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Night Elf

Can one just not ever make friends?

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Dd watches you tube videos and colors. She doesn't read. She doesn't watch movies. She likes some sit-coms. She doesn't play any type of sport. She likes cards but no other board games. She likes to watch people playing video games but isn't good at them herself. The clubs she's in are not mainstream. I'd rather not say what they are. She doesn't sew or collect anything. She worked in her senior year in high school and over the summer so that was what mainly got her out of the house. She likes to hang out with friends and listen to music and just talk. None of the people she hung out with in high school did much outside of school either. The only place they'd go is Starbucks.

 

One of her dorm neighbor's friends invited her to go to a campfire sing-song club but she had no interest in that. One neighbor is involved in politics but it's not my dd's side. Her roommate is in a sorority but dd isn't interested in joining one.

 

I'm not sure next year is going to be any better. She already has a roommate but they're in an apartment so they have separate bedrooms. She doesn't know if that apartment dorm has an open door policy like her current dorm.

I read the update about the amusement park - that is terrific! I want to speak to this, though. A couple of things: she was invited to the campfire sing, I would encourage her to go to things like that even if it is not initially interesting to her. I have a dear group of friends I've had for 15 years because one of them invited me yo play a dice game once a month. Do I care about a dice game? No! Does anyone care about a dice game? Nobody in this group; in face, we rarely actually play the game. It is a way of forming friendships and sharing your life with others. Of course, she shouldn't participate in activites that are illegal and don't fit with her values, but she would do better if she's more open about invitations, even if it's not some particular thing she loves.

 

Also, if she likes to get together and talk, she must talk *about something*. Nobody wants to have a cup of coffee with someone who hasn't read any books, hasn't watched a movie, doesn't follow sports, doesn't care about politics, doesn't love animals...whatever. Otherwise, what can you even talk about? Surely there is something that she gets excited about that others would be interested in, too...for me, it has been when someone is wearing a Harry Potter shirt (I love HP), or they notice and correctly identify a bird out the window, or they mention gardening or they ask if I've watched The Hunger Games or they want to know how I feel about Donald Trump. Whatever. A person needs to be looking for openings with others so a friendship can develop. So, when she goes on the amusement park thing, she should be looking for those things as a point to have in common with someone else. (Technically, you could even explore something that others like that you don't, but that is a higher level of social relating, so easier to start with common ground.) Ideally, she uses this opportunity as a springboard for more interaction in the future. But I would encourage her to show herself as "game" to do things and to be interesting and to talk about things with some people to try to find something to share. I would advise her to take other people up on invitations, even if it doesn't sound fun (as long as legal, etc.) because other people's confidence can be equally fragile and if they feel like they put themselves out there but DD turns them down, they will stop asking.

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When things get like this, I sometimes you have to break the routine by trying new things, even things you think you may not be interested in.

 

I suggest first schedule regular trips to the gym. Try different group classes. Over time exercise helps with anxiety and depression. Making it an appointment to keep reduces the isolation in the schedule.

 

I'd also look at service clubs. They usually have a social component. Circle K is a college sponsored Kiwanis group. Alpha Phi Omega is a service fraternity ( it's co Ed). I'd go to meetings, pick a project that requires a few participants and get to know the people on the project. Then pick another project. Then go to the impromptu coffee gathering after finishing work on the project.

 

It takes time and she may need to be methodical about it.

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Thanks for the suggestions. I'll pass them along to her. We did talk about joining a club that does service projects, so she's already got that in mind.

 

It's also a hard time to have this problem. School will be out in a month.

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Hugs to her. It's hard. It took me two years to find really good friends in undergrad.

 

It's tough to do, but she needs to keep putting herself out there. Over and over. It's painstaking and rough, but that's how she will find the people that she clicks with eventually. I would also agree with the PPs who said that she should go to everything she's invited to, even if she's not that interested in the activity per se, because it's a way for social bonding to take place. 

 

I'm sorry. I wish there was some magic cure for situations like this. I remember how painful it was. The only other piece of advice I have is that if she could find some things that she's interested in, on her own, that can help, because often people are attracted to enthusiasm. If she's excited about what she's doing, that might draw people to her more than if she is always the one looking to tag along after others. 

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It's also a hard time to have this problem. School will be out in a month.

Yes. She can start doing some of these things, but likely she will gave to keep them up in the fall before she connects with people.

 

My DD joined one club and made a couple of friends. It was a long time before they met up outside of club meetings. She was supposed to get an apartment with one of these friends, but that person just announced they won't be returning to school for financial reasons. So, DD got a room in an apartment on her own. The complex fills rooms without people finding room mates first. So she will gave two people in her apartment in the fall she's never met. The plus side is she is only responsible for her share of the rent.

 

My DD is finishing the year with just a couple friends. I have a feeling she will have to push herself to be out there in the fall once again.

 

Good luck to your DD!

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Thanks for the suggestions. I'll pass them along to her. We did talk about joining a club that does service projects, so she's already got that in mind.

 

It's also a hard time to have this problem. School will be out in a month.

I know you said she doesn't do sports but I'm going to throw this out...maybe trying to learn how to play Ultimate Frisbee?

 

The people I'm familiar with who play are friendly and fun, and their team takes complete newbies. Plus the team socializes a lot together bc they travel to other colleges for tournaments.

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I had a very similar problem in college (and now too, apparently). I joined Alpha Phi Omega my second year and things got a lot better.

 

Maybe your daughter is the same way, but I have such specific, narrow interests, that it's hard for me to find others offline to share those interests without making me and my thin skin vulnerable. For instance, if I was a huge Harry Potter fan (I like it, but it's not my *thing*), I would have a very hard time opening up to people about that. Because my interest would be in a specific character or storyline or pairing, and it would be the part that I personally identify with the most. Hearing criticism or opposite opinions would hurt. Like joining a mom's group and hearing how much they like other people's kids but not yours. I had a very visceral reaction to the recent "TV shows you don't like" thread. It was like watching people kick each other politely!

 

All that to say, a general service club or fraternity would give her the time with others (so much time that first semester!) without immediately leaving her feeling vulnerable in the same way pursuing interest-based groups might.

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One of her dorm neighbor's friends invited her to go to a campfire sing-song club but she had no interest in that.

 

Encourage her to go to these kind of things when invited.

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In college, I don't think I would have had any friends outside of religious Bible study type things.

 

I also went to a big, 30,000 student school, and I lived at home. It was hard at first, and I even pledged a sorority my spring quarter freshman year, though that is not my thing (it only lasted 2 quarters).

 

Eventually, I started nursing school. And with only 50 people in my class, we got tight pretty quickly. That was nice.

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In school, most of my friends were in my major.  It is an easy way to build friendships - study groups, shared interests... So perhaps she can try to focus on building friendships with people in her one class within her major?

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I agree with the other suggestions - go to things when invied if at all possible, think about interests that you might have to talk about, that sort of thing.  Remember that university is typically a time where people find new interests or just new things to learn about.

 

I think big schools like that can be more isolating.  But, she may well find that as she goes on in her major, the classes will get smaller and have students who have at least one interest in common with her, and maybe more.  I know the first year classes in the department I was in were often very large, and full of non-majors - it could be difficult to meet people in them.  But in upper years they were much more reasonable sizes, and the students were really interested, so they were often talking about the topic while hanging around the department, or going after class to the pub, that sort of thing.

 

Also, I thought of a job as a possibility as well, though maybe not for this year.  I met some great friends in my job at university.  If she could get an on-campus job that might be especially good.

 

 

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Maybe there is a "Meet-up" group near her.  What are her interests?  Politics?  Hiking?  Have her search on meetup.com for anything that might interest her.  I know of many different types of groups close to us for almost everything you can imagine.

 

My heart feels for her. I can understand how hard and depressing that is.  I hope she makes a connection soon.

Hot Lava Mama

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I would echo the suggestions several previous posters made:  trying to get a campus job and checking out a religious organization, if there is one that is in line with her beliefs.  

 

I know you said that she wasn't into sports, but is there a campus recreation center that she can go to for a fitness class or to use exercise equipment?  It would be a way for her to be around others, even if she is spending time doing her own thing while she is there.

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I would suggest getting an on campus job that has a lot of student customers. 

 

That's a really good idea. Everyone talks to the baristas,lol. 

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How bothered is she by this?  My mother is an off-the-scale extrovert, as is my younger sister.  She has always thought there was something wrong with me because I did not have lots of friends.  She would compare me to my younger sister as far as number of friends, dates, and social activities.  For many years I, too, thought there was something wrong that I didn't make friends easily.  When I realized that I was an introvert and that I enjoyed sitting in my dorm room reading a book on a Saturday night more than going out to bars with my roommate and all of her friends, I was much happier.  To this day, my mom will worry about what she perceives as my lack of friends, thinking I am socially awkward or depressed.  I just prefer having a few close friends.  

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How bothered is she by this?  My mother is an off-the-scale extrovert, as is my younger sister.  She has always thought there was something wrong with me because I did not have lots of friends.  She would compare me to my younger sister as far as number of friends, dates, and social activities.  For many years I, too, thought there was something wrong that I didn't make friends easily.  When I realized that I was an introvert and that I enjoyed sitting in my dorm room reading a book on a Saturday night more than going out to bars with my roommate and all of her friends, I was much happier.  To this day, my mom will worry about what she perceives as my lack of friends, thinking I am socially awkward or depressed.  I just prefer having a few close friends.  

 

It bothers her. That's why she's trying. She's just getting repeatedly rejected by people not wanting to do anything or they're already busy doing other things. Her roommate is very social and is hardly ever in the room so dd doesn't even have that interaction.

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Does she eat in a dining hall? I made friends in the dorms because we ate a lot of meals together, and those conversations sometimes led to plans to see a movie, go to a dorm activity, or whatever. The group wasn't always the same, and it wasn't something that was by invitation only. Her RA could be a helpful person to get to know, too.

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It bothers her. That's why she's trying. She's just getting repeatedly rejected by people not wanting to do anything or they're already busy doing other things. Her roommate is very social and is hardly ever in the room so dd doesn't even have that interaction.

This is more of an fyi regarding the roommate since you said in an earlier post she had pledged a sorority. My sorority had a social points system where everyone received points for participation in all group activities, even study get togethers. We had to maintain at least 70% (I think) but there were exceptions for class conflicts, exams etc. For the roommate it may very well be meeting her new obligations as opposed to neglecting your dd. That being said I never lived in a sorority house and my roommates were not all from my sorority. Generally we got along well but have to admit we normally just ate meals together and studied if we had the same classses.

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She does eat in a dining hall, most of the time by herself. Sometimes her neighbors are going at the same time but they all go at different times. It's open 7:00am to 8:00pm so people go whenever, not specific meal times.

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She does eat in a dining hall, most of the time by herself. Sometimes her neighbors are going at the same time but they all go at different times. It's open 7:00am to 8:00pm so people go whenever, not specific meal times.

I well remember that awkward start to college. I am introverted and very forthright (INTJ), so making friends is tricky for me, even now, though I've learned a few tricks over the years.

 

I made my college friends in two ways. First, a rather extroverted guy in our dorm started to loudly announce that 5:00pm was dinner time. I chose to join in even though that wasn't the most convenient time for me and I was really shy. Eventually, a group of about 30 of us were going to dinner every evening at 5. If you had a conflict, you just didn't go that night, so the specific people who attended definitely changed from day to day. Those dinners led to casual conversations which eventually led to other meet-ups which led to friendships. Of the five people I considered to be my best friends in college, and still talk with today, three were in that casual dinner group. I still think of all of the others fondly and interact casually with them on Facebook. It's interesting to consider how college would have been different if I had decided not to eat at 5:00. Who eats at 5??? :-)

 

Two, I joined the competitive choir. We rehearsed three days a week for an hour and a half and usually had a party every other weekend (many of us did not choose to drink. That was not strange at all despite there being plenty of alcohol at every party). That forced time together led to many casual friendships. It's interesting to me that while I would say that Choir was one of the best things about college for me, none of my fellow choir members were ever true friends, only casual ones. But it definitely provided lots of social interaction.

 

For pure social interaction, I often offered to help people study, and I usually invited people to study with me in a more equal way too. Math classes lend themselves very well to that. I would just tell the people sitting near me that I'd be doing homework/studying at 7pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at a certain location, join in if desired. Like dinner, the study companions changed often until something clicked with a certain one or two. Tutoring (for pay) was also great for social interaction.

 

The key to what I'm describing is a willingness to do something you aren't thrilled about and also a willingness to plan regular things even if you don't know if people will show. Eventually, someone will get desperate enough in math and they'll show up where they heard you would be. :-)

 

As an adult, I've expanded on these techniques. I freely invite people to casual activities whenever I can (especially right after moving) and I try to go when invited. I keep things very casual. I don't vet people much ahead of time. You can always trim down your social calendar when you've found the people you click with, but you can't fill your calendar if you are being super picky before you start inviting. It can be awkward, sure. There's always the casual barbecue at our house where you realize that it's going to be a long night because personalities aren't meshing. :-)

 

It sounds like your daughter is already making progress! And I love the coloring group idea. That's perfect for a casual and predictable group (I wouldn't bring snacks because what college student has extra money to feed a bunch of dorm-mates?). A simple flyer in the dorm with a regular day and time, then she just shows up every time, turns on some music, and starts coloring. Eventually, she'll find a core group is attending.

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I was thinking about the flip side of this today before I saw your post. When I got dressed this morning, I pulled out an old T-shirt that happened to be from a college handbell choir that I played in. My roommates had invited me to join them, and I had replied that I wasn't Baptist (I was another flavor of protestant) and I didn't play bells. They insisted that if I could be in the marching band, I could play bells.

 

I went to school 8 hours from home and didn't know anybody, so I had decided that my freshman year I would say yes to any invitation that wasn't illegal or immoral. By the end of the year, I had tried camping (hated it), canoeing (loved it), handbells (still ringing 20 years later), tried new genres of movies and food (some are now favorites, others were a big NO!). And, in doing bells, I met a friend who was my roommate the last 2 years of college. I was fortunate to have gone to a very friendly college, but I also did a lot of things that I wouldn't have chosen - I'd walk to eat with folks from my lab class, even if I would have preferred to eat later or somewhere else, for instance. Some people wound up being acquaintances that I had a not-so-yummy dining hall meal with, and others are friends that I'm still in touch with many years later. You can't really predict where you'll meet 'your people' sometimes, unfortunately.

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I just wanted to say thanks for starting this thread.

 

Ds is finishing his second year in college and is still no more connected than your dd. His first year he joined a couple of clubs and really tried, but without any success. This year, both of the clubs he was part of last year disbanded and he just hasn't found anything new to "join". He has gotten to know some people more as he has had more classes with the same people as his classes are leaning more toward his majors and it is a small school. I expect this to continue to help him, but he still just has acquaintances, not friends. He too has less common interests and has trouble finding people who share them, but there were some helpful ideas here that I will be sharing with him.

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Meetup.com can be a good source for finding interest related groups in her area.

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When I was in my first semester of college, I was far from home, and I'd gone to that school with my high school boyfriend, but we broke up within a couple months (after, naturally, having been together 24/7 those first critical weeks of college). So, i was pretty lonely. 

 

I made a policy of "never say no" (within reason, obviously). When the girls on my hall wanted to go to frat parties on Friday, I went. When someone asked me to go to a football game, I went. Etc. Etc. These were things I had no natural interest in. (One night of frat parties and one college ball game were enough for me, lol.) Anyway, I say this to suggest that the earlier poster who suggested that your dd might be well served to just go along to activities that aren't really her fave. Going once is not a life sentence of football or frat parties. You just try out new things, new people, etc . . . It gets you out of the aloneness and that mental shift helps so much. Soon enough, I "found my people" and had plenty of friends. (Who, like me, had no interest in frat parties or football, lol.)

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Will she be in the same dorm with the same roommate next year?  Often dorms get reputations for the types of students they attract. Also some have more public areas or are more conducive to student interaction.  

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Oh dd has accepted some invitations. She's been to a couple of basketball games and a couple of frat parties. Last semester some of her dorm neighbors would go to the student center and play pool. She joined in the card games during the first semester but no one has played this semester. She's been to eat with a couple of people outside the dining hall. She's gone to the dining hall with some people too. She's also been shopping at Costco, Target and Walmart. All of those things she's done 1-3 times each so she's not alone ALL the time. Mostly she hangs out with two guys who live across the hall. There is one girl who lives in the next room down from her too. And she has her roommate who joined her at the very end of last semester. The problem is most of those things are short. LIke if they go spend an hour at Target, she comes home and the guys get busy so she's back in her room alone. Or the same thing happens after they eat.

 

I call all these people acquaintances. She hasn't connected with anyone on a deeper level, like no one to actually talk to beyond superficial conversation. She doesn't have someone to hang out with frequently. She has to just take it where they offer it. She said her neighbors don't usually accept her invitations to do things. She goes when they decide to invite her. I've even offered to pay for pizza if she'd gather up some of them for a while on a certain night but so far no one has joined her.

 

No, she won't be in the same dorm. Right now she's in a dorm that has double occupancy rooms. She considered keeping her current setup because she gets along so well with her roommate. Unfortunately her roommate already has housing plans next year and they don't include my dd. So when housing opened up, dd talked to a few girls and found someone she seems compatible with. They have a 2 BR 1 BA apartment dorm, so she'll have her own bedroom where she can close her door for privacy. There's a living room and we'll be putting a tv in there so there is a social space. She doesn't know the dynamics of this new dorm though. In her current dorm, students leave their doors open when they want to be social. She doesn't know if something similar exists in her new dorm.

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Sometimes it just takes time.  I met almost no one my first year, mainly because I was living at home.  My second year I lived in residence but it still took a good while for the relationships to become really deep friendships.  Not all did even that second year.

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When several go on an outing to Target or some place else and then come back and are busy, do you have any idea of what they are busy with?  Are they off to study or do other school work?  Are they off doing activities for sororities or other clubs you daughter isn't involved in?  Are they off doing activities your daughter just isn't interested in?  

 

Do you know the interests of the new roommate?  Hopefully, that can turn into a good friendship.  I would encourage her to start trying to build that relationship now.  The apartment setting may work better.  She will have a living room which can be used for social gatherings.  Perhaps she can offer to host a club meeting or some other type of event.  Does the apartment have a kitchen? There can be advantages to this if she and roommate need to plan meals and kitchen chores together.  However, if it means that she will be cooking rather than going to the cafeteria, it could be more isolating.  

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I think the first couple years at college are hard for almost everyone, even people who seem outgoing.  Friendly types do not equal true friends.

 

Couple thoughts:  has she read books about friendship and social skills, like How to Win Friends and Influence People?

 

Has she considered rushing a sorority?  DH and I disagree about this, but part of the point is forcing yourself to have a social life and do charity work.  Obviously Greek life is much healthier at some colleges than others, where it is nonstop drinking and partying.  But sororities for quirky types who are more introverted do exist, and they might help her find girls just like her and never have a dud of a weekend again.

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I wish I had words of wisdom to share. I know it can be difficult hearing people say for her to put herself out there when she is trying and being rejected. There is a big difference between someone who just wanders the path looking down and not engaging with other people and those who really try but just don't succeed with social interactions. I have often wondered what that secret 'thing' is that some people have and others do not that attracts friendships.

 

I know many people say not to judge college friendships based on freshman year experiences but it sucks to be the only one in the dorm on Friday night. It stinks to be the one who asks for study groups and tries to set up study dates only to be turned down. It hurts to be the one whose FB page is empty or who never gets tagged in events or pics because no one remembered or thought to send an invitation. Having a roommate who is living it up and always out and about only exacerbates the differences and makes the wounds even more tender.

 

:grouphug: to you and your daughter.

 

 

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I totally "get" your DD's problem. (((HUGS)))

My daughter (14) has never been able to ever make a friend, never. And it's not from trying. I see so many shades of my daughter in what you've stated about yours.

We've been trying to make plans for her future. She suffers from depression, anxiety, some sensory, some health problems, etc.

It's my goal to make sure she gets her permit by the time she turns 15. I want to make sure she learns to drive (her anxiety will make this difficult).

My daughter never has anyone to invite over for her birthday, no one to text, no one to chat about teen stuff, etc. We do keep trying though. I'm trying to find a new Girl Scout Troop that has Cadettes for the fall. It's definitely a work in progress.

The ladies have given a lot of good advice.

I just wanted you to know you're not alone in your sadness for your daughter. I do hope things get better. A mother's heart breaks for her child when they're sad and lonely.

 

 

 

Edited by JBJones
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