I’ve never been good at making friends…there, I said it.
When I do make friends, I am always the third friend. I was the third friend in elementary school and the other two girls would always hang out with me to make the other jealous, I was the third friend in middle school and was always in the middle of the other two girls’ fights, and I was the third friend in high school for three separate groups, and early on in college for one of the groups from high school. After high school, one of the girls in a group of three told someone “…she’s the girl you call when you have nothing else to do or no one else to hang out with.”
That pretty much sums up my social situation, forever.
I’m an only child and moved around a lot as a kid, so I’m sure that has a lot to do with it, but in all honesty I do not know how to make friends or how to keep them. I know my personality is pretty different and I tend to get on peoples’ nerves, but it still baffles me that people don’t want to get to know me as more than an acquaintance.
I’ve asked my mom for tips, my whole life, but she always just tells me to invite people to do things with me and smile…it hasn’t really helped. I invite people to do things and they decline the invitation, so there is no way to really initiate a hangout.
I’d say my most popular time was when I lived in Ft. Benning. I was a major tomboy, so I didn’t have any girl friends, but I was still young so boys wanted to hangout with me because I could play sports. Then I moved to Hawaii and boys were starting to like girls in a romantic way, and I was not what they were looking for, so they stopped paying attention to me even in a platonic way, but I was still a tomboy so the girls weren’t interested in being my friend either. I was part of a big group in 7th grade, but then one night we went on a laser tag field trip and I made fun of one of the girls and talked to her ex boyfriend and after that, that group didn’t want to be my friend anymore. I was going to a tiny private school that year, so once that group turned against me, I didn’t have any other friends and I had to leave that school because the teasing was so bad. In 8th grade I went back to the original public school I enrolled in when we moved to Hawaii, but all the friends I’d made from 3-6th grade had moved during 7th grade. I made friends with 2 girls, but was the third friend again and had to move a short time after we all became friends.
It used to hurt my feelings really bad when I was young and I was always so sad I never had a “best friend”. I would always tell girls at school, “I don’t want a best friend, I want a lot of friends”, but the truth was I did want a best friend, but no one wanted to be my best friend. I grew out of that in about 10th grade, once I saw all of the fighting and drama and jealousy that was part of having a “best friend”. Despite that, high school was incredibly lonely, because unless someone needed help with their homework or was fighting with their “best friend” I had no one to talk to or hangout with. I did start making friends with guys again in 10th grade. I wanted a fishing buddy and someone to go explore with, but by this age all they wanted to do was to mess around and in 10th grade that wasn’t a priority for me, so those friendships were usually short lived too. I went to one party in high school, with my first boyfriend, but he dumped me a month or two later because I was “too innocent” and that was the end of my partying in high school. I got another boyfriend junior year and that was fun and I made friends through him, but of course, once we broke up I was back to having no friends again. High school was simple: boys didn’t want to be platonic and girls didn’t want to hang out with me unless I was the third wheel or could do their homework for them. Since I’ve graduated, I’ve hung out with 6 people from high school, only 2 of those people have hung out with me more than once.
Undergrad was my worst time socially. I had NO friends. I went to community college for a few years and everyone there was older or only there to go to class and go home. Then I went to a private college for a year and everyone was extremely wealthy and most girls were in sororities or really religious, so I made zero friends. I moved to Texas my senior year and people were MUCH nicer and friendlier, but I was taking almost double the amount of required classes in order to finish my degree on time, so I was too busy to do anything.
Graduate school will be the topic of another blog…
Making friends is hard to do, and on the eve of my twenty-fifth birthday, I can say I am no closer to solving the mystery. I am currently the third friend for 3 groups, which works out well with my current schedule and I have 4 friends that I have been able to maintain a relationship with throughout my life, but as we grow older it seems like even those relationships are harder to keep going and seem to be dissolving rapidly.
I made a lot of friends online in 2011 and a few of those relationships have turned into awesome friendships, but I can’t hangout with all of the friends I’ve made around the world, unfortunately. I used to think social networking was a curse to forming friendships, but after establishing a few relationships online I am thankful for that resource and definitely look forward to improving my online friendships! So…
If you had to teach someone how to make friends, what would you tell them? How did you you meet your best friend? Do you think it’s harder to make friends in the age of social media?