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travelbabe24's avatar

If I'm so "fun, nice, etc." why am I always alone?

Asked by travelbabe24 (262points) January 13th, 2016 from iPhone

I’m sorry if I’ve asked a question like this before, I can’t remember if I have or not.

I’m a 20 year old female, and to be honest, I haven’t had a friend since I was 14–15. The friends I had in high school never included me in anything, would make fun of me, and just weren’t good friends. I was the only one keeping in contact with them, and as soon as I stopped, I never heard from them again.

I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for almost 3 years. I finally broke things off with him about 9 months ago. I feel as if I stayed with him for so long because he has been the only person who would want to spend time with me. Eventually I realized it’s better to be alone than to be with someone who treated me that way, so I broke things off.

In my college classes I’ve tried so hard to get to know people and make friends, but every time I would make plans with them, they would cancel last minute or stand me up.

My parents are divorced. My mom and I are pretty close. When I ask my siblings to hang out, they always say no. My siblings often make fun of me for having no friends, I laugh it off but deep down it hurts. My dad and I are somewhat close, but it definitely feels as if there is a barrier between us. My dads girlfriend and I are close. She’s Fun to be around, but my mom gets sad when I spend time with her (my mom is still madly in love with my dad) and it’s just not the same as having friends my age.

People’s first impressions of me are that I’m really sweet and fun to be around. I’ve heard this from multiple sources, but if so, then why am I always alone? Why does everyone cancel plans, or have no interest in hanging out with me?

I start nursing school in the summer, and I’m hoping I can make some friends then. But what if I don’t? I’m so scared, the more I try to make friends, the more I’m rejected, and the lower my self esteem gets.

I’ve been working out all the time and reading and studying all the time to keep myself from getting too depressed. But I can’t keep living alone…

Have you met anyone like this? What was it that turned you off? Or any ideas what I can do, and what I might be doing wrong?

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12 Answers

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

First, not everyone has lots and lots of friends. Some of us, even those of us who are very good at engaging with other people, only have a select group of ‘friends’. There is a difference between friends and acquaintances. Keep that in mind. Friends are the people who will be there through thick and thin. Those people who hang around in large groups may not have a large group of real ‘friends’.

Why aren’t you making friends? Perhaps without even knowing it you’re sending out signals that put people off. Perhaps you come across as needy, dependent, whiny, negative or something like that. I don’t know if this is true, but if you’re feeling insecure and really want to make friends, it’s possible that you are displaying these kinds of traits. That’s going to put people off. So think about how you interact with people. While their first impressions might be ‘fun and sweet’, is that their enduring impression?

What can you do about it? Don’t try to make friends. Instead, try to participate in social activities where you do meet people. School is a very poor guide of how social you are. School is a minefield in terms of relationships. I didn’t fit in at school. I don’t know that I fit in where I work now. I’ve got people around me I like and care about though. So don’t judge your future success as a human being against how things were at school.

You mentioned you read, you study, you workout. What do you do that brings you into contact with other people? Do you play sports? Do you go to a gym? Are you a member of a book club? A writer’s group? A walking group? A church? Think about your personality and things you love to do, then try to think of group activities you could get involved in that connect with who you are and what you like to do. Volunteer with local charities. You will meet lots of people that way and you’re helping others. The more you get out there and interact with people, the more likely it is you’ll start to make friends.

When you get involved, smile, be happy to be there. Talk to people. Don’t try to be their friend. Just enjoy being with them. Ask them about their lives, why they’re there and get to know them. You’ll be surprised how quickly you start to make some friends. Good luck with it. Don’t be too hard on yourself!

chyna's avatar

When you start nursing school, get involved in any study groups. I feel you will make friends from just being in the same vocation and having that in common with the others.
@Earthbound_Misfit has great advice.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I think there must be a missing piece from this narrative, but I would pointedly ask the people who find you “sweet and fun to be around” why they aren’t living up to their assessment.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

friends are overrated, once you are ok with yourself (which will happen) you’ll realize you don’t have to have anyone else. Then you’ll find like minded people who appreciate you. I have met someone like this…me.

Zaku's avatar

People seem to like you and you’re clearly intelligent. I think you’re probably just comparing your situation to unrealistic social expectations mostly created by television, which are hard to live up to particularly in many modern American settings. People tend to make time to spend with others only for compelling reasons. Many people are flaky and/or distracted by other stuff. They end up having friends whom they work with, live right next to, or have some other common activity with.

People who are very socially-oriented sometimes generate parties and group activities, although these people can also be disappointing, but if you can find such people whom you actually like and get on their lists of people they invite to many things, that can get you into another regular community.

Other activities that meet regularly with many returning people also work – classes, volunteer work, outings groups, interest groups, game groups, etc.

If/when you do find people you really connect with, you and/or they can make the effort to actually spend time together just for the sake of each other. To me, those tend to be the best friends and the main ones worth the time anyway. But sometimes it takes spending time in a variety of groups to meet people.

Overall I think it’s probably not you that’s the problem. Just give it time and don’t be too eager to make friends or join circles that may not be the best for you.

johnpowell's avatar

I think you are the female version of me.

I don’t really have much more to say but I am still alive. I had to put in a lot of work in high school to be included. People liked me but they never thought of me unless they needed gas money.

And I totally get where you coming from. Not much to offer here except that I am 40 years old now and I am a overall happy person.

Cruiser's avatar

It sounds like you are trying hard almost too hard to please everyone else but yourself. You also seem to not want to hurt anyone’s feelings to a fault again by not wanting to do something to hurt anyone’s feelings. You can’t let others control what you really want to do, when you want to do it and with whom. Your comments are also absent of anything fun and interesting you like to do. It may finally be time for you to do things that are fun and interesting for you and not just other people.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Oh, and welcome to the burden of being exceptionally bright. You probably don’t realize it yet but you will. Once you learn to let go of your reliance on others it will come out and you will find you have the potential to do great things. People will seek you out at that point, just be sure you only associate with people who give and take equally.

skfinkel's avatar

I found your statement that you are so “scared” really an important one is this narrative. Fear is never a great place to operating out of. It’s easy to say “don’t be scared” but if you can move away from that emotion, you will be in a better place. I certainly can’t say why you are alone so much, but you need to try and think about this yourself, and think about what is going on that might make this happen. Meanwhile, you are beginning a great and important career, and you will no doubt find one or two people in nursing school to hang out with. That’s all you really need.

Haleth's avatar

Being in an emotionally abusive relationship will totally ruin your social life. It took me like two years to fully reconnect with my old friends and start making new ones.

Depression, negativity, and poor self-esteem also make it harder to meet new people. Making a new friend should be fun and lighthearted, like “hey, we have a thing in common! Let’s hang out sometime!” It’s hard for things to happen that way if you see each potential new friend as your lifeline to happiness. By living this way, you’re placing your happiness in the hands of other people.

You said that you stay busy all the time to avoid being depressed. Can you think of an activity that would actually make you happy? Come up with a few fun things to do on your own, like going to an art museum or taking a cooking class. (Or whatever.) During my lonely times, I would go for long walks in a nature preserve, work on paintings, and find interesting new books to read. Whatever it is that makes you feel happy and engaged, rather than depending on other people for happiness.

The advice on is great for someone in your shoes. It teaches basic social skills and friend-making skills. is also great. It’s designed for making friends and you can join pretty much any group activity on there.

LostInParadise's avatar

Why did your high school friends make fun of you? You don’t have to tell us and you should not put too much stock in it, but maybe their behavior provides a clue as to what is going on.

BosM's avatar

High school is full of cliques, don’t place too much credibility on that experience, while it is important to learn from the past don’t dwell on it. Friends are those with whom we share common interests and values. Do yourself a favor and assess what you like to do and focus on activities that involve groups of people, whether it’s personal or professional.

For example, Nursing is a challenging profession, get involved with study groups at school, work hard, have fun, be yourself and you will develop friendships through this experience that will last a lifetime. Volunteer for charities and meet people that share this interest. If you workout at a gym attend a group class and get to know others who attend.

Take interest in others, people often love to talk about themselves. If you sense common interests and values then friendships will develop naturally. Hang in there, it gets better. Peace, BosM

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