When making friends is difficult.

In this day of Facebook friends and Twitter followers virtual friends can often take time away from genuine relationships. But what happens when all your social time is spent in front of a screen and you have no “real life” friends? *Carolyn wrote to the Mamamia community with her problem

“I’m 31 and I have no close friends…..

I have always struggled with friendships, and have for a long time put it down to the fact that as a child I moved numerous times, attending six schools in my primary and high school years. I mostly lived in country towns where it was hard to break into groups because of the lifelong bonds people in these areas seem to have.

However, I have lived in a big city for 13 years now and still I have no real friends – just acquaintances, people in my life who are friendly and polite but not close friends. I’m the friend that people turn to when they need someone to help them move, or they’re having a fight with their best friend. And when they’ve unpacked the last box or their tiff has been resolved? I’m off their radar again. I feel like Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses. Only I’ve never been asked to be a bridesmaid.

I’m smart, but not a braniac; I like clothes and make-up, but I’m not obsessed with them; I’m not afraid of getting out and doing things, but I’m not over confident and unbearable (likewise, I’m not the quiet, antisocial person sitting in the corner). I’ve joined groups (such as running and meditation), I have travelled through Europe, volunteered at charity organizations and involved myself in after-work gatherings (drinks etc). So I think I can argue fairly that I’ve tried many times to make good friends, but I ultimately end up with more acquaintances. My Facebook profile has 356 of them.

I have had two long-term relationships, both of which ended because my boyfriends cheated on me. Two jaw-dropping, heart-breaking occasions that really took their toll on me, leaving me wary of being in another relationship again. There have been females in the past that I’ve called ‘best friend’. The last ‘best friend’ I had was in my early 20s. She was the woman one of my exes cheated on me with. My trust in people is dwindling.

I feel like I’ve exhausted the avenues available to make close friends. And it’s got to the point I’m embarrassed about it all. I’m not confrontational, but in recent times have tried speaking about things politely to people that I feel don’t treat me with respect I deserve. I feel it only makes situations worse – after all, it’s not like it’s going to bring us closer together.

And ironically… the more alone I feel, the less I feel like socializing. It’s become a vicious cycle, and my free-time is increasingly taken up with web-surfing or watching TV I’m at a lost for what to do. Mama Mia readers: am I alone? Are there other women my age that lack the close, sister-like friendships I so desperately crave?”

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