• Keeping Friends

Feel like I don’t belong with my friends

Published: May 10, 2016 | By | 2 Replies Continue Reading
If you don’t feel good about yourself, it can add to the feeling that you don’t belong to a group.


Hello Friendship Doctor,

I met my friends in the 10th grade and then changed schools because it was cheaper. Since then I feel more distant from them because they were together everyday so they had the chance of getting closer and closer. Because of the geographical distance I feel like I’m more and more apart.

They share adventures and funny stories together and they are always talking about it. I feel alone, like I’m not a part of the group. Now two of them are in college, the other two are working, and I’m the only one without a job or school so I feel useless and stupid when I’m around them. What advice can you give me?

Signed, Carmen


Hi Carmen,

In large part we define ourselves by what we do. If you aren’t doing anything—not going to school and not working—your self-confidence can erode quickly. Also, you aren’t able to benefit from the social and intellectual stimulation you might get from being involved with others on a regular basis.

Have you thought about setting goals for yourself over the next several years? Can you figure out the steps you need to take to meet those goals? If you have no goals, is there someone you respect whom you can speak with and get some advice?

When people move and/or change schools or jobs, they often feel out of sync with the people they’ve left behind because they no longer share the same experiences. It sounds like you still want to be close to these friends. But feeling “useless and stupid” while your friends are moving forward can compound the difficulty of feeling like you belong to this group.

So I would suggest two things: As mentioned before, develop and work towards some goals so you feel better about yourself. Also, is there one person in the group whom you feel closer to that you might want to spend some time with one-on-one? That might be easier that being with a larger group right now.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Comments (2)

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  1. Amy F says:

    Hey Carmen, I’m sorry you’re struggling. I recommend volunteering as a way to meet new people and boost your self esteem. Additionally, this looks good on resumes and job applications. People often say they get back more than they give. One of my volunteer opportunities, at Big Brothers/Big Sisters turned into a paying job. Also, you’ll have news and exciting things to talk about with your friends. Hospitals, animal rescue groups and agencies that provide social service sre good places to start.

  2. Ben says:

    Irene is right on… I have been on again off again employed over the past four years. When I am employed I feel like I am on top of the world and when I am not my self-esteem suffers. Having something to do, even volunteering, helps with a sense of self worth. I have a friend much more disconnected socially than me. He calls me and talks incessantly about himself. I got to the point of not being able to maintain my sanity while listening endlessly to his goings on about himself. Human nature is just that, human nature. We are wired and conditioned the way we are for reasons. What’s going on with you is a natural consequence of human nature. In many issues of life if we can remove the bad or good judgements and look at things as they are instead of seeing them as we wish they would be life takes on a more accepting view…

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