A: Welcome to the problems of your generation. Though you may feel lost and alone you are in very good company with so many in your age group. The good thing is that some of your problems are just due to your stage of life – so, you will outgrow them. The bad thing is that some of your problems are due to the world you grew up in and unless you do something about it, things will only get worse.
It is normal to be questioning and feeling lost at the age of 20. You are transitioning from the rules of your parental household and high school to the relative freedom of living on your own and making your own decisions. This is metaphorically the moment when you have been pushed out of the nest and it's up to you to fly. That's a lot of pressure!
Some will do this with relative ease. If they fall, they make their way back up again. And some, like you, are so focused on themselves that they analyze every wing flap and critique every fall. All the while, they compare themselves unfavorably to the other birds. Eventually, most learn to fly (which for you means finding a career path and a relationship). It may take you a little longer than everyone else, but keep your eye on the prize and you will get there.
So much for the normal, now let's talk about the world you grew up in. Over the last 20 years we have seen an explosion of electronic media and devices. It's now the norm for parents to use electronic devices to hypnotize their children into obedience. And, with all the pressures on parents these days, one has to be sympathetic to their plight.
Though these electronic pacifiers calm the child in the moment, they deny them the learning experience of both interacting with other people and managing emotional discomfort. Therefore, they miss out on refining their social skills.
Though your question didn't refer to the electronics issue, I can tell that it is at the heart of the problem. Your question to me reads more like a casual text message than a formal letter asking for help. It has several spelling and grammatical errors and even uses abbreviations for words typical of a text message. In the past it would have been difficult to believe you have graduated high school, but I know standards are a bit lower these days.
We all make grammatical and spelling errors, but more than 5 in one paragraph is problematic. Ouch, I know that hurt. But, someone needed to tell you.
Also, reality isn't like Reality Television. Emotional expressions don't hit hard and other people aren’t always entertaining. In reality, you need to have a decent attention span to read the subtleties of human emotion when you are with another person. Plus, unlike being a T.V. viewer and rarely feeling personally challenged, interacting with other people can cause emotional discomfort that you have to learn to tolerate.
If you want to do something about your situation, you are going to have to make up for all of that lost time you spent staring at a backlit screen. Here are some recommendations to get you started:
1. Enroll in a remedial grammar class. No matter how intelligent you are, if you sound dumb, people will think you are and will not trust you with much more than a shovel or a one-night stand.
2. Watch the movie "Idiocracy" (2006). It is a low-budget romp with a surprisingly astute depiction of what our country may become if it continues this downward slide fueled by electronic pacification and anti-intellectualism. It should get you thinking.
3. Let others, not you, talk about your body and personality. You are correct in thinking they are important to attract others, so it is good for you to work on them. But generally when you say them out loud, it sounds like you are trying to convince others when you doubt yourself. The same goes for saying you are rich, smart, or have a big dick. If you have to say it, it probably isn't true.
4. Turn off your phone after each use. The hassle of turning it on and off will keep you from habitually checking it anytime you are bored or uncomfortable. Besides, when you do it in front of another person, it's rude. It says you care more about what is on your phone than what is coming out of their mouth. Instead, focus on them even if they aren't all that interesting.
5. Talk rather than text or email. Live conversations are coming back into vogue. Start practicing so you won't be trying to insert a smiley face icon where a real one should go. Substitute at least one text or email for a phone call each day. Add do one non-electronic activity with other people each week. Go to a restaurant, see a movie, take a hike.
Though these won't fix your social awkwardness or self-absorption anytime soon, they will challenge you to think and act differently. Besides, you just might even learn something. -- Greg Cason, PhD