Hello, I need to be noticed.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-07-2003
Hello, I need to be noticed.
11
Wed, 07-09-2003 - 3:28pm
I am new to this board and am in need of support. I am 38yrs old, happily married with 2 great kids. Moved out of my home state so the kids could get to know their Grandparents (who never visit, BTW). Alone in a new state with no friends or family. Poeple just say hi.

I have struggled with self esteem since my earliest memory, about four. I have some personal success' but continually feel invisible which makes me angry, bitter, sad, sorry for my self and ultimately unable to take risks for any success, at least at this point in my life. I am able to have internal dialog all these many years and understand that my disfunctional family has nearly everything to do with who I am today including all of my insecurities. I don't understand many things about people around me, however. Am I the problem? Somehow sending messages or do most people tend to be aloof, impersonal, uninterested in making friends. Is this just how society is? If you didn't go to school with someone or grow up with them, they don't want to be your friend. I can say hello to anyone with a smile, have no problem starting up a conversation but folks act as though they could care less about getting to know me. They are all very polite and that is it, period. I don't have bad breath and my appearance is not hard on the eyes, so what gives. Even my DH's family won't give me the time of day. They continually talk to each other about people and places that they know and leave me out of the conversation entirely. Frankly, I think it's rude. This reminds me of high school. Remember the cliques? The popular kids, the nerds, the band kids, etc. What am I? A serious, deep thinker, people pleaser, health nut, super mom, friendly, smart, generous, loving, appreciate life. Will someone be friendly to me. Be honest, tell me if I am the problem. I don't have a mom or a girlfriend to talk to. My DH loves me, I don't want to burden him anymore as he just wants to protect my feelings. "Oh honey, you're great; there's nothing wrong with you". Great guy but perhaps he is just saying it. But most importantly, he does not have answers as to why people won't be friends. Please help. Thanx.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-1999
Wed, 07-09-2003 - 4:46pm
Hi, mind if I ask what state you are living in? That might shed some light on the situation. I do know what you mean. Some cities are not the friendliest. My area tends to be somewhat stuck up. Even though most of us are adult clicques do still exist. My office has them. There are the jocks on the softball and volleyball teams, the younger employees who MUST go to happy hour every week, the execs who all sit together in the cafeteria, it doesn't end after we graduate from high school.

Can you sign up for a class, even an arts & crafts class, cooking? Something fun where you can meet people? There has to be a way to meet people. We all go through this from time to time. I recently lost my good friend/lunch buddy at work to another job so for the time being I eat alone. I'm sure I'll eventually find another friend here at work but for now it is sad, I still miss her.

Please come back here and visit. We'll try to cheer you up and give you ideas.

Hugs,

Ben

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-07-2003
Wed, 07-09-2003 - 4:59pm
Hi bennie99, I currently live in Nebraska moved from Arizona where I grew up. I was different than most people in Arizona and feel that this is why I did not make friends there. And here I go to the health club four days a week and know people's names and shoot the breeze in between sets but that's it. I have found that folks are completely fulfilled with their lives and are uninterested in making any new friends.

I plan to volunteer more at my kids school when my youngest begins kindergarten. I have helped out with various school activities and run in to ladies at the grocery store, we greet, shoot the breeze about something for five minutes and move on. I volunteer ocaisionally at the retirement home and it is strictly business, everyone is busy there. I am involved with my son's cub scouts. I hold den meetings, go to other den meetings, nearly all of the scouts activities (i.e. camping, picnics). I attempted to fit in to play groups and it was always the same thing, they talk about people and places I know nothing about. It seems pointless when you keep trying so many things. People are polite but simply do not call. Even my DH's family. Why can't they call just to say hi. I use to do that when we first move here but stopped when they would not return my calls. They only call DH when they need help with their computer. I remember a friend in Arizona who did the same thing. She ask to speak to my husband and I said "oh, I thought you called to talk to me" she was put on the spot and said "yeah, I did" but after a minute she asked to talk to him again. That was that, I am not stupid; I can take a hint. So what is wrong with me??? BTW thanks for discussing this with me....

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-1999
Thu, 07-10-2003 - 9:14am
Hmmm, that does sound like a difficult community. I think the problem is we all lead such busy lives that it's difficult to stop and do things like make new friends. We get into routines and keep on going until something disrupts that routine. I remember, right after 9/11 people were much more friendly and cordial to each other. Now, we are back to driving like maniacs (I remember not hearing anyone lay on their car horns for almost a week after 9/11), running ragged from here to there and barking at each other.

Can you start a support group for new people in town or one to remind people to be friendly to each other again (sorry, just being sarcastic).

I don't know Nebraska at all, I'm in Connecticut, it could simply be that the area you live in is not the friendliest or doesn't take quickly to new neighbors. I don't want to generalize about people in Nebraska, but that is a possibility.

The only thing I can recommend is keep volunteering and getting out there. Eventually you have to meet someone and strike up a friendship. Can you find a bulletin board here on I-Village that is local to Nebraska? I don't know if one exists but that may be a way to meet someone who is friendly and wants to make new friends.

About your DH's family, I don't know what to say. They sound a little insensitive to me.

Keep checking in here, someone might have great ideas or even live nearby. Hang in there.

Hugs,

Ben

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 07-13-2003 - 12:06am
The hard thing about trying to make friends as an adult is that it IS more difficult. Over the years people develop a circle of friends and they are less likely to reach out to other people or to admit new people into their friendship circle. At work can you ask people that you work with out for coffee or lunch to see if you can develop new relationships? Over the years my friends were usually people that I had worked with.

I know that you are involved in a lot of your son't activites and that brings you into contact with other parents. When my son was younger I used to arrange play dates for him and I got to know the parents of his friends, but the focus was primarily on our children and their relationships, not on getting to know each other. Some people are so busy with their kids that they don't have time to focus on anyone except the people that they already know.

Like Bennie suggested it might be better to try activies that focus on your own interests.

Is there anything that you have a real interest in learning or doing? It helps to do something that you have a genuine interest in, then you have something in common to share with the people that you meet in the class or activity. At you gym is there a community buletin board? Could you put up a notice that you're looking for a workout partner? Or if you notice that someone seems to be really experienced on using a particular peice of equipment could you ask them for their help or if you could workout with them? Does you gym offer aerobics classes or is there an aerobics studio in your neighborhood? People tend to take the same class on a regular basis so it's a good way to become familiar with a group of people who are in a shared activiy.

The good thing that you have working for you is that you ARE outgoing. With me when I was younger it was hard for me to make friends because I had difficulty feeling comfortable when I was around new people. Reaching out to people doesn't seem to be a problem for you. Just remember that if other people don't respond the problem isn't YOU it's THEM. Some people really aren't responsive to getting to know new people, but that doesn't mean that everyone is like that. That's the good thing about being involved in activites with people that share a common interest. When I used to take dance classes the same group of people were in the class every week. Over time I got to know people and we would go out for coffee after classes or go to dance concerts together. When I went to dance concerts by myself I would frequently start a conversation with the person next to me about the concert. I met some really interesting people that way. Sometimes it was just a conversation or sometimes if both of us had planed to go to a future concert we might meet for coffe before the concert. When you are participating in activity where you share a particular interest with other people it offers more opportunities to approach people and receive a positive response.

I guess the most important thing is not to give up. If you keep reaching out to people in different situations eventually you will meet people who are responsive to getting to know you.

Hope this helps.

Renee

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-07-2003
Mon, 07-14-2003 - 3:21pm
I think I have it figured out. So much said in this discussion is accurate such as people being so busy. I have been doing lots of ready regarding my self asteem problems. First issue at hand is why do I feel so alone or invisible? Being brought up without any parents or parental guidence makes this issue an obvious no brainer. Then, not having friends or family to pat me on the back or feed off of any motivation for anything continues it. Now, giving 200% to my family which everyone knows is a thankless job. Being a mom I mean.

I have no career, no co workers, no degree, I am cinderella. AT 13 living in a field, eating out of Kentucky Fried Chicken's garbage to marrying a wonderful man and having two healthy, bright children. Some might say, count my blessings and being a parent is the most important job, one that I should be proud of and should feel some success from. After all, I could have gotten been a drug adict or worse but look at what I have accomplished.

All that being said, after reading, I realize that self esteem is something that needs to be fed to the mind just like food is important for muscle or energy. I realize that I truely am alone and need to be soley responsible for feeding my mind. I have no family. No mother, father, brother, the in-laws are self centered and self consuming. My DH is great but was brought up by self absorbed people and does not know how to help me.

I need to get job so that I can interact with people. Most importantly, I need to stop puting som much expectations on people. I seem to expect people to be interested in talking to me on their own. They are not. People are in their own world. Polite mind you but not interested in new friendships. That's that. I will have good days and bad days. This problem of mine will take years to resolve if ever. Maybe I will always feel like an island in the big world.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-1999
Mon, 07-14-2003 - 3:33pm
You've brought up some good points. A job might do you good. Even a part-time job might introduce you to new people. Don't give up on people yet. I have faith that along the way you will find some new friends. How about a group/organization for people new to the area? It sounds like you are feeling better about your situation. Keep checking in with us and we'll pat you on the back. We all need a pat once in a while. We want to know how you are doing.

Hugs,

Ben

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 07-14-2003 - 9:11pm
I was raised in a family, but they never were atuned to my emtional needs even when I tried to ask them for help. My mother was pretty self absorbed and the only time that I got her attention was when I won an award for something. One I pretty much learned that I needed to earn plenty of awards. It had always been hard for me to make friends, so I've pretty much felt alone for my entire life. The one thing that I've learned is that you may only have a few people in you life that you feel emotionaly close to, other people fall into the category of people who you share interests with.

You said that you wnat to feed your mind and that's a great place to start. Think about if you had a choice, and you do, what if the most interested thing in life that you want to learn and try to find a way to do it. Is there anyhting in your life that you feel you missed out on? Can you find any way to make that a part of your life?

You are right about motherhood. We try to give our children 100% of our and attention, but giving to other people is not enough. We need to find a way to nuture ourselves. How can you find a way to care for yourself, not because you can't depend on other people, but because you want to make the same investment in caring for yourself as much as you care for you children.

Being alone does not necessary mean being lonely. If you can find something in your life that you can be passionate about, aside from your family, then you might feel more fulfilled and less lonely and it make lead to bringing other people into your life who share the same passion.

You're right that you can't passively wait for people to come to you. You have to actively reach out to people if you really want to make contact with them.But the place that you might start is to think of what kind of people that you want to share your life with. Do want to have relationships with other mother's? What are you interested in? Do you want to share your life with people who might have common interests? Are you religous? Do you want to share your life with other people who share your religion and beliefs?

What is important to you? How can you bring that into your life? How can you find things that make you feel a sense of fulfilment apart from you desire to connect with other people? One of the important things in life is that you need to find ways to take care of and challenge yourself before you can think about connecting with other people. Right now you might want to focus just on you. You can't build a bridge to other people until you have made a journey into your self.

Sorry to have gone on so long. I don't want this to sound like some zen spritual stuff. But I really do belive that instead of feeling like you're alone and because of that you have nothing in your life. You need to find something, other than motherhuood, other than your husband, other than family or friends,that you can feel passionate about and to fill your life with that passion. People say that when we're old we can look back over our lives and regret the things that we never tried to do, or we can look back and say that our lives had meaning because it was full of things that we felt passionate about. What is your passion? What has meaning for you, just you, apart from other people? How can you make that a part of your life?

I guess the thing that I really mean is that you need to take of and connect with yourself brefore you think about connecting with other people.

OK, I'll shut up now. I hope you found something in this that might be helpfup.

Renee

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-07-2003
Mon, 07-14-2003 - 10:00pm
Hi Renee, Thanks for your post. I do have many passions, people still seem to be stand-offish. I love the outdoors; fishing, camping, hiking, climbing, running. Not many women enjoy these things. Most women really enjoy shopping, decorating, arts and crafts. Nothing wrong with either interests-just miles apart. You can see why I have difficulty. I am a five ft tall size 2, with six pack abs. I am passionate about fitness and food.

I have been told that it is my apearance causes problems too. Not only because I am small and fit but my face is serious. If a person could have an aura around them, mine would be serious. I grew up around junkies shooting up, little girls smoking drugs, women aborting babies for a form of birth control. I cherrish life more than ANY person in my life. I am sooo passionate about life and giving everything that I have to my loved ones. This shows through, I'm sure. I can't help it, life can be taken away so quikly and people around me are taking life for granted. I see selfishness and cruelty every day, and it frustrates me. You could say it is one of my pet peeves. Yes, I do feel alone. I believe that God gave me these experiences to someday help children. I want to work in social services but am afraid of being hurt. These children can be very angry and can turn on you. I have seen it.

You are right though about being with people like me. However difficult it is to find women who love being out doors, I plan on volunteering more when my youngest goes to kindergarten this fall. I volunteer at the local retirement home but plan on doing more. I enjoy volunteering, not to make friends but I think that is why I was born. I remember talking to God when I was 13 and homeless, saying that I would help people someday. For right now though, it is all about helping my children be the best they can be and helping my DH open his eyes more and appreciate his family and his own life. My time is coming, but it is not here yet. I plan on going back to school but I want to volunteer at my children's school more to support them in their education. I wished I had a mother who did that. I have big plans but wanted more than anything to be a stay at home mom while my kids where home. My kids are both in school and my life will change yet again.

I have talked more here than anywhere at any time. You all have shown interest in me. Thank you, I don't feel invisible anymore.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-1999
Tue, 07-15-2003 - 9:04am
These are just a few things that came to mind as I read your last post. Since you are fit, like the outdoors and like to volunteeer, how about volunteering at:

a youth center - either to help them appreciate the outdoors or to help them stay/get in shape or try to get them involved with volunteering for their own community

a nature center - you can lead hikes or help set up camping trips

or

finding a job at a:

health club or women's only gym

nature center

or

going back to school for a health/nutrition degree or something with nature, conserving the environment, the possibilities are endless.

I think you are on the right path to finding friends. Stick it out a little while longer. I have faith you will meet people with similar interests.

Hugs,

Ben

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
Wed, 07-16-2003 - 9:45am
Hi all,

I have never posted on this board, but I am a regular on the anxiety and panic board. I have realized lately that I think a lot of my anxiety is probably caused by low self esteem and lack of confidence. But I wanted to say that I know exactly how you feel, netlady. I moved a year and a half ago to find a better job, and it has taken me this long even to make one single friend. I have tried really really hard, but for some reason, I always feel left out. I don't necessarily think that people are cold, but I do think it helps to meet people who are like you. I too am not the "typical" girl. My boyfriend says that makes me special... I don't like to wear fancy clothes or talk about make up and guys. I'd rather go for a hike or work in my garden. And I have two close friends who are just like me, and I think that's why we are friends. They appreciate and like me for me. I think if you are able to find people like that, through the ways ben suggested, you may have more luck.

But it is not easy making friends. It doesn't happen over night, it takes time. And I have found that it happens when you are not trying.. all of sudden you realize that you have made a friend with someone, and you dont know how. I took a psychology class once, and the teacher used to always say that relationships are formed when people are in close contact with each other... for example, with people you see every day.





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