Fear to get close - even Pets remind of ex

Submitted by Dal_alb1980 on
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is this common? I am almost 40 and trying to date after a long time , scared of getting close to anyone. I even worry that I will not like the other person's cat- it reminds of my ex- since I am not a cat person? How do I learn to let loose, to be emotionally vulnerable again?

So . . . Don't Date Already!

Sorry, just imitating my mother - text doesn't do it justice.

What I'm trying to say is, ease into it. Don't put a whole lot of pressure on yourself. Forget the performance anxiety that comes with it. Find a group you're interested in and join it. Go to group meetings and talk to people - both men and women. No pressure. Don't worry about asking anyone out, just enjoy yourself.

I didn't use to be good in social situations. My wife remembers my relatives' names better than I do. For example, I was once at a charity function. I was kinda hanging out at the fringe of the group, too shy to talk to anyone. The magic moment came when I saw this completely lost look on the face of the person standing beside me. I realized that she was feeling exactly the same way I was. Suddenly it dawned on me that I'm not actually the only person in the world who is shy in social situations. So I reached out. I told her that I was new and didn't really know what was going on. She said she was too, so we shared a smile, introduced ourselves and shook hands. I asked her what her interest in the group was (it was a charity) and she told me about a family member. We got to talking. We didn't exchange telephone numbers. I never saw her again after that, but talking with her was a great way to spend the evening.

How's that for a first step? No pressure. No expectations. Just get out there and do something fun, as long as it involves talking to just one stranger.


Yes, start small.

As a teen, I was shy. When I started attending church, the pastor at that time told me, "Very few people will come up and shake your hands, especially strangers. If it's going to happen, you'll need to initiate it."

For some reason that stuck with me and I would watch for people, especially people I didn't know, and make an intentional point to go shake their hands. Probably unusual for a sixteen year old boy. But I did. And while I'm still not the most outgoing person in the world, I learned how to relate to people, develop friendships, and feel comfortable talking with almost anyone. Which came in handy when I became a pastor. (I haven't been one though for thirteen years, though.)

I've noticed that most of the people in this group tend to be introverts as opposed to extroverts. At least that's the vibes I've picked up from reading. I'm one. I recall that the definition on the Myers-Brigs test is that an introvert gains energy when alone, and spends it with other people. Extroverts gain energy while socializing, and spend it when alone.

Are there any extroverts on this list? I'm wondering what the difference affect of all this is on an extrovert.

ENFP - that's me!

Hi Cole,

Per Myers-Briggs, I'm a dyed in the wool


individual, although the first time I took it, I self identified as introverted. When you talk about energy, I find I need both: social time and private time. My writing happens when I'm alone and I desperately need that time. But my ideas often come in conversation. I think you're right, though. Many members of this list are Introverts (not that there's anything wrong with that)!


Took the test once

but I don't recall the exact mix I had. But it did confirm I was an introvert (no surprise there, I could have told them that before the test). But the definition it gave of introvert and extrovert I felt was a good "objective" way to do it. And it did nail it for me. I enjoy being alone, it regenerates me. Doesn't mean I also don't want to be with people, but I do expend energy socializing. It can tire me out.

I'd probably be perfectly happy as a single, but I'm used to married life. :)

I feel the same way.

I feel the same way after coming from a bad relationship. Although, its not a matter of my social skills (as I love socializing) its more that I have trust issues. I'm more extroverted as I have no problems talking to people, but say if I'm in a the wrong mood I avoid people, I want some time for introspection. Other than that I can talk to just about anyone without fear...I usually start the conversations. However, when younger I used to be very shy and very quiet...and it took some work to get to where I am now. But, he's right I'd just take my time if I were you. That's what I'll be doing for future.