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i can;t make friendships last - feel totally crap

(20 Posts)
masuki Tue 11-Oct-11 10:31:01

What is wrong with me? I simply cant do small talk with other women, there have been numerous openings for friendships oer the past ten years, and i seem to screw it up! There is noone in my life to meet up for a coffee with, or talk about my chldren to, i just dont understand what is wrong with me/what vibe i give off to people.

after hellish moments at school gate which are just so painful for me, i come home and just cringe at who i can be. i give myself such a hard time.

Pigglesworth Tue 11-Oct-11 10:36:56

Can you tell us more about what you find difficult, so that we can try to help? What is it about small talk that you feel you can't do, what have these "openings for friendships" been, how do you think you've been "screwing up", and what kinds of things are you saying that you later cringe at? What is it like at the school gate for you?

bejeezus Tue 11-Oct-11 10:42:39

agree, we need more information
But PLEASE don't judge yourself based on the school-run. It is hellish for most a lot of us; people you see twice a day EVERYDAY for around 10 minutes- you feel you should know them...but you dont really.

Imjustagirl Tue 11-Oct-11 10:48:15

I am the complete opposite at the school gate - very talkative and always laughing. However, like you, I am actually full of insecurities and walk away thinking I bet nobody really likes me, I must be annoying, why did I say that.....

Start off by smiling at people. If someone walks towards you dont look down. Try saying, "How are you?". If you find small talk difficult, just remember most people like talking about themselves! Therefore if you ask a few questions, you can start a conversation. Ask about their children. Invite a child for a playdate! That starts a conversation up about arrangements etc. Arrange for a playdate at a soft play centre. You can have a chat over a coffee. Perservere and don't be so harsh on yourself. If you don't push yourself forward a little then in the hustle and bustle of the school gate you will blend in to the background and I know that hurts.


ItsMeAndMyPumpkinNow Tue 11-Oct-11 10:51:43

masuki, there's probably nothing wrong with you other than low self-esteem (eg. you say you "cringe at who you can be").

I have felt like you for nearly my whole life. What has helped me is to realise that I was too focused on worrying about what other people might be thinking about me (always negative, in my imaginings...), and not focused enough on just being me; not focused enough on observing other people just being themselves.

It helped me to use this imagery: People are not mirrors. They are their own people. And you are more than a mere reflection: you are your own person too. Can you centre yourself on you -- the real you who knows who she is, rather than the cringing you who is worried about who other people might want her to be?

People are more likely to be readily accepting of you if you are you. Only the users of this world demand that we be who they want us to be.

PopcornMouse Tue 11-Oct-11 10:52:08

DH is a mental health nurse, and he reckons the biggest factor in people being at ease in social situations is practise. The more you try to chat/have coffee/be friendly/smalltalk, the better you will become at it. It doesn't just magically happen (certainly not in my case, either!) and you are not a failure.

I agree with Imjustagirl's practical suggestions smile

TheProvincialLady Tue 11-Oct-11 10:52:58

If you feel that the school gate moments are hellish (and a lot of people would agree with you. I already knew quite a lot of school parents before my DS started at school and even I feel awkward some days!), you are probably looking uncomfortable and giving off unapproachable vibes. That's something you can change. Take the approach that you are not there to mingle, you are there to collect your children - but be comfortable and happy in yourself while you do it. Smile at people but don't put yourself under any pressure.

And then do something like a hobby group where you are much more likely to find someone you have something in common with other than the fact of having children the same age.

masuki Tue 11-Oct-11 11:04:03

thankyou for all your kind replies, i feel like crying!

re openings for friendships that have fizzled out, there have been several where we have met for drinks/at each others houses with/without children , some have included some heart-felt sharings etc, some have been more impersonal in larger groups, and look here i am in 2011 with no numbers on my mobile! some of these people are at the school gates, and they either blank me/walk past as quickly as possible!

i have tried being friendly/polite/ always smiling etc... zero! i just come away feeling so sad about the state of the world that afew ladies i see every day cannot show alittle more kindness/empathy/care ...

yes i try to stay focussed on my children, and remember that is why i am there. it is so so so hard for me.

i am always replaying things i have said and wishing i had said something kinder/funnier/ just something different!

when i am alone, i am often very happy... being in nature, reading poetry, prayers, but these lovely things don't give me a strong enough heart to be able to cope.

masuki Tue 11-Oct-11 11:16:51

Just spoken to my kind DH who says make a cup of tea and go take a walk outside in nature, and open my heart to the beauty of life. so that sound a perfect tonic rather than beating myself up about all this crap.

thankyou for any kindness.... the kettle is boiling.

freeandhappy Tue 11-Oct-11 11:23:51

what a sad post. but your husband sounds nice x

ItsMeAndMyPumpkinNow Tue 11-Oct-11 11:24:28

Do that.

But also, keep practising your social skills. The beauty of nature, and solitary enjoyment, are fulfilling things. But to balance out your life, you need to have external ties too. However painful and cringe-inducing you find it, keep pushing past the pain to chit chat, to invite others, to accept their invitations... It gets so much easier with practice! Over time, you realise that being rebuffed does not mean that you are unworthy, but just means you've been rebuffed; and when you realise that people are often just as insecure as you, and really welcome someone who comes forward with a kind word and an invitation for coffee. But it is a slow process; don't get discouraged!

Rhinestone Tue 11-Oct-11 13:41:37

OP, you sound lovely!

I mean this kindly - you are obviously doing something / giving off some vibe because I can't believe that someone who sounds as nice as you is having such problems otherwise.

PLEASE can you give us a few examples of what you're saying and doing? Purely so we can maybe help? (Although I agree with the excellent suggestions so far).

You mentioned that you like praying in your last post. I'm assuming therefore you're religious. Can you join a church / whatever your place of worship is? That way you already have something in common with the people there. Also how about a book club? Some local bookshops / libraries run these now so you don't need to find the friends first!

timetoask Tue 11-Oct-11 14:09:40

Dear OP. I could have written your post.
I wish someone could invent a course for people like us!!! "How to small talk and make friends"
I always find that interesting people, or people that have lots of friends, seem to have the wonderful ability of making absolutely any mundane subject sound interesting. These people have a sort of aura that just invites people to gather round. I don't have it.
I have given up to be honest. The only thing I hope is that my children don't inherit my social skills!!!

carriedababi Tue 11-Oct-11 14:21:50

Op Im friendly and chattyto a lot of the other mums. But even I have to sometimes think of a few conversation. Starters if need be. You can chit chat about anything, what your jack.g for tea the weather whY you did. At the weekend things on tv or in the news. X

masuki Tue 11-Oct-11 16:15:28

thankyou for your lovely posts, yes I am very religious but somehow in quite a solitary way -the practice is something very private but i long to manifest it in my daily life...

A book club is a great idea - I would love that - so maybe I will contact my local library???

I wish all you lovely posters could be my friends in RL!!!

I can't really think of any examples - sometimes I wonder if i come across as arrogant maybe? or abit snooty? or over confident? but i dont mean to.....

i am yearning to be the exact opposite - humble, gentle, dignified, kind...

it was far easier for me when i was much younger, seemed to be fine in groups etc, but then became very solitary and lost any ability to chit chat successfully...

but if you wanna talk about evolution, god, the big bang or where consciousness arises from, then i am your lady!!!

ItsMeAndMyPumpkinNow Tue 11-Oct-11 16:23:13

sometimes I wonder if i come across as arrogant maybe? or abit snooty? or over confident? but i dont mean to.....

Why does that matter? You can't know how you come across: that's for other people to make up their own minds about. All you can do is be content with who you are. Then, if people don't like you, then they don't like you. And if people like you, then great. But don't try to bend yourself to what you imagine others want from you... you'll forever be tying yourself in knots of uncertainty and anxiety if you do!

masuki Tue 11-Oct-11 16:31:00

thankyou itsmeand mypumpkin
i know what you say is right
and i am forever tying mself in knots and it drives me nuts
i know i need to be more comfortable in my own skin around other people
i just dont know how to get there

newgirl Tue 11-Oct-11 16:38:33

I think the key to making a true friend is to have something in common so you meet often eg a church group, doing an exercise class every week, doing reading in school. That way you see them often so move beyond small talk. So book club, a walking club etc. You sound very nice btw!

ItsMeAndMyPumpkinNow Tue 11-Oct-11 16:43:45

^i know i need to be more comfortable in my own skin around other people
i just dont know how to get there^

You probably need to get to a stage where you come to believe deep down that you're good enough as you are, and you feel that other people's opinion doesn't matter when your own opinion about yourself is good enough.

There are also plenty of CBT techniques you could use to counter your self-critical inner voice and replace it with objectivity and positive self-talk. There's a free on-line course here, if you want to try that.

masuki Tue 11-Oct-11 16:52:31

thankyou so much for that link - i will check it out.

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