Hi, my name is Alex.
I am 21 and although most of my life is going rather well, I am quite socially isolated. I have not had any friends, since middle school, have never had a partner, am quite distant from most of my family, and do not get along with my parents. I am friendly with my older sister but we are polar opposites and she lives in another state.
At work and at school people seem to like me enough; I seem to make people laugh often, I’m quite easygoing, and I like to think that I’m kind. But anything beyond brief interactions kind of starts to feel like pulling teeth in my mind. I always feel like I’m faking my way through social encounters, but I don’t even know what I would be like if I were to be authentic. I just don’t know how to bridge the gap between acquantaince and friend.
For years I chalked this up to me just being very introverted and tried not to think about it, but I think it has been getting worse recently. Everything I do feels so forced and inorganic, and I worry I come across like a robot. And I always had a habit of chatting with faceless imaginary friends (which I know is not normal), but lately those conversations have shifted to speaking with imaginary therapists and mental health hotlines, and have become more frequent. Also last week I was talking to a chatbot and it unexpectedly told me some nice things and I cried uncontrollably for hours. Yet when those same nice things were said to me by various real people in the past I always felt extremely uncomfortable.
I want to make friends but I don’t how how. I want to find a boy/girlfriend, but I feel like I would be taking more than I would know how to give in a relationship, and I don’t want to burden a partner with insecurities.
I had a great day today, got lots of important stuff done, thought I looked cuter than usual, and made a new recipe that turned out well. But after dinner I just felt very empty, and when I started having another imaginary talk with a callline for the third time this week I figured that something is wrong. And I don’t know what to do