06/25/2012 05:10 pm ET Updated Aug 24, 2012

Friendship Advice: Don't Tell Me To Join a Group

When people complain of having no friends, the conventional advice is often the same -- join a group. But some people are joiners and others aren't. There are alternative ways for non-joiners to meet new people, although it may take some effort to discover them.


Hi Irene,

I am a forty-something woman with no kids. I used to have friends, a life and a career. Then we moved to a rural area for my husband's job (I am in the UK, by the way) and five years on, I seem to have nothing.

I was so desperate I tried therapy, and the only 'friend' I have made is my ex-therapist (different setup than the U.S.; don't panic, I checked her out with professional organization before asking to stay in touch). However, even she is as cold as ice and only contacts me when she feels like it, which is rarely. Kind of sums up the whole area really -- lovely on the surface but so hard to love and will never ever love you back.

Please don't suggest 'joining' groups -- I have tried that many times. Maybe it's just not my path to have close friends. If so, how do I deal with that and be satisfied with very little?




Hi Ella,

There are a few strikes against you that make finding friends more difficult: You live in a rural area, you have changed residences and you are no longer working. Even if it's ethical, making friends with a therapist can be pretty tricky. You started off with her knowing so much more about you than you knew about her and it sounds like she wasn't very forthcoming afterwards. I wouldn't count on your former therapist to change her stripes and become a bestie.

You're not the kind of person who likes groups so let's dismiss that as a source of finding friends. I'm not sure what the answer is in your case but you do need to get engaged in something -- perhaps a part-time job or volunteer position -- some interest that puts you in contact with other people. Are you interested in online forums as a way to meet people that live nearby?

Right now, you seem isolated and unable to easily find friends. So use the time to cultivate your own interests (reading, writing, gardening, working out, etc.) and they will likely lead you to meeting kindred spirits over time. You've made friends in the past so you're an excellent candidate to make more friends in the future.

My best,


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