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A teen worries she’s a burden to friends

Published: August 3, 2013 | Last Updated: August 3, 2013 By | 9 Replies Continue Reading
When a young person feels like a burden to friends, it can be one sign of depression.


Hi Irene,

I’ve been going to the same school for the last five years. I’m 16 and I’ve had the same group of friends since the first year but the last couple of years I feel like I’m a burden to friends and they no longer want me around.

Like it’s summer and I haven’t heard from any of them for about a month. I also find it hard to make conversation with them anymore. I’ve tried moving on and making friends with other people but I can feel they don’t like me and I’m afraid I’m just annoying them.

There are five of us in my group of friends in school and each of them has a best friend but I don’t. So I kind of feel like a third wheel kind of thing and that they only invite me places cause they feel some type of pity on me. Sometimes, when we go to town, they go to each other’s houses and I’m left to get ready on my own—but when we’re out they act like we’re best friends.

I’ve recently had a fight with one of my lad friends who is also part of our group and I think when I go back to school they’ll all be friends and I’ll be left on my own.

I’ve thought about suicide and kind of set a deadline. If I don’t make friends by then, I’ll go through with it. I think if I worry about having no friends and have constant anxiety attacks about going to school, this will distract me from doing my best in the Leaving Certificate (a qualification exam after secondary school). Can you please help me make people like me…at least until the Leaving Certificate is over?

Signed, Amy


Hi Amy,

You sound depressed and down on yourself. If you are thinking about suicide, you need to reach out to an adult you trust, either a parent or teacher, as soon as possible, and let them know how you are feeling so they can get you professional help.

If your friends didn’t like you, it’s unlikely they would remain friends out of pity. However, it may be that your friends simply don’t know how to respond to your moods. Once your depression is treated, your friendship problems may very well resolve and you may see your friends in a different light.

Depression is an illness and it’s not something you can likely handle on your own. Fortunately, you have time before school begins again to get professional help so you can feel better and more confident about yourself, your friendships, and your studies.

Please don’t give up. If you feel so despondent that you are thinking about giving up and have no adult to speak to, contact a suicide hotline immediately.

  • A free 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) is available to people in crisis (or their loved ones) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Calls are routed to local crisis centers.
  • In the UK or Ireland, Samaritans offers confidential support at 08457 90 90 90.

Hope this helps. Please report back here and let everyone know that you have taken some steps to get help and support.

Warm regards, Irene

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Category: Teen friendships

Comments (9)

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  1. amy says:

    Hey again, tonight I was supposed to meet friends at a pub, there was a double 18th on but none of them text me to see if I was going so I decided not to go as they mustnt want me to, is this right or do you think I should have text them to see? I never let them no I wasn’t going but they havnt text me about it, what does this mean? Also my sisters call me weird cause I “never” go out I always get ready to go out but then when it comes to it I change my mind, what’s wrong with me??x

    • Val says:

      Amy, I think you are scared of being rejected if you do go out and socialize. You must realize that you are fulfilling your own prophecy. By not participating in life and maintaining the connection with people, you will feel like you have fewer things in common as time goes on. Your friends might actually start to believe that you dislike hanging out with them and may even stop inviting you because it would be a waste of time if you never attend. You can always apologize if you bail out at the last minute and don’t show up just to be courteous, but this will only work a few times before they start thinking you are a habitual canceler. Next time you’re invited, COMMIT to going out and don’t take so long to get ready to go out. Sometimes, taking an energy drink or a cup of coffee helps you feel more motivated to go once you’re ready. Imagine laughing and having an adventurous night before you go out. Think of all the fun stories you might have to tell later on. If you ever planned on not going but then changed your mind and wanted to go out, then definitely text your friends and let them know that you’re still up for hanging out if their plans are still set. It’s good to at least let them know you’re interested even if it doesn’t work out that night. Don’t always wait to be invited but initiate the inviting yourself sometimes and make some fun plans.

  2. Amy says:

    hey, I’m the girl that asked for help! Thanks for your help and comments i’ll take them into consideration. I didn’t realise anyone would care so thanks. I dont want to worry my family as my sister tried to commit suicide last year but i will ring samaritans. thank you 🙂 x

    • Irene says:

      Hi Amy,

      Thanks for coming back here. I’m sure more people care about you than you can imagine.

      I’m so glad you will ring Samaritans. Sharing your burdens with your family still may be a good idea, too!

      Best, Irene

    • Sparky says:

      Dear Amy, I am really greatful to hear you have sought help from Samaritans.
      While none of us ever really know what is going on sometimes, we can only do our best to relate.
      My sister also attempted suicide back in 86 right after my other sister was killed in an auto accident. I worked in Medicine for 20 yrs and I got the call from the Trauma center. A suicide was the worst thing I have ever been through and at your age it is even worse to experience. I was lucky my sister made it through by about 10 min and recovered but not without brain damage.
      Had I been 16, I am not sure what I would have done. I do know that I had a sister who was 16 at that time and she was so devasted they still have no contact. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness… I am so glad to hear you called. God Bless and good luck to you ! 🙂


    • Valeria says:

      Hi Amy,

      Please believe me when I tell you that this tough time in your life will pass. It seems so tough when you are at that age. I remember when I was at that age, and I didn’t feel like I fit in with anyone at my school. I just felt like I didn’t have a purpose, but I am glad I stuck around. Once you get into college or even after college and start working and get your own apartment, you WILL experience happiness and freedom. There are a wider variety of people in college, so I am sure you will meet someone with similar interests. At my high school, I was the only Asian person and felt out of place. In college, there were TONS of other Asian people. You have to get out there and try to make new friends. Most likely, the other person is just as shy as you! I made one friend who seemed to so outgoing and friendly, but she actually was very shy when it came to meeting people.

      One way to start a conversation to make friends is to compliment someone. Maybe you like their hairstyle or the shoes they are wearing. My favorite line to use is, “I love your shoes/handbag/dress/earrings, where did you get that?”

      Another way to make friends more easily is to have a party. You can ask your parents if you can have a backyard barbecue.

      Joining a community sports team is also a good way to make a lot of friends fast. They might be other people from other schools.

      The less needy you appear to people, the more they feel comfortable being friends with you. Hang out with your family or learn a new hobby if you’re bored. You have to stay interesting to have people interested in you. You can talk about a swimming competition you were in or the time you caught a big fish.

      Lastly, it is very important that you bring your concerns up to your parents. Let them know about the depressive thoughts you are having. Sometimes, it’s an improper diet, chemical imbalance in the body, or just environmental factors that cause you to think that way. Be sure to eat healthy, take vitamins daily, keep your room at a comfortable temperature, and turn on a lot of lights and listen to upbeat music whenever you get depressed. The lights will help keep your mind from shutting down. Regular exercise is also great for getting you out of these sad moods. When you don’t keep busy, your mind tends to wander.

      I hope this helps. Just trust me and hang in there. Things DO get better with time. Come back and post again any time you feel lonely. Your friend, Valeria 🙂

    • Amy--not the Amy who wrote the letter says:

      Great to hear from you. I’ve been thinking about you. Asking for help is a true sign of strength. I’ll bet your parents would be far less worried to know you were being proactive about your depression than if something bad would happen. You sound like you’ve got a great head on your shoulders. First, you reached out for help and for opinions, which was very brave. Then, you actually pondered that help and decided to reach out for help. That shows a lot of maturity and tells me you’d be a great friend to others, since they could come to you if they were having difficulties.
      Check back and tell us what happens with samaritans. (the other Amy)

  3. Sparky says:

    Hi Amy,

    Well I have to say I am a LEO, very strong, and I was in your place with my friends at that age and a bit younge. I was not depressed at all. My friends were jocks…and they saw me in a different light.
    They thought I was a pest because I was insecure because I thought they did not like me. I always called them, they never called me either. I finally began to hang around with alot of people from all 3 classes, grades and made many friends. Not close friends but I knew everyone and ended up being on the reunion committee because I could find everyone LOL.
    While I was very athletic, I just thought I never fit in..but my father passed when I was 16, and my mother just never loved me like my father did…but she loved my sisters very much. I think that had alot to do with it all…I projected it on and found other girls /women who were like my mom.
    I suggest to look at where you are and how you feel around your family, and then maybe this fits for you too. I sought counseling after my sister was killed in an accident and found all this out. Now I pick people who have my mom’s good qualities and my dad’s as well. I also like myself…that makes a huge differenc.
    I just turned 60 and also have now lost alot of friends so am lonely once again. Life transitions many times, friends will come and go, some will stay for a lifetime and others won’t. It is during that dry spell that we need to look inside and see if we are creating something ourselves that others do not like.
    Are you afraid if people really get to know you they won’t like you, so you close up? Pls let me know…I hope the other two people are wrong, but it may not be depression at all, then again, only you know.

    Sparky, Pls let us know.

  4. Amy says:

    Hi Amy,
    My name is Amy too.
    Please follow Irene’s advice and call the numbers and talk to an adult you trust.
    One thing for sure, teenagers don’t keep friends out of pity. Your friends aren’t any different.
    People who are depressed tend to isolate, just like you’re doing. They make excuses not to reach out to their friends (like thinking their friends don’t want to hear from them). Those negative thoughts are so strong, they feel real, even though they’re part of the depression. Maybe you even feel like calling a friend would result in rejection. You might even think you’re the only one who has ever felt this way. Having been a teenager, I can guarantee you aren’t. You’re really brave to write to Irene and tell her how you’re feeling. I bet you’re even helping other girls who are thinking the same thing, but too scared to reach out.
    The thing about depression, is that it feels like a feeling that will last forever, but it isn’t. The depression is keeping you from seeing it. If there’s one friend you feel closest to, you might want to call her and reach out, tell her you miss hanging out, or invite her back-to-school shopping.
    Please write us back and tell us how you’re doing. In sure everyone reading your letter wants to hear how you’ve made out.

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