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No friends, no life - going nowhere!

(12 Posts)
bwduo Tue 04-Apr-17 21:49:25

Hi everyone.

I'm new here, although I've read about Mumsnet from time to time.

When I was young, I was fairly ambitious. I never had problems making friends and was always out socialising. I went to Uni, got my degree, but never really settled in any jobs. I moved around every 2 - 3 years, trying a few different things and then had children, so gave up work to become a stay at home mum. My girls are now both in primary school and I'm really struggling with a few things:

1. Why can't I make or retain friends?

This has been the biggest problem. Many of my old work colleagues forgot about me within a few years of becoming a SAHM. Although I tried constantly to join them for social events and invited them to my house, all of these relationships petered out. The mums at my kids' school were initially friendly, but as time went on, we were invited less and less to play dates etc. I joined a group of mums who already knew each other, but I made an effort (without suffocating them) and regularly asked how they were etc, but after a year or so, they just stopped responding. One of them started a new business related to what I used to do. She was very happy to contact me for months asking for help, but when she was established, I never heard anything from her again! My daughter got friendly with a girl in her class and we used to arrange play dates almost monthly. The friend then decided someone else was her best friend, which was fine as this is what kids do, but then her mum (who I had been really close to), dropped me for the new best friends' mum. Messages to her went unanswered and over time I gave up.

I have done my best to start new friendships within my kids' school and wherever I go, but I just get the feeling I'm pretty boring and miserable. Although I have always been the funny one in my old group of friends, I find that I am questioning my social skills as I seem to be potentially driving people away.

2. Feelings of worthlessness

Although I got a good degree, I feel like my career never really took off and I used being a SAHM as an excuse for not working. I really struggle with employment as I feel I am never doing a good enough job. I used to get so stressed when I was employed because I was always worried about getting things wrong and would beat myself up and feel humiliated. So I am now dreading going back to work because of it. My old best friend at school became a doctor and has really flourished. We were both expected to do really well in life and I can't help but look back (I am now in my forties) and wish I had done things differently.

There is a LOT I am thankful for. Really, I know, and this is not a sob story. I don't feel sorry for myself - I just want to know if others have gone through this and/or whether I should be seeking some sort of help (counselling, life coach etc).

Thanks for reading.

xx

bluebell34567 Tue 04-Apr-17 21:59:55

growing up kids is a lonely job, it can isolate you.
you have done nothing wrong or there is nothing wrong with you.
your friend who you say is successful now, does she have kids? or maybe she has a good family support.
at 40 you are still young.
you can volunteer or follow a hobby somewhere, that way you can meet people with similar interests.
wish you well, xx.

sniffle12 Tue 04-Apr-17 22:12:47

It sounds like you may have self-esteem issues/be quite self-critical. I.e. presuming that something about you isn't right for those people, rather than asking yourself whether they were right for you! Did you actually enjoy their company or were they just someone to spend time with?

As someone above has said, if you could find any time to do something based around an interest, e.g. joining a club (choir? Running group? Etc) you may find people you click better with. There is also a brill site called Meet Up which lists local meetings of people with all sorts of common interests. I also think many friendships arise as a consequence of frequent contact, i.e. not having to go out of your way to make plans but just seeing them as part of - your kids play together, you work together, you go to the same group, etc. I know I have very close friends at work that, honestly speaking, I would probably fall quickly out of touch with if they left, purely because the convenience is gone. It's nothing personal.

With regards to being afraid to go back into employment because of your fear of mistakes/sense of not having fulfilled your potential in that area, again this tends to come from low self-esteem and performance anxiety. I suffer from the same - even though I have a marginally above average paid job, I look at people like doctors and feel I'm nobody, just in a blah office job, not really changing the world, etc. I dread making mistakes because it makes me feel even more worthless. I did go to see a therapist for a short course and it did help me understand more about where my self-esteem issues and tendency to compare with others came from.

Many NHS trusts have a Healthy Minds service which offers free CBT and counselling for anxiety etc. - your GP can refer you or I believe many take self-referrals too.

bwduo Tue 04-Apr-17 22:13:51

Thanks bluebell34567. My old school friend is happily married with kids. I don't feel jealous towards her - she was (is) genuinely a nice person. However, we didn't stay in touch. Once again, I was making the effort to meet up, but when I stopped, I never saw her again.

Thanks for the positive advice though. smile
xx

bwduo Tue 04-Apr-17 22:16:48

Thank you, sniffle12, your post resonates with me a lot. I really did enjoy those people's company, but I just felt I was chasing them all the time. The other day I sat and wondered whether I have any friends at all! Again, not a sob story, but I just feel that they can't all be wrong. There must be something I do or the way I behave...

In any case, great advice. I'll look into Meet Up.

xx

ohlittlepea Tue 04-Apr-17 22:17:36

This is so hard, are you a groups kind of person? I've met some really lovely friends through volunteering for a charity..I hope you meet some lovely ones soon.
Your little ones are lucky to have such a lovely mum and I'm sure they think you are a priceless treasure ❤️

sniffle12 Tue 04-Apr-17 22:35:10

The other day I sat and wondered whether I have any friends at all! Again, not a sob story, but I just feel that they can't all be wrong.

I've thought the same so many times in my life. But recently I did a personality test (Google '16 Personalities' if of interest) which helped shed a lot of light. It said that I tend to seek deep, authentic connections over chitchat, which I presumed was the norm. However apparently this is quite unusual and a lot of people want different things from a relationship (e.g. the feeling of being popular, ego-stroking, group belonging etc) which I can't give them. Even though I have a lovely DH it feels like I'm still always looking for my 'friend' soulmate!

Perhaps you could do the test as a starting point - I know I had a bit of a lightbulb moment after doing it.

bwduo Tue 04-Apr-17 22:54:12

Thanks sniffle12 - I just did the test! smile I have a book somewhere about these personality types. Yeah, I too need deep and meaningful relationships with friends. Food for thought. xx

NolongerAnxiousCarer Wed 05-Apr-17 18:12:56

I found a book called "Dare to Connect" by Susan Jeffers useful. I still don't have many friends to be honest, but I've decided that, thats just me I'm comfortable in my own company.

bugattiveyron Fri 07-Apr-17 05:09:48

Op, are you me?

bwduo Thu 13-Apr-17 12:40:22

bugattiveyron, I do often wonder if I am slightly autistic. I seem to fail in social situations and although I think I've been ok after a conversation, it seems to put people off. I then spend days analysing what I said or how I reacted and start picking holes in what I said. It gets so exhausting.

bugattiveyron Fri 14-Apr-17 19:01:42

Yes, you are me, no doubt about it. It's such hard work isn't it? sad

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