I don’t have any friends.
Maybe you can relate?
Come to think of it, I’ve never really had any real friends. I had lot of acquaintances because we were thrown together by similar circumstances – school classes, playing in the neighborhood after school, working…
My parents didn’t feel that it was important to teach me how to cultivate healthy friend relationships. They didn’t and don’t have any friends either.
Most of the “friends” I had while growing up destroyed their lives with drugs, sex, and other bad habits – during and after high school. I focused on my education and earned my Master’s degree, despite trying to fit into that destructive world. I guess I just compartmentalized well. While we all grew apart and I lost touch with them, I matured and was able to put the broken pieces of my life back together. Then there was no place for us in each other’s lives anymore.
Perhaps, being an only child and comfortable with myself, I exude a lack of need for others. I’m confident and naturally a leader. I’ve been told I’m intimidating. I had RBF before I even knew it’s a thing.
Some of it is surely my INTJ personality. I’m also a 1/5 Enneagram. I’m a loner.
But now, as a mom with four children whom I feel that I need to teach how to make and keep friends and be friendly, it feels like a weakness that I have no friends.
All the shallow efforts I have wasted over the years…my entire lifetime! Feeling like a Molly Ringwald movies…and watching my kids go through the same things.
Unfortunately, sometimes friends aren’t really friends.
Here’s some history:
The mommy peer pressure is just too much.
I wish I had back all the money I blew through trying to keep up with mommy “friends.”
I should’ve remembered how I felt during Rush Week at university. I have to pay how much to be in a stupid sorority with girls I don’t even like? I remember one girl in a red dress (they were all wearing red dresses!) asked me what I liked to do. I told her, “I like to read.” She beamed a huge smile at me and gushed, “Oh, I love to read too! My favorite author is Danielle Steel.” I froze in horror and gave up on sororities. Money doesn’t buy friends.
I’m pretty simple, low-maintenance.
I’m an Air Force wife. I grew up an Army brat. Several officers’ wives made me feel less-than during our first few years of marriage.
We were pretty isolated, with no family nearby. We had little in common with my husband’s work peers.
So, I completely bought into their attitude of needing more stuff, wearing more jewelry, having the right purses, getting my hair and nails done, hiring a nanny and babysitters so I could go to OSC meetings and socialize.
I was told it would help my husband’s career. Because, you know, that’s my sole worth.
I tried to fit in, believing what those wives told me.
It wasn’t worth it.
I was miserable.
I lost at least three years striving after these unnecessary things.
Three years of putting my babies after my “needs.”
It shouldn’t matter what I look like. I don’t need name-brand makeup, trendy accessories, expensive hair highlights, or fake nails to be a good wife or mom.
No one cares what brand of shoes or purses I have. (If they do care about that, they’re not someone I want to be around.)
My kids don’t care what kind of car I drive. We had our Dodge minivan for almost 10 years and just recently traded it in for a newer model after it started really falling apart and I just couldn’t take it anymore. We’re down to one vehicle next month.
And then, I tried again with a different group of moms when we PCSed to a different base. Failed again. I give up with that whole group idea.
That time at playgroup when one mom with a Pottery Barn-decorated home was begging for sympathy about her mistake of giving her infant 2nd degree burns when she spilled her hot tea on him, but then she then scowled at me so superior and announced to everyone present that she would never leave a 10-year-old child alone.
I never went back to playgroup. I didn’t even know what to say to all that judgment.
When I’ve attended homeschool park or gym time, the other moms barely smile in my direction and never speak to me. They are shielded by their children. The moms of babies and toddlers huddle together. My kids are older now. My teen doesn’t come to park or gym day anymore, so I encourage my younger three to play while I sit on the sidelines with a book, and they stay close together, protecting each other from too many kids who don’t seem to know how to be kind or cooperative. Some moms feel the need to control gym time and organize relays and my kids don’t like that, so we haven’t gone back for a couple weeks.
I’ve analyzed my priorities.
We are hospitable. We have hosted gatherings for church and homeschool, neighbors and coworkers, without ever expecting reciprocation. We’ve sat in an empty house, waiting excitedly for anyone to show up to dinner and birthday parties, because apparently no one RSVPs anymore. I’m tired of stressing out and making so much effort for nothing.
It’s easier for me to be alone than to settle. Recently, the political climate has really brought the negativity out into the open and I have retreated further into my shell to avoid it.
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:19
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
I dislike the position I always seem to find myself in when I’m in a group. No matter with whom and where, I get placed into teacher mode. People ask for advice, question me, talk about their health and troubles. I don’t understand it and it’s exhausting. While I loathe small talk, I also get drained by constantly being bombarded like this.
I don’t have a niche.
There is no village.
I’ve never had a group of friends.
I was a quiet loner all throughout school, crying myself to sleep because I didn’t have any friends. I was never picked by Karen (always the mom) to play house. The boys wouldn’t let me play Legos. I seldom went to birthday parties or sleepovers. Few kids ever came to my house for anything, even when I invited the whole class for my birthday. My mom was the room mom, making the crafts and planning the events and doing the story time. I was never successful at sports, much to my dad’s disappointment.
Lots of kids seemed to fit in, having their niche with no effort.
I told myself that I would blossom when I got older and finally find others who shared my interests and values.
High school was a social nightmare.
College was all go, go, go – working fulltime and classes fulltime and then mental breakdown and near death.
Almost ten years of destructive behaviors.
I didn’t fit in there either. Thank God.
I’m older now, and it all seems even more distant than ever.
My teen daughter can’t find her niche either and she blames me.
She’s my opposite, never meeting a stranger, always friendly and can talk to anyone about anything. But I’ve made her cynical and over-analytical.
Part of me wants to apologize and make amends…and another part of me wants to rage against the system.
We’re transient as a military family. We’ve lived all over for 2-4 years at a time and that makes it difficult to create lasting friendships.
We’re almost used to the plethora of well-meaning, almost-interested barrage of questions and then the blank stares and uncomfortable smiles that don’t reach their eyes as people realize we’ve lived in Hawaii and Germany and Utah. That we’ve traveled all over.
They can’t relate. We can’t relate to the experience of living in the same town for 27 years.
I don’t want someone to mooch off me, either physically or emotionally. I’m not a therapist and while I love to listen and counsel, it gets draining when all someone wants to do is whine and complain all the time. I don’t want to be a babysitter to your kids so you can run off and play, neglecting your duties to your family.
Why can’t I find my place?
I’ve read so many books and blogs and articles about “how to find my tribe.” (BTW, the word tribe is offensive to Native Peoples.)
The authors make it sound so simple. Because for them, it was simple. Which makes me further feel that there’s something wrong with me.
I loathe these trite calls to action about finding my purpose.
There are even online quizzes on finding a niche or purpose.
I’ve been hurt. Yes, I’ve been bullied. Yes, my heart has been hardened.
Yet, I keep trying.
Why don’t I have a group?
I filter my relationships.
People have an obsession with never being at home.
For whatever reason, modern moms feel the need to spend all their time away from home, whether it’s at a paying job, volunteering, social outings, or shopping.
They teach their kids that this is normal by throwing them into every activity they can sign them up for so they’re never home either.
These moms and their kids are all so busy all the time.
We were excluded at our last church because we didn’t participate in Scouts or game hunting. Some of the older lady members excluded me because they assumed and didn’t trust that I could cook for potlucks or plan anything well. So welcoming. Neither my husband nor I are ever asked to be in leadership because it is well-known we move every few years and the terms are usually 3 years.
The older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good… Titus 2:4-5, emphasis mine
Then they complain about their busyness and get sympathetic nods and duck faces from other “busy” moms.
So much for any idea of planning a park meetup or play date or just hanging out for coffee or tea.
Their kids are in school all day, then every afternoon it’s something: Scouts, violin lessons, golf clinic, French tutoring, swim team, gymnastics, or dance.
Even the homeschoolers: they send their kids to enrichment classes or co-op or partial days and extracurriculars at the public school, and it’s the same thing in the afternoons: Scouts, music, language, sports, clubs, lessons.
It’s not worth it to me if you have to schedule a play date or social event with me or my family months in advance. Or cancel at the last minute.
There’s no spontaneity anymore.
People have an obsession with entertainment.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life —is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17
If people aren’t rushing around, going places, and doing things, they’re pursuing mindless entertainment.
What is with these adult coloring books? Is it a cry for help that people are so stressed they need to resort to that comforting hobby we had as kids? The “shut up and color” mentality is killing our creativity. Or is that no one wants to be a responsible adult, so they try to prolong the illusion of childhood by coloring and avoiding?
And what is with these coloring and journaling Bibles? It’s not enough to just read and apply the teachings of the Bible? I’m so tired of seeing all this advertised and bragged about on social media.
I don’t watch the same TV shows or read the same books. I have higher standards. Much of what is popular is just garbage.
We don’t do amusement parks. We just don’t waste our time and money on that. Yeah, I don’t do Disney. That’s an unpopular idea.
I couldn’t care less about sports.
Leisure activities are idols.
I don’t understand the itching to throw the kids into a preschool in order to “socialize” them and “have more time to yourself.” To do what, exactly? I know so many women who have no self-worth as a mother. They get rid of their kids to pursue their own selfish interests.
We don’t spend our money on much entertainment. We travel frequently and eat well at home and seldom buy “stuff.”
Our entertainment: museums, history, culture, cuisine.
I don’t know what to do with people who don’t read or travel.
People have an obsession with food.
Why do so many American women have thyroid issues? Why do so many Americans have weight problems? I think many health and personal problems are exacerbated by eating out in fast food and casual dining restaurants. The quality and nutrition of the food are poor.
Food is an idol for many.
We don’t like fast food or takeout at home either. It helps that we’re a long way from the nearest restaurants. The food would be all cold by the time we got it home anyway.
We cook from scratch almost all the time. I prefer to know exactly what we are ingesting.
I don’t want to go out to eat.
We seldom go out to eat. It’s expensive and the food is seldom worth it. It’s more stress for me to get myself and the kids dressed and out the door, wait at a restaurant, potentially have a rude server or a mistake on my order than to prepare healthy, yummy meals at home. We don’t even really like to eat out on special occasions. We occasionally go out when we travel, but we are very picky and it’s usually just for lunch in order to save money and leave behind the crowds. I read reviews and have a few favorites around the world.
Our kids often get interrogated at church or homeschool events about their food choices. My kids choose for themselves what to eat and drink, based on our conversations and education at home. I don’t interrogate others about their choices, good or bad, but these people argue with us about what we eat or don’t eat!
One local American homeschool mom hasn’t spoken to me since I explained my stance on eating out. For them, it’s entertainment, and that’s their choice.
People have their heads in the sand.
Few people I try to converse with have any real knowledge or understanding of government, popular culture, political issues, history, the arts, classic literature, or anything I feel is important.
Many people don’t even know basic geography.
Too many people get their news from social media and we should all know that all media is biased and tells us only what they want us to know.
I don’t care for small talk.
The last few months leading up to and after the presidential election has brought the crazies out of the woodworks. What before was taboo to be said out loud is now being shouted at strangers on the stree and written loud and proud on social media. We always knew there were people with these views, but to witness it and have to explain the hatred to our children is saddening.
If we stand by, silent, doing nothing, then we are part of the problem.
I don’t have time for shallow people with bigoted or ignorant views.
I feel like a minority.
I’m embarrassed to be white. I’m embarrassed to be American. I’m embarrassed to be middle class. All throughout history, those two things have been signs of forced superiority and it disgusts me that others look at me and don’t really see me, but only see my skin and nationality and assume the worst. We’ve traveled and the attitudes people have about Americans is troubling to me. We’re not all like Fox News portrays!
As a Christian, I often feel looked down on because of my faith. What bewilders me is when other Christians criticize and judge. Their lack of love and knowledge of Jesus saddens me. They too often compromise and have little integrity. I don’t want to have to explain away some Christians’ behavior and life choices to my children. Many of my husband’s co-workers and homeschool moms in our community are shocked that I allow my 16-year-old to read Stephen King novels, watch R-rated movies, get a tattoo, nose and belly button piercings.
They don’t like how I allow my children freedom to learn without grades, without punishments or rewards, with no strict standards. They are bewildered.
How is it any of their business? They feel threatened somehow.
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? Matthew 16:26
As a homeschool mom, I am seldom sought out for friendship by parents whose kids attend school. We might have some things in common, but I wouldn’t know. I understand that I’m usually not free during the day since I’m educating my kids, but there are other times and exceptions. Even in the homeschool community, I don’t have much in common with others because we educate and parent very differently than mainstream families. I have four kids – currently ages 6 (my only son), 9, 10, and 16. I feel discounted by those who don’t have the same or similar family dynamics. People seem indoctrinated and comfortable in sexism and ageism belief systems. There are lots of specific playgroups planned lately, like “8 year old boys.” Why so much exclusion? We’re pretty laid back, don’t do testing, have no real schedule, have a varied curricula, learn year-round. People seem shocked at the things I don’t do.
As a military spouse, we move around a lot and I think many people don’t want to bother investing time in a friendship that might end when we move away. Even with social media to keep in touch easily. And a family we thought were our friends at our last location visited our new city for an entire week and did not even want to meet up to say hi or have a drink or meal together. It was hurtful. And I don’t play Bunko or care about Coach purses.
I have boundaries.
When someone sees the same people every day, they wind up becoming a part of that person’s life. And then they want the person to change. If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own. ~ Paulo Coelho
I’ve lost several friends the last few years because I have boundaries for myself and my family.
Some people were passive-aggressive and unfriended me on Facebook while still seeing me at social functions or even at church weekly. Classy. Mature.
I don’t have many personal contacts on social media. I have extended family and a few people I’ve known since I was very young. Many of them I’ve unfollowed. I don’t want to see what they post. I don’t post much at all. I’m private. I don’t feel the need to prove anything to the world by having 5,000 “friends” on Facebook. I don’t get the trend of friending everyone, even if you’ve never met IRL. It makes no sense to me to be confronted in a public place for not accepting a “friend request.” I actually have only about 30 friends and they’re my family members, a few friends, and past students. It’s a personal choice. Follow my public Facebook page.
I am not responsible for solving people’s personal problems or to reconcile adults who quarrel with each other. I don’t want to be in the middle of any of that. Group chats are not for me. Any emails where people feel the need to “reply all” with ridiculous and childish comments is not anything I want to be involved in.
I protect my children from bullies and especially adults who disrespect children. I don’t want us to be around that kind of negativity.
I have even flat out been told that I am overconfident and too much of a leader and unapproachable and that they are jealous of my abilities. Sorry, not sorry.
I am confident in my life decisions and daily challenges and I won’t apologize for that. I don’t need random affirmation from strangers or acquaintances. I’m not a whiner.
It’s exhausting to “play the game” at social events.
I seldom attend work parties with my husband. The plastered-on fake smiles that don’t reach the eyes, the weak drinks in sweaty palms, the tasteless overcooked food. Networking? Helping my husband’s career? No one cares if I’m there or not. They don’t even notice.
I don’t like the unorganized homeschool holiday or theme parties. My kids have actually requested not to attend anymore.
We don’t attend the church potlucks where we try to guess what’s in this or that and our kids get interrogated about why they won’t eat Cheetos or drink Hawaiian Punch.
I have a couple of friends with whom I interact mostly online. I have actually met them IRL and I think the distance helps us not to irritate each other unnecessarily. I ignore it when they actually want to speak on the telephone or anything like that. We mostly send memes back and forth. Is that all friendship has become?
I can play the game. I don’t have anxiety. But it’s all so stressful.
I just a really great intellectual conversation with my optometrist. I guess I’m a loser.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
Surely, it can’t all be my fault?
Is it pride? What’s wrong with me? Do I have a superiority complex?
We have a family joke that I am sad to say my kids are picking up on: I must just be a deterrent to people, like a magnet repelling everyone. All the memes about being introverted and sarcastic and anti-social? I guess those are about me.
Yes, I know the old adage of “to have a friend, be a friend.” After 40+ years of effort, it gets tiresome to constantly get alienated, ridiculed, passed over, uninvited.
All this being said, it’s sad to have only shallow relationships, acquaintances online, to be a stranger within a community, with only passing hellos and little waves as greetings.
I don’t really like feeling like I’m always on the outside, looking in, but it’s always been this way.
Be careful how far you push me away; I may end up liking it there.
People don’t value real friendships much anymore. The Internet is a surrogate for real social interaction.
I’ve scrutinized my circumstances, attitude, conversations, facial expressions (I do not have a poker face!), body language, triggers, past relationships…and I do make effort to be kind and courteous and friendly to people. With little or no return.
I try to offer grace and compassion to others. I know we are all sinners. I know I am imperfect as well.
I have my husband, children, and Jesus.
So, I use the time that could be taken up with “friends” to focus on our family’s priorities: traveling, cooking, bird watching, gardening, reading, homeschooling, studying scripture and Bible history, traveling, learning about the topics we enjoy.
Perhaps this is a season that will pass. Maybe it’s a stepping stone to somewhere else.
Maybe this is who I am and where I should be. I don’t like the us vs. them mentality. I’m in my second season of life and feel like I’m surrounded by immaturity.
People like me don’t have people. We are the people that people have.