5 3

I am trying to figure out if I am taking my introversion to a dysfunctional extreme. Recently a (former) friend told me I lacked relationship skills and should seek counseling to change that. (I've been in counseling a LOT and am not sure I am ready to go back again, but I will if it seems definitely necessary.)

My response to my friend's accusation is to decide to withdraw from social activities as much as possible. Figuring, if in fact I AM bad at relationships, let's limit my negative impact as much as I can by dealing with only a very few people. For one example, I don't want to try to make new friends.(I don't currently have a lot of friends in my life so that's probably not a wise decision.) For another example, my extended family on my dad's side has a yearly reunion, which I send out the invites for. In the past I have been involved in setting this up and doing research on family history. I really want to NOT go to that reunion this year, partly because of my newfound desire for seclusion, and partly because I feel less and less in sync with most of my family (that's due to politics, and not the topic for this discussion).

I feel there are so few people I feel a connection with. I am demoralized by where this country (U.S.) is heading, I am apparently unable to communicate with or interact appropriately with others, and I just want to shut down and retreat to my home as much as possible. Am I overreacting here?

citronella 7 Aug 24
You must be a member of this group before commenting. Join Group

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account


Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.


You should do exactly as you want. If you are content, don’t worry about the expectations of others.

tamz Level 1 Oct 7, 2019

You don’t need the approval of your friend and you certainly don’t need to change for a single person. However, yea I’d say this social isolation measure is extreme which you should consider going back to counseling for.


Read your bio . Wish you lived closer . I think you'd be a perfect friend .

Cast1es Level 9 Aug 25, 2019

Is this the same "friend" you posted about in the past, who said you failed to meet her friendship needs and called you a narcissist? If so, I think you need a different friend. If you have a friend who spends time telling you that you are bad at things (unless it is baking a chocolate cake or quilting) and that you have mental disorders, I don't think you should hang on to them as friends.

As to overreacting, yes I think if you isolate yourself further because someone said you don't have "relationship skills" you are not reacting appropriately. I can't say what your "skills" in this area might be. Maybe you don't attend well to the emotional needs of others but maybe your "friend" is overly emotionally needy. I've dealt with people like that before and if you do not spend much of your time focused on their life, day-to-day stuff, their wants, their frustrations and everything else about them, they take it as you are not being a good friend.

If you are concerned about whether you have adequate relationship skills then perhaps this is something to discuss with a therapist. Before that you could sit down and write down what you think a "good relationship" involves. This would be with anyone although more intense relationships will by their nature involve more things. To me, an important part in any relationship is equality. You get things from the other person and you give back to that person at roughly the same level.

This includes the simplest relationships, like one between you and your hairdresser. You follow protocol, showing respect by making an appointment if that is what she expects. You show up, you exchange pleasantries with her and chat amicably while she does your hair. When she is done, you pay her for her service and bid her farewell. Obviously, a friendship requires different interchanges but the same principles, you give them attention, listen to what they say and respond warmly. You offer advice when they elicit it, sympathy when they are sad, understanding when they are upset/angry. In exchange, they give you the same kind of attention.

Spend some time figuring out whether you actually fail to do "your share" in relationships you may be in. Assess whether you are actually doing any harm to others with any missteps you might make in a relationship. There are times in any relationship when things are not exactly right but that doesn't make it harmful to the other member. If you attack the other emotionally, in cruel, hateful ways when things are going poorly, then yes that is harmful. If you constantly and consistently refuse to listen to their woes, their highs, their lows and seek only to focus on YOUR needs, then yes, your skills need improving but I doubt you are conducting yourself in that manner.

Not to bring politics into this but look at Trumps interactions with people. His consistent treatment of people who don't praise and adore him or at least pretend to do so. This is someone truly, woefully lacking in relationship skills. If you conduct yourself like he does, then run, don't walk to a therapist and hope for help. If, on the other hand, you sometimes engage in relationships that take a negative turn or are not always equitable, spend time working on ways to change that rather than isolating yourself from others even further.

As it is, aging brings with it more isolation and retirement increases it further. While introverts value "alone time" and have less need for social interactions than extroverts, isolation is different. Isolation takes away support systems, it promotes depression in the elderly, it can increase disease processes. Look for ways to increase rather than decrease your social/emotional supports. Stay involved with family events, just avoid getting "cornered" by the members who are all about politics/religion or other uncomfortable subjects. Look for ways to find more people who share some interest with you, find places you can offer something, volunteer, whatever will expand your social options while still allowing you control over "obligations".

DotLewis Level 7 Aug 25, 2019

Thank you very much. There is a lot here to think about, and I will do that.


I am an extrovert, but recently I have quit being as social as I have been all my life. I am not worried about it. I am comfortable with it. If you are comfortable with it, don't worry about it.

Sticks48 Level 9 Aug 24, 2019

Just curious -- what led you to your decision to "limit" (for lack of a better term) your extroversion? If it's something you would rather not discuss, forget I asked.

@citronella I'm still an extrovert. I will talk to strangers or crack a joke in an elevator. For all of my adult life, when single, I would go out almost every night I wasn't playing. I always loved bars. Being a fulltime musician worked out well for me. In the last few months I have really gotten comfortable, in fact looking forward to being at home alone. I think a lot of the going out was about being afraid I would miss something. Who the hell has relationship skills? It's a crapshoot. You get lucky or you don't with the relationship thing. Are you a recluse? If you don't mind my asking.

@Sticks48 I think I am on the edge of recluse-dom, or however you might phrase it. I am a college professor and I didn't teach this summer, for the first time in almost 30 years. I had tons of unstructured time on my hands and probably went out only once a week, maybe twice. I didn't mind, for the most part. (In the good news/bad news dept., there is a service, Shipt, that will pick up and deliver to you the groceries/other items you have ordered through their app. They partner with Target and with local stores as available. So I didn't even have to go out for THAT.) I am probably just over-reacting to my friend's (angry) accusation.

@citronella Maybe so. If you are comfortable with your life, that is all that matters.

Write Comment

Recent Visitors 48

Photos 740 More

Posted by KilltheskyfairyIntroverts can never unite, unless remotely…

Posted by KilltheskyfairyIntroverts can never unite, unless remotely…

Posted by KilltheskyfairyIntroverts can never unite, unless remotely…

Posted by FrostyJimWorks for me...

Posted by FrostyJimIt is all about perspective...

Posted by FrostyJim...and I like it under here?

Posted by KilltheskyfairyThis happened to me at the car dealership…

Posted by KynleiPerfection.

Posted by KilltheskyfairyLooks right to me…

Posted by AppleriverBest plans ever…

Posted by KilltheskyfairyYeah, he was…

Posted by KilltheskyfairyThey spoke to me…

Posted by KilltheskyfairyThey spoke to me…

Posted by KilltheskyfairyThey spoke to me…

Posted by KilltheskyfairyThey spoke to me…

Posted by AppleriverCame across this and I really liked it. It’s spot on for me for the most part

  • Top tags#friends #video #world #god #religion #hello #religious #hell #hope #Atheist #relationship #money #anxiety #cats #truth #reason #kids #book #introvert #dogs #humans #children #Bible #church #fear #lonely #mother #Song #beliefs #memes #wife #books #guns #animals #laws #sleep #Christian #Friday #movies #media #faith #sex #parents #community #evidence #coffee #TheTruth #earth #DonaldTrump #government ...

    Members 1,902Top