Don't be a loner, everybody needs friends

Dear counsellor, lately everybody around me at school has been saying I am anti- social and I love to isolate myself.

Dear counsellor, lately everybody around me at school has been saying I am anti- social and I love to isolate myself. The truth is that growing up, I always liked being alone and having my space. I don’t enjoy having company, but this makes me push people away.  My peers at school now fear me or may be even hate me, and I don’t know how I can be social. How can I handle this situation?  Yours Flora

It’s true that some people have an ‘open’ personality while others are more reserved, simply because not everyone is open to socialising or can connect with people easily. However, it’s important to note that most people like to associate with cheerful and funny individuals with whom they can crack jokes. There really are tons of ways to meet and freely interact with people both within and outside the school environment. You’re surrounded by thousands of peers, most of whom are enthusiastic to meet people like you, plus, you have more social skills and positive traits under the surface than you give yourself credit for. With the right mindset and exposure you can really make a difference in your confidence.

Start by doing little things; like developing good social skills, saying hello to your friends at school, and generally being nice to people, or helping those in need if you can. All you need to do is go to places where people are, and then talk to them. Similarly, take the initiative to hang out with people you seem to share interests with and see where the friendship goes.

If you have a cruel past, the only way to exonerate yourself from that bondage of bad past experiences is to open up and share it with people. Being human requires social interaction because you’ll need the help of people at one point, it could even be lifesaving. Every person needs a sense of belonging, and the essence of this is favourable for establishing a good outlook on life.

Although being honest and loving towards people is not an assurance that they will reciprocate, it servers better if you play your part. Of course things won’t work out with everyone, but at least some will eventually become your friends. Don’t feel like you have to force yourself to hang out with people, but it may be easier to start from scratch and then take it to a higher level. You’ll find that they too have touching stories to share. Tackling issues with high self-esteem will increase your desire to socialise more often. Get out of your comfort zone and begin to make friends. You will benefit greatly.

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