Wanting To Constantly Get A "Fresh Start" In Your Social Life
A pattern in some people who struggle socially is they frequently try to get a "fresh start" or "clean slate" in their social lives. Some things they may do are:
- Moving to a new city, or even country, every few years
- Switching jobs fairly often
- Transfering to a new university several times
- Frequently dropping their current hobbies and interests to take up new ones
- Changing the venues they hang out at
- Feeling tired of their existing friends and trying to make new ones
There are plenty of other reasons someone may do these things, but I'm referring to when their main motivation is to shake up their social life. Like they may hope to make friends at work, but never seem to click with their colleagues. After a while they start to think, "If I take a job at that other company maybe I'll get along with everyone there." But of course someone could also job hop to chase a better salary, or live in a bunch of countries just for the life experience.
Here are some beliefs that can drive a desire to keep getting a fresh start:
- "I can't seem to find anyone I connect with here. Maybe somewhere else will be more my speed."
- "It's too hard to meet people here. I'm sure it will be easier elsewhere."
- "Maybe I had a shot when I first came here, but my reputation is tainted now and I can't overcome that. It's better to start over."
- "I've changed so much over the past few years, but the people around here can't see that. They're locked into their old perception of me. I have to go somewhere I've never been, where everyone will see the new, improved me with fresh eyes."
For one person, "here" may be their entire city or state. For someone else, it may be the social scene around one niche hobby in their town. Either way, they think there's nothing for them there, and they want to start from scratch.
I'm not saying it's always a bad idea to want to freshen up your social environment. People can definitely get stuck in stale, limiting circumstances where it's truly hard to meet anyone at all, or a person who will give them a fair shake. If someone's stuck in a small, boring town where they have nothing in common with the locals, moving to a new city may be life changing.
However, if someone constantly resets their social opportunities, and makes an honest effort to land in a new place that doesn't have the limitations as the last one, but still seems to hit the same wall over and over, the core problem probably lies with them, not their outside options. Again, this isn't to say it's always someone's fault if they have trouble making friends in a particular area. We can all get unlucky. But if they've pushed the restart button over and over and still can't seem to make it work, then they should consider what internal factors are getting in their way. It's that saying, "Wherever you go, there you are."
Here are some core reasons someone may struggle to make friends, even with the benefit of frequently switching up their chances to meet like-minded people:
- They either don't know all the steps to making friends, or they're misapplying some of them.
- To be ultra-general, they're making some sort of social mistake that's sabotaging their efforts to make friends.
- They give up too quickly and easily in the face of normal setbacks. They think there's a magic city/school/workplace, etc. where they'll effortlessly make ten lifelong friends in a month.
- They're insecure and believe people don't like them to begin with, are getting sick of them, or starting to turn on them. Everything may be going fine in their current setting, but they feel like it's all going downhill and they have to jump ship.
- They're too picky and negative about others, likely as a way to protect themselves. No one they meet ever feels good enough, and they're always looking for the next greener pasture.
If they can figure out where they're going wrong they can address the real issue, and hopefully get to a point where they're more able to capitalize on the social opportunities wherever they are. Once more, I'm not saying people never find themselves in a situation where it's genuinely harder to make friends. Depending on what type of person you are you'll always have a smoother ride in some places than others. However, I think if your confidence and interpersonal skills are relatively in order, you can often manage to put together a social life in places that someone who's more insecure or pessimistic would write off as a lost cause. It may take longer, or you'll have to resort to less conventional ways to meet people, but it can be done.