• Few or No Friends

Why can’t I make friends?

Published: December 16, 2011 | Last Updated: March 24, 2013 By | 30 Replies Continue Reading
A 25-year-old reader asks, “Why can’t I make friends?” She feels shy and socially awkward.


Dear Irene,

I always had difficulty trying to make friends, although the reasons seem to change as I get older. When I was very young (less than 10 years old), I didn’t make friends and couldn’t develop bonds with other children. I was arrogant and I felt above others. I think it was overcompensation for knowing that I was “the weirdo” at school (This wasn’t imagined; it was very well known!). I used to fantasize that we would all go to secondary school and I would be the normal one!

At secondary school, I made friends quickly. However, I was still arrogant and insecure until I was 14 and suffering badly from anorexia. I went VERY off the rails and trashed school rooms/ran away/self harmed…was a nuisance and burden to everyone. I then got into a controlling relationship with an older man, who isolated me from friends by not letting me out. I think that stopped me from being so arrogant.

I’m now 25 and I‘m still having a hard time making friends. I find my social ineptness and awkwardness very embarrassing and I still consider myself a weirdo. I’m terrified people will find out “what I’m like” (I don’t totally know what I mean by that) and I will be humiliated.

I have some friends but often I will ignore them for weeks because I feel like I would be pestering them. It might not look like that to them and I may seem insensitive and uncaring. Then I feel embarrassed and try to make an effort. But I haven’t made new friends for seven years. I’ve worked in the same place for 18 months and have no friends there. I want to be friends but I feel so embarrassed when I’m around people. I’m so sure I’m going to say something weird or make them uncomfortable etc.

I always assumed I was just shy, but I recently found out that no one perceives me as shy – including people who have known me for 15 years. This worried me as I had always clung on to the fact that if people assumed I’m just shy and that’s why I’m very avoidant with people then they will be forgiving. But now I’m not sure what they think of me. However, my oldest friend tells me I’m arrogant, and since I was arrogant as a child I think it’s possible.

I feel humiliated and angry at myself all the time. I want to go to a work do (workplace party) this Christmas but the idea of standing in a crowded room on my own fills me with dread. I feel like everybody at work knows I’m some kind of weirdo who can’t make friends. Why put them and me through the embarrassment? They’re nice people and sometimes the worst thing is that I knowthey’re embarrassed for me, or uncomfortable around me. I don’t want to be a burden on them!

I do make an effort to make friends. If I’m left in a room with one person, I take a deep breath, put on a big smile, and ask as many questions about them as I can. It gets awkward if they ask about me, as I really, really don’t want to talk about myself. I usually find it easier to remain quiet and let others speak, or remove myself from the room to be alone.

For years I’ve always made sure I put on a big smile when talking to people, laugh at others’ jokes, and try to exude “welcoming” body language even if I’m stuck for things to say. This doesn’t really seem to help (maybe I’m overdoing it?) but at least I’m not telling people I don’t like them. I’m also trying little “experiments”. For instance, today I sent an email to the colleagues who sit with me with a photo I found funny. The others do that sometimes so I thought I’d give it a go. However, only one of the people laughed and the others just looked at me oddly. I realized later I have a surreal sense of humor and what I find funny others are confused by and vice versa.

My question to you: Firstly, what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I make friends? And secondly, do you have any tips for me to keep trying to make friends? I don’t want to give up, it does feel like I’m running into a brick wall at times, but I want to try everything I can. Also, whenever things “go wrong” in any way I can be quick to want to cut ties. I generally don’t have any problems with romantic relationships by the way, I find it easy to bond with a partner and I am myself around them. It’s only friendships.

Signed, Stella


Dear Stella,

Feeling uncomfortable in social situations, worrying excessively about being judged by others, dreading being in large groups or social situations, and having a hard time making friends are all symptoms often associated with social anxiety disorder.

People with social anxiety often feel viscerally uncomfortable in the company of people they don’t know well. This usually doesn’t happen within the context of a close relationship with a boyfriend/girlfriend or family member. (Interestingly, other people usually don’t recognize the signs of social anxiety so, they may think the person is acting arrogantly or unfriendly.)

You mention, too, that your behavior may seem weird or off-putting to other people. This awkwardness may suggest that you have difficulties reading other people’s “social cues” and this too, may interfere with your ability to make friends.

Not knowing you, I don’t know exactly what’s wrong. However, I would strongly suggest that you consult with a psychiatrist to get accurately diagnosed. If you do suffer from social anxiety, for example, the disorder is very treatable with medication or psychological interventions.

Despite your brave and somewhat spot-on experiments, you are still having problems making friends at work and outside the office — and these functional difficulties seem to be interfering with your enjoyment of life and your career. I admire your courage for trying so hard to make friends, and your honesty in sharing your story, but I don’t think these problems can be addressed without professional help.

In the meantime, don’t miss the office Christmas party. Breathe deeply, act friendly, get there before the crowds when there are less people, and you don’t have to be the last person to leave. You’ll stick out more from the crowd if you don’t go than if you do. Hope this helps.

Warm regards and best holiday wishes,


Some prior posts on The Friendship Blog about having no friends:

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Category: Social skills and friendship

Comments (30)

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  1. J. says:

    As a 35-year old sensitive guy who analyzes and cares a lot more about what people do (more than most guys), it makes it difficult to make friends within my own gender. I tend to make female friends more easily because they’re the only ones who understand where I’m coming from; no joke, I rarely find a guy I can open up to who doesn’t either cut the conversation off or think I’m trying to pick them up. The way I relate to people has a lot to do with this, but it’s never been a problem to the point that it provokes anxiety; it’s just the “way it is”. I am able to make friends easily (and have no problem reading social cues), I just have a hard time doing superficial relationships because I find it disingenuous, to say the least. Maybe if I weren’t highly intuitive, sensitive and unafraid to feel deeply this wouldn’t be a problem, but it is. My problem isn’t social anxiety per se, it’s more the lack of people who know how to relate emotionally (a lack of “emotional intelligence” in others, in other words). I find myself living in a world where roughly 90 percent of my own gender (sorry guys! No offense meant!) can’t tell their emotions from their rear-end. Thank the universe for being a Libra. Society tells me I should feel guilty for not being able to make friends in my own gender group, but since I’m different than a large portion of “society” (and my gender group), I don’t consider it to be my problem. Why disempower myself and slap a label on my chest over something that isn’t necessarily a bad thing?

    • Ellie3 says:

      Guys not wanting to experience you “feeling deeply” may not be lack of “emotional intelligence” on their part but instead may be that you are needy. Your innate desire to “feel deeply” may come across as drama or someone who doesn’t have a handle on his emotions. Guys don’t like that…and I myself am glad that they do not. Girls may be more likely to entertain that because they are more emotional. Newsflash though, it’s not an attractive quality. Save it for your spouse or therapist. Only unhealthy friendships are good with “needy”. And yes, it is YOUR problem if you want more friends of your own gender. Time to get a grip…your friends do not have to be your soulmates.

      • J. says:

        “Psychology clings to a universal model – that men are incorrigibly flawed and require a dismantling of their identities, habits, and preferences before being reconstructed according to a feminist model of masculinity. All modern therapies have this basic premise in common.”

        I am pulling this from another site. I do have what I would consider to be “enough” friends in my own gender. Everyone has their moments. The lack of societal understanding is not my problem. I’ve lived in my own body for long enough to know myself better than anyone else, and take umbrage at the “it’s your problem” remark. I disagree.

        As an aside, I would be interested in your feelings as a member of the female gender towards people who gravitate toward deep friendships and purposefully exclude superficial ones beyond what’s necessary to make it in this world. What’s your opinion on that? Also, do you feel it would be detrimental to a person’s well-being to be this way? Why or why not?

        And as far as it (“it” being the ability to “feel deeply” as a gifted empath) not being an attractive quality, I don’t give a flying fart in space. If other people don’t like it, so sad too bad. I’m not broken up about it.

        I’m of the mind at this point that modern psychology has co-opted the mentality of government: “If it ain’t broke, fix it till it is”.

        I have as much right to empower myself as a real human being just as much as anyone else, regardless of gender roles and other outmoded horse-hockey being promulgated by the egghead set.

        What would you say if a member of the male gender was able to feel more deeply and was more perceptive and intuitive than yourself? Would you be scared? Offended? Would you think that person was flawed and it was their problem they didn’t make friends? What kinds of solutions would you come up with that don’t exclude or try to suppress their personality? I’m really interested and would like to know.

        When our society finally comes to grips with the fringe (and the good people that exist within it), we will all be better off. Until then, those going against the current will always have to deal with the incredulity and skepticism of those who are unable to deal with offbeat people. (notice the lack of any gender-slant in this paragraph)

        Believe it or not, most of the time the aversion of other men comes from them not being able to deal with their own insecurities, and has nothing to do with a perception of me “being needy”. We’re all here together, aren’t we? I mean, good grief! Since when did it become a “bad thing” for a man to be as intuitive, as perceptive and “deep feeling” as a female? Do you know what I would give to push the “duplicate” button and put those duplicates in key government positions? Would your aversion towards these particular personality traits in men disappear at that point? Why or why not?

        A quote to live by for everyone else: “Try not to take things personally. What people often say is about them and not you”

        • J. says:

          Additionally, since I’ve had time to reflect on my original post, I really think the main problem with people making friends has more to do with society, not necessarily the individual. If you don’t believe me, go talk to a shaman in your area. (I’m serious)

          If you really want to know what’s going on, and are having a hard time coming to grips with your own life, go to the jungle and participate in an ayahuasca session (or find an underground therapist who uses psychedelics in their practice…they’re out there). Empower your own experience and go from there. Just because a whole bunch of other people have tried to figure things out for everyone else and wrote a bunch of books, does NOT mean that they’re right.

          Think for yourself, and question authority. You should *especially* question any authority that would ever tell you that your personality is flawed or that “it’s your problem” and not give any deference to the flaws of the larger world. Don’t listen to them, insist on your own dignity and trust yourself and your intuition. You’ll meet the right people along the way. Don’t waste your time or energy on a path that disempowers you. Don’t see a psychologist, take a more holistic approach and go see a shaman instead.

          Is it revolutionary? Yes, it most certainly is. It’s also controversial. But it’s a much better option than living the rest of your life on a dimmer switch at half-setting. That’s what you get when you go the pharmaceutical route and into the cookie-cutter world of psychology (where empathy is not allowed!)

          • Morgan says:

            I really wish there were more guys like this out there.

            • C says:

              Hey there,
              I feel I can’t make friends, I don’t know what the reason is yet but, I’m in the same case as you, maybe worse in fact.

              I spent a lot of time thinking about how to get girls in highschool, to a point where I spent most of my time trying to look good, confident etc. To be consummed by my goal.

              Though, I’ve never really tried to make friendships for, I wanted a girl friend. But then I came to figure that friends are more important than I thought.

              I enjoy spending time with people, and I am very loyal, maybe even to a point where I am very demanding on friendships. Because I ask a lot of myself, I also believe the other person has to do a lot. But then, I’m aware of that. So I tend to be more cautious.

              Like you, I don’t seem to have many guy-friends, either they seem to see me as a threat (because I’m open-minded and very driven) or envasif because I tend to ask a lot of questions to try to get to know the person, or gay because I’m very quiet and I don’t tend to speak much (especially at the gym, I’m driven to attaining my goal for example), or many other reasons that I can’t decipher…

              There are many societal trends that Apppaul me like aggressive rap with repetitious beats and vulger words, that people play loud on their phone while walking down the street… Or plenty of other things…

              There are trends I do not wish to apply my time to because it doesn’t bring me any joy or isn’t interesting…

              Though not everyone is like that, and that is where I kind of loose it. I can’t seem to find friends who like to share etc. I tend to look things up on the internet a lot, read a lot, personal development etc… and I tend to try to evolve, to better myself. Though, no matter what I know, no matter what I do. It always seems to come down to group theory.
              If you’re in a classroom with many people, you can decide to speak with lots of people conveying your ability to interact, people actually see you as interesting, and actually tell you to your face that you seem super social… Yet at the end of the day no one’s there when I need help, even though I spent most of my time helping out everyone..

              I don’t know. Maybe people just don’t want to interact with me. I’m able to meet people, speak about subjects, say hello, bring up smiles, maybe sometimes even get some intrest, but nothing long term.
              As Neil strauss wrote in his book ” weeded out of the gene pool”. Maybe because we’re not other peoples standard. But then by writing that I think that is so false! A lot of self-help, motivation material and a lot of application to get positive affirmations in one’s life and I’m at a point where I start to love myself and like that I have certain qualities and certain cool traits. And I am worthy and I am a good person in essence. So the fact that I’m not their standard is total BS. But having said that, they’re surrounded by people and I’m alone.

              I meet many people, and I wonder how I can sustain relationships but in some way…
              I believe you need to be in a same situation. A difficult job, a long study etc.. Its all about group theory. Meeting someone in the street is going to be difficult to sustain on a long period of time. Whilst meeting someone out of circumstances is having to put up with them and spend time with them exposing them to your point of view and yourself to theirs.

              Then as I’m learning pick-up at the moment, because I hate being alone… I read lately that, if you want a relationship with someone, you need to spend time with that person. So, how can you spend time with someone you met and may never see again… Despite having the conversation, sharing views etc.. its just not enough to prove you are a human being. (in pick-up, there are qualities you need to convey to a girl for example, such as emotionality, leaderships bla bla…), but as friendships goes I don’t know if there is a pattern…
              (I say all this exposing the fact that I find that being alone is lame, and so the solution I’ve found, is to learn the game to meet women… I am in no case a serial pick-up artist. I just want to improve my social life)

              On another note, I always question the higher authority. I understand why people want to follow it, because they need certainty in their life to feel ok. And i don’t believe it’s a matter of being a sheep or reading a book and following 100% what someone sais, I take everything with a pinch of salt… and I adpot what seems to make sense to me.

              I’m a very intuitive, sensitive, quite person… and I believe that the only thing that matters is what you make in your own head, your own perception, your interior world. Where you live on a day to day basis.
              I don’t know what it is that people want. But i’ve understood that most people follow security, and their own path and have their own intrest at heart. That’s ok.
              There are others though, who are super openhearted and altruistic but end-up giving all they have…

              Then, there are guys who are more feminine in their energy and guys who are more masculin, same thing goes for girls. Some girls are very alpha male(it puts me off a little but what ever…)

              We live in a peculiar world. There are many different people, with many different minds, and many ways of portraying themselves. But it seems that people only express themselfs in a few successful ways, a few stereotypical ways etc. I’ve never seen, met, heardof anyone who is different. Except if they’re so-called mentally ill. But then another debate begins, because pharmacutical compagnys make big bucks for making people followers for what “authority” sais.

              It’s a scary place to be. Because you can’t be to revolutionary otherwise people will lock you up either for stepping out side the law, or either for not seeming sane… So conformism seems to be some sort of controle mechanism through which people who have money, controle the people who go about their daily lives without wanting to controle others… Vicious circle..

              I personnally feel like I’m a psycopath to social everydayness and people… I adapt my facial expression and always am in a position of trying to figure out what it will take to please/get along with the people around me… Or get people to understand the idea I’m trying to portray… I’m not mean, I’m not manipulative. And I don’t have any need to hurt anyone or anything like that. But I don’t feel very much, I don’t live a life full of emotions and joy, and butterflys and orgasms… I express that because, I feel detached from societal norms, I feel detached from human rythm (being vocal, exchange rythme) between people. I’m just outside of the lets follow the mass sheep parade. Though I do have empathy when time comes and I cry when people express hurt of difficulty or I laugh at humor… etc…

              Bla bla bla…

              Lonelyness seems the only viable option…

              • Eddie says:

                Wow, it’s like this post was taken from my journal. Didn’t know others felt this way.

              • Steph says:

                I know this was over 7 months ago but I just gotta say that I have never seen such a piece of written word as that. Absolute empathy. That is poetry dear friend. It is like I am talking to myself. Except one thing you don’t need to fulfil the utter crap that is being “masculine” and have huge muscles and confidence. I know it’s hard and I face the same pressure and portrayal of what is cool or attractive for a gender. I would just as well, or even more like a guy who is a total lame quiet geek. I like people who are just as socially unnaccepted as i. So don’t think that that’s what all girls are attracted to.

                Having read what I just wrote, it sounds rude. Apologies if I hurt your feelings. Do what YOU wish with your life,

                Sincerely, S

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have the same problem too. I’m 23 my voice is really quiet people usually can’t hear me and I am really awkward. I have no friends and a not very functioning family. The only person who I was close to was my grandma but she passed away two years ago. All my friends in high school and elementary I seem to have pushed away. I find it really difficult to stay in touch with people because I think I would bother them if I text or call them. I gotten used to being alone, but I feel like I am missing out on a lot of thing like, I can’t travel by myself because it’s not safe, can’t go to movies, road trips etc. I went to a movie by myself once. I bumped into a friend (she was a friend at that time). She asked me who I was watching it with; I told her I was alone. She then said to me “Aw that so sad…” and give me that I feel so sorry for you “look”. I also find it hard to make new friends because I don’t care about the things they care about, like tv shows, music, gossip. I tired really hard making friends pretending that I care about the things they care about and try to be friendly but usually they will just stop talking to me. To make matters worse, I’m 4th year into my business degree and about to graduate. Every business professor I had so far lectured us on how important it is to network. I never been to a networking event, I am terrified to go to these networking events. I don’t want to give a bad impression on future employers. I don’t want to go into a future interview and having the interviewer remember me as that weird kid. I am terrible and awkward in interviews. I messed up one really badly last year and I am scared I won’t be able to find a job in my field. I am also not very smart either so I can’t carry on an intelligent conversation. I would draw blank too when I talk to people. I find it kind of funny because people who meet me assume I have friends and a social life. A lot of time at work and in front of relatives I have to pretend I have friends or try to avoid talking about those topics that will bring that up. I am scared that they will find out how messed up I really am….

  3. Sherrie says:

    I have had social anxiety and social phobia since I was bullied both at home and at school, and can relate to all of these posts. My mother would grill me on any social event to make sure that I said and did the ‘right things.’ I realize that since I don’t walk around with my head down (like Princess Diana used to do) that people assume that I am conceited and don’t want to associate with them.
    On the other hand, I have had people get chummy with me when they want something – and then when I’m not much use to them, they find others to mooch off of. It has been very hard to be trusting and open with people. Even in church I have noticed the cliques that give me a bad flashback to junior high. I also feel that if people – and this includes guys – really get to know me that they will find out that there’s something wrong with me. Also I have several chronic health conditions and have dealt with rejection because of that. So many women seem, to me, like the women on the reality shows – they talk about things that I’m not interested in, and want to gossip, which is something I would rather not do.
    I live in a small town that literally is like the ‘black hole’ and has very little to offer in social events. When I was a kid, my goal was to move somewhere else. I was tested as an INFJ, so I don’t know if that’s my problem or not? I pick up other people’s emotions and have to withdraw after a while or risk getting a headache.
    I hate fakiness too – the ones who drive me crazy are the women who do the kissy thing and then rip into each other when the other walks away! I hate that. I feel that people expect you to put on an act and when they get someone who is exactly who they seem, that they can’t handle that.

  4. maya says:

    I feel exactly the same way and I have been always going through the same thing. I always have troubles in making my friendships last and I feel I always end up pushing people away somehow. Because of this, I took some time to sit back and think about it, and I figured out that it is my fault and that I have been unconsciously doing, saying or behaving in a way that pushes people away even if i always have the best intentions. Even if I know now the things that i should do to improve things, I still find great difficulties in fully applying this change into my life. I always end up feeling like I am acting and that i am behaving like someone that I am not, and the moment I show a glimpse of who I am to others, they just take their distance and no one sticks around. I have been hurt many times in my life, I have been bullied at school, I have been severely criticised by close people in my life and all of this contributed in what I am suffering from now; low self esteem, constant fear of being misunderstood and mistreated by people, and a total rejection for criticism. I learned and succeed at providing a beautiful picture of me from a distance to people, but once they get closer, they run.I used to think that I was dealing with the wrong type of people and that if they were any good they will stick around me in good and bad times, in my highs and lows. BUT once it keeps happening over and over again with everybody that u have in ur life, than it just makes me question myself more. I guess i still have a lot to learn about social life in general but i thank god that I have never sinked into depression. I do feel low at times, i spend a lot of time alone if I feel it is what i need, I cry, i get mad, but i always get up. As for now, I just hope I’ll overcome this disability some day,I hope I ll figure out what is missing here or what I am doing wrong.
    Thank you all for sharing your experiences, and i already feel good writing about this here.

    • Michelle says:

      You have captured perfectly the way I feel on a day to day basis. Though I have no trouble being myself around my husband. I believe this is because we have known each other since 2nd grade. When it comes to making friends I have an absolutely awful time. I find when I am around large groups of people I become crazy self conscious. I end up over analyzing every tiny thing I do and say. I don’t like people much, I don’t care about the same things they do. In fear of coming off as conceited and narcissistic I pretend i care, than feel fake and push them away. I used to think it was other people, but I have realized it is my fault. I honestly believe the reason I am this way is because my childhood best friend told me when we were about 12 that she couldn’t be my friend anymore because I was not popular enough. I am at a point in my life where my husband is the only person I don’t hide myself from. And lately I’ve been hiding from him. It physically hurts me inside the way i feel about this particular topic. I don’t even feel myself with my own parents. If it wasn’t for him I know I would be slipping into depression. I have good days and bad days, and I hope to one day get past it. It significantly improves my hopes to know I am not alone. Thank you for sharing your stories!!!

  5. Hannah says:

    Dear Irene,

    I recently turned 33 years old and my biggest dilemma is my difficulty making new friends.I’m overly shy to the point where attending any social event becomes a big dilemma for me. I earnestly want to go and attend functions however, my fears and my inability to initiate small talks and engage in conversations especially in a big group setting make it impossible for me to put myself out there and ruin the possibility for me to discover friendships. I have been struggling for several years and now that I’m getting older, emotionally this problem has been more distressing for me. There are even times when I feel discouraged to leave my apartment because seeing groups of young adults in my neighborhood having fun magnifies the lonliness that has plagued me for years.

    I feel so insecure not being able to make friends especially at my age. Ive tried attending church activities for the young addults sponsored by my church yet I always find it “cliquey”. I’ve joined group activities I like for instance tennis but the people who go vary week after week so it’s hard to find someone/ people whom I can meet regularly and hopefully build friendships with.

    I live in Chicago and I wish there’s a small group of people For young adults who are shy and socially akward.

  6. Bertha says:

    Omg!!! I have had this problem forever am so glad to be able to know that there is others like me, Amazing wow!,, I thought maybe am going to die alone forever!!! Same situation am scared to talk in front of anyone with my heart pumping, scared of what they will think of me… That am not a good friend! Weird thing is that I can get into party or social situations and dance away, but hyper actively and be like the coolest person to dance with but once they look at me in my face and want to try to hang out then, they turn away because they can see how nervous I am… Think I do not look trusting, feel like my whole body shakes as well as my head does too!! Think everybody is looking at me always!!! Feel like I can’t drink a cup, eat or talk in public.. So I just talk to God and pray to be normal!, this web has helped me a lot and probably makes me feel way better now knowing am not alone , thanks!!! I also feel in social situations that i wil be perceived as a freak, weirdo or just a big looser, because I say random weird things out of the nervousness and as well as the anxiety that I feel deep inside of me… people can’t stand me after a couple of days knowing me…. Or I just can’t make friends one or the other… I also say stuff like after talking to people so much that I am sorry for talking too much, oops sorry if said something wrong or random things… I will also say are you sure you want to be my friend and ask them that many times and as well as say or talk about the same thing over and over again and can’t think of anything new to talk about.. Oh man, sometimes I even laugh at random times thinking about funny things in my head and I am very pretty , but have never actually gotten a guy to come up and talk to me and ask for my number except for 1 time, but he was special… I am going to speak with my counselor though about this anxiety disorder see what she says!!!

  7. SAF says:

    Wow! This is me too. I don’t have any friends. I have one friend at work, but she is very anti-social and will not do anything with me outside work (she is married, so she has her husband). I am not married, so when I go home, I have the TV, books, or online. I have another friend(?) at work who will have dinner or go somewhere with me, but I always initiate. She’s never asked me to do anything, and I’m not sure how that makes me feel. 🙁
    At work, I feel like I really annoy the other ladies because I rattle away about stupid things they they couldn’t care less about. I know I do this because I have spent all weekend alone and not had anyone to talk to. I’ve even recently put a note to myself on my desk that says “Silence” to remind myself to not bother them.
    My (I guess) social anxiety is getting worse now because I even have a hard time around my family.
    The other night, I sat in the car until my nieces got home rather than going inside with my sister (she never has time for me but has time or will make time for everyone else.) If I go to a family event where people outside my family are in attendance, I will stay (hide) with the children and eat with them. Now that my nieces are in college and both have boyfriends, it’s a little more difficult to stay with them.
    Anyway, I try to make friends but can really only attempt this when there are very few people around.
    I also do not want to talk about myself. It is embarrassing because I really have nothing to say about myself. I try to think of things to say and fail miserably at it. I try to resign myself to my seclusion, but I do NOT want to be alone! It is a horrible place to be. I know it is cliche, but I really am sometimes the loneliest when I am in a crowded room.
    I’m tired of asking people to do things only to be rejected. I feel like I have to beg people to spend time with me. I am so angry and frustrated and just tired of it all.

  8. sarah says:

    I feel like so many of the people that have posted here, especially in regards to the social anxiety. It has held me back for so long and i’m so tired of it! I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety as long as i can remember and have been on meds at certain points of my life which to be honest either worsened my symptoms or made me numb. I’m 40 in three days and I have absolutely no friends. I have a ‘boyfriend’ who is an ex that was a bad relationship. He’s a better person now, he’s done a lot of work, but I’m left damaged, anxious and friendless. I think most people here know what they have to do, make the positive changes, get out and mingle, be around people but that is so much easier said than done when you have anxiety. I know what it’s like to feel like a freak and think everything that comes out of your mouth is perceived as stupid or inappropriate. Glad I’m not alone, just wish I could get on with things.

    • Irene says:

      Hi Sarah,

      Social anxiety is a real illness. I’m sorry that the medications you took weren’t effective for you. There are many types of treatments available for people with social anxiety, including behavioral approaches like cognitive-behavioral therapy. Also, you may have been taking the wrong medication for you or the wrong dose.

      I would encourage you to read more about social anxiety and its treatment: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/social-phobia-social-anxiety-disorder/index.shtml and hope you will think about seeking help so you don’t have to suffer as you do.

      Best, Irene

  9. anonymous says:

    I’m right there with you all. I just turned 41 and had some weird changes in my menstrual cycle along with anxiety and not feeling comfortable in crowds and of course a little depression to go along. I had a blood test and turns out my thyroid is slighty off and im perimenopausal. My doctor gave me some natural supplements and I feel so much better! I noticed some of the side effects listed on some info my doc gave me has all of those symptoms listed as known menopausal symptoms. So go get a check up asap it could be as simple as your thyroid or beginning of menopause that is making us feel awkward!

    • Angie says:


      I to am perimenopausal, having anxiety and depression. Can I ask what natural supplements your doctor gave you. I am not having much luck with trial and error.

  10. Nanci says:

    Hi Stella, it sounds as if you could have a social anxiety disorder. I have struggled with this issue for half my life. I’m now 40 years old. Have you ever tried anti-anxiety meds? If not, perhaps you should try it. You might have to try different ones until you find one that works for you. Therapy might help too, but it didn’t help me at all.

    Perhaps some people might perceive you as still being that arrogant person? Also, maybe you might be trying to hard to get people to like you? Do you think that you might be coming across as a little fake? If so, just stop trying so hard, and just be yourself! Not everyone will like you, but if you just be yourself, the right people will end up liking you!

    Try to not worry too much about what other people think of you. Get some books on how to make friends at the library and look up info on here. Take baby steps by trying to make small talk with sales clerks, waiters, older people, anyone really! There is this great site called meetup.com that is free to join. If someone like me can find and make friends from a site like that, then just about anyone can! You sound a lot more outgoing than me, so you’ll probably find some new friends right away!

  11. Kimberly G says:

    I find it difficult to be fake and that seems to be my issue on not making friends. I dont like to gossip and dont care about the girly conversations. Im not into tv shows and generally if everyone id crazy about a fad or favorite movie stars or songs I could really care less. they are jyst people get ovef it. I dont collect stuff or go out. I’m home with the kids and Im a single mom. I work, go to church and then home to kids. I feel drained and my only friends are really my kids (not too cool) I get along with their friends parents but its just for kids sake. I dont date because there are no guys that meet my approval and I still need to work on my own appearance and im not real trusting. I was not like this before I use to be real social but that changed about 5 years ago. I went through some traumatic stuff and then didnt feel like I could trust people. how am I going to get my self back (the new improved me) I do not want to see a shrink and no meds. so what do I do? I need to pray but loose hope and dont pray for me.

    • Jo says:

      I feel exactly the same way and would love to connect with others

    • SAF says:

      I don’t like being fake either. I don’t feel right walking around, smiling, and acting like I’m the happiest person on Earth! It’s not true! I feel like I am lying to myself and everyone else. I don’t think I mope around either though. I think I just walk around normally.
      I also am not “girly” and actually hate girly things! lol I am a realist (so I come across very negative).
      I’m not into mainstream TV/movie stars. I do enjoy several shows, but they are more “nerdy” like anything to do with space. I don’t know anyone who likes that sort of thing.
      I do wish we could all meet somewhere – all us social anxiety sufferers, and feel solidarity and strength.

      • Susan says:

        I hear you. I am fifty years old and I am also a realist. I suffer from anxiety and depression. I too have trouble making friends. I have been in therapy for thirty five years.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I’ve never read a story that was so eerily similar to mine. I am relieved to know there are other people out there who have the same problems as I do. I think maybe the best thing we need is to hang out with others like us so we can get a better perspective on how we come off to others. thank you for sharing your story, I truly hope things work out for you.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I have had the same problem, since I was six years old! I am a cross between being slightly arrogant / super shy / and socially anxious. Thank you for sharing your story. I am 32 now and I have about zero friends that still contact me. There were a few periods in my life where I made friends easily, but that seems to be over. I don’t know what to do, except keep trying, like you are.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I’m not scared of social situations, i don’t think i even have social anxiety. I just can’t make friends. That’s just sad

  15. Anonymous says:

    I have social anxiety disorder. When I went on an antidepressant for my depression a number of years ago, I noticed that it significantly helped my social anxiety, too. I was no longer scared to walk up an aisle in church or for a wedding. I was no longer scared to enter a room filled with people. I was no longer scared to raise my hand and ask a question in class. I was no longer scared to participate in class discussions. I highly suggest you meet with a psychiatrist who can diagnose a disorder if indeed there is one. Treatment can definitely help, whether it’s pharmacological help or talk therapy. All the best.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I, too, am 38 years old. I clam up around guys (I’m heterosexual). I find romantic relationships hard and not friendships. I find it hard to talk to guys. I’m dated one guy for half a year. He was the only boyfriend I had. I’ve had several first dates and second dates (even a few third dates) but it doesn’t get past that. My interests aren’t typical guy interests such as cars and sports. I’m a sensitive and emotional person, which, I find, doesn’t attract most men. Perhaps I just haven’t met the RIGHT guy for me but sometimes I feel that it’s my inability to interact with guys on a romantic level (read flirt) that’s the problem.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I am in the same boat as you, I cannot seem to make any friends. I am 38 years old and just cannot seem to connect to anyone. I get around a bunch of women and I just clam up, it is like I cannot seem to think of anything to talk with them about and when I do talk in my mind I feel like I sound so stupid. I have made a few friends since I moved to the town I live in 7 years ago but they just seem to shut me out after awhile and I don’t understand what I am doing wrong? I feel like everyone here is very snotty and has their own clicks and I just don’t belong. It does make me feel better that I found this site, I know I am not alone anymore!

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