I think it's sound to recognize that you can duck out of those conversations if they tend to make you feel worse. Too, if you're with friends, it's also within bounds to say "I just need to vent about this right now, and am not really looking for advice."
You're right that seeking out a romantic relationship purely because you fear you're missing out or want a certain kind of status is not a great reason to date someone. People don't generally enjoy dating someone who's mostly looking to fill a box marked "partner." That being said, it's still absolutely okay to want to find and experience love, and to keep yourself open to those connections even as you work through your own feelings and history.
I feel you on being someone who struggles with connecting with or being around new people. That's something I've dealt with (and still deal with) from time to time, so if you want to me to share some of the things I've tried that have been helpful, that's something I'm happy to do.