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I'm a social pariah and starting to wonder if I have some kind of social disorder

(21 Posts)
JeSuisUnaStubbs Tue 01-Dec-15 13:13:08

I'm very low about the fact that I do not have any close friends, not one. I do not seem able to make and maintain friendships but I don't know what I am doing wrong. I don't live in my hometown so I don't have any of those 'we were at school together' type friends locally, but I don't seem able to make new friendships.

I'm not naturally an outrageously bubbly person, but I'm friendly and smiley. I engage with people, make them laugh, remember birthdays, send thoughtful gifts, I'd be a good and loyal mate. Yet nobody wants to be friends. I thought things might change once I had DCs, and my 4yo DD is very sociable with lots of friends at her various settings. Their mums get together for playdates (the others are all boys to be fair) but also go out for meals and drinks together along with our childminders. Yet I'm never ever invited. If I see them at drop off or pick up or parties I will smile and be friendly and chat, they occasionally say "you must come out with us next time we go" and I'll say "that would be great I'd love a night out!" but the invite never comes, then I see the aftermath on my Facebook feed. They recently started playing netball which I'd have loved (I'm quite sporty and they know this) but didn't get asked.

I'm not good on Facebook and they are very fond of 'hunning' which I'm not, but I still engage with them on there and try to be kind. One of the mums for example posted a status about needing to make or buy a particular costume for the xmas play and what a hassle, to which I commented that I had one she could borrow that was perfect. She never even acknowledged my offer but borrowed one from someone else who also commented. It's like I don't even exist. I don't understand this behaviour towards me, is it normal?

Since I was 16 (when my lovely group of girlfriends left for college or work but I stayed on for 6th form) I've not really had female friends. I've always gravitated towards males (and told myself I prefer male company but in fact I'm not sure I do), but how can it be this hard to make female friends? I love the Mumsnet humour and there are many women on here who I feel I could click with if I knew them in real life, so I know there are people out there who think a bit like I do.

I'm a professional woman with a semi-geeky job working in a male dominated environment. A lot of my hobbies are quite insular (music and arty stuff) but I would never turn down an offer to do something social.

I am starting to really doubt myself, wonder if I'm giving off a vibe or I smell or I'm mentally ill and don't know about it. My 2yo DD is quite profoundly disabled and I don't know if that affects how people perceive me or not, but I'm more in need of a night out and a shoulder to cry on than I was before she was born. My DH and I lost our best couple friends 2 years ago when DD was very sick at death's door and they chose to walk away.

I'm not attractive looking but I'd hate to think I live in a world where people don't want ugly friends too.

I'm feeling pretty low right now and I really just am seeking some feedback on whether my experience is normal or if I'm unlucky or if I really do have some kind of problem.

Francoitalialan Tue 01-Dec-15 13:17:44

You sound normal, and fed up!
Having moved hundreds of miles from my family, I know how loneliness feels and my only Adobe would be to just put yourself out there. Don't wait for invitations, make them yourself. Invite people, volunteer for things, not just school stuff, and say yes to everything. The netball - don't wait to be asked! We are always looking for new players!
Good luck!

schlong Tue 01-Dec-15 13:32:59

Wouldn't be surprised if the mum group snub you because you don't hun media etiquette is ruining human relations. I recently deleted whatsapp to retain my sanity and be less distracted and to opt out of all the groups and some were properly offended. Disablism is also on the rise. You sound too genuine for what passes as friendship in these fucked up fb times.

purplepolkadots Tue 01-Dec-15 13:46:31

I've experienced similar, and I do suspect that, as a woman, not being attractive is something to do with it. You are seen as a second class citizen, regardless of your other attributes.
Worse, I've had a few occasions when I suggested our respective DCs meeting up for a playdate, and the mum has refused. And my DCs are lovely, so it must be about me!

Headagainstwall Tue 01-Dec-15 13:49:34

Hey op

You sound like me a few years ago. I am less arsed about having close female friends these days but one thing I've noticed from watching others is that it's the ones that ask for help a lot & generally seem a bit helpless that have the most friends. Do you ask for help much? Not big help, like 'look after my kids while I go on holiday' but little things, like presenting a problem you're stuck with & people being able to feel needed & useful & clever. Do you know what I mean?

I tried it, and it worked, but I have to say I felt like a total fraud.

Just from your OP tho, you've seen it in action (the one asking about a fancy dress costume & the others climbing over themselves to help).

moopymoodle Tue 01-Dec-15 13:57:16

I agree with the comment about asking for help. I think some people only like friends who they feel they are better off then. Sad but true. One of my friends I used to see everyday, we are neighbours and barely see eachother now as she's always off with a lady who has a fare few troubles. Doesn't bother me really but I did pick up on it.

OP could you not make some friends in your area online? My sister did that and has a fair few.

AlmaMartyr Tue 01-Dec-15 13:58:43

I live in quite a small town in the SW not my hometown, and while it is generally fairly friendly, there are groups who simply aren't interested in making new friends. It's also the case that anyone that's seen as a bit different - like working professionally with some less common hobbies - can be alienated.

I know some people regard that sort of cliqueness as a myth but I've been 'part of' the groups in the past and heard the conversations so I'm not imagining it. Nice enough people but just not keen on a wider group of friends.

I think you sound lovely and would love to meet you for a chat if you were local.

ChopsticksandChilliCrab Tue 01-Dec-15 14:07:52

I'm sorry to hear about DD's illness and your friends walking away flowers

You did need help and they weren't there sad.

Regarding female friends- I don't have any either. Like you I have a very geeky job. I am presentable I hope but don't wear make up and am not interested in fashion or handbags. My colleagues are all male and great company but outside work I only see my family. I am watching the replies to your thread with interest- I might pick up some tips!

Amammi Tue 01-Dec-15 14:14:03

JeSuis firstly I reckon there are lots of lonely people everywhere.
Sometimes the ones who look like they are at the centre of everything are the most isolated. Its a lot of effort keeping up a perfect façade so there is always a reason why people do that.

I work full time and in the past felt a bit left out when around local friends who were/are stay at home mums. They were constantly bumping into each other and organising outings etc. whilst I was miles away at work. It doesn’t mean they don't like me it just means that day they were a bit frazzled or needed a bit of support, met someone in the same circs and off they went. I've learnt not to be miffed, be glad they got some much needed down time and then suggested something for us all to do.

It can be a "bit out of sight out of mind" when you work so you need to grab every opportunity - I go to everything I can even when sometimes I'm so tired I could weep.

I also think it might help if you joined at least one club or sport where you can make friends on your own terms rather than trying to make connections through your children. Is it possible there are other people who are going through the same as you with a sn child - you could be a great support for each other and have a much deeper genuine friendship

DeirdreDoo Tue 01-Dec-15 14:14:48

I hope this doesn't come across wrong but I think if you were totally weird, you wouldn't have managed to be married - people don't tend to marry weirdos smile

So take comfort from that - it is probably just bad luck, at the moment. Things will pick up again when circumstances are more favourable.

I hope you feel better in a bit. flowers

Buttercup443 Tue 01-Dec-15 14:19:06

Hi OP,

You sound absolutely lovely and there is nothing wrong with you!! I'm sorry to hear about your youngest having been so ill and people turning away from you as a couple, that must have been very hurtful. Not sure these people were friends tbh. flowers

I'm in the exact same situation as you are. I have accepted offers of nights out but not been able to form close friendships with any of the women. No invites for play dates either or coffee or anything. Some groups have formed and I'm not included. I don't do Facebook or social media so at least I'm oblivious to what I'm missing.

I got back into my riding and go to the stables every free minute to forget about everything else. I know I'm the quiet one in a group of women and having lived an expat life since childhood I find it hard to form last close friendships though I am a very loyal and caring person to the 3 friends I have from uni but they all lice far away abroad.

I have four kids and the sheer number of them seems to put people off wanting to socialise, assuming I can't make it.

Is there an adult course in the town you live in which you could join? Such as painting or learning a new language? Or a hobby you might wish to take up?

I really hope it gets better for you. Please don't blame yourself for other people's rudeness or lack of sensitivity. Xx

ClaudetteWyms Tue 01-Dec-15 14:19:45

Hi OP, sorry to hear about your long-term friends ditching you over DD2. I had close friends walk away when I had cancer - another great way of sorting the wheat from the chaff as it were.

The mums of your older DD's friends don't sound that nice, whereas you do - I don't think there's anything wrong with you! If they leave you out of something, can you invite yourself along? If only to piss them off wink

It can be hard to "make friends" when you're older, can you pick out one or two women you think you like and ask them out for a coffee/glass of wine/a walk? I have started doing this since being excluded by a big group of school mums and I now have some lovely new friends. It does take a little work.

If people judge friends by their looks they are not worth knowing - my friends have a range of looks and it's not a reason for selecting friends!

Mostly though, don't be so hard on yourself.

shutupandshop Tue 01-Dec-15 14:23:21

Do you ever invite anybody to things? I find Im often the organiser -- or else I wouldn't gave a social life--

enjoyingscience Tue 01-Dec-15 14:27:01

No advice, but you sound just like me. I have a few friends through work, who I really value, but I've had very similar interactions to you with 'mum' friends. It's very hurtful.

Whythehellnot Tue 01-Dec-15 15:05:39

Whatever the issue is, I can't see how it can be to do with your level of attractiveness. I do think some groups of friends can be a 'type' but most of us are friends with all sorts of people.

I think it's more difficult to make new friends later in life. I have lost touch with university friends and some people have moved away. I haven't made many mum friends through the children either. Most of my friends are ex-colleagues but I am good at keeping in touch eg regular texts and arrange dates and times to meet up, usually one on one.

Maybe it's more difficult to infiltrate a group? Why not try meeting up for a coffee with people one at a time? You sound really nice and completely normal so I'm sure you haven't got a particular problem smile.

Whythehellnot Tue 01-Dec-15 15:06:41

Oh a few of us are saying the same things.

Atenco Tue 01-Dec-15 15:11:32

This happened to me with the other mothers from my dd's school, they were friendly and nice but they were much more friends among themselves. I realised afterwards they had all been to that same school together, grown up and sent their children to the same school. So really I would have had to be OTT interesting to get included in such a group.

Headagainstwal What a brilliant piece of reverse psychology!

ClaudetteWyms Tue 01-Dec-15 17:02:43

Having been on MN for many years I can say this is a topic that comes up often. It is a common problem as you get older unfortunately. Groups can form and leave certain individuals out, and some people work extremely hard at building themselves a social circle.

I agree with just finding a few people you like and working on them.

Where do you live OP? Could it be worth mentioning in the MN local section to try to find others nearby in the same boat?

springydaffs Tue 01-Dec-15 17:47:31

Actually, I think what you are coming up against here are cliques. Inward-looking, we're all in and safe, don't want anybody else to spoil what we have . Sadly, these are all too common, esp at our kids' primary school.

The fact you've been semi-invited a few times in a very good sign, believe me. Re netball, how about inviting yourself: "yeah, I'd be interested in that, when is practice" and if you're a stunning player you're made .

But ime if you're essentially 'different' to the clique you will never really be in or make meaningful friends. I was part of a clique once (I had no idea until it was pointed out to me by someone outside) and found out the hard way they weren't my friends. I was an interesting novelty bcs I had been very successful in a fundraising venture.

Find your friends elsewhere - somehow. My friends come from all over these days.

You are definitely not mentally ill/socially deficient. You're just in cliquesville.

springydaffs Tue 01-Dec-15 17:54:57

Btw I worked somewhere dead cool and there was a drop-dead-cool clique, which openly played with us non-cliques by choosing one of us to pick up and drop, rotating through the non-clique group.

Sick of dripping around feeling deficient, the worms turned and we set up our own thing - the not quite a coil's mouth group - and had a great time. The clique was so shocked!

Moral: if you can't get in, set up your own thing.

springydaffs Tue 01-Dec-15 17:58:49

F k predictive! The not-quite-cool-enough clique

Btw a sure way of getting in at primary school is volunteering at the school eg fete, selling school sweatshirts, tea afternoons. Gets you on the map in record time.

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