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My teen daughter doesn't have a single close friend

01/06/2011 09:34 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

QUESTION

Dear Irene,

I read another post on your blog regarding a daughter who felt like an outcast. My own daughter was in tears last night because she does not have any close friends. She is the one to seek out the girls; they do not call her or ask her to hang out.

My daughter is beautiful and very intelligent. She is also very outspoken and I think that is what is costing her the friendships. She will call it like it is and holds her friends to high standards. She is not afraid to confront someone and tell them if she knows the person is lying or being too dramatic or whatever. I overheard her talking to one of her friends and she was talking about how "Jen" was giving another kid a hard time. Jen was dissing the kid and my daughter stepped in and said, "Jen, it appears to me that you are the only one who has a problem with him. Why don't you just let it go?" Jen is pretty much a diva and it took some guts to say something like that to her.

My daughter has told me about other times when she's confronted her friends when she feels they are not being true to themselves. I am afraid her friends might think she's a bitch because she's very direct. My daughter holds herself to some pretty high standards and expects others to do the same.

How do I help my daughter without having her compromise who she is and what she believes in?

Signed,
Mom of Lonely Daughter



ANSWER

Dear Mom of Lonely Daughter,

Being outspoken can have its benefits and drawbacks. Just because your daughter has strong opinions, which may in fact be correct, doesn't mean that she needs to express them in ways that come off as hurtful or off-putting.

When she cries about having no close friends, use it as a teachable moment. Try to listen to your daughter and give her some honest feedback. You can praise how pleased you are at her high standards but help her see that not everyone will always meet them. You can also suggest some practical ways she can soften her style.

If you don't feel comfortable doing this yourself (or vice versa), perhaps you could see if should like to have a few visits with a counselor or mental health professional. This is a great time to learn friendship lessons that can last a lifetime.

Hope this helps.

Warm regards,
Irene

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