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I feel empty. Very little is going right


JoeWard

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I recently finished my a levels and got a part time job in retail before I go to university. During this time I developed feelings for  a girl at work who I knew had a boyfriend. I was ok with this and could deal with it. Recently she became a lot more friendly and huggy, but unknown to me she was having a difficult time with her boyfriend and eventually broke up. I found out later, but during the time I mistook the friendliness for affection though I did nothing as I thought they were still together. When I found out they broke up it got my hopes up. I resolved to leave her a while to allow her to deal with the breakup and not be insensitive. However, I recently found out that the reason she broke up was to be with another guy. All my raised hopes were thrown down, and for days I felt a hollow feeling. I could still function and no one noticed at work, until very recently. Ironically the girl I liked noticed and asked if she could help. Offering for me to text her. After a lot of deliberation I did, explaining that a girl I liked had got into a relationship, but not telling her who it was. She gave me some advice that unfortunately didn't help much. However all I did was add to the front I put on at work, and pretend it was sorted. The problem is I just can't let it go. I still hope there might be a chance for me, even though I'm certain there isn't. I just can't seem o convince myself that it's never going to happen. I'd like to be able to just ignore her but I work with her and we are pretty good friends, so ignoring her would be unfair and rude and chances are she would notice. It seems so petty but it has affected me so much. I feel guilty for worrying about something so small in the grand scheme of things. I don't feel I can tell my family and friends as I don't think they will talk seriously about it since I have never had much experience with relationships before. Working in retail doesn't help where I frequently feel like customers don't really treat me like a proper human, but as an annoying insect there to pester them with questions and clean up after them when they can't be arsed to put products back on hangers or even back in the right place, as well as being generally rude when I'm only trying to help them. I'm doing a gap year so all my friends have gone to uni except for one, who is my gym partner. I miss having a social life, as it's a part time job I don't develop strong friendships with many of them, and then the only contact my colleagues, friends and I have is over social media. I miss seeing my friends face to face regularly. My gym work doesn't help as it only makes me feel smaller than everyone there, and weak. This girl still has no clue I like her and I'm trying to give nothing away. I have body image issues and miss having proper friends. I want to leave and get to university as soon as possible and just start again, but I can't leave as we are ridiculously short staffed due to many leaving. Leaving would be good as I could start to forget this girl and stop being treated badly by customers,  but I can't. I don't feel I deserve to be unhappy and depressed, as my problems are so insignificant which is part of the reason I don't tell anyone. I don't want to self diagnose but recently I've noticed more that I just feel empty and numb all the time. I don't enjoy the things I used to, and I'm tired of work and this girl there. Also, due to an injury, any past time activities I did enjoy (biking, running and gym work) I can't do properly for 2-3 months until it is healed. In addition to this girl problem I feel like my social life has gone down the tubes, most of my friends went off to uni and we only have contact over social media and some I have lost contact with altogether. I am friends with everyone at work but it's not the same as my school friends I used to have, as at work I only get to talk to them in between jobs and it's usually a quick "hi, how are you doing". We rarely get to meet outside of work. Things just really suck at the moment and I can't see it getting better until I go to uni. 

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I also worked in customer service and had feelings for a girl who would never be in a relationship with me. Customer service is horrible and contributed greatly to my depression. People treating you like garbage does not help your self-confidence. Try to find a different job, or go to the university. Don't feel badly for leaving; staying is unhealthy for you. Don't sacrifice your well-being for some corporate monolith and the ungrateful customers.

Thinking that your problems are insignificant is a fallacy. What matters is how salient they are to you and what effect they have on you. You don't suffer from crippling problems like starvation, but that's no reason to stay in a psychologically unhealthy situation. Your problems are valid and shared with many people.

Forgetting unrequited affection is difficult. Because you can't be with her, you might idealize her and make her perfect in your mind's eye. Remember that there are many other people in the world. You seem quite social, so going to a university would likely be beneficial. Coming here was a good idea.

Don't feel badly about your self-image. Society arbitrarily defines what is beautiful, and you are under no obligation to be beautiful. So what if you're weaker than many people at the gym? You don't need to be the strongest. Love yourself  for who you are and don't try to mould yourself into something you don't need to be. You are worthy of affection regardless of how you look.

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Hey @JoeWard, welcome to DF. I hope you are able to find both support and wisdom here.

As I read the above post, I must say that it sounds like you are holding yourself back a lot based on others around you (specifically referring to the girl situation). The more you hold your feelings in for her, the more it will start to hurt (or feel numb and empty as you put it). Maybe when that girl started getting really friendly with you, it was only with the intention of being friends and nothing more. You said you never made your feelings clear to her, so there is that to consider as well. BUT the reality is that she is with another guy now. It is time you move on (as hard as it maybe). I know what it is like to lose your crush due to your own inaction.

You have lost an opportunity this time, but that doesn't mean that you won't have other opportunities in life with women. Like with anything, this is a matter of perspective. Next time you maybe able to find a girl who you notice is more compatible with you than the last just from your initial interactions. Don't let what happened with that girl bring you down.

For friends, I can understand what that feeling is like. Now days the world is so integrated into technology (at least first world countries are) that it feels like the joys of having friends from the past are disappearing thanks to social media and what not. Have you considered going out to public places in your time off like a cafe? Of course you will have to be the initiator here to converse with others. If you don't feel comfortable with that, why not try a meetup group if there are any nearby in your city?

As for your self-image, don't compare yourself to others. Everyone is different, there are people who are extremely out of shape and still comfortable with themselves (that does not however endorse my views on unhealthy lifestyles). Maybe check out this article to see tips on how to stop comparing yourself to others. Click here for the article.

Right now you may feel that things are not going to get better, but they will. You just have to have a positive mindset about it. And if you do, by the time you get to university and start interacting with your fellow classmates on a regular basis, you will probably feel like you are on cloud 9 of socializing :).

It is a matter of perspective and mindset. A tired or a negative mind will always find some way to make everything seem bad. A positive mind will always struggle against the bad and find the good in things even if there doesn't seem to be any to others.

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Welcome to DF! Thanks for sharing your story and feel free to share more. 

I am not a professional and can only speak of my own experience, but many of us seem to have shared some similar experiences, hahaha. So I can't really add much new to this topic. 

One thing I do find interesting is how bad people are at reading signals. In my opinion, it's much better to have an open, direct conversation rather than rely on nonverbal signals to do the talking.

However, when I have feelings for someone, I feel like the signals I'm sending them are impossible to miss. How can they NOT see I have feelings for them? So it is possible that this woman already has an idea that you like her. Maybe not, though. Just as signals are often unnoticed or misinterpreted, people can also be obtuse and not notice obvious signals.

Well, probably some signals of some things are clearer than others. I don't know. I had a similar situation that ended badly and I have been in pain and confusion for months afterwards. Just not knowing, not understanding, being confused. Not fun!

So for this reason, I always encourage to just talk to the person. Or write them an email. Or send them a text saying "by the way, the person I like....is you" hahahaha. It might not change the general outcome, but I think it's a much better way of dealing with that outcome.

Of course many people are not good at communicating either. You can want to communicate with them, and they can refuse to communicate with you, and if you're like me, you may desperately beg "PLEASE RESPOND" hahaha. Sure sign of a bad situation there, haha. 

Anyway maybe telling her how you feel, and it doesn't need to be a big dramatic thing either, maybe just something like "yeah I think I have a crush on you and I was really surprised to see you dating this new guy so soon. Couldn't you tell from the way I was acting? Have you ever had feelings for someone they did not return? How did it make you feel? How did you handle it? Maybe we should spend some time apart until this blows over.  Call me if you feel like dating hahaha" 

Maybe try to help them understand how you're feeling, by getting them to think of a time they were interested in somebody who wasn't interested in them. I can't imagine this is ever a pleasant feeling. One-sided, unrequited feelings.

I've only ever been on the giving end of one-sided feelings, but I imagine being on the receiving side of it is very awkward, and we are well aware that many people avoid anything awkward like the plague. Just ignore it and hope it goes away. In my opinion, this is an immature way of "dealing" with things. Probably the pain of having one-sided feelings is a lot worse that the pain of awkwardness the receiver of one-sided feelings feels. 

Knowing what I do about having one-sided feelings, if someone ever felt that way about me, I would want them to talk to me about it. But I'm not sure if I'd be mature enough to say "You seem to be acting weird. Do you have a crush on me or something?" hahaha. Well, I would HOPE to be that mature. 

At the very least, telling her might give you more of a sense of closure, and be able to move on and get over it more quickly. Like, I clearly told her, and she clearly said yes or no. Of course she might not clearly say yes or no..... At that point I might put my foot down, and say "I need to know yes or no. Think of when you had a crush on somebody, wouldn't YOU want to know yes or no?"

But I think anything that isn't a definite yes......is a no. "I don't know" = no. 

OK that's enough of my unsolicited advice, hahaha. I'm not telling you you should do this necessarily, but just something to think about. I know in my tribulations with unrequited feelings, I wish I had been more direct and timely with my verbal communication. Please let us know how things go! 

Also, I think a gap year is a good thing. I wish I had done a gap year....or 2 or 3! I was wayyyy too immature and unfocused when I started college ("uni" as you Brits call it, haha), and as a result I got a useless degree, and have not really moved forward in my life in the 10 years since graduating uni. At 30+ years old, I still feel like I am 18-20, hehehe. Also I wish I had seen a therapist at around that age (18-20), which might have helped address my issues before they became bigger problems. Also I would caution you not to use drugs or alcohol to try to escape your worries! Those can become very bad habits that ultimately just make things worse. 

Good luck  and please let us know how things are going! 

 

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Welcome to the forums.  It is difficult when you have feelings for someone and then they may not reciprocate or know.  I feel your frustration, but I'm sure if this doesn't work for you, another person will come into your life.  It seems we find love when we are not looking for it.  As far as retail, I worked in the business for almost 30 years, so I get what you are saying.  It can be a thankless job, however you may be surprised by the number of great customers you will have.  Just try to stay positive, and give good customer service.  Generally the customer will respond to your kindness in a good way.  

Once again, welcome.

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On 18 June 2016 at 6:52 PM, Hermitic said:

I also worked in customer service and had feelings for a girl who would never be in a relationship with me. Customer service is horrible and contributed greatly to my depression. People treating you like garbage does not help your self-confidence. Try to find a different job, or go to the university. Don't feel badly for leaving; staying is unhealthy for you. Don't sacrifice your well-being for some corporate monolith and the ungrateful customers.

Thinking that your problems are insignificant is a fallacy. What matters is how salient they are to you and what effect they have on you. You don't suffer from crippling problems like starvation, but that's no reason to stay in a psychologically unhealthy situation. Your problems are valid and shared with many people.

Forgetting unrequited affection is difficult. Because you can't be with her, you might idealize her and make her perfect in your mind's eye. Remember that there are many other people in the world. You seem quite social, so going to a university would likely be beneficial. Coming here was a good idea.

Don't feel badly about your self-image. Society arbitrarily defines what is beautiful, and you are under no obligation to be beautiful. So what if you're weaker than many people at the gym? You don't need to be the strongest. Love yourself  for who you are and don't try to mould yourself into something you don't need to be. You are worthy of affection regardless of how you look.

Thankfully I should be able to quit in the next few months, before I go to uni. Should be easier to forget her there 

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On 18 June 2016 at 7:07 PM, Naitomea1224 said:

Hey @JoeWard, welcome to DF. I hope you are able to find both support and wisdom here.

As I read the above post, I must say that it sounds like you are holding yourself back a lot based on others around you (specifically referring to the girl situation). The more you hold your feelings in for her, the more it will start to hurt (or feel numb and empty as you put it). Maybe when that girl started getting really friendly with you, it was only with the intention of being friends and nothing more. You said you never made your feelings clear to her, so there is that to consider as well. BUT the reality is that she is with another guy now. It is time you move on (as hard as it maybe). I know what it is like to lose your crush due to your own inaction.

You have lost an opportunity this time, but that doesn't mean that you won't have other opportunities in life with women. Like with anything, this is a matter of perspective. Next time you maybe able to find a girl who you notice is more compatible with you than the last just from your initial interactions. Don't let what happened with that girl bring you down.

For friends, I can understand what that feeling is like. Now days the world is so integrated into technology (at least first world countries are) that it feels like the joys of having friends from the past are disappearing thanks to social media and what not. Have you considered going out to public places in your time off like a cafe? Of course you will have to be the initiator here to converse with others. If you don't feel comfortable with that, why not try a meetup group if there are any nearby in your city?

As for your self-image, don't compare yourself to others. Everyone is different, there are people who are extremely out of shape and still comfortable with themselves (that does not however endorse my views on unhealthy lifestyles). Maybe check out this article to see tips on how to stop comparing yourself to others. Click here for the article.

Right now you may feel that things are not going to get better, but they will. You just have to have a positive mindset about it. And if you do, by the time you get to university and start interacting with your fellow classmates on a regular basis, you will probably feel like you are on cloud 9 of socializing :).

It is a matter of perspective and mindset. A tired or a negative mind will always find some way to make everything seem bad. A positive mind will always struggle against the bad and find the good in things even if there doesn't seem to be any to others.

 I'm working on being positive even when I just want to stop. It's amazing how much it can help my mood pretending to be happy until I am. Probably not the best way to do it but I'm just taking each day as it comes and counting down the days to uni. As for the girl. I wish it was a missed opportunity. Truth was I never really had any chance as she broke up to be with this other guy. I was just her shoulder to cry on during the difficult break up :/ 

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On 19 June 2016 at 3:00 AM, blackrider said:

Welcome to DF! Thanks for sharing your story and feel free to share more. 

I am not a professional and can only speak of my own experience, but many of us seem to have shared some similar experiences, hahaha. So I can't really add much new to this topic. 

One thing I do find interesting is how bad people are at reading signals. In my opinion, it's much better to have an open, direct conversation rather than rely on nonverbal signals to do the talking.

However, when I have feelings for someone, I feel like the signals I'm sending them are impossible to miss. How can they NOT see I have feelings for them? So it is possible that this woman already has an idea that you like her. Maybe not, though. Just as signals are often unnoticed or misinterpreted, people can also be obtuse and not notice obvious signals.

Well, probably some signals of some things are clearer than others. I don't know. I had a similar situation that ended badly and I have been in pain and confusion for months afterwards. Just not knowing, not understanding, being confused. Not fun!

So for this reason, I always encourage to just talk to the person. Or write them an email. Or send them a text saying "by the way, the person I like....is you" hahahaha. It might not change the general outcome, but I think it's a much better way of dealing with that outcome.

Of course many people are not good at communicating either. You can want to communicate with them, and they can refuse to communicate with you, and if you're like me, you may desperately beg "PLEASE RESPOND" hahaha. Sure sign of a bad situation there, haha. 

Anyway maybe telling her how you feel, and it doesn't need to be a big dramatic thing either, maybe just something like "yeah I think I have a crush on you and I was really surprised to see you dating this new guy so soon. Couldn't you tell from the way I was acting? Have you ever had feelings for someone they did not return? How did it make you feel? How did you handle it? Maybe we should spend some time apart until this blows over.  Call me if you feel like dating hahaha" 

Maybe try to help them understand how you're feeling, by getting them to think of a time they were interested in somebody who wasn't interested in them. I can't imagine this is ever a pleasant feeling. One-sided, unrequited feelings.

I've only ever been on the giving end of one-sided feelings, but I imagine being on the receiving side of it is very awkward, and we are well aware that many people avoid anything awkward like the plague. Just ignore it and hope it goes away. In my opinion, this is an immature way of "dealing" with things. Probably the pain of having one-sided feelings is a lot worse that the pain of awkwardness the receiver of one-sided feelings feels. 

Knowing what I do about having one-sided feelings, if someone ever felt that way about me, I would want them to talk to me about it. But I'm not sure if I'd be mature enough to say "You seem to be acting weird. Do you have a crush on me or something?" hahaha. Well, I would HOPE to be that mature. 

At the very least, telling her might give you more of a sense of closure, and be able to move on and get over it more quickly. Like, I clearly told her, and she clearly said yes or no. Of course she might not clearly say yes or no..... At that point I might put my foot down, and say "I need to know yes or no. Think of when you had a crush on somebody, wouldn't YOU want to know yes or no?"

But I think anything that isn't a definite yes......is a no. "I don't know" = no. 

OK that's enough of my unsolicited advice, hahaha. I'm not telling you you should do this necessarily, but just something to think about. I know in my tribulations with unrequited feelings, I wish I had been more direct and timely with my verbal communication. Please let us know how things go! 

Also, I think a gap year is a good thing. I wish I had done a gap year....or 2 or 3! I was wayyyy too immature and unfocused when I started college ("uni" as you Brits call it, haha), and as a result I got a useless degree, and have not really moved forward in my life in the 10 years since graduating uni. At 30+ years old, I still feel like I am 18-20, hehehe. Also I wish I had seen a therapist at around that age (18-20), which might have helped address my issues before they became bigger problems. Also I would caution you not to use drugs or alcohol to try to escape your worries! Those can become very bad habits that ultimately just make things worse. 

Good luck  and please let us know how things are going! 

 

Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it :) I have been working pretty hard to not give away that j like her. I try to act the way I would around anyone else when the truth is I want to spend as much time with her as possible. We talk a lot when we can but only in between jobs at work, which is frustrating. She may have noticed that my down days started around when she started dating his new guy, but I think that was probably it. You can't believe how much I want to tell her XD but I feel like it would just make things awkward. I might tell her right before I leave so she perhaps has a little understanding of why I've been so down recently, but otherwise I might leave it. I agree it would give me some closure to tell her, but then talking to her in general might be awkward or otherwise impossible.

And don't worry, I've never taken illegal drugs or legal highs in my life and I don't plan on starting, and I've never been much of a drinker outside of social situations.

Thanks again,

joe

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On 19 June 2016 at 4:06 AM, highanxiety said:

Welcome to the forums.  It is difficult when you have feelings for someone and then they may not reciprocate or know.  I feel your frustration, but I'm sure if this doesn't work for you, another person will come into your life.  It seems we find love when we are not looking for it.  As far as retail, I worked in the business for almost 30 years, so I get what you are saying.  It can be a thankless job, however you may be surprised by the number of great customers you will have.  Just try to stay positive, and give good customer service.  Generally the customer will respond to your kindness in a good way.  

Once again, welcome.

It's always great when you get a friendly customer. They make my day :) but there's plenty of surly customers to come ruin it again :/ it's like they think I don't deserve treating properly since I can't get a 'proper' job. At the moment it feels like I'll never find another like her, but I guess we'll see 

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