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Is this friendship dying? There isn't another. How to go on.

(26 Posts)
onlyforthisthread Sat 15-Apr-17 06:24:22

This will be long (sorry) and probably self-pitying, but I am writing it just to get it out and maybe someone will read and advise.

I have just spent an entire week on my own with no contact from anyone, aside from a few depressing texts. I do have dc and they have been with ex. The week before they were with me, so it was better, but I know they are going to spend less and less time with me as they get older, and that is how it should be.

There is a woman I have known for years and we meet up a few times a year as we live far apart. She was hard to contact this time, which has never been the case before, but when she finally rang she told me about a difficult time she had been having and so I thought that was why. After we arranged for me to go and sty with her for a couple of days this week, she texted to see if I wanted to go to an event in the summer. I said yes etc and she didn't reply, but I thought we would discuss it when I was with her. Then she texted on the morning I was due to go down and said she was ill and could we postpone. She sounded very genuine but I did find it a bit of coincidence in the light of her not returning my calls earlier in the month.

Regardless of what's going on with her, it is ridiculous that I have absolutely no one around me, but I don't know what to do about it. I have the most appalling social skills ever, and every friendship I have ever had has either fizzled out or the person has suddenly stopped contacting me. Over the years I have given up trying.

Work has always been my refuge and, whatever job I've had, from bar work years ago to the professional role I now hold, I have been able to get on well with people and chat etc, go out in groups if it's that kind of place (my current one isn't and I've been there 10 years) and have just 'made do' with that. No real friendship ever develops.

There is a woman I work with going through a very rough time and she broke down to me last year about how lonely she was, among other things. We have a fair bit in common, aside from loneliness (she doesn't know about mine) and I suggested meeting up and gave her my number. She never texted and I know she sees someone else from work who, on the face of it, has far less in common with her than I do and that hurt.

There are another couple of women I get on really well with. Before last year's six week holiday they talked about meeting up over it and one said she would text. Basically I found out they and a couple of others had gone without me and one of the women lied about it when I told her my phone had broken over the holiday. She said that was why I hadn't got her text, but the dates didn't match up and my phone had continued to receive texts while the screen was smashed, I just couldn’t open them . That hurt a lot but obviously I didn't say anything.

I have spent the last few days googling things I could do to meet people, but I know they won't work out because I am shit at it and people just don't like me. I know I sound a moaning drag on here and I promise I'm not like it in rl, but still there is something about me people don't like.

Ex had an affair with a mutual friend we had recently met, and she seemed to develop the friendship with me alongside their affair. I asked him at one point why she kept seeing me once the affair had started and he said she found me 'quite good company.' That is another comment that hurts me.

I am nearly 40 (absolutely dreading that birthday in a few weeks) and honestly feel like there's no point going on and that I wouldn't if it wasn't for the dc. Obviously I would never do anything to hurt them, but I feel all the time that I am messing them up by not showing them good relationships and that soon they will notice I don't have friends and will either pity or despise me.
Thank you for reading - just wanted to write it all down.

Truckingalong Sat 15-Apr-17 06:29:38

I'm sorry this has been your experience OP. Sounds rotten and totally demoralising. Do you feel up to trying out meetup?

RaeSkywalker Sat 15-Apr-17 06:33:18

Oh OP, I feel for you.

I think that a lot of adults feel the same way you do. It's so hard to meet potential friends.

I wouldn't be disheartened- why not go along to a few activities with a view to just enjoying yourself? It might remove any pressure you've been putting on yourself.

I really don't think that your children will pity or despise you flowers

ShineyBlackShoes Sat 15-Apr-17 06:43:50

Hi, I'm in a similar situation but am in my 50s. It's tough but I do loads alone: museums, art gallery's, cinema, theatre, city trips. I tried Meetups with no success sadly-they seemed like a dating club.
I am going to a local supper club later this month and am starting a dance class after Easter.
I would just try doing something each month on your own. That way you will not be stuck in the house. Also put on a good face: fake it til you make has been my moto for the past decade and it has helped to stave off depression. You may develop a network of friends in due course and then you'll be able to do things with them and alone. That's what I'm hoping for

claraschu Sat 15-Apr-17 06:44:12

Oh OP, I am so sorry. Feeling lonely is terrible, so hard to cope with. It sounds like you do actually make quite a few friends, but that things kind of peter out at a certain point.

The friend you were going to stay with this week does sound like she really likes you and wants to be friends though- she asked you to an event this summer, and confided in you about her troubles. I think you should give her the benefit of the doubt; she has been having a hard time and is now ill or just very drained. I would get in touch with her again soon to ask if she is feeling better, and perhaps to tell her about the struggles you are having, if it feels right to you.

As far as the women at work, it is very hurtful that they didn't get in touch and that one of them lied about it. However, instead of waiting, maybe you could have texted one of them to ask about getting together? They may just be slightly better friends with one another, but still like you! The lie happened because your colleague felt bad when reminded she had said she would get in touch.

It is very hard to keep trying when you feel like other people just don't really like you that much. I am very prone to hiding and not continuing to make an effort if I don't feel it is more than reciprocated, but I do think this is unhealthy for me, which is why I am saying I think you should not give up. You sound very thoughtful and lovely!

Rainbowqueeen Sat 15-Apr-17 06:44:24

flowers friendships are hard sometimes.

I think your friend who lives far away is a genuine friend. I'd keep texting her but just general texts letting her know you are thinking of her, things that she doesn't need to respond to if she is having a difficult time.

Locally, is there any hobbies or interests that you have or would like to get involved in? They can be a good way to meet friends. Helping a charity or studying can help too.

I think if your kids see that you enjoy life and are interested in lots of different things, then that is setting them a great example. The number of friends you have is less important.

CatAndFiddle Sat 15-Apr-17 07:13:47

I'm sorry you are feeling like this. One thing strikes me from your post: you seem to be relying on other peoples opinions about you in order to decide how you feel about yourself. I know that sounds like a self help book, but there is a lot of truth in the idea that your self esteem should be generated internally, and should not be subject to the views of other people.
You need to build your self esteem. Try sitting and listing all your qualities. What do you like about yourself? Try and do this every evening or morning.
There are lots of ways to meet new people; an evening class, fitness class, running group, political group, a local W.I etc. There will be other people there who also are there just to make friends. You lose and gain friends many many times through life, this is normal. It is rare to have a lifelong friend. People drift apart.
You will find new friends quite easily, but I do think you need to work on believing that you are a person who makes a good friend, and is deserving of friends. This feeling about yourself should be constant, through times when you are surrounded by friends and times when you have none.

P.S. with regards to those workmates...If they did intentionally leave you out, then they are not that nice! That is a reflection on them, not you.

onlyforthisthread Sat 15-Apr-17 08:14:16

Thank you for these kind replies.

I have looked at meetup, but it does seem very scary with thousands of members in several of the groups. Also, going by the photos, they seem a bit young. I'd love to join a book club, but the ones I've found are either the scary trendy ones on meet up, or the more approachable one I found wasn't accepting new members. Will keep looking back at it though.

I have joined an exercise class starting next week - but I am so unfit I am terrified of going, but I will try to make myself. WI is something I would love to try, but am a bit scared that no one joins on their own? Like the toddler groups I used to go to - everyone seemed to go in pairs or more. Will try and give it a go though.

I am a member of the Labour party and when my marriage broke up one of my first ideas was to get more involved with that, but I get the impression from talk boards I have seen that my local one is very pro - Corbyn and I'm, er, not! I would like to give it a go though.

The comment about self-esteem is spot on I think ,and I need to work on that. I think in the past I have been a bit clingy and needy in friendships, and when I realised that I maybe went too far the other way and keep people at a distance. The other thing is that, as a teacher and lp, there are times in the year when I really am too tired and busy to do much. Then dragging myself out to classes is not appealing and the interaction I get at work has satisfied me anyway. But at this time of year - October, I get a lot more prone to loneliness and feel a need to address it. Then, by the time I have looked into stuff and procrastinated, it's the busy time again and I put it all off!

highinthesky Sat 15-Apr-17 08:23:18

Bless you. The way you have been treated by others is a reflection of themselves, not you.

Definitely give Meetup a go. Although there are lots of "members" for each group, many are nominal and won't be attending all events. Start this weekend if you can, it could be a long old 3 days otherwise.

I suggest you start with a ladies-only Meetup with limited numbers and a waitlist. That way you can get to know a few new female friends at a time. The other suggestion I have is that you join a group that offers walks. These can be very well attended, but you'll also get to meet lots of different people - talk to as few or as many as you would like to - and socialise afterwards if you wish to.

The other thing to note is that friendships do require maintenance! You must try to keep in touch with people that matter to you, no matter how busy work, life etc is.

highinthesky Sat 15-Apr-17 08:24:49

Try more stuff with the Labour Party btw. Most if us know that we're completely unelectable with Corbyn at the helm.

Rainbowqueeen Sat 15-Apr-17 09:05:12

Lovely to see you have already taken some positive steps!

If you want to get fit, have you ever thought about borrow my doggy? No good at doing links but you take dogs for walks on behalf of their owners. We have recently got a dog and it's a great way to practice chatting to other people as most dog owners are friendly. Also a good way to feel good about yourself and you could do it when your DC are not with you.

The Labour Party will probably bite your hand off if you express any interest so give it a go!

And put your name down in the wait list for the book group, you never know when it will come up.

You sound like you have lots of interests so you are off to a great start

noego Sat 15-Apr-17 09:33:38

A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. Your mind is constantly talking you out of doing things and meeting people.
"I can't join that because", "I looked at that and they are to young" "the book club is to trendy" etc.
Follow your intuition and your heart. Forget the negative intrusive thoughts you are having.

CatAndFiddle Sat 15-Apr-17 11:22:48

Be careful about jumping to conclusions about what other people might be like. Friendships can spring from the most unlikely places. I have career changed into teaching but still go out for lunch with, and text fairly regularly, a friend from my previous company. She is 10 years younger than me, single, no kids, likes films and TV shows I have never heard of....BUT she is interesting and kind and funny and we get along brilliantly​. By all means, go to new places, but go with an open mind. You never know who you might meet.

TheElephantofSurprise Sat 15-Apr-17 11:25:03

Get out and about, doing things that interest you. You'll meet people, by accident. It will all be fine. Take people lightly.

VeryFoolishFay Sat 15-Apr-17 11:25:49

Why don't you try some voluntary work? When you have something to give, it's great for your confidence to be appreciated and you have something to focus on specifically, rather than 'making friends'. It might happen in a more organic way. Good luck!

Wolfiefan Sat 15-Apr-17 11:31:25

You do sound like you place a high value on friends. What do you expect from a friendship? To me it's someone I chat to and meet up with for coffee or a meal out once in a while. Perhaps people find you rely on them too much or expect them to be more like family? (I'm not that sociable a person BTW!!!!)
Maybe find the confidence to try some new things. I love my exercise sessions. I have lots of people I chat to at those. They are mostly more acquaintances than bosom buddies but that's ok too.

Trickycat Sat 15-Apr-17 11:42:01

OP I think you sound like a lovely person.

I have a hobby where a group of us meet twice a month so it's not too onerous but it gives me something extra in my life.
I expect WI would love to see a young face, def give it a go.
I have heard Park Run is good for meeting people, esp if you had some time to volunteer for them.

Trickycat Sat 15-Apr-17 11:50:59

Also have you had counselling about your ex's affair? It must have been very traumatic to find out he was having an affair with a friend. Talking about it would be helpful.

skincarejunkie Sat 15-Apr-17 11:54:55

Definitely try WI. How old are DC? Any play/wine dates possible? (Don't flame me, MN, I'm trying to help!)
I find that I need to make the effort every now and again and it pays off. But pp is quite right, friendships require maintenance and, sometimes, making yourself vulnerable by instigating things yourself. And trying not to display one's dismay! Try and smile lots. Good luck, lovely. You'll crack it flowers

Theycalledmethewildrose Sat 15-Apr-17 12:12:19

OP I'm like you. After a long time I came to the realisation that I was talking only to the same sort of people if that makes sense - usually they were not that popular with others, and pretty self absorbed. When you spot those signs it is far easier to meet people and not get hurt when they don't seem overly friendly or I'm ok with listening mainly but not talking.

Teabagtits Sat 15-Apr-17 12:19:01

Op I could have written your post. flowers I have no pearls of wisdom on how to fix your situation but don't give up trying. Maybe the woman you gave your number to is too shy to contact you and wants you to arrange something with her. Maybe you need to be more proactive about arranging things with others rather than waiting on their call. These are all problems I have myself so Im being a bit of a hypocrite. Where abouts (roughly) are you based? Maybe you can find like minded people throUgh mn?

skincarejunkie Sat 15-Apr-17 12:33:23

Will you let us know how you get though? You've got a random mn stranger feeling a bit heart sore for you flowers xx

springydaffs Sat 15-Apr-17 14:31:15

..and procrastinated..

You gotta not procrastinate! In fact, get things lined up for the quiet period and launch yourself at it. Grasp the nettle, bite the bullet!

If I think about it, I only have a handful of friends I met on a 121 basis. Most of my social life is in groups and I'm past noticing there are few 121 meets. As long as I get my social needs met it doesn't matter where or with whom. I definitely don't take it personally that there are few specific friends I could spend free time with. Friendships are quite intimate things, they are not necessarily a given, despite what we're led to believe.

springydaffs Sat 15-Apr-17 14:34:34

One of my groups is a weekly WI market. I absolutely love it and it's ring-fenced! I've not got around to joining the WI yet but ime they are fabulous women of all ages. I recently went through cancer treatment and those women were brilliant. Women at their best ime.

skincarejunkie Sat 15-Apr-17 14:49:16

Maybe you could be brave and start your own book club. My now friend put an ad on Streetlife and we are now a year in and a happy bunch of mis matched odd bods! Abd we have a monthly date and the occasional night out too. It's nice. I was sooo nervous the first meeting! But was worth it. Please try and name it happen rather than waiting for it to happen to you. flowers

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