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Have had to end all my friendships

(48 Posts)
dimsum123 Tue 26-Feb-13 15:09:31

It's happened gradually over a number of years and only with my female friends.

I had some long standing friends who I realise now were never friends at all. Or at least not the sort of friends I would like. They weren't the sort I could really confide in or who I could call in the middle of the night in an emergency and they would be there.

I know there are different 'levels' of friends but I thought the longest standing friendships should have been the closest but they are not.

I have other aquaintance type friends but not a single close reliable friend.

I think I have huge issues with female friends due to my terrible relationship with my mother and 2 sisters growing up. I am not in contact with any of them now.

My only real friend in the world is DH and I'm wondering if I should be content with that and not want more friends. Even if I did want more friends I don't know how to go about making friends and how for it to be more than just a meeting for coffee type aquaintance. It feels like the time for making close and long standing friendships has passed and I wasted it by picking completely the wrong people to be friends with and now it's too late and very difficult to make new friends. I'm 42 btw and the friends I have let go of were from uni around 25 years ago.

catlady1 Tue 26-Feb-13 15:19:24

I don't have any advice but I know how you feel. I have lost touch with (or lost all respect for, in some cases) pretty much all of my friends over recent years, and certainly since I've been pregnant. I'm quite a bit younger than you so I suppose in theory, there are ways that I could make friends (as there are for you), but I've tried joining clubs and going more places, talking to strangers at bus stops etc and I really can't see how it works! I am very shy though, and wouldn't dream of inviting a relative stranger out for a drink or something, maybe that's my problem - although I've never really known anyone do that if I'm honest. I get on with the people I work with but I'm the youngest person on my shift by about 12 years so I haven't made any real functional friendships. It's very frustrating and depressing.

stumpy1969 Tue 26-Feb-13 15:25:23

I don't think it is ever too late to get new friends. I am 43 and three years ago did not have any what i would call close confidants living nearby.

I ended up inviting some of my ex's (wife at time) friends husbands/partners to local quiz night and we ended up turning it into a regular weekly occurence. Now all of those people are close friends. We meet up with kids in tow. Go camping, meals out.

My parents over the years have had different close friends from when they were in their 30s to when they were in 50s to when they were in 60s.

I am still in contact with uni friends but very rarely see them but when we do we pick up where we left off.

You will be surprised how many people out there are in a similar position.

Good luck. Be prepared to make first move ie invite someone for coffee. If you have kids do any of your kids friends have parents who seem normal (invite their family round for meal).

Good luck

amillionyears Tue 26-Feb-13 15:32:39

I think joining clubs with people of similar interests can work well.
fwiw, it seems to be that older people can have more friends than younger people. They have got more time. And it seems to me, they realise that time is getting shorter, and tend to muck in with each other a bit more.

Phineyj Tue 26-Feb-13 15:45:06

Clubs and activities are good especially sociable ones like choirs. Even if you don't make friends that way you still have the activity as social contact. Volunteering if you have time? The WRVS is good -- there are probably lots of lonely older people in your area who'd love a chat.

MannishBoy Tue 26-Feb-13 15:58:54

OP, don't worry so much. DW is my only real friend and she's all I need. So many times I thought I've made a real friend, only to find that it was really only one way and not a real friendship. I'm happy as I am, I'm sure you will be too.

dimsum123 Tue 26-Feb-13 16:00:30

Hi all thanks for replying. I am sorry there are others in the same boat.

I am not that shy so I do quite often invite people over for coffee etc and have met some nice people. But everyone seems to be so busy with their lives and work and family that there is little time for friends apart from the occasional drink or coffee.

I am aware also that I might be trying to fill the 'family' sized gap in my life with friends and that just won't work. I don't think I know what a normal friendship should be like in terms of expectations, trust and respect etc. I don't think I've ever had a normal female relationship. Certainly not with my mum or sisters. And with the friends I have let go I think the friendship on my side was more of an unhealthy attachment than friendship. I formed an attachment to 1 friend in particular to replace the non existent attachment to my mother.

Now I have let go of that friend (we are so different I don't know how we became and stayed friends for long) I don't want to replace that unhealthy attachment with another.

I definately have a tendency to want to be very close friends very quickly with any new person and because I am aware of that I make sure I hold myself back but then I don't know how forthcoming to actually be.

I find women really difficult in general. Often moody, blowing hot and cold, sometimes bitchy. I must have a male brain as like many men I just don't understand women! I do prefer male friends but they are thin on the ground once you're married.

MannishBoy Tue 26-Feb-13 16:08:45

I have found men to be just as unreliable. Except I also get the competition element, which is just stupid.

dimsum123 Tue 26-Feb-13 16:09:34

MB thankyou. I must say that I am leaning that way of accepting my only real friend is DH (who is absolutely a rock type of friend!) and it will be a bonus (and a miracle!) if during my lifetime I make another close, trustworthy like minded friend who will make time for me when i need her (not just when she needs me as per another long standing 'friend' I have let go of).

I think it is true that people have more time for friends when they are older and kids are grown up and they are hopefully not working so much so I am a little optimistic for the future (even though I might have to wait 20 years for it!)

dimsum123 Tue 26-Feb-13 16:12:37

MB really? I can only go by DH's friends but they seem so much less problematic than mine.

I'm also half considering just getting a dog and forgetting trying to make human friends altogether.

MannishBoy Tue 26-Feb-13 16:24:10

My male "friends" always do the one upmanship rubbish, part of being a bloke I suppose. I'm totally secure in myself so just ignore, but it can get boring.

I have to say, there's nothing like a dog always being happy to see you to cheer you up.

OberonTheHopeful Tue 26-Feb-13 16:28:49

Dimsum, I think you're being a bit hard on yourself. Many people have backgrounds that they feel mean they can't be 'normal', in fact so much so that it's probably quite normal! It's taken a lot of therapy for me to come to terms with my (borading) school experiences and why that has made it so difficult for me to have close friendships with other men, to the extent where all but a couple of my friends are women. Yet it's starting to work out a little bit and I've become close to a male friend I've know on and off for years who has actually been a great support to me in recent months.

I've also been looking at what I may project that may have made people in the past keep their distance from me in some instances, and I've really started to develop a better ability to look after myself emotionally. I feel a lot more self contained in this respect than I did and ironically it has made it easier for me to get close to people. If you were to look at my threads on here from a couple of years ago you would see that I was a complete mess, I'd just moved to another part of the country and didn't know anyone. I had to make myself get out and in that time I've met some great people some of whom have become close and trusted friends (one via MN!). Please believe in yourself smile

Charbon Tue 26-Feb-13 17:23:38

I think you might have to work on your perception of women first and then friendships might follow. If you've ended up with prejudices about a whole sex, it leaks out in so many ways to people of that sex and it can put them off. But that's a chicken and egg situation because if you had some happy mutually beneficial friendships with women that counteracted the negative associations you have about them, it might change your opinion.

People are individuals and not everyone behaves the same way according to societal constructs about male and female behaviour. So as you've seen from others' responses, no one group has the monopoly on unhelpful, difficult behaviour.

Interest groups are great for meeting like-minded people, whether it's political activism, dog owning or sport. So are FE courses or voluntary work.

Do you have children and therefore the opportunity to get to know their friends' mums better? What about the partners of your husband's friends?

dimsum123 Tue 26-Feb-13 17:30:02

Oberon thankyou. I'm glad you have made some good friends.

Wierdly I had more friends a few years ago when I was very ill, depressed and had terrible self confidence due to my appearance. Since I have been feeling much better and look a lot better some of those friends seem to have dropped me. It seems they might have liked being around me as it made them feel better about themselves compared to me. As soon as i got my health and confidence back they pretty much ignored me or were very cold and standoffish. I'm over it now but it was very hurtful at the time as I hadn't done anything wrong apart from get better.

It's all just so fraught and complicated. I have my issues with female relationships and I am sure other people havr their issues too and mixing all these people up just seems to lead to upset and hurt.

I feel I just don't want to go there anymore. It's too much effort for very little or no reward.

Iggly Tue 26-Feb-13 17:33:55

It sounds like maybe you had different needs too so these friends aren't right for you. Instead of "blaming" them, what about assessing how you react to other people? Making sweeping judgements about men and women seems to miss an opportunity IMO.

of course friendships take effort - they do on both sides. And when you change as people, the friendship changes too.

pixi2 Tue 26-Feb-13 17:35:49

I think everyone needs at least some acquaintances that you can at least pass the time of day with and perhaps a coffee or lunch. DH cannot be your sole source of adult companionship. Without a RL knowledge of other people and relationships how could you tell if he ever started manipulating you? (I am not saying your DH isn't the most wonderful man on the planet, I'm certain he is, but what would you say to someone else if this was their situation?)

Charbon Tue 26-Feb-13 17:40:30

There are huge rewards from having good friends though! As there are from being a good friend to others.

I'm come across a few people who need to feel superior in friendships and back off when things are more equalised, but not everyone is like that and in my experience, really good friends feel joy at eachother's successes as well as sorrow when things are not going well.

Don't write all women off just because of some negative experiences. And don't write off how much your life could be enhanced by friendship. I honestly wouldn't be without my friends and my life would be colourless and poor without them.

dimsum. I'm in a similar position. I would say other than DH, I have one friend I can count on, but she lives two hours away. The mums at DS1's primary school are horrendously cliquey. When I was taking DS1 to pre-school last year when I was pregnant, they were quite pleasant most days. Now I have lost the weight and still losing, I get a hello some days and a bit of a chat if I'm lucky (usually initiated by me) and others none of them talk to me. I found out one of the mums had a party at hers last week and again, I wasn't invited. Also agree re DH's friends, they are straight forward and don't mess him about. I get on well with men, but I had two brothers growing up so that's probably why.

FreudianFanny Tue 26-Feb-13 18:58:07

Hello, this is my first post on here, I was drawn to your thread.. I have NO friends, none I can meet for a coffee, or share problems with, I have had a few over the time I've been a stay at home mum, but the friendships never last or go any further than crappy small chit chat up the school, which I hate doing and am rubbish at...... I find it hard to form strong relationships with women, and distance myself, Im a bit weird I suppose, I'm not on the same wavelength as most people, lol.. Like you I have a bad relationship with my mother. (only just started talking to her after a year, ) My husband works away...although I do like my own company, I do crave a night out with females, to let the hair down and all that. Or a night in with a movie and wine... on a regular basis, not just the odd night a year.
The mothers at my kids school are very cliquey, all welsh speaking. I am not.
I joined a club.. and never formed any friendships.. the women were all grandmothers lol.. not alot in common.. they certainly didn't fancy a night out or popping out to the cinema one evening lol.. I go through phases of this REALLY getting me down, and have shed a tear being so lonely, just needing a laugh I guess.. I've signed up to go back to college, hoping things might change, but then it may not, students will be a 15 years younger than me.

dimsum123 Tue 26-Feb-13 20:11:51

Little well you have one more friend than I do! I don't have any friends i can count on. There are perhaps 2 mums/dads from school that I know that I could call in a dire emergency wrt the dc's but that's almost more because they are decent people who would help anyone if they could.

FF yes I know what you mean. I want someone to go for a meal/drink/movie with who is on my wavelength and with a similar sense of humour. I find I meet people and at first think they are really nice but then as time goes by I start noticing their faults and start going off them. I think I shouldn't be so quick to like people but I have been so desperate to make friends in the past that I realise I like anyone who is willing to talk to me without considering what they are like.

It's a bit like a friend who is so desperate to never be single that she will get into a relationship with any man however unsuitable to avoid being alone. I think I am doing something similar wrt female friends.

clickityclackity Tue 26-Feb-13 20:48:44

No friends here either. Sigh. I think I too find it particularly difficult to keep hold of female friends. The rare few I've ever felt I cliqued well with just seemed to gradually drift out of my life, lose contact. So obviously these friendships that were dear to me didn't mean as much to them.

I too have had some unpleasant and traumatic childhood experiences and find laying myself open to others, particularly women difficult, it is a stereotype but on a whole, I find women to be more critical of other women and i find that difficult to deal with. I did go to an all-girls school and have an awful time there so doubtless that has something to do with it.

I spend a lot of time on my own, will do things like go to the cinema on my own. I do tend to conect well with older women though, but keeping it going is difficult.

It sucks when I've had a row with DH and I have no women friends to share with and get it out of my system.

carlywurly Tue 26-Feb-13 20:59:11

I moved to my area not knowing anyone and have made friends through work, school, dp, playgroups, evening courses, book clubs and friends of friends. It can be done, but took a lot of effort. A lot of being relentlessly cheerful, approachable and friendly. It paid off and I'd hate to be without the people I've become friends with.

I do wonder when you mention going off people with faults. - what's that about? Every one of my friends have faults, as do I. All of us can be busy, thoughtless and preoccupied at times. I wonder if you're looking for some kind of friend perfection that doesn't exist..

I think my getting on better with men also stems from high school where the boys were nice to me, but I was bullied by a bunch of girls (the cliched popular mean girls who came from good families, academic an sporty). My best friend from that school was my friend until I was 28. We gradually grew apart when I got my confidence back at around 25 years old. I realise I had been in her shadow before, had always been there for her (even when she dropped me at times for latest boyfriends). She had got all the male attention and when I 'woke up' and was happier, I was attracting men, confident in my looks for the first tine, enjoying work, going out rather than waiting for her to have time for me and rather than be happy for me, she was miffed.

*and sporty, not an!

*time, not tine. Arrgh, cannot type on this pad...

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