First of all, if you do not have real-life friends and feel ashamed about it, stop and think for a second. Acknowledge your feelings of shame and discomfort from not having real-life friends. The feelings are okay to have because they have arisen from your circumstances. Now, after having acknowledged these feelings, you can move forward by making friends.
To make new friends, you need a regular amount of unplanned interaction with people of a common cause/goal/interest. This is why people make friends with coworkers and classmates, and why going to a workshop or volunteering event is the best way to make friends. People are regularly scheduled to meet up without the pressure of interacting and also share a common goal or interest like studying, learning, or working.
Moreover, since there is no common cause or regular interaction at the bus stop, people should not talk to random people at the train station or at the bus to make friends.
Board games are also great because they offer the same benefits as meeting people in a workshop or volunteering event. And they are time-limited so people are unable to play for extended periods.
Internet friends are not the same as real-life friends, but they satisfy a similar desire. Internet friends can be as authentic, supportive, and validating as real friends, but there is no way to show physical affection like real friends.
Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter used to form emotional bonds with people. Physical affection such as hugging or cuddling causes oxytocin to release that makes people feel connected to each other. You can't create oxytocin artificially from yourself. This is the biggest downside of having internet friends.
For example, people that are on the internet more often can struggle with social anxiety because they do not have enough social interaction. As a result, when they talk to their online friends, certain parts of the brain are not activated through this interaction over the internet. Therefore, the parts of the brain that interpret body language remain inexperienced and people feel that the people they are interacting with are judging them, instead of being reassured by body language.
The relationships that we form through online gaming can be very authentic. The fact that the internet blinds you to the qualities of a person that would normally draw a lot of judgment from other people in real life, is fascinating.
On the internet, your race, socioeconomic status, attractiveness, and other such qualities are not immediately visible to another person. In contrast, the real world is incredibly judgemental. If you walk into a room with a fleece that has the Harvard logo on it, you will get the respect that you may not deserve simply because of the institution that you are affiliated with.
The real world can be racist, shallow and judgemental, whereas when you meet someone on the internet, they might tell you to go to hell because of the person that you are and not because of the color of your skin. Their anger is not blinded by race, ethnicity, or any other such quality.
Gender is an interesting exception because it can create a lot of bizarre and toxic mechanics online.
People on the internet judge their friendship with you based on what you say, how you act and how you play the game. In a sense, you are judged on a more authentic level than the color of your skin, your attractiveness, or what car you drive. On the internet, people tend to get valued for who they are instead of an attribute of their birth or their parents.
Relationships on the internet tend to be stronger than the relationships that you form in real life. That has everything to do with simple things such as geography. When you are in high school, college, or a workplace, you have a certain group of friends. This group of friends is a result of the environment that you are in at the time, and whenever you change that environment, that friend group changes as well.
For example, some of your friends from high school may go to college with you, but by the time you have finished college and are a working professional, those high school friends will be so distant to you that your relationship with them will have probably ended.
Online relationships are different because regardless of where you are in life, you can hang out with the same group of people over the internet. You can still play the same games together regardless of which school, college, or institution you are currently in. In that sense, online relationships tend to last longer and are more authentic compared to some real-life relationships.
The most important thing to understand is that relationships change over time, because the people involved change over time. You should not try to preserve or hold on to a particular part of a relationship because it will probably change as a result of the change in the people involved.
The best thing to do is to be proactive and understand what is changing. Don't wait until problems arise — be proactive, and talk about what is working and what is not.
When you talk to someone, it is not your job to spark interest. It is not your job to make the other person engage back. Your job is not to make them like you or get them interested.
You are like a street vendor who has a table of stuff that is laid out. Your job is to lay out the stuff on the table, and if they are interested, they’ll play the game.
It’s not about saying the right thing or the wrong thing, it’s about saying what you have to say. Put yourself out there.
There’s small talk, but there are also some questions you can ask. For example, “what was 2020 like for you?” That is a great open-ended question.
Show people who you are — if they are interested in that, they will engage with you. If they are not interested in that, they won’t. But you don’t want to GET them to spark interest and engage with you by being something that’s inauthentic. At that point, you’re setting yourself up for failure down the road. Be who you are and be authentic. Most people find that attractive.
When you are cognitively focused on enjoying yourself and being who you are, you have a good time and other people are drawn to you. On the other hand, if you try to be something that you’re not, you start living a lie. A lot of subconscious processing goes on that prevents you from being relaxed. You start to overthink and become less fun. Be who you are and let people choose to engage or not engage with you.
Ask open-ended questions, followed by an investigative response, and then a little bit of sharing.
Follow a 2:1 question:answer ratio.
Example conversation when you’re interested in someone:
“What was 2020 like for you?”
“Oh, interesting. You got a cat! Cool!”
“Tell me about your cat.”
“Awesome! Yeah, I’m deathly allergic to cats but, now it’s tough because I clearly want to meet your cat, and I’m totally into you, so do I choose allergies or continuing to shoot my shot with you. I don’t know!”
Try to engage with them around topics that seem interesting to both you guys. Ask open-ended questions.
Avoid asking questions that make people put on the spot. Questions such as asking about someone’s career, religion, etc can be boring or risky. Steer clear of yes or no questions.
If you’re really struggling, you can even go up to someone and say “For the last 10 minutes, i’ve been trying to think about how to strike up a conversation with you because I think you’re absolutely gorgeous, and I haven’t been able to come up with anything. Can you help me out?”
Be authentic! If they say “I appreciate the thought, but I’m really not interested.”, you can say “Okay, thanks for letting me know! I appreciate it. Enjoy the rest of your day/night” Respect people’s boundaries and ALWAYS ask for permission.
Even if you get rejected, you’ve made a world a slightly better place. You’ve made a person feel attractive or wanted by another human being. Don’t get too caught up in how its affecting you to notice the impact you have on the world.
Whether you do or do not something should not depend on someone’s feelings. You should not be responsible for controlling how someone feels. BUT this does not mean that you can be mean.
If things are not working out for you in the relationship, then you have a duty to let your partner know. Your duty also includes allowing your partner to be with someone that actually wants to be with them. Staying together can lead to passive-aggressive interactions and subtle resentment over time.
A lot of people live based on the imagined emotions of others. You do not know what the other person is experiencing. Yet, you imagine their reaction and their pain. You end up living a life based on your imagination of someone else’s reaction. Do not live your life based on this hypothetical feeling. Be honest with your partner and give them a chance to either solve problems or to make amends.
The friendzone starts with a lack of confidence. If you are interested in another person and you are afraid that they might reject you if you ask them out, then you will most likely exhibit some kind of avoidant behavior. You will not put yourself out there and ask them out.
While online relationships are very authentic, they also shape what gamers become comfortable with. Gamers are not used to being judged for the color of their skin, how much money they have, or their attractiveness. Therefore, when they start to move out into the real world, they feel exposed based on those qualities.
They feel like they get judged very easily, and that can be very problematic for them. When people who do not have many online friends move into a public area and are subject to the scrutinization and judgment that occurs in the real world, they feel used to it. Since gamers spend so much time online, that scrutiny starts to become very uncomfortable for them. They start to lose confidence in themself as a person. The more time they spend behind a computer screen, the harder it becomes for them to be confident in the real world.
They find it difficult to approach a girl when they find her attractive. All their deficiencies start to get highlighted in their mind and they do not feel confident. They think that the girl will reject them if they try to ask her out so they try to get her to like them more to increase their chances of the girl saying yes when they do ask her out.
Gamers start out being friendly and start to do things for her. They give her a ride when she needs one, they tutor her, and they generally try to cater to her needs. They start to be a nice guy. All the time, in their mind, this is towards the goal of getting her to like you. They start to invest in the relationship with the hope that they are going to get something out of it.
The kindness has this ulterior motive (which they can see if they are honest with themselves) of getting something in return. When the girl starts to date another guy, they start to resent him. However, they listen to her guy-problems and are there to provide emotional support.
At some point, all the sacrifices that they have made for her, and all the investment that they have made into this relationship start to build up. Eventually, the gamer asks out the girl. When the girl inevitably says no, for the reason that she thinks of him as a friend, that angers the gamer to no end. They have been friend-zoned and they hate that.
They become resentful because they never wanted to be friend-zoned. They invested so much into the relationship because they were afraid that she was going to turn them down at the beginning. When that investment yields no returns, it is so much more painful because of it. This causes gamers to be hurt and shatters their self-confidence. They become very resentful towards women and cause a lot of the toxicity that we see online.
The worst part is that when it happens once, it hurts their self-confidence, which prevents them from asking out the next girl, and the pattern repeats itself. The second time, gamers invest even more, because they feel like they need to to get the girl to say yes.
The girl thinks of them as a friend, because they have not made it clear to her that they want to ask her out. They end up being the "nice guy" because they want her to see their value. But to her, they are just a nice guy. Being a nice guy does not entitle them to anything, but they feel that it does.
Giving something in order to get something in return is dangerous. That is because when that relationship ends poorly, you will resent the person for it. If you are doing something out of the kindness of your heart, that is fine. However, you should not be expecting something in return.
Be honest about the way you feel towards another person, and be honest with them. If they reject you, that is okay. But the chances of them magically liking you if you invest in the relationship, are very small.
It is painful to think about, but see if you fall into that pattern. Are you someone who gives in order to get? Has that got anything to do with confidence? If it does, the solution is not to give more — the solution is to work on your confidence.
If you’re interested in meeting women, one of the most common pieces of advice is that you should just focus on yourself and the women will come. That is a good attitude. However, there needs to be a balance between focusing on yourself and actively seeking out a relationship.
The advice that you should focus on yourself is primarily for guys who focus too much on finding a relationship. They start to invest their time in one particular person.
Eventually, they get frustrated and go on their internet or to their friends for advice. Someone eventually tells them that they spend too much time on women and that they need to spend more time on themselves. They start to do that; they start to go to the gym, eat healthier, develop hobbies and as a result, start to become a more well-rounded individual.
This is where the conundrum comes in — whether one should spend time on themselves, or whether they should spend time approaching women. The answer is that it has to be a little bit of both.
Investing in a particular relationship with the hope that she is going to fall in love with you is usually a mistake. Additionally, waiting for the right person to just come along is not a viable strategy either.
If you find a person that you like, you should be authentic with them. People find inauthentic behaviour creepy.i.e when you try to be someone you are not.
If you want to ask someone out, just walk up to them and say: “Hey, how are things going? I have enjoyed being in the same class as you for the last couple of weeks and I would like to get to know you better. Are you interested in grabbing dinner sometime?”
That’s it. Just talk to them like they’re normal human beings.
Flirting too much is how you become a creep. You just need a little bit of flirtatiousness and a lot of authenticity.
You should focus on yourself most of the time, but if you find yourself at an event with a person you find attractive, you should ask them out. They might reject you, but you know that they are going to feel amazing that you asked them out, and you should feel good for making them feel that way.
Chances are that 50-60% of women are in relationships or not looking to date, in which case there is a decent chance that they are going to say no. But when you ask someone out, you should watch their face and observe their response to your question. See if you made them feel good by asking them out. This is important because if you come across as a creep, then chances are that they are not going to feel good from you asking them out.
First of all, understand what you really feel about this person, because its possible to be really good friends with someone and not be physically attracted to them, but not have a romantic component. We see that in platonic relationships all the time. Check if you are actually in love with this person.
Have a conversation with them. Say, “Hey, I care about you a lot as a friend and I find myself being attracted to you as well. Maybe there’s a chance for a relationship here, but at the same time, I also value your friendship and I don’t want to risk that.” Then follow that up with an open-ended question: “What do you think about that?”
Enroll them in your decision-making process, because we run into trouble in relationships when one person makes all the decisions. A solid foundation for a relationship is communication. Sit down and talk about whether you want to try the relationship or not. Recognize that you might be afraid of rejection, and notice that.
Sometimes we have these experiences in life that hurt. They can be very dehumanizing. At the same time, we may look at other people and see them being treated with value. That difference in treatment hurts so much that our mind has to come up with a reason for why people have treated us that way.
The idea that we’re not worth it is so painful in and of itself that we have to rationalize, justify, or excuse the behaviour of the person who wronged us. By giving that other person an excuse, we protect our own sense of value. However, that becomes maladaptive very quickly. Eventualy, we start giving people excuses for mistreating us, because if we give them an excuse.
We start to create these solutions where we protect ourselves from what other people do to us by giving them an excuse. That is dangerous, because at the end of the day nobody is doing anything wrong, and you are still getting hurt.
If you’re getting hurt, and nobody is to blame, then what do you do with that?
That’s when you end up stuck interpersonally with other people. It leads to trust issues and propagates unhealthy relationships because you’re not willing to blame the people who are responsible. Moreover, when you give them that excuse, you take away the capacity to forgive. You take away the capacity to move on from yourself, because if they didn’t do anything wrong, then what can you forgive?
You get stuck in this limbo where there is pain that you sort of defend against, but you hold nobody responsible. Therefore, you cannot forgive them because they did not do anything wrong. As a result, you end up stuck.
This especially happens with people in your life that you love because the more that you love them, the harder it is to accept that they did something hurtful to you. That hurts way more. The more you love them, the more you make excuses for them, the more it isn’t their fault. And if it isn’t their fault, then there is no need to forgive.
Except… they did hurt you, and you did get hurt. Another week goes by and they do it again. Overtime your hurt builds up.
It’s devastating because part of the reason you get stuck is that you cannot forgive. The solution is to accept and forgive, but you cannot do that as long as you deny that there is a problem. The reason you deny that there is a problem is that it hurts to admit that there is a problem.
In a bizarre way, if you want to start moving forward and forgive people, you have to start with blame. Start by holding other people responsible for what they do. Start by holding yourself responsible for what you do.
Then comes the hard part, because we’re actually really good at holding ourselves responsible and beating ourselves up. So when it comes to yourself, you need to do that second piece i.e forgive.
Assign responsibility, accept it, forgive, and that’s when you can be free. That’s when your relationships can get better. But you have to start by calling it what it is.
The things that we do to protect ourselves from hurt are the things that sign us up for more hurt down the line.
Most suffering comes from the expectations that people set for themselves. These expectations are based on emotions such as guilt, shame, and fear, which prevent people from thinking clearly. Yet, even though they understand this, people do not question the conclusions they arrive at using those emotions.
For example, people have moral compasses that tell them what to do, but emotions such as guilt, shame, and fear cloud their judgment.
If something happens to a family or friend, people expect that it is their responsibility to make sure that their loved one feels better. However, this is incorrect, because they have not considered whether they are the best person to aid their loved one. It is their guilt of not helping that has clouded their judgment.
One of the most difficult things for people to realize is that they are not always the best person to help out their loved ones. Although it is hard to hear, love is never enough. You can love someone as much as you want to but that does not mean that you can help them.
When Dr. K works with patients who have addictions, teaching this to the parents is the hardest thing to do. The parents who end up doing well are the ones that realize that their love is not the solution. There are resources, circumstances, and choices to consider, and the patient has to take responsibility for their own wellness.
Do not burn out because of love. Take care of yourself, so that you can take better care of other people around you.
If you are trying to save someone from drowning, it’s easy on the shallow end, but if you are in the deep end, it’s much harder, so first establish a solid foundation.
Although you may not see the effects of your support and love, that does not mean that it does not have any effect. Just because someone you love refused your suggestion does not mean you cannot help them. The most important thing to do in order to help someone is to have them know that you care, love, and support them. Your suggestions are a demonstration of care and love already.
What works even better instead of suggesting something, is asking them what the best way you can help them is.
“I know that X is hard, how can I support you? What can I do to help?” Suggestions can immediately lead to a “no” response, but an open-ended question can lead you and them to better alternatives.