No Close Friends

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I haven’t had any friends for years and I truly don’t know why. I bought a new phone last week and the cashier who switched my phone was amazed that in the whole month I’d only used 40 phone minutes. (I guess that’s one plus of having no friends — saving minutes :-) I do get along with my coworkers and I belong to several groups, including a church group, a choir, a singles group, and the PTA. I’m the leader of one other group.

I have one child and no other family nearby. I feel like the only person I can call if I have a problem would be my ex husband, but he’s difficult and not someone I want to deal with on a regular basis.

So I know a lot of people and I make an effort. I did see a psychologist about this issue. I told him I didn’t have friends and he suggested I make some friends, as if it were just that simple. So that was about three years ago and I’ve been making an effort and now I’m busier but I still don’t have anybody I can talk to or get together with. Nobody visits me or invites me to their home.

I take medication for depression and I don’t feel depressed. My daughter has a disability which used to be a cause of great stress, but she’s gotten much better in the past few years with effective interventions. My job has gotten better too and I don’t feel overwhelmed.

I had a boyfriend for a few years but he doesn’t speak to me now. So my love life isn’t going well either.

Anyway, I’m not sure how to connect with people beyond the acquaintance level. Sometimes people say they want to get together but when I ask people to go out to a specific event or when I propose an idea for a social get-together to a group I don’t get a positive response. I’ve started to feel ashamed when I get rejected like that, so I don’t feel like making overtures anymore.

I used to have friends. This wasn’t a problem when I was younger but has been a problem for about 15 years. I think I’m pretty interesting, a good listener, concerned about others, and I can be fun, so I’m just not sure what’s going on.

A: You have a great many functional details about your effort and the lack of success. This is a great place to start to make a change. It sounds from your letter that you know exactly what is going on. I think the solution is in fixing the dynamics that are happening now, and learning along the way the underlying factors for the patterns.

I believe the process of group psychotherapy is what is needed.

I’m not talking about a support group, or recovery group. Rather I am suggesting a dynamic interactive group experience that will support you, but is also challenging and will give you insight about the origin. Here is a directory that can help you locate a group psychotherapist in your area. You may also want to check out the find help tab at the top of this page.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Mar 2014

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2014). No Close Friends. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/03/11/no-close-friends/