Why are friendships so hard?

As I sit and write this, it’s a Saturday night.  Another Saturday night where we are home.  And I’m bored out of my mind.  I can’t stand the thought of doing another load of laundry, washing another dish or monitoring another fight that breaks out amongst the kids.  It’s been a week of snow, blistering cold and snow days where the kids were home more than they were at school.  I worked from home a few days. And when the walls started closing in on me, I drove slowly to the office, taking a 90 minute normal commute, and managing to get to the office in 2 1/2 hours.  The slick roads and blizzard like winds were worth some peace and quiet of my office walls.

All week, The Farmer told me we should plan something Saturday night.  Let it be known we aren’t date people.  It seems frivolous and not worth the effort.  I don’t really care to go out to eat.  And I hate the movie theatre.  I’m just not a TV or movie person.  In my little town, there isn’t much more to do.  So we take a vacation, by ourselves, about once every two years.  That makes up the lack of dates during the year.

So as Saturday night approached, I was ready to do something, go somewhere, anything to get out of the house.  And no one wanted to do anything.  I begged everyone to go to the school basketball game. But the kids weren’t really excited, The Farmer wanted to chill and I started getting more and more down in the dumps.  It’s a night when other families are getting together to play cards, talk, goof off.  Anything.  I feel like I’m surrounded by people who are best friends with everyone but me.  And it sounds childish.  But the feeling is real.

It then brings back thoughts I’ve had for the past decade.  If my world were to crash around me, who would be there?  Who are my friends?  I have really nice “scratch the surface” type friendships with a ton of people.  I think I know a zillion people.  If anyone wants their kids bragged on or to talk about school activities, farm, sports, I’m your girl.  I love to brag about the kids my friends hang out with.  And I tell their parents when they do really great things.  But my relationships never go beyond that.  I walk into basketball games and feel like I’m on my own island.  I go to church and feel horribly lonely.  I don’t have community.  And it sucks.

It sucks even more that I don’t know how to fix it.  If the answer was to do more entertaining and invite friends over, I’ve done that. I’ve tried to get to know people.  And I don’t want it to sound so dire.  There are times I sit and talk to people at games.  It’s not all the time that I feel so lonely.  But when I do, the feeling is crushing.

I think it hurts so much because I am, by nature, an extrovert.  But I’ve turned very introvert because I think I’m wierding people out.  So I’m quiet.  And it’s so not me!!  But I don’t know what to do.

I do have some very dear friends.  My Farmer and my kids mean the world to me.  Then there are a few local friends who I know I can call when I need something.  And others that I treasure who are scattered around the US.  Bloomington, Yorktown, Batesville, Greenfield, Little Rock.  All of these places hold the people who I hold most dear.  And those locations are at least one-two hours from me.  But when I get to spend time with those ladies, I treasure every second.  It’s comfort for my soul.  Their laughter fills me with such energy.  But I’ve not really been able to make many of those kind of relationships happen in my own back yard.

I’m not exactly sure why I need to spill my guts here.  It scares me to think what people will think of this.  Maybe some people will think I’m pathetic.  I don’t want pity.  I guess that’s a risk I take.  But maybe someone can relate.  Someone who looks like they are happy-go-lucky on the surface, but really just wants to figure out how better to connect with people.  That extrovert who is struggling to find their voice.  The mother who just wants out of the house on a Saturday night.  The lady waiting to share a cup of coffee with a friend.



  1. I think everyone at some point feels lonely, even if they have friends and lots of acquaintances. I know it is hard to find friends that you can share your deepest feelings with. I know for me I can share things with my friends, but only to a point, because then I feel like I’m becoming burdensome and don’t want to dump on people. I think it is really hard to find community now a days with the world we live in. Even at church it hard to find that and people to share your life with. I’m thinking there are lots of people feel the way you do, including me.

  2. I think you would be surprised at who considers you more than a scratch the surface kind of friend!!! Chin up buttercup – kids and work take a lot of time and energy and maybe right now the kids and Rusty are your best friends and there is nothing wrong with that!!

  3. Mind if a man adds to the conversation? I can relate to your sense of loneliness. I can see it in the words and it hits that nerve. I have learned there are only a few rare gems out there that are able to connect on a deeper level and are commited to the friendship.

    One way I found to find a good friend is to develope the relationship over time. Be a friend. Recognize the traits of a person that reflects great character. Cultivate the relationship, affirm those qualities that are good. Set realistic expectations on the relationship. Don’t overdo it. Respect their space. Be engaging, yet be secure in your own ability. Be confident, though you may not feel it. Unilateral acts of kindness, when appropriate, places a high value on the relationship.

    I am a firm believer that a lot of people in your area feel the same way you do. They are afraid to venture out and risk rejection. The good news is you are willing to try and do something.

  4. I go through a lot of these feelings because of my age. People my age are starting to be empty nesters and grandparents while Steve and are getting ready to send our oldest to middle school this fall. It is hard to find friends, but keep at it. Some of my dearest friends are younger ran me, and I have others who are a bit older. Keep the faith.

  5. Feel like this sometimes too! I’m lucky to have sisters who are friends as well. Add to that I’m single when most of my friends are married…that is a double whammy. Wish we were closer, I’d totally go to the basketball game with you or come over to play cards!

  6. I go through a lot of these feelings because of my age. People my age are starting to be empty nesters and grandparents while Steve and are getting ready to send our oldest to middle school this fall. It is hard to find friends, but keep at it. Some of my dearest friends are younger than me, and I have others who are a bit older. Keep the faith.

  7. I know the feeling my teens all go places with their friends and my farmer just wants to work, work, work and watch tv. Try and have a conversation and he just tunes me out to watch the boob tube. So this year I have been going to all bball games I have a few of the kids in the girls classes that will come sit with me and sometimes I will strike up conversations with ppl around me but I enjoy watching the game so mostly I just cheer them on. Yeah I get some strange looks but u know what I learned a few years ago life is too short to worry about what ppl think. Although there are nights I just wish I had a friend to go out and get dinner with and just laugh and enjoy their company. I also am not going to watch the world go by and regret not be a part of it. I figure it’s just a phase in life and someday I will either have friends from going to all the games or I’ll just be more comfortable with doing everything by myself and enjoying life as I see it. Whatever it is, I’m not sitting at home and letting the world pass me by. And remember God is always by our side!

  8. Jeanette, I hundred percent feel you.

    And I feel selfish for feeling the way I do. I have a handful of friends that most people would give anything to have. I host a Pampered Chef party and 60 ladies show up. I get Facebook messages, text and emails throughout the day from friends all over.

    However, who do I call on a Saturday night to come over for a glass of wine and board games? My mind draws a blank… and I hope that does not offend my best friends. Everyone just seems so busy with kids, work, housework and we all live a good driving distance.

    I feel selfish that sometimes I just wish it were more than my husband and I going out to eat and wandering around Target together. I long for a huge group of friends to gather at a tractor pull like the “good old days” ……

    I don’t think you’re alone… I don’t know the answer to this issue. I do know so many of us sit back and say “we need to get together” …….but never do. I watched it happen over and over last night at my husband’s company’s Christmas party.

    It high school and college we were with friends all the time. Since then, our responsibilities have changed. I think we often compare our present lives with our past much like we compare our lives with others.

    With that being said, it’s too bad we didn’t live closer. My wine collection is growing faster than it’s being consumed.

  9. I love this! I want to print and give to my farmer who is an introvert. I used to be the extrovert and feel I’ve gotten sucked in to the introvert in him. I do believe this is a season in life. I’m praying that it doesn’t last long. Though for us it has been years 🙁

  10. I can relate. With my hubby working on the railroad (all the live long day and night) we can rarely do things with friends or even when we do plan things they often get cancelled and that is really hard on friendships over the years. Then when we finally can do something at last minute it doesn’t seem to work with others schedules which can be so frustrating. I find myself doing a lot with Add alone. I’m an introvert through and through so even if we go somewhere with lots of people I find it hard to connect with folks I don’t know well and it can get pretty lonely.

  11. ih Jeanette I can so relate! You are so vrave putting your feelings out there!! After Greg died, I felt like I was living in isolation , most of my old friendships had vanished like my husband. I felt like I was an outcast and wasn’t really worth anyone being my friend. Last year, I made a decision to try to change all this. I went way out of my comfort zone, put myself out there, prayed and cried a lot. I now have a church where I feel like I am loved , I have a great new friendships, we are actually getting invited to do things and I’ve even hosted a couple events at my house. Now with that being said, I still struggle with my head and the feelings of lonliness and not being good enough and wondering if people really want to hangout with us or not. I’m still a work in progress but God has made some awesome changes in my life. I would love to go out to lunch or catch up with you sometime!!

    • Oh Diana!! You should know that I admire you so much. I don’t know how you held everything together after Greg died. I watched you thinking how awesome it was that you were putting one foot in front of the other. You kept moving. I’m afraid I would have curled up in a fetal position and not functioned. Your kids are so lucky to have you as a Mom and a Dad watching over them!

  12. Jeanette,
    I missed your blog earlier but plugged in when I read you comments. I identify so completely with what you wrote that I’m beginning to suspect we’re sisters. Extrovert on the outside, lonely as the dickens on the inside. I live and write in Akron, short for Small Town USA. My companion is a cat who isn’t certain if he’s just the boss or the king of the universe; my children are scattered over the country. That’s enough about me. Good luck climbing out of your blue hole.
    Ann Allen

  13. Amanda Lawson says

    I can’t tell you how much your blog hit home for me. I have felt the same way that you feel for so long. I had wonderful friends growing up, but even just living 30 minutes away put a strain on our friendships. I usually feel very left out and bored at home. Thank you for letting ng me know I am not alone and that I am not the only person that feels this way! I would love to hang out sometime, if we ever have the chance to!

    Amanda Lawson

  14. Jennifer Lutter says

    I think you would be very surprised at how many people feel the same way you do. I know in my personal experience we are not date people & we work when most people date. Many of our “friends” have moved on to people more available on Friday and Saturday night. I have also come to realize some of my closest friends are those I only talk to once in a while. Even tho we don’t talk everyday we can pick up right where we left off. I have a lot of people I talk to everyday that I don’t have as close a connection to as some of the People I only talk to a few times a year. I think you would also be surprised those people who you consider scratch the surface friends who consider you more than that. You are one of those people who many look up to. Sometimes tho you just need that friend you can call and say my family are being lumps on a log want to go to the ball game with me.

  15. John Nagle says

    Thanks for writing your post. I can completely relate, and I feel the same way. It seems like just when Melissa and I are really starting to get settled and start establishing some relationships with friends, life takes us in a different directions, and we have to start the entire process over again somewhere else, and each time it seems a little bit harder.
    There are time I would just like to visit with someone and shoot the bull, but I look at all the contacts in my phone and don’t feel comfortable giving them a call, afraid they don’t want to talk or would feel weird.
    So don’t worry, you are not alone out there and I am proud to call you and Rusty my friends. If nothing else be glad to know that you started us on our wine habit. If either of you ever need anything, give a shout and would be more than willing to help in any way.

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