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Why do some women have such a hard time making friends: Nature or nurture?

Many women write to me perplexed about why they can’t form close friendships. They try new approaches, put themselves in all the right places, see therapists, and read relevant self-help books. They consider themselves interesting, loyal, kind, and friend-worthy people. But for reasons unknown to them, they have a tough time forming the intimate relationships other women seem to have and that they covet for themselves. Many admit to not having even one close friend.

A recent study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology offers some clues as to how both nature (personality) and nurture (experience) impact our friendships. Researchers at the University of Virginia and University of Toronto, Mississauga studied more than 7000 American adults between the ages of 20 and 75 over a period of ten years, looking at the number of times these adults moved during childhood. Their study, like prior ones, showed a link between “residential mobility” and adult well-being: The more times participants moved as children, the poorer the quality of their adult social relationships.

But digging deeper, the researchers found that personality—specifically being introverted or extroverted —could either intensify or buffer the effect of moving to a new town or neighborhood during childhood. The negative impact of more moves during childhood was far greater for introverts compared to extroverts.

“Moving a lot makes it difficult for people to maintain long-term close relationships,” stated Dr. Shigehiro Oishi, the first author of the study, in a press release from the American Psychological Association, “This might not be a serious problem for outgoing people who can make friends quickly and easily. Less outgoing people have a harder time making new friends.”

Families often have to relocate—across town, across the country, or across the globe. Yet, in many cases, their kids and young adolescents haven’t yet built up a bank of friendships or garnered sufficient experience at making new friends and at handling rejection. So the conventional wisdom is to try to minimize moves for the sake of your child, whenever possible, and to move at the end of the academic year. Additionally, parents are advised to monitor and, if necessary, help guide their children’s friendships during the first academic year after a move, which generally is the most difficult.

Moves during childhood affected adult friendships differently because of the unique interplay between nature (personality type, which is determined in part by genes) and nurture (in this case, the moves) for different individuals. That makes the answer to the question of why some women are more successful than others in making friends extremely complex. And this study raises the question of how many other factors come into play that we haven’t even yet considered.

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Category: MAKING FRIENDS

Comments (1,409)

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  1. Wendy says:

    With all the venal stupidity in the USA right now, and being cyber bullied by a scary man after I replied with Cuban healthcare stats after an aquaintance posted a cheer for Castro’s death, it is so refreshing to read the supportive and intelligent comments from amazing women on this blog. Thanks, all!

  2. MusicLaughs says:

    It gets really depressing. I always say I am over it-not having friends. It drives me crazy. But I am also very resilient and persevering so the next day I feel amped about meeting a friend. But I don’t have much time during the week so weekdays are out. Then I have such a good relationship with my boyfriend I like hanging with him on weekends, but I am ok with sacrificing one of those nights to hang with a female friend. Sigh. It doesn’t help that I am partially introverted and always deep in my thoughts, and I over think things. Like when I am around other girls I think they won’t like me or I am too boring for them, or what I say won’t be interesting enough so I just stay quiet. Then I leave feeling all down because no one wanted to make friends with me. Then I tell myself well you should have said something instead of being the quiet weird one. And I also have a limit on how many people I can be around before I start feeling too uncomfortable to try talking in the group: 5. There were 6 including me in the last group. It was teetering-can I do it? Yes I can! Then-no, you can’t do it, don’t say that. These thoughts happen and ruin the possibility. The other problem was that I am black and they were all white. I felt uncomfortable. I know, it sounds terrible. But it’s true.

    • April says:

      Hi,
      I related so much to your post. Sometimes I feel so strong and think that it doesn’t matter that I don’t have friends. Then some days I wake up so sad and lonely. I am an extrovert, but I suffer from the same self doubt–people will think I am boring, weird, etc. The difference is that I usually say things and people DO think that. Or at least, that’s what I perceive. Anyway, I feel your pain; thanks for sharing.

      • Maria Flesher says:

        I just want you to know,that you are not alone i am just like you. Wish we could form a support group of women who have a diffult time with maintaing freindships with our personality type. I am always feeling like the weird one. I have been told by a co worker male one that my problem was that i was too nice. Go figure. We are not boring or weird we are unique and different we dance to a different tune from your typical women clicks girlfreind groupies. I believe we are more genuine as human beings especially as women who dont do or form cookie cutter girlfreind clicks.

    • Shay says:

      I feel the same way.

    • Nikki says:

      I completely understand how you feel I myself just moved to a new city for a fresh start and yet I am still having trouble making friends. I spend a majority of my time with my boyfriend and we do have fun but I honestly wish I had a girlfriend to talk to. I’ve made a few acquaintances that seem really nice but then things just fizzle out and I’m left feeling like it was some how my fault. I just wanted to let you know you are not alone in this and I hope things get better for us both!

      • April says:

        Where did you move to?

        • Nikki says:

          San Antonio! I used to live in Houston but I needed a change and I love it here. It’s so beautiful and people are so much nicer in my opinion. Unfortunately I’m having a hard time trying to make friends here and I’ve been here almost a year. It stinks because it reinforces my feelings of doubt in myself and my capability. I really do like spending time with others even though I’m an introvert and its been tough pushing myself out of my comfort zone!

  3. Christine says:

    November 25, Friday, 2016.

    Wow! Never thought I’d respond to this! I moved a year ago and for the first time in my life, I am having difficulty making friends. It doesn’t help my self esteem & confidence are at an all time low,& for the first time in my life I was let go from a job, I hated anyways. I am single & want to meet some inspiring, attractive, ambitious, fun, cool, trendy, single women to hang with.I used to model years ago & through failed male relationships, estrangement from my siblings due to the death of my parents, I have gained 54 lbs. I look & feel awful & it isn’t helping me to meet new friends. I want my old self back.Where I live it’s mostly families, but I still can’t seem to meet women my age who are single & aren’t tied to their families so much. HELP! Very lonely in Vancouver, Canada.

    • Christine says:

      9:22 a.m.

      • Anne says:

        Hi Christine

        Don’t despair. I really felt for you reading your reply above. I moved away from Ireland when I was 19 and lived abroad for 15 years, including 2 in Canada. I discovered through time and experience that I am a bolshy introvert, i.e. actually quite shy and uncertain but with a drive to prove the opposite. I found it incredibly difficult to make friends and found it a shock as I had very close friends all my life up to that point and to compound matters, I worked as a nanny in Toronto at the beginning of my journey and only had the company of a naughty 6 year old boy most of the time. But over the intervening years I have made friends and used the principal of ‘fake it till you make it’. If you join social groups and are friendly and sincere when you meet people, you will make good friends eventually. The trick for me was to relax, it sounds basic, but I tried to accept rather than ignore the fact that I was shy, and lived in the moment when I was with people. Now, despite being rejected by some people, as we all are, I have lots of people who do like me and I have more self worth than ever. I am a single mother of a 12 year old girl, have reached the grand old age of 51 and live back in Dublin where I grew up and have made some lovely friends. They don’t need to be intense friendships like we all have in our youth, but all friendships are valuable.

        Best of luck,

        Kindest regards,

        Anne

        LAST NAME REMOVED BY MODERATOR. TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM POSSIBLE SPAMMERS, PLEASE DO NOT USE LAST NAMES OR POST OTHER IDENTIFYING INFORMATION. THANKS!

    • Darlene says:

      Christine, maybe start on getting more fit? Not trying to focus on your weight, but I know Vancouver well enough to know that there is a HUGE outdoor sports and fitness community there. You will meet lots of fun and positive people that way and it’ll help you shed the weight and feel better. Some of the nicest people I know are outdoor amphitheater enthusiasts, it just seems to attract positive people.

      Vancouver is a great city, but is known for being a bit lonely. I think you need to tap into a specific community to find people you can connect with.

      You have the skills to make friends, you need a lift and to believe in yourself again. Best of luck!

  4. Karen says:

    Hi Kalisa,
    I read your blog, and I actually feel the same way. I work full-time and live in a neighborhood surrounded by stay-at-home moms. The career I’m in involves teaching and helping others. I also make time for volunteer work. I’m also a mom and a wife. On the surface, I have nothing to complain about; but I find myself feeling lonely most of the time because no one around me seems to have “time” for friendship or has any interest in talking about something unrelated to gossip or themselves constantly. No one can seem to handle discussing deeper issues affecting our lives like politics, etc. So, I really don’t see the point of these conversations. I try to play along, but I end up sounding silly (at least to myself) because I can hear myself pretending to be what I’m not–I mean, how long am I supposed to listen to someone going on and on about themselves or being unable to speak about anything but their kids, their new car, their next manicure appointment??? LOL, I mean, it gets to be so boring! I have had 3 close friendships in the last 10 years. One friend moved away and I never heard from her again. Another friend’s marriage was on the rocks and she chose to go on another path that I couldn’t tolerate, and another friend stopped calling after my mother died. Just dropped me. We had been friends for 10
    years. No support, nothing. Just gone. So much for having a “friend in need”. I won’t go in to how I had been there for her for all her trials but I had hoped for some reciprocation during my dark hour. Instead, I found myself alone and looking around in disbelief at my situation. What the heck is wrong with people these days???

    • Wendy says:

      I agree! What is wrong with people these days?

      It seems it became “responsible” to silence all talk of politics when the Congress became so partisan. That is hooey for a lot of reasons. First, our country was founded on political and religious freedom and dissent, so exercising these rights our ancestors sacrificed for is Patriotic. Second, there really is no difference between the Democrat and Republican. As we have seen in this election cycle and I’m the actions and inactions of President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, they are all on the same military-industrial bank and oil complex payroll. So the big “off limits” topics polite women are not suppoosed to offend by discussing are all hooey. Mixed gender bathrooms? Walls to keep out immigrants? Seriously? Who cares when we can no longer afford healthcare, schools, roads and have to work longer hours and can be let go at any time, cannot drink municipal water, but have plenty of money to fund wars and give banker billionaires bailouts? This is so wrong on many levels, and the media keeps us dumb by only covering “stories” on celebrities.

      I think people are exhausted and eager for the escapes you described; new car, hair do, etc. you. I found deep thinkers in the Bernie Sanders movement, leading me to other issues. I can go to those meetings and events. Oddly, friends from 30 years ago have been resurfacing, and this has been great though they live far. I quit the progressive and self righteous church Id attended 25 years and left the fancy ladies lunch group, and while still lonely, am not faced with the constant reminder that I am wasting my time. I’m writing my observations as essays and preparing to
      move to Europe where people have not been brainwashed to be brainless.

      • Karen says:

        Hi Wendy,
        You make some great points. I like how you delved into meaningful activities rather than stay stagnant with shallow people. You’ve inspired me to molt out of my shell and get involved with activities and causes that are worth my time. Wish I could move to Europe, as the USA seems to be sinking into stupidity–and worse–apathy!!!

        • Wendy says:

          Hi, Karen,

          Europe was a crazy idea til I researched cheap retirement countries. I’m self employed with rentals here, which makes me very lucky, but have not found anyone yet to manage while I’m gone. A lot of people can work overseas either with special skills visas or virtually providing services from abroad.(The hassle with that is usually time differences).

          In history people have always migrated for various personal, religious and economic reasons. Its challenging but not impossible.

    • April says:

      I, too, agree. No one has “time” to just sit and chat about literature or what’s going on in the world. Most women my age have children and their entire lives revolve around them and that’s all they want to talk about. I have kids, too, but I also write stories, read books, see shows, etc. Sometimes when someone is going on and on about their kid, I can’t help but to say “you must be very proud.” I know I shouldn’t but sometimes I just can’t stand how people just talk at me about their kids’ accomplishments, etc. I just want a real friendship and I fear I will never find it unless I pretend to enjoy chatting about self-centered topics that seem superficial to me. Well, this really makes me sound like a jerk, I realize. I just had to vent that. Thanks.

      • Karen says:

        Hi April,
        You don’t sound like a “jerk” at all. Our culture has shifted to a very self-centered one in which many people have lost their awareness of issues outside themselves. The media doesn’t help. I have observed that most of what is broadcast on TV seems to feed the “me first” culture, and I think when you listen to what people converse about, it becomes evident that selfishness has become a “virtue” in place of compassion for others and giving back. It’s really quite the social phenomenon! I guess the solution would be to model the virtues we espouse by showing folks how it (life) should be done:) Volunteering, joining a book club, a political movement– whatever. Maybe that would show others how not to be a total bore going on about themselves and actually doing something to benefit society and the collective intellect! Imagine that!!:)

        • April says:

          Thanks for your kind reply. I volunteer with the local food pantry, the farmers market and play music at a local assisted living center. I tried to initiate social awareness in my daughter’s girl scout group and the leader told me that it’s “not what girl scouts is really about.” I was surprised to hear that. I am usually seen as the odd one out, a bit of a rabble rouser. I will always be me, I guess that I just wish I had others around me who had similar views that I could connect with.

    • Maria Flesher says:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts… your are hitting the nail dead on.. nobody want to talk about true subjects that impact society like poltics or faith or family issues in an intelligent pro active convesation. Just superficial materialistic self engranduering and gossip negative critsizing conversations. What happend to true frienship being supportive to each other about real things that matter. Im also very much alone. Thank you ladies for sharing. God give us all strenght through our time in need.

  5. Jennifer says:

    I’ve always had issues making female friends since middle school. It was because I acted and wore my hair differently from the other females. I was excluded and called weird and the females constantly taunted and picked on me in middle school (and so did the guys). It wasn’t better in high school. While I wasn’t bullied as much in college, I did receive some rude comments on how “weird” I was and how bad my hair looked.

    I tried changing my attitude and not posting negative things all the time on social media too because I felt that that was what was driving some females “friends” and acquaintances from me (ironically, the males never complained about what I posted, only like 2). One female didn’t like what I posted and threw shade at me on Twitter. When I called her out on it, she deleted her post. I tried to make up for what I did, but she was rude AF to me. Several months later after the whole thing, she deleted me off every social media.

    I’m about to try to change the way I carry myself and how I look and dress, because I also feel that this is a contributing factor on why I don’t have a lot of female friends. I was always mocked for my lack of good style and hair styles by other college-aged women too. I want to change this because I feel like I unintentionally attract weird, older men but make other women hate me.

    I feel very bitter at the fact that I only attract older men at my job (it’s male-dominated) as friends and acquaintances, yet other women either aren’t interested in being friends with me or just cut me off for unexplained reasons. I honestly wish I had more female friends because I want to do more girly things and I want to be more social, but Ive given them too many chances.

    I think my lack of social life is what contributed to me making sh*tty and desperate choices when it comes to friendships in high school and college. All I do is attend online school, work my part-time job at Fedex, and go to my dance classes (of course I’ll, but I fear some of the women won’t be interested in friendships with me and the cycle will continue) .

    I can’t stand other women because my friendships never work out with them, whether it’s my own fault or not. I feel like I’m better off without them because the majority of them always let me down in a way and I’m tired of being burned many times.

    • Wendy says:

      Hi, Jennifer,

      Well, you must be gorgeous! Seriously!

      One thing you said about having a sh**ty attitude alienating others. Well, sometimes you just can’t help it. If you have been scarred, left when vulnerable with no one trustworthy to help, it may not be possible to act cheery, unless there is really something wrong with you. Unless you stuff it, or deny your feelings. I think you deserve to feel as you do, regardless of others.

      What I have learned finally at 61 is that I ticked a lot of people off because despite being naturally smart and very pretty and healthy, i had no idea and had low self esteem. I was scarred by an unhappy childhood with alcoholics, then my mother was essentially murdered by my brother, for money, which his NJ attorneys took. I was traumatized that the Morris County NJ surrogate court was a part of it and that my mother knew what was being done to her and neither of us could get anyone to help us. Yes, bad. But once I started doing things in her honor, charitable work, standing up to others without a voice; the homeless and organizing against developers in my own neighbirhood, for example; I began to own my beauty and my scars. I stopped being afraid of anything!
      I hope you will not waste years worrying about your hair or being weird. Of course, if it feels weird to who you are now, by all means change ir, for you! But, I bet some women may br a bit jealous of a beauty and a power you may have without realizing it. Cheers!

      • Jennifer says:

        Excuse my hostility. I was obviously in a bad mood when I wrote this.

        I still think 50% women are unlikable bitches that are hard to get along with. I can try to strike a conversation with 50% of them and they just snub, ignore, or are completely uninterested in me.

        You mentioned that I’m pretty? Well, to be honestly, I was constantly picked on for being ugly as a teenager, so I’m always scratching my head over it.

        To be fair, you were going through a hard time, why are people like that towards people who’ve gone through a lot? Do they not realize that nobody’s life is perfect?

        The truth is, I only wanted to change myself because I felt I have some traits that genuinely a problem. I felt that if I don’t carry myself well, I would come off as unattractive and that drive people away. I know the hair part sounds petty, but that’s why happens if you’re raised in a predominantly African-American environment.

        • Wendy says:

          I do not think the hair part sounds petty at all. (And you brought me a sweet memory of the time my daughter brought a black friend home from kindergarten for a sleepover. The following morning i had no idea how to replicate the neat hair style she arrived with.)

          One thing another mentioned – maybe you are around people without your interests. The bi-racial world straddling is certainly something most people in the US would not “get”. Therefore you may think these people are boring, shallow or “bitches” for acting alienated by you.

          Then again, to say “50% of women are bitches” is disturbing. That statement might reflect you being overly hard on them – and yourself. Maybe they have been through a lot they are not able to process well, too. Maybe they are shallow, have trust issues that make it hard to open up to anyone different than themselves. Maybe they are bigots. A friend once said, “Someone may be a horses ass, but there are other parts to that horse.”

          When you ease up on yourself, you may find the number of total bitches in the world drops to manageable levels. But I would still trust your gut and find the peeps who share your values and more worldly experience.

          Now, I’m off to do something with my terrible hair. Really!! I recently stopped going to my overpriced hairdresser, who, always made me feel uncomfortable. As a bonus to saving over $100 a month, I now feel empowered by doing the color myself. ;>) Warm regards to you, Jennifer. (BTW – some of the most beautiful women in the world were considered ugly ducklings for long periods in their lives.

          • Jennifer says:

            Please don’t attempt to do a black girl’s hair if you have no experience. Natural hair is extremely hard to tame and it breaks combs lmao. Did you try consulting with the girl’s mother?

            Yes I 100% agree with you that I may be trying to befriend people that have little to no common interests with me (because I thought about it), because nobody wants to be friends with people they share no common interests with. But that’s no excuse to lead someone on, claim someone as a friend, and then suddenly delete someone off social network websites and/or suddenly stop responding to texts. Just tell me why you don’t want to be friends anymore because suddenly ignoring someone and cutting someone off is hurtful and dirty and it proves you meant nothing to the other person.

            Those females are in no way “boring” or “bitches” for not being interested in me (They’re not obligated to be interested. It’s not pre-school when you force friendships.). Some of them are because I can hint the bad body language/vibe when they aren’t interested. One girl I went to college with outright ignored me when I simply tried to greet her at a Greek cookout. For another girl, the second time we were at a Greek Cookout, I was able to get the hint that she didn’t want to be associates with me (I didn’t want to be friends with her because I saw she already had a set of friends). The third time I saw her, she mean-mugged me despite the fact that I had NO intentions of talking to her at that moment (because I got the hint that she wasn’t interested). For one girl when went to my old college, when I went to a fashion show and I tried to be nice to her, she ignored me with a frown on her face (it came off as “why is this annoying girl trying to talk to me?”).

            Saying that 50% of them are bitches may seem harsh, but I can understand why I said it. Because spending years being an outcast and without a lot of friends and being verbally and sometimes physically assaulted by some of your peers for looking and acting different from others is just as harsh (plus those girls and guys to be fair seemed EXTREMELY unlikable and were the worst bullies).

            I don’t think I’ll forgive myself for not being liked too much by my peers growing up because I have to build my social skills from scratch and spend weekends all alone. My 24th bday is coming up and I’m not very excited because I’ll be spending it without many girl friends like I always do. This is why I find myself envying some women who had better childhoods and a lot of girl friends growing up because they seem happier and have a lot of fun.

            I can bet you that I’m irritating you with my attitude, but it’s pretty hard to have a good attitude towards this subject when you’ve been snubbed and hated on many times even after you’re not a teenager. Being a Debbie downer sucks because people think you’re annoying, but if your life isn’t as fun as you want, then is wont be easy stepping out of this. I think this is why I’m still trying and not giving up because nobody likes or wants to be friends with Debbie Downers. For the ugly duckling part, I never believed it, but it’s pretty cool.

            • Wendy says:

              Hi, Jennifer

              You are not irritatiing
              me at all.

              I turned my frustration and rage into activism – Standing Ridge, BLM, ending pipelines to prison, and now organizing my conservative neighbirhood against a development. At some point we all get sick and tired of being sick and tired.

              Angel’s hair would have griwn back many times over. That was 20 years ago. And I was loving and careful.

            • Nicole says:

              Jennifer, I enjoyed reading your posts. Some of what you described is exactly like me.
              I am white, 32 years old and I grew up in a predominantly black/Latino neighborhood. Imagine a poor white girl, the daughter of an illiterate alcoholic with frizzy hair, over weight and all I ever had was boys clothing. I had 0 self esteem. At the age of 12, My father committed a crime which I took the blame for and spent 18 months locked up for it. When I got out, 0 gratitude. No loyalty, 0 appreciation. My mother ran off when I was 3 years old and the last thing she ever said to me when she saw me @ age 18 was too disgusting to type. I was on my own since the age of 16 years old, legally emancipated by the court after I was once again removed from the house 18 months after I was released from lock up. I know all too well what it’s like to be an outcast.

              I kept my sanity by reading books. I never got in trouble. I was mocked, called a lesbian, in hinds sight I can see why in the few photos I do have why people thought I was… but hey.. for an over weight girl, men’s clothing was the cheapest option. I had to raise myself, (washed clothing out in a bathtub) which always smelled moldy. That didn’t help make friends.
              Describing your childhood scars, I understand shaped the person you are today. You do not NEED to permit the past to dictate your present let alone your future. I spend my free time watching documentaries, I am self taught religion, (Islam, I reverted to Islam age 18), Christianity, Judaism you get the point, history, philosophy, I studied nursing, anthropology, politics, cultures etc..

              Providing someone speaks English, I can carry a discussion with pretty much anyone from any where. My point is start being a good friend to yourself first. Learn other people’s cultures, belief system. Open yourself up to different experiences, cuisines, hell, watch every travel channel documentary there is. See how the world lives. The common denominator? Most people are miserable. Either economically depressed but often happier, or in a place like Denmark, cold, isolated, but fantastic healthcare. A more homogeneous people. Feed your brain so your brain doesn’t eat itself.

              Generally speaking, people are FAKE. Society conditions people to act fake and much of it has to do with self preservation. If everyone you met poured their hearts and souls out to you telling you their tales of woe, it would make you uncomfortable. Eventually, you would tell the individual, ‘look you were dealt a shitty hand in life, move on, get over it’. Everyone is guilty of letting another individual down. 100% you’ve done it yourself and perhaps the person was too polite or embarrassed to tell you like you’re too embarrassed to admit to others how deeply rejection hurts you.

              Peer reviewed studies have proven attractive people have easier lives. People gravitate towards them because human beings are attracted to physical beauty. Many women who had their lives handed to them, when their beauty fades, they find themselves miserable, lonely and unable to maintain themselves economically once the husband upgrades to a younger, more attractive wife. Or, she’s widowed. There are far too many variables but don’t think for one moment those who appear happy with their smiles, fake laughs and frenemies have it as easy as you think. Many ugly ducklings focus on academics, then find the love of their lives and have stable family lives since they were mature enough to mate with a man who shared the same goals. Again, far too many variables to name them all. No one gets through life unscathed.

              I for one have the mindset that 100% of people are bitches to some, angels to others. Men included. Examine whatever interests you have. Start volunteering your time in places where people share your passions. When I got married in 2005 and had a daughter I stayed 7 years with 0 friends. It was not until I went to college to study nursing that I made a single friend outside of my house hold. I still see that same friend perhaps 3 times a year. I have my best friend living back in my home state who I get to talk to maybe once a week because she’s moody as hell but we’re always cool. We accept each other for who they are unconditionally. I learned to accept myself for who I am. In time, I hope you learn to do the same.

              Another tip for you. Not sure if you’re like me on this. When I speak to someone even if it’s just typing through a computer. I read/listen to whatever their issues are. Ask basic questions about their lives to understand their personalities and what made them the way they are (this is called emotional intelligence). Then MOST often than not, the individual tells me flat out it creeps them out how well I understand them. It makes people feel uncomfortable when others can see right through the facade. If you do this, stop (unless you’re trying to get rid of the person). People for whatever reason want to feel unique. When you easily make them comprehend they’re no different than any other imperfect human being it freaks them out.

              Do not conform in order to find friends, have patience. Volunteer your time. Offer a helping hand to a co worker in need. Listen to their problems and hold yourself from talking about your own issues. The best of friendships can take a considerable amount of time to build up. If you conform yourself to fit the mold in order to make a friend, the real you will end up showing up which will just drive the potential friend away. Remember, when you first meet someone, you meet their representative. When you’re strange and creepy like myself who happens to be an open book, it’s too much for people to handle. (I personally find comfort in it since I value quality over quantity).

              Everyone has insecurities my friend. Some are just better @ hiding it then others. You’re not weird, in the grand scheme of things, certainly NOT unique. I wish you the best of luck <3

    • Maria Flesher says:

      Im there with you.. being there for other women freinds but they are never there for me. I get burned too. Got tired of it. To the point i feel there is somthing wrong with me.i try to hard sometimes to no avail afterwards i feel used. So i keep away. Dont despair your not alone dear.

  6. Wendy says:

    Wow! You could be right!

  7. mayzie says:

    What a great website this is. After reading all the article and comments I have to say I now feel normal. It is normal and ok not to have friends.
    Someone once told me I was a shy extrovert. When I say to people “im shy” or “anxious” in groups they don’t believe me. I look like I am confident and I am apparently very capable. I don’t feel capable but if someone thinks I am I let that be.
    I feel so full of life and energy when I am with like minded people. When I am lonely I am afraid I fall in a great big heap.
    I have a wonderful husband who is an introvert. He has adult children he and grandchildren he barely sees (His first wife died).
    I needed to feel positive. I talked to my darling husband and finally figured out what works for me. I belong to different groups where there are activites Walking/Cycling each activity is about three hours a day most days of the week. I get my ‘dose’ of people and that really seems to ‘do’ me for the rest of the day.
    The other way I seem to cope is travelling. We travel in Australia (where we live) in a campervan (small motorhome). Husband loves to be at home and I love being out so we split the year into small chunks and each have our wishes. That works out great as well.
    So in summary what I thought I wanted was a meaningful friendship what I have is casual acquaintances. When I had what I thought was meaningful friendships I was anxious and trying to please all the time and then upset because the person would use me and then I wouldn’t hear from them again. Now I find that the casual acquaintance is what really suits me.
    Thank you for all those that shared. You have made me feel so much better.

    • Wendy says:

      Brilliant! I love your coping strategies; you have taken matters in to your own hands instead of bemoaning what isn;t and “should be!
      Leave it to a sensible Aussie….

  8. Lee says:

    I have been goin through some friendship books to resolve my feelings toward a long term friendship. I realized it was toxic and she did me a favor by fading away. It’s complicated because I am so very close to her children. I think I was stuck in the anger phase for years and didn’t realize it.it shook me to the core because I loved her so much and put great effort into making her feel secure, even when I moved an hour and half away. It blew up in my face. It scarred my sons first bday, and my first Mother’s Day will always have a bittersweet reminder. I am working on healing, but it raises questions. I do have other friends that are close but we are long distance. But I’ve had so many failed friendships over the years I can’t help but wonder what my flaw is. I do like a lot of non girly activities that I feel make it harder to find someone. I get along with men a lot easier and still have some, but being married makes them difficult to maintain. It would be nice to find one, I have made a lot of casual friends through a club but only one has gotten to the point of getting together outside of the organization. In review of all my friendships I remember being very lonely in the beginning the neighborhood girls really didn’t like me and only hung out when the others weren’t around. I was often rejected at school because I dressed differently. The few I did find always seemed to move away. I’m moving again to North Carolina with not much to lose – hoping new possibilities will develop. To read some threads help validate the what’s wrong with me syndrome.

    • Lynn says:

      I have been reading these posts for 2 months now, and commenting, and it hit me the other night. This may sound conceited, but I love myself. I am a good person-honest, funny, sane, caring, loyal, etc. The past friendships I’ve had, which I thought were deep, but I guess proven not, made me doubt myself and think something was wrong with ME!! Now I realize THEY were the ones with issues and very shallow.
      I just want all these ladies on here to know they are good people, and even if they don’t find a “best” friend, to enjoy the people that have been placed in their path, even if for a short time. Sister love is great(I am blessed with 3) and I actually consider them my friends, too. So when I review all my relationships, including my husband, 3 kids, and siblings, I feel very fortunate and realize maybe I have all I need after all.

      • Wendy says:

        I like your thinking! As I have aged, I realized how much i held myself back worrying about what others thought of me, instead of what I thought of them! Im a difficult friend, for sure because I am demanding of myself and of those I chose to spend time around. Recently a friend from another country visited me and within a few days commented out of the blue, “You are too good for this place!”. I now see nothing wrong with moving away from shallow people who are stingy, dishonest or stupid. But, you are right that we have to love and appreciate ourselves most of all and be willing to spend time with ourselves.

        • Lynn says:

          Tomorrow night I will be attending a “new neighbor” dinner in our community (we’ve lived here just over 9 months), so I’m hoping to meet some nice ladies for casual friendships…we shall see!! But if I don’t, it’s really ok, too.

          • Wendy says:

            Exactly! And at least you will get a meal out of the deal, if nothing else! I hope you come away with some social feelings og warmth, as well.

  9. Quan says:

    I have no friends and it is difficult for me to start and maintain relationships. I consider myself an introvert. I go places and am around people,yet I do not start conversations and if we do talk it goes no further than the environment we are in. It seems so easy for other people to meet new people, but not me. People do not gravitate towards me either. I am the only child so it even more difficult. I am 33 and I do not want to continue my adult life without friends. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    • Felicia says:

      Being introverted is not easy. I am your fellow introvert. First, don’t be hard on yourself at all. This is difficult for most introverts. Accept that this is not easy try to find things that are popular for when you run into others to talk about. If it’s something new and interesting that’s great! Knowing stuff is a sizeable part of conversation. Find a way to ask open ended questions about them and don’t do the why? Why? Why? Thing that’s terrible and juvenile. Be yourself and a confident self and you’ll be fine. If all else fails hire a therapist! They can sit and chat for an hour and you’ll be wiped out afterwards :-). I found a meetup group called introverted and loving it. What area are you in? Want to keep in touch and text?

      [LAST NAME DELETED BY MODERATOR. TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST POSSIBLE SPAMMERS, PLEASE DO NOT USE LAST NAMES ON THIS BLOG. THANKS!]

      • Irene says:

        Hi Felicia,

        Welcome to the blog! As tempting as it may be, this blog isn’t set up to link people for either romantic or platonic purposes.

        However, since so many people do want to form In Real Life friendships with people they “meet” here, I have set up a special Facebook group for that purpose. Here is some information about the group:

        http://www.thefriendshipblog.com/something-new-check-out-friendship-blog-connection-facebook/

        Best, Irene

        • Maya says:

          Irene,
          I noticed a Huffington Post article on the Facebook page. It’s an article that expresses a negative opinion of Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence. Since the Huffington Post is very much a liberal site, I’d rather not see it. Politics are very polarizing and I wish there were limits on what could be posted. I understand that there are various topics discussed but this may turn to drama if someone disagrees or expresses a conservative view. I’m not against discussing the topic of why people “unfriend” others for their political views but naming specific candidates isn’t productive. Just my opinion.

          • Irene says:

            Hi Maya,

            I can’t seem to find the post you are referring to on Facebook. Can you find the link on the Facebook page and sent it to me in a Facebook message?

            Thanks!
            Irene

    • Erica says:

      Thank you for your honesty, I feel the same way and just keep wondering what’s wrong. This blog has made me feel a little better!

  10. Kalisa says:

    I would love to start a group with like minded women! How do you propose we attempt it?

    • Irene says:

      Hi Kalisa,

      A number of posters have asked for a way to connect with others who are interested in online friendships. I created a Facebook group, called The Friendship Blog Connection, for that purpose. This might be a place where you can interact with a new person, begin a friendship, and then take your conversation to the next level off the page.

      Facebook calls this type of group a “closed group:” Anyone can see the group and who’s in it but only members see posts. There are currently more than 800 people in the group from all around the world.

      Here is more information: http://www.thefriendshipblog.com/something-new-check-out-friendship-blog-connection-facebook/

      • Lee says:

        It’s a good idea in theory but the facebook makes me apprehensive. It seemed fun at first to try and find people you lost touch with but now it seems like high school all over again. Who has the most friends the most interesting life. Some reach out to to just merely get you as a friend. I did do a thing with social Jane but I never got any responses but one. A lot of them seemed to be divorcees who neglected their friendships and are now trying to make good.

    • Erica says:

      I’d love to be part of a group! I’m not on FB though, actually because of this -it’s just too hard to watch others have people around them!

  11. RJ says:

    I’ve been struggling a lot lately with the feeling that I can’t seem to start and maintain close friendship. I constantly wonder what it is about me that people just don’t stick with, they like and gravitate to me, but maintaining the friendships just doesn’t seem to happen. Most would label me as an extrovert, but I didn’t move at all as a child so I don’t fall into the studies this article talks about. It’s extremely lonely sometimes.

    • Erica says:

      I agree…and it’s hard to know what it is in our personalities that makes us this way! I mean, I don’t think I’m controlling or demanding or annoying…

  12. Amy says:

    I am a little relieved that other women fell the same way I do. I do not understand the need that women have to have a certain other friend at an event or they won’t attend. I too get along better with men just because they are more polite and don’t talk through me like women do. And all the women who don’t seem to fit in, I have tried being friends with them, but you know what happens; As soon as the women in the more mainstream group start talking to them, they say goodbye. I do think this is an American women’s condition though and I don’t experience this in friendships with as many women from other parts of the world. And the suicide rate among white women they have been talking about lately– I believe this disengagement is contributing to it. I see people from other cultures get together and have big parties regularly. I don’t see this often with whites. Hmm

    • Karen says:

      Hi Amy,
      I have noticed this, too. I am 49 years old and the only friend I have lives on the other side of the country. I have lots of acquaintances–mostly at work–but I find women in my community to be quite shallow and superficial. Seems like they’re either fixated on competing to see who can acquire the most material objects: cars, clothes, jewelry, and manicures. Or, they are stay- at- home moms who can’t seem to converse about anything other than their children. I have never felt to isolated and lonely in my life. I am a college educated woman with a full time job and a child, and I can actually converse about a variety of subjects, but no one seems interested! I’ve tried church, but there, too, they look at me with dollar signs in their eyes and not much other interest. I am also a very compassionate person, I demonstrate caring toward other people in various ways, but again, no one seems to reciprocate. I have traveled to other countries, and I’ve seen how people socialize all the time with informal, warm, gatherings, etc. No so much here in the US. I don’t much care for this! Is it just me?

  13. amy says:

    I see all these women with all these close women friends and in all honesty, it looks exhausting to me. I think it looks nice but the undertones of it to me are too much. I see my sister in law dropping everything to help her friends or vice-versa… Even when it is extremely inconvenient for her. Then if something goes bad for her she expects them all to come comfort her. If they don’t then they are horrible, she hates them, etc. The other side of it that I don’t like is a group mind. They all have to do all the same things. Then they manipulate each other at times. I see them get mad at one friend or another and then completely tear them down. Couple days later they are friends again. It seems very high school to me. I don’t have super close girlfriends but I do have friends. Our priorities are our families and our jobs etc. I moved around a lot so it is nice to not have to constantly validate my friendships to maintain them. I do find I make friends with men easier. My friendships with men to me are easier to maintain and I care about them more than my female friendships. Maybe cause there is no cattiness with men. My best friend at the moment is a woman. She is like me though more laid back, work a lot. Then my other best friend is a gay guy. The only people I feel totally 100% devoted to and would drop everything for are my husband and daughter. Sometimes I do see those friendships and wonder why I can’t form them. Would be nice to be able to trust anyone enough to be able to talk to them about everything in life. If they wouldn’t use it against you ever. For me though I have lots of friendly acquaintances. I guess that is good enough…

    • Wendy says:

      Love your obserations

    • An says:

      Have you ever thought the way you perceive/treat other women is why you haven’t been maintaining female friendships? It’s easy to blame others, make sweeping generalizations of a demographic (age, sex, etc), and exclude yourself/a few people from that demographic, when you yourself don’t want to improve in relationships. I’m curious to know how the ‘maybe men cannot be catty’ statement came about, because in my experience, I had both men and women ‘reject’ me for little or no reason. Maybe you putting a man before a well-established female friendship is a cause. Maybe your internalized misogyny ‘shows’ and therefore repels other women, thus making you socially inept. Maybe your relationship with men disrupts how you maintain an improving friendship because you’re too blinded by their sex. Maybe you haven’t been giving enough to non-familial folks like you were supposed to, in order to maintain an ideal friendship.

      Yes, others can be at fault for a relationship ruin but it could also be yours. That is why I am focusing on myself so I can determine whether a friendship could be worth. Folks tend to say I have no friends because they weren’t ‘true friends’, but I’m starting to think more than that. My depression worsened to the point where I could not improve socially. I know I didn’t choose to be depressed, but that still contributed. And when you hang around the ‘wrong crowd’, you usually get the wrong results. I think people are taking the ‘let others see the true you’ over the top when there are some things about the self you need to tame. (I almost said change, but I didn’t in order to add more emphasis on both ettiquette/’neutral’ willingness to conflict-solving.)

  14. itsamystery says:

    Many of these stories could be me.
    It’s all there–the mother who kept to herself and discouraged friendships and then ridiculed when and if I seemed to have no friends; a sister who bullied; a grandmother who bullied; etc. etc.

    Leads me to think that we need a group for “Women who have no friends.” We’d get along great!
    In her bio, Tina Fey talks about being in the group of outcast girls in high school. Now she wonders, “Why didn’t we talk to each other?”

    • Sagan says:

      Stumbled on this article while wonder what is it that a woman my age 70 years old has very few if any close friends. The reason for searching this question is I recently spoke to a neighbor whose wife was stricken by GBM a brain cancer with less than 12 months to live, and all the friends who come to visit from all,over the country USA and Canada, as well as having to get a larger mail box to receive all the hundreds of cards that keep coming.

      My heart aches for this man as he cries just updating on her recent treatments. With a heavy heart I praise her because she has made so many friends and mourn her prognosis. How did she and what are her traits that would cause her to have such a broad friendship base? What does she do? I’ve only been with her twice before her sudden diagnosis and don’t really see or know what traits she has. Another neighbor became instant friends with this woman and is in tears when she tells me how she is helping this woman. Again, my heart aches for she and her husband about their future.

      It’s sad that I was unable to get to know her before her plight as she just moved in the neighborhood less than a year ago. So I ask what is it that a person does to attach so many people to her? I want to develop more friends but don’t know how. I was raised as a Cinderella in our house as oldest of dour kinds and my mom was always in a slump because she felt overburdened with us four girls. She never was kind and loving as I was to my own son, who she despised. Long story there, but would enjoy more friends, but don’t trust, as that is most likely the issue. Thanks for listening.

      • lola says:

        I think you’re right. It’s trust. And your neighbor – I also know women like that. I watch and wonder. What makes them so special that people want to spend time with them? I mostly see nothing special except that they are outgoing.
        I’ve also noticed that people generally want something from friendships and I have nothing to offer.
        I mostly turn down invitations to things and have drifted away from old friends.
        I had a good friend several years ago and she was very catty and started to make little jokes about me. When our daughters got in an argument, she dumped me and never spoke to me again. And that’s why I don’t trust…

    • Courtney says:

      Let’s make a group of women who don’t have girlfriends! I think you’re on to something!! I can totally relate to this article. I’m introverted and shy. I also moved a lot as a kid and was picked on or burned by a lot of female friends throughout my adolescence. Every single female friend I’ve ever had had burned me in some major way, which makes me wonder… Do I have trust issues with other women? Or perhaps just your typical women? I’m bery laid back and unintersted in typical “women” things like fashion, celebrities, reality tv, etc. etc. I enjoy helping people, deep conversations, and active outdoor activities. I don’t in any way think I’m better, but I’m definitely bored by your typical woman.

      • Lynn says:

        I don’t know if it’s trust issues or?? Over the years I’ve had 3 close, long term friends “unfriend” me for no apparent reason. I have tried to figure it out, bounced it off other people, and can’t come up with any legitimate reason. I even thought of going to see a counselor or therapist, but I thought why should I? I didn’t desert the relationship, they did! It makes me kind of angry right now talking about it. But all I know, is like you say, it’s happening to a LOT of women. My 2 grown daughters (25, 29) are also experiencing it. I’m 52 and right now pretty much friend-less. I am not shy any more (use to be) but no matter what I do, or say, I cannot seem to make friends! I am in a strong marriage, and fortunately I do think my husband is my best friend, but sometimes it’s nice to have some (one?) female friend to talk to, and do “girly” things with. Sheesh, life is to short!

      • Kalisa says:

        Courtney, you sound just like me. I’ve often wondered if the reason why I don’t have friends or am unable to maintain them well is simply because I get bored pretending to be interested in small talk and meaningless conversations. I love deep conversation and I prefer doing things purposefully. I’d much rather help a friend weed her garden than go to lunch with her. I’ve also found it difficult to find women who are loyal. I realize everybody has their issues but after putting in time, effort and energy to have a friend just stop talking to me, it’s difficult to justify putting in the effort again down the road. I have too many things I’m interested in to waste time on a fruitless relationship! Lol. If I am honest I don’t feel the need to make friends most of the time until I think of how lovely it would be to have a friend who is like me. It would be pretty great to meet someone who expands my mind, who likes purposeful activities and who is willing to talk through any random issue rather than drop the friendship like a bad investment. Is there such a thing? And if so why must if be so darn elusive!

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