• Few or No Friends

Can’t seem to make friends

Published: May 20, 2016 | By | 38 Replies Continue Reading
A woman with chronic fatigue and history of depression can’t seem to make friends.


Hi Irene,

I am 49 years old with no close friends, just acquaintances. My best friend is my husband and we have no children. I suffer from depression, which is pretty well controlled. I also suffer from chronic fatigue as well which keeps me from doing a lot of things others enjoy due to lack of energy.

I work and enjoy my co-workers. I just can’t keep friends. I’m great at making friends but the relationship fizzles and they drop me. I suspect they find me boring since I can’t do as much as they would like. I don’t enjoy gossip like many women. I couldn’t care less about the social ladder. I am not an avid reader and I don’t like many of the shows on TV. I like to cook and watch Classic movies, spend time with my husband and pets, shop, and go to work.

I guess I’m boring but I can’t help it. I’m so lonely and I feel so defective. Do you think there is any chance that someone can accept me for who I am and want what I have to offer as a friend?

I enjoy going to dinner, having cocktails and coffee, shopping. I’m honest and caring, enjoy laughing and genuinely interested in others. But I just can’t maintain a friendship. The world feels very cold when you are constantly rejected.

Signed, Patty


Hi Patty,

You are so fortunate to have a husband whom you consider your best friend and to enjoy your work and relationships with colleagues. You also seem to have a number of interests—in cooking, classic movies and pets. I would imagine that you keep yourself quite busy most of the time.

Yet, you say you feel lonely and “defective,” not worthy of someone else making you her friend.

It is always easier to bond with someone over a common interest. Moreover, it is easier to make acquaintances than friends but making acquaintances can be a first step in developing closer relationships. Here are a few suggestions to think about:

1) Is there an adult education cooking course or community cooking club where you might meet people who share that interest? You could also see if there are some cooking or food-related groups in your area on Meetup.com.

2) Since you enjoy pets, would you be interested in volunteering with a rescue league or other animal welfare group?

3) Since you seem to get along with and like your colleagues, does anyone in the workplace sounds like someone you would like to get together with for coffee or a drink afterwards?

4) Chronic fatigue can sap your energy and also limit your ability to plan get-togethers in advance. Joining a support group might offer you the chance to learn practical tips for minimizing its effect on your social relationships.

5) Since your letter suggests that you aren’t feeling good about yourself, would it be helpful to check in with your doctor/therapist to see if your depression is as well controlled as it can be?

Hope this is helpful.

My best, Irene

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Comments (38)

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  1. Carolyn M. says:

    I can really relate to your situation. I’m 47, divorced, no children, no family (all immediate family deceased) and I suffer from major depression/anxiety. I am also not working right now due to a disability so I don’t have much disposable income to do activities. I find it very hard to make friends. I don’t have any friends to go places with and do things with or even just have silly chit chat with. I was married for 20+ yrs before divorce a few years ago and since the divorce I’ve practically become a hermit. I’m very lonely. I’m quiet, shy, probably come across as aloof/distant, and I believe my isolation shows which makes people not want to approach me because no one wants to socialize with someone who looks like they are friendless, sad and lonely. I don’t know how to hide my feelings; I’m one of those people who is not good at putting on a front of appearing happy and approachable. Maybe I need acting lessons! Anyway, I just wanted to say that you are definitely not alone in being alone and I absolutely commiserate with you on the whole friendlessness thing. Whatever you do, DO NOT GIVE UP. Keep trying. If you are religious then try praying on it. I’m taking things one day at a time, hoping for the best and trying to hold onto the belief that there have got to be people somewhere out there who would like to be my friend if I just keep trying and don’t lose hope. I find that New Jersey isn’t the easiest state for making friends but I don’t have money to move right now. To be honest, there have been times I’ve considered suicide because I am so alone and isolated. You see, I feel awkward and uncomfortable going out places to do stuff just by myself, but if I’m meeting someone, or with someone, I am much more relaxed and sociable and can be fun to be around. But going out alone I feel and look miserable and no one approaches me. So I just stay home feeling sad and lonely and wishing I’d never been born. Not any way to spend life. I will pray for you that God will bring friends into your life and ask you to do the same for me. Life is very hard but the most important thing is to not give up on yourself because you just never know what good things tomorrow might bring. I find comfort and enjoyment in listening to music (for me music is a poor person’s therapy, for people who can’t afford to see a psychiatrist or therapist, and sometimes it can make me feel better than when I’m talking to a mental health professional anyway). I really, really hope you will find a friend or two out there. Believe in the possibilities, cause it’s so incredibly hard to be all alone. Please keep the faith! God Bless.

  2. Lisa says:

    I am a thankful I have found this site. I’m almost 51, married 20 years and a teenage daughter. My family is not close at all despite being very close years prior. It is so hard for me to make friends and I’m lonely. I feel as though I put myself out there to make friends yet not successful. I work as a manager and have a large staff, but I keep work and life separate. Feeling overwhelmed with the holidays coming.

    [Last name removed by moderator. To protect yourself against possible spammers, please do not use last names on this blog. Thanks!]

  3. Chris says:

    Like many here I am in my early 40s and find myself alone. I do have a husband and adult children and am thankful for that. I was surrounded by toxic people in my earlier years and as I have gone through therapy I have lost those friendships, a marriage and even family relationships.
    I have no extended family, my parents are abusive and I find its like a disease with the rest of the family.
    My problem is I have not been able to make friends since therapy. I have acquaintances but no close friends or even friends. I don’t get calls or texts. I am introverted so I do enjoy time alone but I also enjoy being with friends when I have them. Its sad. I don’t do much on Facebook because I found it depressed me when I see people who have friends or call others, not me, to join them.
    I do have chronic illnesses and food allergies. But I am in college and work part time. I even work in a field where I am around women in a caring profession. But no friends so far. I just don’t understand. Yes I have talked to my therapist about it but it hasn’t helped. Is it me or is it the way people are now? I have no idea but it does get lonely.

  4. Cheryl says:

    Good Morning everyone. I’m so happy that I stumbled upon this web site. My name is Cheryl. I’m 42 years old, live in Michigan, and have no friends. I’ve tried to make friends but have had no luck. I need guidance and don’t know where to begin. I’ve tried the Meetup group thing but that didn’t pan out at all.


    • Jenny says:

      I have a hard time too and I live in michigan. I am happily married 42 yr old with an awesome 4 yr old daughter, so everything at home is great. I just have a hard time making friends. I have a restricted diet and don’t drink much so that keeps me out of the loop it seems. I have 2 friends who easily make other friends and I feel left out. Probably sounds silly…lol.


      • Cheryl says:

        Hi Jenny,

        I’m 42 years old I have a boyfriend but no kids and while I like hanging out with my boyfriend, I terribly miss having a girls night out. Like you, I am restricted as to what I can eat. I have to maintain a low sodium diet and I cannot drink alcoholic beverages. This makes it hard for me to meat people. What you’re saying does not sound silly at all. When I first moved to Michigan I had one friend who easily made friends with everyone and I was always the third wheel.


  5. Rosie says:

    Wow, I am happy to find this forum. I am 59 & in a similar position as many others. This has turned out different then I expected. I am always looking to change things. Thanks all!

  6. Jo Ann says:

    I am without friends or family or children and now I loss my husband 4 months ago. I spend everyday and night alone. I really would like to meet people so I would have someone to talk to. I just don’t know how at 64 yrs. I have been a care giver for 10 years with my mom then 10 years with my husband. I just feel like there is nothing to do.
    Thanks for listening.

    • Mary says:

      That sounds incredibly hard. I wish I could be a friend to you. You sound like a devoted, caring person! I hope that you can find comfort soon.

    • Sarah says:

      I lost my husband over five months ago I think I’m in the same boat. Can I ask what state you are in?

    • Mary says:

      Hi JoAnn. I have similar issues. My husband died 1 1/2 yrs ago. I do have family but I am w/o friends. I have joined meetup groups but they are far away from the small town I live in. I am drepressed I know that. I have a motorcycle and a horse and dont ride either right now. I will b 65 in 2 weeks. I live in Fl

      • Jo Ann says:

        It would be nice if we lived closer. I am in Michigan and I will be 65 on the 21st. I bet we could be good friends. A early Happy Birthday.
        God Bless

    • Vicki says:

      I had a great life till cancer at 49 yrs old. It sound selfish but if cancer took my life I would be better off. 5 years of chronic depression has left me totally alone. Not even an acquaintance. My 3 daughters, my partner and even friends of 30+ years. I suffer every day physically and emotionally. There is no help and no hope

      • Amy F says:

        I’m also a cancer survivor. Have you talked to a therapist, your oncologist or GP about your depression? I know having no hope feels true and awful, but that’s the depression talking. What about online support?

    • Renee says:

      My story is most like your….I am just crying out for help. Most people are saying they have a husband, friend, boyfriend, pet, family….I have none of that….been trying to hold on, but right now Its quite unbearable at age 49.so I want to say if you come up with a solution please share!

  7. r says:

    i do not have any friends.
    one neighbir i can shiit the breeze with, thats all.
    i am mentally and physically disabled and that usually takes too much if a toll on ppl, so any friends i do make are soon gone.
    i think the part thats saddens me most, if that ppl come to me, saying im so great, a light, they enjoy my ideas, conversation. . . then jus slip away. if they enjoyed ne so much why do they leave? seems like all the kind words they gave me were lies. that hurts.

  8. Frisbee says:

    Everyone has different priorities I guess. And I sometimes try to invest in people who are phoney. Only I don’t find out till it’s too late.

  9. Kris G says:

    I don’t have chronic fatigue syndrome,but I do have major depression,ADD,and degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis.I have three children and their father moved far. Away three years ago.The only person we had was my mom who passed away on Five weeks ago.I hate life without her as she was my angel and the best person I’ve ever known.People in my neighbourhood only bother with me when they need something.I haven’t been able to work in two years and I’m very isolated and alone.I can’t drive due to panic attcks I dont know what I’ve done to be treated so badly by people.Im 41 and feel like my life is over.

    • Marisela says:

      I do not know where you live, but if you live in the south bay (southern California ) I would love to meet you. I identify with you, I’m 50 years old with 3 children and no friends. Besides going to gym 4 times a week and working once or twice a week,and driving mymy daughters to school or work, I spend the rest of time in my house. I suffer from depression so I Spend a lot of time in my room. I also lost my mother and my family practically tell apart ever since. I wish we best for you and your children.

  10. Betty says:

    Hello. I agree for you to talk with your physician. Also, even though you work all day with your Co workers. Maybe you could invite them to join you after work for just coffee or even shopping before heading home. I have a hard time also with Depression, high stress and anxiety. However, a visit to my doctor helped. Plus, I am trying to find a good friend besides my hubby. He is so dear but I am sure he needs a break. Lol. I hope all our answers help you.

  11. DJ says:

    I agree with what Irene and the responders are saying. You’re certainly getting the first base by being able to make friends easily and don’t sound boring.
    Could you select a couple of past friends that have fizzled out in the past and ask for feedback on why. Obviously pick those who you feel would give reasonable feedback
    The other thing that could help is reading about acceptance and commitment therapy. The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris is a great book on this. It doesn’t resolve the sitsuonnbut helps you to manage thoughts and feelings around this and how to live a full life regardless.
    Also maybe if you could meet locals so distance is t a issue given your energy levels

  12. LauraSL says:

    You sound like you have a lot to offer and are selling yourself short. I would definitely check with your doctor to see if you’re on the right dosage of meds for your depression. Along with Irene’s suggestions, if your pet(s) is a dog, a dog park is a great place to make friends.

  13. Jannie says:

    I too in same situation as these other women, too bad we didn’t live closer we could coffee clatch to just “shoot the breeze”. I’m in a small town and don’t fit the mold of most women here. I make friends and then get dumped in a few months. Never get invited out, I’ve hosted more dinners and lunches, cookie parties, you name it. I’m 65, have CFS, but it’s improving with new meds. I’m at a loss as to what’s wrong with me, I’m social, upbeat, energetic when I’m able, my hubby is my best friend too…..it hurts me sometimes when I guess I’m just boring to some. I’ve done groups, therapy, etc to no avail. I have learned to accept it for the most part but as I always say, it’s nice to be included and invited out…..I’ll keep on trying but it’s just frustrating sometimes…….thanks for the post!!

    • Sandra says:

      I’m lucky to have good friends, but find it does take a lot of effort. One thing I notice — A LOT — is that people just don’t reciprocate as much these days. I have a friend who NEVER, ever hosts anyone in her home, and yet she has a lovely place, and more than enough money to have people over for coffee or a simple dinner. And she’s always asking when someone in our group is going to have another party … she’s that clueless! Sadly, this is not uncommon.

      Try to keep in mind that just because people don’t reciprocate doesn’t mean they don’t want to be friends. I’ve learned that over the years. And I am all for suggesting that friends meet in restaurants — and that way I don’t resent being the one who’s always hosting in my home. It saves a lot of grief.

    • Iesha says:

      I too am married but my husband works a lot and is emotionally unavailable to me. We have 2 kids and we relocated to another state last year. I’ve made a few friends but we’ve only done a few things. My life are the kids, work and television is my comfort.

    • Frisbee says:

      Why is it so difficult just to find someone to “shoot the breeze” with? I lost the one person I could do that with five years ago. I find that the people I’d like to be friends with now turn out to be phony and flaky. Those of us who throw parties and give gifts to these people end up getting hurt. I think it’s better to be selective and maybe think of ourselves for once.

    • Kathie says:

      I hear you!

      When I retired last year, I discovered that my coworkers, who I was friendly with at work, disappeared from my life. They were friendLY but not friends. My social life is only with my family. It seems that people I would consider possible friends all have their own intimate circle, and I am on the outside looking in.

      I’m ok with doing things by myself, but I also wonder what’s wrong with me that I am never included in outings. (I hear about them afterward.)

      I am 66, active, do volunteer work, travel and have various interests, but if not for my family, I would be all alone.

      Not sure if anything can be done. Maybe this is just who I am. Still, it hurts.

      • DJ says:

        Katie I feel for you. Making friends and getting into new circles is not always easy. With work friendly’s it often doesn’t last beyond the workplace. But good you are participating in volunteering and interests. Do these interests involve other people as something may develop there over time?
        With those who already have intimate circles could you start organising activities and invite them. I guess you could also consider mentioning that you would be interested in being included with some of the activities they do (pick an activity you really enjoy so you can say I really love doing…. and notice you all do …) but this is a difficult thing do so organising activities and issuing invitations would probably be easier to do.
        Good luck with it all.

  14. Shelly says:

    Like you my husband is my best friend, have no children and have two cats. I live with bipolar depression and tend to be a loner and a homebody. I am new to Ontario and where I live there are no buses, no stores and I don’t drive. I moved here for peace in my environment. I love nature and am somewhat of a nonconformist.
    I find it is true that acquaintances are easier to make than close friendships.
    I find it harder to make friends at this stage of my life and found it easier to maintain relationships in my twenties and thirties, now I am 61.

    I go for drives with my hubby, nature trails, I am an artist and writer of poetry you can be busy or not busy enough and still feel your aloneness and lonely we are just human.
    I have done the group thing when I lived in Montreal, lasted about seven months because I lost interest.
    I am talking to one person online and on the phone and two others from Bancroft Ontario, and Muskoka.
    To actually meet has not happened yet,
    I don’t remember the last time I’ve had a coffee with someone just to shoot the breeze in reality.

  15. Sandra says:

    My first thought is that a visit to your doctor might help you resolve or manage the chronic fatigue issue — and the possibility of depression. When you don’t feel well, it’s harder to fully relate to others and/or pick up on social cues. As both Irene and Amy suggested, a therapist would also help you identify some other issues that could be holding you back from making and deepening your friendships.

    You mentioned things that show you’re on the right track. For starters, you said you are genuinely interested in others, and that is a great foundation for making and keeping friends.

    What about your neighborhood? Could you and your husband host a potluck to get to know other couples and families near you? A church group? Irene also suggested organizations that serve pets — another great idea. Zeroing in on your own interests and finding what makes YOU happy will lead you to like-minded friends. Let us know what happens, and good luck to you!

  16. Amy F says:

    I like Irene’s suggestions. Like you I have chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and a history of depression. Sometimes I feel boring compared to the lives of my friends, but I’m never bored because I have a lot of interests. Have you seen a therapist to discuss your friendship issues. I ask because you’re assuming friends drop you due to you being “boring”, but what if there is another issue about your personality or relationship skills that you’re overlooking that prevents you from maintaining relationships. As friendships go from getting-to-know you to a deeper level of intimacy, you might be missing part of a skill set of which you are unaware. If there are small changes you can make, therapy would be a great investment in your time and energy. Group therapy is a great avenue for identifying personality traits that can be roadblocks to deeper levels of social intimacy.

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