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What's wrong with me? I can't make friends

(23 Posts)
Iamthedogsmother Tue 16-May-17 16:24:11

I'm 45 and I have two dcs. I'm very shy and I know I have no confidence. I try to be friendly and thoughtful to other people and I'll always try to help if I can -I've volunteered to accompany someone who I thought was my friend to a hospital appointment for her ds who has some ASD traits. I've been as supportive as I can as my ds also has ASD. Now it seems she's moved on and friendly with others, if they can't make gym or coffee, I'm sort of asked to fill in. I've started to say no. I feel so used. This is a regular pattern for me. I often step in to baby sit for others so they can go out socially. I'm rarely included. But I find it hard to say 'no'. So I'm trying to be more assertive. Maybe I'm a doormat? I'm trying to turn it around but I think I'm going wrong somewhere. I'm lonely.

Losingthewill8 Tue 16-May-17 16:43:05

Hi, it's sad to hear that.

Have you kept in touch with ante natal friends? What about toddler groups? Church groups? Children's activities in general have lots of mums/dads/carers staying with the kids? Perhaps try some of those.

Iamthedogsmother Tue 16-May-17 16:48:20

Thanks for your reply. I've tried all these but I'm usually 'passed over'. I think I'm going wrong somewhere. Perhaps I'm just meant to be a loner?

Jupitar Tue 16-May-17 16:48:57

Do you invite people to meet you for coffee and for nights out or do you wait to be invited?

Areyoufree Tue 16-May-17 16:48:57

You say you're asked to fill in if other people can't make things, but how often are you instigating meet ups yourself?

Areyoufree Tue 16-May-17 16:49:35

Jupitar Jinx!

Iamthedogsmother Tue 16-May-17 16:56:04

I do t really instigate things as I'm think people will say 'no'. I've just got no confidence.

BossyBitch Tue 16-May-17 16:56:10

I can relate, OP! Like you, I'm shy (though I talk a hell of a lot) and just always seem to miss the part where people make the sort of connections where they start seeing each other outside of whatever capacity they met in.

My best 'friends' at this moment are quite literally two of the people who work for me and my boss. Add an old school friend whom I sometimes see and my ex, and you've exhausted my social circle.

I wish I could give you advice but, see above. FWIW, I'm told I intimidate people because I'm simultaneously quite opinionated and actually shy. Seems that may come across as 'not interested'.

Iamthedogsmother Tue 16-May-17 16:59:20

Thanks for that. TBH as my ds has ASD I wonder if maybe I do too? I can certainly relate to the social difficulties!!

Peanutbuttercheese Tue 16-May-17 17:07:02

You remind me of my sister and she is a doormat, literally too nice.
I'm afraid it means she has been used many times by people. I almost thinks she attracts users maybe it's all subconscious but that's what happens. Sounds horrid and victim blaming but people that do use seek out the too nice shy folk in life.

Because if they kept asking someone like me to put myself out constantly I would be saying no. I'm really happy to help but have boundaries.

Plus the whole Mums for coffee, it's just women who happen to have dc in the same age group you may have nothing in common at all just that their wombs produced in the same school year.

What do you actually like?

DayMoth Tue 16-May-17 17:09:55

I think people are using you. They don't want your company, just your help. I would seek new friends!

Unfortunately shyness or over-eagerness to please can be very off-putting. If you feel awkward it makes others feel uncomfortable too.
I think the best way to attract new friends is to fake confidence. Focus on them not how you're coming across. Be chatty, entertaining, take an interest, suggest fun things to do. Try to have a laugh together. Don't bend over backwards to please anyone.

I used to be shy but have gained self confidence and social skills over the years. Many of my friends are shy but good at appearing confident. It's hard work making conversation if you are doing all the talking or the other person just agrees with you or needs you to keep boosting their self esteem.

Stop offering to do favours for people until they offer to return them. Let people get to know the real you. If they sense you have self respect they will stop taking advantage of your good nature.

Joolsy Tue 16-May-17 17:13:26

Being without friends isn't a problem unless it's making you unhappy, and it sounds like it is. I'm a bit like that. One of my closest friends is DD's friend's mum but I only really see her once a week, I don't call her up for a chat or anything like that. I have a few other friends that I see sometimes but I quite enjoy my own company and probably wouldn't have alot of time to meet up anyway.

Try not to compare yourself to how many friends/how popular other are. There's a mum of one of the kids in my DD's class and she is very loud and always has a group of mums circled around at drop off/pick up time. I am not one of them but probably wouldn't want to be. I try not to compare myself to her popularity but it's hard when they're all chatting and laughing right by me.

I recently read an article written by a columnist who says her best friends are the ones she made online. Might be another option?

ILoveAGoodBrusselSprout Tue 16-May-17 17:17:18

There was a similar thread the other day and the OP got in touch with some MN posters in her area. Could you try that?

You won't necessarily hit it off with everyone but there might be someone in your area that you just click with. What area are you in OP?

Areyoufree Tue 16-May-17 17:19:23

OP - I am the same as you. Never asked people to do things, because I thought they would say no. Caused huge problems in friendships, because my friends thought I didn't like them! Take the plunge. Suggest coffee with your friend.

SunnyCoco Tue 16-May-17 17:29:22

Hi op
I'm really sorry to hear you're struggling.
One thing I have noticed is that energy attracts energy. So if you're putting out signals that you're fabulous and sociable and have friends, those friendships will attracted to you. I know this sounds a bit nutty but if you look around you you'll see it everywhere.
So my advice would be to 'fake it til you make it'
And start having some boundaries, and I know you're shy but start saying 'oh I'd love to join you this evening - could use a glass of wine' etc. People are usually really happy with 'the more the merrier' in my experience. Maybe because you've always accommodated the babysitting etc they assume you don't fancy the night out? So be a bit assertive on that front, good luck xx

JustKeepDancing Tue 16-May-17 17:30:52

I have struggled with this a bit and the best advice I got was to think of making friends a bit like meeting a partner. Was I going to do either sitting at home on my own? No...

I am a bit like you and struggle to feel confident enough to meet people. So I practiced. I joined an art class (deliberately picked as it was something I wanted to do anyway but also because it would involve sitting around with other people) and I practiced - introducing myself having conversations, and opening up. I knew I wasn't likely to see those people again which took the pressure off thinking of them as "a source of new friends". I then put the little bit of confidence I'd gained there into practice. Whenever anyone asked if I wanted to do something, I forced myself to say yes. I'd make a point of sending a message to someone a couple of days after relating to a conversation we had (eg an amazon link to a book we had discussed) with an "it was really lovely to see you, let's catch up next month​". It felt safe and again helped build my confidence.
I also watched a ted talk by Brene Brown about vulnerability...

Anyway. What I'm trying to say long-windedly is that the more you practice the easier talking to people and "putting yourself out there" (back to the dating analogy) is. It's hard if you're not confident - and if people don't get anything back from you it's likely you won't be top of their priorities unfortunately. So I'd suggest pushing yourself. And maybe have a think about some coaching or counselling to work out where the lack of confidence has come from. Good luck!

SunnyCoco Tue 16-May-17 17:31:56

Areyoufree makes a really important point - I'm one of the people always organising things and it has started to upset/offend me that some people don't. I just think when you're an adult you need to bite the bullet and do these things.

Iamthedogsmother Tue 16-May-17 17:35:04

Thank you for all your advice. I think perhaps I seem aloof but I'm not at all. You've all given me lots to think about smile

Joolsy Tue 16-May-17 20:23:15

I would also add that my closest friends I've met through my DCs. If my DCs have very good friends I tend to become friends with the mums by default, some more than others. When it's collection time for the children from each other's houses we often have a cuppa before hometime. It's a starting point, anyway. Ask people about themselves. Generally people love talking about themselves!

gleam Tue 16-May-17 20:32:07

How about joining a local walking group? I imagine that could be quite friendly, but low-key.

JapaneseTea Tue 16-May-17 20:32:21

Agree with sunnycoco - as an organiser if someone doesn't do their 'turn' of organising things I take it as a hint that they don't like me.

YY justdancing too. What Brene Brown and Amy cuddy ted talks. Good conversation is like a dance really and you can practise.

Goodasgoldilox Tue 16-May-17 20:33:32

The advice I was given was to work at being exactly the friend I would like to have.

PaintingByNumbers Tue 16-May-17 20:40:03

hi op, do you think you could also be on the spectrum? either way, I'd advise being open and honest, tell your friend you feel lonely and could do with a meetup, try to mix with like minded people,maybe with a focus eg a shared hobby. I like organised groups for socialising without too much stress eg knit n natter, walking groups, toddler groups.

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