Back in my shell

I broke with my toxic friends but it didn’t make me feel better. How can I break out and make new friends?

You won’t feel lonely for long, says our elder. Keep following your conscience.

Dear EWC

I am a senior in high school. I feel like this year I have gone back into my shell and I’m really frustrated with it. I’m a shy, reserved person as it is, but last year I was doing really well with breaking out of my shell. But I’ve noticed that I have gone back in. I’ve become quiet, and a lot more awkward. I feel I have been coming off as standoffish and rude but I don’t mean to be at all! One of my friends has even said I can come off as standoffish sometimes and I don’t want to be like that. I’m just really socially awkward and have gone back into myself. I feel bad because I feel like some people now think I’m mean or bitter or rude or something like that but I’m not and I don’t want to be like that or come off as that!

My confidence levels have kind of gone down too since I’m not friends with a lot of people anymore because I cut off some really toxic people in my life. I have heard that I should feel good cutting off toxic people, but it seems like those friends did not care that we stopped talking or hanging out, like I was nothing to them. And so I’m over here lonely and feeling like I made a mistake cutting them off while they seem happy and thriving with their other toxic friends. So I don’t have a lot of friends anymore either. I really want to get out of my shell and I want to come off as the nice, kind, gentle person I am. How do I do that?

Lincoln-Parker replies

Don’t feel bad that your toxic friends don’t care that you no longer hang out or talk. You were right to disengage from that group if you did not feel comfortable with how they conducted themselves. You were obviously of a different mindset, morals or whatever it was that you considered toxic so 1) they probably knew that you were too different from their group and 2) what do you care because you did not fit with them anyway. At your age, it shows real maturity to say that this is not the group that represents who I am or want to be even though it has left you lonely in the short term. That loneliness won’t last for long.

For this short term, I suggest that you don’t try too hard to fit into a specific group. Try to put yourself in places where people like you hang out to do positive things. That could be in clubs, volunteering situations, church groups, or any other place where wholesome people get together to have a good time, enjoy themselves and do good things. Select things that are of interest to you, such as music, athletics, theater, etc. — activities where you can be exposed to people with whom you have things in common. That is where you will find people that you enjoy being around and, over time, will probably find your best friends.

Understandably, you felt like you were in “your shell” before because you were not comfortable with what was going on in that group. Because you were not comfortable, you were not fully engaged so you were neither in nor out. Fortunately, you figured out that this was not your type of environment and you exited as gracefully as you could. Some in that group may not like that you left but don’t look back. You followed your conscience and that is the right path. Now have confidence that there are a lot of others out there who fit your mold, and you will find them and it will be wonderful.

You are a senior in high school. You are on the horizon of some wonderful experiences and opportunities. Keep making good choices and enjoy the journey.

Letter #: 455088
Category: Self-Improvement

One Comment

  1. Being a teenager myself, I kind of understand how you are feeling at the moment ; being away from people with whom you spent your time is kind of depressing and it moreover sucks to know that they don’t care. If they do not care about your presence my dear, its right time to move on. I know it maybe hard but I trust you and its time to believe in yourself. You don’t need anyone to prove your worth ; come on you are more capable than that. Your frustration and rudeness is a sign of victory for them dear, you were just too good for them and none of it is your fault. I assure you that if you return back to being your own true happy self you will find great friends who truly understand and accept you for who you are. Friends are for making you free not burdened. You don’t actually need a lot of friends to be happy just stay away from people who make you feel unwanted. Just take a clear view of who are there for you and be kind to them. Take some time to reflect upon yourself and do the things you enjoy doing the most. Prove them that your decision was a loss for THEM not for YOU. Have a GREATTTT Dayy!!!

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