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Dr. Irene S. Levine

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Friendship Advice: Why Don't I Have Any Friends?

Posted: 07/03/2012 10:17 am

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

I find your blog very interesting and often moving. Sometimes my own circumstances mirror those of others who write to you. I'm 63, retired, happily married and count my blessings. But despite a lot of effort, time, thought and, might I add, money, I have completely failed in building any kind of social circle.

I do try to be a sympathetic listener and thoughtful observer and I love to laugh. My husband and I have entertained hundreds of people in our home in the last 12 years, I worked very hard as a volunteer for a local public institution for 5 years, I've reached out to distant family members and classmates -- all to no avail. No phone calls, no invites, no reciprocity. I feel so frustrated, used and discouraged. Perhaps it would be better to learn how to gracefully accept a state of aloneness. Can you help with that?

Signed,

Karen

ANSWER

Hi Karen,

Many posters on this blog have expressed frustration similar to yours about not being able to connect with friends. You see yourself as friend-worthy (and probably are), try to do all the right things to find friends and keep them, yet haven't been able to achieve mutually satisfying friendships.

Clearly, there are others who want to make friends just as much as you do -- not just on this blog, but all around you. Although this problem is fairly common, there are no easy answers because the reasons for it vary from person to person. Without knowing you, an outsider can only guess. It could have to do with you, your circumstances, or some combination of the two. Perhaps you're not aiming for the right type of person, or maybe there is something you're doing inadvertently that puts people off.

The only way to really delve deeper would be to ask someone whom you know and trust. This could be a perfect role for a friend -- but since that doesn't seem feasible, it might be worthwhile to speak to a mental health professional about this specific problem, maybe even for just a session or two. Hopefully, this person could help you gain more insight. You are certainly not too old to make new friends, and it sounds like you aren't ready to resign yourself to loneliness -- which is a good thing.

One other thought: Be sure to leave the house, at least several times a week, and put yourself in places with other people, even if it means quietly reading a book at the library or taking a walk outdoors. Being at home, thinking about being with others, is especially conducive to feeling alone when you desire connection.

Hope this helps.

Warm regards,

Irene

Prior posts on this topic on The Friendship Blog:

 

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