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

November 10, 2012 | By | 119 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

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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???

  4. 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 :) )

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