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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Thinking Offline
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Name: Ivan
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I have no friends - March 31st 2017, 04:15 PM

I am stupid. I actually choose to have no friends.

Why must I be given a chance to have feelings... If I never get out of darkness I will never compare present and the past, and I will never feel bad to have no friends. I will think that no friends is normal and I deserve it. But why must I feel differently? Why do I have to get out of it, having feelings and emotions and feel worse? Now I can feel happy, but I also feel sad. I am tired. But I will keep going. I always forget I have only these times that I can try to be happy. After that? No more. There will not even be happiness and sadness anymore. Nothing is left.

But the truth is now I have emotions. I hate it. I dont like to have no friends. But I have no one to talk. Please dont throw me away to counselors, because I cannot trust them. I think if anyone wants to help me, dont throw me to anyone else. Sorry for being horrible and ungrateful to make such requests. But I really have no friends. I dont even know how to start talking to people in real life or online. All I had is only anxiety. If only I go back to those darker days, I will not even feel the need of being non-solitude situations, then I will not feel bad anymore. At least I will not feel the anxiety.

I feel so bad right now. I must have dissapointed every single person who talked to me before. I know I have online people which I talk to them. But I am the horrible person and I cannot feel they are my friends. I must have choose to think this way and reject friendship. I think its because I want to be in solitude. I choose to have no friends. The truth is no one can be trusted enough for me to be my friend because I am horrible and I push people away. And I the truth is no one talked to me, except rare cases online, which is only math and nothing else. I enjoyed it, and I call them my math friends. But real friends? I don't think so because I am a horrible person who dont feel and admit people as my friend. I deserve this and I choose this, so I am to be blamed. Its all my fault.

I hate emotions. It's something I cannot control and illogical. I hate it. It makes me unproductive.

And I really feel so bad. My only best math friend was the one who introduced me TH. But now I can't even feel like talking to him because I push him away. The only non math things we talked was school, which is more like his stories than my boring one. He must have tried to help, but I am too horrible to accept it. I must have disappointed him. I am horrible.

There is a reason why I post here instead of the family and friends forum. Because I am the horrible person who needs to fix my depression right now and enjoy my life I could have before I can't anymore. I think I am scary.

Do my best at everything I can to live a happy, perfect life.

Happy life won't come by being happy everyday. Struggle and always work hard.

Forgive other's imperfection, they will work hard about it once I point it out to them, just like what I should be doing.

On the other hand, never tolerate with my own mediocrity. Never slack and always strive improvement.

Never settle. Never give up.

Last edited by Thinking; March 31st 2017 at 05:12 PM.
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  (#2 (permalink)) Old
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Re: I have no friends - March 31st 2017, 05:15 PM

Hey Ivan!

I'm so sorry you're having a hard time right now. I'm not fully sure that I understood everything, and it's a lot to respond to, so I'll just try to address a couple things and go from there.

First of all, nobody's gonna "throw you to counselors". I definitely think it might be good for you to see one eventually, but it doesn't have to be right away. I know you have trouble trusting them, and that's okay. Trust is a process, especially when you're revealing private things that make you vulnerable. It's okay if it takes you a while to feel comfortable, but just remember that counselors just want to help you.

The same is true for building friendships and trusting friends -- it's a process, not an all-or-nothing thing. I think positive relationships are really important because they let us learn about things and they give us a chance for support (in both directions). I know it's easier said than done, but I do encourage you to try to start developing some friendships. Also, I totally get why you feel differently about online friendships. In some ways, they may never be totally the same. But don't totally discount them. You're more than welcome to talk to me, man. Just let me know if you need anything, okay?

You can always contact me to talk about anything!
Proud to be myself.

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last updated on 11/11/17
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Re: I have no friends - April 1st 2017, 01:22 AM

Hi Ivan,

I'm really sorry to see that you're going through a tough time right now. We are all here for you just like you are here for all of us. You are a great friend, even if you don't think you have any. I am a friend, and you have a lot more too. Not all your friends have to be offline. 90% of my friends are through TH as they know me better then anyone else. Also, no one deserves to have no friends, everyone deserves to have at least one friend.

You mentioned that you don't trust counselors, have you tried our hotlines? I know how hard it can be to trust counselors. I've been through that as well. Another thing I can recommend is if you need to talk about something confidential, is to try submitting a Help Link ticket. Only staff volunteers would see it so you wouldn't have to worry about someone seeing it.

I hope you start feeling better soon!

Stay Strong,

“You are braver than you believe,
stronger than you seem,
and smarter than you think.”

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Re: I have no friends - April 1st 2017, 08:51 AM

Hi Ivan,

I'm going to take a stab at this, as I see a few key words that hint at a pattern, but only you can say if my long shot guess happens to be correct or not.

I see "math", so I understand you like math. I see "hate emotions" (emotions are useless in math), and emotions are "illogical". I see you have no friends, and you are very depressed, and there's some runaway anxiety too.

Then I see the post starts out with, "I am stupid," which confuses me, as I was expecting the opposite. So I search a little more and read your profile, and I see what I was expecting: "high achiever", smart, college, introvert, weird, working on "conversation skills," atheist, math and programming, C++ (personally I abhor C++. The syntax is just abominable. I much prefer C# and Java instead.)

And you live in the UK which is really good as I think they have a lot more resources there for you to draw on.

And someone mentioned "autism."

Now all the signs are adding up and this actually looks like a common case.

You're really smart, but other people think you are weird, and I'll bet in younger years some students called you "stupid" which didn't make any sense because you did very well academically. You like math, science, computer programming, and you made it to college.

Do you identify with Star Trek's Mr. Spock character? Or Star Trek Next Generation's "Lieutenant Commander Data" character? All logic and rational, no emotions, emotions are confusing?

And now for the final questions to see if I hit the bull's eye or completely miss the mark:

Is the term "non-verbal communication" an oxymoron?

Is the term "unwritten rules" an oxymoron?

Do you see "information" in other people's eyes?

Would you miss anything if everyone else in the world wore sunglasses?

When someone is talking to you, do you tend to look more at their eyes or their mouth?

Here's a test: looking at the following collage of photos, how long does it take you to find two pictures of the same person?

Here's a "reading information in other people's eyes" test. If you cover up the answers on the left, can you quickly tell what emotion each person has just by looking at their eyes?

"Nomal" people apparently have no difficulty quickly sensing what another person is feeling by looking at their eyes. "Normal" people understand "non-verbal communication" and "unwritten rules" and "social norms and cues", and they can solve the collage of faces test in 5 seconds.

Is There a “Language of the Eyes”?
Evidence from Normal Adults, and Adults with Autism or Asperger Syndrome
Simon Baron-Cohen, Sally Wheelwright, and Therese Jolliffe
Departments of Experimental Psychology and Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, UK

More eye tests are here:

Can you tell what a person's mood is when they talk by the sound of their voice? Can you tell if they are calm, happy, sad, angry, frustrated?

So the theory is, people with Asperger's or High Functioning Autism are very bright intellectually, they go to college and love math and science and computers and do very well academically in those subjects; however, they don't see "information" in other people's eyes, and being blind to that is a tremendous hindrance to forming relationships with other people, as other people don't realize they're interacting with a blind person (they can see just fine, but they completely miss all the "non-verbal communication" that's going on all around them. They fail to pick up on it, and that greatly hinders their ability to successfully interact with other people).

So these very bright intellectual people, who dislike having feelings as they just "get in the way", end up socially isolated, and develop clinical depression. (About 70% of people who have Asperger's also develop clinical depression.)

And that's my guess as to what's happening. (I may be completely wrong, forgive me if I completely missed the mark.)

The solution to this is to do a lot of studying in several related fields:
1: Study Body Language
Here's my favorite book on the subject:
Body Language : How to Read Other's Thoughts By Their Gestures
Allan Pease (1984)

What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People
Joe Navarro, Marvin Karlins (2008)

10 Common Facial Expressions Explained

Google "interpretations of facial expressions"

Look for an App called "Happy Faces" and another called "Happy Face". (One of them is free, the other is really cheap. I forget which is which.)

SIRC Guide to Flirting (sirc.org)[Free]

SIRC The Flirting Report: Report of research conducted by The Social Issues Research Centre (2004) sirc.org [Free]

Improve Your Social Skills
by Daniel Wendler (2014, Kindle Format)

The Asperkid's (Secret) Book of Social Rules: The Handbook of Not-so-obvious Social Guidelines for Tweens and Teens with Asperger's Syndrome
by Jennifer Cook O'Toole (2012)

Coping: A Survival Guide For People With Asperger Syndrome
by Marc Segar
http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/alistair/survival/ (Free. PDF, Kindle, EPUB)

4. Asperger's Syndrome

The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome
by Tony Attwood (2007)

Asperger Syndrome and Long-Term Relationships
by Ashley Stanford (2002)
Oct 21, 2014 — a new fully revised version was released.

Business for Aspies: 42 Best Practices for Using Asperger Syndrome Traits at Work Successfully
by Ashley Stanford (2011)

The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband
by David Finch (2012)

Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate: A User Guide to an Asperger Life
by Cynthia Kim (2015 [even though it's only 2014, the book says in two places copyright 2015])

The other thing that I think really helped me is learning Mindfulness Meditation. The explanation here gets a bit technical. Basically, it's all about activating the body's parasypathetic nervous system, which is the body's "rest, digest, restore" and "social engagement" state. When in this state it's much easier to socialize with other people. Mindfulness Meditation activates this state. The basic idea is "return your focus to the present moment, and when your mind wanders, let go of that thought and return your focus to the present moment." You can start with 1 minute, work your way up to longer periods of time. Eventually time will fly by and a 25 minute meditation will fly by easily. It's very healthy for the brain, reduces stress and anxiety.

5. Meditation

"I know I should Meditate, But...": What you can learn about health and happiness in ten minutes a day
by Spencer Sherman
http://www.amazon.com/know-should-Me...dp/B00OUGWW7Y/ (Kindle,99¢)

Check out an app called "Headspace". It gives 10 minute guided meditations, along with a few very short videos explaining the process. Do this for 2 months and you should start to notice a difference.

A couple movies you could watch:


Temple Grandin
Mozart the Whale
The Imitation Game

(The main character in The Imitation Game is totally Asperger's, though it's never stated.)

The ways people communicate include:

Tone of Voice
Speed of Voice
Volume of Voice
Facial Expressions
Hand Gestures
Body Language
Physical Proximity

6. Question Bank
Check out a few books on "small talk" or "chit chat". People use "small talk" all the time to start conversations. They'll talk about the weather. Yes, I know, I can see the sky just as easily as the other person, so why talk about what's obvious? Because the whole point of small talk isn't to exchange "information", it's a way of getting to know the other person, "breaking the ice", opening the channel of communication.

I start with this one thing to remember:
Past, Present, Future
From that I can construct a few "Question Bank" type questions, such as:
"What did you do <today/yesterday/last weekend>?"
"Do you have any plans for <this afternoon/evening/tomorrow/next weekend>?"
(If a holiday is coming up, "Do you have any plans for <x> holiday?" or "What did you do over the <x> holiday?")

You can ask about:
Recreation (hobbies, fun)
Motivation (inspire)

(movies, TV, books, music,...)

(past, present, future)
e.g. "Were are you from?"

(sisters, brothers, children, parents, pets, relatives)
e.g. "Do you have any <brothers or sisters / Children / Pets>?

Before starting a conversation, it's good to know how to end a conversation.
Exit Strategies
(Conversation turns to past tense.)
It was nice meeting you. It was great to meet you.
It was nice to see you again. It was great to see you.
I’ll see you later.
Enjoy your lunch.
Have a good day.
Talk to you soon.
I gotta go. See you later.
Sorry, I need to go.
Sorry, I have to get to ___.
I’ll let you get back to ___.
I should get back to ___ but it was nice talking to you.
Have a good one.
Have a great rest of your day.

Endings. (“Well Wishes”)
“It was nice talking to you.”
“Have a good day.”
“See you around!”
“Enjoy the rest of your day.”
[Lunch] “Enjoy your lunch.”
[Friday] “Enjoy the weekend!”

1. Initiation Strategies
a. “Hi. My name is _____. What’s your name?”

b. “How are you?” “Fine. How are you?” “Fine.”
(This is a "robot phrase". People engage in this ritual. Notice the "reciprocation". They ask, you answer, then you ask them the same question back. That's known as "reciprocation".)

c. “How’s it going?” “Pretty good. How about you?” “Pretty good.” (robot phrase)

d. “What are you up to?”

e. “What’s new?”
i. “Nothing much… What’s new with you?”

f. “May I join you?” (e.g. for lunch)

g. What do you think of …
i. the instructor
ii. the weather
iii. the class
iv. the food

(I'm going to skip over the rest of my Question Bank stuff I've learned.)
The biggest help for me though was meditation, as that seemed to ease me into a less anxious state and switch on my natural "Social Engagement" state where I can easily talk with strangers without really thinking hard about it. Learning a few conversation strategies helped, and reading up on Body Language helped (it also made me a lot more aware of my own use of body language, so I'm now a lot more cognizant of how I'm presenting myself and what my own body language is saying).

I also was taught to sprinkle in "empathy comments" when someone else is speaking, things like:

Positive Comments
That's Amazing
How Annoying
That's Awesome
That's Awful
Oh Cool
How Cool
That's Cool
Very Cool
That's Fantastic
How Fabulous
Sounds like Fun
That's so Fun
That's Great
That's really neat
Very Nice
No Way!

Negative comments to sprinkle in when someone tells a story of something bad that happened to them:
Oh Bummer
That's Horrible
I'm Sorry
How Irritating
What a Nightmare
That's No Fun
That's not good
Oh no!
What a Pain
How Sad
That Stinks
How Terrible
That's Too bad

Another thing that helps me is joining support groups with other people who have similar issues. Possibly look for an Asperger's support group, or a Depression support group. This seems to help satisfy my brain's need to be around people.

And finally, if the depression is seriously bad, go see a psychiatrist and try some medication, you might eventually find one that works really well and solves a whole bunch of problems you thought were problems with the world around you. The basic idea is "the problem isn't with the picture, the problem is with the camera."

And if you seek a psychologist therapist counselor, see if you can find one who knows about Asperger's or High Functioning Autism. (College Engineering and Science is full of these super bright but socially awkward people. Maybe the college already has implimented helpful groups for them.)

The bottom line of all this is to remember there is a way out of this, there is hope. I just layed out some options. Brains don't heal overnight. It takes many months to fix these things. Hopefully the above can act as a map and now it'll be a lot easier to figure out the way. Best Wishes!
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