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Adult DD has no friends! How can I help her?

(92 Posts)
IndominusRoxy Sun 12-Jul-20 00:27:00

I feel so shit for her. She’s currently upstairs very upset after seeing numerous Instagram posts of people out in pubs and restaurants while she has no one to go out withsad.

She’s on furlough now until the end of October and is very isolated and is actually driving me nuts as she has no one else to talk to and she’s constantly woe is me, I have nobody etc.

She had friends at school until the last few years at secondary when so called friends started being bitchy and spreading rumours. She is a very pretty girl and I know other girls were jealous of her. She’s also quite shy and gets very anxious until she gets to know people.

She had a few friends through college from school but they all turned against her leaving her with one who was her best friend until around a year ago. This friend was a ‘wrong un’, dropped out of college, got DD into doing drugs and boozing a lot (she accepts that was her responsibility too) and she tried to end the friendship a few times as she knew it was quite toxic but she finally ditched her after she stole money from her. They were friends for 4 years so it was very hard for her especially as the girl was constantly trying to contact her for months afterwards.

Even at Uni she struggled and only made one friend as she lived at home as we couldn’t afford to sub her accommodation.

We were delighted for her as she got her dream job in London late last year and planned to move into a house share by the end of this year. Struggled to make friends at work as no one of her age in her department but she had started going out for after work drinks with some similar age people from another department then lockdown happened and she hasn’t been to work since mid March, as she had to work from home until she was furloughed in April. These work colleagues haven’t responded to her texts for a chat.

She has also never had a boyfriend only a few one night stands from her boozy days which she bitterly regrets now.

I feel like I’ve completely failed her as a parent as I have no friends either due to my abusive childhood as I struggle to trust people and prefer to keep to myself so come across as standoffish and snobby. I’ve had counselling for that but it didn’t help unfortunately. DD’s childhood was the opposite of mine and we always encouraged friendships, had sleepovers, took her mates on days out, fed them etc.

We’ve been trying to work out how she seems to attract toxic people and what she can do to change it.

She joined our gym back in January as I suggested she do some classes to meet people but she would only do classes if I went which defeated the point of the object. I’ve suggested going on some dating apps to chat as due to the virus she has an excuse not to meet up with anyone if she doesn’t want to but she won’t. She asks for advice but it normally ends in an argument as she doesn’t like what we suggest. It’s really draining me!

She’s 23. I don’t know what else to do.

Any advice?

OP’s posts: |
Mnhealth202020 Sun 12-Jul-20 00:31:24

Leave her to it, she’s an adult.

IndominusRoxy Sun 12-Jul-20 00:33:05

Very helpful thanks.

OP’s posts: |
KR1992 Sun 12-Jul-20 00:33:33

Don't stress about it
I'm similar, I don't have any friends but I have had boyfriends.
My mum has never tried helping me because I'm a adult and do what I like.
It sounds like she should come off social media and needs a boyfriend

WitchWife Sun 12-Jul-20 00:36:29

I understand how upset you must feel, and I hate to say but it’s a bit of a coincidence if friends keep “turning against her”. Couple of possibilities spring to mind, perhaps she is picked up by bullies as a friend and then dropped, but perhaps she is doing something to drive people away. What were the rumours about?

Sounds like she could benefit from counselling herself?

PermanentTemporary Sun 12-Jul-20 00:38:41

I think the only thing you can do is be with her as she is, not as you (very reasonably) hope she will be in the future.

I also think you desperately need some space. However...

If she will go to the gym with you, thats a start. It's not just a stepping stone to meeting people (have to say I've never made a friend at a gym), its a big chance to improve her mood. It might lead to other things (joining a running club? Parkrun? Tennis lessons?) or it might just be a fun thing that makes her feel better. I would say grab that chance.

Model socialising. Join a book club, ask her along. Have neighbours round for coffee/a barbecue. Volunteer for a befriending charity to see someone lonely regularly.

Friends can take some time; it does sound as if she struggles with friendship. She's been unlucky with lockdown but let's hope as things change it will improve.

Aquamarine1029 Sun 12-Jul-20 00:38:43

You really do have to leave her to it. She's an adult and you can't make friends for her. She needs to make the effort to change her circumstances, and you can't do that for her.

WitchWife Sun 12-Jul-20 00:40:29

Also I notice you’re very quick to give reasons why she can’t make friends eg too pretty, living at home, no-one of the same age. Makes me think of a friend’s mum who was always protective and said she was “shy” and didn’t push her to do things (quite the opposite) when what she actually needed and WANTED was a friendly kick up the arse. Show you have higher expectations of her than sitting in her room being sad. Try to get to the root of her problems by asking her - none of the reasons you have said would stop a friendly person from making friends if they wanted to.

Lumene Sun 12-Jul-20 00:43:52

Leave her alone to make her own life and decisions.

My mum is constantly on at me to make more friends. I’m fine, it just makes me feel annoyed at my mum and wish she’d leave me alone.

Mnhealth202020 Sun 12-Jul-20 00:45:38

Well, you’re a third party and she’s not a child, so there’s limited advice to offer frankly.

If anything it just sounds like she has poor social skills and you’re just making excuses eg:

- Jealousy. Contrary to this cliche, it’s normal for pretty girls to make female friends. You’re saying that apparently most women are jealous of her so they’re mean to her, but that doesn’t quite happen in reality. Attractive people can and do have friends, her looks are irrelevant as people generally don’t “compete” with their friends.

- You’re saying that she didn’t make friends at uni because she lived with you. I also went to uni and moved cities so lived in halls then house shared. I still made friends with people who lived with their parents. It doesn’t have to be a barrier.

- Also I’m the same age as her and most people our age maintain friendships/meet new people via social media. So not seeing people in person shouldn’t be a barrier either.

In the kindest way possible, if she’s had issues with all her previous friends, maybe she’s the problem? As she’s the common denominator. Maybe she comes across in a negative way so needs to work on herself to become someone people gravitate towards.

bitheby Sun 12-Jul-20 00:45:47

It's likely that some of your issues have spilled on to her in the way you brought her up but she is old enough now to take responsibility herself. She could be depressed. Sounds like life has given her some knocks (as it has to nearly all of us lately). But getting angry at your suggestions and refusing to try anything might suggest that.

Happy people attract other a happy people and it could be that people pick up on her low self esteem and don't want to be around her. Some counselling could be a good idea. Or just throwing herself into some interests and hoping to meet like minded friends that way. Loads of stuff is happening online lately - classes and courses. Could she sign up for some?

Lollypop4 Sun 12-Jul-20 00:47:10

I'd maybe suggest social clubs-book ckub, running club ect...
Then, leave her to it.
If she was feeling that crap, she will take up suggestions, if not, then very much down to her!

Thistly Sun 12-Jul-20 00:48:36

I agree it’s a coincidence that people keep turning against her. There could be some unpicking to do there, for example does she make friends with superficial people who have no interests in common with her, so then need the drama because they are so bored/ boring?
The book club barbecue etc suggestions are good, but really tricky at the moment while we are still in lockdown lite.
I would say she’d benefit from developing a couple of hobbies or interests, as that’s the way to meet like minded people to make friends with.
Just a bit limited what you can do at the moment.

Sounds like you have tried really hard not to pass on your friendship issues... perhaps you have almost tried too hard? So that she isn’t discerning in who she is friends with?

DonLewis Sun 12-Jul-20 00:48:48

She needs to fill her time with stuff she likes doing and then she'll meet people who also like to do what she does. Obvs right now that's not easy.

Don't focus on the friends, focus on the interests.

candle18 Sun 12-Jul-20 00:49:16

I can empathise as I have a son who is very similar, however it does sound as she’s actually done quite well pre lockdown, going out for after work drinks and planning on moving into a flat etc. I know I have it in my head how I want my son to be but he just isn’t so probably accepting that is the best we can do. If she seems content enough at home then I guess it’s just a case of waiting till things go back to normal. There’s no point pushing her to do things she doesn’t want but if she’s willing to go to the gym that will be beneficial. It’s important for her to feel safe and secure at home so try to accept that this is how it is for now and she has her whole life to make friends.

IndominusRoxy Sun 12-Jul-20 00:51:17

I very aware she’s an adult but she is involving me by constantly being in my ear about it and of course I want to help her.

Believe me I’d be over the moon if she got a boyfriend, (and she does want one) she’s had loads of offers but she’s too shy and always tells them to get lost. It’s so frustrating. I had my first boyfriend at 17 despite being very socially awkward and I can’t understand why she’s like this. It feels like life is passing her by sad.

I have a younger DC with Autism (its in DH’s side of the family) and I do worry that she may be on the spectrum but she doesn’t really fit the profile and won’t entertain it. My other DCs have no problems with friendships. Her younger brother has had several girlfriends despite being 5 years younger which I know affected her.

I’m at a loss.

OP’s posts: |
CrazyToast Sun 12-Jul-20 00:51:20

She needs a hobby or an interest about which she can talk with other people), both at the hobby and groups online etc. Its the easiest way to get a social group and you always have something in common to discuss, events to attend etc.

whattodo2019 Sun 12-Jul-20 00:53:40

Just leave her. She is seeing that you don't have friends so probably why should she??? If you enjoy each other's company, j would start there by making each other feel good about yourselves. Now isn't the time to be finding new best friends.

Mnhealth202020 Sun 12-Jul-20 00:55:05

She has also never had a boyfriend only a few one night stands from her boozy days which she bitterly regrets now.

Also found this weird - is this actually how she feels or is this you passing judgment and projecting your prejudiced thoughts?

Because one night stands in the past won’t stop someone finding a boyfriend. Most adults prefer partners with sexual experience that know what to do/what they like vs a virgin (no one likes shit sex). Past relationships can actually make you a better partner as you mature and realise what you want etc?

And most people at our age look back on our “boozy days” fondly, you’re only 21 once.

RhubarbTea Sun 12-Jul-20 01:01:55

I'm struggling with how to phrase this kindly and in a way that won't offend... but it sounds like you have quite an insular, claustrophobic relationship with each other and despite your efforts to help her make friends as a child, she has nevertheless picked up on your unspoken messages instead, because of your own unresolved issues about not being able to make friends yourself / not being able to trust people.

Do you think part of the reason you are so bothered by her not having friends is that you were desperately trying to have her story turn out differently? It sounds in any case as though you are quite involved in her life. Perhaps a little too much. And she in turn sounds rather dependant on you, and like she expects you to 'fix it'. Like you fixed things before by ensuring she had a ready supply of playdates when younger. This can make it harder for young people to learn how to make friends, in some ways.

Someone said up-thread that happy people attract other happy people. It certainly seems like she would benefit from some skype or face to face therapy to help with self esteem issues. She is the common denominator in all these situations, and you are quick to brush off why she hasn't made friends yet. But that doesn't mean she never will. She just has to want to do it for herself and take steps herself to put things into motion. You can't really do this for her.

PumpkinP Sun 12-Jul-20 01:05:31

I don’t have any friends and my mums never tried to make any for me so I do think it’s abit weird, my mum just left me to it as I’m an adult as is she, she’s is too old for you to be making friends for her now. I also don’t think not having a boyfriend by 23 is weird either, seems to be a lot guys out there just after sex so maybe she’s just been unlucky meeting those ones!

alexdgr8 Sun 12-Jul-20 01:06:12

you are too involved in her life, it's not healthy.
from the title i assumed this was someone with learning difficulties.
it's as if you are relating to her, analysing her friendships etc, as if she is a pre-teen child. you cannot run her life for her.
maybe if you had a difficult childhood, you have over-compensated, tried to organise everything for her, give her all opportunities, but perhaps have undermined her as a grown individual thereby.
unconsciously giving her the message that she cannot manage.
leave her to it. unless you believe she is in danger. leave her to her own autonomy. don;t be over-anxiously fussing around to rescue her.

SummerCherry Sun 12-Jul-20 01:17:56

Get her to get a job or volunteer somewhere, to get stuck in and get a sense of purpose.

Give her a good role model, in you, and your life. Show her how to work through her problems, but ultimately it is up to her to work these through. Make it easier for her to make the right choices - e.g. incentivise voluntary work by saying you will cook for her etc and make ‘bad’ choices harder - e.g. go in and open her curtains, expect her to help around the house, challenge her if she says it’s never her fault.

IndominusRoxy Sun 12-Jul-20 01:19:31

TBF she seems to attract friends with their own issues who use her. She was bullied at school. Rumours were to do with her trying to steal boyfriends who had fancied her, escalated into calling her ugly, fat, an airhead etc, being blanked. Police involved at one point due to stuff on social media. She got in with a bad crowd at college. as desperate to fit in. Started smoking pot, almost kicked out for non attendance. Lots of intervention from us to pull her out of it. Uni grades affected by being out all night, not coming home for days. Friend’s boyfriend was a drug dealer and she was hanging out at his. Driving about in friends car knowing she was drinking and driving. Scraped through Uni then finally came to her senses and ditched her after she took a large sum out of her bank account after taking her bank card to buy drugs. It’s been a nightmare but she started to straighten herself out with new job. Got drunk at Christmas do and told a colleague she fancied him (less than two months into job) and he rebuffed her which she was mortified about and almost quit because of it!

I’ve discussed with her exploring her own personality to see what she can change going forward, and getting out of her comfort zone, to attract decent people that’s where the arguments start. She gets pissed off that I zone out and don’t listen to her hmm.

I was really looking forward to her moving out actually as she needs to, now that’s not going to happen. She’s worried about redundancy as well but poor Amazon delivery driver is constantly at our house. I’m at the end of my tether with her really!

Aasrrggghhhh.

OP’s posts: |
jessstan2 Sun 12-Jul-20 01:21:25

When she eventually leaves home she will grow in confidence. Encourage her to do that. It will also help her to be back at work eventually. Otherwise there's nothing you can do, let her vent to you if she must but just listen quietly, don't offer advice. Your daughter is young, she'll find her way.

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