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I Have Never Had Real Friends, Do I Have to Change Who I Am?

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I’ve always been a quiet person; I enjoy reading books, listening to music or watching movies. I was like that when I was younger, when other kids were screaming, I was painting or playing quietly. I had friends who told me they wished I was dead, tried to drown me at the pool or always saying mean things, like I would never be good at anything. My mom talked to other parents but they didn’t mind. Growing up I was the same me, I didn’t like going to clubs or getting drunk but most of the people I knew did. I never criticized anyone, it just wasn’t for me. I’m 24 and I don’t have friends, most of people I know just want the same things they wanted at 21: alcohol, parties and whenever they see me with a book then ‘I’m a loser’. I do have a boyfriend. He finds interesting the way I am and doesn’t judge me for being like the others. He does have friends, and I feel sad when he’s sharing with his friends and I see it’s great but I never found that on my own. Most of his friends get along with me, they say I’m a good friend and I feel happy, but I would like to have my own friends too. My boyfriend’s a lot more social than me so even if he’s just watching a game with his friends I wish I could have something like that too. I went to a therapist and she told me I was an ‘old cat lady in a younger body’ and that I was depressed but I don’t feel like that, I just enjoy different things. I’d rather stay home and play board games than going out and forgetting everything the next day. I have gone to clubs, but I don’t like to go every weekend. That’s why most of the friends I had called me a freak until I decided I was sick of having friends who weren’t really nice, or when they stopped talking to me. Is there something wrong with me? Since everyone says I have to make an effort I don’t know if I have to change who I am so people can like me and not make fun of me. I wouldn’t like to, the ‘friend’ wouldn’t accept me as I am, that isn’t a friendship to me. (From Venezuela)

I Have Never Had Real Friends, Do I Have to Change Who I Am?

Answered by on -


 First, I am very sorry that any therapist would announce to you that you are an “old cat lady in a younger body.” Also, telling you that you are depressed, when this isn’t how you feel, is off-base. Her comments have more to do with being ignorant and unskilled as therapist than you. I hope you have found another professional to talk to.

Because you enjoy different things, prefer quiet activities, and have a different temperament doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. If you desire friends you don’t have to change who you are, but rather change where you look for connections. Look for like-minded people, such as joining a book club, and be around people with similar interests. But also remember that some differences can be very healthy. To quote Ani DiFranco: “I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort where we overlap.”

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

I Have Never Had Real Friends, Do I Have to Change Who I Am?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

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

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). I Have Never Had Real Friends, Do I Have to Change Who I Am?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 6, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 22 Sep 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.