The internet ate my reply before I had finished it, so if you get two posts that's the reason.
Thanks for coming back and explaining more. Frankly I'm not sure a fear of been seen as hitting on someone is a really good reason to worry. It is true there can be misunderstandings, and that applies to all sorts of things in all sorts of relationships. If you act within the bounds of common courtesy and consideration then you will be doing as much as anyone can.
Meeting and interacting with people IRL is going to take you out of your comfort zone, it is to be expected. However the more you do it the the easier it becomes. You were talking to several here last year and already have had some good suggestions on how to start.
If I look back I found a lot had to do with shyness, self-confidence, and practice.
You are starting from a good place. You have brains (your choice of studies shows that), You are not so egotistical as to not seek help, you know you can interact easily with all people in the protected environment of gaming, there is no reason to think elsewhere is otherwise.
You have a lot to offer in friendship, I guess you keep trying, maybe being a little more adventurous than in the past.
Do you have anyone in your family you can talk to frankly about this, who will take it seriously and be supportive?