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Friendless and Lonely


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Hi all, I've decided to turn to an online forum for advice on a current friendship issue. I want to say thank you in advance to those who take the time to read about my experience and offer advice. I will try to make it as short as I can.


I will start by saying the issue I'm having is with my best friend. I could really say she is my only friend that I regularly talk to and see. I have some childhood friends I've grown up with and I see them occasionally, but I don't have a deep connection with them, and we rarely talk or spend time together.


So, the best friend I am currently having issues with has been my best friend for over ten years (since high school). For the past year or so, she has hardly wanted anything to do with me. I see all the time on social media that she is out with other friends and having a great time, but I literally never get an invite. And the very few times we have hung out lately, she doesn't ever post about it on social media or take pictures with me. I don't understand what's happened to our friendship. There are these random times when she will text me and be super sweet and nice and tell me she's proud of my recent career changes, etc, and she will say "I'm sorry I'm such a bad friend, we really need to hang out soon". And then I won't hear back from her and she won't invite me to hang out. Sometimes I feel like she does this to keep me around because theres something for her in it. Ever since I've known her she has been a very selfish person, it's just the way she's always been. She actually backed out from being a bridesmaid in my wedding at last minute.. I've never been able to get over this. (Her ex bf was a groomsmen and I think it made her uncomfortable). I don't tell her it still hurts me when I think about it, but it does. Anyway, that's just one example of many times that she has hurt me. And I've still always stood by her. I don't know what to do anymore. I have been married to my wonderful husband for almost ten years and he is truly my best friend, but I long for a deep, meaningful friendship with other females. It's just my husband and I 24/7, and because we struggle financially we never go out and do things, socialize. His work schedule is kind of hectic too so that doesn't help. I just want to have friends come over and play games, watch movies, have deep conversations and just have fun. I get so sad when I think about how lonely I feel.


My husbands sister and I used to be very close as well, for several years we were inseparable. But a few years ago she moved closer to where my husbands ex wife lives (my husband has a child with his ex, and his sister has children so they are all cousins and very close). But my sister in law and my hubby's ex wife are literally best friends and are together every single day. I know it's great for the kids but my sis in law literally has nothing to do with us unless we are at a family function. I've asked her and her boyfriend to come over or go out and do stuff but I get shot down every time. I just don't know what to do anymore. My sis in law and my best friend are two of the main friendships I actually cherished and wanted to last a life time. I feel extremely lonely and I cry when I'm alone and think about it. I've told my husband and he knows how I feel, but I don't like to burden him with it often because I know it makes him sad too and he starts to feel bad and I don't want him thinking it's his fault. I currently started an at home business so I am working from home, so I'm going out way less often than I used to and I think that's making the loneliness worse. I just hate to admit that we really can't afford to go out and do things. It's just so hard right now. I know this is just a rough patch and we'll get through it, I just wish I had a friend to tell all these things to and to just vent and cry. I want to talk to my best friend about all of this and tell her how I'm feeling, but I'm scared of looking desperate and being vulnerable with her. (I guess that kind of says something about the friendship...) I know we're not as close as we used to be but I want to be. I just want to be a friend that others want to spend time with. I don't understand why no one ever texts me or calls me. I'm just scared of being alone forever.. my husband and I don't have any children together, he just has his one child from his ex wife. I've been thinking maybe I just need to get pregnant to have another person in my life that loves me unconditionally. I feel like I sound so freakin pathetic when I read my words back but this is seriously how I feel.


I guess what I'm mainly asking advice for is 1) should I tell my best friend and sister in law how I'm feeling? Or just move on and find other friends?

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I'm sorry, but your best friend, doesn't sound like much of a friend. She does not share the same importance that you have for the friendship. You need to address why you have stayed friends with someone who has treated you in this manner. Honestly, I would have been done with her long ago.


I strongly suggest that you get out and meet new and better people. Have you tried volunteering, Meet ups, new hobbies etc... You really need to get out and expand your life. You are making yourself a prisoner, by hanging onto people who do not value you. Look up free activities in your city. Try to get out of that house!

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I agree completely that the answer is not in trying more with the existing people in your life (who are satisfied with your relationship as it is), but in keeping busy and trying to find new people and activities.


I also immediately thought of volunteering.


If you start to do more of the things you enjoy in a social setting, you will naturally meet other people who have similar interests.

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Reading between the lines, it sounds like you make that one friend the center of your friendship universe, and that can feel too smothering and overwhelming to that person. I actually avoid labeling anyone my best friend, because I know that with life experiences and circumstances, friendships often end, or lessen because of a person moving, or they may have children and have less time for you if you don't have children, or maybe they veer toward other friendship groups. Sometimes people just grow apart. It's called common friendship evolution.


Don't ever rely on one person for all your social needs, or you wind up in the position you are now--alone. It takes time to develop close friendships so don't expect it to happen overnight. And let the friendships develop gradually, instead of zeroing in on one woman and leaping in with unrealistic expectations. And no, I don't recommend telling your current friends of your feelings. When you don't feel like a priority to them, you're not, so move on.


Some inexpensive activities you can join to meet people include: book discussion groups, if you have local museums or zoos in the area, you can be a docent. Local environmental cleanups. On meetups.com, people meet up for hiking or attending local festivals.


The older you get, it's harder to make friends since you are no longer in the large population of school/college. It's up to you to expand your activities to reach the goal you've set for yourself. Take care.

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This is so hard, and I'm so sorry you are being pushed aside by these women.


Your "best friend" (I put that in quotes, because she's hardly a friend) sounds like a very selfish person. Backing away from being your bridesmaid at the last minute? I hope she had an amazing excuse, like she was in a massive building fire and covered head-to-toe in bandages in the hospital? No? Then she's just a selfish *&^(.


Your SIL is no better. Look, I get that people form bonds with others, and the fact that she's close to your husband's ex-wife is great. But to push you aside in favor of that friendship is just....very unsister-ly, if you ask me. I'm not saying they shouldn't stay friends, but she's closer to you now, from a family standpoint. That would hurt me. A lot.


As to how to find female friendships? Gosh, this is a tough one. At any age past about 30, people seem to have formed their friendships, their cliques, and it's really hard to break into new groups. I go through this too! The only thing I can say is to echo what everyone else has said about doing things where other people are present.


Here's something I've learned about making new friends: it's gotta be something where you see people repeatedly. Going to one volunteer event and meeting a really cool woman isn't going to get you that friendship with her, it's going to probably make her back away! So volunteer in a cause you really care for, and go to continued events, where you will run into the same people, who are doing the same things, and eventually, you'll start conversations, and so will they. Or take a particular fitness class (yoga, pilates, whatever makes you happy), but take the same class at the same time. I have 2 women friends who met through yoga. They finally struck up a conversation in the parking lot afterwards one day. Or join a book club. You get the idea.


It can take a long time for women to warm up to each other. Women are natural group-creaters, and for whatever reason, going back to Jr. High School, women in groups exclude outside women. It's just the way it is.


5 years ago, I went through a heartbreaking breakup, and I joined a women's group (business networking). I've become very active, and am now on the board. It has taken me literally these past 5 years of seeing these women 2-3 times a month at events to even chat with some of them. It does happen, but I've realized it's just a slow process. When I first started coming to meetings, I'd just sit at a table, but 90% of the time, that table was already "saved" for people's friends. So I'd just have to find an empty chair somewhere. I decided to just attend the meetings, and casually have small conversations with whoever was sitting next to me. It took me years to get to know most of them, and it's actually a really small group.

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she won't invite me to hang out.


What happens when you invite her? When you come up with plans (time, place, activity) and invite her?


Ever since I've known her she has been a very selfish person, it's just the way she's always been. She actually backed out from being a bridesmaid in my wedding at last minute.. I've never been able to get over this. (Her ex bf was a groomsmen and I think it made her uncomfortable). I don't tell her it still hurts me when I think about it, but it does.


I have been married to my wonderful husband for almost ten years


It sounds like you don't like her (she's selfish and always has been; your assessment) and you hold a grudge against her. It's been almost 10 years since that happened, and you say the situation may have been uncomfortable for her being in a wedding party with an ex. Who knows what was happening for her. What would it take for you to let it go? 10 years is a long time. (I have never understood the drama around weddings and wedding parties, so can't relate. I view weddings as about 2 people making a commitment to each other and exchanging vows to reflect that; anything extra is is simply extra. So in my view, your wedding was a success, you and your husband got married.)


People do grow apart, and that may be what has happened. She's not here to tell her view, so it's hard to say.



I currently started an at home business so I am working from home, so I'm going out way less often than I used to and I think that's making the loneliness worse.

This is one of the things about working from home, and something to plan for. Give yourself a goal of socializing (independent of your husband) at least one a week. Challenge yourself to find and meet others who work independently and connect with them. Meet for coffee, walks, etc. (It could even expand to become a group thing. You'd be surprised at how many people work from home these days. It's easy to isolate, and takes effort to balance that.) Perhaps create a meet up group, or find one in your area. I know people who have formed groups over writing, practicing a language, walking, hiking, sketching. Things that are not costly at all.


Give yourself a goal of meeting one new person a month. Find ways, join groups, go to events, volunteer. They don't have to be instant friends, just new people to expand your universe.


we really can't afford to go out and do things.


That's ok. Challenge yourself to make lists of things to do inexpensively or free. Research online. You are not the only one in that boat, and can still have fun and enjoy life.


I've been thinking maybe I just need to get pregnant to have another person in my life that loves me unconditionally.

No, don't have a child to expect love. If you want unconditional love, get a dog.


guess what I'm mainly asking advice for is 1) should I tell my best friend and sister in law how I'm feeling? Or just move on and find other friends?


Simply this: make more friends. Expand your world. Relax your expectations. Let go of taking things personally. Learn about and practice mindfulness. Develop interests outside your work and marriage. Take it one step at at time. It's worth it.

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LHgirl, thanks so much for your reply and insight. I think it tends to hurt a little more that a family member treats me this way. I am actually good friends with my husbands ex, we are very cordial with one another and get along, and I'm glad she has a relationship with my sister in law - but my sister in law and I (and my husband) really have so much in common and enjoy doing the same kinds of things. I think us living kind of far apart factors in, and the fact that they live so close to each other makes it more convenient for them. My sister in law has a crazy work schedule so I know that makes it harder for us to make plans together. But I also know that she does care about my husband and I, she has told me in the past she's sorry for how she's treated me before (this has gone on for several years), so I don't get why she doesn't make an effort or why she doesn't accept our invites to hang out. With her I may try and mend things and talk to her more about how I'm feeling, or get my husband to since he is her brother and she may have a little more sympathy about it if it came from him.


There is an affordable gym near where I live and I am thinking of signing up for a weekly yoga class there. It's something I've been wanting to do anyway and maybe I can meet some people there and get out of the house more. I am an introvert so social situations make me a little anxious, but it doesn't take me long to get comfortable so I know I can do it and it would be worth it.


You are right about how it's tougher to make friends as we get older. I am approaching 30 soon and it really does seem that most people have already formed their friendships. I recently graduated from a university too, and I met many great friends there that I still keep in touch with over social media, but I do miss seeing them weekly and having classes with them each semester. It felt like a family and it was comforting.


Thank you again for responding. I feel a lot better just typing this stuff out and getting advice from everyone. It's reassuring and I appreciate it so much!

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Thank you for your responses. To answer your first question- when I invite her to do things she will usually either bail on me at last minute, or just say she's busy and can't. That went on for quite some time that I eventually quit asking because I was tired of the rejection. Eventually, after I started my home business (about 6 months ago), I told her "I'm free pretty much any day, just let me know when you get some free time and we'll hang out", that way the ball was in her court and I wouldn't have to ask anymore and get rejected. We've gotten together once- she wanted my help looking for a new place to live, so we just drove around and looked at apartments and homes for a few hours.


As far as the wedding, I should correct myself. My husband and I have been together for 10 years, but married 4 years. I didn't catch that I did that. So our wedding was only 4 years ago, which would have been 7 years into my friendship with her. We had a little fight a few months before the wedding and I thought everything was fine until she texted me and said she couldn't do it, she felt uncomfortable. Like I said, her ex boyfriend was one of our groomsmen and I figured that was it, or the fight we had. I told her "that was the first fight we've had in 7 years, I don't understand why you can't be in the wedding". I ended up meeting up with her the next day and apologized and told her I respected her decision, that our friendship was important to me. But it really did hurt.. it was the most important day of my life and I wanted her by my side. She's the one who introduced me my husband! Anyway, I've never once brought it up to her, and I've never treated her differently for it. I hardly think about it but I'm just saying when I do think about it it still hurts. I could never do something like that to her.

I know it sounds like I don't like her, because she has been selfish over the years many times, and it's gotten on my nerves for awhile now. And maybe you're right, I just know other sides to her too and she can also be a great, funny, and fun to be around person. I'm a very selfless kind of person- her and I grew up differently- and I've always thought she could learn some of my habits about being more selfless and giving.

I guess I know I need to find more friends and I will start doing that. Thank you for your ideas on meet ups, I am going to do some research on my area and see what I can find. I am also going to try and sign up for an affordable yoga class. I've done yoga at my house off and on for years, but maybe going somewhere and meeting people would be better.

Also, I do have a dog and 3 cats and they are my everything. They keep me sane and happy but some human interaction would be nice too.


Thank you again for your response and I will do some research on local meet ups or clubs I can join.

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Hollyj, thank you so much. I am an artist and my hobby has now turned into my career and I couldn't be happier doing what I love. I went to art school and absolutely loved it. Graduating was hard in the sense I said goodbye to many amazing friends I had made. But I am going to do some research online and see what local meet ups and activities there are to do.

I think I have held onto this friendship for so long because I never did allow myself to try new things and meet new people. My best friend and I had a habit of working together- we were both waitresses at the same job for almost 6 years, so we were just always together at work and I didn't venture out much outside of that. But the restaurant closed a few months ago and I figured we would still see each other afterwards but we have only seen each other a couple of times. It was a big change of environment for us and it changed our friendship too.


Your advice means a lot and I will see what I can find to do near me as far as volunteering, meet ups etc. Thank you again!

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Hmmmm about your sister-in-law. Seems like she's been playing the avoidance dance for quite a while. I know you say you get along fine with your husband's ex, but I'm wondering how she feels about you? I'm wondering if she and SIL do a little talky-talk about you. Just a hunch.


Great idea to sign up for a yoga class, and anything else you can find that's group-related.


If it's available in your city: Check out meetup.com. There are tons of activities to do, and no, they are not geared towards singles (some are, so just read through). They are designed to serve the purpose of exactly what you are looking for: people doing an activity, who would rather do something together than alone.

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Have you considered volunteering with children, mentally/physically challenged adults or seniors? I have volunteered on several projects that involved art. A lot of fun! Why not share your gift.


I'm sorry, but this woman is not a friend. I would move on from her. Don't hang onto unhealthy relationships due to fear and habit.


You will find lovely people, but you must get out there. Meet ups offer many free options, you simply need to explore your passions.


Good luck.

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OK, that helps in giving more of the picture. I can relate in that I've had an important friendship fade or become flakey, and like you I had to change my approach. In fact, this friend flakes more than not, so I don't count on her. She can be fun, creative, enthusiastic, positive, friendly, etc, and I can appreciate those qualities in her, but she has shown by her unreliability that as a friend I am low on her priority list. It doesn't make either of us wrong, but I've had to change my evaluation and expectation of the friendship. That may be where your friendship with her lies. She's busy, or focused elsewhere, or sees you as a friend for certain things and not others. I don't know. It's hard enough to understand ourselves, much less other people 100% of the time.


Congratulation on turning your art into a career! That's great! I understand how that can be isolating, and that it takes time to build a new support network of friends. It can be influenced by stage of life, and location, perhaps, but I encourage you to not get discouraged and make it fun to explore the potential around you. I work in the creative field, too, and from home, and it's taken awhile and different forms, but I now have weekly meets with others over shared interests, and I realize how important it is for me to get out and about. Sometimes just running errands and being in public places helps shift my energy and gets me out of my head. (If you lived nearby we could meet for walks/creative recharging! ) See if you can start a sketch group or walking group. (More people helps in building momentum.) Volunteering, bartering for classes, bartering for bodywork, etc, are also things that have worked for me and helped me build a community in the process. (That wasn't my original goal, but has been the side benefit as some long term connections have resulted.)

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