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It's my birthday, my friends have let me down, so I'm having a bit of a weep and a bit of a moan here(28 Posts)
It's a lovely June weekend, and I feel very lonely and unwanted. I've been feeling for a long time that I don't really have any close friendships or companionship in my life right now, and the fact that it's my birthday and my friends are either unavailable of have cancelled on me at the last minute just makes it really starkly obvious today. I feel very low and very hopeless.
Of my small handful of close friends, all are now in couple relationships, some with children, that seem to make them completely unavailable for anything more than the odd lunch or dog walk, or skype session for the ones who live abroad, once or twice or month.
I also have a large number of friendly acquaintances, who I see at parties and group activities. And I try to deepen these acquaintances into friendships by suggesting outings to the ones I'd like to get closer to, but they essentially remain "Facebook" friends: the kind of people who say they can "maybe" make it, or they'll "try" to come - and often don't - when I suggest things.
I get that people have their own lives and that priorities change, etc. That still leaves me without any meaningful social bonds. On Maslow's hierarchy of needs, I've got the lowest rung well covered, but none of the higher ones: no companionship, no worthwhile pursuits (hate my job), definitely do not feel self-actualized. This does not seem to be a life worth living.
I have a ton of interests and lots of hobbies. I am intelligent and engaging. Other people are under the impression that I have a full life and lots of friends, I think, because I am so very active. But in fact, I really lack a core group of close friendships. I did have one recently but lost them all to husbands and babies, and none of the hobbies I do (and love) are turning up people who are my kind of people (example: I do nature conservation, and the other volunteers are on average 30 years older than I am. They are lovely, and I enjoy the time spent together on our hobby, but they are not the people who I am going to see outside of our hobby to have after work beers with, or evenings in watching Netflix and bonding). It seems nuts to consider jacking in hobbies that I love in order to use the time on different hobbies where I might meet different people: because then I would be spending my time on hobbies I don't love as much, and there's no guarantee I would even click with the new people.
My family live in a variety of different countries, none live near me. My parents are Stately Homes material anyway. I love my sister but she is very flaky about keeping in touch (repeated missed Skype dates).
Oh and I'm single, and without children. Divorced an abusive man who threatened my life 4 years ago. One relationship in the intervening time that ended last year (nice enough guy but not on my wavelength).
I've had a really tough year with a lot of work stress, burnout, and time off sick. It was very isolating. I have emerged from it now and am being very social again, suggesting lots of outings to groups and individuals, but I am getting the message, from repeated rejections or just silence, that the people I know just can't be bothered. And it's beginning to make me feel very bad about myself, and very sorry for myself too. I think about ending my life a lot. I'll be seeing my therapist on Tuesday, but therapy is not a magic bullet.
I feel sometimes that it must be me who is unlovable. If I look at these thoughts rationally, I can tell I'm not unlovable, I just don't happen to have any close friendships right now. Even if I have faith that this will eventually happen, that still leaves me friendless right now, and for a long stretch of the future while I keep looking and hoping.
What I want, if I can visualise it, is to have the kind of importance in someone's life that I can say: "So, what are we doing this weekend?", and have it be natural and understood that we will be spending time together. Instead, I find that I spend an incredible amount of time trying to organise a lunch here and a dog walk there, scrabbling for a time when others can fit me into their calendar, and feeling like a supplicant.
TL;DR: I am lonely on my birthday and feel unwanted, and that my life is pointless without any meaningful, real life, social bonds.
I'm sorry you feel this way and no advice at the moment but just wanted to wish you a happy birthday anyway. you didn't say how old you are - is this a significant one?
I know it's not what you want to hear but once or twice a month seeing friends is far far more than I manage with 2 young children. I'm assuming you mean at weekends because you work and you're right, priorities change and with a young family you're simply not going out to have lunch with friends every other weekend.
I'm really sorry you're alone on your birthday
I didn't want to read and run. I don't have any advice but you sound like a lovely, interesting person.
Everyone probably assumed you already had plans and didn't want to intrude. I hope someone with more advice will arrive soon.
Your life is not pointless. I'm not unlovable, I just don't happen to have any close friendships right now. You will make more friends and/or become closer to other friends. Do keep faith in that.
Happy Birthday I hope it is nice and sunny wherever you are.
I often feel the same way as you, and my very wise and lovely waxer (is that an expression?) (beauty therapist?), says that I should cherish the time I have to pursue my interests and to enjoy my own company. She says she would kill for an evening in with a DVD, a glass of wine, and without screaming kids around.
I try to embrace that way of thinking. I think the key is to lower one's expectations. I tend to expect from my friends, but I also think that I always put on such a happy front, they don't think I have needs too.
What can you do for yourself today that you will really enjoy? Can you have a lovely long walk finished off with a coffee and very indulgent piece of cake at the end?
And, play music. Loud.
You sound absolutely lovely, OP - happy birthday to you.
I don't have any advice I'm afraid - I really struggle to do things at weekends as I'm naturally quite introverted and I find the weekly grind of work/ school run/ childminder etc a drain on me. At weekends I don't have the emotional energy to see people.
That's said , I'm not a very good friend - I am casual and don't invest a huge amount in anything outside of my immediate close relationships.
You sound like you're naturally quite sociable - is there any chance you would think about shaking up your activities a bit and maybe starting up something new?
I know you say you're not keen, but after your recent stressful time it might be fun to move out of your comfort zone a bit. Meeting new people would be a happy side effect perhaps.
I'm really sorry to read this.
In "defence" of your friends, I have a 2 year old and a 1 year old and am 18 weeks pregnant. DH has now started working in Saturday's so Sunday's are really precious to us. Plus I am totally physically exhausted. If we do go out, we tend to go out together or have people over to the house. I would find it impossible to fulfill the role in your life if being the person who could commit to spending definite amounts of time wth you - although I would be delighted if you wanted to pop over to the house.
I'm only posting this not to criticise your expectations but because it worries me that you feel so unlovable and as though your friends don't care or are dropping you with little notice. I honestly don't think it is anything to do with you (you sound lovely) but more to do with circumstances. For example, I was meant to be meeting a friend for coffee today but my 2 year old woke us up at 6:45 by doing a mighty projectile vomit everywhere and has proceeded to be sick another 3 times. He's now sleeping beside me in bed. I've had to cancel the coffee and feel really bad but I do need to stay with DS as he wants mummy and I feel it's s not very fair to leave DH with both DC and trying to clean up any further vomits as well. But I still really like my friend!
Happy Birthday! You sound lovely. Don't give up. Be kind to yourself . It's hard but I've learnt not to rely on other people . Do things you like for yourself .
I think the trouble is we all think the 'grass is greener' - to many of us your life sounds idyllic - no one demanding your time and attention, no compromising and having to sit at home watching a dreary film on a Saturday night because none of you can agree what to watch. The freedom to do exactly what you want, see people or not see people. . No weekends full of drudgery - driving
ungrateful teens around, cooking meals that don't get eaten, washing school uniform ............. you get the picture.
Just because people are in 'families' there is no magic expectation that the weekend will be spent doing lovely things together - my DH has just gone off fishing for the day, teenage DS is slumped in front of the Playstation - we are not exactly enjoying each other's company. .
I look back on my single years with a lot of pleasure - I had a wide range of interests, lots of voluntary work, I enjoyed visiting new places and sight seeing on my own - as someone else said, perhaps try and widen your horizons, get out of your 'comfort zone' and try something a bit different.
Good luck and Happy Birthday.
Happy birthday OP
It's pretty clear from your post that you are an active, positive, outward looking person. So this must just be a phase of your life and, as we say on here, this too shall pass.
Do something nice for yourself today. Get outside, buy a coffee and a cake somewhere? Today you are alone and you will be kind to yourself. Tomorrow - who knows? Onward and upwards!
I can't solve the longer term friendship issues but sometimes if I'm bored and/or lonely I post a status on Facebook that says something like 'I'm at a loose end, anyone fancy a cuppa? Have car, can drive.' Then block that status from anyone I really don't fancy seeing. Every time I've done it I've had a reply within an hour and ended up chewing the fat for an hour or two at their kitchen table. More than once it's been a very unexpected catch up with someone I hadn't seen for a long while.
I think you'd be surprised how many people are also sitting around doing not much who would welcome a distraction. It's s bit of a myth that all the people you know who are coupled up or with families are having a fabulous time at the weekend.
Good luck, hope you're day turns out well.
I sympathise, being in a very similar position and no answers.
I hope you have a lovely day anyway.
I am sorry you feel so low, and birthdays can highlight stuff horribly.
I am married with 3 kids and work. I consider a number of my friends to be close, but I would never spend a night watching netflix with them...my house is too full for a start. Instead I do exactly what you have said...dog walks, odd lunch, probably go to pub once a month. I also go away probably 3 times a year for a night, eg i am goingto a festival with single friend in july. I consider that to be really quite good considering my other commitments and i would be upset if my friends thought this wasn't good enough. You can have meaningful social bonds over a dog walk or lunch.
do you need regular scheduled stuff with friends because I can see how the chasing would get you down. I find people respond well to suggestions of regular exercise dates or something like first friday of the month at the pub.
I think what you're looking for is the kind of friendships i had wheni was younger, house sharing and so on. The Guardian magazine yesterday had an interesting article about shared housing that I thinkmight appeal to you...a sense of community and socialising.
I think sorting your job out would make you feel a lot better, is there anything you cando there?
You sound like a lovely person going through a tough time. People can be really flaky sometimes and I've had similar where I've been left feeling that I do something wrong, but it's them, not you. You are probably quite a self-sufficient sort who your friends wouldn't dream that you felt this way. I really hope next birthday is a million times better.
Happy Birthday, and I think you might be underestimating your older friends.
One of my dearest friends is a lot older than me, we enjoy lunches, gossip and the occasional late night wine drinking marathon (until I started on HRT and cant drink).
Friends with kids would probably appreciate a coffee and a chat as much as you, I have often taken a takeaway and a bottle of fizz to a friend stuck in with small children and been a spare pair of hands at swimming for another friend - coffee and cake another day.
I've found it takes a deal of flexibility to maintain friendships.
OP, don't give up & please try & see this as a transitional stage in your life, rather than how it will be from here on in.
Without trying to sound patronising, babies are hard work & I know after having my youngest child, I suffered with a mild form of depression, which was brought on, more than likely, from exhaustion. I wanted to see my friends & socialise but some days, it was just so exhausting, even the thought of it (and then, in turn, I would feel bad for not making time for them).
Keep your hobbies up, as it's a great way of staying on a positive path. Have you checked for local meet-up groups in your area?
I think it might be circumstance too. It sound like you are quite proactive in meeting people and maybe you also need to meet different people. My friend went to a group she found on meet up - www.meetup.com. I'm not suggesting this is the answer but might be a start.
You don't sound unloveable just that sometimes circumstances sometimes arise to conspire against us. Happy Birthday by the way. It is mine next week too - go geminis!
Happy Birthday. No real advice but a single friend of mine found the courage to book a singles holiday and really enjoyed it. Can you Skype family then maybe take yourself off somewhere new for a look around and lunch or a nice coffee/cake. Spoil yourself
I can identify with what you say ...... I'm single, got a decent job, my own house etc etc. Got some really lovely long-standing friends, and some newer ones ..... But as life has changed over the years, it's not changed for each of us in the same way at the same time. Meaning how and when we meet changes.
Easier said than done, but it's sometimes just about finding that right balance. I probably drive to see one friend more than she drives to mine ..... But I get that that makes life easier for her when the kids were young / DH working shifts etc. So at first glance, it's unbalanced if you just took time & effort to meet up into consideration. But she shifts the balance by cooking me my dinner, even if I turn up unexpectedly I know I can walk in and be fed. She also is much better than I am in telling me how much she values me as a friend. I'm rubbish at that kind of stuff.
In a practical sense though, have you tried "Meet Up"? Google for it locally to you - you'll probably find some groups "just for fun", some themed around activities / hobbies, some for fine dining or hill walking. Someone else does the organising and you just say you're going to turn up. Great idea if you're looking for another social group.
Happy birthday. I'm sorry you are feeling like this.
Sometimes it may not be that your friends don't want to spend time with you, but that other things get in the way. I have 2 very good friends. One texted me last weekend and I haven't replied yet. We have known each other 34 years, and our friendship can survive months of no contact. However you have prompted me to make more effort to respond today.
The other close friend is a relative (of my husband) who I get on fantastically. She was bereaved at the beginning of the year. Initially I called her everyday, less often now, but regularly.
This weekend I had to work 6 hours including travelling yesterday (I have a Monday to Friday job) take DD2 to swimming, take DD1's broken shoes back to the shop, clean the house for MIL coming for lunch today, swimming lessons this morning, followed by a dancing dress rehearsal, lunch with MIL. Last night I squeezed in a DSL to friend who's away, and took in DD1's medieval dressing up dress, now need to turn it up.
Most of my social life is actually around my children and their activities, meaning I have less time for the people not involved in their activities. Not because I don't want to, but because sometimes I also just want to veg.
I like the FB suggestion above, perhaps try that.
It's hard as an adult sometimes to meet new social groups and I've gone through spells feeling the same way about friendships at times. Equally I know I can find it hard to fit social meetings in my calendar (busy job, husband, small child) - but when somebody makes an effort with me I always make sure I make an effort back so I initiate a meet up or get together as frequently as they do. Nothing worse than being the only one reaching out.
Sorry you are having a crappy birthday. Hopefully it picks up ...
Where do you volunteer for your conservation projects? I've been looking into that myself but couldn't find anything local to me and the only one that I did find was a small group of people three decades older than me. I wasn't doing it to meet people as such so that alone didn't put me off, but I wanted something a bit more active than they were doing.
Do you do any sports? Running has been a good way to meet people for me and as people run on a regular basis it can become quite natural to say "where are we running tonight" with the assumption that we will do something together.
When your friends are at the stage of coupling up and having young families it is really difficult to maintain friendships. As their children get older their time will be freed up and you will probably find you start seeing them more.
I find it difficult to get out as I am a single parent but I keep in touch with people by phone, text, Facebook or they will come to my home. It is probably not enough for some of my friends but it is all I can offer.
It sounds like you are a busy and active person and you can't do much more really.
Not the way you'd like to start your birthday and I realise that this feels like the tip of the iceberg.
I can't really add much to the advice you have already had.
Small comfort perhaps but at least the friends aren't being malicious. This makes me think they are labouring under a misapprehension:
Other people are under the impression that I have a full life and lots of friends, I think, because I am so very active.
Fwiw I do find that every few years I do have to work harder at maintaining friendships than others. For a long time I suspected if I didn't always take the initiative friends sat back and waited.
You sound like you are doing all the right things but of course it can't all come from you. And you are still recovering from a spell of stress and burn out which probably taints a lot of how you feel now.
I think for someone who can identify her family can be Stately Homes material and extricate herself from a deteriorating marriage this is a temporary setback. You have shown how strong and resilient you are.
We are invisible friends on a screen but wishing you well.
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