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Why Is It Hard for Me to Make Friends?

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From Australia: I have difficulties making friends but not sure what I’m doing wrong. I do long & short term enjoyable activities where I’m come in contact with others with similar interests. I am open to friendship with a variety of people purely going by whether we get along and how they treat me. I try to walk the fine balance between initiating friendships but not being pushy. I find:

1. Everyone seems too busy for new people. I am strategic in how I issues invitations by being aware of the other person’s commitments as well as their interests so suggest enjoyable activities in convenient places. But they are too busy. I leave the door open by saying “It sounds like you are very busy at the moment. It would be lovely to meet up. How about you let me when you have some free time & we can arrange something” advising “most weekends & evenings, except X evening, are good for me.”

I try to walk the fine line between being available but not over stretching myself (to avoid traveling hours for short meet ups or regularly take time off work)

2. I am gentle & softly spoken. I find it a real strain to speak up (I sound artificial) thus viewed as being quiet & not social.

3. My partner doesn’t come to things with me. I get questioned about this and I say he’s not social but I’m more than happy to come on my own. I don’t have children. Despite trying to get along with husbands/partners/kids, being appropriately pleasant & friendly & suggest child friendly activities I then don’t get included in couples/family things.

4. As its been hard to make friends I don’t get out as much as I’d like given there’s no one to go out with (my partner doesn’t want go out and do things together). I feel I come across as boring.

A while ago I saw a therapist about this outlining these issues. I said being softly spoken could be an issue as I come across as quiet and anti-social & wanted to increase my voice volume as its difficult if the other person can’t hear me. I was screened for depression, anxiety & personality disorders which I didn’t have. This his was seen as “faulty thinking” & treatment was challenging these thoughts.

Why Is It Hard for Me to Make Friends?

Answered by on -

A.

What a thoughtful letter. It sounds to me like you’ve made a great many good efforts. I do understand how hard it is to make friends as an adult. I do understand how it can feel like you are essentially single in a couples world since your partner is happy staying home.

As we get older, many people see themselves as having enough friends and aren’t interested in adding more. Many others have family obligations as well. Everyone has a life. It can seem like no one has the time or interest in making new connections.

Fortunately, there are other people just like you who do want to connect. The challenge is to help you find each other. I don’t think being soft-spoken is the issue. I do think you may be trying too hard too soon.

You need to identify places where you might naturally find other people like yourself. Please find a cause or activity you genuinely care about and genuinely enjoy and do it for its own sake. It could be a book club, a political campaign or a community theater group, for only a few examples. It will get you out of the house and it will let you get to know some people over time. Friendships may unfold naturally. Even if they don’t, you will become a member of a group of people who care about the same thing and who will probably come to care about each other.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Why Is It Hard for Me to Make Friends?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Why Is It Hard for Me to Make Friends?. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 16, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/04/10/why-is-it-hard-for-me-to-make-friends/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.