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Befriending stable/more successful people

How? Realising that everyone I know who has moved on to bigger and better did so by making a deliberate point to get close to people doing better than them. But I don’t feel confident enough to do the same, and I don’t know why (inadequacy? Scruple? Awkwardness?) And I wouldn’t even know how to go about it, if forced to at gunpoint. What do successful secure stable and self-assured people talk about, and think about?

Nb. in my case, I don’t currently have any friends at all, so I’m working from a blank slate. Which can be a positive or negative, depending how you look at it..

by Anonymousreply 43October 26, 2021 2:55 PM

Op, do you have any interests or current hobbies?

by Anonymousreply 1October 21, 2021 12:15 AM

Hadn’t really thought of it from my end—I was more approaching the problem from the angle of “how I win these people over?”

The interests I do have are pretty solo, passive and ‘indoor’—I write short stories & lyrics, follow Premier League football (soccer, not American) games, watch opera or classic movies. I walk my dog and go for solo rambles most every other day. I like my personal space and alone time, probably to a strange degree for someone under age 35. Honestly, with the time I spend on DL, that probably counts as a main hobby too.

Though I’ve tried different activities over the years, I’m really not into the typical affluent-folk stuff, like travelling or interior design/decorating or skiing/tennis/yoga/jogging/horseriding or gardening or piano what have you. I used to play the flute, but I fell out of the habit and stopped several years ago due to a long depression. And I do want to learn to hunt with dogs and shoot—my prick of a hillbilly father won’t teach me because I’m a woman). I’m a good cook and housekeeper, but I don’t really enjoy it—just a skill I had to learn in a hardscrabble upbringing.

And I don’t really drink, either—not teetotaller or abstinent, and I don’t mind other people drinking, just that I don’t really care for it or find it enjoyable myself. I’d rather pop a tablet or smoke.

On paper, I think I must be pretty boring and sedate, which doesn’t help my prospects. Though I also believe I have many attractive emotional qualities to be a friend to someone stable and decent—I’m patient, laidback, generous, gently honest, like a long upbeat conversation, etc.

by Anonymousreply 2October 21, 2021 12:45 PM

"Honestly, with the time I spend on DL, that probably counts as a main hobby too."

If DL is a main hobby, then you're spending too much time with sock puppets.

by Anonymousreply 3October 21, 2021 12:47 PM

R3 right, that’s why I’m trying to fix my social life. But being broke and socially awkward/avoidant that’s a big task, hence why I’m looking for advice.

by Anonymousreply 4October 21, 2021 12:51 PM

As far as “successful,” that’s open to interpretation. If you’re talking financial/professional, well then, that doesn’t necessarily mean “stable” (certainly not mentally/emotionally).

If you’re a good person who is interesting and you put yourself out there, you’ll attract like people. Just keep an open mind. If you’re not an interesting person, then take up some hobbies and start reading books. If you can’t put yourself out there, learn. If you’re not a good person, then you can’t be helped. Good luck.

by Anonymousreply 5October 21, 2021 12:59 PM

I suggest volunteering, perhaps for an art gallery.

by Anonymousreply 6October 21, 2021 1:02 PM

Thanks R5/Cinesnatch (great handle).

[quote] As far as “successful,” that’s open to interpretation. If you’re talking financial/professional, well then, that doesn’t necessarily mean “stable” (certainly not mentally/emotionally).

Yes, this is so true. And I ought to have clarified what I meant. YMMV, but for me when it comes to success and stability, I identify it as a holistic state of good ‘health’ across the board—someone who is good at handling their abundance and generating it (not just money) in an ethical way, someone who looks after themselves and others both physically and emotionally, someone who is responsible but also knows how to enjoy life, someone who can build an attractive interesting life without leaving a trail of hurt and destruction.

[quote] If you’re a good person who is interesting and you put yourself out there, you’ll attract like people. Just keep an open mind.

Well, ‘good’ is relative too, of course—my profile of a ‘good’ person is someone humane and ethically-minded and truthful, but not necessarily rigidly by the book. I try to live up to that, but I’m aware that this may not align with the ‘goodness’ scale of another.

As for interesting, that is a source of awkwardness for me, as growing up I was always treated like a boring social pariah—though looking back, I’m not sure this was fair or always accurate. I’m definitely very accepting, but tbh this has got me in trouble more than once due to permeable boundaries (something else I’m working on in therapy).

Actually, with all this in mind, I want to amend what I wrote in my replies above a bit. While I’m struggling with income and with handling a successful independent interesting adult life atm, I don’t believe I belong on that frequency for good (or, at least, I don’t want to get stuck there). Nor do I wish to keep calling myself things like “broke” and “lonely” and “boring” and “weird/antisocial” etc., because that seems partially to be what’s keeping me in this low-vibe state.

Since I can remember, I’ve always seemed automatically to assume the temporary ‘placeholder/standin’ friend or the ‘therapist/rescuer’ friend, who has usually been dumped when the other person gets their life together and finds themselves in a better place. My aim is for that not to be my pattern anymore—for me to be the one who moves onward and upward.

by Anonymousreply 7October 21, 2021 1:10 PM

OP I moved into a new phase in my life where I do my work more alone than ever. Like you, I write, in the main. For me, I don't try to build friendships with successful people, as I define success differently. I keep it transactional. Whether this is the right or smart thing I guess I'll find out soon in due course.

by Anonymousreply 8October 21, 2021 2:13 PM

Maybe join a hiking club? The Sierra Club has frequent hikes of varying levels near me quite often and the time spent is a good way to get to know people a bit. Lovely time of year for it and you enjoy the outdoors.

A book club is another idea, my library and a few local book shops have them. Before cv one had themed dinners one could buy tickets too, it was fun.

by Anonymousreply 9October 21, 2021 2:22 PM

You need to week them out on social media and on LinkedIn. Find mutual interests. Also, have something to offer (an interesting job, hobby, etc.). Sadly, the truth is that the first thing they see is how you present yourself (dress, grooming, fitness)...pre-COVID, I was going to more elite locales (not now with COVID raging locally) and was much more together.

by Anonymousreply 10October 22, 2021 9:42 AM

Research and then act-upon active listening. I was exhausted reading your posts.

People like you, are attracted to you, and find you interesting, in direct proportion to how they perceive your interest in them. Don’t come on too strong or needy.

I know it’s a delicate balance. I wish I could be more helpful.

by Anonymousreply 11October 22, 2021 10:51 AM

[quote] I was exhausted reading your posts.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 12October 22, 2021 11:45 AM

[quote] Don’t come on too strong or needy. I know it’s a delicate balance.

Exactly! Sensing where the line is in every interaction is something with which I’ve struggled all my life.

In my case, past people have said that I seem too avoidant or distant or ‘blah’—-never cold or impolite or unfriendly, but sort of apathetic and difficult to pin down. I suppose I was rejected and teased and excluded (by peers and by older people) once too often in childhood, and it makes me react in a withdrawing manner.

On rare occasion that I have broken through my awkward avoidance and made a friend, though, I have tended to get too attacked and dependent—again, not in a creepy or chilling way, just being a bit too needy or sadsack or risk-averse (not wanting to use the one friendship as a springboard to others). I have tended to have only one or two close friends at a time, and the one short period in which I did have a group (well, more a tiny cluster of other friendless misfits, really), though I enjoyed the feeling of security and acceptance from being part of a group (no matter how loser-ish a group), ultimately I was unsure how to navigate the social dynamics and ended up sabotaging it and leaving.

So I’m aware that I have both codependency and avoidance working in tandem, and this is something I have been working on with my therapist as well, but for some reason the exercises I do in therapy haven’t yet been translating well to the outside world. It’s like the ideal model is too alien to me.

What I’ve been wondering lately is whether I’m sublimating or redirecting energy that naturally ought to go toward an intimate partner to friends & family, and that’s the issue? But I don’t want to just date or shack up with someone for my own exposure therapy needs, that doesn’t seem fair on the other person...

And this rambling reply of course proves your point😣🤭😓true that I’m a natural overthinker and fretter (which is funny because I rank lower on all other scales for ideal social femininity—ie conscientiousness, agreeability etc.), and tend to find the inside of anyone’s head including my own more interesting than the outside (why writing is my hobby!). I guess I get very bored with superficial interaction and outer life, so bored that I neglect to participate.

Successful people must be great externalisers, then? In my experience, people who are connected or ambitious or wealthy or popular seem to live a more surface-level existence, and don’t have any obvious neuroses. But how do you befriend someone like that when you see their mask?

by Anonymousreply 13October 22, 2021 11:59 AM

Still here, OP. I’m formulating a response.

by Anonymousreply 14October 22, 2021 1:10 PM

It may be awhile because I have to attend to things.

by Anonymousreply 15October 22, 2021 1:11 PM

Thank you R11, your insight means a lot, and I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

[quote] You need to week them out on social media and on LinkedIn.

R10 actually I’m off-grid in that respect. All the adult jobs I’ve had haven’t been permanent or ‘respectable’/corporate/office-based and I got them through word-of-mouth, so I’ve overlooked online career networking completely. Tbh I’ve always looked at LI rather sceptically, like a place suits hang out. Long ago I had a Facebook (and a MySpace!) like every other teen in the 2000s, but never really had a big friendlist, and deleted permanently several years ago because I never used it. I don’t have anything else, not even IG.

[quote] Sadly, the truth is that the first thing they see is how you present yourself (dress, grooming, fitness)...

This has been a stumbling block, too. Growing up I was the eldest female child in a family of shabby hillbillies, so I neglected to pick up grooming/fashion tips early enough, and was ostracised a lot for this as an adolescent girl (on top of being bullied for being avoidant and depressive and quiet/shy). Now, I still have a lot of residual shame and blockade around dressing like an adult female, and about self-care and grooming, though lately I’ve got a lot better (trying to take care of my hair according to type, getting a better fitted bra, etc). Buying or trying on clothes/makeup is an extremely negative emotional experience for me, sometimes making me physically sick/weak/anxious.

As for fitness, same story—those high school bitches really did a number on me. During COVID, I have tried to make changes and work out at home in privacy where I know no one is looking at me (recently I got my fitness fanatic little sister to demo basic starter weights for me), but that is sporadic according to my mental state and physical (I have neuropathy, a very painful condition affecting nerves, muscles and coordination as well as respiration and mental health).

by Anonymousreply 16October 22, 2021 3:35 PM

^^i should add that I’m not fat (was actually underweight in the Summer due to stress), according to the DL trope🙃

by Anonymousreply 17October 22, 2021 3:43 PM

OP, you seem very self-focused, which I think is what is preventing you from developing good friendships. I don’t mean conceited - in fact, you seem to think much worse of yourself than you deserve (you have great, interesting hobbies, have lived a hardworking life, and are clearly thoughtful and intelligent!)

But it seems like you spend all your time thinking about yourself. When you’re thinking about others, it’s about how they can benefit you through friendship or connection. You are over analyzing things but all this overanalysis is about who you are, who you want to be, how people perceive you, what you want from people, how you can get from A to B.

Friendship is about two people creating a third entity, their relationship together. They need to like you, of course, but you also need to like them—not just value them for how they can help you. Trying to build friendship around the end goal of befriending successful people to help yourself isn’t going to work because people can sense self-preoccupation and those who collect connections.

What types of people bring you out of your own head? Who have been the people in your life with whom you forgotten about time passing or your worries or how they are thinking of you because you’re having such a good time?

I wonder if your therapist has considered whether you have social anxiety?

by Anonymousreply 18October 22, 2021 3:56 PM

You are who you are. If you try to fit in with people who you aren't comfortable with or who you think are better than you, you will only feel worse about yourself.

There's nothing wrong with you. There's nothing wrong with liking a more introspective lifestyle. Accept yourself and stop comparing yourself to other people. Amazing things will happen when you do.

If you want to step out of your comfort zone and try something new, start small. Volunteer a few days a week or even 1 day a week. There's plenty of opportunities to do things, like making meals for the elderly, cleaning up the neighborhood or teaching someone how to read.

by Anonymousreply 19October 22, 2021 4:03 PM

OP, is it possible you are on the autism spectrum? Learning social skills and cues if you fit an AS diagnosis may employ different techniques.

Also, I know many who have come from a difficult background/dysfunctional family who have benefited from this program and its materials. Might be a source of some ideas of concrete steps to move forward? Take a look at some of the info on the linked site and see if it resonates.

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by Anonymousreply 20October 22, 2021 5:27 PM

I wouldn't want to know OP. What a tiresome creature.

by Anonymousreply 21October 22, 2021 6:25 PM

Don't be mean, R21.

by Anonymousreply 22October 22, 2021 8:21 PM

OP learn to do something they can't do for themselves and you'll become indispensable to them.

by Anonymousreply 23October 22, 2021 9:49 PM

R23 do we have examples?

Surely with the Internet, anyone can learn to do basically anything (or find the number of an experienced professional)...

by Anonymousreply 24October 22, 2021 10:11 PM

OP has problems too big for DL to solve, especially being a crashing bore.

by Anonymousreply 25October 22, 2021 10:42 PM

Well R25, at least I cop to it, and I’m asking for and actioning help to change my ways. How many of youse can say the same?

by Anonymousreply 26October 22, 2021 10:47 PM

[quote]Friendship is about two people creating a third entity, their relationship together. They need to like you, of course, but you also need to like them—not just value them for how they can help you. Trying to build friendship around the end goal of befriending successful people to help yourself isn’t going to work because people can sense self-preoccupation and those who collect connections.

Nailed it

by Anonymousreply 27October 22, 2021 10:50 PM

R24 I know a watch repairer who regularly rubs shoulders with millionaires.

My mechanic works on vintage Jaguars and has met wealthy people and celebrities.

Shit like that.

by Anonymousreply 28October 23, 2021 12:12 AM

[quote] I know a watch repairer who regularly rubs shoulders with millionaires.

Not one of these wideboys, is he? :/

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by Anonymousreply 29October 23, 2021 11:08 AM

Thanks for all the advice so far, it’s really sensible and positive for the most part.

Still one question is unresolved for me, though. You’ve all rightly said that you can’t befriend someone coming from a place of self-involvement and negativity and opportunism, and that we should look around and appreciate the regular people in our vicinity with whom we have common ground —all well and good, but then what’s next if your vicinity is populated by people who either don’t have fulfilling lives, or who won’t share in their own abundance?

What I’m finding is that the adage ‘you’ll stay on the level of the 5 closest people to you’ is sadly holding true. But the people in my neighbourhood or who have I access to are all either upper-class/monied types who fiercely protect their circles, or else they’re doing no better than my current (few) friends & family.

So how can one raise vibe in such an environment?

by Anonymousreply 30October 25, 2021 9:27 PM

op is kooks!

by Anonymousreply 31October 25, 2021 9:33 PM

So what I hear OP saying is how do I become a social climber?

by Anonymousreply 32October 25, 2021 9:34 PM

R32 well, yes and no.

True that I would like to move into circles where people aren’t having to scrape and do dogs’ work. That said, if I have to abandon all humanity to do so, then perhaps I need to seek a third way.

by Anonymousreply 33October 25, 2021 11:26 PM


by Anonymousreply 34October 25, 2021 11:28 PM

OP, the first thing you're going to have to learn to do is listening to others, and asking about the things that interest them. Dont make it all about you, and dont tell all about yourself from the jump. Volunteering at art museums as someone mentioned is a good start, and is a good way to learn from others, and build a bond over a common interest. It can also help you cultivate some knowledge, and have insightful conversations. Just try to become a helpful, and supportive person. Just treat others, how you want to be treated. As stated above, most can sniff out someone trying to climb.

by Anonymousreply 35October 25, 2021 11:46 PM

OP could just be ugly.

by Anonymousreply 36October 25, 2021 11:49 PM

"act as if..." OP. My cousin became pretty successful by convincing others he was already successful. He was lucky in that he had a great memory and when he'd meet someone he thought he would want to get to know better he'd politely find out what their biggest passion was then spend a couple of days researching that particular subject and then make sure he bumped into them again and talk authoritatively about the subject.

by Anonymousreply 37October 25, 2021 11:53 PM

Volunteer at your local library, you will come into contact with people who value education.

by Anonymousreply 38October 26, 2021 1:56 AM

R36 afraid not! Though I’m not beautiful or hot, either. Always describe myself as a ‘cute borderline 4/5, with a sense of humour’. Pleasant-looking enough, if you will.

R37 out of curiosity; how is your cousin doing now, in life? Not only professionally or in terms of Weasley/security, but in relationships and social/community life too.

R38 actually, I used to volunteer at both my local and school library in my early Uni years. I found it more isolating than connecting, and to m disappointment that the people who worked there were more akin to government clerks or curators than bibliophiles. I gave up out of boredom after about 18 months.

by Anonymousreply 39October 26, 2021 11:07 AM

^^^that should read, ‘in terms of career/security’, sorry.

Not even a Potter fan, and haven’t been speaking about it recently (not for years, really), so idk what that autocorrect was about :/

by Anonymousreply 40October 26, 2021 11:09 AM

R39 he married the niece of a man who was part owner of a car parts factory. Rebuffed him a few times when the old guy offered him an easy job, then finally said yes but only if he could work on the floor. The guy was so impressed my cousin was promoted to a vice president within six months.

He's no longer working at that factory as it was sold and liquidated, (the new owners only wanted a Canadian based company for tax reasons) but he bought into a car dealership and is currently the co-owner of four dealerships around the province.

He lives like a king and has everything he ever wanted including happiness.

He's one of those guys that everyone knows because he's gregarious and outgoing and always remembers people's names and details about their lives which makes people feel like they're good friends even if they only met once or twice.

by Anonymousreply 41October 26, 2021 2:49 PM

R10 LinkedIn networkers be like

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by Anonymousreply 42October 26, 2021 2:51 PM

R37/R41 thanks for expanding.

Your cousin sounds very like my Egyptian-Lebanese BIL—everyone he meets is a potential friend and ally, and he has an incredible way of putting people at social ease and being comfortable with them. He’s also generous, respectful, engaging, and somewhat innocent/naive (at least to the hard grift of poor Westerners). Even though his family have lost their wealth and he now lives in the U.K., he grew up more or less as a little Prince back in Cairo, and this seems to have informed his attitude to life and his worldview. In some ways, I’m envious of him, because he’s grown up so entitled that to act in a non-genteel and threatened way doesn’t occur to him.

by Anonymousreply 43October 26, 2021 2:55 PM
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