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24 Nov 2004

Confusing problem
Hi all,
This is actually such an embarasing problem and I have NO idea how on earth to sort it out!!
I have a very serious problem with making friends. People tend not to notice me for some reason.

I'm 27, normal size 10-12 (depending on the weather... ha ha).
Anyway, and I have long dark hair which I wear tied up or loose.
I don't wear make-up very often, but ocassionally.
I look like a normal average person, I don't have a disease or anything and when people have met me they usually say to my husband 'oh, what a pretty wife you have'. I have a round face and my cheeks go rounder when I smile. Kiddies love me, I have a round friendly face - I'm the rounder version of Angelina Jolie to give you an idea (and shorter, with not as round 'upper chest area...). Ok, that's covered.

And I'm generally a cheerful, helpful person. I help people wherever I can. The thing is people at work will invite me for coffee at lunchtime - ONCE. People get to know me once and they kinda back-off, politely, but the hint is clear. I just can't seem to keep anybody's attention. I work as an admin assistant and I'm not threatening to anyone in anyway. I wear normal clothes, not designer cleavage-popping outfits with a mini anything. And I'm a mother of a beautiful boy (who seems to like me, thank goodness).

Now, this problem hasn't just been in my work life, but in my personal life too. People are friends with my husband more than me, he;'s totally cool with any person from any walk of life. He'll make friends with a waiter/tress within seconds of us going to coffee together. He just has a way of putting people at ease and people smile at him, but people hardly even look in my direction...
Help.

Some people say I speak too fast, so I tried to slow down. My conversation topics are normal (fashion / music / movies, industry-stuff, I even remember the odd joke, etc). What on earth is actually wrong with me? I'd love to know so I can start trying to work things out.

I saw a psychologist, but sometimes I think I'm seeing him because I have no other friends to talk to. So I'm embarrassed because the poor guy can see I don't have a life-threatening mental condition, I just need attention - and at R250 / hour, its not cheap.

See why it's such a terribly embarassing sittuation? I feel like a little girl telling my daddy and mommy that nobody wants to play with me.. boo hoo. I know other people have more serious problems, but as I get older I feel that this is getting worse and I don't want to be socially isolated. I absolutely luv people's company, but they don't feel the same way about me
Any ideas would be so much appreciated.
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Sounds a bit like that song in Chicago, the guy who sings about being "Mr Cellophane" who nobopdy notices !
You sopund like a very nice person, with a social anziety disorder or shyness problem. Over Christmas or maybe sooner, I hope to finish (if only they can stop asking me to take on other extra duties !) the reviews of the self-help CBT books, and there's what looks like a useful one on shyness and social anxiety, which might help you a lot. Have you thought, meantime, of getting involved part-time with a charity of some sort, helping people with problems ? You're not so likely to feel awkward when being useful and helpful there, and also usually meet nice people among fellow volunteers.
Ms Thang and DG are so right abo ut the value of being a good listener. Too many people feel awkward in social settings, because they can't think of something brilliant to say, not realizing how little other people need to hear something brilliant from you -- but if you're a good listener, and make THEM feel brilliant, they'll love you for it.
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