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My sister has no friends

She’s struggling at her new school and I’m worried for her.

It’s great that you care about your sister, says our elder. Let her know you’re available if she wants to talk.

Dear EWC

My little sister just started 7th grade at a new school. She barely has any friends. She had a lot of friends at her old school but now she barely has any good friends. I made friends really easily and I already have a group. I feel bad because she is very shy and constantly isolating. My parents try to get her to come out of her shell and they try to get me to include her but nothing is working. I’m afraid she’ll become depressed or get social anxiety. I’m scared for her and I don’t know what to do.

Good-Listener replies

I’m sorry about your sister’s situation — but at the same time, commend you for caring as much as you obviously do. She is lucky to have you. Your sister may be going through more than normal anxiety at being in a new school. I’m not a therapist, nor could I possibly analyze what’s with her. And you’re not an adult, so you’re limited in terms of what kind of help you can get her. However, my opinion is that your sister would be helped by speaking to a therapist or counselor, even if briefly.

Something similar happened to me on two occasions when my folks moved and I had to start a school away from everyone I knew. The first time was rough, the second time my folks had me talk to a therapist for a couple of weeks to give me some support. I did feel better after a while and started to make friends. Like your sister, I am shy and could isolate.

You might suggest calmly to your parents what you think she is going through and maybe they could find a way for her to talk to a professional. She needs to feel safe and not mocked or dismissed, and a therapist can give her the freedom to open up. Other than that — just be available if your sister wants to talk, and don’t judge her. If there are times you can include her and she feels OK, then do, but you have a life too, and you can’t be responsible for her well being either. That’s more a parent or guardian’s job. Again, my best suggestions are to continue to be kind and understanding with your sister, and maybe suggest to your folks that maybe counseling (even if just for a brief period) would help. Good luck to you — and her.

Letter #: 429148
Category: Family

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