Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Your Turn: “I’m In High School and Have No Friends”

I was hoping to answer this myself, but I’m on day four of an awful cold and haven’t had the energy or mental acuity to give this the attention I wanted to give, so I’m making it a Your Turn, and, if I feel better later today, I’ll give my response in the comments.

I was up at three in the morning typing “I feel alone” into Google and taking “Why am I Single?” quizzes online when I stumbled upon your site. I read a couple of the letters on your site and loved your feedback and thought maybe you could help me. I’m 16, almost 17 in a few days, and I have trouble creating bonds with people. Whether it’s making friends, getting a boyfriend, or any other type of relationship, I suck at it.

I didn’t realize how awful I was at it until I moved out of state, switched high schools, and had to make all new friends. I have tried so hard; I’ve made a few friends but no one that would actually want to hang out with me after school. I always thought it was my weight, but then I lost 45 lbs. and still no one liked me. Then I thought it was my curly hair, so I tried straightening it and still no one liked me. I’m very shy and reserved sometimes — I try not to be but it’s very hard socializing with people. I can’t keep up conversation, I always feel like people don’t remember who I am even though I remember who they are, so I just never say anything when I see them. I’ve had a few crushes on guys, but they all ended poorly. Well, they didn’t go anywhere, so they couldn’t have actually ended poorly if they never even began. There was one guy I liked and I told him. He said: “I don’t like you back,” which stung. I questioned my appearance for weeks. I even got drunk and sobbed about it. There was another guy I swapped phone numbers with, and then I texted and he never replied. There was another guy who flirted with me, and then he said, “I have to get my girlfriend a gift…”

I’ve been bummed and I don’t know what to do. I know I’m young and probably shouldn’t be worrying too much about guys, but it’s hard when every other girl in high school is dating and hanging out/making friends except you. You start to question what it is about you that is so unlikeable. – Sad, Lonely Girl

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

35 comments… add one
  • avatar

    MissDre January 9, 2017, 11:08 am

    Oh my god I feel like this could be me. I often STILL feel this way.

    #1. Lots of people will tell you how to meet people, but meeting new people doesn’t make them your friend. Here’s a great article I found about how to turn acquaintances into actual friends: http://psychcentral.com/lib/turning-acquaintances-into-friends/

    #2. Here is some advice someone gave to me (I still hold onto the email) when I was a young adult, struggling with my weight, my hair, thinking if only I had this or that….

    “Remember we are all on a journey and that it is not the end result but the actual process of the journey that are the real substance of what life is really all about. When you feel ” “If only I had an education I would be happy… If only I could lose weight I would be happy… If only I had a boyfriend I would be happy… If only I could move away I would be happy… If only I had these clothes or if only I could travel here or if only I could get this or do that…” you are focusing on the end result. There will always be something else that we are not satisfied with within ourselves if we continue to focus on the end result. I have certainly fallen in to that trap as well. I now believe in really cherishing the moment. If we enjoy the moments we are in, the small moments weave together into hours, days , weeks, months, etc. There are still tough times but much less with this approach.”

    #3. Try to work on developing your interests, hobbies or talents. When you have something that you’re passionate about, it will help you develop self confidence and in turn, help you develop relationships with other people.

    #4. It gets better. I promise. Graduation is not far off for you. Think about how exciting college will be. Your whole world will open up to people and things you didn’t know about, you’ll be on the path to self discovery.

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    • avatar

      Kate January 9, 2017, 11:19 am

      This is all really good advice, Miss Dre. I’d also say, if you have the discipline to lose 45lbs (assuming you needed and wanted to lose it), and the awareness to look around and see, hmm, here’s what other girls are doing, what if I try that? and experimenting with new looks to see what you like on you and how it might change how others react, that shows some determination that’s pretty impressive. It gets unhealthy if it’s only for other people and you become convinced that’s why people don’t like you, but experimentation in itself is good.

      You may be trying too hard with these kids you’re looking to form friendships with, and their radar is picking up on your loneliness and neediness. I would definitely say if there are hobbies or interests you have, pursue those in clubs in and out of school. If you have ANY athletic ability, do sports.

      Observe people and try to identify who seems most like you in personality and interests. Smile, say hi, maybe try to get into groups with them during class. But don’t push to take it further, wait and see how they respond.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph January 9, 2017, 11:31 am

        I’ll add that depending on your HS, having athletic ability is not even really required for playing sports. I am terrible at sports, but my school had a really terrible softball team that was short on people. I played varsity for 3 years and I closed my eyes every time the ball came near me– still do. (Sometimes I caught it, but more often I missed it, and on 2 occasions I got hit in the nose…)

        And later I got recruited to an adult co-ed softball team under much the same circumstances and ended up meeting my husband on the team. So… yeah, sports!

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    • avatar

      Howdywiley January 9, 2017, 11:20 am

      FANTASTIC response!

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    • TaraMonster

      TaraMonster January 10, 2017, 10:02 pm

      Love this response!

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  • avatar

    artsygirl January 9, 2017, 11:10 am

    LW – I am sorry to hear that you are having a hard time making friends. High school can be very tribal especially if many of the people in your school have known each other for years and you are the new person in town. I highly doubt that your weight, hair, or anything physical is what is holding back your friendships. Rather, it is hard to break into established groups especially if you are naturally shy. I would recommend looking at some activity or club that you enjoy and you would be able to connect with people one a smaller level who share an interest. Look into what clubs, theater, choir, intramural sports, etc are available and see if you can join. Maybe see if there is an after school job you could pick up especially if there are young people working there – movie theater, clothing store, etc. That would help you expand your connections to people your own age outside of school. Also, know that no matter what, you will only be in high school for a few years. If you decide to go to college, all your classmates will be in the same situation as you – starting over in a new place with new people. Best of luck!!

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    • avatar

      Kate January 9, 2017, 11:22 am

      And yup, there were kids who worked at the supermarket, kids who worked at the ice cream place, etc., and those kind of became distinct social groups, or at least there was a sense of comraderie. When I was a little older, I worked at the mall, and so did other kids from school. It was another way of belonging.

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    • TheLadyE

      TheLadyE January 9, 2017, 11:26 am

      I definitely second the idea of an after-school job. I was a total outcast in high school for a variety of reasons, but when I was 16 my parents had me get an after school/summer job at a restaurant and it truly turned my social life around. At a job, there are no “cool kids” or “jocks” or whatever – you’re all the same and you have to prove yourself from the ground up, not to mention you’re often working with adults who couldn’t give two craps about high school dynamics and just want things done well. It’s liberating and also bonding – all working towards a common goal. Plus, as you get better, you get a wonderful sense of accomplishment and you get spending money. I went through an extremely difficult time as a sophomore in high school and I can confidently say that the schedule, the people I met, and the social inclusiveness of my job probably helped save my life. Bonus: it also taught me a lot about hard work that I carried with me into adulthood. I can’t recommend it enough.

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    • avatar

      artsygirl January 9, 2017, 2:29 pm

      PS Wendy – hope you feel better soon.

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  • avatar

    Cheesecaker2911 January 9, 2017, 11:25 am

    I had a hard time making (and keeping) friends in high school. I’d moved into a smallish town around 3rd grade, changed schools a few times (public to private to public again) and that meant I’d have to re-meet people. By high school I’d learned that I had to develop a confidence in myself. Rejection is always going to be a possibility, but you have to keep trying. I kept trying, plugged myself into the leadership club and a couple others, and by junior year, I had a pretty good friend group. Whether it was the clubs or the fact that people just were attracted to my inner confidence, it worked. You don’t have as much time as I did, but you can still enjoy what you have left. Join something. Anything that you are even remotely interested in, and you will find at least one or two people you can become friends with. Focus on that first, then worry about boyfriends later. High School boys are sort of a waste of time as it is. And remember, IT GETS BETTER!

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    • avatar

      Kate January 9, 2017, 11:31 am

      Yes, I would not worry at all about not dating boys in HS. High school boys don’t have much to offer. I wasted two years having a crush on a guy who, when we finally went on a couple dates, was a bore. I met my boyfriend at the mall finally, and he was 3 years older and from the next town. That also had the benefit of avoiding gross gossip that boys you date in your own school might spread around to sound cool.

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      • avatar

        Vathena January 9, 2017, 12:47 pm

        Ugh, my HS boyfriend was awful. Thank God he went to a different school or he would have made my life hell after I finally dumped him. I wasted a lot of mental energy on him. College (and after) were so much better!

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  • avatar

    Vathena January 9, 2017, 11:38 am

    Aw, honey! I just want to give you a hug. You sound a lot like me at 16. I suspect many others will say the same thing – because you sound pretty normal. Especially for someone who has just moved and had to start all over at a new high school! HS is hard for most kids, and when you add in the fact that you’re navigating pre-formed cliques, it’s not too surprising that it’s been tough. The most important thing to remember is: you’re not unlikeable! And it’s certainly got nothing to do with your appearance (curly hair is unlikeable? Is that a thing now?) One thing I’ve learned from being a kid who was a little bit shy and not confident in my appearance is that that can come across as aloof and stand-offish. So it’s possible that because you are feeling so crippled by self-doubt, to the point of not being able to maintain conversation, others are thinking that you’re not really interested in being friends, that you don’t really like or enjoy talking to them.

    I suppose my advice would be, concentrate on the developing friendships you currently have. You say you have made a few already, but it hasn’t progressed to the point where you’d hang out outside of school. So, focus on those friends, and actually be friendly to them! Smile, ask them how their weekend was, get to know them. Build the relationship over time, and you may find you really connect with some of them and can develop a real, lasting friendship. One of my best friends is the most charming person I know, because when she talks to you she makes you feel like YOU are the most fascinating person she’s ever met. I have another friend, from high school, who also moved and started as the new kid during our sophomore year. She told me that she had decided to totally “reinvent” herself when she started at our school – no one knew who she was, so she could be anyone she wanted to be. For all your current classmates know, you were the most popular kid at your old school!

    I’m sure you’ve heard this too, but look to clubs/sports/other activities as a way to meet people and build confidence. Are you in the marching band, or into theater? Student journalism? Basketball or the swim team? Shared interests are a great way to bond with others. Added bonus, they look good on a college application.

    For what it’s worth, yours is a very human problem that most humans struggle with sometime in their lives. Your next good opportunity to make friends will probably be college – because no one knows anyone, you’re all living together and sharing the same sort of experience. But lots and lots of adults have a hard time making new friends and romantic connections, too. Like, you start a new job, and the woman a few cubicles over seems cool, but does she want to sit by you in the break room? If you offer to grab coffees for everyone, will they think you are trying too hard? Why didn’t that guy return my text? So, you’re not alone. It happens to everyone! Good luck out there, fellow human.

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    • Miel

      Miel January 9, 2017, 11:59 am

      I totally agree with the “you can reinvent yourself” part. The cool kids didn’t want to hang out with me in high school. Then I went to college and I thought “ok, this time, I will make friends with awesome, interesting, confident people”… and it didn’t happen. I realized two months later that I was sitting at a table with people with poor social skills, nothing to talk about except for homework, and I didn’t actually want to be there except I didn’t know who else to have lunch with.

      So later, much later it seems, I’m 20 years old, I’m doing a language course abroad, and I spot them right away: “the cool kids”. They are funny, they are confident, they are intelligent, and they always plan fun activities to do. I told myself “you’re one of them”. I just joined their group, joined their conversation, went to the activities they had been planning, and had the best time in my life. At some point, if you want to have awesome friends, you need to go to them, they won’t come for you!

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      • avatar

        ktfran January 9, 2017, 12:32 pm

        “They are funny, they are confident, they are intelligent, and they always plan fun activities to do. I told myself “you’re one of them”. I just joined their group, joined their conversation, went to the activities they had been planning, and had the best time in my life. At some point, if you want to have awesome friends, you need to go to them, they won’t come for you!”

        THIS!

        LW, in high school, college and even my early 20s, I was the shy, quiet one. It always took me a long time to make friends. I felt awkward initiating conversations. I felt alone a lot of the time. As an about to be 37 year old adult, I only have one remaining friend from early childhood through mid-twenties.

        It wasn’t until I moved to Chicago at 28 that I decided not to sit idly by any longer. I wanted to meet new people and make friends. I did that by joining groups. And by what Miel said. I just started talking to people. Asking them on a lunch “date.” Following up. Sending interesting articles. Going to shows and plays. Eating at new restaurants. Finally, I have that group of friends I wanted in high school and college. Our lives are all changing – moves, marriage, kids – but we’re all still in touch regularly. But it took my a long time to realize I had something to offer and to act, instead of be passive.

        It will take some time, but my best advice is to develop interests and to continually engage with the word around you. Most people are or were in your shoes. I promise as you learn more about yourself, the confidence will grow and that will help making connections.

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph January 9, 2017, 12:08 pm

    Another vote for you being normal and a lot like I was in high school. A few thoughts…
    Like some have said, don’t focus so much on dating. High school relationships so rarely last, and the boys are immature so you’re really not missing much. I didn’t even have my first kiss until my senior year of college and my love life turned out ok (married at 26, kid on the way at 30). Old people say things like “you have your whole life ahead of you” because they have seen 16 from the other side and know how young it really is, not because they are trying to belittle you.
    Instead of the focus on dating or even a focus on finding friends, and work on finding your tribe. Seek out activities that you enjoy and you’ll find people there who share your interests. Seek out church or political activism or whatever causes move you, so you can find people who share your values. I know this is a little more difficult when you are not an independent adult, but if transportation/funds/parental permission are an issue then you can start with whatever clubs are available in school. And if you don’t know what you’re passionate about, pick something that sounds interesting and give it a try (give it a couple months, at least, don’t just go to one meeting and decide). Work on filling your life with activities that make you happy and let friendships happen organically through those events.
    And finally, you’re almost done with high school, and college is a whole different ball game where everyone is new and everyone is a small fish in a big pond. Some people don’t blossom in HS. I didn’t. I didn’t really find my tribe until after college and that’s ok, too– but I laid the groundwork for meeting that tribe by being involved all along in the clubs and organizations that shaped who I am as an adult.

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    • avatar

      csp January 9, 2017, 1:26 pm

      I love the finding your tribe comment! So true!

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  • avatar

    Ron January 9, 2017, 12:12 pm

    Clubs and activities at your school are your friend. Join as many as interest you. It provides a controlled setting to meet new people and socialize as you all share an experience you enjoy. It just seems to you as though all the other 16-year old girls in your school are dating. The reality is that a very large number aren’t. It can be hard to break into a new school, especially if you are shy. It helps to have interesting things to talk about to hold up your end of a conversation, but honestly, being a good listener is just as useful. People love to talk about themselves and receive validation. The trick is to honestly be and to appear to be interested in what they are saying and to provide feedback. Ask them questions about what they are saying. You can’t say nothing, but you don’t need to be the one doing most of the talking.

    It sounds like you are in the not-so-great position of the novelty factor of you being the new kid has worn off, but you didn’t make connections during that time. Makes it harder, but not impossible. Don’t give up. Think of positive ways you can stand out from the crowd. What do you do well? What interests you most?

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  • FireStar

    Firestar January 9, 2017, 12:22 pm

    Aw honey. Don’t worry about the boyfriend piece of things. The best boyfriends are friends too and even better if they are friends first. So concentrate on the friends piece of things. What are you interested in? You need common ground with people. Music? Drama? Can you join clubs at school? How about a job? You’ll make work friends. If they are at school you can start talking about class and segway into weekend plans or vacation or movies etc. Then ask to grab a coffee/hot chocolate whatever. People like talking about themselves. I don’t particularly – so I listen and ask questions. They think that’s great. Also are you still in touch with your old friends from your other school? Skype and catch up. Like animals? Volunteer. If you are interested in something you are halfway to being engaging. If you still feel hard pressed for topics of conversation Google topics of conversation until you find something. High school is a blip on the radar. I know it doesn’t feel like it but I promise it is. University has a whole host of diverse people and you will find your tribe. A lot of my closest friends are from the job we had after school. We bonded over disliking the place! And 15 years later we are still tight and gather up all our babies and go on vacation together. Good luck. I know you will be fine.

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  • Guy Friday

    Guy Friday January 9, 2017, 12:39 pm

    I mean, I know everyone keeps telling you it gets better, but I really want to emphasize that IT GETS BETTER. You sound like someone compassionate, intelligent, goal-oriented, and attentive; unfortunately, none of those traits are things that matter in most high schools.

    Quick story: When I was in high school on the east coast, my parents were getting divorced, and my mom was absolutely bat-shit crazy (which I later learned was an undiagnosed mental condition, and she’s improved, but still), and I was SO embarrassed. And I did theatre and student government and things like that, but I felt like an outcast. I ate alone at lunch. I was the nerd who got good grades, and I couldn’t wait to get out of there. So I go to college, and law school, move to a different state, got married, and around Thanksgiving a bunch of people from high school decided to do a “10 year anniversary.” I was going back home, so I figured I’d go out for a drink or two there with my wife, but I warned her that we probably wouldn’t be well-received because of my outcast status. And I walked in to the town bar, and I was just MOBBED by people. Turns out everyone thought *I* didn’t want to be friends with *them*, and they wanted me to tell them about being a lawyer and cool cases I had and what living in the Midwest was like. And I got to see people I hadn’t even thought about in years, and see how they grew and changed, and it was crazy to see all the differences.

    Truth be told? I’ve been out of high school almost 15 years (Lord, that makes me feel old!) and were it not for Facebook the number of people from there I’d even talk to could be counted on one hand. But I talk to plenty of people from college, and even more from law school, and some of my closest friends are people who I never even went to school with. Life takes us on crazy adventures that you can’t possibly imagine now because you’re 16, and that’s totally OK. There was NO way I saw my life being how it is now when I was your age, but I wouldn’t change a single thing about what’s gone on, good or bad, because the person I am now is a person in whose skin I’m comfortable, and who is happy, and that’s all that matters.

    So I guess what I’m saying is listen to everyone else’s advice, but don’t be afraid to listen to none of us and blaze your own path, wherever it takes you. Find your bliss, and enjoy it, and if no one else does with you then they’re missing out, because bliss is awesome. But there’s a whole world you haven’t even begun to explore yet, so don’t assume you won’t get the chance to!

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  • avatar

    Teri Anne January 9, 2017, 12:43 pm

    I had a similar problem after the death of my husband when I was only 44. Because I married soon after college to a man who was very reclusive, I did not socialize much. I joined a church, and in spite of making a big effort to be friendly, I made absolutely no progress towards making friends. I was sure it was my fault for having poor social skills. Finally I made a lot of friends at another church, and realized that it was the people at my ex-church with poor social skills.

    Hang in there, LW. There is nothing wrong with you, and the problem is that you are in the difficult situation of having to change schools after cliques were already formed. Your high school classmates may never be open to new relationships, but there is a huge world of opportunity for you to develop friendships outside of your school. As others have written, you can join a club or get a part-time job. My church situation was not much different from high school, because the women there also had their cliques. Like you I blamed myself for having poor social skills, but made good friends when I joined another church.

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  • avatar

    Kate January 9, 2017, 12:45 pm

    And you know what? If none of this is resonating with you because you have no interests or talents and hate clubs, don’t despair. That was me. I was an average to poor student in most subjects, had no athletic ability or hand-eye coordination, got kicked out of Girl Scouts and ballet, sucked at lessons like art and piano, was pretty enough but not gorgeous, skinny but not with big boobs like the guys liked, wasn’t great at hair, makeup, or clothes although I tried, and never joined any kind of extracurricular activity.

    Now, I would strongly urge you to do so, because I doubt you can get into a decent college anymore on solid SATs and application essays alone, BUT… if clubs and teams are not your thing, I would say, have a little patience, hang back a bit, try to identify girls (maybe guys too?) on the periphery of the core popular group, who seem like they like to have fun and party. That’s what I did. I wasn’t going to fit into a group of honor students, athletes, or cheerleaders, but I did like to party and get in trouble. There were enough people like that so I always had friends and things to do. Kind of a repeat of what I said above, but look for like-minded people and try a little sarcasm or something. The “cool girls” or “smart kids” or whoever don’t have to be your friend group.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph January 9, 2017, 1:38 pm

      Please tell us more about getting kicked out of Girl Scouts!

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      • avatar

        Kate January 9, 2017, 1:43 pm

        Oh, I was disruptive and talked shit instead of paying attention. But it did kinda help me make friends. I moved to a new town in middle school, not high school, so I had time to work my way up to being in with fairly popular girls. It still sucked though at first.

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        SpaceySteph January 9, 2017, 1:50 pm

        Aw man, I was really hoping for “smuggled alcohol into Camporee” or “ran the leader’s underwear up a flag pole.”

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        Kate January 9, 2017, 1:54 pm

        Nope, I was just a little bitch.

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      ktfran January 9, 2017, 1:41 pm

      Oh my gosh, this. Those were my friends in high school and college! Like minded, sarcastic people who didn’t really “fit.” We found each other. We weren’t super smart, weren’t beautiful, weren’t athletic, were not huge partiers. But we were fun! Like I mentioned above, we found each other in gym class the second semester of my ninth grade year. We just ended up sitting by one another, then talking, then hanging out outside of school.

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  • avatar

    jmarie January 9, 2017, 12:54 pm

    Hi, My heart goes out to you. You are not alone in your loneliness–one of the worst feelings ever– and good for you for reaching out. There is hope. First, high school can be a very lonely time. Your loneliness is situational, and does not have anything to do with your merit and worth and talents. From firsthand experience, and as a retired middle school and high school English teacher, I’ve seen that when I was/my students were new in middle school, other kids/students were still curious and reached out in friendship. It is easier to be the new kid/student in middle school, easier for me and easier for countless students I’ve witnessed, to make new friends. At high school I’ve seen my new students always struggle, no matter who they are, at making new friends; by high school students have formed friendships. As an English and Creative Writing teacher, privileged to read students’ writing from the heart, I will tell you that many/most are lonely; I’ve also witnessed so much caring and reaching out to others from my students. Most high school students are willing to reach out and make a connection and to create new friendships–given the opportunity. The opportunity lies in shared connections and interests. Those students who best succeed in making friends pursue their interests: art, creative writing, sports….. After school activities are ideal. If you can’t stay after school, take a close look at the electives offered by your school. It’s important now and always to follow your heart’s desire; I personally believe that those true desires of mine are nudges from my God to help set me on my True Path. No matter what you believe, or don’t believe, when you follow your interests and your heart, you will find yourself having fun and among other people. Following and finding your interests exposes to you your true talents, helps you learn about yourself, and helps you create a strong relationship with yourself and others. I was horrible at choir as I cannot sing, but I met friends. I was good at Art, and I met friends in my classes. I was good at Track and met many friends through that sport; I also learned about myself: I am not competitive enough for international levels. Writing was my true desire, which goes with my introverted personality; following that dream led me to a greater acceptance of my introverted personality, and I also gained more friends. When I look back on my time in high school, I feel as though I had blinders on–I was stuck in my own head, and not able to clearly see myself or the other people around me. What helped me (as an introvert I often felt secretly lonely) was pursuing interests. When I pursue my true interests, I then learn, over time, to not judge myself based only on “achievements” and what I am doing or not doing, and to not judge myself based on how I think others might see me. I hope you do not judge yourself in your loneliness. You are on a beautiful path–your Path–and by reaching out from the pain of loneliness you are already saying that you do not accept it for yourself. This is good. You do not deserve loneliness. Follow your heart. It will lead you to your interests, to friends and to yourself. All love, prayers and blessings to you.

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    • avatar

      jmarie January 9, 2017, 3:32 pm

      Please forgive grammar and clarity errors. I start “typing” away & forget that my phone won’t let me scroll back & proofread!

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  • avatar

    Kate January 9, 2017, 1:04 pm

    Here’s another piece of advice: you DO have something special or unique you can capitalize on. In HS, for lack of anything better, I had affluent, oblivious parents who were never around. That gave me cred, because I could do things like throw parties or drive a car around before I had a license.

    In College, I was great at English Lit, so I put everything I had into that and walked out of it with honors. Later, in my career, while I’m not the smartest or most strategic person, I know how to figure out a system and work it.

    You have skills, assets, or talents you probably don’t even really appreciate. Tap into them. Use them!

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  • avatar

    csp January 9, 2017, 1:37 pm

    LW, I was in 3 high schools and overall, my parents lived in 7 states and 9 towns before I left for college. I get the moving thing. I used to spend my lunch in the library doing homework because I didn’t feel like I could walk up to a table and just sit down. It used to take me a solid 6 months to make friends and I was a social person. Here are a few things that helped me. I joined Forensics (Public speaking) and did theater and that really helped me find myself. It could be anything but it just gave me an outlet. This is a time that you get to try different things and explore. Do you like to read, watch movies, cook, code, sew? Do you want to save the world? Start with you then go find like minded people. I know you can find your way.

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  • avatar

    blink14 January 9, 2017, 1:53 pm

    LW, most people in high school feel the way you do at some point, and I’m sure at least some of what you are going through has been heightened by your move. I can see that you are comparing yourself to other girls or to what “the in” look is, but the best thing you can do is just be yourself.

    If you want to straighten your hair – straighten it because YOU want to do it, not because straight hair is supposed to be cooler than curly hair. I’ve got curly hair myself, and it took me many years to actually like the way it looked, and a lot of that is because I was teased about having frizzy, big hair. A few guys I liked or dated made specific comments about liking it better straight than curly, and I found that hurtful, and I am kind of ashamed to say I played along with their game for awhile. It took one guy friend many, many times complimenting my hair when I left it natural to realize that it is an asset, it makes me unique. I still straighten my hair during the week because lets face it, rolling out of bed to get to work on time is much easier without taming all that hair, but I also let it be its crazy self on weekends or going out.

    Try to join some activities or clubs – if not at school, maybe at a local youth center or rec center. I joined drama late in high school and wished I had done it the whole time – it gave everyone a common interest and made us all friendly with each other, across grades and social “levels”.

    Focus on what you want when you graduate, realistically its not that far away – what kind of college do you want to go to, is there a city you’d like to try out or a specialized program that interests you. When you are in high school, your life is very hyper-focused on the now. Spend some time focusing on the future, and it will give you a goal to work towards. You may find a common bond with other students looking at college information in the library or guidance office.

    I was an “outsider” through most of high school – I switched schools after my freshman year and landed in an environment that was not very tolerable to being different. I was and still am quiet and reserved, but I managed to make friends among those who also felt pushed out to the edges of the social scene but not fitting in – and importantly not WANTING to change and fit in. Of the friends I had at the school, one I am still very close with and I am in touch regularly with 3-4 others. We all made it successfully through college, we all have full time jobs, and a few from our group are married. What you are or what you think you are in high school doesn’t set the rest of your life in stone.

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    Scarlet A January 9, 2017, 2:45 pm

    Oooooh, I feel for you LW! That’s so tough.

    I want you to be nicer to yourself around this. You have moved high schools mid-stream, into a place where people already have their friend groups, and that is a difficult position to make friends in no matter who you are. You had friends at your old high school, so you know you are not unlikeable! You’re just in a weird place right now.

    A few advice bits:
    – Can you reach out to some of your old friends and schedule some FaceTime or online gaming or Skype hangouts? Have some “old times” chats and jokes to remind yourself there are people who think you’re fun to be around.
    – Start saying hi to people! I know you’re shy, but even if people don’t remember you, they will start to if you make a point to acknowledge them. Worst case scenario, you’ll be “that nice girl who always say hi to me in the hallway”.
    – You say you have no friends who would hang out with you after school. Do you know that for sure? Like, have you asked them to? If they said no, was it because they were busy or did they say they didn’t want to? Ask them! If they were busy, ask again! Make it low stakes – “Hey, I’m going to the library for a bit after school to study/to the mall to check out some new pants/to the football game this weekend, wanna come?”
    – If you’re having trouble getting people to hang out with you after school, a baby step might be to ask them to come to the mall/fast food place/whatever at lunchtime.
    – Join a club or other extracurricular where you have some interest. Half of making friends in school is proximity.

    I have faith in you, LW. This is a tricky situation to make friends in! Be easy on yourself. And soon you’ll be in the same boat with a million other freshmen in college, and the universe will be restored to order, friend-making wise.

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    Miss MJ January 9, 2017, 6:18 pm

    This sucks, LW. And, as many have said, it does get better, but it still sucks right now. There’s a lot of good advice here, especially about getting a part time/after school job if you can. In fact, if there is one piece of advice here that you should take, it’s that you should get a part-time job at the mall or a local restaurant or movie theater or anywhere people your age work. Not only is it easy to be “new” to a job, since everyone’s done it, meaning there’s essentially a built in procedure to force you to meet your co-workers because participation and communication at work is a must ,and you’ll get to know as people them while you work. (Seriously, there’s not much that’s more team building that dealing with assholes in retail at closing time.) Plus, it’s usually a different group of people than just the people you go to school with, or it was when I was in high school, which was also a nice way to meet other people. And another benefit: I am actually a fairly shy person socially and working with the public also really pushed me to get over talking to people I wasn’t comfortable with, too. Finally, I met one of the hottest guys I’ve ever dated while at work, for what that’s worth. (He ended up being a total douche, but still, I was 17 and he was hot, so, you know.)

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    greenapples January 13, 2017, 4:07 pm

    Dang, I hate stuff like this. I could be that girl. Thank goodness I had a well-established, benevolent group of somewhat odd duck girls who took me under their wing when I first transferred to a new school in Junior High. I can’t imagine what I would have done if I didn’t have them all the way up through my Senior year. I was absolutely impossible and totally hopeless. When I think back to the mess I was in my teens (and even into my 20’s), I am flabbergasted as to how I stumbled across the love of my life, the man I’ve been married to for almost 15 years, who gave me my 8 year old daughter and who stuck with me when I made some baaaad decisions along the way.

    I don’t know what else to say except I feel for this girl. Also, good things do come to good people……sometimes it takes a while. Don’t give up.

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