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#413658 - 10/19/12 02:39 PM How do you make friends?
Magellan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/31/10
Posts: 1402
Loc: California
Brothers,

I have to ask, I'm pestered by something that I have known a long time, but have never known how to change it. Even after all the work of 12 step and working on CSA and therapy, I'm still pretty clueless.

Here's my problem. I don't know how to make friends. I really don't have much desire to take the energy and effort to befriend most people. 2 reasons, I think that might be: 1. I'm an intellectual, and don't have much of a care for pop culture. And pop culture knowledge is socially critical in the gay community. 2. I have severe hearing loss, which limits my ability to hear in cocktail/dinner parties. Both socially critical for meeting people and mingling.

Because of the 2 items above, I grew up believing I was an introvert. But I discovered in my early 20's that I was actually an extrovert. More about that later.

I know that I have severe trust and intimacy issues as well, from CSA. I'm not yet sure how exactly that plays into all this, other than to point to my lack of relationships and friendships.

How this has turned out; the friends I have made in my life (with 1 exception) are all people I was physically attracted to. If I wasn't physically attracted, then I simply didn't care to extend the effort to befriend anyone. For what? If I *was* physically attracted, then I had strong motivation for befriending and getting to know them. And if a friendship somehow miraculously was made, I spent much of it pursuing them sexually. Totally dysfunctional. I stopped doing that 10 years ago, and haven't had any friends since.

I'm stuck and confused. I know I need friends, I desire intimacy and closeness so badly. I'm so very lonely. I can remember a time when I was able to have a social life, but it revolved around bars and people yelling at each other over the music so I could hear them.

I struggle with finding interest in people, though this is not true if I've had a glass of wine. Then people are entertaining to talk to, no matter what the conversation. I suppose because I loosen up and the extrovert in me comes out.

As a matter of discovery, I realized that I was an extrovert when I started going to bars. Everyone had to yell over the music, and as a result, I could hear all the conversation and actually fully participate. Simply because I could hear. I had the time of my life, and really enjoyed the times we shared together. Yes, alcohol was a large part of it, but for me personally, the fact that I could SIMPLY HEAR. It was because of that experience that I learned I'm actually an extrovert that is energized and excited by other people's lives.

Because of my inability to make friends, I've felt completely powerless and stupid. Retarded. My intrinsic desire is to have a lot of people in my life that I can feel connected to and hang out with freely. And I'm missing this woefully. My day to day experience is to come home from work, and sit in front of my computer, reading, or streaming video. Alone. Medicating.

This is so the opposite of what I want. I don't know how to break this cycle.

So if anyone can relate to this, I'd appreciate a response. Especially from those who have friends. What motivates you to make friends? What about people interests you in them to decide to try to befriend them? I'm looking for the thing that you find in other people that draws you to choosing to pursue their friendship.

I don't know what this is inside of me. Nothing motivates me to be a friend to someone unless I'm physically attracted to them. This sucks.


D


Edited by Magellan (10/20/12 12:13 PM)
_________________________
It's a heroes journey, and you are the hero.

Loving Kindness Meditation will dramatically improve your spirits; give it a try for just 3 days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz7cpV7ERsM

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#413673 - 10/19/12 04:53 PM Re: How do you make friends? [Re: Magellan]
Blue1966 Offline


Registered: 10/08/12
Posts: 83
Loc: USA
Okay, so text is easier for you, that also eliminates the physical attraction aspect. Perfect since this is the age of the internet, texting on phones and other devices.

Join forums and online groups that are geared toward your interests, personality type and such. Make friends there first, I'm sure you will find some close enough to meet in person and, by then you know them as a person, not for their looks, gender etc.

They know you and like you, and at this point won't care about your hearing loss, they will expect that since you will have already told them. They won't care that you aren't into pop culture, or this or that because they already know what you are into that they are also into.

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#413674 - 10/19/12 04:58 PM * [Re: Magellan]
Smalltown80sBoy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 2217
*


Edited by Smalltown80sBoy (04/29/13 12:39 PM)

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#413675 - 10/19/12 05:15 PM Re: How do you make friends? [Re: Magellan]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Knowing you as I do D, you gave me a good chuckle about being able to HEAR in the bars. One thing I love about you is when you put an ironic twist on something like that. Very kewl in my book.

I'll tread delicately on this one, but it's nevertheless an issue. What can you do, if anything, about the hearing loss? How, for example, do you handle it in meetings?

Another area that was a surprise for me was that I just naturally developed hang-out buddies in the meetings. A group of us would go for coffee/food afterwards (terrorize a local greasy spoon), eventually doing non-program stuff other times, like biking, etc. Some of the best memories of my life.

Years later - some like me have moved on, a lot of us have died - one of the guys remains my best friend...brain the size of a planet, too (MY hyperbole contribution!). He's a thousand miles away and we see each other every few months. Same sense of humor (i.e., Felix Baumgartner's "unreleased" audio ), plenty of email and calls out of the blue at 2am that go on for a couple hours.

Ummm...yeah, 13th-stepping was sometimes unavoidable in my experience. Hell, we were in our 20s-30s and horny! Ours were rather large meeting (AA, Al-Anon, ACoA) and solidly in the Traditions because we had a good mix of long-timers. If you could find a home group like that....

When I moved, no, didn't find quite the same quality of friends. The mindset is different here. So I can relate to the frustration.

My other bff isn't in a program. He's a body builder fr the UK and ours started as a professional relationship to help his business. I was seeking a new small biz client. Addressing your physical attraction issue, to be frank, I find him physically repulsive. But he's smarter than hell and I have to work to keep up with his classical education. We're such damn opposites, but we add to each other in so many ways, I can't count. And he absolutely respects my limitations (HIV, fatigue, the current shingles crap - I've felt like sh*t all day thankyew, etc.).

The clincher. I don't have a formula for you. The whole thing Just Happened over the course of a couple years.

What I will say is that there are certain basics to any relationship that take time to develop. Trust. Respect. Honesty. The latter is the toughest for me because it means I sometimes have to share that I'm not perfect or that I'm scared or that I feel stupid. I suppose a barometer is whether I'm comfortable having my best friends see me at my worst and knowing they won't judge me on superficial sh*t. If the house and I are in ratty shape, it's okay for them to come over anyway, perhaps needle me about it, but then they'll try to find out what's wrong and be an ear.

I'll draw a contrast with a friend of ten years with whom I shared interests in cars and car shows, trying out a new restaurant or nightspot. He started on a midlife/codep crisis a couple years ago that's too involved to note here. I was willing to be an ear for a while, but it's completely warped him and has killed our relationship. Point being, sometimes friendships come and go.

I don't know about where you are in the Golden State, but in my gayborhood the PYTs are a dime a dozen. By definition - usually - they're everything you'd expect. Shallow, superficial, immature, stupid as hell...as they should be at that age. My crowd, if you will, is older guys with whom I bond on some level that doesn't involve trying to recapture our lost youth, being bitter old drunk queens, or being lecherous old men. They're just guys. No agendas. We just enjoy each others company.

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#413676 - 10/19/12 05:16 PM Re: How do you make friends? [Re: Smalltown80sBoy]
Magellan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/31/10
Posts: 1402
Loc: California
Thanks for your response, guys.

Smalltown, to answer your question, I discovered after coming to MaleSurvivors that I'm apparently attracted to people who are victims of CSA, and do not yet know it. There's a certain characteristic and quality in the face and eyes that draws me to them. And they typically have a short lip line and arched eyebrows. But there is a certain quality in the eyes that draws me to want to get closer. I realized that all the friends I've had in the past had intimated to me at one point or other they were molested as kids. One of them never told me but I suspected he was too.

Yeah, I don't give a rats ass about any of the 'reality tv' shows. I much prefer science/tech shows, discovery channel, Nova, and the deep investigative reports about the sciences and sometimes history. Most gay guys I meet prefer to remain pretty engaged in talking about all the pop stuff going on, I can't relate.

So now you have my curiosity about your deep thinking capabilities.

Originally Posted By: Smalltown80sBoy
I have a similar situation because I'm a pretty deep thinking and could care less about Honey Boo Boo or celebrity breakups or whatever. I don't read People; I read Plato.

I don't have anyone in my life I can count as a real friend outside Male Survivor, but friendships that lasted tended to enjoy movies as much I do. I'm a movie nut. That's about as pop culture as I get.

Have you thought about why you are physically attracted to people you are trying to befriend? I don't think this is too uncommon, especially with gay men. I had three friends who tried to get me into bed. Two asked once, while another was kind of obsessed. Which is weird because I was kind of a whore back in the day, but at the same time I wanted to have at least a few people in my life where there were sexual boundaries.

Right now I don't really have much in the friendship department because I self-isolate, but I'm working to change that. I talk to John about a lot of things, but sometimes it's nice to have a best buddy to discuss relationship problems or just talk about life or whatever. I never really had that, not with anyone who was physically present in my life.
_________________________
It's a heroes journey, and you are the hero.

Loving Kindness Meditation will dramatically improve your spirits; give it a try for just 3 days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz7cpV7ERsM

Top
#413677 - 10/19/12 05:18 PM Re: How do you make friends? [Re: Magellan]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
What's a Honey Boo Boo?

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#413680 - 10/19/12 05:31 PM Re: How do you make friends? [Re: Lancer]
Magellan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/31/10
Posts: 1402
Loc: California
Thanks Lancer,

What is "PYT?"

I've been doing 12 step for years. Never felt safe in AA rooms, and had multiple melt downs before realizing I couldn't feel safe there. Alanon was a much better fit, and so I've been working 12 step in alanon for the last 3.5 years.

I have practice a lot with doing fellowship with people in alanon. Lots of going out to coffee and restaurants. Many times accepting I couldn't hear when too many people were around. Hearing in meetings is often difficult, depending on the acoustics of the room.

So what I learned from the experience after close to a dozen 'friendships' come and go, is that I'm really not all that interested in most people. Boring. I couldn't connect, in spite of my best efforts, and after trying and trying and trying. Hosting movie parties, getting together for social engagements outside of meetings. Lots of fellowshipping. And I never developed a any real interest in anyone.

Ari (the guy I just dated) was a VERY interesting dude. He had my rapt attention because of how funny and intelligent and insightful he was. It was the first time in 8 years I clicked with anyone like that, and part of the reason I was so ripe to fall in love with him. I hope that I didn't creep him out, because now I can see I would regret not having a friendship with him. No clue how to make that happen, given everything that just happened.

It has been extraordinarily difficult to even meet people I find interesting in the first place. Am I that judgmental? God.

The last time I experienced "just talking on the phone for hours" relationship was when I was a teenager. I've never had that experience as an adult. The last time I had a friendship with someone where we hung out all the time, it was completely dysfunctional; I was physically attracted to him and trying to manipulate the relationship to turn into a sexual direction. I was fairly successful at it, and lost the friendship in the process. I decided to stop pursuing friendships based on physical attraction alone.

But for the last 8 years, I couldn't find anything in anyone that I was genuinely interested in, until I met Ari. And all those 8 years was tons of participation in 12 step meetings and fellowship (AA and Alanon). I've made dozens of "friends" and hung out with hundreds of people. But never encountered anyone in those rooms (I live in San Francisco) who really interested me the same way Ari did. And you know the recovery community in SF is **HUGE** Before I met Ari, I was beginning to wonder if I was interested in people at all anymore.

I appear to be moving on from this heart ache and taking what lessons I can from it. I'm still heart broken, and now lamenting and wondering if I'll even be able to salvage a friendship from it.

I hope all of what I'm saying makes sense, and that I'm not saying too much. I feel entirely stuck BECAUSE of my fucking hearing loss. If I didn't have the hearing issues, doing fellowship with larger parties of people would be an absolute blast, as evidenced by my prior experiences in bars where I could hear everyone.

I wear hearing aids, and am in the process of trying to upgrade them, but so far haven't had much luck. Still working on that. But the hard reality is, hearing aids don't correct for everything, and there are serious limitations.



Originally Posted By: Lancer
Knowing you as I do D, you gave me a good chuckle about being able to HEAR in the bars. One thing I love about you is when you put an ironic twist on something like that. Very kewl in my book.

I'll tread delicately on this one, but it's nevertheless an issue. What can you do, if anything, about the hearing loss? How, for example, do you handle it in meetings?

Another area that was a surprise for me was that I just naturally developed hang-out buddies in the meetings. A group of us would go for coffee/food afterwards (terrorize a local greasy spoon), eventually doing non-program stuff other times, like biking, etc. Some of the best memories of my life.

Years later - some like me have moved on, a lot of us have died - one of the guys remains my best friend...brain the size of a planet, too (MY hyperbole contribution!). He's a thousand miles away and we see each other every few months. Same sense of humor (i.e., Felix Baumgartner's "unreleased" audio ), plenty of email and calls out of the blue at 2am that go on for a couple hours.

Ummm...yeah, 13th-stepping was sometimes unavoidable in my experience. Hell, we were in our 20s-30s and horny! Ours were rather large meeting (AA, Al-Anon, ACoA) and solidly in the Traditions because we had a good mix of long-timers. If you could find a home group like that....

When I moved, no, didn't find quite the same quality of friends. The mindset is different here. So I can relate to the frustration.

My other bff isn't in a program. He's a body builder fr the UK and ours started as a professional relationship to help his business. I was seeking a new small biz client. Addressing your physical attraction issue, to be frank, I find him physically repulsive. But he's smarter than hell and I have to work to keep up with his classical education. We're such damn opposites, but we add to each other in so many ways, I can't count. And he absolutely respects my limitations (HIV, fatigue, the current shingles crap - I've felt like sh*t all day thankyew, etc.).

The clincher. I don't have a formula for you. The whole thing Just Happened over the course of a couple years.

What I will say is that there are certain basics to any relationship that take time to develop. Trust. Respect. Honesty. The latter is the toughest for me because it means I sometimes have to share that I'm not perfect or that I'm scared or that I feel stupid. I suppose a barometer is whether I'm comfortable having my best friends see me at my worst and knowing they won't judge me on superficial sh*t. If the house and I are in ratty shape, it's okay for them to come over anyway, perhaps needle me about it, but then they'll try to find out what's wrong and be an ear.

I'll draw a contrast with a friend of ten years with whom I shared interests in cars and car shows, trying out a new restaurant or nightspot. He started on a midlife/codep crisis a couple years ago that's too involved to note here. I was willing to be an ear for a while, but it's completely warped him and has killed our relationship. Point being, sometimes friendships come and go.

I don't know about where you are in the Golden State, but in my gayborhood the PYTs are a dime a dozen. By definition - usually - they're everything you'd expect. Shallow, superficial, immature, stupid as hell...as they should be at that age. My crowd, if you will, is older guys with whom I bond on some level that doesn't involve trying to recapture our lost youth, being bitter old drunk queens, or being lecherous old men. They're just guys. No agendas. We just enjoy each others company.
_________________________
It's a heroes journey, and you are the hero.

Loving Kindness Meditation will dramatically improve your spirits; give it a try for just 3 days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz7cpV7ERsM

Top
#413681 - 10/19/12 05:36 PM Re: How do you make friends? [Re: Magellan]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Glad you're in SF. imo, you have people in the community with BRAINS.

PYT=pretty young thing <----an 80s term ;-) Hell, it's MJ



Movie parties? Ohgawd, put Turner Classic (Davis, Crawford, et al) on a nice large panel and I'm your houseguest for life!

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#413682 - 10/19/12 05:40 PM Re: How do you make friends? [Re: Magellan]
Magellan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/31/10
Posts: 1402
Loc: California
See? I miss these simple cultural references! People look at me all weird when I miss these references.

*Cry* (i'm being hyperbolic).

And sorry that I haven't been responding to your shingles problem. I've been reading the thread, and the comics as well, but haven't known what to contribute other than to offer my condolences. But when you're creepy and emotionally a wreck like I am, it doesn't seem to matter if offering my condolences offers anything at all, so I stay silent.

I have a very very very mild case of shingles, and it just represents itself as an itchy back and sometimes I get small dots/spots. Entirely dependent on how much stress is in my life.

I wish I knew how to find those people with brains who are as interesting and fascinating as Ari is.


Edited by Magellan (10/19/12 06:37 PM)
_________________________
It's a heroes journey, and you are the hero.

Loving Kindness Meditation will dramatically improve your spirits; give it a try for just 3 days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz7cpV7ERsM

Top
#413683 - 10/19/12 05:46 PM Re: How do you make friends? [Re: Magellan]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
"Hyperbolic"? That's MATH D. Wrong discipline. Yes, you blew it {{{{Magellan}}}}

Now, I know SOME people might think I'm creepy and an emotional wreck, but, golly, you didn't have to do the comparison. I'm MUCH sicker than you. Besides, Halloween's a couple weeks away yet. LOLOLOLOL.....

But I never take anything you say or don't say personally. I'll just sit here and watch my poor leg waste away while you're having fun....

Ummm...couch comfortable? Have a place for my DVDs? Fridge full? I'm a Really Good houseguest.

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