Friendless teenage DD

(31 Posts)

My DD has no friends. She is a lovely, quiet, intelligent girl who prefers to spend her time reading and watching obscure anime DVDs to socialising. In the past when she has tried to make friends it has always turned sour, with the friend ditching her in favour of more popular girls.

She now seems to have given up and is telling me that she doesn't actually like the company of other children and finds their interests boring and shallow hmm

I'm really worried she is turning into such a loner. Her teachers tell me she spends all her time alone at break times, reading. They have tried to encourage her mix with other girls, but DD is quietly resistant. Counselling has been offered, but DD is refusing to go, insisting that she is not depressed but just wants to be left alone. I suspect she is secretly lonely and would love to have a friend.

Do any of you have teenage children who have absolutely no friends? How unusual is this?

PS: I should have said, my DD is 13 years old, nearly 14.

AnneOfCleavage Sun 04-May-14 17:15:21

Could she join a local reading club at the library and so teenagers she meets there would have similar interests to her? It does seem very unusual not to have a single friend but perhaps someone will come on to say different in a bit.

Sorry nothing you say seems to be encouraging her and perhaps she does genuinely like her own company, even prefer it at times but at some point she'll miss out on that all important confidante to share stuff with - or perhaps that's you and that's all she needs right now.

Hopefully someone more helpful will come along in a moment.

Iseenyou Sun 04-May-14 17:27:28

AnneofCleves' suggestion is brilliant - also is there a 'book club' at school where she would meet students with similar interests? If not I would suggest to the school they set one up - it is good that they are trying to encourage her to make friends rather than ignoring the issue, so they may be helpful in doing that.

I think it is difficult for the girls who are not interested in fashion, make-up, boys and pop music, as most/many 13/14 year olds are well into that by then - although those girls may also be keen on reading and anime, of course! But usually there are a few who are 'anti' fashion in any school, and they can sometimes form a very happy group!

Is there a local manga drawing club near you - that might interest your dd as well?

Do the teachers have any suggestions of anyone at all similar at the school who your dd might get on with - there should be some other keen readers, at least. What about boys? Some girls 'connect' with boys better.

Another approach would be just to leave it for a bit as it may just be a loner 'phase' but make sure that she does do some social activities - family functions with extended families, going to local events music and theatre events with you. She sounds lovely and may just need a break from the politics of friendship at the moment - which can be fairly awful at that age!

drinkyourmilk Sun 04-May-14 19:29:00

I was very much like your daughter. I'm still a loner, though I have a handful of close friends and I'm due to get married this year.
I didn't really connect with anyone until college. I still don't have aquaintences, I'm just not interested in small talk. Fwiw I was never unhappy socially. Maybe she is the same?

twentyten Sun 04-May-14 21:46:41

There are lots of on line stuff for teens into anime etc and "cons" gatherings full of like minded types..... Worth exploring? With guidance for safety!

Hmmm...tricky. Some people just prefer their own company, or that of close family or one or two friends. Try not to make her feel inqdequate...if she's an introvert there's not much you can do to change that and it doesn't mean that she's anti-social. Encourage her to take an art class or get a part-time job so that she's at least practicing social skills. I think lots of very sensitive, intelligent or creative types don't really find their social groove until they get to Uni/College where individuality is celebrated more.

thornrose Sun 04-May-14 22:03:25

My 14 yo dd has no friends but she has Aspergers. She has had friends but they've gradually faded away sad

I know people that didn't have friends at school but things changed once they started college like drink. I think some children just have to tolerate school and come into their own later.

My sister had no friends at school and she has the most friends of anyone I know now and a great social life.

It's a worry, but if your dd says she's happy then maybe she is!

Ledkr Sun 04-May-14 22:03:56

Ds2 was like this, he just liked to be at home drawing or watching tv. He's 26 now with lots of friends.
How about guides. It's not so full of queen bees.

Thanks for your replies. Yes, I agree she will probably be much happier once she is older and has left school. School has always been difficult for her, socially. It is the norm for children to either have a best friend or to be part of a group - and if you don't conform to this, you stand out as an outsider - DD has always found break times very difficult because of this. She was bullied at a previous school because the other children found her odd. No bullying at her new school, but no sign of her forming any kind of friendship either...

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 04-May-14 23:55:35

I've had 12 year old dd in floods if tears tonight. School think she may have aspergers. She finds socialising difficult &tends to go off with a book. The girls in her year tell the teachers they find it difficult to be friends with her.

She actually asked to leave school tonight.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 04-May-14 23:57:49

Dd was also seen as odd at her primary school. She's now at a school with children who share her interest, (performing arts) but still doesn't fit in. She made a friend at the start of the year but is now being excluded.

She's got big confidence issues too but she doesn't help herself as she can appear rude or won't let something drop.

Iseenyou Mon 05-May-14 09:12:27

Daisy how long has your dd been at the new school? Could it be just a question of time before she gels with a few of the girls? I think with 'quirky' girls (the ones with different interests from the 'norm' of clothes, make up, hair etc) it can take a while before the other girls come to value them, but in time it can happen.

The good news is that as girls become older (15-16) they can become more tolerant, and value the 'different' more - not much help now I know, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Picturesinthefirelight poor you and dd, it is so hard when there are friendship problems. Are the school helping her while you think about getting a diagnosis? It does sound as though they are concerning themselves with the issue, so that is a good start. Which year is your dd in - sounds as though she is Yr 7 or 8, so if the situation is truly desperate a move would not be out of the question? On the 'doesn't help herself' issue, are you able to discuss with your dd ways she could say things that might appear less rude, and allowing things to 'drop' - or does discussing it with her just reduce her confidence even more? Lack of confidence is a killer, isn't it, because it can make them appear uninterested and unfriendly, when in fact they are just desperately shy.

@Iseenyou She hasn't been in the school long - less than a term, but the friendless thing has been going on ever since her earliest years at primary school. I tried really hard when she was little, inviting other girls over etc, but for some reason she has always been excluded by the other girls. The popular kids always sniggered and whispered about her, just within hearing distance, and stuck unkind post-it notes on her back - once she walked around with one of these notices half a day without noticing and was wondering why people were pointing and giggling.

I was hoping the new school would be a fresh start for her - she says the girls seem to be nicer there, but despite this she seems unable/unwilling to connect with them and is as isolated as ever...

Nocomet Mon 05-May-14 11:33:22

DD1 doesn't have friends at school, she also vanishes into the library. She does have friends from Rangers who also like hiking, climbing trees, dr who and Sherlock.

She doesn't do teen angst, boys, fashion, pop music etc, she finds worrying what other people think or what they'd do in a situation utterly exhausting, just as I do.

DD2, who always has a gang of friends, does all this a weird stuff naturally, DD1 and me find it very odd.

I don't think there is an easy answer, beyond encouraging her to do extracurricular stuff that means she might meet kindred spirits.

As others say, school mates do get more tolerant as you get older. DD1 rubs along much better with her peers now than she did in Y7/8 and I still have friends from uni and DH from his postgrad days.

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 05-May-14 11:37:34

We'd hoped that being a specialist school that it would mean that dd met kindred spirits who had the sane interests as her.

She wasn't happy in her old school - I donntbrhinknthe issues would go away in a new one.

We told her last night of our sudpicions re asd & she actually seems relieved this morning.

OP is your dd happy?

Iseenyou Mon 05-May-14 11:52:11

Daisy did your dd start at the beginning of this term - if so I'm guessing that's only two weeks or so? In which case it might just be a question of time.
It sounds as though dd didn't have good experiences with friends at the last school (to put it mildly), so she may be trying to protect herself from that happening again, and will gradually open up as she becomes more confident that these girls at the new school are nicer? Or perhaps she is just biding her time, waiting to see how the land lies before going into the fray - that can be a sensible instinct sometimes, to suss out who is who.

It does sound as though the teachers are willing to help, which is excellent news, but maybe they need to give your dd a bit more help by thinking who else in the year might have shared interests, and be 'available' for a new friendship (so not someone who is already in a very close twosome, for instance) and push them together a bit. It might be worth your having a phone call with the head of year, or pastoral head or whoever, to see if there is any more they can subtly do without making your dd feel she is a 'problem' (which she is not. Those girls at the primary school who pinned the notice, on the other hand.....)

Nocomet yes, I think as they grow older all girls' interests widen as well, so girls find that they have things in common with each other when previously they didn't. Your dd1's Rangers sounds great! Not doing teenage angst/worrying about other people's opinions has huge advantages as well I would think - and I think by 15/16 some other girls find that a refreshing change.

@Picturesinthefirelight She is happy at home, but dreads going to school. The change of school hasn't been the miracle cure she'd hoped for and she is now asking me to consider home schooling, which is out of the question. Your daughter's experience sounds very similar to DD's - I hope things get better for her soon.

thornrose Mon 05-May-14 12:06:40

My dd dreads school too Daisy she often asks me to let her change school but I honestly feel that she would struggle at any school.

My dd is very complex, on the one hand she wants friends, but she finds it very draining to be a friend, if that makes sense! I just think there has to be a girl out there that would get her and want to spend time with her. sad

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 05-May-14 12:09:04

Didn't mean to hijack but some of the things sounded so similar.

Iseenyou Mon 05-May-14 12:20:47

Thornrose yes that's what's so frustrating - there certainly is a girl somewhere who would get your dd and want to be her friend, but how to find them and put them in touch? I don't know the answer, but I suspect as you say it gets easier as you get older.

Can I ask if your dds are at single sex or mixed schools? Sometimes boys can be good friends for girls who aren't into the usual girl-type things and are keen on Sherlock, and the Doctor. (has to be a certain type of boy, obviously!)

saffronwblue Mon 05-May-14 12:25:22

pictures your DD sounds very like mine. ASD, 12 years old, very intense about the subjects she is interested in - history, theatre etc. Adults adore her but she finds it really hard to hit the right note with her contemporaries.
daisy I always tell my DD that life will get easier and better as she gets older. She has bonded with a couple of older girls at school who are up for long intense talks, but has few people her age to hang out comfortably with.

PurpleBouncingHoppily Mon 05-May-14 12:32:33

From the descriptions here, I'd be delighted if my dd2 (12) had some of these lovely girls as her friends. She does not have ASD and hasn't previously had trouble socially, but at secondary just doesn't gel with the other girls due to differing interests. She's into indie music, YouTube, Sherlock, drawing, Marvel heroes... and they're all about makeup and One Direction. I'm hoping that she finds her "people" eventually. Dd1 (15) with much more of a history of difficulties, certainly did, and is in a happy group of friends who are all into similar things.

saffronwblue Mon 05-May-14 12:36:47

Have just started a thread in chat about my dd's current issue.

MooncupGoddess Mon 05-May-14 12:39:09

Does she have any interests out of school - music, theatre, guides, sport etc? Sometimes it's easier to make friends in more structured environments.

I sympathise, I found the whole boys/clothes/pop thing utterly tedious and baffling, but fortunately I always managed to find a couple of other girls like me, which was just about enough.

She will probably be fine as an adult.

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