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Old 05-13-2011, 10:10 PM
 
4 posts, read 21,961 times
Reputation: 55

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I'm not asking for sympathy here. Just....not sure what.
I literally have no friends. I used to, in my younger days. When I was young, thin and pretty, and more social. But I took friendship for granted, and didn't work at it. Then married, had a couple of children, then ten years later got a divorce. Without going into a long detailed story, my childhood and marriage included the garden variety of challenges --parental alcoholism, personal illness, sexual abuse, abusive marriage, miscarriages. Out of the mess, I rose to my own occasion and got a college degree and raised my children. After my divorce, I literally gave all my time, money, attention, and energy to my children. I dated only once, only had one or two women friends, never went out, worked hard and went back to school. I never had parties, rarely had other kids over for my kids, talked to neighbors very little, went to very few social functions. Over time, my few friends went to the back burner. Now my kids are grown, don't need me in the same way (of course!), and I......am alone. Parents gone. Ex gone. Brother gone. Best friend gone. And old friends.....not really interested. I recently wrote three old friends a letter, hoping for reconnection. No responses. I have had 3 co-worker type friends I text, suggest dinner, etc. Not much response. I can feel when I walk in a room, a sort of cool response. I can feel when I'm with clients at work, a distance. I don't think people warm up to me. I am a strong and independent person, educated, with good empathy and am pretty interesting. I am very comfortable with people, except my peers. So here is the kicker -- I'm actually a psychotherapist. But I don't understand why I am not liked. Please no cruel remarks. I'm really trying to understand this.
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Old 05-14-2011, 02:35 PM
 
1 posts, read 11,200 times
Reputation: 24
I'm a woman of nearly fifty and feel the same way.

It's kind of frightening.

I think you need to be around people a lot more - socialize - to make friends. It sounds obvious, but I find I don't want to hang around people because I feel awkward, therefore I don't enjoy it, therefore I make excuses, don't go out - therefore I don't have any friends.

So I don't think it is necessarily that you are not liked. I think it could be that you don't put yourself out there and spend enough hours mixing and making yourself chat and stay with people in your leisure time to make those friendships happen.

But then - who am I to talk . . .
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Old 05-14-2011, 03:13 PM
 
507 posts, read 645,079 times
Reputation: 765
Quote:
Originally Posted by Windsong44 View Post
I'm not asking for sympathy here. Just....not sure what.
I literally have no friends. I used to, in my younger days. When I was young, thin and pretty, and more social. But I took friendship for granted, and didn't work at it. Then married, had a couple of children, then ten years later got a divorce. Without going into a long detailed story, my childhood and marriage included the garden variety of challenges --parental alcoholism, personal illness, sexual abuse, abusive marriage, miscarriages. Out of the mess, I rose to my own occasion and got a college degree and raised my children. After my divorce, I literally gave all my time, money, attention, and energy to my children. I dated only once, only had one or two women friends, never went out, worked hard and went back to school. I never had parties, rarely had other kids over for my kids, talked to neighbors very little, went to very few social functions. Over time, my few friends went to the back burner. Now my kids are grown, don't need me in the same way (of course!), and I......am alone. Parents gone. Ex gone. Brother gone. Best friend gone. And old friends.....not really interested. I recently wrote three old friends a letter, hoping for reconnection. No responses. I have had 3 co-worker type friends I text, suggest dinner, etc. Not much response. I can feel when I walk in a room, a sort of cool response. I can feel when I'm with clients at work, a distance. I don't think people warm up to me. I am a strong and independent person, educated, with good empathy and am pretty interesting. I am very comfortable with people, except my peers. So here is the kicker -- I'm actually a psychotherapist. But I don't understand why I am not liked. Please no cruel remarks. I'm really trying to understand this.
Windsong-

My advice to you is to go to Amazon and look up this book: "Party of One" by Anneli Rufus. Read a few customer reviews, and then buy the book and read it.

It may touch you in a profound way and I wish you the best of luck
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Old 05-14-2011, 07:47 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic east coast
3,887 posts, read 5,503,645 times
Reputation: 5880
Not trying to 'fix' you but I've personally experienced moving to a new location at about your same age and knowing no one and having to make new friends. I did it by getting involved in group activities that I enjoyed such as kayaking and biking and volunteering with the Friends of the Library Board as I support libraries and adore literature and literacy.

Those things worked like a charm. Easy enough to form friendships when you share interests. Can you try something similar?
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Old 05-14-2011, 08:47 PM
 
Location: NC, USA
7,089 posts, read 8,492,346 times
Reputation: 3839
Quote:
Originally Posted by skippetty View Post
I'm a woman of nearly fifty and feel the same way.

It's kind of frightening.

I think you need to be around people a lot more - socialize - to make friends. It sounds obvious, but I find I don't want to hang around people because I feel awkward, therefore I don't enjoy it, therefore I make excuses, don't go out - therefore I don't have any friends.

So I don't think it is necessarily that you are not liked. I think it could be that you don't put yourself out there and spend enough hours mixing and making yourself chat and stay with people in your leisure time to make those friendships happen.

But then - who am I to talk . . .
Oh wow, that "don't put yourself out there, spend hours mixing, making yourself chat"!! I never would have thought that I have to MAKE myself chat. If I see someone with something I find interesting, I approach and ask. Not to make small talk, but to find out what something is, or" is there a significance to that______ you're wearing? It certainly does look interesting". I do have innate curiosity, I am not brash, but I am also not shy. My wife tells people about the conversation I had with the statue of "Balto" at Central Park, NYC. In case you don't know the reference, Balto was the lead dog on the first dogsled team that made it into Nome, Alaska with the serum to fight the epidemic they were having. This run to Nome is the basis for the present day Iditarod, a sled dog race over 1000 miles, not paved. In Alaska, it is a big deal. I told Balto that I admire his determination and do wish we had lived during the same place in time, I would have liked to have met him. Hummmm, I said the same thing to a statue of Lou Gehrig once. And......this absolutely monstrous stuffed Polar Bear inside the Anchorage Airport. To name just a few.
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:36 PM
 
Location: Between Seattle and Portland
1,266 posts, read 1,669,059 times
Reputation: 1410
Windsong, I'm 64 and have no real lifelong friends, either, but by choice as I have found reaching this age that the majority of my interactions with other women seem forced, shallow, and irritating. Being retired now and never having had children, there's just not a lot of common ground with other early retirees whose lives are wrapped up in their grandchildren and their golf scores.

Of course, my husband and I have always gone it alone, since both our families disowned us 33 years ago when we married (long, sordid story). We enjoy each other's company and are best friends.

So, that said and realizing that you are still employed, not married, and have kids (even if they're grown and gone), what can I offer you from my own experience that might help you out?

Well, I found the biggest icebreaker to my own reserve and impatience in the company of others was a walking club that welcomed all ages -- for starters. I needed to get in shape anyway, and mall walking with a group let me naturally drift into friendly conversation with fellow exercisers. Keeping up the pace and controlling your breathing, with interjections about the weather outside and laughs about how sore you were, created a bond.

By the time I graduated from the mall walkers to a hiking club, I felt I was truly among like-thinking individuals who could do small talk but felt more at home just admiring the scenery and keeping up with the group. So I could go a half-hour or so in companionable silence with kindred spirits.

Then I got into actual overnight trips with a backpacking group. Here the camaraderie and sharing of camp chores in setting up tents, rolling out sleeping mats and bags, and reconstituting freeze-dried foods over the fire for supper created two friendly relationships that have lasted to this day. After supper, we would giggle and tell ghost stories just like little kids or compare notes on who really was the sexiest James Bond.

Along the way, I got into shape, slept better, felt happier, and -- most of all -- gained that social connection that seems to be an imperative even under the surface of misanthropes like me. My attitude towards life -- and other people -- improved considerably.

I still prefer my husband's company and my own over others, but this approach did wonders for my innate "curmudgeonliness."

Whatever area of the country you live in, I'm sure you can connect with this kind of activity. Give it a try. You might find it does the trick for you.

P.S. And don't psychoanalyze your fellow walkers.
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Old 05-14-2011, 10:25 PM
 
Location: University City, Philadelphia
15,961 posts, read 5,008,760 times
Reputation: 9583
I'm also 56 and I'm male and single.

I have several friends, some for 20, 30 and even 40 years. I stayed friendly mostly with the other singles and a few couples who did not have children ... those who started families drifted out of my life.

It takes a little bit of work to make friends and keep friends. As single people we support each other and are like an extended family since we have no families to rely on. I think if a person improves his/her self esteem, the chance of friendship is improved. I cherish my friends and quite frankly they are one of the most important things in my life.

Who am I to give advice? I am not a counselor. I could only suggest that you might want to try to make new friends ... one meets people at work, or neighbors, or by joining groups or clubs. If you can meet someone who shares one of your interests, I think that would be a wonderful thing.
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Old 05-15-2011, 01:50 AM
 
507 posts, read 645,079 times
Reputation: 765
Quote:
Originally Posted by stonecypher5413 View Post
Windsong, I'm 64 and have no real lifelong friends, either, but by choice as I have found reaching this age that the majority of my interactions with other women seem forced, shallow, and irritating. Being retired now and never having had children, there's just not a lot of common ground with other early retirees whose lives are wrapped up in their grandchildren and their golf scores.

Of course, my husband and I have always gone it alone, since both our families disowned us 33 years ago when we married (long, sordid story). We enjoy each other's company and are best friends.

So, that said and realizing that you are still employed, not married, and have kids (even if they're grown and gone), what can I offer you from my own experience that might help you out?

Well, I found the biggest icebreaker to my own reserve and impatience in the company of others was a walking club that welcomed all ages -- for starters. I needed to get in shape anyway, and mall walking with a group let me naturally drift into friendly conversation with fellow exercisers. Keeping up the pace and controlling your breathing, with interjections about the weather outside and laughs about how sore you were, created a bond.

By the time I graduated from the mall walkers to a hiking club, I felt I was truly among like-thinking individuals who could do small talk but felt more at home just admiring the scenery and keeping up with the group. So I could go a half-hour or so in companionable silence with kindred spirits.

Then I got into actual overnight trips with a backpacking group. Here the camaraderie and sharing of camp chores in setting up tents, rolling out sleeping mats and bags, and reconstituting freeze-dried foods over the fire for supper created two friendly relationships that have lasted to this day. After supper, we would giggle and tell ghost stories just like little kids or compare notes on who really was the sexiest James Bond.

Along the way, I got into shape, slept better, felt happier, and -- most of all -- gained that social connection that seems to be an imperative even under the surface of misanthropes like me. My attitude towards life -- and other people -- improved considerably.

I still prefer my husband's company and my own over others, but this approach did wonders for my innate "curmudgeonliness."

Whatever area of the country you live in, I'm sure you can connect with this kind of activity. Give it a try. You might find it does the trick for you.

P.S. And don't psychoanalyze your fellow walkers.
I will be taking your advice on this

Thank you!
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Old 05-15-2011, 02:38 AM
 
Location: La lune et les étoiles
14,702 posts, read 9,986,355 times
Reputation: 15268
Wow. This thread is sort of sad.

My suggestion is to simply move throughout the world with an open heart and a look of content on your face. Don't be afraid to smile and say hello to strangers either. I meet people all of the time and in very random ways. I can be shopping for shoes, at an art gallery, at a restaurant, walking on the beach, shopping for groceries, at the library, etc and people will start conversations with me. Also, its good to have friends who are both older and younger than you are. Don't be opposed to having friends in their 30s, 40s, 50s, etc. because you may have more in common than you think.
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Old 05-15-2011, 02:55 AM
 
Location: Destrehan, Louisiana
2,192 posts, read 3,729,466 times
Reputation: 3493
Quote:
Originally Posted by Windsong44 View Post
I'm not asking for sympathy here. Just....not sure what.
I literally have no friends. I used to, in my younger days. When I was young, thin and pretty, and more social. But I took friendship for granted, and didn't work at it. Then married, had a couple of children, then ten years later got a divorce. Without going into a long detailed story, my childhood and marriage included the garden variety of challenges --parental alcoholism, personal illness, sexual abuse, abusive marriage, miscarriages. Out of the mess, I rose to my own occasion and got a college degree and raised my children. After my divorce, I literally gave all my time, money, attention, and energy to my children. I dated only once, only had one or two women friends, never went out, worked hard and went back to school. I never had parties, rarely had other kids over for my kids, talked to neighbors very little, went to very few social functions. Over time, my few friends went to the back burner. Now my kids are grown, don't need me in the same way (of course!), and I......am alone. Parents gone. Ex gone. Brother gone. Best friend gone. And old friends.....not really interested. I recently wrote three old friends a letter, hoping for reconnection. No responses. I have had 3 co-worker type friends I text, suggest dinner, etc. Not much response. I can feel when I walk in a room, a sort of cool response. I can feel when I'm with clients at work, a distance. I don't think people warm up to me. I am a strong and independent person, educated, with good empathy and am pretty interesting. I am very comfortable with people, except my peers. So here is the kicker -- I'm actually a psychotherapist. But I don't understand why I am not liked. Please no cruel remarks. I'm really trying to understand this.
Just be yourself and you will find what you're looking for.

busta
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