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

November 10, 2012 | By | 230 Replies Continue Reading
The high school years are often lonely for many young people.

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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

Comments (230)

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  1. Christina says:

    The first time i came to my school i was accepted into everyone’s group and they let me join in on everything. Then they started leaving me out. I tried extremely hard to join a girl group but they just treated me the same as they would “just a girl” I’m always the first one to start a conversation and barely anyone talks to me. I’ve always been nice to people and i think that makes me an easy target. When i was paired up with “my friend” for an english assignment another girl, (who was in the same group as her) said to her “OMG, ARE YOU OK?” “DO YOU WANT ME INSTEAD??!” I was super hurt by this and after coming home i then realised those girls had a private account on instagram and because they are like one of the two groups there are here. I just feel really hurt now because she said that and i was sitting next to the girl she said that to. I’m not diseased, i’m not a strange eccentric person. I like to draw, play music, act and sing (even though i cant sing lol) Now what do i do?? do i just sit and wait around for natural friendships? I really thought this year was going to be different for me.

  2. Recreating.Smiles says:

    It is really nice reading all these stories, so glad I found this website when I typed up “How to make new friends in the middle of the school year?” I moved to US about 3 years ago and I attended an awesome middle school.I made tons of friends, had something to do over the weekends, and was involved in about everything. Before 9th grade started, my parents decided to move to place with a really good high school. One of my close friends also moved to that school with me. We were really hoping to have the same classes or at least lunch together, but we didn’t. I thought this was a good opportunity to meet new people and make new friends because I am optimistic, kind, and confident. I met a really nice group of people at first. I had lots of fun for a couple of days, but eventually I just felt really left out and ended up ditching them. I joined another group where I knew only a couple of people, but a girl in that group was passively rude to me and I also ended up ditching them. Today, I do have a group, but sometimes it is just uncomfortable to sit with them because they sometimes talk about things I really do not want to get involved in. I also tried too hard to introduce myself corruptly and embarrassed myself when I was trying to make friends with people sitting next to me in class. Most days, I just feel depressed. My close friend who came to this school, understood this and she introduced me to her friends. We all hung out once, and it was awesome :)But, I didn’t have any classes or lunch with those awesome people either.I only have acquaintances and I say hi to people, but I don’t have anyone close who I see regularly.I also joined 4 clubs, but still… I do have hope I will recreate smiles in the future. We are amazing and if people don’t want to be friends with us, they are just missing the beauty of unique shining sparkles. I really hope all of us will find a good group and will be involved :) Smile on and Shine on :)

  3. Bobby says:

    Well pretty much year 9 is when high school starts here and i moved from year 8 intermediate which was public to another public school but this one was a out of zone school atleast 25-30kms away and i knew noone there, the first week there some blonde white boy accused me of cheating when i caught him cheating in a test, but he was a local who knew a few people and told everyone that i was a cheater so everyone hated me and didnt want to be my friend. I was good at all sports and proved myself during school sports competitions but still noone liked me and i was bullied for a whole year.

    Year 10 was the same everyone hated me, until 1 guy who was pretty popular stood up for me and became my friend half way through the year, I was happy because he introduced me to popular people for the rest of the year, but i only was involved with them during school time but never invited to hang out or anything.

    Year 11 my 1 friend didnt seem to care as much anymore and i fell away from school time friends too and then rest of the year no friends just plain lonely and that 1 school friend who stood up for me 1 time got kicked out of school for getting into a fight.

    Year 12 also went by as I had people to talk to during school but after school time its literally noone,and I always think that is it that I live far away from school that noone is my friend or that im not from around the school area that im a outsider from a different town or suburb, i also talked to girls as well but those were only talks that ended awkwardly and quickly, year 12 finished and in holidays i literally stayed home and watched movies and stuff, no one to go outside with.

    Now finally its my last year of school and i really want a friends or mates that I can just hang out with or even just a pretty girlfriend that I can express myself with.

    I am 6’3 in height, i have darkish skin colour, i also maintain my looks as well, and try to look like a gentleman but nope noone cares, and im getting frustrated and losing my cool, im not even fat or anything, i have a heavy sports mindset and am healthy, I am strong that I could literally fight anyone im school and beat them, but im like a friendly giant and people take advantage of that.

  4. Jessie or Jessica says:

    I feel somewhat the same way, I’m a freshman this year and I went to private school my entire life. Then I moved to public school in 7th-8th grade where I went to junior high and my dad was offered a job so we moved twenty minutes away and it was a better school system. Though I missed my other friends and still do. So on the first day there was these really nice girls who welcomed me into their group and I really do regret not taking it but instead I hung out with these other girls and they turned out not to be so wholesome. Because I grew up very strict in a Christian school. So there wasn’t really a problem with all that. I was sheltered and there was not very many girls in my grade. But I wish I would have stayed with those other girls and got to know them but I can’t change that now. So one of really good friends I made ended up moving away so it was hard because she was a really nice girl. Then I ended up getting a boyfriend so I feel like I pushed some of my “friends” away and I feel like if I broke up with my boyfriend I wouldn’t really have anyone but my one friend Brooke that hangs out with us so I kind of feel trapped. Also I feel like the girls that welcomed me in at first would think I was weird if I all of a sudden started talking to them at break and joined in their group when I haven’t talked to them since the beginning of the school year. It’s never been hard for me to make friends and I’ve always been incredibly shy. So I don’t really have very many friends right now but I’m praying and trying. Though sometimes I get very discouraged but, I’m gettting up and I trusting that Gods going to send me someone. A man that hath friends must show himself friendly… -Proverbs 18:24

  5. Indiana says:

    I feel the same way! except I’m only starting as freshman. I like to read, I’m quite intelligent and I’m quite a lot more mature than my peers. I know people and I’ll nod to them and say hi and sometimes walk between classes with them. Except I’m not close with anyone. I guess that is due to the fact that everybody already had friend groups since middle school whereas I did not. I’m a quiet person and I’m sometimes painfully shy. I find it hard to talk to others I Don’t know so making new friends is definitely a challenge. I feel so low and miserable when I have to eat lunch alone and sometimes I just feel like crying at school. I haven’t yet but I’ve been pretty close, not that I’m being bullied, just by the fact that I’m alone is quite saddening. I honestly don’t know what to do

  6. FakeName says:

    Same here. Except I’ve been at the same school since prep. When I was younger I was really socially behind I guess, since all I did before that was fight with my brother, and so I did a lot of stupid sht. I’m in year 10 now, surrounded by people who either hold grudges or just don’t want too get involved with me. I have “friends” but even then they always start drama and everyday is just a constant stress of “will I be kicked out next?” Bc they’re the only new girls and without them I’ve got no one. It took three whole years to get myself this little fake group. Even with this I still have no one to sit with in class and go places outta school. I really want a fresh start, to be a clean slate, but I go to a pretty privileged school and don’t want my future to suffer from my own incapabilities. So yeah, just another sob story to go with the rest. No advice to offer really, I’ve tried but honestly there’s only so much you can change.

  7. Lil says:

    I feel the same way freshman through Sophmore year I had a group of friends. But it wasn’t a real one. I had one best friend, and she was the only one in the group I could connect. So basically, I didn’t have any friends. Plus they would all turn against me, at least, every six months. She was also strangely controlling, and I felt like with her friendship I was unable ever to branch out. Even when she hung out with new friends, I wouldn’t be invited to chill too. I was terrified, but, I had to distance myself. I still ate lunch with my old group, but I started branching out. Sophomore year I met a girl who would become my “best friend” for the rest of highschool, but I always felt distant from her. She was popular and would bring me to parties. I also became best friends with a girl who would disappear mid-Junior year to go to boarding school. What was worse was I brought her to hang out with my old friends and they told her all these mean things about me. Soon Junior year I had developed a whole network of friends people who wanted me to take them to parties in the grade below (red flag btw). People who wanted me to take them to parties in the class above (another red flag). I still ate lunch wth my old friends, but we were less connected. Some random popular kids who wanted to be my friend in my grade (though I never put any effort into those relationships). Oh and I forgot to mention I had six years worth of camp friends too. Then that summer I didn’t go back to camp and I went away that summer. I had however finally told the controlling girl I was done. I hung out with my new best friend almost every day. Then I got into trouble and got grounded for the rest of the summer. All of a sudden, I lost my connection with everyone. Maybe I was feeling guilty. Ove the first half of senior year I lost my upperclassmen friends (college), my underclassmen friends (lack of drivers license and parties), the glamor pack (couldn’t text them regularly). Then my very old friend came back from boarding school, and I felt so happy. However, I lost her too (me being entitled). Then I had a chance with the girl I ditched she ended up uninviting from her birthday party. I hang out with my other close friend sometimes, but I choose the underclassmen over her because we had the same lunch period and I’m now sitting alone in the library. I fear she is mad at me. But she also excluded me from her prom bus which I think is odd. Anyway that’s how you go from rags to riches to rags folks. What is wrong with me?! I’m a second-semester senior with no friends!

  8. Edel says:

    Reading these was so amazing because all your stories are like mine! In Australia year 7 and 8 are in high school however I did year 7 at a separate school and just finished grade 8 at this new high school. I knew nobody and I developed some very close friendships but they all ended because of bitchiness/popularity divide so for the last half of the year I felt completely lonely. My personality is exactly like Marcie and I’m back at grade 9 at the same school and the feeling is back. I have a couple of friends but all of them have another group they wanna hang out with and Im constantly left lonely. It sucks. I feel so depressed and Im thinking of changing schools/homeschooling since I can’t put up with it much longer – my mum agrees. What should I do? I try and make friends and Im really nice to everybody around me but nobody wants to be friends with me back!

  9. Lolly says:

    Hey you’re definitely not the only one… I feel horribly alone in school too and always have. If I become friends with someone, I would still never be seen hanging out with at lunch time or break time, so I have to eat alone and its so frustrating. I’m kind and friendly to everyone but I just don’t know what to do anymore… I feel like I’ll never have close friends and I’m 16. I’m constantly blinking back tears in school, I just want the day to be over quickly. When I’m alone in school, I like to read- it really takes my mind off how anxious and low I feel.

  10. Lewis says:

    I’ve got the same problem at school at the moment. I do a lot of activities, I’m not super popular but I’m not one of the strange kids and i’m always really nice to people. I’ve been at the same school for 6 years now and I’ve found recently that I don’t have a group of people to hang out with. People think i’m nice and I’ve got some friends but I’m not close to anyone. It has really started to get to me this past year and I get sad all the time. I’ve got almost no self-esteem and I just don’t seem to be able to connect with new people. I get really nervous trying to meet people and just don’t seem to be able to fit in anywhere. I get really depressed and don’t know what to do.

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