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#413703 - 10/20/12 01:46 AM Re: How do you make friends? [Re: Magellan]
Edward2 Offline

Registered: 09/30/12
Posts: 17
Loc: Maryland
Magellan: Congratulations on being a good listener. That makes you among the top 1% of the population in terms of communicaiton skills. Very few people truly listen, understand, and reflect. It sounds like the missing ingredient is caring about what the other person is saying. Listening is an empty strategy if it doesn't come along as part of caring. We all know [or have experienced] too many therapists who have figured out the technique of listening but really could give a shit about what we are really saying both in our words and in the feelings that we are conveying.....Your first book was about "winning" friends; the classic Dale Carnegie book which basically tells us how to have superficial non-relationships. But we both know that it's not about winning friends or influencing people. It's about caring about other people, getting outside of ourselves and trying to establish a level of empathy that will eventually lead to intimacy...I think that real friendship is incredibly precious and rarely happens. Most of us find people with similar interests who are engaged in similar activities and we develop a common bond. But that bond can easily be broken if someone moves away or just moves on. Real friendship survives goes beyond that. Real friendship takes alot of work. I doubt if many of us ever have real friends. I believe that it is too much to plunge in and expect to have intimate friendships. We need to take it one step at a time. So my advice is similar to that of your sponsor: define some interests and try to find a place where other people share those interests and begin with conversations that will initially be at the surface and then may move into deeper territory.

I say all of this as one who has also had few real friends. I'm not sure if it is the CSA or other episodes or events that have kept me from establishing the level of intimacy that we are both looking for. And there are days that I give up and decide that I'll just retreat into books or movies or porn. But then the next day comes and I pledge to try again. I suppose that is why I am on the computer on a Friday night and will probably be on the computer on Saturday night....but what the fuck: I'll keep trying.

#413742 - 10/20/12 01:46 PM Re: How do you make friends? [Re: Magellan]
Casmir213 Offline

Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 851
Loc: Northeast, USA
Hi Magellan,

Reciprocity, mutual fulfillment, enjoyment, similarity, balancing talking versus listening. These are words and phrases that describe friendships to me. I think that interest in the friendship develops as our needs are met within the friendship and as they begin to just plain "feel good" to us. I think what first attracts two people to each other, whether it's a relationship or friendship, is a comfortable or natural feeling that each gets when they are with each other. From here it has the potential to grow into a true relationship/friendship.

The question that we, as survivors, should ask ourselves, in light of our past and how we may have built up strong defenses against being hurt/betrayed again as adults, is "How do I not push people away in the various ways that one can push another away?" To answer this question we first have to identify the particular behaviors/thought patterns/beliefs that we've developed that function to push others away from us. No easy task! Once we've identified these behaviors/thought patterns/beliefs, then it's a matter of stopping them or not letting them control our ability to be intimate or connect with others. Again, no easy task! This is not to say that I'm blaming survivors in general or anyone in particular for doing the "pushing away". I'm simply recognizing the fact that this is an area where we do have some control, responsibility, and ability to change things for the better. It takes a closer look at how we interact with others and the role we play in our isolation.

The other question that we survivors should ask ourselves is "How do I not give up on myself and/or on relationships (when I'm in one)?", because we will struggle with relationship/friendship building. The answer to this question is simple, and one which I'll borrow from Dark Empathy, "Sheer Persistence". Keep trying and never give up. Friendships take work to sustain. They develop to deeper and deeper levels over time and with shared experiences. And it all starts with a desire to want or a need to be in a friendship or relationship.

Just my contribution to the conversation,

I see recovery as a lifelong journey rather than a final destination, a journey, though, which can have many successes along the way.

WoR Alumnus - Hope Springs, OH, October 2009

My avatar is the farmhouse at the Hope Spring, OH WoR. It's a nice place.

#413796 - 10/21/12 11:07 AM Re: How do you make friends? [Re: Magellan]
Dragon Boy Offline

Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 29
Loc: uk
This might not be something you're up for but if your deafness is a big issue in this why don't you look for friends in the deaf comunity. I struggle to communicate too. My problem in some ways is opposite to yours - I'm mute. I also have very limiting physical disabilities. I find sometimes its easier to talk to people who are disabled in some way. It gives us a shared point of reference and often a shared perspective.

I also find using email, message boards and text to build friendships works best for me to take the focus off what can be conveyed through sound.

Having said that...I struggle with making friends too so maybe my advice is not good.

Good luck to you mate.


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