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Friends/ Lack of....

(77 Posts)
MillyMollyMandy78 Sat 23-Feb-13 14:36:51

Ok, here's a brief overview: i'm 35 with no kids (husband doesn't want them). I'm not particularly outgoing but people tend to like me. I'm friendly and quite chatty once you get to know me. I am generally easy to get along with and very loyal and caring, good listener, don't babble on about myself etc.
However most of my life i have had problems making/ keeping friends. Only had 3 close friends in my life (apart from husband) and they all seem to eventuallystop seeing me/ drift away. My best friend at the moment is the latest case...we spoke almost 2 weeks ago for over an hour, chatting as normal etc. she lives the other end of the country but today i saw on facebook she is coming to my area to meet all her other friends (different groups), except for me. I'm very hurt as my friend didn't say that she wa coming, but in the phonecall she said we must meet some time soon as hadbeen ages (over a year). This same situation has happened a couple of other times too. So what is it about me that makes this happen? Why can't i make/ keep friends? Feel hurt and lonely. Any ideas would be gratefully received.

Chesntoots Mon 01-Apr-13 06:11:20

It brought it home to me recently when I realised I didn't have two people, apart from family, that I could ask to witness my will... How much does that suck?!

myrosie Sun 31-Mar-13 23:00:47

So glad I found this thread, and hope you don't mind me joining in, as I am quite a bit older than most of you, and my children have now left home. I often feel very lonely, and what you say about early relationship with my mother rings so true with me. I never felt my Mum liked me, she never praised me, and we were not close. She was also like that with my sister who is 11 years younger than me, but she was different with my brother.

I feel pathetic that something from so long ago is still affecting me at my age!! - what can I do to change at this late stage? But I have found it hard to make/keep friends and often wonder what "vibe" I give out that is unattractive to others. I truly think there must be something. I have put on a lot of weight in past few years, and I think many people are put off by that. Or is it that I don't like myself, and that is off putting to others?

I very recently got a book called How to raise your self esteem by Nathaniel Brandon, and the first part I read had me in tears. It really touched something in me, so I will read further and see if it helps.

How sad to think so many people feel so alone, but in a way good to know you aren't the only one. Thanks op for starting this thread.

PixelAteMyFace Thu 28-Feb-13 15:09:18

cavewoman - an interesting thought - if we all lived in the same town and knew each other in RL would we manage to be friends, or would our individual (or maybe common) ishoos get in the way? Are we all too needy? So many of us seem to be looking for the unconditional love we never received as children.

I could def. have written the first paragraph of your post.

It`s good that counselling is helping you. I`ve wondered if it would help me, but I live in a country where it doesn`t exist, and where people (including my DH) proudly proclaim that they `don`t believe in psychology and navel-gazing` - hence a phenomenal number of emotionally screwed up individuals (also including my DH wink)

cavewoman Thu 28-Feb-13 10:09:47

Hi OP - I totally sympathise, I'm another one - I find it hard to go from aquaintance to friend, but if I do manage it then for some reason I can't keep them. I can't help feeling that people want to be friends just because they haven't got to know me yet! I often think I'd LOVE to get anonymous feedback from them just so I can help myself sort out the bits people don't like.

I'm also another one with a difficult relationship with my mother - what a legacy these ladies have given to us. The difference is mine treated me as her best friend (she was in no way mine!), made me responsible for her emotional wellbeing and had few boundaries when it came to telling me stuff about herself (her emotional affairs).

I'm in long-term counselling and friendships is a common theme for me and my need to be constantly validated - but counselling has really made me much more chilled out and get far less upset over things. What it hasn't done yet is make it easier for me to make friends!

I wish we all lived in the same town - but there's a bit of me that thinks that I'd be rejected even by people who are in the same boat as me :-(

PixelAteMyFace Wed 27-Feb-13 22:37:13

Honey, I think you have hit the nail on the head - at least as far as I am concerned. I never felt my mother was my friend, never felt that she was on my side. She was cold and strict with me in ways I could never be with my children - or even anyone else`s children for that matter!

Now that I`m an adult I can see how damaged my mother is and feel a certain compassion for her, but unfortunately she has damaged me too to a certain extent. Just as my mother never expects people to like her, neither do I. So I`m afraid of imposing on people. I have to know people extremely well before I can relax enough to be myself. Ridiculous at my age!

HoneyandRum Wed 27-Feb-13 19:29:36

BTW been mulling this thread over more and thinking about my friend who struggles with friendship. Some posters mentioned a challenging relationship with their mum. I realised that in that case you were not really befriended by your mum, your mum was not your 'first friend'. Not only did she not model friendship with others she didn't manage to have a true friendship with you.

I would imagine that would be more of the extreme end of those struggling with friendship, others could've just been socially isolated in a family that didn't include adult friendships.

However, when I think of my friend and her continual relational struggles with her mum, from what I hear her mum does not treat her with the kindness, consideration and respect that a true friend would.

HoneyandRum Wed 27-Feb-13 19:20:38

Muchado, if you can make an educated guess of when she might be available - like if you have a break together at work, you could just say "I'm going for coffee, do you want to join me?" or "I'm going to the canteen you going down?". If she makes her excuses and they seem quite genuine just don't take it personally and try again another time. If you can text or email you could ask her that way and be more open "do you fancy getting together for coffee this week?" just be vague. If she wants to she'll follow up with times.

Muchadoaboutnuthing Wed 27-Feb-13 18:37:40

I have lots of acquaintances but no close friends. It's only in the last few months it's really started to bother me. I chat to everyone at the school when I'm dropping the kids off, I see people at work every day, I'm a foster carer so have regular contact witth various people because of that, but no one I feel I can just pick up the phone to in the evening and have a chat.
The last real friend I had stopped speaking to me around a year ago, she never explained why although I tried to find out many times.

I met someone recently, kind of through work, I have to see her once or twice a week and we seem to have clicked. This sounds really ridiculous but I'm not sure what to do, should I just ask her to go for coffee or something? We chat every time we meet and seem to get on, although I've only known her a couple of weeks. I'd just feel so stupid if she said no, particularly as I'll still have to see her regularly smile

PixelAteMyFace Wed 27-Feb-13 14:29:20

I love Mumsnet.

Until I found threads like this and similar previous ones, I thought I was horribly abnormal, and no one else had problems making/keeping friends.

Maybe we are all normal after all, and it`s the ones with 50 friends who aren`t grin

neriberi Wed 27-Feb-13 13:24:24

An ongoing support thread is a fab idea grin

Blackden Wed 27-Feb-13 08:04:45

I'm also in the same boat.
I've always had plenty of friends, well usually one or two 'best' friends and a circle of acquaintances.
However, in the last 15 years or so that slowly changed. Now I have one acquaintance that I meet for coffee probably twice a year, but she has lots of her own commitments and I don't think it's possible for a proper friendship to grow.
I lost some friends during my divorce, and three have emigrated, others just drifted away. And I haven't made any new friends. I have no DC and for the last few years, I drive past the village primary school and see all the mums chatting together and feel quite envious.
I work at home too so I'm rather isolated.

Anyway, now I've got all that off my chest, I'm here to say I'd like an ongoing support thread too smile.

lucindapie Wed 27-Feb-13 02:35:31

was just coming on to suggest we have an ongoing support thread and see that kiwigirl already suggested it, great idea, I think we need some virtual friends to see us through the hard days, smile

HorryDrelincourt Tue 26-Feb-13 22:46:21

Another here great at making friends but apparently terrible at keeping them.

I partly know the reasons - I get very involved in what I am doing now, to the detriment of maintaining old relationships; and I was always the one who moved away - moved schools in the wrong year, moved away after university but not to London where everyone else went, etc.

But that doesn't mean I don't feel guilty and hurt when I see a photo on FB of a group of my old friends at say a wedding and I am the only one missing compared to the equivalent event ten years before.

I don't think we should feel hurt when people could visit us but don't. I went to London this weekend to meet up with four friends. I know maybe a hundred people in London and go maybe once a year. I couldn't possibly catch up with all of them. So it isn't so much that I'm deliberately not seeing them, as rather that I am travelling for a particular purpose that's even more overdue.

MechanicalTheatre Tue 26-Feb-13 22:29:21

Just wanted to add my post, going to bed but am in much the same situation.

Will post tomorrow.

kutee Tue 26-Feb-13 22:20:49

My other half can see that my loneliness is affecting me as I don't have anyone. It really does

kutee Tue 26-Feb-13 22:17:53

My ex friend hasn't been in contact since. She was suppose to be godmother. I was so shocked and so was those around me. Can't see what I've done so wrong. Very hurt by the whole thing that I don't think it could really be repaired. I'm finding it harder now to make friends. It's very hard to invest after that

MillyMollyMandy78 Tue 26-Feb-13 21:27:55

So sad that this is a more common problem than I realised. I can identify with all your stories in one way or another. And i agree about how utterly heartbreaking it is when we are dumped by a friend. It happened to me by my closest friend 10 years ago and I was devastated... Even now I see posts on facebook and cry because I can never get back what we once had.
On a brighter note, Kiwigirl I love your idea to start a daily check-in & chat! Such a positive move... What should we call it?

rainbow2000 Tue 26-Feb-13 16:51:07

I think alot of it with me is im an only child and my mother was a bit overbearing.I wasnt allowed to do a lot of things,so i probably missed out on thestages of friendships

lucindapie Tue 26-Feb-13 16:40:30

Thank you everybody for all the wisdom shared on this post ! I'm another one who's parents didnt have any friends. i also have a difficult relationship with my mother. its reassuring to hear that it seems ad if we learn friendship skills from our parents . ive struggled with making friendships all my life, was bullied at school. since having kids ive found it easier, and also since recognising i had a problem rather than getting drunk to hide my shyness! I've tried to watch and observe people I know who are good at making friends and try to learn from them.
But I also lose friends, and that is my problem now. In the past I've done some things I regret and not always been a good friend . But now I think I may be losing a friend and not exactly sure why, feel like I hate myself right now

Ive tried really hard having a terrible day as feel para

Plinkityplonk Tue 26-Feb-13 16:25:50

I'm another in the same boat. I have a couple of good friends but due to distance and the fact that we all have kids & work & busy lives we don't see or speak that often. I have acquaintances at work and mums I say hello to at school but I find it hard to develop friendships any further. I am quiet but will say hello & try to chat but I am not naturally outgoing & I sometimes feel left out when I see the other mums chatting easily.

My dh is very friendly and has lots of friends and offers to go out while I'm happy for him it compounds my loneliness sometimes. I can't remember the last time I went out socially, I'd love a local friend or two just to have a coffee with or go out once in a while.

I do tend to over think things & I wish I could just feel happier with myself but if I'm honest I don't expect people to like me or want to spend time with me so maybe I portray this? I also think sometimes I may come across as aloof but I'm not I'm just quiet & the more I try to make an effort and be friendly the more self conscious I feel....

Who knows! It is good to know I'm not alone in feeling like this though.

rainbow2000 Tue 26-Feb-13 15:57:44

Im teh same,find it very hard to make and keep friends.I do sometimes think i come across as moany but im probably not.

I do ring and ask people do they want to go out but it usually ends like its me doing all the running.Im really pissed off as im very lonely

kiwigirl42 Tue 26-Feb-13 15:56:51

I also think age has a lot to do with things. I was a lot more bothered about things when I was younger but now, at the wise old age of 44, I am happy with myself and people can either take me or leave it. I am also a lot happier in my own company which is really pleasant.

PixelAteMyFace Tue 26-Feb-13 15:09:06

I know how you feel, kiwigirl, a few years ago I was suddenly dropped like a hot brick by a friend of 20 years. Someone I saw every week. Why? Because our husbands had a massive fall-out!

For over a year after this happened I used to get palpitations and feel physically sick if ever I spotted this ex-friend when out and about. I was shaken to the core that what I had seen as friendship had apparently meant nothing to her.

I have met her by accident several times since (small town) and we speak, but we are like strangers.

She hurt me so much that she shook my faith in friendship for years.

neriberi Tue 26-Feb-13 14:15:40

This is a really interesting thread. I always read the friendship threads on mumsnet, it reminds me that there are lots of us in the same boat.

I don't have many friends, even though I'm very good at becoming friends with people who then turn out not to be the people I think they are, call it a terrible judge of character on my part, I'm not a people person.

It also doesn't help that I'm deaf, so I've always struggled with confidence issues and are convinced people aren't interested in what I have to say, because I can't always hear what's being said to me I'm constantly asking people to repeat themselves and I get super embarrassed by it all especially when people think its funny to go "what", "pardon" back to me when I explain that I'm deaf and can't hear blah blah, so I tend to hang back and people watch.

I'm 38 and married to a man who is the life and soul of the party, he could be-friend Genghis Khan if really wanted too, but he can count his friends on one hand and he feels lonely sometimes as well, which I find shocking because he knows the entire world!

I've had a pretty rough couple of years and even though I don't think I have friends, I know that I have. I've learned an awful lot about the people around me the last year or so and I know that the few friends that I do have will do anything to make sure I'm okay and vica versa <<< that's far more important to me than having a blackbook full of phone numbers, I may not seem them as often as I want or speak to them every night / day / week on the phone and only see them every couple of months but that's fine because we all have our own lives to live and get on with.

I do wish I had a core crew of people around me, but I don't, I see it as a quiet acceptance that how I choose to live my life doesn't allow me to have that, I work full-time, when I'm not at work I'm commuting to work, when the weekend hits I'm visiting PIL's or giving my son my undivided attention. I reckon circumstances are what make us lonely, its not who we are as people, its the circumstances we find ourselves in. IMHO.

kiwigirl42 Tue 26-Feb-13 12:54:04

I must add - I was cut off by one of my best friends, who was even matron of honour at my wedding. tried to keep in touch but zilch.
Swallowed hard, couldn't think of what I'd done wrong and left well alone. Over the yrs I always wondered what I'd done etc.
Twelve yrs later she is back in touch with me and apologised for cutting me out - had been wound up with new boyfriend, relationship now ended and was terribly sorry for what she'd done.
We are friends again now but I can't quite give her my all again as it hurt so much losing her the first time. Its great to know that it was not anything about me but desperately painful all the same

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