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Ask the Friendship Doctor

Why would someone have no friends?

There are a host of reasons why some people have no friends…and it is more common than you might think.

QUESTION

Hi there,

I am so happy to have found your blog! I have a problem that has been ongoing for my entire life, pretty much. I have no friends. Well, let me restate that: I have no friends who keep in touch without me doing all the effort and even then it is spotty! I am 35 years old.

A little history, in case it is applicable to my current problem: in middle school, I had a very close best friend but she dumped me, which was really tough. Then, in high school and into college I had some best friends that I ended up dumping abruptly over the littlest thing, which I have since realized was due to trust issues that I have worked through now. So why can’t I keep friends?

I have a group of three friends whom I have known since I was about 21. They don’t call me or email me really, but if I email and rally everyone for a get together we have fun… but then nothing. And I hear from them that they have gotten together in the meantime. I don’t get it- what is wrong with me?

Around the neighborhood I chat, make meals for the new moms, etc. but then nothing. And the other moms get together without me. I have female cousins who are really great, we have fun when we are together—but they never call or ask me to get together. It always has to be me.

The fact that this is a pattern in all my female friendships troubles me and makes me think that I am doing something wrong, but I don’t know what. I am a caring person and go out of my way to ask people about their lives when I am having conversations. My therapist has said that there is nothing wrong with having to be the one to always initiate a get together, but then I see my others who have a group of close friends who get together and really support each other, and I wonder, why not me?

I am an only child and sometimes just feel very alone. Other times I feel okay with having no friends. But all in all, I wish it were different. Do you have any advice for me?

Signed,
Amanda

ANSWER

Hi Amanda,

Ouch! It sounds like you feel like you’re a pariah. It’s impossible to guess why your friendships don’t “stick” and there’s no uptake by others but the problem seems to be a pattern rather than a one-time occurrence—and something you want to change.

Can you self-identify your specific problem (s)? Here are some of the possibilities why people don’t have close reciprocal relationships with friends. I’m sure other readers will add to the list.

Temperament – Are you shy and uncomfortable around people? This can make people around you feel uncomfortable too.

Insecurity - Do you feel like you can’t measure up to the people you want as friends? Are you able to trust other people? These may be barriers that create distance between you and your friends.

Preference – Are you introverted? When push comes to shove, do you actually prefer being alone rather than spending time with friends? Do you think people know this when they’re around you? Or, are you extraordinarily social—so preoccupied with making lots of acquaintances that you lose out on making close friendships?

Psychological Issues – Do you have a history of difficulty establishing intimate relationships with others? Are you uncomfortable with people knowing the real you?

Lack of Experience – Regardless of age, some people lack the skills needed to make and maintain friendships. Do you think you have what it takes to be a good friend?

Situational Obstacles – Do you live in a geographical area where it is particularly difficult to connect with people? This might include living someplace rural where there are few people or because of a history of frequent moves, being someplace where you feel like an outsider.

Disabilities – Do you have a mental or physical disability? Unfortunately, because of stigma, people shun individuals with mental or physical disabilities. In addition, being homebound can limit the opportunity to make friends.

Personality – Is there something about you that others find grating? Are you too needy? Too pushy? Too talkative? Too controlling? Are you fiercely independent—wanting to call all the shots regarding what, when and where? Sometimes, there is something off-putting about a person’s behavior and the individual lacks awareness of the problem.

Communication Style - Do you respond to your friend’s overtures as well as initiate contact? Are you available on line or by phone, depending on your friend’s preferred mode of communication.

Time Management Problems – Do you have a hard time juggling all the responsibilities and demands placed on you? Do you consider making time for friends selfish or frivolous?

Unrealistic expectations – Have you led your friends to believe that you will always do the organizing? Do you have an unrealistic, romanticized notion of friendship? Do you expect all friendships to be perfect and last forever?

Talking to an objective third party is a good way to gain insight into something you can’t figure out about yourself. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a therapist; it could be your spouse, a sibling, or someone else you trust.

Since you are already in therapy, perhaps this list will provide a useful starting point to explore various possibilities with your therapist. I agree that something is amiss given the scenario you have described and your desire for more reciprocal friendships.

Hope this is helpful.

Warm regards,
Irene


Prior blog posts that touch upon having no friends:

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Category: HAVING NO FRIENDS

Comments (1,764)

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  1. Ducissa says:

    I am about to be 53 years old and have zero friends in my life. The “friends” I have are generally on the payroll….either the accountant, the decorator, etc. But no real friends. I try to make friends and soon they want to work for me. I have no idea what people do not like about it. I am a mother of many children and I am soon to be an empty nester and my husband is very distant. He prefers to stay at work then to come home. I have no idea what to do anymore in this day and age. I have volunteered to so much that I am burned out from giving so much of myself and knowing that volunteering is pretty much a thankless job and people only want to give you advise or complain. I tried to start a dinner club and most of the couples that came along either showed up at some very nice restaurants in shorts or counting their pennies on splitting an entrée. Nothing wrong with splitting food, but every time? I totally lost interest in it as most people just wanted to eat – not dine. I feel that every single day I have less and less in common with ladies and couples. No one really entertains anymore. I refuse to have parties anymore as NO ONE ever reciprocates. Just losing all connections with people these days. My husband seems to be happy that my days are lonely. He wants to drag me to the movies when he is home and he loves all the bang em up and shoot em up….yuck. I tell him to go alone. I feel so sorry for my youngest child at home. She will be 18 in the fall and will be gone before the fall of next year. Something has to change.

    • Ducissa says:

      This morning I took my little dog for a walk. One of our neighbors yards had been “rolled” with TP. I chatted with her for a few mins…kids, school, sports….the same things suburbia mothers talk about. I walked back home and put the dog inside and went and got a pole to help pull TP out of the trees. She looked at me and said, “You don’t have to help me.” I knew that. I said that it was okay, I didn’t mind helping. Tomorrow is Easter – love thy neighbor. She said, “Well, you are just helping me because you don’t want all this paper to blow into your yard.” Gosh, what a snot! I simply and kindly said, “No, many hands make for light work. You have lots of papers to grade (she is a school teacher) and helping you will make it go faster.” She hardly spoke after that. My husband came out to look for me and he went back to get another rake. He came back and she was all chatty cathy with him. What is it?

  2. Ducissa says:

    I haven’t a friend in the world either. I am 53 and a mother of many. Almost all my children are gone either by marriage or are activity engaged in their education. The phone never rings. If I want to talk to my children I must call them and hope they answer. My eldest does not speak to me whatsoever since he secretly married this illegal woman and she has successfully separated him from all his friends and family. My husband is distant at best and prefers to be at work. Most of my “friends” are employed by me. I have become friends with the decorator, but she is super busy with all her clients. It feels like scraps. I invite people over all the time for coffee or wine or lunch. They forget. They don’t show. I feel truly alone all day long. I have trust issues as well. In recent years, any friendships I had were one directional. I do everything for them and I get scraps. I stopped doing that in 2011 and now I am totally friendless. I don’t enjoy shopping – boring. Eating all the time at restaurants makes you fat. Going to the gym is so uppity. I go to the office one to two days a week and close the door. I just want to get my work done and leave. Chatting with our employees makes my husband angry. I am considering a vacation alone for the first time. I hope I enjoy myself or will I just not get out of bed. Anyway, just dropped by to know I am not alone.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Ducissa, i am a 55 year old married woman from the UK – although i might as well not be married for all the attention and care i get from my so called husband!! He too prefers to stay at work, and when he is home, he hits the whisky bottle and settles on the settee for a night watching TV. He is not abusive in any way – physically, mentally or sexually – it is more that we live as housemates, and i can,t remember the last time anyone gave me a hug. If it wasn,t for my best friend and constant companion, Mika my little dog, i truly would be alone. I lost a dear friend to breast cancer some years ago, and since then i walk my dog alone, go for coffee on my own and sit or work in the garden alone. I am shy and a very quiet person, hate shopping and going to bars and clubs, so opportunities to make new friends seem few and far between. I wonder now if a penfriendship might be the way to go? Daily emails to chat about our day and how we are feeling, and written letters that are more personal and a way to share Birthdays, Christmas and other special times – cards and little gifts etc., i wonder if you, or anyone else reading this might be interested in trying to start up a friendship like this? I like to walk in the sun – by the sea or in the countryside – love being in my garden, like to read, and i enjoy repairing and decorating dollhouses. I don,t drink or smoke, don,t like shopping and have no interest in clothes/fashion, and having a lot of money and status is of no interest to me. I suppose a lot of people might think me boring? I,m not – i just like the simple and honest things in life, and i would love to share them with a close and caring friend. I can offer loyalty and a broad shoulder to cry on, and i am a good listener. I am genuine and caring, and i know there must be someone “out there” who feels exactly the same. I am genuinely reaching out to that person – please get in touch. Love Catherine.

  3. Denny says:

    Hi

    I have exactly the same issues but have done quite a bit of self-reflection over the past 10 yrs and I am 10 yrs older than Amanda, so had a bit of extra time to do this self-reflecting. I have discovered that I have serious issues, probably attributed to childhood. My mother passed away when I was 4 due to side effects from the contraceptive pill and I felt totally abandoned by her. My father was not close to me prior to her death, as it was a troubled marriage. He stated in my adulthood that ‘I never went near him until she died and then I had to come to him as I had no-one else.’

    Growing up I was sporty and seemed to make friends, but I would only seem to let 1 girl become my best friend which seemed a pattern until I hit about 20. In my elementary schooling I lost my best friend and twice this happened, due to them moving on to private schooling whilst I had to remain in the public system due to the financial costs. I did have 1 older brother but no sisters. My father and brother would always talk about sport and struck up a type of mateship as I was growing up and he really had no idea how to treat a girl at all, so I don’t think I was ever understood or cared for, apart from the basic human needs of food, shelter, clothing etc as I don’t feel he was capable due to his own upbringing issues.
    Every school holiday we had to stay at our grandparents. He was a sick old man and very grumpy and cold. She was a lovely and caring person but he ruled the roost and she obeyed. When I was 11 he placed his hands down my top whilst he leaned over me and asked about the novel I was reading. He looked to the right first to ensure my grandmother was not watching. I was devastated and felt alone and no-one to be able to tell this to. I think this really screwed my trust in those around me. I knew I never liked him – he chastised my brother and I. He was cold, mean and nasty, but this was the ultimate betrayal in my eyes.

    From that day on I would never allow myself to be in the predicament of being possibly alone with him or him having access to me. I never went up to my grandparents on school holidays again without my father’s presence and would stay at home alone instead, until my father came home from work. I never did tell my father until my grandfather passed when I was 14 and my father just said ‘the old bugger’ but it was never ever mentioned again.

    We were latch key kids and when I was 11 my brother brought a 13yo boy to our home before school and when I asked what are you doing here he informed me that my brother said that ‘I would be up for it’ or something to that nature and he made a lunge at me. I raced out the doors and went quickly to school. I failed to trust my brother too and realise he would not protect me like a brother should.

    I think that I have a lack of trust in people, so I am too scared to let people close, due to a fear of being hurt or abandoned. I hold a good job and have 2 degrees, am married with 2 pre-teen boys but have no close female friends. Approx 5 yrs ago I realised my father was starting to show his father’s traits – making chastising comments at my sons such as ‘you are good for nothing’ as they asked him to watch them dive into the pool and ‘lucky I don’t see you often as I can’t tolerate them’ etc.

    I turned my back and ran, as the reminiscing of his father’s words and my dysfunctional childhood rang alarm bells at me. My brother took his side and I let them both go. My father did the ultimate humiliation as to plan and run the grandmother’s funeral 4.5 yrs ago and never bother to tell me when it was happening, so I could not attend. I called him to ask about it to be told ‘you could have looked it up in the paper’ and I stated ‘Well, I know exactly where I stand’.

    My father’s partner is my brother’s wife’s Great Aunty and she has been with my father for 6 yrs and lives in his house. I am the square peg that doesn’t fit the hole and it was best to let go of all of it. I do send cards to him every birthday and father’s day out of respect and as a reminder that I exist. It goes unnoticed but I expect nothing, so that is fine and I will continue to do so.

    Well as you could imagine, I am embarrassed that I have no family and due to my abandonment childhood issues and also my lack of trust in people due to fear they will hurt me or let me down, I have a big wall up so haven’t let any females close to me. I work with plenty but have never lived with a female in my life so this probably hasn’t helped.

    I have a supportive husband and I have just joined a womens group to meet new friends. I believe that is what you girls should do. Meet new people and see how it goes. The time is right for me now and my children are older and I am ready. I just hope they don’t ask me about family as I am really embarrassed to be like an ‘orphan’ and about having a dysfunctional background. I do know that I did get lucky – school was a place I could trust and I did value good marks and a good education. I can tailor my responses until I develop trust down the track with these new ladies I meet. I will let you know how I get on and hope you can do the same. Do your self-reflecting too and you may unravel something that has happened in your early lives. Time for a fresh new start!!

    I hope I haven’t bored you all and thanks for the chance to vent. I have never put this to paper before and only my husband knows it all. This has helped me clear my new path and hope it helps you all in some way too.

    Regards

    Denny

  4. Naija says:

    Wow, this completely describe myself and it feels as i went down the list of things to address there has been nothing but a negative response towards everything. I am 20 in college and literally have NO friends. At ALL! I’m more cautious as since elementary all my relationships have been bitter. My best friend in elementary decided i wasn’t cool enough and started hanging with a different crowd and after a year she started to become a friend again when it didn’t work. I made another friend at the end of elementary but we went to completely different middle schools. Middle school same thing. One good best friend i made during the first year and she abandoned me as quick as she got ranks with the cool kids. This break in friendship has hurt for the longest and took finally until 2012 to get over. It was more so because she was my only friend when i first started in middle school and i felt like an alien in my middle school at the time and plus afterwards she ignored me. IGNORED me as if we were never ever friends or she barely even knew me. That is what hurt the most is that she pretended as if we were never ever freaking friends. Then in high school once again met one girl, became my best friend but expanded around a group of three or four other girls and over the four years of high school with these girls were fun but filled with so much back stabbing, betrayal, lies, and just so much nonsense that it was ridiculous. to make it worse two of the girls from the group from high school expanded over into college during my first year and we clicked since we were all three lonely since we couldn’t make friends as well. But then we had a very, very, very stupid argument and stopped talking. I’m usually the one that fixes fights and arguments because im afraid of it becoming to the point of no return (as i didn’t talk to a close relative for over a year because of a stupid argument) so im quick to always reach out and always practically beg for forgiveness when it wasn’t my fault. But with these two…..i couldn’t do it anymore. something snapped in me and i was just tired of all the nonsense. always with these two and with all my relationships i try and try to forge the bridge to bring back the friendship and the other parties don’t try so i gave up and put my foot down and let the friendship go. i did in one try, try for the relationship to get back together due to one of our old friends from high school visiting us and sure i did try but it was clear that the relationship was at the point of finally letting go. it was toxic holding on to people who weren’t interested in trying so i have let go and moved on both figuratively (as i kept to myself) and literally as i transferred to another college to another city completely but here im completely and utterly alone. like alone. no friends. nothing except for myself and there are days where the loneliness is unbearable but then are days im happy and able to be happy being myself and doing my own thing……but i still see others in groups, cliques, and having fun, wishing i had that with at least one other person but it seems impossible in ever happening. im not a bad person. i remember someone telling me when i was in high school that ppl said things about me such i was arrogant, or she thinks she is all that, she is mean, full of herself, and etcc….but when she actually talked to me she said i was just a very nice,sweet, polite, and open person. Which is true. I’m extremely shy and reserve and i usually keep to myself but im a really nice person and i am polite to a very ridiculous fault (due to my upbringing) so i guess that is what gets people most time that im not how i portray or how others say about me. i have tried to strike up conversation, i try to be as friendly as i can be when we have to talk to classmates, and i tried to be as much as myself as i can be…..but still nothing….im just in a dilemma as im extremely lonely and sometimes just don’t want to get up in the morning but do so because its life and we still have to truck along and make the best of what i got.

  5. Tina says:

    I know what you all are going through. I’m telling you, it’s just jealousy. You’re probably all just pretty and smart and the people you’re attempting to be friends with can’t stand it.

    We should all just be friends together.

    ;)

    • Jen says:

      I like you, Tina! It’s nice to look on the bright side. :) Everyone is looking at me like I’m some kind of freak lately.

    • Raven looks Symone says:

      I can identify to that as well. Add me to the friendship list. I don’t have time to type long stories (I really do but don’t feel like it) lol but eager to make new friends.

  6. Lyds says:

    I’m not sure if Amanda will read this – since she posted in 2011… but every SINGLE THING that you wrote in your post describes my issues with a lack of friendships. I cant even believe I’ve found someone else in the world who is my age and has the same exact life long issue of not being able to keep friendships. No matter what I do or no matter what activity clubs or sports teams I join, I hardly ever ever ever make and maintain friendships. I also think to myself, what is wrong with me? There are so many other people who are not really nice people out there who have lots of friends and groups of close friends in their lives.. and i think to myself, why dont I attract good, supportive and loving friendships? I dont understand why I cant seem to attract long lasting female friendships when I see this happening to other people all the time all around me. its very very disheartening for me self esteem and i’m almost ready to seriously give up on trying so hard to make and keep friends. Its so tiring and I have to make huge efforts to messsage, call, hang out and etc etc to even maintain average level friendships. Ive experimented many times over a weekend or i’ll travel somewhere – and I’ll see if anyone calls or messaged me to find out where I am or why I’ve been missing for several days. Most of the time, nobody messages me – sometimes for weeks! so basically if I left the country i’m living in, nobody would really notice I was gone. That feels really really bad for me. I really have no idea how to improve on this situation.

    • Brown says:

      Lyds,
      It is like you are writing about me! We are the same age with the same background. I am at the point where I’ve stopped actively searching for relationship. Moving to a new state after a divorce with a young child I felt it was essential to build a “support network” of women. I joined the groups and organizations and made a conscious effort to BE the supportive friend that I would like to have.

      It has been physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting to (with each new person) hope for a change to this life long struggle just to see it end the same as always.

      I’m starting to think this is just how my life will be so I should stop wasting the energy on hoping for change and just get used to it. I feel unimportant…unloved…invisible…heartbroken. A really scary thought that I often have is what will happen to my son if something happens to me. I’ve noticed over the years it gets harder and harder to pick myself up when I fall/fail. What happens when the day comes that I can’t do it anymore?

      I’m scared!

  7. Jan says:

    I wonder if my inability to make and keep close friends is related to my non-relationship with my mother. I grew up in a house with a mother who battled depression all her life. I can’t remember – ever having a meaningful conversation with her (it was always her angry at me), or getting a hug from her or ever feeling unconditional love. My other siblings were treated the same way. I didn’t see it as abnormal until I got older and saw what other mother/child relationships looked like. However, I am not bitter against my mother because I know that depression is a terrible illness and that she could not help her being in that dark place (she did try to get help but was difficult at that time). I am very concerned though, about the effects that it has had on me and my siblings. Some of us suffer from low self-esteem and addictions. I do not have an addiction thank God. Though I put on a brave persona, I do have a very low self-esteem and lack confidence. I often think, “if my own mother didn’t like me – who else possibly could?” So I think people I meet pick up on that very quickly and just get turned off by it. The way I speak and what I speak about may show my inability to converse positively or effectively. I am 55 years of age have never had children (though I tried through IVF and failed – my husband passed away soon after from cancer)and I have worked in a good job for many years. You would think that at my age I would have got past all this. This is not so. I do keep myself busy. I love my animals, garden and the outdoor lifestyle (I live on a property). Sadly, the one thing lacking in my life is the relationship of good friends dropping over for a visit. I have tried joining clubs, theatre groups, church, all of which made me feel slightly worse because then, I also experienced a sense of rejection – as I still hadn’t develop friendships. Maybe I am just expecting too much – I simply don’t know. I think I lacked developing important relationship skills when I was a child and think it is too late too learn them at my age? I have learnt to accept it the best I can. Has anyone got words of wisdom for me?

    • joleen says:

      Hi jan,
      I can relate to your post because my mother also had depression so severe she was institutionalized at times. my dad was an alcoholic and had a pain pill addiction so a lot of times us kids were put in foster homes for 12 ~ 15 months at a time starting from age 1 ~ 17. That alone I blame for not having a lot of friends being moved around the state so much uprooted from friends, stability, different schools so many times. Even though I accept it and choice to forgive them it has left it’s mark. I have 11 siblings so we grew up more like friends as rarely were more than 2 of us put in the same home together. It was phone calls and letters maybe a home visit 3, 4 times a year, so my siblings became my friends and I there’s it was just to embarassing to explain the home situation to any one when we didn’t understand it ourselves until our teens. Back in those days, 60′s and 70′s a lot of this stuff wasn’t even talked about even among family members. It wasn’t until the late 70′s and early 80′s that I realized it wasn’t normal to grow up that way and there was a name for this “dysfunctional family” or children of an alcoholic” It was a double whammy. dad was pretty easy to talk to and affectionate when he was sober and even sought help for himself but mom really wasn’t she tried but stressed out so easily that we just didn’t bring problems to her or talk about things in fear of upsetting. I’ve always kept her at arms length even to this day (dad has since passed on 30 yrs ago) she still struggles with depression so that really hasn’t changed much. my older sister who I considered my rock, mother, friend, confident, mentor passed away over a year ago and I didn’t realize how hard it would be with out her she was my everything and I was there for her 100% also. Unfortunately she was an alcoholic, along with another sis and a brother I keep saying “but by the grace of god go I” for not having that problem. although I understand why people do start drinking it’s not something I’ve had to deal with. Then I too woke up one day and realized I don’t really have any friends who are not related and I wish I did. But growing up in a chaotic/distrustful enviroment we all have low self esteem and I’ve dealt with some clincical depression and anxiety. Plus I married along with 2 of my sisters abusive men who didn’t want us to have friends that didn’t go to our church or that he approved of. another big eye opener and lesson in experience. for years I didn’t care I was at the point of just wanting peace and quiet and not getting in with people who created so much drama. But now that I understand all this and the toil it’s taken on us and all relationships I realize I do want a good friend/friends I really miss that comraderie but at 57 it seems a little late (I always was a late bloomer) lol… I heard people call me snobby or stuck up it wasn’t that at all I was extremely shy and afraid of getting hurt or used. I had 3 kids all grown up now and 4 grand kids and raised the 1st one but she’s getting very independent now and has friends of her own so I notice the loneliness more. I like you have joined clubs, church groups, even work but it’s never more than acquaintances… I don’t know what else to try that’s why I looked up a group like this, I thought I was all alone but it seems not shockingly. I joined a support group
      for pain management and I had a wonderful pen pal friend for 4 years and then one day received a letter saying she couldn’t write any more due to an illness and I never heard any thing back so I quit writing I’m not one to force myself on others either..,I don’t know if she’s even alive but I’d a like to know one way or the other if I could help….
      sincerely joleen

      • Jan says:

        Dear Joleen,
        Thank you for your kind reply.
        Sorry it has taken me so long to respond but we have just had a major weather event in my area and we have just got back on board.
        Thank you for sharing your experiences with me. You have been through some very challenging experiences starting from those dating back to your childhood with your mother.
        My elderly mother is still alive and very fit physically, but she hasn’t changed for the better with the depression, which I think, has got worse with age. I still hope for a miracle but I don’t think it will happen as my mother is in too much denial and won’t help herself. I have found that it is me who has had to change. First with my own thought processes, my expectations of her, and how to manage my own disappointments and accepting things for what they are. I thank God I have a wonderful father who was the stable one and always there for me and my siblings. I grew up on a farm and my father was a very hard worker. He went through hell and back with my mother who eventually left him because the grass was greener on the other side of the fence. It wasn’t, and my poor mother has never found real happiness. She is so unhappy. I pray for her. However, I am a reasonably happy person regardless of my experiences with my Mother – though I still wonder what it would have been like to have a mother to share normal things with. Maybe it would have been easier for me to make friends. I think because of hurt and lack of trust it just takes longer for me to develop relationships. But a lot of people don’t have the patience to give that sort of time.
        It is so sad that you lost your pen-friend of four years to an illness. That happens as sometimes sickness can come on people very quickly. A lady I know was diagnosed with a serious illness and was dead 2 months later and she appeared to be very healthy.
        What sort of hobbies do you have? Are you an active person?
        I like gardening, walking, animals (wild ones are my favorites), horses, sewing and many other things. I have always kept myself active – that has kept me sane I think.
        When I was younger I had a relationship with an abusive man – it was a terrible experience. I high tailed out of that one quick smart. I was very lucky to have escaped unscathed. I eventually met a lovely man, who I married and who was the love of my life. I eventually lost him to cancer a few years after he had a terrible motor vehicle accident. For a long time I was on my own and I couldn’t even consider a relationship with another. Anyway time is the best healer and I have met another gentleman who is also a lovely man. I am happy in that regard but don’t have any meaningful female friendships where I can just have a heart to heart. I think people are so wrapped up in their own worlds these days that they don’t have the time of day for making new friendships. They are happy with a ‘hello’ ‘goodbye’ or ‘Isn’t it a lovely day’ type friendship that doesn’t require time. What do you think.
        Take care Joleen and I hope that we can be friends.
        Cheers
        Jan

    • Jan, The good will you showed your Mother is more important because you describe your resilience as the most meaningful gift that you can offer the world. The crux of despondency is a biological issue and sometimes a climate issue. The brain needs omega 3 & DHA so the neurons stay fine-tuned. Anti-oxidant formulas help also. Choline bitartrate and inositol feed the brain also. If your mother had liver probblems, crohns disease, colitis, candidiasis-induced inflammation of the gastro-intestinal tract or arthritis; any of these could have led to her excessive despair. Just love life like it is a new rebirth every second. [email protected] Larry

    • Susan says:

      Dear Jan & Joleen,
      I thought I would respond to both of you at the same time. My situation and past is similar to both of yours. I’m 50 and never married or had children. I assumed it would happen. I felt left out watching my friends marry and starting a family. I am an only child and didn’t experience strong family ties and all of the other positives of family. My Mom (now gone) was an alcoholic and we never had the ‘Mother-Daughter’ bond. Thankfully my Dad (now gone) was there for me. He was awesome. I chose to move out of state a few years back, and I do not regret it and feel it was one of the best decisions I made. However, I left my *true* friends behind. This was before Facebook. I had lost touch with them over the years because life got in the way and they were still raising their family. Thanks to Facebook I have reunited with them. Their family dynamics have naturally changed over the last few years with their kids grown and on their own. I have taken two trips to my hometown over the last couple years and so enjoyed seeing them again. I miss them like crazy. I haven’t had luck forming meaningful friendships where I’m at. Because I am not a conformist and have learned to enjoy my own company, I feel somewhat of a misfit. I’m currently going through a very difficult time. The saying, “When it rains it pours” is so true. I’m trying to stay strong and accept that *time* is needed and takes care of things. I’m currently unemployed and so far have not had luck in finding a job. I’m scared.

      My heart goes out to both of you. Realizing others have a story to tell and are struggling as well puts things more into perspective. I am open to keeping a conversation with you both. You are not alone.

      ~Susan~

      • Jan says:

        Hi Susan,
        Thanks for your kind message. It would be good to stay in touch. I think like minded people who have had similar experiences have greater understanding and empathy towards each other. I think there are a lot of lonely people out there with similar stories to ours but just don’t know how to reach out. I think this website is absolutely wonderful. I have only recently discovered it and I am glad I did. Like you I moved away from my hometown but so did all my friends as it was a small community. We all went out various ways and lost touch. I have moved several times over the past 20 years due to my job. But have been settled for the past few years in the same place. I get on well with my work colleagues but outside of work I am very much a loner. My neighbors are all wonderful people – but they all lead busy lives and don’t make much time for visiting.
        My family has been affected by our childhood experience. We are kind people, but my siblings unfortunately have suffered addictions – alcohol, gambling etc. I thank God I went to church and got my solace from that. Even though I went to church, I still didn’t make any close friends. It was like no-one could be bothered to make the time to get to know me. I suppose it is because I am quiet and not very opinionated when I am in a group situation.
        Do you think that you will ever move back to your hometown? Do you think you may have more job opportunities if you move back or move someplace else? What sort of work do you normally do?
        I am lucky to live in an area where there is always work even if it is just farm laboring. I grew up on a farm so if I ever become redundant from my job that is what I will do. I really enjoy being outdoors. Look forward to your next message.
        Kind regards
        Jan

      • joleen says:

        Hi jan !
        Weather events are no fun thank goodness I live where we don’t have many except the usual rain and thunderstorms occasionally it floods. It seems there are a lot more mud slides lately but that’s likely due to area’s being over logged or people building on hillsides. I’m just 50 miles from the latest Oso mudslide in snohomish county that’s been on the news for the past month it’s so sad that many people lost there homes and half their families.
        Excuse me or my keyboard rather it’s not wanting to capitalize letters I will have to buy a new one since nothing I’ve tried has fixed it.
        Hobbies yes, thank God for hobbies it’s probably what’s saved my sanity and kept me out of trouble! I love sewing just about anything clothes, quilts, wall hangings, right now I’m working on purse’s,hand bags and cloth grocery bags to sale at the consignment shop. I write poetry, garden even though I’m in an apt many things grow well in containers and a 4 foot by 12 foot patch of soil~ herbs, tomato’s, strawberries, onions, spinach and snap peas, green beans, pumpkins ans squash. Then there are all sorts of flowers I like to grow and use in dried flower arrangements strawflowers and statice, then my favorites viola’s, cosmos, trailing nasturtiums,geraniums, petunia’s and marigolds, sunflowers, peony a pink and a red bush, 2 rose plants a yellow and pink climbing one, assorted bulbs tulips, daffodils, iris, gladiola’s never met a flower I didn’t like although some of the smells aren’t so nice they do help deter bugs and slugs!
        I’m lucky to live in a farming community and a fruit stand just up the road. When my oldest grand/daughter is here we enjoy trying new recipes and baking and I still do some home canning and freezing. I enjoy babysitting my youngest grands to twice a month we enjoy doing crafts, painting, board games, go to the park and walk even in the rain they love being outside and so do
        I. We have a swimming pool that’s open from may ~ sept and that is really nice teaching them to swim and water play . my younger sis I think she’s 52 now also enjoy riding our bikes or going to the beach or river to walk/talk, we go to craft shows and other community events.
        just recently my baby sister she’s 42 contacted me/us siblings via face mail messaging.. she wants to start meeting for dinner twice a month I thought that was sweet so far we went out once and it was a success ~ she was afraid we were all growing apart ironic to because I felt the same and was going to start a sunday soup meal or tuesday taco night we plan to do those to when our budgets are tight. Otherwise I only see her maybe twice a year at our chritmas and 4th of july party… I think too since my fav sis passed away almost 2 years ago, and she lost her 4yo grandson last summer, he got a hold of his mom’s bf gun that was stored in a high cupboard and shot himself in the head ~ just gut wrenching and so sad But the bf is in prison now he got 15yrs because he wasn’t even suppose to have a gun, he had a prior conviction and was on parole. and we’re all feeling a little lost and unsettled working through all this grief… another thing/issue was my mom had a heart attack feb 12
        and
        stayed in a nursing home for 1 1/2 months, the drs found out she is a diabetic and has high blood pressure also, nothing new I and 2 other sibs suspected she did and had begged her to go to a dr for the last 10 yrs but she wouldn’t, come to find out she had not been to one for over 20 years. If that weren’t enough she has a huge hernia growing out her lower stomach it’s like an elephant truck literally, it moves and is so grotesque, she said she thought it was cancer and was afraid to go in, Hello ??? If it were it would of killed her by now living that long watching it grow, we noticed something bulging from her dress but we thought it was her lose sagging skin, no it’s her intestines hanging out but now the dr wants her to wait 2 months before doing surgery on it to recover from the heart attack, it’s very high risk now the dr said he’s not even sure she’d make it off the OR table. I don’t know now what to think or how to feel except I’m mad at her for doing this to herself and putting everyone through this. To much drama now, I was there every every day for the first 2 weeks she came home, fixing dinner, getting groceries, teaching her how two give herself insulin shots, cleaning house, all the while she complained, talked maliciously and bad mouthed everyone of us whom were trying to help her, not wanting to do her exercises, just being difficult etc. one day I just lost it and said to her “you are the one who did this to yourself, you are the only one who can fix it, no one can do it for you” make up your mind do you want to live or die? I will no longer be here to watch you tear down the people I love who have bent over backwards to try and please you, nor watch you commit a slow painful suicide” all my life it’s been about you “poor helpless mama” Grow up and take responsibility for your self”. That’s bad isn’t it? I don’t know how or where I found the strength to talk back to her but it needed to be said it was triggering a lot of past issues I thought I was over, plus seeing her weakness and letting my dopehead brother who lives out in the garage walk all over her, just like dad … and he threatened me with a baseball bat, and my sis with his fist, you’d think he’d be thankful that as long as mom had help and could stay at her house he would have a place to live..It was to much so my sis and I called the chore people from dshs to send help out and a visiting nurse and explained it could be dangerous with the irrational pot head living there. I haven’t been back in fact my sis and I went to the cop station and filed a complaint apparently he has quit a file there, they really wanted us to press charges for interfering with an elderly women’s care, being intimidating, threatening, and bullying, … If he helped out I wouldn’t mind him being there but he doesn’t in fact mom had fallen twice and they choose to hide it, lying to us about why her arm was hurting and she had bruises on her knees, bad ugly huge & purple. If that’s the life she wants to live it’s her choice but I can’t deal with him after he got angry and called me vile ugly names just because I asked him why the micro wave was not working trying to warm mom’s dinner. mom keeps defending him “oh he has problems”, he’s not right in the mind” duh~ and I told her she’s not in a position to help him when she can’t help herself ~it’s drug addiction just like dad~ everyone sees it but her~ and I’m not a cold hearted person and I understand a mothers love but this is codependency. Even the dr wanted her to stay in the nursing home another month but she wouldn’t… I just have to take care of myself I was really rattled. and my sis who’s 52 started drinking again and called me one evening all upset with what mom said to her, we never thought we’d ever be dealing with this craziness or crazy making again!

        It’ll all work out and this too shall pass my favorite quotes but it’s hard in the mean time..loving and praying from a safe distance.
        Normally I am a optimistic person, trying to stay upbeat and cheerful looking for the good in everything, being thankful but some situations really test a person.
        Yes times and people seem to go so fast and they are so busy as you say wrapped up in there world’s. maybe we’ve had so much happen to us that we learned what’s truly important in life. If nothing else I learned how not to treat your kids thankfully mine turned out great so I must of did something right ! lol
        You sound like a very wise and intelligent woman we seem to have a lot in common I hope we do become friends maybe even kindred spirits…
        Happy Easter !
        joleen

      • joleen says:

        come to think of it my mom didn’t have many friends either I do remember one lady but I don’t remember mom ever going to her house for coffee. They had known each other for over 70 years and their families both moved out here from North carolina around the same time and knew each other from childhood. she came by our house to visit when her husband would come by to pick up wood or have dad do a job for him. We always seemed to run into her also at the grocery or dept store we all talked to her way up into our adult life and my brothers were friends with her sons.
        I’m more open now and can chat up a storm and listen too, I know how to be a friend! “treat people the way you’d like to be treated” most of them drank and just wanted to go to bars and I didn’t drink I tried to but it just wasn’t for me. Then when there kids grew up they were free to travel and do the things they wanted to. when I was 41 my daughter died giving birth to my first grandchild, I chose to raise her and stay settled down giving her a good shot at life with stability and love, laughter I don’t regret that for a moment she has brought so much love and goodness into my life. my life just seemed to always involve children raising nieces and nephews, I always felt that was my calling being a child advocate making a difference in there lives.

    • Jen says:

      Jan, our relationships with our parents set a pattern for all our future relationships. Be aware of that, but also try to meet some nice people. That’s what I do, but I’m still working on my relationship skills too.

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