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