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No friends in high school: What am I doing wrong?

November 10, 2012 | By | 132 Replies Continue Reading
The high school years are often lonely for many young people.


Hi Irene,

I have never written to you, or any other site like this before, so I am very new at this. But I thought I would give it a try, thinking maybe some outside help/views on my situation would give me a new perspective on things.

I am 16 years old. I’m not shy, introverted, or “nerdy” per say, but I am intelligent, not dumb. In fact, I’m quite outgoing, always trying to put myself out there, putting 100 percent into everything I do. I’m silly and fun, very positive and optimistic, individualistic, always being my own person. Just to give you more of a picture, not because I’m self-involved or anything, I’m not “ugly” or anything. (I’m sorry for using that word.)

I’m nice, inclusive, and enthusiastic but I’m facing this problem that is starting to make me feel so depressed: I don’t have any friends. In middle school, I faced the normal crap that evil children everywhere seem to put on others, which is why I was excited to go to a high school where I knew absolutely no one, to start fresh. A very brave move: going from a private school knowing the same 60 people your whole life, to public school with 1300 kids, knowing not one face or name. But I was ready to take that step, in hopes that I would find a group of friends that I would stay close with for a long time.

Grade nine hit and I got involved. I like taking on leadership roles and being a part of something greater than me to be the best person I can be (even though it sounds cheesy) but I think that is how you grow. I auditioned as a dancer (dance is my passion) in the fashion show at my school, and later that year I ran for Junior Vice President of student council, which I won. I thought to myself this is great: People voted for me because they like me. Things will only get better from here.

Grade 10 hit. I was Junior Vice President (JVP), I was a dancer again in the fashion show, and because I was JVP, I organized an entire charity week where we raise $51, 000 dollars for the school. I spoke in front of crowds very often, so public speaking became very easy for me. Unfortunately I got a spine problem and had to quit dance, but I still remained in fashion show. But, nothing happened. Still no friends in school. No connections. Just acquaintances and hellos in the hallways.

Many lonely weekends later, its grade 11. Now I’m in the same position I was in in grade nine. No real friends. And that amazes me. I see people who are new to the school and they make friends and are in a group RIGHT away yet I can’t. After everything. And I just don’t get it. I don’t get why it hasn’t gotten better, and I don’t get why I can’t seem to make friends. I go to school and I have no one to talk to really, no one to eat lunch with, and I feel so alone. But there’s nothing “wrong ” with me and I’m getting just so….sad.

I know this will be just a spot on the big canvas when I’m older, but its so hard not to focus on it right now, because whether I like it or not, this high school crap is pretty prevalent in a teenager’s life. I just want some friends. And I just want to have fun. And I don’t know, what I’m going to do. I need your advice. It’s Saturday night and I’m crying alone in my bed.

Signed, Marcie


Hi Marcie,

Thanks for writing. I can’t even begin to guess why you can’t make friends. I know it can be hard to enter a public school system when people have known each other for years. I know that teens can be mean when someone is different in any way, even if they have exceptional talents.

My first suggestion would be that you speak to a trusting adult closer to home, perhaps a guidance counselor in your school or a teacher whom you respect to ask for a more informed perspective on what could be causing your difficulties.

Also, have you tried reaching out to people one-on-one, perhaps inviting someone to go to a movie with you or to go shopping? Are there groups that you can join either after school or outside of school that might put you in contact with different kids? Do you have the time to pursue a part-time job, perhaps a sales position where other young people would be working with you side by side?

Take things slowly a step at a time. You don’t need a whole group but it would be nice to connect with one friend at a time.

You really have me stumped. I wonder if any other readers, either your age or older have any ideas. Your letter really made me feel for you. You have a wonderful gift for writing and seem to be mature beyond your years. It is great that you recognize that your situation is time-limited and common among teenagers.

My best, Irene

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Category: Teen friendships

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  1. Sitting alone at the high school lunch table : The Friendship Blog | August 7, 2014
  1. Hannah says:

    Hey guys! I just found this thread through Google and it’s exactly what I’m experiencing. In August, my family moved from Maryland to Norway (my family is originally Norwegian and my dad’s job brought us back here) where I’m now in the last year of their high school. I speak Norwegian and everything so there’s no language barrier keeping me from making friends, I just don’t know what is. In America I had lots of friends! I had a huge friend group and some amazing best friends; I’m completely normal, good looking, extroverted, and I never spent a weekend night at home alone. I was nervous about coming here and having to make friends, but I had no idea it would be so hard. I’m friendly with everyone in all of my classes, but people rarely invite me to hang out with them outside of school. Everyone lives really far apart for each other so it’s hard to get together for small things. Occasionally i do get invited out, and I get so happy and feel like maybe this is the end of spending my weekend nights crying in bed, but it inevitably goes back to me being home and doing nothing. I feel like there’s something wrong with me, even though I know there’s not because I have lots of friends at home. I feel like I should actually have friends because it’s already December. I’m just so tired of being lonely and sad. I think the hardest thing is not having a best friend here. I’d love to hear about more of your experiences, so please reply!

  2. Christina says:

    Okay I was crying so hard so I was looking for a way to comfort me. I’m glad to see that you guys are faces in the same situtiation. I hate being the new kid. II cry myself to sleep a lot. I know people won’t read it but I need to rant. I was gonna go to boarding school for high school but my parents turned against because of the price. I went through all the testing and I worked so hard only to fail. I was set to go to school with all my friends I was so sad. I didn’t wanna go knowing that I failed so I transferred. I expected to have friends and enjoy high school. Man was I wrong. I miss everyone so bad. The schools are like 20 minutes from each other. It was all a im inmagination. I was faced with the reality of life. I miss my friends so much. I cry so much everyday because of this. I made friends but not someone that I can trust. Every time I hear inside jokes I feel like laughing and people look at me weird. I’m a freshmen by the way. It was my fault. Everything. I hate myself so much. I was the one that asked my parents to transfer me. I put them through all this hard work only to regret it.

  3. Ruby says:

    Hey guys…I’ve been struggling a lot with school for the past few years and was looking for some advice when I came upon this blog. When I was in 5th grade my oldest brother came out as being gay and I live in Tennessee so people are very close minded;but anyways I started to get picked on by people who I thought were my friends. So slowly I just closed everyone out because I was tired of feeling like I wasn’t accepted. Then in 7th grade my best friend of 5 years moved to Nashville so I was left with no friends and no motivation to make new ones. Now I am a sophomore in highschool and I can rarely make it through the school day without wanting to just give up on myself completely. I used to hang out with all the popular kids(hate to say but I was a popular kid) until I began to notice all the bigotry and ignorance I was being surrounded by. So now, when I try to make new friends with new people, they already have heard plenty of rumors and drama about me so I feel already shut down..I don’t know what to do because I am not the type of person to be rude just because someone else is..and it’s hard to keep doing that in a high school environment.

  4. James says:

    Similar situation to a lot of people here although I’ve been at the same school in second grade, the friends I used to have either have moved away or simply have gotten popular and egotistical and have stopped talking to me or wanted to interact with me completely. Every time I see someone I once knew very, very well…they all turn a blind eye as if they didn’t see me even though I know they have. Just in general, the new people coming in only talk to popular people and completely ignore me. I have no idea what I’ve done or if there are rumors of me that just get out to everyone but its been a terrible High School experience socially and I’m just waiting for my senior year to finish up so I can go to college where hopefully I can meet mature and decent people who don’t care about popularity etc.

  5. Olivia says:

    My situation is almost exactly like Marcie’s but with a little change up. You see, I am in the 10th grade but I have been with my classmates since middle school and even elementary school but the thing is that I have a twin sister and she was always the outgoing one and would make friends and then I would just come along and then I was his/her friend because I was her sister but once when I got to high school, everything changed. I had to make friends on my own and it is really difficult for me. Even if my sister has her friends over, I usually hang out with them but she started to gradually make me unwelcome and would tell me that I need to make my own friends. It was heartbreaking and I cried for many nights when she would go out with her friends and I would be stuck at home all alone. All I am trying to say is that you aren’t alone and I would like to have friends too but for reading the comments, I am guessing you have found some life long friends and I just wanted to feel what that feels like.

  6. Gabrielle says:

    It’s sad to be able to say that I can relate to every single sentence Marcie wrote. Being a senior in high school now, I am praying that once college hits things are going to change.
    When I was in the middle of my 9th grade year, I moved to a new town. For 10th grade, I started at a new high school and I just remember thinking all summer long and wondering what friends I’d make and what kind of people would want to be friends with me. Then reality hit. I was walking into a school full of kids who have literally, and I mean literally, gone to school with each other since kindergarten. Preschool even! These kids may have even all been friends since they’re seven months old in their mother’s womb for crying out loud, it’s that real.
    3 years have gone by and I cant say I’ve made one friend. A real friend. There are those kids you talk to in class, acquaintances, that are good for those 40 minutes but when the period ends they have their real group of friends to go to, and I become noticed again the following day for the next forty minutes.
    I am not weird, at least I don’t think I am. I am not a nerd. I receive good grades, but I’m not a know it all. And most importantly, I’m not happy. It is truly so hard to keep a good attitude when every day you find yourself becoming more and more depressed about the situation that any time people do try and reach out I feel myself telling myself in my head “Oh don’t get your hopes up, they’re only talking to you now. It wont last.”

    It really does suck.

    • Luke says:

      Can I just say that I can relate to everything you’ve just said. The only difference is that I moved during the beginning of 9th grade, I live far away from my school, I go to an all boys school, and I’m in 10th grade instead of 12th. All of what you said is essentially true. Kids mostly have their pre-made group of friends. It takes a ton of effort to make new friends once you’ve already gotten used to the group you were in since elementary school. Therefore, they will not make much effort to befriend you. It’s not your fault. It’s just the way it is and I’m glad you’ve realized this as well.

      Now that you’ve accepted the truth that no one is going to do everything for you. You must take up the task for yourself and get what you need accomplished LIKE THE INDEPENDENT BRO YOU ARE (motivational talk here).

      Now you know the kids who are your acquaintances? Well ask them what clubs they are in. If they are in any then join them (you don’t have to do this, but it helps A LOT). On fridays ask them what they’re doing over the weekend. If they say they aren’t doing much or they are going bowling, etc. Then transition and say “We should hang out sometime.” <=== THIS IS SUCH A SMOOTH THING TO DO. No one wants to just go up to someone and say "I'm lonely. Hang out with me." NO, you have dignity. No one does that. But what I just described works. I've actually gone over a few friend's houses and gotten on some dates because of that and it has improved my social life so I suggest you do that as well. Now whether they become your friends or not is a completely different story. Relationships are difficult at times, but doing this will definitely improve your social life and make you feel a lot better.

      Also join track or cross country. If you like sports, join them. But the reason why I say track/cross country is because those sports are not only walk on, and are easy to understand, but you can meet a lot of interesting people and feel like you're on a team even if you suck at teamwork. Also exercise makes you happier and is proven to be good for you if you are depressed or have anxiety (even if you're out of shape).

      Good luck and try and be proactive about your situation even though it's difficult and you might not want to at times.

      • Natalia says:

        LUKE BRO BRO BRO WANNA BE FRIENDS I’m sixteen too I’m a girl though idk if that would make things weird, i swear to god it won’t be i just honestly like meeting new peeps omg this could be so cool add me on snapchat: nataliacutie

    • Will says:

      I’ve been reading the comments on this feed, and it seems like having little to no friends is a situation girls face more often than guys. I wonder why that is. However I am a 17 year old boy senior in high school and that thing you said about fake 30-40 minute class period friends where they wouldn’t talk to you outside of that class or only talk to you because they have to sit by you makes me sad. The only kind of friends I seem to be able to make. Nobody to talk to, never going to any school events, doing anything after school… it’s just madness that engulfs you after a while. :(

  7. Justine says:

    This question hits hard for me as well. It’s like she is in the same position as me. I’m a junior (girl) and I really did think that I would have someone, friends by now but I just spent (or still spending) Halloween alone and I just feel confused. The only difference I would say between me an Irene is that I am not involved in as many things as she is and I’m a bit more isolated because I’m a super deep thinker and I think maybe other kids are put off by it. I really have learned to love being alone in a way and just focus on working on myself. I try not to spend the energy and time on the depression of having no one I know will always be there. But then I remember my old friends from my old school and everything was just so much easier. I always had something to look forward to on the weekend or had someone to do hw with. Life was so much more meaningful I guess. I feel like there is a hole in me. I’m almost hallow and I just want a person. My person. Anyway I am just really hurting. I guess on the plus side the rain sounds beautiful on my window. Sad and beautiful. If it matters I have no time on the weekdays because I go to an arts school and don’t get home until 6:30-7:00. Kids in my school can live anywhere in la county so it’s rly hard to see other ppl without a huge drive. Any advice on how I can not feel to need to sit in a bathroom stall with my head In my hands? Remember tho I really am like the Irene who asked the question. Outgoing funny and so loving I’m starting to feel like people don’t like me because I’m too nice? Sorry this is too long I’m just ugh

    • Natalia says:

      Hey Justine,
      Guess what
      Join the club
      Oh god i sound like such a weirdo. But hi.
      First of all we could totes be friends coz like why not
      But honestly I’m just like you and Irene. I was kind of bummed out because I realized that Irene wrote hers back in 2012, so I felt like I couldn’t help, but bro you just wrote this like a week ago so I’m still here to catch you. I feel the same way. As in I’m really funny and nice (maybe too nice)? And all my friends from middle school are, now that we’re in high school, (I don’t know about you but I’m in eleventh grade), are obsessed with going out and getting absolutely pissed, but I hate that. I mean, I don’t mind drinking a bit at parties, (yeah, like the three I go to per year) but I don’t get absolutely wasted. Anyway, send me an email or add me on snapchat or something and we can console each other on rainy days or whenever we get lonely and I realise how lame that sounds but I do I get awfully lonely sometimes and it makes me really mad because I’m actually normal like I’m not a freak or a nerd or ugly (sorry for using those words). But anyway I feel like I’m talking at a wall here so I’m just going to leave it to this and if you wanna get back to me you absolutely can. I’m here for you if you ever need to talk I honestly love listening so if you ever want to rant go for it.

  8. Alex says:

    Hey guys. First all all, I’m a girl. Secondly, I’m so sorry for all that some of you have been through and all of you seem like lovely people. I have a steady group of friends and we are very close knit so I thought I would share my experience. I moved school from another country to Australia just at the start of this year. Before, that, my old school had a fixed sitting arrangement so it was really easy to make friends. Two of my best friends were my desk mates and my social group consisted of the classmates sitting around me. So first advice, make friends with people sitting around you. They are the ones you are going to collaborate with the most. One of the best ways to make small talk with your desk mate is through an assignment. Sometimes the teacher will give pair work and you can just discuss the work with them and slowly change to a more interesting topic. Most people will open up immediately. Humour is the best asset.

    Secondly, i suggest looking for people who look lonely in class and make friends with them. Most of the time, they want friends too. For me, I’m kind of an extrovert but most of the times I make more introverted friends first. Then, with a friend by my side (so that I won’t seem too much like a loner), I go make other friends.

    Another way is through collaborative work. I’m sure most schools will have different kinds of group activities. Be it school assignments or group activities, make friends with those people. They will realize that you are actually a fun person to play with!!

    Good luck and all the best:)

  9. Aidan Gardner says:

    I feel selfish being here knowing I have a group of freinds, but before I explain why I am here. (I am guy btw) Personally the way I have made freinds the most is through exhisting freinds from kindergarden (now in high school) but if you mannage to get a freind you can hang out with them and their freind, if you feel you need to know them better to be comfortable around them I recommend if you have a class or lunch or whatever with them and not the other feind, you should sit by the or try to be part of their group. As well you could meet your first freind as well this way. This advice I think could help me get a freind that is a girl as well as girlfreind, but I dont know how to start small talk very well.

    the reason why I am here is also another problem [what if you want to be freinds with a girl without comming of as weird] [how to get to know the freind better outside of school] these are my problems. I guess I am one of the lucky introverts.

  10. Paul says:

    Hey I’m a high school student looking for some information. I have a very close “friend” and she can’t make any friends. I told her everything I know how to make friends but yet again its different to make friends for her. The boys at her school are jerks and hit on her all the time. The girls are snobby to her everywhere. I know she’s a good person, love does not blind that from me. She’s out going and everything a person could ask for. she’ll always be there for you but yet some how she can’t have that one friend that is like her and will stick through the thick and thin. So what do i tell her when the cup is running low on ideas???

  11. Kevin says:

    Maybe, all you guys. go to each person you see (ie one person, the least or more if you’re feeling it (like really confident), and introduce yourself and say hi my name is so and so, do you want to be friends….if you feel like they’re nice enough get their email or phone number, the next time you see them talk more (5min, etc or more however much is relevant), then build from there everytime u see them. Or you dont even need to be straight forward you could just say hi my name, then ask some common question to get to know them (like what classes are you taking, hey do wanna hang out for lunch, etc, whatever you feel is important/pertinent). i just feel that if you say ” Hi my name is so and so, and say directly do you wanna be friends, could i call you or talk to you more the next time i see you” this will divide the good for you type of people and the bad for you (based on how they treat you, who knows maybe they might be your friend in the future they’ll change their perspective). Be open, honest, not too needy, but just the right balance of confidence/forthrightness, and honesty (its just from my perspective if i act too needy they tend to run away emotionally then physically esp women, no offence but just my point of view)….anyways good luck…im a lonely guy, but from my experience, if you can do this everyday one day at a time you will meet at least one person in your school (i believe there is at least someone out there who’s feeling exxactly or similarly like you, their just waiting for you to come along, but when you find them you and they wont regret it….good luck guys. i want you to be happy, i know i suck with these things too, but if you do this i believe things will work out, and i hope oyu all the best….p.s. check out (www.calnewport.com/blog/ AND google: the happy documentary by roko belic and order and watch the movie…good luck gby :) )

    • James says:

      So I just want to add a little piece of information that I’ve learned from my experiences. I’m currently a senior, 17 years old in high echool.

      When it comes to “close friends” I believe that this type of connection has to be balanced on both sides. I used to have a “good friend,” lets call him James, who I would always have to initiate contact with. We’d hangout, but eventually we drifted apart over the littlest things: applying to a different college, prioritizing other friend groups, putting other responsibilities or chores over our friendship. Obviously, he didn’t care about our friendship as much I cared. For instance, even if I applied to a different college, I would maintain contact through Facebook, or perhaps meet if we visited our hometown. But James made no attempt at all to make me an important part of his life. He was a good guy and all, but he was just never meant to stay. So I let him go. Simple.

      Now I have another friend, Brian. Extremely popular, also friends with James, always going to big parties and stuff. Up until now, I’ve never thought of him as my close friend, cuz he always hanging with a lot of other people. Now, Around my sophomore year, my relationship with my parents deteriorated. I quit playing school and club soccer, became more introverted, and stopped going to church with my family. We even had the police come over due to my immaturity of smashing a computer and cursing at them. Honestly, it was my mistake, and a lot of my friends noticed and starting distancing themselves from me, not wanting to get involved. But Brian of all people, still acted the same way towards me, despite having so many other friends he could just have fun with while ignoring me. To this day, as a senior, he still invites me to hangout, or drives by my house to play some basketball. He also tries to get me to go to church, which I refuse, but hope to someday when I fully recover. Ive learned that it’s friends like Brian that will probably stay in my life, no matter what happens. We’re planning on going to different colleges, but somehow, I’m not worried at all.

      Some friends are drifters, others are keepers. (the latter probably being very few” I feel like Brian and I will continue our friendship throughout college and even when we have our own families to attend to. And even if we do drift apart, cuz theres no guarantee he won’t change in college, at least I can sleep knowing there are still others like Brian that I have yet to meet, who can stay with me and be a real friend.

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