While I can attribute gaming to a lot of positive growths in my life, there is a thought that has been lingering in my mind pretty recently; has gaming made me socially awkward? Due to a few recent arguments and events in my life, I’m beginning to wonder if my favorite hobby has taken a very negative effect on my life.
While I can’t really remember a lot of significant moments from my elementary school life, I do remember that I socialized with some of the neighborhood kids. There was one kid that was a close friend, but I didn’t really bond with anyone else in a meaningful way. When I didn’t have anyone else, I turned to my NES.
This sort of attitude followed me through middle school. I made one fantastic friend and the other people were just there. I hung out with this kid a lot and we even introduced each other to some of our previous friends, but those relationships fell through and we went back to each other. When we couldn’t find others, we would turn to our PS2’s.
High was the worst time for me as I couldn’t figure out how to approach anyone. I certainly made some friends, but they led me down improper paths and set me up for suspensions and an eventual arrest. When I was at my saddest and contemplating death, I would turn to my PC or Xbox.
I can’t help but think my utter pessimism and negativity are attributed to gaming. During all the periods in my life where I couldn’t find someone to talk to, I would look to a television screen for entertainment. Friends were something that could wait because I had a world to save.
I wish I had this kind of place to seclude myself to.
Even college was no different. My first year was an utter mess. I never spoke to anyone but my roommate; I never left my room to participate in school functions; I was never invited by my dorm mates for any kind of festivities. During that period, I had my 360 to keep me occupied and out of sadness.
Gaming is a hobby I love to death, but is it possible that it’s a way for me to deal with my own inner sadness? Did I always find more comfort in gaming because it wouldn’t judge me? Did my lack of any kind of achievements in my youth keep me glued to the TV? Was saving a fictional world my way of validating myself?
Now, being 23, I have no idea how to approach people anymore. I don’t have opportunities to meet anyone at class as I’m no longer a student. Work is a waste because everyone is far too young to relate to. The few friends that I do have there, I’m petrified to actually hang out with.
The biggest problem to me, though, is my inability to relate to women. I’m not sure if it’s because my only source of knowledge on the opposite sex is from watching character study films and playing games, but I really haven’t the slightest clue on how to properly appeal to females.
To date, I’ve only ever asked three women if they’d like to go out with me. I’d never had the courage other than with some friends, but my relationships immediately dissolved when I brought my feelings forward.
This is how it always ends…
I used to have a pretty decent group of friends, but some problems occurred to me and I severed myself from them. While that is mostly my own fault, I really have no way to connect with them again. I feel ashamed of how I represented myself to them and I don’t want them to judge me as an outsider.
In the past year of my life, it’d be foolish of me to say that I haven’t met anyone. I’ve been to various bars and clubs and I’ve met quite the eclectic bunch of people while working, but there isn’t a single other person to whom I’ve spoken my mind. My conversations consist of asking someone if they want paper or plastic or talking about which drink I’d like.
This blog isn’t meant to be a plea for attention, but just something I want to address. While we certainly all love gaming, there is a point where enough to enough. I believe I’ve finally reached that limit and now my life is suffering for it.
I suppose I do have my health and I am employed in an economy that most people would call “desperate,” but lacking other minds to mingle with is a problem I’ve constantly faced throughout my life. I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone else and I hope that any teenagers reading this take the time to really connect with their peers.
I may not be able to turn myself around, but hopefully getting these thoughts out of my head will help people change. Don’t look down on the social pariahs or the awkward people at work; everyone just wants a hand to hold or a heart to meld with.