How do I start living life?

I am 20 years old and have been going to an engineering college in the Southeastern United States for the past two years.

I am a commuter student. This has severely hampered my ability to make friends or get to know people on campus because I can only really pop in there for the duration of my classes and then head back home (which is about 15 miles away). I have never been a fan of playing sports because I have never been any good at them.

I have been trying to look for a job around where I live...as an unskilled young person with essentially no previous experience and no real references to vouch for me.

Also, I am a virgin. I've never even kissed a girl before. I am not willing to hire a prostitute because from every account I have ever heard, that does not really change anything besides the size of one's wallet.

In recent months I've improved my appearance with vigorous exercises and changing to a more stylish wardrobe. I am by no stretch of the imagination "fat" like I used to be, though I still think I am most of the time. I am told that I fret too much about my appearance, or that I have the bodily self-image of an anorexic. I call BS on that. I am not anorexic. I don't skip meals.

The only times I really have any fun are once every couple of years when I visit siblings who live abroad and once every couple of months when my two best friends from high school come back here for a few days whenever they take breaks from their college classes. I've only ever been to a single party at my college and that felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for somebody like me. It led to nothing.

The only person I've lived with for the past ten years is my dad. And he's gone through a lot of personal shock and has just been working a home business where he doesn't really have any constant circle of friends or acquaintances around him either. I was separated from the rest of my family at an early age. I don't live in the dorms on my campus because of expense reasons.

I've spent basically my whole life watching others have more fun and get more real-world exposure than me. I feel like I am waiting to actually start living my life. I was under the impression that college was gong to be better than high school, but now I am actually wishing that I could go back to high school. At least then I had three or four people I could call my friends. When I see on Facebook that people I knew, or at least saw a few times, in high school moved into their colleges' dorms a couple of years ago and now have lots of good times to tell stories about...well I honestly want to snap their bloody necks because I have *zero* stories to tell about wild, crazy fun times I've had at college. All of *my* drinking is done alone in front of my computer playing games on Steam or with myself.

To boil things down, here is an average day in my life at the moment...
Wake up-----Work out------Commute-------Classes------Home----Get hammered and please myself-------sleep

I've tried to join a clubs on campus but none of them have panned to anything worth remembering because they either haven't been that interesting or they have been disbanded for various reasons. I am very hesitant to join any club on-campus that involves physical activity like HvZ, Nerf club, or some similar sport because I have a serious mental block about physical competition with others my own age due to my extreme ineptitude in the past with sports.

When I say I am no good at sports, I am not exaggerating. It's not a case of "oh he lags a little bit behind so he might need an extra push every now and then, but otherwise he is competent." It's more like if I am on your basketball team, you team *will* lose. You will lose so hard that your head will explode in a shower of gibs and every member of your family will spontaneously combust. At least that's the impression I got from middle school sports; I haven't tried playing any sports since then because no-one has forced me. I keep fit with stationary bikes, ellipticals, weights, treadmills, etc. The only kind of recreational physical activity I have enjoyed so far has been martial arts. I haven't had much practice at any of the styles, it's just that I prefer hitting people to hitting anything else.

How do I break all of this? I ask that no-one give me any religious answers.

Wow man, let me see what can I say to help.

If you are still having trouble with living life, just ask me more. I'll do my best. Once again, hope I helped.

There's nothing wrong with you at all.
Yes, you sound a little isolated, but there are ways around that. You said no religious things, so joining a church is out. How involved were you in the clubs you joined? Did you actively participate, or just show up? If there isn't a club you're interested in, you could always start one yourself. The more effort you put in, the more you'll get out.
Also, you could get to know your class mates. Maybe suggest a study group to go over the material outside of class? The more relaxed atmosphere would allow for conversation.
As far as work, a job's a job. Take whatever you can get for now, but keep your eyes open for other opportunities. (Coworkers are great for socialization, some of my best friends are former coworkers. And when job hunting, it's all about who you know, so get to know people.)
As far as being 20 and a virgin. Trust me, it's not that big a deal, you're still young. You do realize that teenage boys are stupid and exaggerate their sexuality to look cool, right? First get to know some girls as peers and classmates before you worry about that.
Then again, you could just accept that it's okay to be a quiet, reserved person. I'd say your only real problem is your outlook.
Just accept that you don't have to be a social butterfly, sports suck, and college is about learning, not getting sloshed with a bunch of brain-dead frat boys.

Again, it's all about A) your attitude, and B) How much effort you're willing to make to put yourself out there.
As schmaltzy as it sounds, just be yourself. Don't waste your life worrying about how much fun you "could" be having.

The most important thing you need is confidence. That comes with experience, and practice. Living 15 miles away isn't that big a deal. Start by saying hi to whoever you sit near in your classes, and then see where it goes. The worst case scenario is that you don't hit it off with them, and you have lost nothing. Once you build up your confidence, everything else will become a bit easier, as it makes you more attractive and more employable. You just need to force yourself to make the first move and break the ice a few times.

Other posters have given some good advice, just going to chime in with a warning about the drinking. Nothing wrong with drinking, just watch the reasons you do it. Be especially careful if your family has a history of alchoholism, or addiction in general. You don't want to use booze as a way to kill the pain of feeling alone, and you don't want to use it as a crutch to feel social. You can take it from me, or anyone else that has walked down that road. It's not a healthy place to end up.

As soon as you get an engineering job you will make tons of cash. Then the women will flock to you.

Being 20 years of age and has not have sex is great! It means your not an idiot like all the stupid teenagers thinking that knocking up girls and ruining their lives before college is cool (sums up about 70% of the high school I went to). Trust me man, don't focus on that aspect so much. Rather, focus more on trying to be as independent as possible, getting a good job, and then work up to something you want to do. Find a passion and pursue a career in it, plus education is important to. Just focus on those things first before you even consider getting romantically involved.

You know, there's no set rules. There's no checklist going "You have to have done A, B, C and D before your age is X in order to get your 'has a life' badge". You know how I made my first friends in university? In one of the pauses I waved a deck of cards around, asking if anyone's in for a game of tarok or two - and all I was hoping for at that point was a game or two, but then we started playing regularly after classes and hanging out, and all.

Basically, do stuff you like doing, and since "you're never the only one who...™" chances are, you'll meet folks who share interests with you, and take it from there.

As for sex, well...that's simply too hyped. Yes, it's an enjoyable activity, but it's not going to make or break your life, as long as you don't obsess about it.

But I've always heard that the older you get the harder it is to learn things and make new friends and lose your virginity. I am depressed now in anticipation of things that may depress me later. Does anyone else do that?

I wish my parents didn't always tell me that I wasn't the musical type. Then by now I would have learned at least one instrument and from there I might have lost my virginity two, perhaps even three years ago.

I have heard that you really can't learn to make music from scratch at my age (20) unless it is with certain instruments like the guitar. I tried the piano three and a half years ago for a few weeks, mostly looking down at the keyboard as I was playing the keys and not even with proper sheet music. I couldn't get my hands to properly coordinate the bass clef with the treble clef. That angered me. I figured that since I was a reasonably good typist, piano/keyboard should be a cinch to learn. I gave up trying to learn piano and haven't tried again since.

I also tend to believe that negative events outside my control or understanding are always my fault. I take the blame for Hurricane Sandy and the Kandahar massacre and the Nigerian floods, all of it. I feel like I am the sort of person who deserves to be responsible for bad things. My dad tells me I have unresolved guilt issues from his divorce with my mother. I think my theory makes more sense.

I used to cut myself. Then I figured that that would leave too many unsightly and likely permanent scars on my skin, so I turned to hitting myself with blunt objects. I used to do the head, but I realized that would risk brain damage, so I went exclusively for the torso. I decided that organ failure was not a bright prospect, so in recent weeks I have turned to self-flagellation. It seems I have found a good way to go about it.

I get to have the pain I deserve, with no marks on me to betray my habit to anyone else. I am paranoid about taking that precaution even though we are approaching winter here and since I have never had a sex partner, no-one sees me with any of my clothes off.

This is the part where you call me a crazy person. Go ahead, people. I will wait.

I've taken to going to local meetup groups for geeks and introverts. I've had some minor success but I haven't found a crew of regular friends to hang out with, just the most casual of acquaintances (good enough to be Facebook friends, at least). More importantly, though, I have yet to find a sex partner in these groups. I will keep going, though. Whatever gets me away from myself is a good enough activity in my book.

I am told to not act so desperate, but I am not really sure how to do that. Socially speaking, desperation and starvation are kind of what I am used to.

In the past couple of months I've entered social situations that Me From Last Year would only dreamed of entering. And by that I mean I kept up a few coherent conversations with members of the opposite sex and looked them in the eye at least part of the time. For me that's equivalent to learning how to use the Force. Or climbing Mount goddamned Everest.

You've been making a big deal about your virginity. May I ask why? Sex is a wonderful feeling, but it's definitely not something I would rush, if I were you. On average, I would say the amount of people who regret their first time greatly overshadows the amount of people who feel positively about their first time. I have to disagree though on getting old. Old dogs can learn, as they say! I know elderly people who are learning about iPhones, Tablets, how to interact & communicate in this generation, & so much more. Also, I do not believe that age is proportional to how much sex you will have. If I had to say what it is, I'm pretty sure it's time. Younger people may find themselves with more free time, whereas the older, working individual may lack the free time to do certain things outside of work. There's a plethora of variables & factors to consider here too. Who you know, how well you know them, what your sexual preferences are, how often you are desiring of sex, where you live, who you live with, the list goes on and on.

Try your best to fight that negative self-blame. Logic works best, in my opinion. Logically, you can't cause hurricanes. Now if you could, I'm pretty sure any other issues would be of lesser concern at that point. Something like that there. Feelings tend to make people think very oddly. Whether it be about themselves or others. It's a problem I would say most people have. If having sex is a primary goal for you, then I would suggest fighting off this mind set as well as the self harm you do physically to yourself & continue on your efforts of social situations. If you manage to find someone, wouldn't you want to be in a positive, moving-forward mindset when you have sex for the first time?

I hope this helps. :)

Man stay away from Facebook and other popular sites. They espouse the same garbage that teenagers are supposed to eat up to conform.

Problem being that the advise is useless and even harmful to those who don't as they're made to feel, as you do, like they're doing something wrong.

It's hard, I know it is, to find real and unshakeable self-confidence. My advice is to take some time away from the external negative influences and simply do what you like to do. Even if it's by yourself. Find out what makes you happy. Remove any possible sources of criticism (they're wrong anyway) and just enjoy the activities.

Please?

Try to find some like-minded individuals in college (Even 2 more people should be enough) and use every opportunity to hang out with them whenever in college and not during class. Once you all get to know each other, Offer to go to a bar, or any other social activity you are comfortable with, that requires you to be outside of someone's house. Once you get used to be around people and become a little more social, finding a girlfriend should also be easier.

I base this on my own life experience. Your experience may vary. Good luck!

Yeah. I have a social outing to go to this weekend, a movie marathon with a local group of geeks. Should be fun I guess.

I don't like hearing news of other people being happy and in love with partners, but I try to pretend otherwise so I don't look like a jealous asshole.

Does anyone else get the feeling that there is something just...*wrong* with you? Like you were born with a part of your brain missing that everybody else seems to have? I get that all the time. Especially when I am expected to be social.

When I am alone for long enough I start to feel cavernous and dead inside. Like hope is pointless and depression is the only logical thing in the world.

All day I walk around with the unease that our privileged, First World, industrial civilization is fragile. There is a long supply train to deliver even the basic things we take for granted. It keeps me from enjoying the now, the fact that at any moment all of this ease and convenienec and privilege could suddenly end. And mind you, I am not the religious type or the nutcase conspiracy type. I just have a feeling that if worst ever comes to worst, I will be responsible for the end of everything.

That is another reason I am deathly afraid of taking any form of medication. What if nuclear war occurs tomorrow and I can't get my Prozac? The only way I can think of dealing with that involves a shotgun and one shell. There is no reason to survive in such a scenario.

Actually that's my plan to escape almost anything.

I've thought often about what would happen on the other side, if anything. Since I am an atheist I choose to believe that I will be greeted with nothing. A lot of religious types see that as a horrible fate, but I would prefer it to any alternatives. There wouldn't even be any "me" to be aware of the fact that there is no more "me". I suspect that I would regret not leaving behind enough positive memories for others, or works of art for others to appreciate to gain an insight into the way I used to think.

Almost everything someone else does that you only hear about through Facebook etc. almost always appears much more interesting than it actually was. The grass is always greener... You sound like me, a person who doesn't believe they've really done much yet in life. And you watch as others seem to be having a grand ol' time. It may just be your/our attitude. Things that seem really mundane to you, might seem great to someone else. "We had so much fun partying all night" (imagine that was a better example) might actually mean they sat in a cafe all night and ordered coffee while chatting with friends. To them that is the greatest thing ever; but if you did the same exact thing you might think that all you did was sit in a cafe... I wonder what all the people "actually living" are doing, probably doing something equivalent riding a Rhino-Raptor Hybrid.

Remember that people try to present the best version of themselves on Facebook (well, sometimes). It happens in real life too; people embellish ordinary happenings in conversation like they were once in a lifetime experiences. I'm no good at stuff like that, but I think that's why it appears as though you're "not living" by comparison. Some people are "living the dream" but I think most are just content and excited about their lives, no matter how lackluster or ordinary someone else might judge them to be, and that causes their lives to appear more interesting than yours and mine. You can look at it two completely different ways and it's still okay. 99% of us aren't remarkable, so it's okay to just be content with your life--no pressure. Some also say, and sometimes I agree depending on where my mood swing is hanging at the moment, that all of us are special and precious in some way.

Just like my mother always told me, about 4,000 times, it's all attitude. She's probably right. I'm no good at it, but she's probably right. So the solution is to magically transform your outlook on life! Good luck, my friend. I really need to magically adjust my attitude too; I hope we both feel better about our lives soon. I'm considering going back on medication, because I've been doing better lately (I've struggled with it for about 5 years now), and maybe the pills will help me finish it off and remember how to feel "normal" again.

I struggle with depression, social anxiety and negative thinking too. Right now, I'm in one of my rare better moods though. Hopefully, what I said somehow helped you maybe. Keep talking to people, even if just through forums and the internet. I think simply talking with people, bouncing ideas off them, is the best way to gain perspective and form a psychological base to reach better levels of mental health. It'll be slow, but try to break it up into baby steps, posting this thread was a step. See, you can do it, just keep going.

Another idea: It may sound clique, but helping others really does help yourself. If you do it enough, or even infrequently but in large amounts, it really helps you lose track of your own problems. Also, it's really hard not to feel good about yourself when you're done. I haven't really helped anyone much at all recently (beyond the perfunctory), and I've been thinking about doing some charity work (it could be something unplanned too, like snow shoveling an elderly neighbors porch). I've done some charity workish things in the distant past and I can't recall ever regretting it. Finding the motivation to start is the hard part though. Maybe wait until you happen across a decent mood period--like I just happen to be in now--and use that brief window to do something before you bog yourself down with negative thoughts of inadequacy for the job etc. Just an idea, manual labor does make it hard to dwell on negative thoughts if it's arduous enough. It's kind of meditative for me, maybe it'll work for you? I find it difficult to be numb to the world after I've physical changed it, even if only temporarily. These feelings are fleeting, but maybe if you do it often enough you'll overall slant your outlook to the more optimistic side?

I came out of my shell about two years back but I didn't really do it alone a good friend of mine helped me along. Very outgoing popular guy someone I didn't go to high school with.

Basically the best advice I can give to you is get out of your comfort zone it makes people lazy and shy. It takes time, I felt like a horses ass half the time but overall there are not drawbacks to acting more confident and walking around like your having fun and not just going to your next class or study session. You have to give up that mental block in your head that says either i'm awkward or I'm doing something wrong.

Reading your posts... damn. I could probably write most it myself when I was 20. But I think it took me a longer time to sort it out. As I got older I starting loosing my mind and growing so angry that I could overcome many of the problem you're currently facing. But I had to wait a while and I now realise I didn't really have to wait. I might recommend therapy - pills do fuck all for me but the therapy is interesting. It's just too bad I put if off for so long with so many excuses (you know the ones.)

I went to university when I was 22 and I did have a good time at first. But then isolation and depression starting getting worse as the years rolled on. Can I ask if you're depressed? Reading on I get the impression you are.

I will say that you should do something about this now before the years pile on and it gets worse (like it did with me.) It's never too late to sort it out of course, but you'll go crazy if you're not careful. I say throw all caution to the wind and... well, drink more. Horrible advice I know, but go to your locals and drink. Invite some folks. If you don't know folks, ask to hang out with someone in your classes and try to make time. See a film or a gig. Just simple stuff. No worries. Start out here and come back to us to report.

And bollocks to sports. Fuck sport and fuck anyone who likes it.

But I know that burn of envy. Oh boy do I know it. I know how hot and bright it can get. I still know. I know how bad and guilty it makes you feel. I also know it won't go away. Keep fighting my brother and PM if you want.

I'm a 20yr student as well. I currently only have about 2 people I would call true friends. You sound similar to me.

I'm in the routine of go to class, go home, game/study, sleep, repeat.

The start of this semester I said to myself this sucks. I'm a very private shy person. I decided that was the first thing to change. I talked to the other students, being very friendly etc. I'm getting along with 3 other students. I hope they turn into a long term friendships. I would start there. I won't be easy. I naturally just wanted to keep my head down and work.

Spend more time at the college. Study in the library etc. This gives you more opportunities to meet and talk to people. Just yesterday I spent extra time studying after class and was invited out for drinks with a few other students. Going to a bar is way out of my comfort zone but I decided to join them I ended up having a really good time.

If anyone takes an interest in being your friend you will probably need to break your comfort zone quiet a few times. That's a good thing. I've done it more this semester then probably the last 5 years. Now I have a few good stories.

Start a study group. The semester for me is finishing and we have exams. I asked the student I got along with if they wanted to study together and they all jumped at the idea. We have studied 2 or 3 times now I believe I probably only passed one of the exams because of it.

Another thing to break the routine. Go overseas. Before the semester started I spent a month overseas. It's a short term change that helps break the boring routine. Does your college have an exchange program? I found mine does and I'm considering it. Probably won't do it because I just spend a ton of money on my holiday before the semester. Something you should consider.

Have you ever thought anything like. Skydiving sounds like an awesome idea? Then never got around to doing it? Well try it. Or maybe just try something someone else suggested. Like archery. That's a sport you don't need to be a fast runner or be tall and be able to jump high for that. There are a lot of sports people never thing about when they think of the word sport.

Being passive and shy didn't work for me. I tried it for 20 years. Sounds like it's not working for you. If you be active and be the one trying to form the friendships you will be much more successful. It doesn't mean you're pretending to be someone you're not or changing who you are. I've told the students I've meet I'm not that outgoing. They were surprised but understanding. After that I have returned to who I normally am around them. It hasn't affected how they see me.

I know it's basically what everyone else here has said but hopefully I added something to the advice here.

I agree with what BeeGeenie has to say on this. You must follow his advice and see the changes. May be that can help. O r else i may advice you to master your skill in martial arts. That can help you a lot.

McFlabbergasty:
snip

Based on what I've read, here's my take on the issue:

The biggest enemy that somebody with an emotional disorder faces is their own mind, and I contend that you have an emotional disorder. You are taking issues that are relatively insignificant to "normal" people, and twisting them around and around in your head until they paralyze you.

You can come up with a million reasons why you can't make new friends, meet a girl, whatever else, but the end result is that you have to make the decisions for the outcomes you want. Coming out of high school, I was pretty shy, and that made me feel bad, so I made myself to start talking to people everywhere. Most people are so self-absorbed (especially with cell phones these days) that they won't go out of their way to talk to you anymore than you usually do to them, but humans like to socialize, and after a hundred boring two minute conversations you might end up meeting a unique and interesting friend. Friends beget friends, and suddenly you'll have a cool group to hang with.

An emotional disorder makes this really hard, and I would suggest that you consider seeing a psychologist and also a psychiatrist. Psychologists will look at how you perceive things, ie all the reasons you have for NOT meeting people, and help you develop knew ways of looking at your life and making decisions. A psychiatrist will give you meds, and BELIEVE ME, they can work - I've been in mental places at least as dark as you, have been hospitalized multiple times, and I am happier and more successful than I have ever been in my life because of psychiatric medication. Go to the psychologist first. If you're a college student your school probably offers this service as part of your student fees, and take their advice about pursuing medication.

A friend once gave me great advice. I asked him how I could start feeling better about myself, and he said it was all about daily choices. You have to start making yourself make the choices for the outcomes you want, and soon enough, you've done a bunch of things you are proud of, which encourages you to do more things.

In terms of forming relationships with people, I believe that we regret 100% of the choices we don't make, so you have to start making the choices that could potentially lead to good things, rather than avoiding those choices because of a long list of hyperbolic fears. Anxiety is funny in that the fear of bad things happening is always far worse than how you feel if the things actually do happen.

 

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