I've been a passionate Art of Manliness reader for a while now.
I hesitated quite a bit on whether I should even write this, but here I go.
I seem to be having trouble connecting with men, on any level. While I was a boy, I didn't have many friends (especially male friends). As I went on to puberty and high school, things only worsened. Society decided without fact that I'm probably homosexual or some other xenophobic adjective and agreed to have as little to do with me as possible. So, basically I have been pretty alone outside of family and the occasional female friend. Being this lonely, I basically survived on educating myself on every topic that came to mind and generally blasting music to keep the bad thoughts away. Anyhow, as years moved on I started figuring out for myself how I can improve myself, mentally and physically, and improve the image I project into other people's mind.
Things began changing, I started getting more accepted into social circles, but I still to this day lack any ability to connect with men. I partially, also, attribute much of this to my absent (present, but never here) father. Every adolescent's problem, be it as simple as shaving to health issues I've had to overcome myself, alone, with hard work and a lot of thought. And I'm fine with that. I think I'm a better person because of it.
I still, however, have difficulty connecting with men. Every time I try to have a conversation with a man, either my age or other, I get caught up... I don't know what to talk about, how I will be percieved by the other side, how my voice will sound (had a lot of bad comments on this when young), and of course, the most painful of all: whether I am worthy, as a man, speaking to this guy. Then, I just back away, and keep it at a minimum.
Do you guys have any suggestions on what I can do to change this? Sometimes, I really feel a great need for a male friend, just a person I can talk to and not having one, is very depressing and lonely. Some things you just need to talk about with someone, and I don't think you can talk to a girl about everything.
P.S. I'm not homosexual.
How old are you?
Are you in school? Work?
Yes I attend University (second year), computer science studies, and I have a small job on the side, but it's online - not at an actual physical place (office) where I can go to.
Any extracurricular activities in school? clubs/sports/etc?
Not really, no. I used to go to the gym though, regularly. Stopped for the summer because of the heat. Will continue in a few weeks...
What do you like to do, hobbies/etc?
I like so many things! I'm not big on sports though... I like to swim, but it's way to expensive in the winter, and with university, work and the gym rarely do I have more than a couple of hours to devote to something else... Which is really bad... :(
No pool at your school or gym?
No... there is a nearby pool but in the winter it gets way too expensive because of heating costs they have. So, it's not a viable option. Once-twice a month...
Drop by the AoM group New Warriors for a way to connect at a deep level.
I also am in a fraternal organization. I must admit I have never really connected, but I do enjoy playing poker.
You can also address the internal voice that tells you you're not a man: by initiation, and by finding a group of men to recognize you. The affirmation of that, to me, was irreplaceable.
And regarding the sporting/hobbies activities: when you try, yes, that voice will be there, because it always is. Doesn't mean it's true, just that it's loud at those times. One thing's pretty likely: the other men at those activities don't know that voice is in there. As far as they're concerned, you're just another man.