to see who handles it, not all at once- but droplets, and then you yourself gauge that for how much you can personally trust the person. It is very personal and very intimate, and it is not objective. A lot of people just want to see your insides ripped apart and bloodied because it makes them feel better about their own vulnerability. But I think, the best relationships happen when we boost each other up and not tear each other down.

    Also there is a lot of "I hate this person so everybody else should hate them too!" going on in this forum. We all just need to get over it, that will never happen. (same with the reverse, but that's a bigger 'duh' that doesn't get coddled as much.)
    Why would anyone in their right mind listen to you considering you gas light and manipulate. There is no track record of you saying anything you mean, or having anyone's intentions at heart.

    @lemontrees be careful of anything this guy says, dont be one of the stupid ones: he's already admitted these things himself plus others have seen it with their own eyes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dolphin View Post
    Good one
    Nice sarcasm there

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    Words, I can never tell if you are seriously agitated or just trying to tease me in a playful way by pretending to ironically take whatever I say to mean its opposite. =D

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    @7576 I don't know if that's type related. maybe you can look into instinct stackings: http://www.the16types.info/vbulletin...tual-Stackings

    Quote Originally Posted by 7576 View Post
    "I don't see any problem in sharing a condo with more people and coming home drunk, at 4am, screaming at the top of my lungs like a mad man and urinating on the kitchen"
    this sounds like fun!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Animal View Post
    FWIW, that problem of feeling ambivalent about people (on one hand feeling annoyed or drained by them; on the other hand feeling claustrophobic without any human contact) solves itself out by finding the right people. They exist. There are people out there who aren't annoying or draining, but also will connect with you meaningfully. Also, it feels more draining and demanding in the beginning when you're out-of-practice. Once you get into the swing of things, it doesn't take as much mental or physical investment to engage. It just becomes one of the processes that your brain-body performs naturally without too much conscious effort. But it takes a little grease and gumption getting out of the "rusty" stage.


    that makes sense. i think i'm still pretty introverted, so i'm not sure if my body will always perform it naturally w/o effort. but i believe what you're saying in general, and thanks so much for sharing.

    Quote Originally Posted by BulletsAndDoves View Post

    Also beware of your own boundaries. Boundaries are a great thing to have. You do *not* make friends or become a good person by opening up too much and messing up your boundaries all over the place. It is perfectly acceptable to say "I don't wanna talk about that" and mean it, and move on. You give a little bit of your own vulnerability to see who handles it, not all at once- but droplets, and then you yourself gauge that for how much you can personally trust the person. It is very personal and very intimate, and it is not objective. A lot of people just want to see your insides ripped apart and bloodied because it makes them feel better about their own vulnerability. But I think, the best relationships happen when we boost each other up and not tear each other down.


    i think it's always a balance, keeping boundaries vs connecting. there are ways to connect "intimately" without having to bleed all over another human being (i only discovered this very recently b/c i'm...dramatic, lol.) i think maybe the best way to go is just to go by one's own instincts.

    @Words i understand that maybe you and BnD have differences or misunderstandings, but I would appreciate no threats of cutting anyone up or feeding them to organ grinders in my thread. thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lemontrees View Post
    @7576 I don't know if that's type related. maybe you can look into instinct stackings: http://www.the16types.info/vbulletin...tual-Stackings



    this sounds like fun!
    He doesn't see a problem with a lot of things, let's include for instance grooming, and thank McBain for the internet

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    Quote Originally Posted by lemontrees View Post


    that makes sense. i think i'm still pretty introverted, so i'm not sure if my body will always perform it naturally w/o effort. but i believe what you're saying in general, and thanks so much for sharing.





    i think it's always a balance, keeping boundaries vs connecting. there are ways to connect "intimately" without having to bleed all over another human being (i only discovered this very recently b/c i'm...dramatic, lol.) i think maybe the best way to go is just to go by one's own instincts.

    @Words i understand that maybe you and BnD have differences or misunderstandings, but I would appreciate no threats of cutting anyone up or feeding them to organ grinders in my thread. thanks.
    It's not differences, it's more a way of life. I dunno let him tell you how cause you're a woman you want a man to beat you up then gaslight you when you disagree. Welcome to trunk and then how you actually support bs in your thread through the back door by defending him

    Once you've done that come back and speak to me please see if I can reconsider my perspective thanks

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    Welcome to trunk and then how you actually support bs in your thread through the back door by defending him
    When you insist on being so offensive (seriously, putting my organs in meat grinders?), people are naturally going to defend the person you are attacking...

    I know I can be annoying to some people sometimes but I know I don't deserve SMASH bullies like u and absurd threatening my life.
    and other decent ppl can see that too...

    Heal thyself words!

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    Quote Originally Posted by lemontrees View Post
    cuz i'm really good at it lol. like, i have a roommate, he's usually down to talk, but i usually feel busy and energetically drained and avoid him. i also have a work from home job. sometimes i have a moment like "holy shit i haven't *actually* talked to anyone for like three days, this is why i'm feeling fucking anxious right now."

    what are some good tips to stop this from happening?

    also, what are good tips to make friends in a new city (as someone who has self-isolated for much of the last 5 + years

    thanks
    Hey, a fellow self-isolator here.

    I've got the same problem... being a Social E4, I need people. But my introversion, and also dismissive attachment style tendencies make me stay away from people a lot, to the point I isolate myself drastically. It's pretty bad. I'll become depressed, and at first not even realize why.

    Any tips? Well, I am still learning to get better at overcoming this myself. So far, only going regularly to school or university made me be in regular contact with people. I suppose forcing yourself to go to some social event you are interested in, like a concert or lecture or whatever, and striking up a conversation with someone you find interesting, and continue being in touch with them, would help...

    I am currently having the problem of losing all my old friends from High School and so forth. I suddenly realized one of my old friend's birthday is today. I sent her a Happy Birthday message and all, but this made me just see how far we've grown apart. Being Social instinct first, I experience the most pain when a friendship ends. I am still not sure how to handle this situation, specifically with that friend whose birthday is today. Since we left High School, we have rarely seen each other, nor really talked to each other. I don't know whether I should let her go, or not. I feel ashamed...

    The thing is, I have trouble establishing close friendships that are outside of a educational environment. I also rarely just hang out with anyone. Partly because none of my friends live near me, mostly because it is not in my nature. Going to school during the week gradually drains me, so I usually just stay at home by myself on the weekends. Maybe it is a pattern I should break, but it feels like I would lose my autonomy. Do you have a similar problem, @lemontrees ? The fear of losing your autonomy? This could be one of the greatest obstacles when trying to establish good friendships.

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    @SisOfNight

    Haha yep. I have a fear of losing my autonomy, and a fear of losing my dignity.

    I think you don't lose your autonomy through having friends. many people i know have more friends than me, and are even more independent in some (/many) ways. it was a hard one to swallow.

    i've been learning from this 1w2 sp/sx SLE friend. she's very affectionate... *when* she reaches out to people. the rest of the time she's working on her own shit. she controls her interactions, but you feel that she cares. b/c she's affectionate, you feel inclined to respond to her in a positive way. and she doesn't have that so-instinct thing of fearing she's coming across as "too needy" in establishing a friendship. her self is not on the line.

  27. #27
    Queen of the Damned Aylen's Avatar
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    I have no tips. I like isolating myself. I do it frequently. I come out extraverted for very short bursts of interactions then isolate again for long periods of time. It didn't help that in order for me to actually socialize I had to drink to feel comfortable, which made my old friends think I was more extraverted than I was. I don't drink anymore so I don't have that social lubricant. When I socialize now it is having friends over for pizza and movies. I have been invited to some large parties recently and I declined. I would not have known most of the people there and was not in the frame of mind to make new acquaintances. Plus there were going to be a lot of little kids which means really high energy chaos most of the time. Parents yelling and kids crying.

    I like pretty casual stuff and the friends I have are close enough to me not to get all freaked out if I end up leaving the room in the middle of something and not coming back out the rest of the night. I enjoy doing my own thing and thinking about things in private. It was suggested that I have overactive cognitive functions that get overwhelmed easily. Maybe thats it. I really don't know but I do accept that I am comfortable in my own private world and no longer fight my nature.

    I don't want to force myself to go out or even talk to someone unless I really want to. It sounds like you want to though. I think it would be easier for me if my instinct stacking was different and I didn't have a good stable foundation of friends and family who get me. They give that bit of motivation I often lack when it comes to interacting with strangers. I have no problem with a large group if I know everyone.

    I go weeks without leaving my house and only talking to a couple of people at a time. I just go silent with everyone else. People who know me well accept this about me. Some of them will eventually drag me out of the house though when they think it is unhealthy. I don't find it unhealthy for me. Like I said it feels more natural. Fortunately I have enough good friends that keep me from starving and losing touch with reality.

    "When I ought to be thinking of heaven he will nail me to earth"

     







  28. #28
    killer wolf lemontrees's Avatar
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    @Aylen

    I think that you're right that you don't seem to mind, whereas I secretly need a lot of "feeling connected to the outside" to not feel anxious.

    that being said- thanks for sharing that. honestly i wish i had more of a "private world." i mean, i think i do but sometimes i'm scared i don't. it's like my private world is strange and hard to share, but it's also filled w/ thoughts of other people.

  29. #29
    Haikus Beautiful sky's Avatar
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    Take classes. Learning is a great way to connect with others. Join community meet ups. Get involved at church. Also make friends and host card games at your place. You have an introverted dilemma as do I. If people don't get me to talk I may never...since there's so much to write and also mo much internal chatter. Being proactive about friendship is hard for us but i try to actively organize get togethers and picnics just because I like having things to do and I want to pass my days in loving company of family and friends.

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