Psych Central

I’m lonely and have no friends.

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m depressed. I know I’m depressed, and I understand that I am depressed. I also understand why I am depressed. I just don’t know how to stop being depressed.

Around 4th grade, I developed (possibly) OCD. The reason I say possibly is because it isn’t normal OCD, and I’ve gotten mixed opinions about it from assorted people. I had a problem where I felt the need to mock everyone’s coughs–That is, cough after other people cough. I felt that their coughs were extremely annoying and I would feel extremely angry, annoyed, unable to concentrate, etc. if I did not complete this action. This continued until 8th grade, when I finally controlled it and confined it to only at my house after my mother.

Unfortunately, the damage was done. I have no friends, everyone feels like everything I do is wrong (and they voice this opinion) and no one wants to be around me. I have stopped this behaviour, but I have lost everything.

Now, I do not know what to do. I am depressed because I am lonely and have no friends, but no one will give me a second chance. What do I do?

A: I’m very proud of you. Instead of accepting things as they are, you are trying to figure out how to make some changes. Good for you! It’s unfortunate that many, many middle school kids are unforgiving. You couldn’t help what you were doing and you’ve worked hard to learn to control it. You should be getting lots of credit. But kids your age are so worried about being accepted themselves that it is hard for them to step out of the group and make friends with someone other people don’t like. They are worried that then they won’t be liked either. Most people do grow out of this eventually but your problem is now. You don’t want to feel alone and depressed while you wait for your classmates to grow up.

I hope you have parents who can be sympathetic and who will be willing to help you out. To find friends, you may need rides to places or you may need to invite people over to your house. Here’s what I suggest: Find an activity or interest that takes you out of your own school and into a larger group where you can start over. A young people’s theatre group, orchestra, or chorus, a youth group at a church in a different area, a city sports team, etc. are all possibilities. Develop friendships outside of your school so you have people to call and to spend time with on the weekends. People who live only a mile away don’t know you were once annoying and will take you as you are now. Be your best self. Volunteer to do things. Show interest in what other people have to say. Take some risks and ask people you like to come over.

Meanwhile, treat everyone in your own school politely. If someone refers to your old self, try not to get defensive and instead say something like, “Yeah, I was a real weird little kid.” Keep it light. If people don’t get a reaction from you, chances are they’ll eventually drop it. If you’re busy doing other things, you won’t care so much what they think.

I also suggest that you consider getting a job (or volunteering) for the summer with one of your city’s summer programs for kids. It will give you something healthy to do. It will help you start a resume for jobs in the future. Best of all, you will meet other people your age who are outside your current social circle.

If things are really, really, really bad at your school and there is really no way to change it, you might ask your parents to consider finding out how to transfer you to a different school. Sometimes it’s the only thing that gives a kid a fresh start.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Mar 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). I’m lonely and have no friends.. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/03/08/im-lonely-and-have-no-friends/