Why did I never have friends?

I just returned to my home town during college vacation and it struck me: I never had friends while I was growing up. How can I stop feeling bad about this?

Forgive yourself, says our elder. It’s not too late — concentrate on today onwards

Dear EWC

Growing up I was always really shy and timid. It wasn’t until real recently during my freshman year at a university I finally ‘opened up’ and learned to be a social person. This summer I’ve gone back home to stay with my parents and got a part-time job working at a Taco Bell. All my friends went back to their hometowns and I’m starting to feel pretty lonely. Not because I miss my friends, (which I do!) but because it’s really hitting me the longer I’m here, I had no friends in high school. Of course, I knew some people who I was happy to see time to time if we happened to cross paths, I never really had a friend to hang out with. I wanted to go see a movie the other day and thought “Who could I invite to go with me?” The answer: no one. I really had no friends. I just keep having this weird regretful feeling. almost guilt that I allowed myself to grow up here and never connect to anyone. I was born across the country in another state but was here since I was nine. I’m trying to think back to ‘childhood friends’ I had, never really had any. Nowadays I got a nice bunch of really good friends, but I can’t help but feel almost upset with myself for waiting until I was 19 years old to reach out to other human beings for companionship. Any advice for shaking off this weird feeling?

Grandpa-Bill replies

I am so sorry you are feeling lonely and bad about not making friends in your hometown. There really is no sense being upset with yourself that you didn’t reach out to make friends before now, because you can’t go back and change the past —you weren’t ready and didn’t have the skills then. All you can do is forgive yourself, learn from it and go on from here. The only time you can control is today on.

It isn’t too late to make some friends in your hometown now. I am sure some of your classmates are also wishing they had friends to do things with. Just look some up and say to them that you regret not reaching out to make friends with them while in school and ask if you can make amends now. Invite them out for coffee or ice cream and catch up. Ask them about their hobbies and interests and you will find things you have in common that you can do together such as go to the movies. You can also go up to anyone standing or sitting alone and start chatting with them, such as in the movie line. Just say, “How do you like this weather? Are you excited to see this movie? Do you come here often?” Then introduce yourself and then ask them about themselves such as do they have any type of movies they like, who their favorite actor is, etc. You could also join a group of some kind such as a gym, art class, book club, sports team, biking or hiking club, to meet new people who could end up being friends.
Look ahead, not back.

Letter #: 443139
Category: Friendship

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