How Can I Get More Social?
Q: I have this bad habit of not keeping in touch with people over the years, and those I do keep in touch with, I hardly hang out with. I have been either too lazy to plan something, or, quite frankly, I don't feel like socializing or mingling with people, unless I am highly motivated (I go with what I feel at the time). I feel that I have lost all desire for fun with other people, but when I do go out, which is rarely, I do have a lot of fun. My question is, how do I get out of this low and re-invigorate myself? I feel that this old childhood and young adolescent habit is interfering with my desire to cultivate existing relationships and form new ones. Is there something fundamentally wrong with me? -- Ben, 24
Dr. Susan: You sound pretty much like an introvert who doesn't need a huge amount of social life, but who believes he should be out there more. It's true that if you don't make some efforts, you're going to spend a lot of time alone, and when you feel like being with friends, there won't be any left to spend time with. Some people only make the effort when they feel like it at the moment, and such moments don't come around often. Others plan ahead and make the effort to keep whatever plan they've scheduled. As an introvert myself, I like the planning method. If it's on my calendar, I'm less likely to blow it off, even if I'm feeling lazy in the moment. And whatever the plan is, it almost always turns out to be fun and worth the small effort. So, no, I don't think there's anything fundamentally wrong with you from what you've said. But as time goes by, your way of doing things isn't going to get you what you want. Think of what you have as "social block." You have to push yourself to get out there, but once you do, you're just fine.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.