How do you make (and keep?) friends? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 08-02-2011, 10:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not sure where else to put this, but I wanted to hear from you mammas, how do you make friends?  And once you have friends, how do you keep them?  How do you be a good friend that people want to be friends with?

 

I always felt like I had a lot of friends growing up.  I was thin, fairly attractive and very easy going.  I was always very confident and made friends easily. Our family was fairly wealthy and we had a lot to "offer" (nice house, pool to entertain in, a cottage to invite friends to, a car to drive friends around, etc.).  I think somewhere along the line my self-worth became tied to what I could physically share and/or pay for.

 

However, fast forward to today - I am in my 40's, very overweight, rosacia on my face (so not so attractive anymore), just coming out of a very verbally abusive marriage, self esteem at all all time low, and I have no friends.  Friends from high-school turn down invitations to get together and have for years, but they have all kinds of postings and pictures on Facebook about all the other friends they seem to be getting together with and no matter how far in advance I suggest getting together, they always have someone else they are busy with, (or they cancel at the last minute and I find out they got together with other friends).

 

My sister, who was always very shy and didn't have a lot of friends growing up has a few very good friends now that she sees regularly and that she can rely on.  I'm not very close to my sister or mom.

 

Two women that I considered friends, that my husband and I have been friends with for nearly 10 years, we travelled with, our kids were friends etc. basically abandoned me when I told them my husband and I were separating, which really hurt since I felt like they weren't really my friends after all but only wanted to be friends with a "couple" (they are not friends with my ex either).  I haven't seen them in a year.

 

I joined a local moms group and had several get togethers with other moms, but none of them want to get together again.  I've made meals for some of the new moms, I've organized donations for a single mom who's husband left her penniless and pregnant and with 3 other kids.  I try really hard to be positive, friendly, not talk AT ALL about my relationship with my husband or anything negative.  I offer to entertain at my home, which is large with a beautiful yard.  Nobody wants to come back after the first visit.  It's like after people meet me, they don't want to be my friend.  I feel like it's either because I am fat (I'm about 50 lbs overweight), I try too hard (I make nice snacks and make sure everyone has a drink, I ask people questions about themselves, make sure my house is clean, etc....).

 

I sometimes wonder if people think I'm snobby b/c I live in a big house in a nice neighbourhood (I earn very good money) and most of them live in tiny houses in other areas.  But most of the women in my area are very snobby, blonde bombshells who are trophy/tennis wives that I cannot relate to at all.

 

I just don't know what I'm doing wrong, or how to go about making friends.  Entering single-mom hood I really, really need a support network and I literally have nothing.  I truly feel like the only person who cares about me in this world is my dad, but I only see him once or twice a year.

 

How do you make a good friend, and how do you keep a good friend?  How do you be a good friend?  I want friends that would support me if I'm down, be there when I need them and I clearly don't have that, I don't have anyone.  Literally.  I'm not making this up.

 

Any advice is appreciated. How did I end up 43 without a single friend? :(

 

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#2 of 29 Old 08-02-2011, 11:09 PM
 
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to have a friend, you have to BE a friend. 

you would start focusing on what you can do for THAT person, not what they can do for you. people universally love to be listened to. work on listening to others with empathy but without judgment. 

it's not about being skinny or overweight, attractive or not. it's about making a connection that the other person (and you) deems valuable and important.


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#3 of 29 Old 08-02-2011, 11:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks ElliesMomma.  I feel like I try to do that - when one of my friends that I've known since high school was sick in the hospital, I offered to go over and clean her house for her, I also have offered to watch her kids on several occasions so she can have a break, and I've invited her and/or her husband over for dinner on many occasions.  I've invited several friends to a cottage we rented, all refused.

 

Another friend's husband was in the hospital, I called and offered to get groceries for her or watch her kids or cook her some meals - I said 'just let me know what I can do to help".  She said she didn't need help, but then later when I attended her 40th birthday I heard all about how these other friends had come down to watch her kids, help her out etc.  I was almost hurt that she didn't want my help.

 

Another friend who was in a bind for daycare, (one of our "couple" friends) I have offered on numerous occasions to help her out with transportation or watching her kids, but she declined. I brought her soup one time when she was really sick and couldn't leave the house.

 

I am a busy working (pretty much single) mom and so I know I am not there 100% of the time, but I always try to at least call and say I'm thinking about them and ask how they are.  If I haven't heard from them in a while I will call and say I'm thinking about them and wondered how they are, did they want to get together.  They decline.

 

I try really hard to listen and ask questions.  Maybe I say "I know how you feel, that's just like me / my situation..." too much?

 

I always thought I was a good person but between my DH and my lack of friends I am not so sure anymore.

 

Maybe I offer when I should just show up with food, groceries, to clean the house etc.?  Will people ever say "sure, please XYZ"?

 

Should I send cards to say I'm glad we're friends?  Should I call their kids (whom I don't really know) on their birthdays?  I just don't know what I'm doing wrong...

 

I just wanted to add also, I did something for every single one of my "friend's" 40th birthdays, including organizing a huge event for one of them, and attending every single one of their 40th bday parties, even when it meant I had to go alone and didn't know anyone else there.  Only ONE of these people did anything for my 40th (my DH and sister and mom did nothing), and what the one person who did something did, was just say "why don't you plan something for your 40th and I'll come...".  So we went out to dinner.  She was the one I had planned the huge party for and she kept saying she wanted to do something for me b/c I had done something for her, like it was an obligation.  I just feel like I am trying to be a friend and nobody wants me as a friend...

 

 

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#4 of 29 Old 08-03-2011, 12:37 AM
 
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And once you have friends, how do you keep them?

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#5 of 29 Old 08-03-2011, 09:28 AM
 
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hug.gif  What you describe sounds really painful and lonely. I'm sorry.

 

There are a couple things that came to mind:

 

The only thing you mention which I think may have something to do with it is, if you are very rich with a really nice house, where everything is very neat and clean, with expensive dishware and furniture, etc etc. etc.....that could be intimidating to someone who is middle-class or poor, whose house is a wreck and who uses all mismatched plates, etc etc. KWIM? I would feel slightly put-off in that situation, only because it might make me feel less-than, or remind me what a small, messy house I live in. Honestly, most of my friends are the same socio-economic class I am (I guess people do tend to stay in their own "class", for the most part). I do have one friend who is rich as God, and I always feel kinda jealous of all her beautiful things and home and jacuzzi and steam room and and and....you get the picture. I wouldn't not be friends with her because of it, but it's definitely there.

 

That said, I don't believe that's the cause of your problem. And I can't really say what it is, but perhaps it's something going on in you that people pick up on. Are you needy, even if you try very hard not to show it? Others can pick up on energy more than we realize, and it could be people sense your loneliness and desperation. I don't know you and can't know you from one thread here, but have you ever taken a deep look inside of you? Have you ever done any therapy? I am not saying you necessarily need therapy, but it can be a wonderful way to get to know yourself better and maybe heal the parts of you that are reaching out for others and actually pushing them away. I am not by any means blaming you. This is not your fault, and there's nothing wrong with you. I hope this comes across right, what I mean is that often the hurt parts of us are what reach out and desperately need others, and yet paradoxically that is what puts other people off. Maybe it;s time to take some space for yourself and doing things you love and finding fulfillment within yourself, so when you approach others for friendship, it is out of a desire to share your own riches (inner riches I mean), not out of neediness or wanting something from them. Does that make sense?

 

....and of course all of that could be wrong. Please ignore if it doesn't ring a bell. It was just what came to mind reading your post.

 

And FWIW I find it can be really hard to make new friends as an adult. I live in a foreign non-English speaking country. I've been here for 8 years now, and only in the last couple years have I started being able to make friends. Maybe what I said above is only a projection of my own situation, because I did indeed have to overcome my own inner blockages in order to feel more comfortable socializing (esp. in another language) and open myself up to new people.

 

I hope some of this helps. I wish you the best of luck and I hope you can do whatever it takes to attract some good new friends into your life.


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#6 of 29 Old 08-03-2011, 10:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by monkeybum View Post

 

I try really hard to listen and ask questions.  Maybe I say "I know how you feel, that's just like me / my situation..." too much?

 

Some people really don't like it when they are trying to share their problems and the person they are sharing with tries to compare to their own situation.  It feels like one-upmanship.  Instead, try just listening and offer your sympathies.

 

I always thought I was a good person but between my DH and my lack of friends I am not so sure anymore.

 

I'm so sorry you feel this way.  You sound like a good person to me.  You may just have not met the right potential friends yet.

 

Maybe I offer when I should just show up with food, groceries, to clean the house etc.?  Will people ever say "sure, please XYZ"?

 

I wouldn't just show up at someone's house.  That might come across as pushy or imposing.  It's so kind of you to want to help people, but when the effort is never reciprocated, it may just be better to offer your sympathies and say that you are willing to help out.  Leave the ball in the other person's court.

 

Should I send cards to say I'm glad we're friends?  Should I call their kids (whom I don't really know) on their birthdays?  I just don't know what I'm doing wrong...

 

I just wanted to add also, I did something for every single one of my "friend's" 40th birthdays, including organizing a huge event for one of them, and attending every single one of their 40th bday parties, even when it meant I had to go alone and didn't know anyone else there.  Only ONE of these people did anything for my 40th (my DH and sister and mom did nothing), and what the one person who did something did, was just say "why don't you plan something for your 40th and I'll come...".  So we went out to dinner.  She was the one I had planned the huge party for and she kept saying she wanted to do something for me b/c I had done something for her, like it was an obligation.  I just feel like I am trying to be a friend and nobody wants me as a friend...

 

I think you are trying too hard.  I can't imagine how it must feel to think that your friends have all deserted you, but try to think of it as their loss.  Step back, regroup, and don't push it.  Don't go out of your way and spend time and money for parties for people who you aren't that close to.  Honestly, that may come across as a little desperate.  Your current friends don't sound like true friends.  That's terrible, but it's their loss.  Time to find new, true friends.  Try some Meetup.com groups, where you can meet others with similar interests.  

 

I wish you well, and I'm very sorry you are going through this.



 


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#7 of 29 Old 08-03-2011, 10:30 AM
 
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Are your kids in sports or activities?  Because it seems my friends' lives are totally dictated by whatever activities their kids are in.  They are baseball moms in the spring and soccer moms in the summer and football moms in the fall, or they are dance moms or swim moms or whatever.  Their friends - or at least, the people they spend the most time with - are the parents of other kids in their sport.  I think that's just how it is now.

 

 

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#8 of 29 Old 08-03-2011, 10:04 PM
 
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Are your kids in sports or activities? Because it seems my friends' lives are totally dictated by whatever activities their kids are in. They are baseball moms in the spring and soccer moms in the summer and football moms in the fall, or they are dance moms or swim moms or whatever. Their friends - or at least, the people they spend the most time with - are the parents of other kids in their sport. I think that's just how it is now.


I agree with this. Many parents are stretched thin & extra time is hard to come by. IME, my most recent friendships have been developed at kid related activities - playdates, school activities, etc. Can you try some new community groups? Maybe school related committees, etc? After repeated playdates, birthdays, school events, i have developed close friendships with several moms. Or, other groups of people with similar interests - a pottery class, if that's your thing.
For me, keeping friends often seems to involve sharing experiences. The more experiences I share with an individual, the closer I feel. For some friends, going too long without a shared experience has caused the friendship to drift apart. Making time for that person, whenever possible, helps keep my friendships strong.
I also agree that relaxing about the issue will probably attract more people, too. We're all naturally more attracted to relaxed, happy people. I might try to think of it a little like dating - you'll meet quite a few "duds" before you find someone you "click" with. It's a process and there are bound to be some setbacks along the way. In the meantime, there's always MDC - so many kind people here ready to offer support!
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#9 of 29 Old 08-03-2011, 10:34 PM
 
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hug.gif

i can relate.  i learned a little lesson about this at my front door the other night.  I stepped out and was standing on my front porch.  This cat came out of the woods behind the neighbor's house across the street and started walking up his driveway.  I was watching him, and when he saw me, he meowed and then RAN in a full charge across the street and up on my porch.  It seemed so weird that I instantly backed away and closed the door, repulsed, thinking he might be rabid or something.  Then I realized he was not rabid and was just being (overly) friendly and I did go back out and make friends with him.  But I was reflecting on that and wondering if I ever seem like that when I am trying to make friends!  

 

like someone else said, it is much better to just relax and let things happen.

 

also, don't take anything personally.  I am SURE that many of the refusals you have received were NOT because the people didn't want to spend time with you, but just because they were busy.  I know several mamas who I like a lot, and i think they like me as much, but we just never seem to get together because we are so busy with our families.  Actually I decline almost every invitation I receive, just because I don't really like going out and prefer to entertain at my own house.

 

If you are looking for a friend to be a person who will emotionally support you, then you may be "turning off" a lot of people who could be your friends.  If someone tries to befriend me who seems to need a lot of energy from me, it feels like a burden that I don't want to take on!  That is not to say that I don't help my friends and give them energy!  But some people are just too needy, and i'm not trying to imply this about you, just saying.

 

After my marriage broke up, I was feeling very alone, and had no friends, myself.  My life was so broken and shattered and i was such an emotional wreck that I could not have been a friend to anyone.  So I spent my energy being a friend to myself and growing and learning and becoming a better person, and this is nothing anyone could have done for me.  If I had spent my time and energy in pursuing new friendships at that time, it would have been at the expense of my personal growth and my son.  Now that I have been through that rough patch of life, I am stronger and wiser and much better equipped to be a good friend, and so now friends have come into my life, naturally, without my seeking them out.


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#10 of 29 Old 08-03-2011, 11:42 PM
 
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I moved here 7 years ago.  i have a pretty decent network of friends and acquaintances.  my closest friends i met from lll, AP playgroup and work.  I have also met people though facebook. 


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#11 of 29 Old 08-04-2011, 03:59 AM
 
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In the meantime, there's always MDC - so many kind people here ready to offer support!


Which reminds me, I forgot to mention:

I have met a couple friends through these forums. People who live in my city, who are also doing AP/NFL parenting with kids similar ages to mine. We meet up regularly for playdates and for us moms to socialize.

Have you checked your Finding Your Tribe local area forum and seen if there's any MDC mamas near you that you could meet with?

And even if not, you can always build online friendships. Not the same, I know, but it's something....


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#12 of 29 Old 08-04-2011, 04:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Mammas.  I wondered too if somehow I'm coming across as too needy without realizing it.  Kind of like when you are dating, if a guy seems "desperate" it's a turn off.  I like the suggestion of sports/teams, and I guess I've found that either my kids act up, cry, whine, complain (my older son is a very sore loser and is very embarassing at most team sports - but surprisingly is not like this if STBX-DH is not around...) and I feel like other parents get turned off, and/or my STBX-DH has struggled with depression and anxiety and has basically withdrawn socially for the past few years, and I feel like other "normal" families don't see us as a family to be friends with.  I do find most people I meet are married and if I invite people over for playdates, their husbands come and then my husband spends the whole time talking about his problems or in his room, and my kids spend the whole time acting up...I just feel like I'm not the most desirable friend based on my family right now, YKWIM?

 

And I know my kids are having issues b/c of what my husband and I are going through, and I hope things will get better for them (and not worse as we go through separating).  But I feel like they are "those kids" who people don't want their kids to be friends with. :(

 

I guess back to my original question, I do feel like I have some superficial friends, but nobody that I can actually turn to now that my marriage is ending and I am in need of a good friend.  Nobody's shoulder to cry on or to come over when I'm having a panic attack that my marriage is ending.  Nobody to bring me soup if I'm sick in bed and nobody to help out if I'm struggling as a single mom.  Nobody to just talk to about how I'm feeling.  I just really have no support network and don't know what happended to get me here when I thought some of these people were my friends and now I feel like they've deserted me in my darkest hour.  I just wondered, for those who HAVE good friends you know you could lean on in such a situation and who you know will be there for you through thick and thin, what do you do on a regular basis to maintain that friendship and why are they there for you?

 

 

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#13 of 29 Old 08-04-2011, 05:30 AM
 
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Monkeybum, I am very sorry for your situation and the feelings of sadness and loneliness you are having.

 

Actually, I do not believe that many people have this sort of network you are looking for. I'll answer your questions below...

 

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Originally Posted by monkeybum View Post

Thanks Mammas.  I wondered too if somehow I'm coming across as too needy without realizing it.  Kind of like when you are dating, if a guy seems "desperate" it's a turn off.  I like the suggestion of sports/teams, and I guess I've found that either my kids act up, cry, whine, complain (my older son is a very sore loser and is very embarassing at most team sports - but surprisingly is not like this if STBX-DH is not around...) and I feel like other parents get turned off, and/or my STBX-DH has struggled with depression and anxiety and has basically withdrawn socially for the past few years, and I feel like other "normal" families don't see us as a family to be friends with.  I do find most people I meet are married and if I invite people over for playdates, their husbands come and then my husband spends the whole time talking about his problems or in his room, and my kids spend the whole time acting up...I just feel like I'm not the most desirable friend based on my family right now, YKWIM?

 

And I know my kids are having issues b/c of what my husband and I are going through, and I hope things will get better for them (and not worse as we go through separating).  But I feel like they are "those kids" who people don't want their kids to be friends with. :(

 

I guess back to my original question, I do feel like I have some superficial friends, but nobody that I can actually turn to now that my marriage is ending and I am in need of a good friend. 

 

I have been a single mom of 2 for something like 10 years now and I have noticed that it is more difficult to keep or make good friends while I am single than when I am partnered. Like you I have superficial friends but the good friends are scarce.

 

Nobody's shoulder to cry on or to come over when I'm having a panic attack that my marriage is ending. 

 

I have ONE friend to cry on her shoulder but I know that she would prefer that I do it on the phone rather than in person because she is also busy with her life. If things are really bad, she would come to see me but I am pretty sure that it shouldn't be more often than once in a while.

 

Nobody to bring me soup if I'm sick in bed and nobody to help out if I'm struggling as a single mom. 

 

This same friend would definitely not look after me if I was sick in bed, maybe call me to ask how I am but not looking after me or he helping me if I am struggling. I have even my parents close by, they are good, supportive and caring people, but they neither would bring me soup or help out very much, maybe take the boys for a couple of hours but that's it.

 

Nobody to just talk to about how I'm feeling.  I just really have no support network and don't know what happended to get me here when I thought some of these people were my friends and now I feel like they've deserted me in my darkest hour.  I just wondered, for those who HAVE good friends you know you could lean on in such a situation and who you know will be there for you through thick and thin, what do you do on a regular basis to maintain that friendship and why are they there for you?

 

I THOUGHT I had this sort of good friends before and I went through thick and thin with them, generally being there for them if they needed an ear, talk through their stuff hours and hours, helping them with seperations, helping them moving, finding out information for them, stuff like that, but in the end when I needed some support I felt left alone. When this happened to me, I was shocked, sad, disappointed, bitter... but with time I made peace with the reality and got used to count on myself, to look after myself and to PAY for support like e. g. babysitters, order food while sick, etc. (as far as I could find the money). I imagine this is not what you wanted to hear, I only wanted to share my experience and that it gets much much better with time, these feelings of loneliness seem to fade. hug2.gif

 



 

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You sound very very lonely.  Sending you a hug2.gif

To me it sounds like you are looking not so much for friends, but for family.  When I am sick it is my mother or sister who help with food, the house, my kids.   Is there any way you can make your family bonds stronger?

I am also a big believer in therapy, I have learned so much on how to deal with my mother, to be able to take the bad with the good and have a decent relationship, especially as she is getting older.

 

-Melanie

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#15 of 29 Old 08-04-2011, 08:23 AM
 
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 just coming out of a very verbally abusive marriage, self esteem at all all time low, and I have no friends.

 

....Two women that I considered friends, that my husband and I have been friends with for nearly 10 years, we travelled with, our kids were friends etc. basically abandoned me when I told them my husband and I were separating, which really hurt since I felt like they weren't really my friends after all but only wanted to be friends with a "couple" (they are not friends with my ex either).

 

 

hug2.gif  I'm wondering if when you are married, it was hard to maintain friendships with women who weren't in couples that you could hang out with. It's really common in abusive relationships for the the abuser to act in ways that isolate the victim. I'm wondering if part of the lack of friends right now is aftermath of your marriage, and says more about that sad chapter in your life than it says about YOU as a person.

 

Having watched other couples for years (I'm 46) I think it's very common for some married people to freak out and dump friends when their marriages end, it's almost like at some level they fear that marital problems are contagious. It's easier for some people to just not look at reality than to stay present with someone who is going through what they consider a nightmare.

 

There was recently a thread on Personal Growth about making friends, and I typed up some long posts for it. We've moved several times for my DH's job, so I've re-created a set a friends over and over. It CAN be done! There are wonderful people everywhere, and many of them are open to friendship. thumb.gif  (I moved to this city a year ago, and tonight I'm going to an art film with a friend, and tomorrow I'm meeting a different friend for lunch!)

 

The extra piece of advice have specific to your situation is to get into counseling or a support group or something. First, figuring out how to truly let go of all the pain you are carrying around will allow you more peace and even happiness. Second, when we need to process stuff but aren't, it puts a burden on hew friendships.   Good luck!


http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1321322/how-do-you-make-friends-as-a-stay-at-home-schooling-mom-details-please

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#16 of 29 Old 08-04-2011, 08:44 AM
 
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Thanks Mammas.  I wondered too if somehow I'm coming across as too needy without realizing it.  Kind of like when you are dating, if a guy seems "desperate" it's a turn off.  I like the suggestion of sports/teams, and I guess I've found that either my kids act up, cry, whine, complain (my older son is a very sore loser and is very embarassing at most team sports - but surprisingly is not like this if STBX-DH is not around...) and I feel like other parents get turned off, and/or my STBX-DH has struggled with depression and anxiety and has basically withdrawn socially for the past few years, and I feel like other "normal" families don't see us as a family to be friends with.  I do find most people I meet are married and if I invite people over for playdates, their husbands come and then my husband spends the whole time talking about his problems or in his room, and my kids spend the whole time acting up...I just feel like I'm not the most desirable friend based on my family right now, YKWIM?

 

And I know my kids are having issues b/c of what my husband and I are going through, and I hope things will get better for them (and not worse as we go through separating).  But I feel like they are "those kids" who people don't want their kids to be friends with. :(

 

I guess back to my original question, I do feel like I have some superficial friends, but nobody that I can actually turn to now that my marriage is ending and I am in need of a good friend.  Nobody's shoulder to cry on or to come over when I'm having a panic attack that my marriage is ending.  Nobody to bring me soup if I'm sick in bed and nobody to help out if I'm struggling as a single mom.  Nobody to just talk to about how I'm feeling.  I just really have no support network and don't know what happended to get me here when I thought some of these people were my friends and now I feel like they've deserted me in my darkest hour.  I just wondered, for those who HAVE good friends you know you could lean on in such a situation and who you know will be there for you through thick and thin, what do you do on a regular basis to maintain that friendship and why are they there for you?

 

 



Do your kids have any close friends whose parents might be potential friends?  I made a few friends with other moms from my son's kindergarten class.

 

As far as someone to come over to help you through a panic attack or bring you soup in bed - I have several very close friends, like family, and wouldn't think to ask any of them to do those things.  They certainly wouldn't offer, as they have their own lives, kids, jobs, etc.  My husband and I both had strep throat recently and one friend who lives close offered to bring us medicine or food if we needed it, but we were ok and I wouldn't have wanted HER to get sick.  Even when I spent 3 weeks in the hospital on bedrest, I only had 1 friend come visit.

 

I *did* recently bring soup to a sick friend however.  We both have toddlers so I know how hard it is to parent when you're sick, and I didn't have anything else to do that day.  It's not something I would normally think to do though.

 

My point is that in this day and age, the things that you describe as being friendship are above and beyond and likely more something a lifelong best friend would do for another.

 

I think the counseling suggestion is a good one.  I also think that finding a local support group might be a good resource for you.  You are at a low point right now but it WILL get better!


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#17 of 29 Old 08-04-2011, 01:32 PM
 
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i've been thinking about this for a while trying to figure out how to respond.  i've been through some pretty lonely friendless periods and i've also been in cycles where i have lots of friends to hang out with.  i've also been in a very long term emotionally and verbally abusive relationship (not my current relationship, my dh is wonderful). 

what i noticed about your post: 

you seem to tie lots of things to your weight.  (personally i am fat positive and i do not believe that weight changes who you are but having lived through weight issues myself i do have some observations.  if they are irrelevent to you please ignore them as i am analyzing myself - since i don't know you!) 

you mention having friends while thin and wonder if you're not making friends because of your weight now. 

when i was in an abusive relationship, one of the things that i have come to see, in retrospect, was that i put on excess weight to try to passively end that relationship.  i made a barrier, which was my size, that kept the person in this relationship from being attracted to me.  it also served to insulate me from having to form romantic or sexual relationships with other people too (not that large people aren't sexy or loveable.  but that it became for me an excuse to not have to bother.. i was rejecting myself instead of seeking companionship and risking rejection) if that makes sense. 

you are also aware that your self esteem is very low.  that's where i was then, too, and that was also when i had no friendships. 

i had to process the loss of relationship and work through why the relationship turned abusive and why i stayed so long. 

i decided to become strong and self reliant-- as a single person, there was nobody to cut my grass or help me fix my plumbing.  i either had to do it myself or figure it out.  i wanted to make my body strong too-- i didn't want weight loss to be a goal because i don't really believe in weight loss = beauty, you know?  but i did want to be able to move my freaking couch around the living room. 

so i concentrated on me for a while.  i figured some things out, got stuff on track.  then after healing my body and some of the injury from the relationship i started thinking about my interests.  all that stuff is super easy to do if you're single.  i found some organizations where i could put my energies. 

what i did then, and what you may want to try is that i shifted my perceptions of what friendship can mean.  i would go to a place to do an activity and hang out.  i would see the group of people regularly and then all of a sudden they were my friends. 

i think what nitenicole said about you trying too hard might be true.  you don't have to have one-on-one time with somebody to be friends.  just go to the mom's group you mentioned and keep going!  you're going to be a familiar face and people will grow to know you. 

friendship's not like dating, and it seems to me (b/c i have been there) that you're looking to try to fit a friend into a relationship mode.  you want somebody to fill your nights up and for folks with kids, it's just not possible to be that.  it sucks to be lonely.  but you can keep going out, find some other groups and classes and just show up.  work on YOU first, too.. because you are, even if you don't realize it, damaged from an abusive relationship and you have to like yourself first.  you really do.  find those things you're good at and make a list of your positive qualities.  things that are your strengths.  remind yourself of those every single day. 

hope this helps a little. 


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#18 of 29 Old 08-04-2011, 02:49 PM
 
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Hildare's post above is very good. I also agree with the PP who mentioned that this sounds like it has a LOT to do with your husband and your relationship.

 

Reading your recent post, I was reminded of this guy I was with for a couple years, almost 20 years ago. He was very depressed and somewhat anti-social. He was emotionally abusive and kept me from having my own friends or social life. There were people who liked me and would've wanted to be my friend, but were just put off by him, in addition to him actually not wanting me to have my own friends. As soon as we broke up and after I was really done with him, all of those people became my friends. It was only in retrospect I saw how much he was holding me back (he never directly told me I couldn't go out or have my own friends, his tactics were more manipulative). I know this is not your situation, but when you described your husband, I just had to remember this ex of mine because it feels like the same kind of energy.

 

I know if I had a potential friend whose husband was always moping around and complaining when I went over, I would certainly be avoiding meeting up with them.

 

I think once you are separated from your husband, and give it some time to heal and time to work on yourself and your interests, you will find that several new people flow into your life.


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#19 of 29 Old 08-05-2011, 11:25 AM
 
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OP, I have been in your shoes, and know how hard it is to rebuild your life as a single parent after being in an abusive, controlling marriage.  Honestly, it took me several months to just learn to relax again after I left my exDH, and I didn't have the emotional energy to be much of a friend to myself, much less anyone else.  I did have the unconditional love and support of my family and a couple of good friends, so I started healing relatively early on.  However, what really worked for me was finding a support group of women in my exact situation.  I began attending Divorce Care at my church (which is a very large mega church, so difficult to meet people outside of a small group setting), and found some terrific women there who were willing to slog through the mess with me because they were dealing with their own messes as well.  Is there a divorce support group somewhere near your community?  I think this would be a good fit for you.  Good luck!


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#20 of 29 Old 08-06-2011, 04:48 PM
 
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You know what they say about happiness...

 

"Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder." Thoreau

 

Same thing applies for everything... love, friendship,....

 

Maybe you can instead focus on yourself - therapy, classes you like to take, books you like to read, movies that show strong positive women, etc If your overweight bothers you, maybe you can do something about it (forget others..do it for your own self!) if Rosacea bothers you, get it treated.. Often skin problems like rosacea are a symptom of food allergy - maybe you can look into it.

 

when you focus on yourself, do things that YOU like, take classes in your interest group, youll meet some like minded people. Do not jump at being their friend at the first chance by overdoing help. helping a friend is great, overdoing will cost that friendship (either that friend will take you for granted or might feel uncomfortable). Eventually friendships will develop. Right now, you might want to turn the focus on you. you deserve your love and attention more than all those friends. Real friends do not come with expiry dates and you deserve much nicer people around you.


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#21 of 29 Old 08-06-2011, 11:12 PM
 
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There have been some really wonderful posts on this thread and it struck me that they have a common theme. Several people have said in different ways:

 

Love yourself.

 

Love yourself first and foremost, see your own value and beauty, take time for yourself, enjoy yourself, take care of yourself, do things because they bring YOU joy.

 

the rest will follow.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#22 of 29 Old 08-07-2011, 12:31 AM
 
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Another way of saying what Linda said: Your post was full of things that you're doing to 'attract' people, but what are you doing to be you? Most of my good friends (and I don't have many, I'm somewhat of an introvert) have come through shared activities and interests. It's the interests that tie us together. Not all of the people who share the activities become friends, but one or two might. And even if they don't, my interest in the activity keeps me going, not my need for a friend.

 

So, if you had to pick one thing to do that you're interested in, what would it be? Do that. Develop a new hobby or a new interest. Friends will follow.


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#23 of 29 Old 08-23-2011, 06:25 PM
 
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I could have written your OP last year. Putting myself out there again and again, pattern of unrecipricated playdates, nice home, nice kids, trying again, maybe we're too rich/I'm too fat, being of service to others, and always feeling rejected.  WTF?    I actually started seeing a therapist with the main complaint you described-- why can't I connect with people?  What is wrong with me?  I remember my DH saying, "I think you're great.  I don't know why no one else does."  eyesroll.gif  My therapist suggested some reading about shame and family of origin stuff that was very enlightening, and she was helpful so I continued to see her.  Fast forward a few months and the abuse from DH that had been an issue for years finally escalated into another physical attack.  DH is now STBX.  I don't think that the timing was a coincidence-- I was starting to get ever slightly better, recover some shreds of self-esteem.  Anyway, then I started reading about domestic violence and was shocked to find out that deteriorating ability to make and keep friends is one of the symptoms of domestic violence victims!  The sickness in my marriage (that i stayed in because it wasn't "too bad") was connected to my social problems.  Thought you might find that interesting as well.  BTW good reads are Why Does He Do That? and The Verbally Abusive Relationship.


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#24 of 29 Old 08-27-2011, 05:21 AM
 
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I have nothing to add but I couldn't read without responding. I can really relate to what you are saying. I have no friends but I would love to have some--maybe too much so. I just wanted you to know that you are not alone.

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#25 of 29 Old 08-27-2011, 06:16 AM
 
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I can totally relate. I have no friends and no family to count on. I too feel very alone. The only thing that keeps me sane is my once a month Red Tent ladies group mtg.

I so wish I could call up a friend anytime a chat and hang out and have tea. Is that kind of friend too much to ask for?
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#26 of 29 Old 08-27-2011, 12:44 PM
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I read in Psychology Today that if you ask someone for a small favor (borrow something, catch a ride somewhere) then that person would be more likely to be your friend after that because they had already subconsciously decided that they like you when they decided to fulfill your favor request.  So, that's an idea.  It has worked for me somewhat. 

 

On the rosacea, I read that taking aspirin helps.  So I currently take two full-strength aspirin per day (I usually have a headache I need to kill anyway), and that has cleared up my rosacea a lot.  I also take Vitamin E and Vitamin B daily because those are good for the skin, also.  Also try to stay out of the sun, take not-too-hot showers, and drink lots of water. 

 

And it sounds like you're not happy in your neighborhood.  So I'd sell the house and find something smaller in a more "cozy" neighborhood.  If you could find a walkable community, more people would be out and about (possibilities for friendships), and that would be good for your health.  Get a dog you can take on walks and talk to other dog-walkers.


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#27 of 29 Old 08-28-2011, 07:06 PM
 
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my heart breaks for you. i know how it feels to be very lonely i have no friends.

big hugs mama


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#28 of 29 Old 08-29-2011, 06:09 AM
 
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Us lonely mamas should get together and be friends.
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#29 of 29 Old 08-29-2011, 06:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Koalamom View Post

Us lonely mamas should get together and be friends.


we already are grouphug.gif


Is it getting lonely in the echo chamber yet?

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