Time for a some therapy. Group therapy in fact because sometimes putting out a problem to a bigger audience can have the best results.
Mamamia reader Travelling Mum writes….
I have two young adult children – a son of 21 years and a daughter of 18 years. Both are pleasant, well mannered and articulate, and both are working full time in corporate environments after having completed studies of their choice. Both had friendship problems during their high school years, as they didn’t enjoy taking part in a lot of the silliness which can be part and parcel of school life, and yes they can be a little nerdy at times. However, it is a situation which has now arisen with my daughter which confounds me the most.
All during her school years she was the kid who would befriend the strays – you know, the type of kids that no-one else would play with. The new kid, the autistic girl, the boy who no other parent would have home because of his potty mouth. Unfortunately, as she got older many of these friends either went elsewhere or turned out to be not such good friends, and she has been abandoned many times. In high school she didn’t seem to be able to work out how to manage the often fluid nature of teenage friendship, and so has experienced isolation, ostracism and all the emotions that accompany these.
At the end of high school she started dating a boy that she had gone to school with, the relationship lasting about 11 months. Since then, all the kids that they would see socially have gravitated towards him, leaving her feeling abandoned yet again. Even the girls in the group, who vowed to look after her & go out with her, have failed to live up to their promises.
I’ve also noticed that every time she tries to organise a get-together, some of those invited will fail to show without any notification, even if they’ve said they would come. On one occasion 3 invitees said they were busy with things like babysitting, study & work, yet photos of them at clubs or other parties showed up on Facebook the next day. I asked my son about this and he told me that he has seen young people of his age group check out all their options (even if they have already accepted an invitation to an event) and then decide which one will be the coolest, rather than accepting the first & sticking to that, as would be expected of a well-mannered, considerate friend.
She gets on well with her brother but he lives on the opposite side of Australia to her. She also relates well to her workmates, however most of them are much older than her. She would desperately love to have a “Best Friend” but now struggles to trust. Is this situation out of the ordinary, or is it a sign of the times? Does a young person need to have the hide of a rhinoceros to navigate social relationships these days?
As a Mum it’s really hard to watch this happen and see her so unhappy and lonely. Please help us.
Do you have any advice for navigating social relationships and making new friends?