Trying to recoonect with my emotions

Hello all, hope that all has been well for you all.

I realised that i tend to not be as interested in the lives of those around me as i grow older (im nearing mid 20s),including my friends and family as much as i used to in secondary school. I also feel that i dont feel as much, like empathise with them when i listen to them sharing their problems which i feel quite bad about it as i feel that i am pretending to be interested in and emphathise with what they are saying when in actual fact i am not.

As a result,i am getting increasingly more comfortable with spending time alone rather than spending time with my friends as i feel disgusted by myself at having to pretend that i am interested when im not (which i feel it’s not respectful to the one talking/sharing so i would rather spend time alone.)

I also realised that because of this, i tend to avoid socialising with others on more personal topics except when required (i.e. group projects/work) and i feel that this is making it hard for me to form deeper connections or to even make new friends.

Sometimes,i feel really bad for friends who are so friendly and welcoming to me, who are willing to engage in conversations with me but yet i cannot show much interest and reactions to what they are saying. (Which i felt dampened their excitement at what they wanted to share).

I personally feel that i am quite sensitive and am someone who gets easily hurt but dont show it so this situation helps me feel less (which is less emotionally draining). However, i would like to better connect with my emotions and be more interested in whatever happening around me or at least be more emotionally available for people around.

Would like to seek advice on what could be happening to me and what can i do?


Hi @Lostandconfused

Happy New Year to you, and thank you for sharing with us your struggles on this platform. I appreciate you opening up about your feelings and experiences, as it takes courage to reflect on ourselves and seek understanding. I can see that you’ve noticed a shift in your level of interest and empathy towards others as you’ve grown older, and that this change is affecting your social interactions and connections. I acknowledge these feelings of confusion and curiosity, and I’m here to support you in exploring this further.

Firstly, let’s reflect on this change. What do you think might have contributed to this shift in your ability to connect emotionally with others? Are there specific experiences or changes in your life that stand out to you? Or did anything happen that you can think of, that might have caused this shift?

Secondly, you mentioned feeling uncomfortable with the idea of pretending to be interested in others’ lives. Can you explore what might be behind this discomfort? Is there a fear or concern that arises when you contemplate being more emotionally engaged in conversations?

I want to encourage you that when it comes to understanding these feelings, it is a journey, and it’s okay to take your time with it. As always, if you feel that you need more guidance in processing these feelings, please do reach out to a mental health professional who may be able to dig deeper with you and help you understand these feelings better.

Do continue to share your reflections and thoughts here, and I hope to hear from you soon!

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Thank you for your quick responses and validation of my situation, much appreciation for your time invested in helping and also the questions to understand my situation.

To answer your questions,
Firstly, i think what might have contributed to this shift in my ability to connect with others emotionally could be the following:

  1. I often feel drained in school and i dont feel like listening to issues which are often negative as they will make me feel more drained.
  2. When someone shares about his or her worries, i would feel emotionally burdened as i often dont know how i should react /give appropriate advice (due to the worries or issues being something that i have not experienced before) to make that individual feel better (as i feel that the reason why someone shares an issue with you is often to seek for help/advice).
  3. Sometimes, it’s clearly someone’s fault that something is not right but then i am not someone who is comfortable with being direct, so i often would choose to keep quiet instead of being direct with that someone about the cause of the issue (in case someone is easily offended/will feel upset with me being too direct out of goodwill). And this causes me to feel stress as i would feel like im actually cheating people and myself when i clearly know what is causing the issue. (i think this is also an issue with me trying to battle my own morality.)

The third point has been more pertinent recently (since maybe end of year 2022) as i had an incident with a friend of mine (let’s call that friend A). So A and i went on a trip after exams, everything was fine and enjoyable for the first 2 days (it was a 1 week trip), then A’s father came and drove us around for the rest of the trip. From what i understood from A, A’s parents divorced when she was quite young (around 5-6 years old if i remembered correctly) and A’s mum did not divorce on good terms. But A’s father still supported A financially for school and for staying in the hostel (including meal plans and overseas exchange trip) and from what i observed during the trip, he seems to treat A quite well. But A has always expressed her anger towards A’s dad and how A always dont like seeing him when dads not around while on some occasions, saying how A personally pitied for dad when he has to support A while also supporting his own family after remarrying. So i listened and try to understand A’s family background.

During the trip, as i was driven around by A’s dad, i felt really bad as he was treating me meals and even paid for a hotel stay for me and A. I wanted to pay him back for the meals and whatnot but was rejected when i tried to do so. A upon seeing that i tried to pay A’s dad back, commented very grudgingly that A would choose to spend his money rather than pay him back ( I’m not sure if A was angry with what i did during that time which led to the incident later on). Also, during the trip, A is a big spender and someone who i would say ‘spends on things that are expensive and considered a luxury(e.g branded shoes, lots of dessert (as A has a sweet tooth and can eat desserts as meals) given A’s financial situation’ (A comes from a low-income family). So i was trying to tell A not to spend too much and think about whether A needs the things or not. Also, was telling A that the luggages may be too heavy to carry (A was already struggling with carrying when we go on the trip) when making our way home and i cannot help her carry as i have mine to carry. Furthermore, i realised that A has a habit of squeezing and putting food (e.g. bread with cream filling) back on the shelves roughly when A was done viewing them or as A said ’ for the fun of it’. So i was also telling A to not do that as the products are for sale and others are eating them. I think i did these actions(i.e asking A to not throw food and avoid buying unnecessary stuff) throughout the trip and as we came to the end of the trip, i realised that A started not talking to me and was ignoring me. When i asked A if i did something to offensive, A started venting angrily about how i was imposing my values on A and how i should reevaluate my morals. I was honestly very shocked and upset that A didnt tell me about all these during the trip when i thought A would (as A always said that A will be honest with me if A feels uncomfortable and whatnot) and angry as well as i felt attacked by A’s words and how i could not have the right to communicate my thoughts and feelings to A (as A was just really picking on whatever i said and i thus decided to stay silent.) I do admit that i might have not have been very nice with my tone when i talked to A but i have apologised to A about it and i hoped that A has accepted it. But to be honest, till this day, i am still not sure why was A angry for exactly but i found no value to pursue this matter as i am afraid of offending A in any way anymore and i could not stand A’s unreasonable responses in anger again. I realised that i was quite traumatised by this incident(i was shaking uncontrollably) when i recounted again and shared with others and i took quite some time to be able to be calm when i rethink about this issue. Ever since then, i starting to think that i was being too meddlesome with what others do and tried to keep my thoughts and reactions to myself when interacting with others.
(So sorry for the long story, just wanted to write out what made me feel this and allow you to better understand my situation but i think the above contributed to the change in my ability to connect emotionally with others.

As to what might contribute to my discomfort in pretending to be interested in others’ lives, i think it’s more of me feeling that i am not true to myself and i dont feel like i am myself (i feel like im very fake in my reactions when i am not interested but still have to pretend in being so). Also, I fear that i might come across as being insincere when i dont give any reactions or show interest in others when they are sharing their thoughts or lives with much emotions so i tend to pretend to be interested. I think my concern with being more emotionaly engaged in conversations is the possibility of me being too into the situation and saying things that are not emotionally in sync/deemed right emotionally with the situation as the others (as they might say the right thing might be to do some other things instead of the advice that i suggested? I feel kind of defeated when this happens as i feel that my advice is of no help and so this might make me want to want to close up and not be as emotionally engaged so i think that’s how i resorted to pretending to be interested and not care so much about the issue.)

I thin the above are my concerns and reasons behind why i am doing what i did so far during interactions. Thank you so much for your help and time, really do appreciate your efforts in trying to understand my emotions.


Hi @Lostandconfused

I want to thank you for sharing your feelings and experiences with such openness. I can see that the incident during the trip with your friend A had a deep impact on you, and I can imagine it must have been quite distressing. I think it is fairly common for conflicts to arise in friendships, especially when there are differing values or communication styles.

It sounds like you made genuine efforts to be considerate during the trip, expressing concern about expenses and offering to contribute, as well as advising A about certain behaviors. It can be difficult when our attempts to help are met with anger or misunderstanding, and I understand that it left you feeling shaken and hesitant to express yourself in the future.

I want to acknowledge the emotions you experienced during and after the incident, such as shock, upset, and fear of offending A. Your concerns about being perceived as meddlesome or insincere in your interactions with others are valid, and it seems like this has led you to adopt a more reserved approach to avoid potential conflict.

It’s okay to feel the way you do, and it’s understandable that such an incident might influence your ability to connect emotionally with others. It seems like you’ve been reflecting on your communication style and trying to understand the reasons behind your discomfort in pretending to be interested in others’ lives.

I think you might want to try 2 things:

  1. Consider having an open and honest conversation with your friend A about the incident during the trip. You can share your perspective, expressing your intention to be helpful and your confusion about the sudden change in A’s behavior. Use “I” statements to avoid sounding accusatory and focus on your feelings rather than placing blame. For example, you might say, “I felt surprised and hurt when our dynamic changed during the trip, and I’ve been trying to understand what happened. Can we talk about it so we can both gain clarity and move forward?”

  2. Given the impact of the incident and your concerns about your communication style, seeking support from a therapist could be helpful for you. A therapist can provide a safe space for you to explore your emotions, identify patterns in your interactions, and work on strategies to communicate effectively. Therapy can also help you build self-confidence, navigate social situations, and find a balance between being true to yourself and respecting others’ perspectives.

I appreciate your honesty and self-reflection, and I’m here to support you as you continue to explore and work through these emotions. Please let us know your thoughts further and how you’ve been coping so far. Hear from you soon.