Hey there! I tried to post this a week ago, but that post seems to have disappeared into the nether reaches of the forums. So I guess I'll try again! Before I start, though, I have to warn you this will most likely be a terribly long-winded and dull post. Probably best to have a bowl of popcorn handy.
To begin with, I'm basically just a longtime lurker who finally mustered up the courage to type out a proper introduction for myself. I'm a 22-year-old male with a lot to think about and not a whole lot to say. To say I dislike social interaction would be a gross understatement; the thought alone of leaving my house is essentially the equivalent of submitting myself to the guillotine. Not an ideal mindset to have when people are *gasp* everywhere.
I grew up extremely shy and introverted. I constantly wanted to skip school just to avoid other kids, despite actually enjoying school itself. At first it was my fears of “embarrassing myself” or “saying the wrong thing” that persuaded me to keep my mouth shut at all times, but over time I developed an acute sense of self-loathing and perceived inferiority. In other words, my best would never be good enough when compared to other people.
All of these thoughts and fears persisted even through high school, where they successfully sabotaged any notions I had of dating, making friends, and just socializing in general. Because of this, I was extremely awkward, socially unconfident, and probably even standoffish. I began to scrutinize and criticize myself more than ever, and became obsessed with every personal flaw I could find. I became absolutely convinced that I was the most boring, unattractive, unappealing, and worthless guy out there, no matter what I tried to tell myself on the contrary.
Starting college made absolutely no difference whatsoever, from a social standpoint. I could go entire days without saying a word to anyone. Professors, classmates, really cute girls. Didn't matter. My brain refuses to function around other people, regardless of who they are (but especially really cute girls). My schedule literally became: leave home, go to school, come home, do homework, sleep, repeat. No over-exaggerating there either. I spent weekends alone or with family, and that was it.
I survived three semesters of this until I eventually hit my breaking point. I finally admitted to myself that I could not continue to avoid social interaction and group work in my upcoming courses, and this realization terrified me to no end. So what did I do to cope with it? I did the only thing I knew how to do: I dropped out and avoided it altogether. Problem-solving at its finest.
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