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I need a safe place to talk about having no friends

(51 Posts)
Annabelle001 Tue 23-Feb-16 13:26:25

I'm lonely. I've just got home from mother and toddler group. And I could cry. I feel so inadequate. Everyone else chats and socialises with ease (it seems) and I feel so awkward the whole time! Yes I make small talk while I'm there and there is a girl who I would love to be friends with. She's really nice and we seem quite similar, except for the fact that she is more outgoing.

I'm an introvert and enjoy my own company but it would be nice to have a friend. Someone I can...I don't even know what I want. It's got so bad I'm not even sure I know how to be a friend, what being a friend even means. Sometimes I see "girlfriends" on tv and think I just can't imagine ever being like that with someone. I feel like I'm missing out on a huge chunk of life. After all, isn't life all about relationships? Why can't I connect with someone? I am starting to think there might be someone thing wrong with me. I don't want to come across like I have a chip on my shoulder because I don't, but often I feel like I give the impression of being a bit weird. Someone you can make small talk with but not someone you'd want to get to know. I'm not though. I'd love a friend and I'd love to be a friend to someone else.

I don't know what I expect to gain from posting on here. I suppose I'm hoping I'm not the only one who feels like this. And I would like some advice on how to make a friend. Like literal, step by step advice. It seems I really need it.

I should add that my youngest child is 3 so I feel like I'm on my last chance to make a friend over the next couple of months of mother and toddler groups. After that she will be at nursery and I have no idea what I'll do then. I'll be so alone.

jimpam Tue 23-Feb-16 13:35:28

Aw I feel for you OP thanks I promise you you're not the only one at the playgroup feeling that way. I find it hard to make new friends too. I have three mum friends & have often felt jealous of these big gangs of mums you see at playgroups etc, these places can be so bloody cliquey. You need to put yourself out there a little bit, as hard as it feels. Set yourself one small challenge next time you're at playgroup- maybe swapping numbers with the girl you'd like to be friends with? Think of a reason you could meet up at another time, maybe ask if she's tried a particular softplay or another playgroup, suggest you go together. It will most likely work out better than you're imagining & you will feel good after challenging yourself like that. Worst case scenario, in the very unlikely case you don't make friends with this girl, you've not lost anything & there are always other playgroups etc to go to. Sometimes I have forced myself to do this with other people & it always goes better than I think, one girl told me later she was glad I asked for her number because she had been too shy to suggest we meet up. Good luck!

Yseulte Tue 23-Feb-16 13:37:17

What does 'introvert' mean to you, because it sounds like you might have social anxiety?

Presumably you have/had a relationship with your children's father.

Relationships with men and women are pretty much the same.

MistressDeeCee Tue 23-Feb-16 13:38:26

How long have you been going to the group? There's not much you can do really except keep going, and hopefully click with someone. Is the woman you'd like to be friends with, a person you could ask to join you for a coffee after the group perhaps? & re. nursery/school although more so school, you tend to fall into friendship with some of the mums anyway and then that narrows down to 1 or 2.

You could join meetup.com and join a group of mothers with toddlers, who want to meet and socialise. I know someone who did that. Took her ages to pluck up the courage to go but when she did it was absolutely fine - there was nothing to be nervous about as everyone was in same position as her ie feeling a bit isolated and wanting to meet up in the daytime for the occasional coffee, activities, etc

I think you have to get up and make an effort if you want friendship/a social life. Thats not a criticism at all btw - just the way it is. I very much doubt you are weird or perceived as weird at all, you just haven't met anyone you've clicked with as yet, and you have to get out there to make it happen. Not actively pursue friendship as such, just more situations where friendships could naturally develop

cornwallandson Tue 23-Feb-16 13:51:07

You know, I often feel like you and I'm sure many others do too. I find it so hard when I'm in a group where other people are already friends so completely at ease with each other. Making new friends as an adult is difficult........
Things that might help -

1) Remember other people will feel exactly like you so just because they're giving off confident vibes doesn't mean they feel totally at ease!
2) Think of a few "small talk" topics each week so that you can start a conversation with people & keep the flow going
3) If you are invited to do anything - accept, accept, accept. It is very easy to find reasons to decline invitations but do make the effort. Don't make excuses - even if it might not be your first choice activity or timings aren't great it is a step towards cementing a friendship.
4) Invite this other Mum you like to do something low key like meet up in the local park - what's the worst that can happen? I bet she responds more positively than you think she will.
5) Don't get too focused on finding a new best friend - just make casual friends to start with - close friendships take time and can't be forced so don't try too hard - just try to be a good friend i.e. accept invites, reciprocate invites, send thank you texts/notes, give compliments, don't get upset with them over small things.

Frostycake Tue 23-Feb-16 14:05:43

Cornwallandson pretty much nailed the advice I was going to give OP.

Don't give up and just focus on getting out and about. Smile at people and make small talk. Talk about your children, their children, the school, the area, news, the weather etc. Allow people to become accustomed to you. That way, friendships can grown naturally. I think if you try to force friendship it can come across badly.

The most important thing is to be yourself, act naturally and most of all enjoy yourself. People are attracted to others who seem happy, at ease and confident (you can be quietly confident don't forget).

I'm an introvert too so I know the above isn't natural for you but trust me, you have to make an effort and persist. Be the one to invite other mums to play dates, park walks, coffee etc..

Failing that, have you thought about a hobby? you don't say if you have a dp in the picture or not but if so, you could think about doing something or joining a class one evening a week. Often, the best friendships are made when people get together over a task. Bonding if you like.

How old are you OP and where do you live? Is there a Mumsnet meet up near you? Check the boards. flowers

5minutestobed Tue 23-Feb-16 14:19:09

I feel exactly the same OP, where about are you?!
I've never really clicked with anyone at Toddler group and I made one Mum friend but she kept cancelling on me and being really flakey so I've stopped bothering now. I'm due DC2 soon and I'm determined to make some Mum friends this time. I'm hoping that by DC1 going to nursery soon he will make some friends and get invited on play dates etc maybe?

MoominPie22 Tue 23-Feb-16 14:20:09

Here is a recent thread that is on a similar theme to yours;

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships/2574913-Not-sure-if-I-am-being-paranoid-or-not-but-feel-like-friends-dont-like-me-anymore

I totally get you and I too felt like that when I moved abroad from the UK. I would go to a large playgroup and everyone seemed to be smiling and chatting away to one another and I found it a bit awkward being a newbie and breaking the ice. Then when I do break the ice it´s sometimes tricky keeping the conversation going....so I completely understand where you´re coming from.

Are there any Mumsnet Local groups in your area? Have you had friendships in the past? What about relationships with work colleagues?

Mumblechum1 Tue 23-Feb-16 14:24:45

One of my best friends, who I've known for over 20 years, is someone who phoned me up having met me twice at a toddler group.

she was really open, saying she'd just moved to the area, wanted to make some friends and would I like to go to her house for a coffee?

I appreciated her honesty and of course was delighted to make friends with her as I'd also only been in the area for 6 months or so and wasn't at work so my social life was also a bit lacking at the time.

so my advice would be to ask the girl you are friendly with at playgroup if she'd like to meet up for a coffee and make sure you fix a specific day and time, not just "sometime".

Good luck. You are definitely not alone, but you're going to have to be brave and make the first move.

AskingForAPal Tue 23-Feb-16 14:31:48

Have you thought that you might have Asperger's? Just a thought. I don't mean that as a total explanation or that "something is wrong with you" (to me, it's just a slightly different way of being). But it is often under-recognised in women, and you remind me of how one or two of my friends/relatives seem to be around social relationships.

TwoKettles Tue 23-Feb-16 14:46:10

Congrats for making it through the door of the toddler group - and going back more than once. I could never face it: everyone else seemed to fit right in, and I didn't think I would/could, knowing some of the cliques who already went, and how everyone appeared.

Toddler groups aren't for everyone - and infact I found it easier when my kids had started school and there were parties where everyone stayed. You may find the same.

Good luck! xx

Annabelle001 Tue 23-Feb-16 14:48:38

I'm overwhelmed that so many of you have responded. Thank you for helping me to feel less alone. The consensus seems to be I need to stick with the toddler group and be brave. It's so hard to put myself out there. Once I do break the ice with someone or end up somehow involved in a group conversation it's hard to keep it going. I think coming up with topics ahead of time might be key here. I did that today actually. I went thinking I'd talk about half term (ground breaking,right?). The rproblem then is what to do when I've exhausted my list. Do I then stick around with the women I've been chatting to (I don't want to assume they want me to do that) ? I often end up floating around aimlessly, feeling extremely awkward. I sound like a total nutter, I know that. I can't believe I'm typing this. I find it hard to express exactly what I mean.

Some of you asked where I am and if I'm attached etc. I'm 30 yo, married, SAHM and in Northern Ireland. Not sure if there are meet up groups here. Surely I couldn't go now, after embarrassing myself on this thread. No one wants to be friends with someone who has no friends right? Well that's not true actually - I wouldn't mind. But then I'm desperate! Actually this is a bit of a problem in itself. I find I don't have much to bring to a conversation as other people tend to talk about their friends and what they've been doing, and since I have no friends, I feel I have very little to contribute.

I really appreciate your time and I don't want to turn this into a pity party. I think my problems are that I'm shy and lacking in self confidence. I've also been with my husband since we were teenagers, so we've never really had to make an effort, as we've always had each other. He's in the same boat as me now though, and would truly love to have a friend have a beer with. Apart from work colleagues, most of whom are his subordinates as he's in a managerial role, he doesn't have anyone either. But that's another thread! I just thought it perhaps explained a little how I've managed to get to 30yo without making a friend.

It helps for me to imagine that there are other people in my toddler group feeling the same way (although outwardly they don't appear to be). Why can't we all just be open about this stuff. Wouldn't it be great if we could just turn to someone and say "hey, I'm lonely and could really use a friend." I would like that.

ConkersDontScareSpiders Tue 23-Feb-16 14:56:29

I don't have anything further to offer other than the advice already given except to say that I also hated toddler groups!
I didn't make mum friends until DD's started school-then it seemed easier and less forced almost to start chatting with people daily (you can't start small, weather etc, how's your kid settling in, what do they need to bring tomorrow etc), that for me was what started some great and long lasting friendships...so don't give up hope just because your dc will soon be out of toddler group-it might be better at nursery drop off!

slimochuda Tue 23-Feb-16 15:02:38

Hello. I read your post and certainly have felt similarly to you a few times in my life, for example when relocating. But also when other people moved on and I didnt. So I would like to say please don't give up. You sound like such a nice person and your partner too, I am sure if you persist and don't think it is you or you are unlikeable the situation will change. I am coming to the conclusion that happiness in life is partly not what your situation is now but what you expect it to be in the future. So in other words, you can endure the most unimaginable hardships if you have hope. And you don't even need things to actually improve what matters is you THINK they will. And strangely once you start thinking like this, or even a little bit. Like say you imagine that you will meet a nice friend in the not too distant future. Then you will hopefully feel quite good inside you, in your heart. And this warmth, this good vibe then exudes from you and draws people to you. I know it sounds like hippy nonsense but it is not. I have had really bad depression and can be cynical as hell but when the sun shines inside me or I make it shine or just listen to a nice song or something even people in the street smile at me or sometimes start talking to me. And given that I currently live in the London area that is a minor miracle smile

slimochuda Tue 23-Feb-16 15:03:05

Hello. I read your post and certainly have felt similarly to you a few times in my life, for example when relocating. But also when other people moved on and I didnt. So I would like to say please don't give up. You sound like such a nice person and your partner too, I am sure if you persist and don't think it is you or you are unlikeable the situation will change. I am coming to the conclusion that happiness in life is partly not what your situation is now but what you expect it to be in the future. So in other words, you can endure the most unimaginable hardships if you have hope. And you don't even need things to actually improve what matters is you THINK they will. And strangely once you start thinking like this, or even a little bit. Like say you imagine that you will meet a nice friend in the not too distant future. Then you will hopefully feel quite good inside you, in your heart. And this warmth, this good vibe then exudes from you and draws people to you. I know it sounds like hippy nonsense but it is not. I have had really bad depression and can be cynical as hell but when the sun shines inside me or I make it shine or just listen to a nice song or something even people in the street smile at me or sometimes start talking to me. And given that I currently live in the London area that is a minor miracle smile

MoominPie22 Tue 23-Feb-16 15:34:39

Did you have friends through school and the neighbourhood you grew up in? Have you had friendships in the past through work? I know that if you move from an area friends can often drift away, esp when life starts to take over and people settle down, get focused on careers etc.

I know some people seem to just be friends with us cos it´s convenient then as soon as you leave that area or that workplace you never hear from them again. That´s what used to piss me off. There would be no effort made, so it made me think that they mustn´t have been genuine friends in the first place, right?

My advice would be, when you start to get bolder and swap numbers/suggest meeting up, just don´t expect it to be Best Mate for Life material. Not meaning to sound like a party pooper here but this is how disappointments happen. And they will happen. I´ve swapped no.s with people and they´ve never got back to me. BUt it´s a law of averages thing....don´t put all your eggs in 1 basket but look for other possible candidates that are nice and swap no.s with them too. The more the better smile

Could you take up any hobbies or interests that involve being around others?

Annabelle001 Tue 23-Feb-16 15:37:16

Thanks conkers School gates aren't a whole lot better but I appreciate your support.

slimochuda thank you. I actually understand what you mean. There are days when I feel better than others. Some days I have hope and feel quite good about myself and actually feel like I might have something to offer. I will try to "make the sun shine" as you say. I feel better already just with people giving me hope and support and saying that it's probably not just me. I actually hate to think of other people feeling this way. It seems so pointless. I could pass by someone every day who is in need of a friend like I am. It's just so hard to reach out. My heart races just thinking of it.

Annabelle001 Tue 23-Feb-16 15:40:35

Thanks Moomin I haven't been able to decide whether the best strategy is to focus on one person or to hedge my bets. I guess I am a little tooooo focuses on trying to get a friend. I think I'll try to heed the advice of others here and just out myself into social situations as often as the opportunities arise and take it from there. That's difficult though, as I imagine it could be quite easy to just be "there" blending into the background for years, without making a meaningful connection.

LionsLedge Tue 23-Feb-16 15:52:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

colacoka Tue 23-Feb-16 15:53:10

Another one who knows how you feel here OP! I'm useless at mum and toddler groups too and always leave feeling like there's something wrong with me, and posted a pretty similar thread to you not long ago. Sadly nowhere near you or I'd offer to be a friend smile I think if there's a mum you like at the toddler group and she seems open to chatting to you and stuff, why not ask her if she's free for a coffee after the next one? I've not really spoken to anyone enough times to move onto that next step, but it sounds like you're already there and once you've taken that leap you may make a friend!

Unhappyexpat Tue 23-Feb-16 16:32:21

I don't have any either! I'm an expat and I'm finding it very difficult to make friends. Baby group has been an awful experience... I literally have no one here apart from my husband sad

Some good advice above. I've moved around a lot and it is difficult to make friends once you're past the school/uni stage of your life.

thisismypassword Tue 23-Feb-16 16:40:55

I was in your position when my first child was born. It does get better if you just keep going to groups. I'm not 100% not lonely but I feel I'm in a better position now after my 2nd baby. It's hard without family around and I didn't grow up here. You might find all those cliquey people grew up in the area and have never had to make new friends in their adulthood. Lucky them!!

GoldenSpacedCadet Tue 23-Feb-16 16:55:40

Just this lovely OP

slimochuda Tue 23-Feb-16 22:07:05

Thank you for understanding me. I didn't exactly articulate terribly well then like an eejit posted twice! I just would like to say again that you sound like a really nice person. Ok I don't know you, but unless you are a brilliant adopter of personality disguises it suggests you are lovely. I just reread your post and this is how you come across. Absolutely NOT arrogant, self-deprecating, kindhearted, warm and nice to others. It is quite moving to read what you wrote. Marilyn Manson once said TV and advertising exists to make you insecure a out your life/looks whatever so you go out and consume. It's the same with watching people with loads of friends on TV or they are always meeting up and look great and live in an amazing apartment in Manhattan even though they work at creative low wage jobs. I even get sort of the same feeling when I read on MN about how people have "tons" or "loads" of friends. I know they don't mean to make others feel bad but honestly most folk aren't like that. My roots are in Ireland and tbh I have just never got the thing people here in SE England have about taking the mickey out of people for not having enough friends. As for FB let me tell you a true story. One of my friends sadly on the way to being an ex friend has 500 facebook friends or more. I don't think he's even met most of them. He has irritated what were really friends yet all he does is post stuff designed to make him look like he has the worlds best social life. He is one of the loneliest people I've encountered. FB is just so toxic and damaging it really is. Anyway sorry to go on but I hate to think of you being down. I would be your friend I'm sure if I lived over there and we'd have some great chats. Anyway think how great it'll be when you do meet people. They'll be amazed if you ever tell them you were once lonely. Oh one laSt thing I'm sorry this "impossible to make friends after 25" stuff isn't true. My DM has a social life like a whirling dervish in her mid 70s and she mostly met them in the last 15-20 years on retreats, holidays and so on. Better go now but I hope you feel better.

JapaneseSlipper Tue 23-Feb-16 22:31:13

OP, you sound great. I hope things work out for you.

I wish I could offer more advice. One friend I made through day care, I ran into her on the way in and mentioned that I live close by the centre so if she ever needed someone to pick up her daughter in an emergency, to let me know. She was grateful, we swapped numbers, and the friendship grew from that. I think that making that statement of intent was significant - I showed her I was friendly and helpful - she returned this with a nice text message, we met with the kids, etc. Small steps. Not sure if this is helpful but I do think it's useful having some kind of "hook" to start building on.

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