to feel sad and lonely (friends)

(47 Posts)
Greenkit Sat 20-Apr-13 18:24:37

Probably not AIBU, but you get the most traffic and well, you know...

So I am 42, married, three kids 23, 16 and 15, I work full time (shift work) and I have no friends. There said it. Not one.

I have people I work with, I am an adult instructor with Army cadets and I have people there whom I know etc. But no one I would call a friend, someone who I could go out for a drink with, or invite round for a cup od tea or go to the cinema with.

^ They all do that, and I do go out with them, but I feel like i'm forcing myself on them as I don't actually get asked more tag along.

I'm not a shrinking violet, I can strike up a conversation with anyone. I am a good person, helpful, but not too in your face.

So what do you consider a 'friend' and how many do you have?

Why don't I have any? sad

lauriedriver Sat 20-Apr-13 18:31:45

I'm in the same boat. I work full time but with all men!! I am a nice person, have a partner & one child but I've just never had the opportunity through work to meet friends. I suppose working full time since my child was born hasn't helped much either since I've always had to use childcare to drop her off at school. Mind you going by some of the comments on here I'm kinda glad i don't do the whole school gates thing!!

I have people I say hello to in the street but no one I could pop round to for a coffee. I feel hacked off about it sometimes but I'm hopeful in time I will find a friend(I'm not even greedy, only want the one) :-)

itsnothingoriginal Sat 20-Apr-13 18:37:45

I have a lot of acquaintances but no one I'd really call a close friend. My sister is the closest person to me other than my DH but I'm lucky in the way that he's an amazing friend! Would just be nice to have a good female friend too.

I feel like you in not really understanding what goes wrong. I'm open, friendly and genuine towards people but never seem to develop a good friendship. Maybe it's the way of things these days confused

whitewineforme Sat 20-Apr-13 18:45:26

You sound lovely Greenkit. I think it is generally difficult to make new friends unless it's through work or stuff like baby groups which obviously your DC are a bit old for! Is there anything you're into e.g. running, books etc where you could join a club and get to know new people? A couple of my friends have done this and made new friendship groups. I sometimes think it's a bit like dating when you meet someone who you think could be a potential friend...you have to be a bit forward and ask them if they fancy coffee sometime then take it from there!

Are you sure they don't think of you as a friend? If you appear outgoing and able to chat to anyone, then they probably don't think you're "tagging along" but more that they don't need to invite you specifically as you're always welcome and come along when you're available (hence why they don't necessarily 'ask').

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 20-Apr-13 19:58:06

OP I am 40 and until recently only had one friend...others were living far away....I have accidentaly found some more which is very nice but also unexepected and not sought iykwim...they just came along somehow.

IN order to understand your current situation, you should look at the last time you DID have friends. What happened there? Why didn't they last?

marmite69 Sat 20-Apr-13 20:13:34

I'm the same, no friends, currently sitting on my own with dogs! My dd are grown up
and are moving awaysad I do have a dh but he has a lot of hobbies, which don't involve me!
I work alone so obviously don't meet anyone there! I get very envious when I read about girly holidays etc as I have the time and money but no one to go with.We moved away from the area we went to school in so have no old school friends. I am also quite chatty and sociable but I think if people have established friendship groups they don't feel the urge to include new people.
So OP you are definately not alonesmile

emsyj Sat 20-Apr-13 20:19:45

There are an enormous number of threads like this on Mumsnet, so you are obviously not alone. I've said all this stuff before, but I'll say it again: having friends takes work and you have to be a good friend to have friends. By 'friends' I mean someone you can call and ask to meet for lunch, coffee, drinks or whatever. These social friendships are there for the taking - you just have to be willing to make an effort and if you're invited to something, show up (even if it isn't your sort of thing, even if you have to go on your own, even if you would rather stay at home and watch telly), smile, thank the person for inviting you, say you've had a great time, say it would be nice to do it again - then set up a social event yourself to reciprocate. Having no friends now doesn't mean you will have no friends forever - it's within your control to change this.

Also, it's worth remembering that people with lots of social friends don't necessarily have true friends - and by that I mean a person you could call at 3am and ask for help. If you have one or two people in your whole lifetime who fall into that category, then you are very lucky.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 20-Apr-13 20:20:48

What about craft groups? There are some lovely ones near me and if my DC were older I would join them for sure. They have coffee and cake and make things! Lots of the women there go alone...I mean it's perfect really as you're all there to DO stuff...but you just might make a friend too.

quesadilla Sat 20-Apr-13 20:36:41

I think this is incredibly common these days and very sad. I have also come to realise that having children can make it much harder to have friends. All of my life until having my dd who in now 2 I pretty much took it as read that I had lots of friends. Not just acquaintances but proper, call at 3am friends. I still count myself lucky in that I still have maybe three or four people in this category but I have been shocked by how many and how easily some have fallen by the wayside. In your case it surprises me a bit though as your children are older and I would imagine you had more time. Did you have real friends before having children?

Jestrin Sat 20-Apr-13 20:38:13

I have two friends in the world. I've known them since schooldays. One I did lose touch with but we got in touch again about two to three years ago. I know many people through work or school but they are acquaintances. Like you say, I'm a good person. I just don't seem to fit into their 'cliques' . Sometimes it bothers me and other times not.

exoticfruits Sat 20-Apr-13 20:53:31

Follow an interest- e.g join a book group. Volunteer for things - much easier to chat if you are doing something.

deleted203 Sat 20-Apr-13 21:11:43

I do think this is a growing problem. When I sat down and thought about it, I probably have 2 friends. One is from uni. One is my sister-in-law. I've known both for almost 30 years. And they are the only people I could phone up and say 'I'm pissed off - can I come for a coffee?' Like quesadilla I used to take it for granted that I had lots of friends - I had friends with children the same ages and we used to do lots together when the children were small. Now they are grown into late teens I don't really see the mums anymore. I suppose the main thing we had in common was the fact that we were tied to our children. Somehow finding the time for friendships is difficult - I'll still occasionally phone one for a chat and say, 'We must get together for a really good gossip' and then you realise another 6 months has gone by.

I have lots of colleagues I am friendly with - but we don't socialise together. DH and I don't really have any friends to go out for a meal with - in fact it worries me that he doesn't have any friends locally. His family and friends are 350 miles away and because of his work situation (he is the boss, aged 56, and employs 3 lads in their 20s/30s) he doesn't really get to meet anyone who could be a 'friend'. I'd love him to have someone to go out for a beer with, and he does occasionally bemoan the fact.

I've joined craft groups, etc, and enjoyed them and got on well with the people there. But my contact with them is still limited to meeting up at the actual group - rather than arranging extra outings. I don't know what the answer is, OP, but you are definitely not the only one.

MrsRajeshKoothrappali Sat 20-Apr-13 21:23:10

I don't really have any friends.

Have a close male mate who I chat to on the phone (he lives miles away) and my SiL.

I have anxiety issues/asperger's/OCD and I think I come across as weird - am not sure.

Did have some mates I used to meet for coffee but they ditched me after my recent breakdown. They were dull anyway though so I guess it's not a massive loss but I do get lonely.

Euphemia Sat 20-Apr-13 21:35:33

I don't have any either. sad

My best pal decreased contact after I had DD, and since we moved another 100 miles away from her has made no effort to come to visit, or to take me up on my suggestions that we meet up somewhere.

I work FT, so have no chance to get to know other parents through the school. I also have no time to volunteer.

I have an anti-social DH, so if I want to socialise it's all down to me. I'm never in a workplace long enough to really get friendly with people. sad

Pants, isn't it?

JadeBuddha Sat 20-Apr-13 21:41:12

Oh Greenkit, I was just about to post something similar. My situation is slightly different, but I completely relate to the loneliness.

I have a couple of friends, who I believe are 3am friends, but they both live in London. I have no friends where I live. It really upsets me to see that in black and white.

I try not to let it get to me too much, but it does - especially because of my age, I'm in my late 20s, and I don't even have the excuse of a busy family life because I'm still ttc.

I've always felt that I seemed to have fewer friends than other people, and have always valued '3am friends' over acquaintances. But I lost touch with my few school friends when I moved to uni (they stayed in my home town). I made a few close friends and coursemates at uni, and then I moved abroad for quite a few years, and they all moved to London. I made only one friend abroad, which just seems unbelievable to me. I then came back to my home town. I initially tried to get back in touch with old school friends, but of course they had moved on in. I visit my uni friends a couple times a year, but can't admit how lonely I am here. It's not as if I find it impossible to meet people and make friends, I've made friends before! I started a course and met my DP, and made another friend (who moved away and I lost touch with).

In many ways I'm lucky because I do have a few really great friends who I have kept in touch with (though I know that they've made lots of other friends since, and probably don't see me as as important in their lives as they are in mine). But what I really feel I'm missing is actually the acquaintances - not people to call at 3am, or the people who'd visit you in hospital - but people to go to the pub with, people to gossip with, people to chat to. I'm trying to put this down to my stage of life - I'm in my 20s, I and everyone else I know has moved around a fair bit for work or study, and that makes it hard to keep in touch. But I can't shake the feeling that I've missed the main window for making friends. Everyone's enduring friends seem to be people from school or uni. As far as I can see it gets harder to meet people the older you get. I am either hiding my loneliness well or it is very obvious, because my DP has actually come out and said that he thinks I spend too much time with him and that it would do me good to spend more time with other people. Then I had to come out and say - well who should I be spending time with, and point out that I had no friends in this city. I ended up crying and he was embarrassed/felt sorry for me, which made me feel even worse (sort of). It is affecting my future plans/esteem to the extend that I don't ever want to get married, or at least try to have a wedding, as I would be embarrassed by my lack of friends. My DP has a squad of friends and I'd just feel terrible to invite a handful of people compared to his 60+ Some of his friends have started having babies now and I see them getting loads of love and support and attention (and flowers and gifts!) from friends, and I feel that no one will do this for me beyond my family and DP.

I have tried to do things like take classes to make friends, but it hasn't really worked - though I have lots of hobbies now... It isn't helped by the fact that I work at home at the moment. I am hoping that when I am upduffed then I will meet lots of lovely new mummies looking for mutual support and may find some new friends there. I'm also hoping that I can make new friends when my work situation changes (and am even considering changing my field of work just so I have a chance to make new friends, I'm that desperate). But behind that is the worry that I'm still going to feel embarrassed about my lack of 'real' friends when I meet new people I get on with.

It's the lack of female friends I feel especially, I think. red if other ladies there felt the same as me - missing real female friends. I feel that there's a special type of friendship between ladies that have grown up together, had their teenage dramas together, negotiated their 20s, careers and relationships together. I know that I will never have that now, no matter how many new friends I might make. I was on the salihughes facebook group and when she moved to a new forum there was this big online celebration of (virtual) female friendship, and I wondered if they all felt the same.... are long female friendships like this more of a cultural ideal than a real thing? Am I pining for something that doesn't even typically exist?

I'm sorry I've splurged all this on your thread, Greenkit, but I was just about to get it off my chest! Even writing it down has made me realise that I miss the company of acquaintances/social opportunities more than a lack of '3am friends'.

What, if you don't mind me asking, is your history of friendships like? Did you have friends before you started a family? Are there people you've lost touch with?

DoTheBestThingsInLifeHaveFleas Sat 20-Apr-13 21:58:51

Hello guys, you all sound lovely. I have/had (??) a number of good friends from school and uni, but TBH in the last couple of years (in my mid thirties) we have all grown apart. I now have two 3am friends, and about 3 really good friends, who I rarely see, but it doesnt matter becasue when we do, it's like it was yesterday. The rest however, have just taken a different path to me and I don't want to follow their lifestyle. I think all this is a normal part of growing up/older. I am it the same situation that I don't want to get married (am engaged) as I dont want to have to invite all the old lot who cant behave themselves, but also dont want to deal with the fallout of not inviting them, as understandably they may be hurt. But anyway, I totally understand how you all feel, as I was in this situation all through school until the last year and then I ended up accepting friendship from anyone who would offer it, and then tried to be someone I wasn't just to retain it and not be lonely. So I think what I am saying is, one 3am friend is worth 5000 going down the pub friends...
Would mumsnet local help us all meet new people?????

CocoaBeanPlease Sat 20-Apr-13 22:01:09

When I moved to London a few years ago, I certainly felt the same. I moved to be with my DH, so I had him, but other than that I had no family or friends in the UK. I would go out for drinks with colleagues after work, but there was no one I really clicked with (and most were men). I did an evening class, but there again, didn't really find someone who's company I really enjoyed.

I think the person above who compared it to dating was right. In the end, I posted an ad online (I used Gumtree which had a Friends category for postings). I lurked there for a while, but got fed up with not seeing exactly what I was looking for, and then decided I might as well post myself as I knew what I wanted. I got lucky and ended up finding a small group of like-minded women whom I have now been friends with for the last 6 years.

I think the main thing about the ad is it allowed me to drastically widen my search space. Just like finding a partner, the chances of finding someone on the same wave length (and open to a new relationship themselves) is really small when you only have your work colleagues or a few classmates to pick from.

itsnothingoriginal Sat 20-Apr-13 22:11:25

What do you do if you've tried setting things up like book groups, drinks and coffees and still you can't make it happen with 'friends'? Do you just give up and accept defeat?

MrsRajesh - can't believe your friends did that - how hurtful sad

wonderingagain Sat 20-Apr-13 22:22:58

OP what makes you think you are just being asked to tag along?

Sometimes you think you haven't got any friends but you are just not seeing it. Could that be the case?

I sometimes feel alone even though I have friends and people to call on, I sometimes deep down don't want to call them because I don't like people to think I'm needy.

MrsRajeshKoothrappali Sat 20-Apr-13 22:53:22

Nah, is the kind of people they are.

Very shallow, only give if they can get something back, etc.

I wrote about one of them in relationships because she's pretty toxic - only wants to be around people she can feel superior to.

I'm better off without them really.

But sometimes it would nice to have peeps to chat to. Is why I spend a lot of time on here.

b4bunnies Sun 21-Apr-13 02:00:11

i have no friends. not one.

adults don't. most children don't. its a fallacy. post, and move on grin

Greenkit Sun 21-Apr-13 07:06:20

Thank you so much for all your responses, without sounding a bit mean, its good to know im not the only one.

TBH since I have left school, im not sure I have ever had any 'friends' I try and be a good friend but tend to be used and dumped.

I dunno, maybe I should make more effort with the people who are around me?

LookingForwardToMarch Sun 21-Apr-13 07:33:46

Also billy no mates here sad

I had a few friends that I spent all my time with a few years ago. But eventually realised I didn't want to carry on with that lifestyle (ashamed to say it but drugs)

A few clean years later and just having had dd1 ( she's 9 weeks smile I realised I had no proper mates anymore.

Greenkit Sun 21-Apr-13 07:54:19

I am at work at the moment so can only put a few snatched words down. I will read and have a think.

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