I don't really know where to begin so I'm just going to start typing. For as long as I can remember I've always been somewhat of an introvert. It's not that I hate people or that I prefer to be alone so much as the fact that I hate all the bullshit that comes with making, being, and retaining friends. I'm 27 now and for a big chunk of high school and college I had no problem whatsoever playing the social game. I always had a lot of friends and wasn't shy about being the centre of attention. I wanted to know everyone, and by knowing everyone, I think a lot of people wanted to know me, which felt good. I'm pretty sure that I took after my father, who is a very likable guy who also just happened to be a very successful salesman. The unfortunate part with having a salesman for a father such as I did is that the sales pitch didn't end when he came home from work. Without a doubt, my father is the biggest bullshitter walking on two legs today. For him, I think his desperate "please like me" sales pitches stemmed from his own childhood troubles and low self esteem so it's kind of hard to fault him for telling tall tales. However, growing up I became so enamored with the idea that I must sell myself to others that now I feel like my entire life is a sham. Every relationship I've ever built was built on false pretenses. Like I said, I never had trouble making friends, and most people that know me would probably describe me as an extremely affable guy. I'm the kind of guy moms and dads want their daughters to bring home. However, as of lately I'm just sick of making the fucking effort. All my life I feel as though I've been extending my hand for others to grasp simply so I could fulfill my sick need to be liked and in doing so I don't really know who I am. I'm sick of always giving big smiles to everyone I meet and telling people things are "great" when they're not, but that's all I know. Inside I'm just a scared little boy afraid of being rejected hiding my true feelings so I'll fit in. Twice I've been in love. Suffice to say, the girls that I was in love with weren't in love with the real me. It's difficult to explain 'me' after reading so many posts on this forum by people dealing with problems that seem so opposite to mine but I'll try. Basically, I'm a complete and utter phony, I'm better than eddie hascal (the leave it to beaver guy) in my 'acting', but my intentions aren't malicious. I can't bare to reveal my true self to anyone I like, so I adapt to every situation so that I come off in the best light possible. I believe I have an innate sense of how to connect with people but only on the receiving end. I can listen for hours and give my full attention and compassion to others but I don't really know how it feels to be in their shoes. I don't know what it's like to have someone in my corner, just to listen and comfort me. This is something I've been longing for but it's kind of hard to find with a persona like mine. I feel that both girls I've loved left me when I opened up to them and let them see how scared and insecure I really am. To be honest, I really can't blame them though. I'd strung them along into thinking I was this man's man that could take the world on his shoulders and when I finally had them hooked, I dumped all my shit on them. Looking back, I don't know why I was ever surprised that those relationships ended. What seems sad and kind of twisted to me is that I don't think I'd be able to attract a woman I love without my facade. I know some people reading this may think that these women really weren't as great as they seemed to me, but that's just not true. In the end I believe that they left me because our relationships started out with a lie. I was only pretending to be the man they always dreamed of. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm tired of all the acting. I read in another thread on this forum about some 30 year old virgins where one commenter said 'you have to play the game'. Well, to that comment I ask, WHY? Why do I have to play this stupid game to be accepted? Even beyond intimate relationships I feel I'm always playing the fucking game. Whether I'm meeting my brother's girlfriend's family or I'm in line at the convenience store, dealing with people is a game. Anyways, I guess I feel a little bit better putting all this down in black and white even though I'm sure it probably only makes sense to me.