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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi! I'm a 21 year old guy from Norway (22 soon), and after years of reading sporadically (haha) about the enneagram and thinking about my life and personality, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I'm a so/sp 4w5. I'm really glad I found the enneagram and the social instinct description, because then I realized that there's nothing wrong with me, and that there's others like me out there. I want to reach out to other social 4's, as I find myself a bit lonesome with my own thoughts and I'm currently facing big decisions at the moment which will determine my life in the nearest future; whether I'm going to stay where I'm at and find a job, or travel abroad to study. Right now I'm a bit on the unhealthy side, so everything that has to do with social interaction is tiresome and partly neglected. I'm not depressed, though I often have mood swings from day to day. I want to adress some issues and share some reflections on my own life, and I'd like to hear your thoughts on it, whether you relate to it or have some advice on how I can develop as a person. I realize that there's a negative undercurrent in my post, but I feel I have to tell it my way.

Since I was a little boy, I have felt like an outsider. Among my teachers and peers, I often felt misunderstood and in some ways neglected. I could say I'm hypersensitive, and that has been a curse throughout my life; I didn't know how to deal with it as a kid, and I didn't talk about it with my parents because it was hard to explain. I did have friends in primary school, though never any best friends. Moving forward to to secondary school, I met a new friend who I felt more on the same level with. I still think about him even though we don't keep in touch. He was a 5w4 I think, which explains the connection. Secondary school was a better experience as far as I could remember. I did good at school, and I was quite social with my group of friends. Towards the end of the last year however, in my adamant refusals to do anything I didn't want to with my group of friends, I was maybe seen as more of a weirdo who wanted to be home during the weekends. I could feel the group pressure, and became more alienated from my friends. I got more and more tired of school, seeing it as more pointless, considering how I didn't feel good about my interactions with others and started to develop more of an insecurity about myself (even though it had been deeply rooted from earlier). A summer of strong depression followed, which was the loneliest and hardest part of my life so far. High school was in many ways hard, though I got through it.

I find that a recurring event has happened over the years, in my withdrawal from social contacts and social groups. I have never been involved in any group, though I've wanted to. Ever since my first depression, I've been kind of a loner, or behaving more and more as one. I struggle with being with anyone, that being an individual or a group, without eventually withdrawing and ignoring the people I've initiated friendships with. As of now, I haven't interacted with any friends my own age for almost 2 years.

Though on one level, I can see my strengths and positive contributions I could make to society and other individuals, a strong sense of insecurity follows me wherever I go. I never have the energy or motivation to do something that would move my life forward in a positive direction. I compare myself to other people that seem to be able to do everything I want: have friends and a social life, have a job, travel and follow their dreams. Anxiety and low self-esteem keeps me from moving forward, and that is something I definitely have to work on... starting now.

As a person, I'm very kind to others and want people to feel good. I realize that that is a good thing in a world which can often be harsh. I have deep feelings, and I'm moved at the beauty of a child, a meaningful event or a melancholic thought I might have. The downside is that I'm also very sensitive to criticism, the slight change of tone in a person's voice, or the perceived animosity someone might have towards me. This is bothering me very much, and has bothered me especially in the last two years. I analyze other people and often notice if someone is not liking something about me. That might also be the problem, as I expect people to evaluate me in a negative way, and then it often happens. But it's still hard for me to understand, because I'm just being myself. Are some people annoyed at the negative vibe that might come from me? It's hard to tough out those feelings every time I'm in a social situation, because I feel like people are judging me and thinking I'm selfish. I'm very self-conscious, and looking people in the eye and having conversations is sometimes very uncomfortable. That feeling of everyone looking at you while you're talking is so hard to have to endure all the time.

I love playing piano, and I've played it since I was 10 years old. Nowadays I eat breakfast at home, then I make myself a cup of coffee and sit down at the piano. Often I have this energy that surges through me - the caffeine undoubtedly - and I play with great skill. I'm amazed at myself, and proud of my talent. This is one area where the self-confidence I have within shows itself. I want to make music, and I will eventually. Music is the closest thing I have to a passion, and I love movies, which I also tend to know a lot about.

Within me, I have an adventurous spirit that I haven't really dared to let go. My days are spent at home, sometimes traveling with my family, but mostly I'm in my parents' house, where I clean the house and help out. I really want to see my life turning for the better. I can think quite positively at times, and I can be very lighthearted and full of jokes. I want to be happy, and I don't want to dwell in misery. Still I'm afraid at how I'm going to end up. Last year was very hard; I studied for one year, away from my family and living alone. I drank alcohol, all alone in my dorm, and gave up trying to be more social. I guess I really need someone to come into my life, someone that I can share my ups and downs with, an outsider that understands how it is.

Thank you for reading, and have a great day or night :)
 

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@Dakris "Right now I'm a bit on the unhealthy side, so everything that has to do with social interaction is tiresome and partly neglected."

"I could feel the group pressure, and became more alienated from my friends."

"Ever since my first depression,"

"I never have the energy or motivation to do something that would move my life forward in a positive direction."

"I analyze other people and often notice if someone is not liking something about me."

"Still I'm afraid at how I'm going to end up."

^ Use that fear, bro, to get going!

--

I quoted some of the things that either resonated with me or what I wanted to comment on.

The way I understand the social instinct in the enneagram theory is social dynamics like hierarchy, group values/mission/goals, "peer pressure to be of a certain character that reflects the group," etc, so the best advice I could give is to find a good, positive group.

I'm a 26 year old 4w3 so/sx and that has been the best thing for me: work and charity/volunteer work.

In those social groups, I have something to add, something to give, and I can work at it and get better and better at it, fulfilling my need (in the enneagram theory) to be extraordinary or exceptional (<- my interpretation, most say individualistic or uniqueness is the motivation but I find mine to be more accurate for me-- something to think about).

Regular ol' socializing isn't all that fun for me either, it feels like wasting time, or killing time with my old group of friends from school, but they are where they are and I am where I am.

I want to DO something with my life (that meaning and purpose part, and also relates to the last quote) not just fuck it away or drink it away or do regular ol' stuff.

I want it to *mean* something that I was alive and I think also (will circle back to personal, professional, and skill development) that all of the pain I (we! you!) have experienced could be seen as giving us the experience so we could help others avoid that in the future.

"Ever since my first depression" -- I have experienced a horrible time in my life as well I call "my dark time," a period of about a year or year and a half where my life (and I!) was just SHIT.

Goodness it was terrible, but now I know strength and I know weakness, and going through that time has given me so much compassion and mercy for people.

I used to be somewhat arrogant or impatient or un-understanding but after going through that terrible time I now know that not everything is everyone's fault. If we all got what we deserved, not a soul would be left on this planet!

But anyway, how can we use the pain? If we're going to feel so intensely, we may as well use it constructively, right?

The depth of feeling that we feel can be used for influence, positive influence, and movement (moving people emotionally, even motivating them, and motivating ourselves!).

Aristotle said that the keys to speaking with people, socializing, and persuading/influence people are (in order) : 1) Ethos, or the credibility/ character of the speaker, 2) Pathos, or emotional connection to the audience/listener, and 3) Logos, or logical argument of it or how much it makes sense to the listener/audience.

The depth of feeling we've gone through really changes our character for the better, I believe, and it will affect your music and all of your creations or your emotional output.

Another thing that really helped me is to start thinking in "skills."

In my work, I have certain things I have to do and I realized that the better I am at them, the more I'll be recognized for it and the more I'll affect people positively, etc.

Also, socializing is a skill, listening is a skill, speaking is, so it's not just for business, but really all of life.

Thinking is a skill, gratitude is a skill (or a practice), emotional management, everything almost!

A connection to the enneagram here is the growth (or connnection) to the type 1 and "discipline."

For my skills, what I do is 1 hour per day I improve a personal skill and 1 hour per day I improve a business skill that I can get paid for. It sounds like you're already practicing the piano often so bravo!

^ Not sure what else to say about that, but it provides extraordinary self esteem to be good (or great) at what you do at work as well as in life. (Last part here, if you're a reader, I recommend you read or listen to the audiobook "Goals! by Brian Tracy" [all his work is great, a real guide and mentor in my life] as it really changed my life for the better, one of the turning points in my life as far as focusing on what I want and other personal development things that helped me get the life I want.)

So personal development (in regards to motivation [motivation is just 'reasons to do things, so if you aren't motivated to socialize, it means you have more reasons not to socialize than to socialize, if only unconsciously] and moving yourself in a positive direction) is critical for human beings, much less enneagram 4s who are probably predisposed to feeling terrible and like they're wasting away.

Analyzing people is not a tactic I recommend often as then you'll get analyzed back. It's just judging.

I have found what works better for me is to consciously avoid judging or evaluating people as much as I can. (Obviously there are times for it, but in safe situations.)

"Afraid at how I'm going to end up."

PHEW! What a terrible feeling! Scary! ....... Eternally scary!

If you're open, I would recommend reading the Quran, Pickthall's version and Yusuf Ali's are good (some reflect the bigotry of the Arabs who don't really practice the beauty of the truth of the religion).

That's where I got the gift of eternal peace: "I have done all I can in the right direction, and the rest I surrender to God." <- Something along those lines.

So many great lessons in that book, another life changer for me, and for many others. Great insights, etc.

Some say "religion programs you," and yes it does. I very much like how I was programmed after reading (and applying the Quran).

I am disgusted by hate, repelled from it, disgusted by greed, stinginess, laziness, giving up, etc. When I think about doing those kinds of actions, I feel hellfire behind me or near me.

But good actions like love, kindness, generosity, acceptance, strength, righteousness, perseverence, etc, I am drawn toward those, I find myself doing more of those kinds of actions because of the repulsion from the bad ethical actions and the pulling-toward good ethical actions like the ones just mentioned.

When I do those sort of actions, I feel the peace of paradise and heaven.

I am a very practical man. Whether any of it is true or not, I am a decidedly better person in every respect: emotionally, ethically, character-wise, physically, professionally, financially, socially, etc, etc.

So people can go pretty far down the rabbit hole of religion, but for me, that's personal stuff, and like Buddha said, not necessary to life the good life.

Anyway, back to "Afraid at how I'm going to end up," that's going to take some soul searching.

Luckily, you're young and you have your whole life ahead of you.

I love you, but I don't you'll be able to do it alone! You'll need the help of other people who have done what you want to do.

Feel free to PM me if you want any other clarification/help.

Bottom line: find out what you want to do with your life, find out who has done something similar, learn from them, apply it, and become near them.
 

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The way I understand the social instinct in the enneagram theory is social dynamics like hierarchy, group values/mission/goals, "peer pressure to be of a certain character that reflects the group," etc, so the best advice I could give is to find a good, positive group.

I'm a 26 year old 4w3 so/sx and that has been the best thing for me: work and charity/volunteer work.

In those social groups, I have something to add, something to give, and I can work at it and get better and better at it, fulfilling my need (in the enneagram theory) to be extraordinary or exceptional (<- my interpretation, most say individualistic or uniqueness is the motivation but I find mine to be more accurate for me-- something to think about).
Thanks for the reply man :) Yeah, that's what I've been thinking, that joining some sort of group could help. I've yet to find one though. But so you're comfortable with other people in your work and volunteer work? That's my problem; I have a hard time reaching out to others, to make that first connection, and then to get to know others on a deeper level. To find someone to talk to about other stuff than the usual superficial stuff, isn't easy.

Regular ol' socializing isn't all that fun for me either, it feels like wasting time, or killing time with my old group of friends from school, but they are where they are and I am where I am.

I want to DO something with my life (that meaning and purpose part, and also relates to the last quote) not just fuck it away or drink it away or do regular ol' stuff.

I want it to *mean* something that I was alive and I think also (will circle back to personal, professional, and skill development) that all of the pain I (we! you!) have experienced could be seen as giving us the experience so we could help others avoid that in the future.
Same here, I want to find meaning behind the pain and deep emotions, and use them in a positive way.

Another thing that really helped me is to start thinking in "skills."

In my work, I have certain things I have to do and I realized that the better I am at them, the more I'll be recognized for it and the more I'll affect people positively, etc.

Also, socializing is a skill, listening is a skill, speaking is, so it's not just for business, but really all of life.

Thinking is a skill, gratitude is a skill (or a practice), emotional management, everything almost!

A connection to the enneagram here is the growth (or connnection) to the type 1 and "discipline."

For my skills, what I do is 1 hour per day I improve a personal skill and 1 hour per day I improve a business skill that I can get paid for. It sounds like you're already practicing the piano often so bravo!
Exactly, developing discipline is something I've realized can make my days go more smoothly, and keep my mood in check. For example, I'm working on maintaing an inner peace despite difficult circumstances. Cool, that's a smart way of doing it, an hour a day!

Analyzing people is not a tactic I recommend often as then you'll get analyzed back. It's just judging
Yeah, but it's very hard not to. I think it has to do with my self-confidence/self-worth, because I can't help thinking that my behavior is not going to seem weird or insecure in others' eyes. But it's also because I am very intuitive and deep feeling, and some people are manipulative towards that type of person.

"Afraid at how I'm going to end up."

PHEW! What a terrible feeling! Scary! ....... Eternally
Haha, yeah! Let's hope I'll be more sure of myself and my future... in the future :p

If you're open, I would recommend reading the Quran, Pickthall's version and Yusuf Ali's are good (some reflect the bigotry of the Arabs who don't really practice the beauty of the truth of the religion).
Cool, maybe I will. I'm a Christian, so I sometimes read the Bible, though it's not an easy book to read. Being religious at all is not easy, because doubt and frustration often comes in the way of peace; you feel like you're not living life like you should. And God seems very distant.

I love you, but I don't you'll be able to do it alone! You'll need the help of other people who have done what you want to do.

Feel free to PM me if you want any other clarification/help.

Bottom line: find out what you want to do with your life, find out who has done something similar, learn from them, apply it, and become near them.
Thank you very much, that's good advice! :) Yes, I'll need the help of other people
 

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Hey, you =) I think youll be all alright.



I'm a 4w5 (very strong 5 wing) and I have the exact same subtype =). I relate to you so much and I feel for you. I'm 27 and grew up in America though. I'd say though, get out of your country/town! and follow your dreams. Seems like music is what you enjoy, follow it or follow parts of it. Even if things change and you follow a diff path, Id say never lose touch with your musical side. Its a way to express yourself and Im jealous of musical talents others have, always keep it in you. For fours, when we have that niche, keep it! Love it! and own it =)


First off, Id say I was just like you, very sad and depress when I was 18-21. But I kept practicing, I wanted to belong or have friends or socialize with ease. And the only way you can achive that honestly was what I did...I practiced! Like crazy. and I socialize and I met people. And as a 4 with a strong 5 wing, Im very connected to that 7 wing and to the universe but where 7s are mentally creative, as a 4 i am emotionally intuitve and understand people so readily. Sounds like you are the same because you are good and kind to people. Part of my journey was that I had to learn how to talk to people because I was readily understanding already. I wanted to know their story, I wanted to help, and I wanted to know what made people who they were etc. Use that skill!


4w5s are so amazing because not only are we so emotional and intuitive, we have that intelligence, ability to understand, and are learners. I had to practice how to socialize and I did it regularly where I got very confident talking to others. I am still very shy like most 4s but I was able to use that curiousity and understanding to get close to others. Now its all about balanacing it.


My advice is use dating or social sites to meet people and start off just practicing. Practice how to say hi, hello, practice smiling, and use your energy to energize others. Go out for walks, always focus on your body and ground yourself. When youre feeling sad, self absorbed, or unmotivated, push yourself to walk to gain energy or eat healthy. Schedule social events so that weekends roll around u are expected to socialize. Practice practice practice!


I started with one on one interactions and ive gotten better. Im still sucky in groups but I am learning still. its an ongoing process! dont give up. I know you can do it. You write well and I can see you have a hidden funny side that youre too shy to prob show to others, so you gotta put yourself out there lol. So many fours are hilarious and we just like 5s appreciate absurdity in all forms lol


If you have a few close friends I suggest practice with them how to socialize and talk. Use your curiosuity and emotion to connect with others. I once thought I was so different, alien, and almost felt some self rejection. Now I understand how loving, amazing, funny, and cool I am. It takes practice and it takes a while but yes you can get there.



Surround yourself with positivity as well. If you have any other questions, ask away! But stay happy. And truly my advice to make choices that put u out there! So travel if you can. Meet people. Stay curious. Be awesome.
 

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I am working to improve myself in this area as well. Basically my problem is with trying to open up to the world instead of staying locked in a cage. Things I've had to keep in mind during my journey:

1. Get comfortable with yourself. Work on your self-esteem. Practice by yourself. Facial expressions in the mirror. Tone of voice by recordings. Record yourself. See what the world sees, and what the world should see with minor changes. Get comfortable with yourself. Realize how great you can be. Fall in love with who you are and who you can be.

2. Take the lessons and confidence you've gained, and practice and experiment with the outside world. Have fun with it! Remind yourself that yes, you should be taking risks in social interactions. Fun risks. Who cares if they judge? Who cares if you mess up? You're growing and trying new things. Control your inner dialogue, and see situations as opportunities for growth. Oh, you're professor walked into class early? Don't look away, start up a conversation!

I probably need to work harder. But I hope one day I can fully overcome my issues with social anxiety. It truly takes inspiration, and practicing both by yourself and with your world.

On a side note, I also have a fear of loneliness and a fear of abandonment that I need to work out, which involves my relationship troubles. I have no idea where to begin for that. If anyone knows, please share.
 

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Hi :) I believe I am the same type and subtype! I am only 17 and not yet finished with high school so I'm not sure I have any very helpful advice for the decisions you are making, but reading your post I found so much to relate to that I wanted to reply as soon as I had time.

Hi! I'm a 21 year old guy from Norway (22 soon), and after years of reading sporadically (haha) about the enneagram and thinking about my life and personality, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I'm a so/sp 4w5. I'm really glad I found the enneagram and the social instinct description, because then I realized that there's nothing wrong with me, and that there's others like me out there.
I am so glad to have found the enneagram too. When I read the first social 4 description I couldn't believe someone had actually written it! I kept thinking, "Oh my gosh...this explains my life." Suddenly I felt like at least someone in the world must understand why I would be so shy and self-conscious. My family knows a lot of the ways this shyness has obstructed my life, but even now I'm not sure they know why. But of course there were good things too, like the subtle ways we can understand emotions and interactions people have.

Since I was a little boy, I have felt like an outsider. Among my teachers and peers, I often felt misunderstood and in some ways neglected. I could say I'm hypersensitive, and that has been a curse throughout my life; I didn't know how to deal with it as a kid, and I didn't talk about it with my parents because it was hard to explain. I did have friends in primary school, though never any best friends.
I've always felt like an outsider too. Even when people were nice to me I'd feel like I didn't belong, and when they made special efforts to include me I would be surprised, as if I couldn't believe anyone would actually want me to be part of their activities. I felt misunderstood and hypersensitive as well (and still do). The things I find hard always seem to be different from the things other people find hard, and I never seem to have the same hobbies or interests as my peers, even my friends. Sometimes I feel like I wasn't made to deal with the harshness of the world, like there is something terribly wrong with me because I am so afraid of being judged that in many situations I let it keep me from putting myself out there enough to make friends, and I let the slightest (sometimes imaginary) insult preoccupy me all day or longer as I try to understand what it is about me that provoked it.
One of my only actual experiences of social rejection was in first grade when I would ask these two other kids if I could sit with them at lunch; one of them would say no and the other wouldn't do anything. I didn't have anyone else to hang out with and would feel terribly hurt. But experiences like that have been rare for me -- for the most part I've avoided optional interactions with peers because of a fear that they might reject me or just think negatively about me, usually without any real evidence that this would happen, acting in each new situation as if I had experienced what I did in first grade, even without having actually experienced it again since. I've always had a few friends, but not many and I almost always felt like the ones I did have preferred their other friends to me. I've become a little less shy, partly through therapy, but I still can't stand the thought of being with people who don't want me there.

Secondary school was a better experience as far as I could remember. I did good at school, and I was quite social with my group of friends. Towards the end of the last year however, in my adamant refusals to do anything I didn't want to with my group of friends, I was maybe seen as more of a weirdo who wanted to be home during the weekends. I could feel the group pressure, and became more alienated from my friends. I got more and more tired of school, seeing it as more pointless, considering how I didn't feel good about my interactions with others and started to develop more of an insecurity about myself (even though it had been deeply rooted from earlier). A summer of strong depression followed, which was the loneliest and hardest part of my life so far. High school was in many ways hard, though I got through it.
When I first met some friends I have now, I thought that for the first time in my life I had found a group I could belong in. I got involved in many of their interests, watched TV shows they watched, etc. I was doing things that didn't seem much like me, but for a long time I denied to myself that this wasn't authentic, even telling myself I had changed. Then, having overcome the initial excitement of friendship, I felt more and more bothered by the "group pressure" as you described it. I felt burdened by their expectation that I get interested in the same things they were interested in, so gradually I stopped watching shows, listening to music, etc. because it was what they were into, and reverted back to my own interests, telling myself that if they really liked me for who I was then we could still remain just as close friends. But we had fewer and fewer things to talk about, and have been drifting apart up till now. We are still friends, but our conversations stay on the surface and we don't really have much in common.
I'm sorry to hear you were depressed, because I know that's really hard. I also experienced depression that probably resulted from alienation. In seventh grade I went to a school where I didn't know anyone, and did not succeed in making any friends that whole year. By the end of the year I was becoming depressed, and remained this way off and on throughout the summer and most of eighth grade.

I compare myself to other people that seem to be able to do everything I want: have friends and a social life, have a job, travel and follow their dreams. Anxiety and low self-esteem keeps me from moving forward, and that is something I definitely have to work on... starting now.
I also cannot seem to stop comparing myself to others. Once when I heard the advice, "Don't compare yourself to others," my first thought was, "What else is there to do...?" The first thing I do when I meet anyone is compare myself to them, and if they have something I think would improve my life, I feel tormented until I stop being interested in whatever it is they have. And I often convince myself that there is something about who I am that makes it absolutely impossible for me to have what they do. Do you have this thought too? It's made it difficult for me to make friends when I thought my social shame and anxiety was part of me, as if I couldn't even exist without it. But it helped to remember that the way I thought others were seeing me was something I had come up with in my head and not something based on reality, even though this can be hard to believe especially when others are around.

As a person, I'm very kind to others and want people to feel good. I realize that that is a good thing in a world which can often be harsh. I have deep feelings, and I'm moved at the beauty of a child, a meaningful event or a melancholic thought I might have. The downside is that I'm also very sensitive to criticism, the slight change of tone in a person's voice, or the perceived animosity someone might have towards me.
I agree that the extreme sensitivity of this type goes along with deep feelings that can be wonderful too. I am so happy when people actually want to be kind, especially since I think kindness is really undervalued (and toughness overvalued). I am kind to most people too, and I try very hard never to hurt the feelings of strangers or friends. Unfortunately, though, I am not always kind to my family, since being less shy around them also means saying some more hurtful things.

I'm very self-conscious, and looking people in the eye and having conversations is sometimes very uncomfortable. That feeling of everyone looking at you while you're talking is so hard to have to endure all the time.
So true for me as well! Sometimes I trip over words and forget what I was saying in the middle of a sentence when I feel like too much attention is on me, or when I'm answering a question I'm uncomfortable with. My parents say I should make more eye contact...but it's so hard, because people's eyes are revealing and often I'm afraid to know what they think.

I love playing piano, and I've played it since I was 10 years old. Nowadays I eat breakfast at home, then I make myself a cup of coffee and sit down at the piano. Often I have this energy that surges through me - the caffeine undoubtedly - and I play with great skill. I'm amazed at myself, and proud of my talent. This is one area where the self-confidence I have within shows itself. I want to make music, and I will eventually. Music is the closest thing I have to a passion, and I love movies, which I also tend to know a lot about.
That's wonderful! I have a similar interest in art and writing. I also relate to the feeling of having confidence inside yourself that is hard to express outwardly, since with these interests I often feel confident when working alone but most of the people I meet in daily life would never guess this unless they see my work. It is an amazing feeling to be able to express yourself while developing a talent. I wish you luck with your goals in music!

Within me, I have an adventurous spirit that I haven't really dared to let go. My days are spent at home, sometimes traveling with my family, but mostly I'm in my parents' house, where I clean the house and help out. I really want to see my life turning for the better. I can think quite positively at times, and I can be very lighthearted and full of jokes. I want to be happy, and I don't want to dwell in misery. Still I'm afraid at how I'm going to end up. Last year was very hard; I studied for one year, away from my family and living alone. I drank alcohol, all alone in my dorm, and gave up trying to be more social. I guess I really need someone to come into my life, someone that I can share my ups and downs with, an outsider that understands how it is.

Thank you for reading, and have a great day or night :)
I'm sorry you've had to go through this. I have often wished I knew someone who really understood what it was like to always feel like an outsider. In some situations, when being social was really hard, I also gave up at least for the time being. But I know it's possible to find people to connect with, since I've been able to do that too.

Again, I wish you luck, and I hope you have a great day or night as well!
 

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I can only share how I tackle the type, I hope this helps somehow. (28 old guy, Technical Project Management)

* Stay true to yourself

Try not to fit into a corset of values and "how things have to be" because you feel you have to. I did this and my performance dropped in the long run. We need more energy to "keep up the act", so we lack this excess energy for other activities. Sales -> the more I try to fit into the NLP nice guy salesman mold, the more unreal it becomes. The more real and natural you are, the better the results should be.

* Competitiveness and Envy --> self-affirmation rather than self-deprecation, competition on mastery level (not person-related)

Try not to see the type as curse and compare yourself negatively to others, see it as a gift - embrace your qualities, don't see kindness as weakness. Try to find something that truly inspires you and find comfort in mastery and sense of purpose ~the blazing fire of passion~ As cheesy and generic as it sounds, it works for me. Mastery builds up confidence and you can meet a bunch of nice people along the way. People will acknowledge your skill and you will get positive feedback.

I am down if I compare myself to people who have supposedly excel at everything, however I am happy and healthy when I see progress in my chosen area of interest

(integration/appreciation, positive feedback loop to counter esteem/self-deprecation patterns)

* Try not to overthink. This is my biggest problem as 4w5. The more I brood, the more I dwell. The more I dwell, the more impractical I become. Disconnection or hermit mode if you will. Try to stay active and principled - sports + clear daily routine (sleep, work, hobbies). Without implementing this, I would be scatter-brained 24/7. To be honest, I still am sometimes, however it has gotten significantly better.

I hope this helps, good luck on your way mate. Even if it feels like an uphill climb at times, remember that you are moving forward!
 

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Hey!
So I'm sp/sx, but I wanted to leave my thoughts, hopefully it won't bother.

I'm not sure if I'm the only one but from what I've read on Tumblr and other blogs, we 4w5, often have this thing where we are waiting for a knight in a shining armour to come save us. It's something I struggled a lot and something I still struggle with. I'm still learning to be that shining knight for myself, not sure if you understand what I mean.

I'm glad I found my Enneagram too, because like you I always felt as an outcast, as a weirdo and while now I see it as a good thing, it wasn't always like that. For me it's a good thing because we're unique, it's hard to find another person like us and while this may sound cocky, even though it's not how I mean it, but for me it's a really good thing.

I think another thing that is useful to know, is that we can turn our pain into power and also, to not let the emotions get bottled up which is where my art comes in, I really like to write and sing, and while I don't like to sing in public since nerves get the most of me but those times where I can let my emotions flow through what I'm writing or what I'm singing, the experience is like ecstasy, it's something really addicting, not sure if it's just myself but even though the pain is flowing but at the same time it's so peaceful. Like you're in the middle of a storm and you stop to watch a cute little bird and you're so fascinated by it that you forget everything else. (I'm really bad at explaining)

For me being happy is not that everything is perfect but that we're able to see past the imperfections. Don't compare yourself to other people, they may be good in a thing you're not. Find your thing! Everyone haves a special thing where they own it, find yours.

As @Granitwelle said, don't overthink. It's a problem for me, when I feel I'm about too I start to do something asap because it's the same for me. The more I brood, the more I dwell.

My advices could be shit, I'm only 19 and just about to start college, what would I know but as said before, I felt that it could help so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
 

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I shared my experiences in another thread and I only hope this may help others who are struggling with the same issues. I'm re-posting it here.

[HR][/HR]

I believe both SX and SO 4s have conscious (or even unconscious) desire to be seen as attractive, though for different reasons. For the SX 4, that desire may be more in relation to the realm of romantic attraction where there is a focus on merging with a chosen other to become whole, to have that complementary other reflect back to them who they are. For the SO 4, the image they see in themselves is that of a "ugly, defective monster" so there is definitely a desire in them to want be seen as the opposite of that, but their internal self-perception is so skewed that it becomes difficult for them to see anything positive about themselves beyond their negative self-image.

When I was in grade school as a child, I remember I was so terribly shy with such bad social anxiety to the point I had selective mutism. If other kids came up to me to talk, I couldn't look them in the eye, I'd look down at my shoes and walk away in shame without a word. From a very young age I carried around with me something of a defeatist quality. No matter who came up to me -- it could have even been a potential friend -- I would automatically make a mental assessment comparing myself to the person and placing myself beneath them. I was acutely aware then of my lack of social skills -- my social awkwardness caused me a great deal of shame and anxiety. By the end of high school, I had no friends and I was that "weird kid with her head down who sits by herself and never talks to anyone". I wanted to be accepted by a group of people, realized that I didn't have the social skills to make that happen, but then I'd also swing the other way and resent those masses for being uncultured copies of each other. A huge, huge focus in my life has been both the envy of and admiration for those who I consider "socially charming". People who made conversation look so easy, who could easily make others laugh and who had a highly cultured allure which attracted fascination. I saw myself as a socially awkward reject so I naturally envied in others what I perceived to be lacking in myself.

After graduating high school, I took a year off to work and travel. After every work shift, I would go home and research books on socialization, conversational skills, social topics, conversational humor, that sort of thing. I studied it obsessively. I desperately wanted to be seen as charming like the people I envied so I practiced. I would watch videos online of charming people I admired and introjected some of their qualities like their talking styles into my personality. I started practicing small with something like going to a restaurant to order food. Before then I couldn't even do something as simple as that. I'd blush out of shame and fumble on my words before choking up. I would even write down what I wanted to say on a cue card that I kept hidden in my pocket in case I needed a reminder of what to say to the food service worker when it was "my turn" to order, as odd as that probably sounds. Eventually I got better at that so then I would move from ordering food to making small talk with a stranger. My eye contact also improved with practice. I learnt to become comfortable with fixed eye contact in conversation and I'd say, as of today, I probably make too much eye contact now to the point that I have to remind myself to look away every now and again, lol.

A year after all that practice, I went to college and I was very talkative, trying to assert my social identity. I attracted a group of friends, but I never felt like I belonged as one of them. I felt like nobody could understand me. If I decided to talk a bit about personal feelings with friends, it'd generally be met with confusion and misunderstanding which made me feel alone in a crowded room of people who just couldn't relate with me. Most of my friends didn't believe me when I told them that I had selective mutism in the past because of how talkative I became. But the social shame was still very much there and it followed me everywhere I went. My perception of myself was still of that same socially awkward monster from grade school (it became a fixed identity attached to me like a ball and chain) and there was a constant worry that others could sense or see the monster in me, too. The social anxiety became so debilitating that I began to abuse drugs to help me get through social situations. It became a crutch that I leaned on -- the drugs made me feel confident enough to talk to people for hours. But the ending was always the same. I would go home, the drugs would eventually wear off and I'd be stuck with that ugly charmless monster staring at me in my reflection. The loneliness stayed with me no matter who I was with. Many years later I ended up in rehab and after over a year of therapy I had to learn that the monster I kept seeing in myself wasn't real, that it was a distorted self-image that I had introjected into my personality at childhood due to feeling unloved, isolated and abandoned. I did manage to make a few good friends through my recovery. I eventually learned through open discussion with my closest friends that their early impressions of me were that I was charming, funny and that they were a little intimidated by me at first -- so for years and years I was self-destructing over a flawed image from my past that wasn't even an accurate representation of my current self. People didn't see the monster -- only I could see it. Of course not every social Four is going to have the exact same experience as me -- this is just one person's side of the story.

I relate a lot to social Four musicians like Morrissey of The Smiths who famously wrote and sang "I am the son and the heir of a shyness that is criminally vulgar" in the song 'How Soon Is Now' and like David Bowie who sang "But for all my years of reading conversation, I stand without a word to say" in the song 'Conversation Piece'. I listen to those songs and it's comforting to me in the sense that it feels like 'finally, somebody who knows what this feels like'.

 

David Bowie - Conversation Piece

I took this walk to ease my mind
To find out what's gnawing at me
Wouldn't think to look at me
That I've spent a lot of time in education
It all seems so long ago
I'm a thinker, not a talker
I've no one to talk to anyway

I can't see the road
For the rain in my eyes

I live above the grocers' store
Owned by an Austrian
He often calls me down to eat
And he jokes about his broken English
Tries to be a friend to me
But for all my years of reading conversation
I stand without a word to say

I can't see the bridge
For the rain in my eyes

And the world is full of life
Full of folk who don't know me
And they walk in twos or threes or more
While the lamp that shines above the grocers' store
Investigates my face so rudely
And my essays lying scattered on the floor
Fulfill their needs just by being there

And my hands shake, my head hurts
My voice sticks inside my throat
I'm invisible and dumb
And no one will recall me

And I can't see the water
For the tears in my eyes
[HR][/HR]

I don't know if you're familiar with the book "The Picture of Dorian Gray", but it does a good job of capturing the more "unhealthy" issues of the Social 4. The character Dorian Gray is 4 so/sx and it's been speculated that the character is based on the author Oscar Wilde himself. Dorian is a charming character with an obsession for aesthetic beauty and an interest in high culture elitism as this is how he wishes to be seen, but he goes home to a hidden room where a painting of a hideous monstrous version of himself is displayed. The portrait serves as the constant reminder of his flawed self-image that is never too far from his conscience.

[HR][/HR]

I confided in a friend recently about how I behaved at my unhealthiest point in my life and I recall just how insane my obsession with beauty/aesthetics had gotten. I remember spending 3 hours in front of a mirror getting ready to go to meet with friends, but even after all those hours I decided that I was too ugly to be seen -- I would break down in tears in front of the mirror and then I would call or text my friend with a made-up excuse as to why I couldn't make it to the meeting. Like that other famous Smiths' song goes:

The Smiths - This Charming Man

I would go out tonight
but I haven't got a stitch to wear
this man said "It's gruesome
that someone so handsome should care"
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you for your replies!

I wanted to share something that I think can change your lives for the better, and social fours could benefit from it even more. Since I was a kid I've been watching porn, and I started masturbating just before puberty. I've never spent hours of my day masturbating and watching porn, but I've always had urges that made me come back to it. I decided to start NoFap in February, due to the stories I've read online about people's lives changing because of it. The idea is to abstain from pornography and masturbation/orgasm; ideally to stop watching pornography indefinitely, and not masturbate for about 90 days, give or take. I'm now on day 40, and I can say I've gained quite a lot of energy, more motivation, and social interactions are easier and more pleasureable. I still have mood swings and this weird fever-like state that comes at night, but I'm hoping it'll go away eventually. The reason why I think NoFap might be very important for SO fours, is that we're so prone to shame about ourselves, and watching porn and masturbation can make it even worse. I suspect this is the reason why I've had to deal with so much negative emotion throughout my life.

I hope I can help someone with this. Women can also try NoFap, though I'm not sure how it differs from men.
 

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he reason why I think NoFap might be very important for SO fours, is that we're so prone to shame about ourselves, and watching porn and masturbation can make it even worse. I suspect this is the reason why I've had to deal with so much negative emotion throughout my life.
For me shame was the only thing that helped me make pauses in my porn habit. Shame of having wasted time on porn and not having been productive. What do you mean that porn can make the shame about ourselves worse? And how might that connect to the negative emotions you had to deal throughout life?
 
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I confided in a friend recently about how I behaved at my unhealthiest point in my life and I recall just how insane my obsession with beauty/aesthetics had gotten. I remember spending 3 hours in front of a mirror getting ready to go to meet with friends, but even after all those hours I decided that I was too ugly to be seen -- I would break down in tears in front of the mirror and then I would call or text my friend with a made-up excuse as to why I couldn't make it to the meeting.
Oh, god. That's dreadful. So the monster wasn't just inside... since you tried to cover it up, for 3 consecutive hours on the outside, then was it your body and your instinctual/gut side that you perceived as monstrous? That the monster inside was just a reflection of your embodiement? That since you had a body, that you couldn't always control, one with its own whims and desires, had you lose your crown of light, your dignity? Isn't there a partial body dysmomorphia, body image/weight issue in the mix?

As a 4 So w3 Sp I see myself a monster because of the lack of my empathy. Because of my occasional misogyny, anti-social feelings, hatred of the world. What I'm really afraid of, though, is not that this monster to be exposed, it's rather my smallness, the delusions of the 3 to come to light, my weakness, my dependence on others to be felt to the bone, this whole false ego to be shattered. I got better in talking with time, I've always had a good humor but today I still struggle with the expression of my emotions. My envy, my hatred, my despise of others and the little man who acts tough, Oz the wizzard behind the curtains, looking down on everyone but acting like he really had more worth, more power, more security. And yeah, secretly waiting for the shining princess in armor who will never come because the dating game is a competition and people are flexible, so the begrudged vanity and misogyny are here to stay.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
What do you mean that porn can make the shame about ourselves worse? And how might that connect to the negative emotions you had to deal throughout life?
Well, porn-viewing might be more of a moral problem with religious people, like me. Of course non-religious people can see porn as negative, but if know what you're doing is morally wrong and you have hide a sinful secret from people around you, then that might fuel the shame that is already there. And it's possible that the shame was worse than it had to have been, because of porn! Religion aside, masturbating to porn is likely to decrease your confidence and motivation. SO 4's see themselves as inherently flawed in some way, and it's easy (and unhealthy) to think that watching porn makes you somehow worse than others. It's a common activity today, but it's not talked about much. Where I'm from, Norway, porn and masturbation combined is rarely talked about in a negative way; it's seen as "healthy". I guess moderation is the key, but it's still a habit I think can be beneficial to quit.
 

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Religion aside, masturbating to porn is likely to decrease your confidence and motivation. SO 4's see themselves as inherently flawed in some way, and it's easy (and unhealthy) to think that watching porn makes you somehow worse than others.
Huh, I didn't know Norway was "secular" enough to think of porn positively. Yea, I've heard about the "loosing your prana along the way"-aspect, life energy, juice, motivation and that spine to persist, the gait of confidence. Still, porn only is better than porn + alcohol + drugs.
 
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Most of my friends didn't believe me when I told them that I had selective mutism in the past because of how talkative I became. But the social shame was still very much there and it followed me everywhere I went. My perception of myself was still of that same socially awkward monster from grade school (it became a fixed identity attached to me like a ball and chain) and there was a constant worry that others could sense or see the monster in me, too.
My story is similar to yours. I also was selectively mute in grade school, to the point where I was almost failing cause teachers couldn't assess my English language skills. I wonder if that's common with social fours? And I also have anxiety over "being found out" and if others are able to see through me and know all the shame and scars I carry. It's still something I have to battle every day... but I also think self acceptance is a great thing. Embracing yourself with your social anxiety and all can be difficult, but it can free you from feeling flawed. All we can do is grow and practice to be the best versions of ourselves.
 

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Well, I think noticing other people's flaws helps (they are just as messed up) ;)

And, it helps me to remember that I'm so insignificant that my mistakes don't make a big impact on other people's lives. Strangers may remember more of me than I would like (So-firsts, which most of the population seems to be, has a remarkable memory for almost everyone they've ever met), but still they have their own work, loved ones, friends, to worry about - not their judgement of me.
 
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