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to feel like a failure due to lack of friends/social life?

65 replies

emkana · 14/11/2007 22:45

I've been living in the UK for nine years now. I have one very good friend here who I see about once a month. I have a few other friends who I see regularly during the daytime but hardly ever in the evening (they are too busy). Apart from that I have acquaintances, quite a few. Dh is somebody who is quite happy spending time mainly with his family (me, our children, his brother and parents), if he does socialise then it's work-related and doesn't involve me. We don't know anybody that we socialize with as a couple - there used to be people, but they all moved away - over the last four years or so I have lost about four friends due to them moving away, and the friendship obviously wasn't deep enough to keep up after they moved away.

I feel like such a failure. Back home in Germany I had a large circle of very good friends, and I still see them and we have a great time when I am at home. But here it's just not happening and I don't know why and it makes me quite miserable. I am a SAHM, but I do do things like going to toddler groups/being on the preschool committee etc.

I just have these thoughts that everybody else is having this fantastic social life, dinner parties, the lot.

I just don't know what to do anymore!

OP posts:

colditz · 14/11/2007 22:50

Nooo sweetheart, these dinner parties etc are just not happening, they're not. Ask all the toddler group mums what they did over the weekend! If it doesn't have a heavy dose of housework, telly and picking up toys, they have a live in full time nanny, or are lying.

People with small children don'#t have sparkling social lives. I go to toddler groups too, it's quite hard to take the friendship out of that context, isn't it>?


emkana · 14/11/2007 22:56

Thanks for replying colditz. Yes it is hard, and when you get talking to people it is difficult because often it comes out people have their "circle" and so they don't think to add anybody else to the list so to speak.

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moljam · 14/11/2007 22:58

where do you live?maybe mners in your area feel same way?


emkana · 14/11/2007 23:07

I live in Gloucestershire, I haven't really looked into meet-ups I must admit.

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spottyshoes · 14/11/2007 23:08

That is my life too emkana. I would gladly swap you the odd dinner party (not that i have them) to be a sahm

If I'm being honest your contempories sound a bit mean. I'm not on comittees but do lots of different 'baby' acivities despite not knowing many people and when I meet new people I try and make them feel as welcome as possible!

Where are you? - You can come round to mine for dinner


PeachesMcLean · 14/11/2007 23:19

Emkana, you've pre-empted my next thread. Am constantly feeling everyone has this wonderful social life and I don't. Hardly ever go out in the evening and I know the people I consider my closest friends have other friends they see more often. I've been putting it down, in my case, to working full time, which is great for the wallet and absolutely crap for the social life.


emkana · 14/11/2007 23:20

Ha! And there was me thinking I should go back to work to improve things...

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PeachesMcLean · 14/11/2007 23:26

Good lord no. Well, if you really get on with the people you work with that's great, but not the case in my office. Christmas "do" is coming up.... OMG

Though I work full time. Like most things, part time is best of both worlds. Don't know if it gives you lots of dinner parties though.


1dilemma · 14/11/2007 23:35

Hi Emkana
Sorry you feel like this I posted on someones thread on very similar lines a while ago and got quite a few replies along the line of colditz, and a few saying chin up. I think you just have to keep trying but only a little bit IYSWIM others also said it's a function of age and now we all have families etc people just don't need friends in the same way.
Come to dinner with us we were bemoaning our lack of friends a while ago too.
My husband is shocking at keeping up with everyone, I'm a wee bit better but we are both so busy......
WOuld agree work doesn't help it gives you a work 'social' so you can talk about 'a friend at work' etc but it sucks all your time!


lazymoo · 14/11/2007 23:43

I agree with colditz, no one really has loads of friends anymore, as everyone works so bloody hard, the image of dinner parties is sadly in the past. None of us has the time to socalise any where but here anymore.


1dilemma · 14/11/2007 23:45

Sad isn't it? I remember my parents had dinner parties I remember creeping down the stairs to look at them, (and again a bit later for a drink of water!!). They had babysitting circles too in order to go to all these dinner parties I guess.


lazymoo · 14/11/2007 23:46

Or left them on there own, with no baby moniter.


PeachesMcLean · 14/11/2007 23:50

You've inspired me to try again on Meet ups. Want to come too? (Glos a bit far from Cardiff admittedly but....)


SpeccieSeccie · 14/11/2007 23:59

I also agree with Colditz that people really can't be at those dinner parties as much as they say they are. (But, whoa, Gloucestershire, that's quite full on social stuff down there for some reason. I used to go out with a guy who's family were from there and EVERYONE seemed really social but they might have been from quite a competitive group of people, so who knows?)

I think YABU to feel like a failure! You're not a failure and you're not alone. Modern life is too fragmented, it just doesn't seem to conspire to form tribes and friendships in the same way it once did. Plenty of electronic friendships but not that much in the way of pals just around the corner.


Columbia · 15/11/2007 05:48

I think Germany is different, I love it there!!
Here I have one very good friend nearby, I might see her once a fortnight if our children allow, one long standing friend who is 300 miles away, a new friend from school and several - well, two really! - who are again miles away and we met through a shared passion on ebay!
Then there's MN of course...
doesn't help that I'm a single parent but I suspect there are a lot of us who haven't been out of an evening for a few years
Oh and my 300 miles friend is always having dinner parties, weekends away, friends to stay - which I feel very inadequate about, but that is her lifestyle and takes a lot of hard work I think. I am too lazy


morningglory · 15/11/2007 06:19

Another problem, paticularly here in London, is that people are so temporary now. I've been in this country for 5 years now, and still only have a few people I see regularly socially. Seems like people move in and out all the time, and, especially with small children, we all find it difficult to try and keep in touch with those people whom we moved from or who moved away.

It is getting much better now that DS is in nursery and I volunteered for the PA. Quite a few organized social events and I've gotten to know lots of the other mums this way.


Minum · 15/11/2007 06:52

I go out lots in the evenings, but with DH, or to endless committee meetings, and very occassional Dinner Parties etc

I've been here 3 years now, and made friends quite quickly, by volunteering to help at Rugby, church, scouts etc, so got to know the other parents quite well, rather than just nodding aquaintances when I pick up and drop off the kids. This has led to some real friends, and a good social network. I think it gets easier the older the kids get - the friends I had when the DSs were pre-school were all from NCT.


laura032004 · 15/11/2007 07:30

Have you tried inviting people round if you'd like to have dinner parties etc? Maybe start with just inviting them and their family for Sunday lunch, and see how things go. Or maybe invite everyone you know round for pre-Christmas drinks (with kids if space permits?).

We've kind of got it easy as DH is in the Forces and we live on an estate of Forces families so we're all thrown together in the same boat.

Could you organise evening childcare to go round to somebody else's house for dinner? I couldn't really as the people I would usually ask to babysit for me, are the people that I would like to spend time with in the evenings! So mainly the girls go out, and the boys babysit, or vice versa. Maybe you could try and organise a Christmas meal out if there isn't one already organised for the associations you help out with.


emkana · 15/11/2007 09:20

Thanks for your thoughts.

Inviting people round - I just don't feel I can, people are just not giving off the "vibes" that they're interested tbh! The other day I actually asked one woman I know, she said she'd get back to me but she never did!

OP posts:

titchy · 15/11/2007 09:41

If you're a SAHM could you try just asking people round for coffee one morning, then gradually progress that to lunch, then lunch in a restaurant and go from there? Slow burn kind of thing?


hippipotami · 15/11/2007 10:31

Emkana, I know just how you feel. I grew up in Holland and Germany, and in both countries remember my parents having a great social life, with frequent dinner parties.

I myself do not have that kind of social life. Dh works long hours and a rota of alternate weekends. He gets on well with the guys from work, but does not have friends outside work.
I am friendly with the mums from school, but only see them at school or the odd coffee morning. Twice I have tried to do a dinner party with one of these mums and her dh, both times it was stilted and awkward.

Now I don't worry about it. Dh fulfills his 'social' side with the guys from work - at the weekend they will go for a pub lunch etc. I am happy with coffee mornings and helping out at school / PTA events. And a few times a year I will get together with some of these mums and have a meal out.
Evenings and weekends are just for me, dh and the dc. And actually, that time is rare and thus very precious.

I think we are quite typical of our generation.

So please do not feel like a failure, you are not!!


mm22bys · 15/11/2007 10:33

You sound like me emkana, except I'm not from Germany! We've been here 9 years too, but nearly everyone we knew from the fun early London days has gone back "home", to guess what? Have their babies (guess we missed the trick there...). We are only in remote contact with a couple of people from "before" but their lives are so different now sometimes I do wonder what we had in common to start with.

I have some great (baby) friends, but we never do dinner parties, or even get together as couples, except if it's a toddler's birthday party.

I am a SAHM too, and would like to get involved with other things too, but I don't think DH could handle me going out too often - we had a nappy crisis last night, on what was supposed to be a rare night out for me. He rang me when I was on my way to the restaurant - I told him there was a new packet in the cupboard. Could he find it? No, so instead of going out I went to the supermarket for nappies.

When I got home to put the new nappies away, sure enough the old packet was in the cupboard exactly where I told DH it would be. I was not happy.

Sorry to hijack, but I am so with you on this.


casbie · 15/11/2007 11:17

it's hard with babies, my friends all used to be from college or from a pool team - we had cheapo dinner parties/cardnights/drinking games down the pub/pool games. it was a great laugh..

then i got pregnant, couldn't face going down the pub, people moved away, the pool team broke-up...

seven years later (after having three babies), i now feel more myself and have joined a gig rowing club, after a few meet-ups with other clubs who just weren't me and now have a great time.

my hubby though is less socialable and because he's the main carer, i find it difficult to get to know the mum's at school, though some of them are lovely, and they already have their friendship circles.

: (

it'll get easier as the children are older though i'm sure!


chocchipcookie · 15/11/2007 12:06

I could have wriiten your post, I moved to the US three years ago and my social life is terrible compared to what it was in the UK.

Personally... I think it's helpful to remember that the only thing you have in common with people at mother's groups is the fact that you have children. Yes, obvious, but why would you automatically get on. Most of the time I find I have nothing in common with mothers at groups here. And they are quite cliquey.

Plus the 'mom's night's out' is often cancelled because so few people have signed up!

If I were you I would join something non-mum that has evening events.

Book club?
Gym class in evening?
German group?


emkana · 15/11/2007 12:25

It is very reassuring to read that I am not the only one. It's difficult not to feel a failure though, friends are very very very important, it's what you read everywhere isn't it?

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