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Socializing for Unhappy, Neurotic Pessimists - Just do everything opposite?

Say you're a chronically unhappy, introverted, pessimistic, and neurotic guy. There's an internal voice constantly criticizing you and framing everything negatively. It makes you fearful of putting yourself out there and making friends. It disinclines you from taking joy in anything, or being interested in anything.

If you just want to make friends and branch out, is this a key thing to do for a neurotic:

"Just be friendly and as blank inside as possible. Be agreeable and enthusiastic about whatever is being discussed or done. Just pretend to be the opposite of yourself, basically."

Is that the key? If I'm terrified of going to the "gay gym," because I won't have rapport with the guys there and will feel awkward, is the best thing just shutting down your internal monologue and keep looking "outwards" and smiling? Is that how to get along with people?

Go to the gym, but keep your inner mind blank. Look at things outside yourself. Observe what's going on. Take an interest in what you're doing. Be friendly and agreeable. Speak up, don't mumble. Look people in the eye. All of this may be uncomfortable, but just do it and the results will speak for themselves. You'll start connecting with people in a superficial way, setting things up for greater depth later.

Is the key basically to behave like a normal, all-American happy guy? Outgoing, friendly, confident, direct? Speak in declarative sentences without hedging?

TIA, DLers.

replies 36Dec 5, 2017 9:19 AM +00:00

Good book.

Victorian philosopher William James had a theory about emotion and behavior: It isn't that our feelings guide our actions (feel happy and you will laugh). On the contrary, it is our actions that guide our emotions (laugh and you will feel happy). This led James to a remarkable conclusion: "If you...
replies 1Dec 5, 2017 9:23 AM +00:00

I think the blank agreeable thing is what most guys have going on inside. Everyone's pretty empty, which is fine. You just have to be like them while you're around them, and you'll get along. Keep a warm smile on your face, but don't look at anyone for too long. By smiling, you're sending the signal that you're friendly and approachable.

Just subtract 30 IQ points, and you'll be fine. Don't use "big" words. Speak kind of loudly, like an extrovert. Never hint at insecurity but don't at all suggest an air of superiority. Even if you get a weirded-out look, just stay happy-acting and outgoing. It'll feel super uncomfortable, but you'll get used to it.

THE KEY: Pretend to be an agreeable extrovert.

replies 2Dec 5, 2017 9:34 AM +00:00

If you're going to suggest seeing a movie, go with things like "Baywatch," not things like "Call Me By Your Name." Loud, colorful, upbeat, with actions and jokes. Any superhero movie.

replies 3Dec 5, 2017 9:38 AM +00:00

Get rid of that inner negative voice first through little self empowering acts that prove that you can succeed and worthy of good things (obvs. start with tiny little things / accomplishments and work yourself up to bigger things / accomplishments).

Never ever underestimate the power of your beliefs. No matter where you go and what you want to experience your established beliefs will shape your perception of your present location and state of mind. Your beliefs will influence how you interact with others and what you expect to happen.

You think you can fake it? Get used to "what a poser / fake!" being muttered when you turn your backs to people.

What kind of people do you want to attract anyway? The ones who are as socially awkward as you? That's the only people you are a good match with. Anybody else will create all sorts of drama, humiliations, and make your self worth issues worse.

replies 4Dec 5, 2017 9:41 AM +00:00

"Just look at some other person you think is amazing and act exactly like them!"

--Then at night, weep into your pillow
replies 5Dec 5, 2017 9:41 AM +00:00

Excellent advice from R2/R3. I do this sometimes, it works like a charm. Of course you have to switch off your brain for a while, or rather switch it on to their speed, which is s l o w

replies 6Dec 5, 2017 9:42 AM +00:00

The socially awkward people can be great, though. I've been friendly to some socially awkward people and once you get past their shyness, they have been really interesting, fun, and intelligent people to get to know. Some really cute people can be shy and it just comes off as lonerism and similar, but if you're friendly to them and act like you're friends already, they seem to open up to you. And their personas can be wonderful.

This guy I'm friends with is funny - he gets really shy and quiet and doesn't say much when he's in a group situation, but when it's just me and him he's talkative and pretty fun to be around.

replies 7Dec 5, 2017 9:47 AM +00:00

R7, yup, that sounds like an introvert. When in groups, they can't speak up or be themselves. But one to one, they're very outgoing and open.

replies 8Dec 5, 2017 9:51 AM +00:00

It's almost like, when you switch off the inner voice etc. you can't help but go cross eyed. It's weird. You lose focus, because if you look into someone's eyes, the voice comes back; to keep the voice away, I have to open my eyes wide, smile a bit, and just kind of look a bit to the "side" or things.

replies 9Dec 5, 2017 9:55 AM +00:00

r9 you could try not wearing contact lenses and then removing your glasses before talking with someone. That might work. When I'm blind like that I notice myself looking to the side or not really looking at someone because I can't see shit.

replies 10Dec 5, 2017 9:57 AM +00:00

I'm going to do the 90-day NoFap challenge. Supposedly it'll fix all those antisocial problems and you'll be motivated to get out there, be agreeable, and socialize your nuts off.

NoFap is a comprehensive sexual health platform. We provide services & software to address porn addiction and gain control over compulsive sexual behavior.
replies 11Dec 5, 2017 9:59 AM +00:00

I love that NoFap is a registered trademark. Oook.

replies 12Dec 5, 2017 10:01 AM +00:00

Sounds like me. I figure strangers won't like me anyway so why bother. People I know (co-workers and neighbors) I figure don't like me at all so why bother. Even if they're nice at first they'll eventually figure out I'm not good enough so why bother. Guys at the gym I figure think I'm ugly and weird so why bother, etc.

replies 13Dec 5, 2017 10:02 AM +00:00

Learn to be a sociopathic charmer.

replies 14Dec 5, 2017 10:24 AM +00:00

Any other advice?

replies 15Dec 5, 2017 12:18 PM +00:00

The empty head thing totally works

replies 16Dec 5, 2017 3:44 PM +00:00

Doing the opposite worked for me.

--G. Costanza
replies 17Dec 5, 2017 3:47 PM +00:00

Fake it til you make it....or Fake it til you fuck it.

replies 18Dec 5, 2017 4:04 PM +00:00

I am finding right now that expressing joy goes a long way. People are attracted to happiness and to the new. Do, be or say something different that benefits or intrigues someone and they'll approach if they're not introverted or socially anxious. If they are introverted and socially anxious and approach positively that's huge.

replies 19Dec 5, 2017 4:41 PM +00:00

This world is going to shit, because people try to fake their way through life while being constantly afraid to be found out to be a fake and / or a fraud. It makes people do crazy shit in order to overcompensate for their shortcomings and makes them hate and resent people for falling for their fakeness, having to keep the fakeness up for them, or having to be fake in the first place in order for them to like you. Because being fake in public will be exhausting in the long run and will cause more damage to one's mental state than we can imagine. That's why so many people have to go the shrink, deal with drug or alcohol addiction, or suffer from other self destructive issues.

replies 20Dec 6, 2017 7:40 AM +00:00

It's totally exhausting, R20, you're right, but what choice is there? My plan is just to be fake, make friends, perform for them )as a happy person) and then go home and drop onto the sofa. The yields from having lots of friend, the opportunities, are too great.

replies 21Dec 6, 2017 7:45 AM +00:00
The yields from having lots of friend, the opportunities, are too great.

But at what costs? Is it any different than the vast amount of opportunities and social friends that might await when you live a closeted life where you pretend to be straight in public and have sex with men behind closed doors?

Pretending to be something you are not can only yield misery. Do you think Kevin Spacey is still a happy man even after he lived a closeted life and assaulted guys, and underage boys, and got away for it for a time?

A fake life and fake actions lead to fake success, victory, and accomplishment. Maybe the others won't know it or notice it, but you know it and it will nag and eat you alive (and you will see and hear shit that gets you more unhappy and more paranoid). You think you are a unhappy neutotic mess now? You think it will get better? Spoiler alert: it won't. It will get worse.

replies 22Dec 6, 2017 9:15 AM +00:00

R22, I think the goal might be to leverage friends to position oneself to make a lot of money, and once you have that money, you can be yourself in public.

replies 23Dec 6, 2017 9:25 AM +00:00

r23, how many cases do you know where that actually happened compared to how many cases where you know people couldn't stop faking it, because they wanted more money and more of those opportunities? It's easy to say "I can stop with this any time I want / Even I reach this goal I will stop pretending!". Faking it becomes a drug you think you can stop at any time, but for some odd reason you don't.

replies 24Dec 6, 2017 9:30 AM +00:00

WHEN I reach this goal ...

replies 25Dec 6, 2017 9:30 AM +00:00

When you build a foundation based on lies (aka faking it) sooner or later the whole house / mansion / castle will fall like a house of cards.

replies 26Dec 6, 2017 9:32 AM +00:00

R4 is right. People can spot a fake, they’ll walk away saying “he’s trying way too hard.”

replies 27Dec 6, 2017 9:37 AM +00:00

Valium helps me become relaxed and outgoing. Lots of it.

replies 28Dec 6, 2017 1:12 PM +00:00

I'm a natural introvert who had a good extroverted 20 year phase. I challenged myself to be more outgoing. Alcohol helped with romance. After 25 years I got tired of it and am back to being an introvert.

So you really can fake it till you make it. For me it was worth it, I don't have regrets or wonder what it would have been like to be more extroverted.

replies 29Dec 6, 2017 2:05 PM +00:00

I get these sentiments. It is not that I assume that folks won’t like me— in reality I know I will not have anything in common w/them. Living in Louisiana, most folks are unaware sheep loving to drink and voting for Trump.

So when I am dealing w/those folks- I practice the mind going blank thing. And just display some fake joviality.....

My partner’s ex is an extrovert...w/that fake happiness and pics on IG w/ drinking and silly outfits..I just don’t get it.

replies 30Dec 6, 2017 2:20 PM +00:00

R29, how did you successfully fake it? What were the primary methods you used? Did you read a book to figure out how to do it? Thanks.

replies 31Dec 6, 2017 5:13 PM +00:00

R29, any advice?

replies 32Dec 7, 2017 1:05 PM +00:00

R29 here. Mostly I forced myself to go to almost everything. I joined a couple gay groups. I started being pro active in inviting people out. It felt uncomfortable at first but it got more natural.

--R29 now at home with no regrets.
replies 33Dec 10, 2017 4:28 PM +00:00

Do what unattractive women do OP. If you know that you will never attract people with your face or your body, become a character. It could be zany, ditsy, lewd(but lovably so) or Mr. "I'm up for anything anytime."

That's what Bette Midler did and look how far she went with it.

replies 34Dec 10, 2017 4:39 PM +00:00

Sometimes people will not connect with you if they sense a chilly vibe. Partially, they may feel you want to be left alone.

Smile and say hello, even to strangers. The conversation doesn't have to go further than that. Just get used to greeting them with SOME degree of warmth.

replies 35Dec 10, 2017 5:15 PM +00:00

R35 - I also meant to add, if you find yourself with nothing to say, comment on your shared environment. This creates intimacy. The point is that you're connecting. not necessarily what you're saying. You can say "This couch is very soft" or "this room feels cold, do you want my muffler?" or "I've never seen that painting before." As long as your intentions are good, people won't freeze you out. (Well, 95% of people.) The exception might be single straight women, who are apprehensive about being approached by men they don't know. So if you feel some distance coming from a female, it might be that instinctive distrust they can have with a stranger.

replies 36Dec 10, 2017 5:20 PM +00:00