Feeling Like You Don't Fit In
I am worried that I have Asberger’s or a personality disorder. I was homeschooled by my parents from grade 4 through my senior year. I had a few good friends who were also being homeschooled and so that was OK. Now, I am off away from home at college and I am having a lot of trouble making friends here.
I feel like I just don’t have a good understanding on how to interact with my peers and anything I try to say just comes out in a very bad way. Like my roommate’s friends were over last night and they were teasing my roommate about some girl he’d hooked up with and I tried to get in on the fun and made a joke about the STD’s he probably has now – and they looked at me like I was some killjoy and pretty much left the room after that. They just think I am a freak. It just seems like everything I say comes out the wrong way and as a result I have zero friends to hang out with after a few months already in. It really sucks. I am tired of being such a social idiot. My parents say that it will just take me some time to get used to hanging out again in a group of people my own age, but I am starting to wonder if there is something more wrong with me. How can I know if I am just not a likeable person or if there is reason why I can’t get a read on how to act with the people in my dorm?
David Johnson Says ...
What an awful feeling it is to feel like you drive people you want to know away. While, you can't verify that there is something wrong by an email, you can find out by seeing a counselor. I think, though, it's more likely that its just lack of experience in dealing with people your own age. Either way, the solution is the same.
The best way to get more social experience and confidence is to jump right into social activities. Start slowly, saying only things that you know are safe. Ask others about themselves, avoid joking about things until you are sure it will be well taken. Share only safe details about yourself.
Humor is a real challenge for someone without experience in social activities. What is funny to you may not at all be funny to a lot of people. For example, the example you give, your joke was a little too close to reality. Since it's unlikely that his new girlfriend has been tested, he may well have been exposed to something and he just doesn't know it yet. Recognition of a denied serious problem could indeed bring hostility towards the one that pointed it out.
If you'd like a more sheltered approach, you could ask a counselor about a therapy group. Group therapy is by far more effective in building social skills and self-confidence.
I wish you the best.