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Why can't I make and keep friends like normal people?

(42 Posts)
GreggsOnLegs Thu 12-Sep-13 13:07:31

Feeling sorry for myself at the moment.
I really struggle keeping friends and I don't know why.
I make friends pretty easily, but never any close friends. I was hoping with ds2 I could start again iyswim. But so far all my attempts have started out well but failed.
For example, a new family moved in next door, kids same age as my dc, they were new to the area, we got chatting became friends. I always invited her and dc round for drinks and kids to play but it was never reciprocated. I invited her to come to some baby groups with me. Her dd will happily go and play but my ds is a mischief and I can't sit down and chat because I'm always jumping up to stop him from injuring himself or someone else. Anyway she made a group of friends there and they organised things to do outside of the group, I never got invited and now they're always next door having coffees together etc
This sort of scenario has happened with multiple friends over the years, I just don't think they want me around.
I just feel so sad and jealous because that's what I want but it never happens.
So how do I make friends and keep them? Is there any potion I can drop in a cake recipe or something? I think I'm destined to be a loner forever.

GreggsOnLegs Thu 12-Sep-13 20:56:32

There was a foreign mum at ds1 school that invited me round for coffee. I was ecstatic and looking forward to it. I went round hoping for a chat and coffee but all she had invited me round for was to get me signed up for utility warehouse that she had started working for, I was gutted.

BerylStreep Thu 12-Sep-13 21:35:28

Greggs that wasn't so nice of that Mum.

I've been there - in my 20's I somehow found myself with few friends - had cut all ties from school, very little money, relied on serial monogamous relationships for company. I was really quite desperate for some female friends - proper friends, not just colleagues from work. I ended up having a friendship with a pretty toxic girl because I so wanted a female friendship.

I realised how horrible she was to me, and decided to cut her out of my life, along with anyone else who didn't make me feel good. It was one of the best things I ever did - very empowering. I joined a sports club and started playing a team sport. Out of that I met some fantastic people, who, 15 years on, are still really good friends, even though we hardly get to see each other because of children.

I think feeling lonely can become a bit of a vicious cycle, because you can end up coming across as needy and intense. One the things I do is that I will hardly ever decline an invitation, no matter what it is - even if it is volunteering to pour tea & coffee at school events. That way I meet loads of people and keep busy. If friendships naturally develop with like minded people, then great, if not, then I have had a great night out anyway. But I don't accept invitations with a view to trying to develop a friendship, IYSWIM.

The other thing to think about, as others have said, is to have an idea of what you want from a friendship. Daily conversations (other than at the school gate) or texting is not for me, nor FB, nor intimate discussions about relationships or sex lives. A weekly cycle or walk together for a bit of a gossip, or a get together maybe once a month for drinks is what I am happy with. What is it that you want from a friendship?

Lavenderhoney Fri 13-Sep-13 04:27:55

Greggs- that's awful! I hope you didn't do it!

SubliminalMassaging Fri 13-Sep-13 05:28:06

If you are making friends initially that's a good sign - it means you are not weird or unapproachable or giving off any signals that repel people. So where is it going wrong from there?

Try to analyse what you talk about and how you come across. Needy and clingy and desperate is terribly off-putting and makes people feel trapped and irritable.

Are you too negative? Do you moan to often? Do you bitch about others to a degree which is not acceptable? Are you a catastrophiser who gets all wound up over over imagined slurs or slights, and turns minor problems into huge ones? Do you over-share? Do you take offence to easily and end up falling out with people? Do you blurt out insensitive things which offend others?

Do you dominate the conversation too much, or boast and make it all 'me me me'? Or is it the reverse - do you make others do all the work, so that they end up babbling to avoid awkward silences? Or do you talk to a normal extent but just talk about boring things? Do you have a good sense of humor?

Or is it your DS? You say he's a bit of a pest - is it much worse than you care to admit? Is he what's stopping people inviting you over?

It's really difficult because it's not like you can ask someone else to be honest with you and then give you a character assassination, and even if you could, there are aspects of our personalities that we just can't change. But if you suspect you know what it is that you do wrong, you can work on it, to an extent.

Mostly I think you just need to find people who are like you, who you click with, and don't try to punch above your weight socially, if that makes sense. Be realistic about who you approach for friendship or you'll keep getting knocked back.

GreggsOnLegs Fri 13-Sep-13 08:07:51

I have got four friends that I text and meet up occasionally with but I don't go out to the pub with type of people. They don't live local.
I'm looking for a closer friend, the type my mum has got, who pops in 3-4 times a week for a coffee and a natter and shares lifes ups and downs with and go out with occasionally.

I do need to look at myself, I need to see where I'm going wrong.
Maybe my expectations are too high.

WahIzzit Fri 13-Sep-13 10:22:37

OP cannot offer much advice am afraid as I too struggle with making and keeping friends. Its shit isnt it sad that horrible feeling of loneliness and rejection.

I moved away a few years ago and haven't really managed to make any friends. There are two 'mummy friends' who I met at toddler groups and we text and phone occasionally. I have visited one at her house a few times - at her request, but she has never been to mine despite me inviting her many times. She promises she will but never does. The other is quite new and has said she will pop in sometime. I wont hold my breath though.

I have been feeling rather sorry for myself too recently. DD has started nursery and this first week has been going in for a short time. It is about a mile away, so been quite difficult for me as I have had to make two journeys there and back, with a wriggling baby who hates the buggy. One of these friends I mentioned offered that I could go to hers one morning, which at the time I would happily have accepted. She then said she has a lot of housework to do, and it felt really awkward to then accept her offer as I felt I would be in her way.

I do not want someone who is always at mine or vice versa, living in each others pockets. I like my own space, but I also love company. To me a friend is like what you said OP, someone who I can see a few times a week for a coffee and a chat. Someone caring who will come and see me if i'm unwell. Or go shopping together. With no family here either it gets so so lonely, and I wonder what is wrong with me and why I struggle to make proper friends.
I am chatty and pleasant, I listen to others speak and show interest in what they say. But it sort of doesn't moe on from acquaintance to friend.

It feels to me most people already have their established friendships and social circles and are not bothered about letting any new ones in.

Walkacrossthesand Fri 13-Sep-13 10:35:50

I would say that few people (especially patents of young children) could find time for 3-4 natters/week with one person other than their OH! Retired people with no dependent offspring, maybe (is your mum in that category?) but even then it wouldn't be a sustainable pace for many people. You sound rather lonely - are you a single parent?(sorry if this is stated up-thread)

chocoluvva Fri 13-Sep-13 10:43:04

I'm sorry you're lonely. sad

I think it's hard to give advice without knowing you, but I hope you can use the advice that's relevant to you on this thread.

I would just add that you can't hurry friendships or force them. It takes time to be really relaxed and comfortable with people and having a shared history (through your DC or whatever) is one of the main things that strengthens the bond of friendship.

worldcitizen Fri 13-Sep-13 11:21:11

The thing is with my neighbour, she purposely excludes.me. She doesn't tell me about the things she does with other mums from playgroup

It truly hurts just reading this

Wow, Greggs, maybe you don't really need your neighbor for a friend after all, if she is going to be like that...Do you think your neighbor takes you for granted because you live next door so she does not have to try to be your friend?...

^^^^^And this also makes me cringe

I cannot understand why the development of a friendship has to be so forced. I fail to understand why moving next door to someone would necessarily mean we'll have to be friends.
I don't get it. Why not having people in your life who are neighbours, acquaintances, co-workers, friends, close friends, best friends, etc.....

I doubt there is great chemistry with everyone and it is not uncommon to know someone and then get introduced to others and hit it off with them, more than with you.

Sorry gregg I really don't mean to come across as mean, but maybe a perspective from someone who sees these things very differently from you could be helpful, not sure.

If you would invite me to go to a baby group with you and I would think of you as okay and nice, nothing more and nothing less than my neighbour, then why should I invite you to my new friendship circle???
I don't get it.

Someone else here talked about their only friend who doesn't invite her to join her to pub outings with other people.
Why should she?
She might be YOUR only friend, but this doesn't seem to be the case in return.

Reading so many comments and views here makes me feel anxious "almost like trapped". I can almost sense, why so many here have difficulties keeping friends as it all seems so forced and full of expectations.

GreggsOnLegs Fri 13-Sep-13 13:36:07

I'm not a lone parent.
I am from a huge family and moved miles away to be with dh. I am used to a lot of people round me all the time, so I struggle with having large parts of my day alone with ds.
I tried another baby group today. Ds loved it. All the other mums were in their cliques and I smiled at a few and said hello but no one spoke to me. We will go again though because ds enjoyed it so much.

Jessicarthorse Fri 13-Sep-13 13:41:24

OP, I think your use of the word 'cliques' is revealing.

These are grown women, not school children. Try not to view them as enemies.

sherbetpips Fri 13-Sep-13 13:45:01

Priceliss i agree, I invite myself to stuff all the time, people are busy they might think you don't want to be included. Also be careful not to 'lovebomb' someone when you make friends, being invited over constantly puts a lot of pressure on the other person. Also don't have too high an expectation of people, just because you had a nice day together doesnt mean you will be included in their social activities going forward. Give friendships space to grow and if it has been a couple of months, give them a call and see if they fancy coming over, going to the park, etc.

sherbetpips Fri 13-Sep-13 13:46:12

re the cliques thing as well dont give up on that, you will often find there are members within a clique who dont fit in as well as the others, they often drift to new friends when someone makes the effort. dont bother to try to infiltrate old cliques though, no point.

GreggsOnLegs Fri 13-Sep-13 13:46:33

I don't see them as enemies, but I do find them intimidating, I couldn't just go up to a group of them and start chatting.
I tend to single out the ones on their own and chat to them, but there weren't any at that group.

Jessicarthorse Fri 13-Sep-13 17:07:20

But the word 'cliques' implies that they are somehow being exclusive, bitchy, deliberately excluding you. You need to work on why you find other adult women so intimidating - if you had better self esteem this whole 'I can't make friends' shizzle would become less of an issue.

BerylStreep Fri 13-Sep-13 17:07:42

I met one really good friend at a baby group - it was like we were separated at birth, we had so much in common.

Other than that, I never met anyone who I really clicked with. Baby groups always feel a bit dismal and forced to me. I think activities without children are so much more enjoyable.

I think it would be an idea to consider SubliminalMassaging's points - ask yourself, do you do any of those things? I think we probably all do from time to time, but if it is a regular thing it could put people off.

I must say, I honestly wouldn't have the time or inclination to share my life with someone to the extent that I was seeing them 3 or 4 times a week. That's what my DH is for.

worldcitizen Fri 13-Sep-13 17:53:24

You've mentioned this one as well... Just back from school run. Ds has befriended a new boy in his class and I mentioned to his mum about him coming round to play sometime, she seemed really niceand said yes a play date would be lovely >> so another potential friend.

Like I said, I can make friends easily enough, I just can't keep them.

I don't even know what to say other than what someone else mentioned here already.
Please don't lovebomb!!!!! As of now, she is only the mother of a boy your son is starting to befriend.

I know I am not being helpful here. I am sorry, I think I should just shut up.

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