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Friends, or lack of?

(32 Posts)
mairyhinge Sat 10-Sep-11 17:01:02

Hi, I'm 41, and have always been a bit of a loner. I'm an only child, and find it hard to make freinds. I do have a couple of really good freinds, but although i can talk to strangers, i can't seem to connect enough to make a good friendship.
I love a girly night out, but the only mate i have who I would have that sort of night out with has kind of gone off the boil. She hasn't texted me for a few weeks unless i text her first. She has also made a new friend recently and is a Little bit in awe of her i feel. Last time we (3) went out i was like a 3rd wheel!!!

Thing is, i am the sort of friend who will do anything for anyone, BUT i also like my space, and my own company, and thats why I think I don't have many friends. MAybe because I sort of retreat into myself?
I suffer with depression, but i crave a bit of excitement.

I have another good friend, but we do coffee/lunch, and another one who again, i would just have a coffee with.
I feel desperate to make new friends, BUT how? I haven't the mental energy to join a club, besides which at the mo i have no real interest!
And im sure if i did make a friend i would end up backing right off when i'm having a abad day...
I think thats it, i have bad days, retreat and my friends think i'm being rude/ ignoring them...dunno.
I am always there as a shoulder to cry on, yet feel there is no one there for me? I want a friend like me!

My very best freind in the whole world lives thousands of miles away, which doesn't help either.

My hubby is great, but he seems to be out every bleeding weekend,whilst im a stay at home moper!.

Don't even think i'm looking for advice, as what exactly could be said?

Just fed up sad

Deesus Sat 10-Sep-11 17:05:42

Aw, sorry to hear you're feeling a bit down mairyhinge (like the name btw).

Do you work? Are there any people there you like? It could be as simple asking people if they'd like to go for a drink with you.

Also do you go out with your DH much? Or are you after female company in particular?

Other ideas - look for meet ups on MN, start a regular thing like a pub quiz team or book group. They don't have to be formal clubs as such.

It's all about putting yourself out there! smile

mairyhinge Sat 10-Sep-11 17:25:55

Hi, don't work, permanently disabled.
Don't go out often with dh, as we don't have a babysitter. Only my parents, who have had serious health issues this year so cant have kids. My dd whoi is 15 is babysitting my ds who is 9 next saturday so we can go out for our anniversary, but tbh i dont go out with dh often cos I feel, whats the point? We can sit at home and ignore each other, no need to go out for that!!
( I dont mean ignore in a bad way, just we have been married 16yrs, so not much to talk about!).
Thanks for the reply tho.
I know i have to put myself out there, but i think sometimes i just cant be bothered, and thats the depression.

limetrees Sat 10-Sep-11 17:35:49

I think that maybe you could look at your situation more positively rather than attempting to change it. You have a small number of nice friends (unfortunate re the emigration but anyway) and that is really all you need. Having large numbers of flaky friends or ones who take advantage is not fun and can still leave you feeling very lonely.

springydaffs Sun 11-Sep-11 00:03:20

I think we're all a bit swayed by the telly tbh. I know we don't think we possibly could be but imo we are! eg progs like Friends; or FB, in which everyone is supposed to have dillions of friends but a lot of it is sham. There was a thread on here (AIBU of all places) about loneliness and it was a huge thread with lots of posters outing themselves (ourselves!) as lonely. 'having lots of friends' is a huge status thing these days - probably always has been. That aside, I think we all need friends and if we don't have m/any we feel that lack - you're far from alone with that OP. Though, as limetrees says, you have more than you realise if you have one true friend, albeit miles away, and a handful of friends you see regularly - not bad if you ask me.

Gluttondressedaslamb Sun 11-Sep-11 00:36:25

I agree with springydaffs, FB and the telly are very misleading. Some people I know have hundreds of FB friends, but that is simply because they send out or accept friend requests from even people they know only vaguely, and with whom they don`t interact at all. I have received requests from people I don`t even know.
Some people have a lot of acquaintances, often through their jobs, clubs they might belong to, their DCs friends` parents etc. This does not mean that they have a lot of friends. Acquaintances don`t care about your problems, and tend to disappear into the woodwork at the first sign of neediness, fair weather friends. True friends are there for you through thick and thin. I reckon that if you have just a couple you can truly trust and who will be there for you when you need them (and vice versa) then you`re doing okay.
I know how you feel though OP, I too like my own space a bit too much sometimes and seem to come across as different. I too am an only child and have never been naturally gregarious.

Kayano Sun 11-Sep-11 11:24:43

Are you me? Seriously I am in the same position as you. I have a group of friends who live in London but I'm all alone in the north, I was an only child too and I feel the same way as you sad

mairyhinge Sun 11-Sep-11 11:25:32

Thanks all, Glutton do you think it's an only child thing?? Sometimes i do, as i had to enjoy my own company alot as a child and a teen, so now i'm quite "closed". Don't open up to anyone really, and deal with stuff myself as much as poss.
I'm a great listener, helper etc, but find it very hard to open up to anyone.
My best friend is thousands of miles away, and i open up to her thru emails,but no one else.
Thing is, right now i could use a friend to chat with as mum is very poorly, but because i can't "reach out", then no-one knows.
I know i am quite lucky to have 2 or 3 friends, and a few aqauintances, but yes, i feel very lonely.
I envy my oh, he is a southener, ( we live in the North), and he has a far better social life than I do!!

mairyhinge Sun 11-Sep-11 11:26:56

Kayano, where abouts in the North are you? I'm West Yorkshire.
I'm also very good at taking people under my wing who move here, I have a freind from Down south, and i had a lovely freind who moved here for her hubbys work, but they eventually went back south.

Kayano Sun 11-Sep-11 12:10:57

I'm in the land of Geordie grin been here all my life. I think I'm very friendly but fell out with my best friend at 18 and moved across the city so now have a distinct lack of female friends. I am hoping to make some at anti-natal classes though smile

Gluttondressedaslamb Sun 11-Sep-11 13:23:46

You know mairyhinge (ha ha, love it - I`m with you on that one too! smile ) I think it possibly is an only child thing, as we have to learn to amuse ourselves from an early age unless our parents make an effort to make sure we have regular playmates. Mine didn`t.
My mother was very strict and brought me up along the lines of `children should be seen and not heard` and `spare the rod and spoil the child`. I heard both of these gems on a regular basis. I spent a good part of my childhood reading - I`ve always been an avid reader, and I suppose it was an escape from loneliness. As I enjoyed reading I did well at school, so the other kids said I was a swot. I also didn`t have the same strong regional accent as them (my mother wanted me to speak `properly` even though she doesn`t) so I was considered `posh`. Although I was never without friends I never seemed to be a proper part of a group.
Now I`m an adult I am still shy and reserved, and it takes a while for me to relax with people. I`m always conscious that I probably come across as `stand-offish` but it`s actually shyness. I`m fine with talkative people because I`m a good listener, but with someone like myself it`s a nightmare - either we sit in awkward silence or I push myself to talk and end up spouting drivel. sad
Like you I have a couple of good friends, also a few acquaintances with whom I meet up occasionally as part of a group, but I`m just not good in group situations and seem to lack the little something that makes people want to connect.
I was reading an article the other week that said that loneliness is the last taboo, and I think it`s true. It`s something no one ever talks about apart from in an `isolated elderly people` sort of context. There must be plenty of lonely people around of all ages - you, me and Kayano can`t possibly be the only ones smile
I already feel better to discover you two feel exactly the same as me - I could have written both your posts

mairyhinge Sun 11-Sep-11 17:56:13

Glutton thank you so much. I could have written YOUR last post!! I read alot as a child, my mum never arranged playdates, I was expected to go out there and find freinds......

I am also good with talkative people, but don't you find that you never get to talk about yourself? You just listen??!!
I fear being a lonely old woman!!
Thanks for your kindness, and we know we are not alone x

MardyArsedMidlander Sun 11-Sep-11 18:00:19

My word, this could be me too! Only child, very self sufficient- now wondering if I'm become a little TOO self sufficient.

As a work collegue said- it's bloody depressing when you find out that Raoul Moat had more Facebook friends than you grin

FabbyChic Sun 11-Sep-11 18:02:12

Im a loner, never used to be for the past 7 years have been. I actually have no friends, no one texts me, no one rings me, there is no one to have a coffee with at any time.

But Im not bothered by it, I enjoy my own company.

mairyhinge Sun 11-Sep-11 18:17:27

Fabby I have days that I'm not bothered by it, but then some days, like yesterday, i feel a huge gap is in my life. Especially when i realise it's me doing the chasing with freinds! One of my freinds i am SURE uses me for free childcare, she rarely wants to do much, yet on the other hand if I ring her and need her she IS there, but makes no effort otherwise.

Lately tho i just want to lock the door and hide from the world.!
MArdy, thats it, too self sufficient, I don't NEED anyone really, and thats why i worry i will be a miserable, lonely old bag!!

Gluttondressedaslamb Sun 11-Sep-11 19:49:24

Same here, I sometimes wonder if I`ll end up being found mummified, surrounded by a hundred starving cats!
I too have times when I`m fine about doing my own thing, other times when I feel an empty ache.
I too have a friend who has `gone off the boil` a bit since making a new friend with a more interesting life. If I don`t make the effort to contact her I can go months without hearing from her, but when I do see her she is as friendly as ever and suggests outings etc. I know that if I ever asked her for help she would be there for me, as I have been for her.
I know someone else who only ever contacts me when she has a problem, in which case she rings me even twice a day for an hour a time. Once the problem has been resolved I hear nothing from her till the next one crops up! She even admitted once `I know you only hear from me when I`ve got problems, but I feel a problem shared is a problem halved`! When one of her problems coincided with me being bedridden for 6 weeks, which she knew about, she neither came to see me nor phoned to ask how I was once her problem was solved (thanks to me and DH) I happened to bump into her 3 months later and she said `I`d been wondering how you were` !!!

Spuddybean Sun 11-Sep-11 21:42:04

I'm in a similar boat OP. I am an only child (altho i have a half sister 11 yrs older who never lived with us) and i find it hard to make friends. I always had a close group of 4 friends from primary school (and their partners) but they all ditched me this time last year when i found out one was seeing my stbx husband sad

So now i have a new DP but he is also an only child and has hobbies/work which take up weekends.

I temp and get ignored at work by the others, i try to be nice and make friends but it's really hard. At mid 30's most women i meet have a circle of friends and young children so just aren't interested.

I have joined clubs; yoga, french, pottery, stained glass, jewellery making and a gym. But when i start chatting to people they look at me like i'm a mentler/stalker.

So now i have 1 friend (an ex boyfriend) who i meet up with occasionally, but no female company apart from my mum. Mum says i have always been a loner and i hang back in group situations and only really come out in 1 on 1's.

I'm ttc so i hope once i have a baby i can pass for a normal human being that someone may want to talk to! i'm quite sad there will be no one to tell or to get excited with if i do get up the duff.

I realised the other day if i died there would be 4 people at my funeral who weren't just there for free food and booze!

SurpriseMuffins Sun 11-Sep-11 21:55:11

Nah, it isn't an only child thing - just probably more common to the single child situation. My nearest sibling was 5 years older than me, but the reason I rely mainly on DH for company is simply my lack of social skills!

I am petrified of rejection so the thought of asking someone to go for a coffee with me sends me into panic mode.

springydaffs Sun 11-Sep-11 22:31:30

No, I don't think it's a single child thing either. We live (I'm going to spout here, stand back..) in a very independent society, where it's the dogs bollocks to say you've got acres of friends: imo that is only true of a minority. A bit like models re we all think we ought to look like them but about 0.001% of the population actually do. I think the majority are lonely tbh but as someone said upthread, it's the last taboo to admit it. since I posted on the loneliness thread things have looked up considerably for me - maybe talking about/admitting it goes some way to breaking the stigma of it, at least personally.

Gluttondressedaslamb Sun 11-Sep-11 22:33:09

This is weird but wonderful, I feel as though I have several clones out there! All these years of feeling I`m a square peg in a round hole, I`m finally discovering there are some square holes IYSWIM !

The big problem with loneliness is that we learn to hide it, we might even know other lonely people among our acquaintances without even realising it.

Like SurpriseMuffins I`m afraid of rejection and find it hard to ask someone to go for a coffee. Sometimes I`ve made excuses to avoid social situations out of sheer lack of confidence, other times I`ve gone along (can`t always refuse or people won`t ask anymore) but often find in very large groups I end up feeling lonelier than if I`m by myself as I often get sidelined - I`ve never got used to having to speak loudly and interrupt to make myself heard, I was brought up never to do either and old habits die hard!

SpuddyBean I really feel for you, it`s hard enough to cope with the `friend` seeing your husband without having the others turn against you when they should have supported you. That`s absolutely awful. I wish you luck TTC and look forward to you sharing happy news with us! ;)

Ispy Mon 12-Sep-11 06:06:57

This thread really resonates with me. Does anyone know the aibu loneliness thread that was referred to with all the responses with people 'outing' themselves. Thanks : )

Ispy Mon 12-Sep-11 06:07:45

sorry, can anyone provide the link for aibu loneliness thread. thanks

mairyhinge Mon 12-Sep-11 08:19:14

Well this thread has ceratinaly made me feel better!! I too feel like you are all my clones, lol, thank goodness it's not just me.
Sorry if i repeat what others have said,but i don't like going out with my freinds if they decide to bring along someone new. I always think " they won't like me," which i KNOW is ridiculous,and also a big part of me says " so what if they dislike me, i don't care" BUT its the thought of new people coming along, it's something I don't think i could ever do, just walk into a ready made freind group!!

I'm also terrified of rejection.....
Glutton I too have avoided certain social situations, but feel i SHOULD go, or they will stop asking, and then i feel so uncomfortable, sad
I went out a couple of months ago with a freind, and her "new" freind, who is nice and we get along, but actually have nothing in common! Anyway, they spent the evening talking about the GYm they both go to ( I cant do Gym as I am disabled) they both go to Zumba, (same) and then they were talking about people I don't know!! I felt like the third wheel, UNTIL i had one drink too many and pushed myself into the conversation, "who you talking about? What about them?" etc etc.
BUT i can only do it when I'm drunk grin

mairyhinge Mon 12-Sep-11 08:21:37

Oh and Spuddy...hugs, they were never your true freinds if they are that fickle

RoundOrangeHead Mon 12-Sep-11 08:24:16

you could be describing me and I have 4 siblings

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