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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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Always * Offline
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No one talks to me unless I initiate. - December 8th 2013, 01:09 AM

I don't have roommates. So if I don't text people or message people I literally have no one to talk to. And I realize that might influence me (ex. if I lived with someone maybe the radio silence wouldn't be so bad).

I think sometimes my friends, even those who do not have any bigger social life than myself, have more people talking to them. I say this cause I am usually lucky if someone texts/messages/calls me. Usually if someone calls it's my mom or the mom of the family I work for. A week could easily go by before anyone bothers to initiate contact with me. If I am busy I might not care as much, but things slow down. And it starts upsetting me. It's not like I don't have friends, there are probably easily 20 people who I'd have a reason to keep in contact with on a regular basis (close friends, families, people I work in a club with etc)...

I've never done anything wrong.... So I can't figure out why no one wants to initiate contact with me. Every once in a while I just want to stop talking to everyone and wait for them to come to me... But, let's face it, even the most independent person would have a lot of trouble talking to NO ONE for days (and I am quite independent, but not having anyone to have benign chit chat with... for.. days... on... end... makes life pretty lonely, I'm only human. The only thing I can think to do is to plague teen help just so that I'd have SOMEWHERE to talk to people. If I wasn't always initiating contact they'd eventually come to me right?

Or maybe I just have WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY fewer friends then I think... Though I don't see how that's the case, but I must be doing SOMETHING wrong for people to never want to bother initiating contact...




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Re: No one talks to me unless I initiate. - December 8th 2013, 01:42 AM

You have to give people a reason to contact you. Unfortunately, being awesome and friendly isn't always a good enough reason, because people can have busy lives and simply not have time for idle chit-chat. If they're not busy, then they may assume YOU are busy, and assume YOU'LL contact THEM if you want to talk.

Generally, when people contact me, it's because 1) they need something from me, or 2) they're following up on something I said to them. For the first scenario, please note that I am HAPPY to help people out; however, people only know they can come to me for help because I tell them they can. That means I have to initiate contact, for both the first and second scenario.

I wish I could say that all you have to do is initiate contact once, but conversations won't continue indefinitely once you initiate contact. Imagine a ball that's being rolled on the floor. It won't roll indefinitely once you've pushed it. In fact, it won't even continue rolling for one minute (unless you start at the top of a hill and ensure no objects are in the ball's path). You'll need to keep pushing it every time you want it to do something.

For people you're particularly close to (e.g., parents and romantic partners), you may not need to constantly "push" for results. In order to get to that point, though, you need to work on making the relationship stronger... and that definitely does NOT happen overnight. I'm not accusing you of anything - I'm sure you've tried to strengthen relationships in the past. You said it yourself, though... there are times when you become busy, and I'm sure it's the same way for them.

It helps when you're purposeful with people. For example, one of my friends is having a small birthday celebration tonight. To be honest, I'm not in the mood. It's cold, it's late, and I'd rather stay home. I know it would mean something to him if I showed up, though, and if I do, he's more likely to invite me to future events, attend parties/events I host, etc. I'm willing to make more of an effort now if it means we can have a stronger friendship further down the road.

For a long, LONG time, I wondered if I was doing something wrong, if I was unlikeable, if all the people in my life were jerks, etc. I became quite resentful because of the lack of contact. Once I started initiating contact, though, things slowly began to turn around. Again, it's a process. It's not like you can say, "Oh, I'm going to be more sociable starting NOW, and I'll have a better social life starting NOW." It's going to take a while to build up that connection with the people in your life, and it won't necessarily happen across the board. You may need to start with 1-2 people, and steadily expand your area of focus.

Something else you might want to ask yourself is, "What are people able to get from me?" "Friendship" may be the obvious answer, but what makes that friendship so unique and irresistible? Are you "that friend who always posts funny/interesting things on Facebook"? Are you "that friend who always bakes homemade cookies for friends' birthdays"? Some of this might seem like bribing, but it's not bribing if that's not your reason for doing it. If you truly care about people and want to connect with them, then find a way to do so... a way that you enjoy, AND a way that is appreciated by others. In my case, I offer support and advice. Any friend can do that, but it's what I'm known for, and it makes me stand out. It encourages people to come to me... not to "use" me, but because they trust I can be the kind of friend they need at that moment in time. There's something consistently good about our friendship, and it means I don't have to work *quite* as hard to initiate conversations.

I need to stop typing because I need to get ready for my friend's birthday celebration! I'm happy to keep responding to your thread, though!






   
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Re: No one talks to me unless I initiate. - December 9th 2013, 04:45 PM

It definitely doesn't help that I had next to no social life in previous school years, I lost a bunch of the friends I had in first year once I got to second year because things were so bad for me the time that I would never make the effort to do anything with them, I was to depressed and anxious to want to go anywhere. Many days, sometimes several times a week, I could barely leave home and when I did I'd end up having to go home soon as possible because I'd be on the verge of having a break down, I'd go inside and start bawling. So a lot of those people I am still friendly with but we don't go out of our ways to see each other, I made a few attempts to repair things with a few of them but nothing ever came of it.

But I made new friends and had old friends and SOME of those friends from first year, maybe 2 of them, I was still decent friends with. 1 of them I no longer talk to, but that's his fault, not mine.

As things got better for me I tried harder in my relationships, but clearly there's still reason for me to keep trying. What people will get out of being friends with me is definitely worth thinking about, but at the same time, would you consider it reasonable for me to also ask "what do I get from them?". I've had so many people abuse my genorsity for example, like I give them a ride a few times and they just assume that I am ok with it ALL the time, 1 friend even had the audacity to get angry with me cause I said I couldn't give her a ride or take care of her dog for the day because I was busy, but it's not my responsbility to have to do things like that, it's not my "job" as her friend, I am willing to do people favours but I shouldn't be expected to inconvenience myself to do so. So the "what do they get out of it?" idea makes me a little bit wary. I think I need to come up with something better than "I'm happy to do people favours" (cause I am, I'm happy to help out my friends) but it can't be my "defining thing" as a friend because obviously I have a life, so if all I ever did was drop everything in my life every time someone needed something I'd never get anything done for myself (it's all about moderation right)... I am also willing to be supportive of my friends, but thats another area a friend or 2 has abused. Like I have 1 friend who CONSTANTLY bitches about how horrible his life is and tries to bring me down with him by making me a part of it and if I try to help him then he contradicts it, if he starts dissing people who've helped me a lot and I say I am sorry for his experience BUT I don't think that they're all bad he starts with this lengthy justification of why they're so bad and I'm basically just choosing to not notice... So yes, I am happy to talk to people about things going on in their lives and to comfort them or try to suggest things that might help it or what ever, but not if all they want to do is whine and complain and make me feel horrible about myself at the same time. Like the 1 friend would call me and be like 'I'm so sad, can we go out for supper?"... so... he has no respect for my time, as if I DON'T have stuff to do, as if I CAN just drop my work due in 2 days and go let him depress me. I have TRIED to help him and all he does is talk about the same stuff over... and over... his problems are not problems I can help him with, he needs a professional...

Do you see where I am trying to go with this? Now, I get it, obviously being willing to support my friends and help them and blah blah blah is important to me... But being bitten by friends who take advantage or make me feel bad about myself when I do try to help make me reluctant to make those sorts of things "my thing"... Know what I mean? And how do you come up with specific things that you'd be good at? I'm good at keeping secrets, people can confide in me and I won't betray their trust, like people always ask "please don't tell anyone" and I'm usually like "who the hell would I be telling?", like it would never occur to me to blab about someone else's secrets, it's none of my business... But, I dunno... Does any of this make any sense?




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Re: No one talks to me unless I initiate. - December 12th 2013, 05:26 AM

So then we're not talking about genuine friends. =P Obviously, your approach will have to be different if people are taking advantage of your generosity. Have you met the majority of these people in similar ways (e.g., through mutual friends, at parties/social events, in classes, at club/organization meetings), or have you met them in different ways? If it's the former, then it might help to try looking elsewhere for friends, and to hold back a bit with being generous/doing favors when you're initially getting to know people. Focus on their interests and decide if you can connect with them in a meaningful way. If you decide that you can, then you can gradually increase contact with them while only giving them your time at first (vs. your "shoulder to cry on," your car, etc.).






   
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