You see, there are some things that you just cannot talk about with acquaintances and even best friends. That is why I turn to this board, full of strangers, in search of an sympathetic ear and perhaps advice. I'm a 22 year old engineering student, the best of my class with a 4.0 GPA, caucasian, skinny but slightly toned because I work out 5 times a week. I'm not the hottest guy on earth but I'd rate myself from 8 to 9. I have a lot of great qualities: I'm a great listener, I LOOK self-confident, I'm compassionate, I have a good sense of humor although sometimes a bit too cynical or sarcastic. I'm also energetic, great at everything I do: I get praise from all my coworkers, I have great chemistry and dynamics with them etc. Heck, I even get looks from girls and I currently have two hot chicks flirting with me and showing high interest level at work. So basically, I look like a successful, self-confident guy however that is completely not me. You see, my greatest fault is that I am unable to get close to anyone other than on a professional level. I am just so shy and fearful of rejection. So, basically, when I go to a new class, I make tons of friends and have girls flirting me however, I always get to a point about one month into the semester where everyone just abandons me and I am left alone. I mean, I get the friendly exchange of niceties and such however, I never end up having best friends or girlfriends and such. This seems to be because whenever a relationship seems to extend beyond my level of comfortableness, and starts to get more personal, I start to move away from these people for fear that if I am too often with these people they will get bored of me and reject me. However, they reject me because I move away from them. Anyways, I know it sounds stupid and all but I have no idea how to act in deeper social situations. I am totally inept. I am sure by this time you have already started judging me about how I should just get off my ass and work to get better at it and such and I agree with you. I have been making a lot of efforts over the past 5 years to become more social and I made much progress. In High School, I was so shy that I could not even talk to anybody. I would just sit in my corner and wonder why people didn't want to be my friend. Now you are probably wondering why I am this way. What has made me so shy and so socially inept. Of course I have a hypothesis which may or may not be true. Now, to know more about me, you have to know my parents. My mom was raised a Jehovah's Witness on an isolated farm. Basically, all you need to know about her is that she was sexually abused at home, left home for the big city at 16 years old, ended up living in the streets, getting gang raped and being stone most of that time. She eventually got off of the streets and met my dad. My dad was raised by parents that had a nice house, the vehicle of the year and all the luxuries yet fed their kids with balony and kool-aid and would physically beat them. My dad eventually was forced out of his home before finishing high school because his parents wanted to get rid of him. He became a miner. So basically, this is where I come in. I was the second child of a father that never wanted children and a mother that was a religious nut (Jehovah's Witness nut which is a totally different kind of nut). I was beaten and verbally abused by my alcoholic dad up to when I was 12 year old and my mother left him. And since my parents were both Jehovah's Witnesses, throughout my school years, they brainwashed me that everyone not a Jehovah's Witness was evil and you should not be friends with them. They prevented me from doing any extracurricular activities and even some activities that were in the curriculum that Jehovah's Witnesses frowned upon (basically everything holiday, evolution, sex). There rules were basically: you can talk to everyone at school but you can't talk of certain things, you cannot talk to girls, you cannot do anything with them out of school. I also had my cousin in my class which would systematically tell on me whenever I did anything and I'd get beaten at home when I got back. There was also my mother that would always be at school watching us. And to add insult to injury, during my 11 years in public school, I went to 6 different schools, lost one year completely where I was 11 when I did not do any schooling at all and was stuck with my sister, my mom and my dad in a small 3 and a half apartment. I also spent 2 years doing school by correspondance. Those 3 years were the most depressing years of my life and at one point I spent 1 month eating nothing and only sleeping. I felt like I was dying and I had become only skin and bones. And then, when I was 16, my mother started seeing a 21 year old guy who was worst than my father. I managed to finish high school that year and me and my sister decided to move away together to go to CEGEP (college). I lived through poverty my entire life. Actually, my parents were not poor but my dad preferred to spend his money on alcohol, drugs, hookers etc. Basically, all I had was an old bed that my father had found in the garbage, some hand me downs clothes and something to eat. Anyways, I'm sure a lot of you have gone through worst and have survived and done better than me however, I think that I have gone through a lot in my life and it has made me a somewhat fucked up person. Now, I want to get out of that, and become a normal well balanced person. Any encouragement, advice or other kinds of help are welcome. I'm going through a difficult time recently. Also, I need a girlfriend really bad. So if there are any cool chicks living in Montreal.