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OCD and maintaining friendships

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Old 08-06-2007, 10:11 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: dallas
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aestuo HB User
OCD and maintaining friendships

I have OCD, almost to the point where it is debilitating...I have trouble speaking to other people unless I can speak to them one on one, and am very socially awkward in general, so I have a hard time communicating on a level in which I can maintain a friendship with people. I've also dealt with abuse in the past, so I'm rather weary when it comes to speaking and opening up with people. I'm also in a position in life right now, where I'm unable to go out and get myself into enough social situations to start making friends (although once college starts for me, that should make it easier to communicate with people).

I have trouble keeping friendships as well -- for many reasons -- for one thing, I'm not good on the phone (not to mention, I don't want to deal with large phone bills), and the friends that I do have live far I ask if they can keep in touch via e-mail or through instant messaging. I speak online as I would in-person, I'm honest about that...however, most of my friends that I do have are very social animals as well, and don't even bother using instant messaging or whatever...and I write my friends simple yet detailed e-mails, saying how things are going, how are things with them, etc...(trying to be a good considerate friend here), and they can't even be bothered to reply to e-mails anymore, or read what I have to write -- generally I get some one-word response that doesn't even pertain to anything discussed in the e-mail.

Another thing...when I am able to be with my friends or talk to them, they always try to push me out of my comfort zone, even when I clearly state what they want me to do or are talking about bothers me. For example, I grew up in an alcoholic family and one of my friends keeps trying to get me to start drinking now that I turn 21, and I've told her several times -- I'm never going to drink, ever, and the fact that she keeps getting me to try bothers me. I don't see what's so hard to understand about that. Either that or my friends often use me as a crutch if they went out and did something stupid, hooked up with a bad boyfriend/girlfriend whatever...oh I'm broke, can you loan me money and I won't pay you's like it's the only thing I'm good at doing. I present to my friends, online or offline what I'm doing research on, what I'm obsessing over, etc...and they always change topic to focus all on them, and what they're doing. It feels like a one-sided street. I'm usually by myself all the time anyways, so I'm lucky if my friends even give me a moment to talk about "me". I don't ever yell or lose my temper much...usually when something really upsets me I just go into crying fits...and then my friends feel real bad -- I tell them exactly and clearly why something upset me, and again, it goes over their heads...

Maybe my friends are just inconsiderate. I don't know...all's I know is I yearn to make friendships, and be able to make them last. I'm about reciprocation when it comes to maintaining relations with people -- what you give, you give back. If my friends can't even reciprocate with friendship, what's the point...I want people to care about, but I don't want to get walked on or feel used.

I hope this all makes sense. I should just go back to arranging my Transformers on shelves.

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Old 08-06-2007, 12:11 PM   #2
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Seven Hills, Ohio
Posts: 481
BadMalibu HB UserBadMalibu HB UserBadMalibu HB UserBadMalibu HB User
Re: OCD and maintaining friendships


Well, it sounds to me like you need to get rid of what you call "friends" and start making some new acquiatances! The point of having friends and relationships is to add something beneficial to your life, not depress you to the point of crying because you can't get an e-mail response or phone call back from a friend.

It sounds like your problems with friends is starting to feed into your self esteem, which in turn makes you feel crappy, which in turn will cause symptoms of OCD.

For me personally, I have alot of friends that are married or have children, and it's very hard for them to go out. Every year it's the same story. I call them to ask if they'd like to enjoy a relaxing afternoon of fishing, and they say, "no I'm busy." So I've set boundries and limits, which is what you need to do with your friends. They get 2 phone calls, one during the Spring and one during the Summer inviting them to go fishing. If they say no, I'm done with them. I'm not going to chase my "friends" around to go and have some fun, and you shouldn't chase people around, whether it's via e-mail or on the phone, that are not beneficial to you life.

If these people were your "friends," they would also understand that coming from an alcoholic background as you do, it's not advisable to keep pressuring you to drink.

I would ask your primary care physcian to refer you to a what is known as a cognitive behavioral specialist. A CBT is a psychologist that specializes in anxiety disorders, as well as other issues, and they'll help you to discover why you feel the way you do, and also help you to develop strategies to decrease the symptoms of OCD.

Old 08-06-2007, 07:24 PM   #3
Senior Veteran
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,151
seriousperson HB Userseriousperson HB User
Re: OCD and maintaining friendships

For me, it's hard to have friendships. But it doesn't sound like the things that stand in my way are causing you to have trouble with this.
You mentioned you're starting college. If you take classes in subjects which interest you, perhaps you will meet classmates who share your interest.
And class settings sometimes offer opportunities for one-on-one communication. Don't give up.

Old 08-08-2007, 07:36 PM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: private
Posts: 348
dannic1 HB User
Re: OCD and maintaining friendships

With me, the OCD has definitely put a damper in maintaining my friendships the way I would like to. I'm not nearly as social as I used to be prior to this episode. I have this OCD swallowing obsession that came back after years of not having it at all, so for me, that is frustrating. However, I am starting to see a new OCD therapist next week and I have a tremendous faith in God that gets me through each and every day. I'm able to make my problem go away when I simply chew gum (odd, I know), so I can be in social situations, but I'm just not as comfortable anymore as I used to be prior to this OCD episode. I can eat out "okay", I guess, around friends and they don't even know anything is wrong, but I know that my brain is obsessing. Let me say this, though, prior to the OCD, I had badmalibu's same problem - always trying to chase down friends and invite them out, but I grew very, very tired of that and STOPPED. I got tired of the rejection and of the one-sidedness. I have a handful of very good friends, who know of my OCD (I haven't gone into detail as to my exact symptoms, though, and hide them well - I'm just proud and DON'T want to draw attention to myself) and still love me no matter what. I feel blessed to have these friends. I have also made some wonderful Christian friends on-line. You might want to find yourself a nice group of Chrisitians - like a prayer group where you can support one another. I wish you could join mine, but I'm sure that the moderator would delete it from the post, so can't list it here. Sorry. Don't start drinking, either, because of your friends and DON'T let them use you for money...respect your own boundaries and honor yourself. True friends will respect you for it and true friends will listen to you and not mind emailing you and instant messaging you back and forth.

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