An A in loneliness

This letter writer struggles to maintain friendships. Could being an overachiever be to blame? 

You’ll find it easier in college, says our elder. And in the meantime, don’t give up on fun!


Dear EWC

Hello! I’m a high school student, a senior to be exact, and I’ve dealt with this problem for a while. I’m not the most extroverted person, but I’m also not super introverted, yet, I’ve always had problems maintaining friends. I think this is somewhat tied to the fact that I am an ‘overachiever’ and a successful one at that according to my classmates and community – I’m heading to a good college next year, I run a non-profit, won awards, and I already have an internship planned with a top company in my industry. Anyways, what I am struggling with is maintaining/gaining friendships. I do have friends, though, they’re in a wide variety and not in one particular group. However, they don’t really have the same passions as me, and when I do hang out with them, it feels different and more awkward than it used to be. I basically spent my entire time during Spring Break at home with my family, my plans with my friends are always being pushed back to another week, and I never have anyone to hang out with. It doesn’t help that I have a lot of anxiety about myself. I guess what I’m asking is: why doesn’t anyone want to hang out with me? And how can I not feel so awkward and alone in this world? And what should I do to make friends in college? Thank you in advance!! 


Grammie-Sue replies

I totally empathize with you. I too could be described as an overachiever. As I am writing this, I am asking myself: why is it described as “overachiever? That implies criticism and what is really important is that you are able to praise yourself for who you are and your abilities. The key to what you are feeling is not just how your friends are being to you. It is that you feel that “they don’t really have the same passions”. What that means is that you are faced with either damping down your feelings and passions and becoming someone, you really are not, or that you feel isolated and misunderstood when you describe things that are important to you. You will also be up against jealousy. It is not nice, but people will look at you and feel that they wish they were as talented as you with your opportunities. 

I think that at college you will find it much easier to make friends. You will find many more people like you there. You need to join in extracurricular activities of things that interest you and you will find people there who have the same passions. 

One thing to beware of. Don’t be so driven that you give up on all fun. For some people, their fun is being driven and achieving and they don’t want friends particularly. That is not you. All you have to do is pull back a little and allow yourself to have friends whom you feel comfortable with. I am sure that you don’t boast about your achievements but that is something to be careful of. Your achievements are not you. I heard an expression once: “Achievements are trophies for those of poor self-esteem.” Friendship means being with people that you have a good time with, that you can be there for and who can be there for you. As you get older and you are with people more like you, it will get much easier. 

Good luck and please don’t hesitate to write if you need any more help. 

Article #: 438659

Category: Friendship

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