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February 19, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Relationships

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Trouble Keeping Friends

Question:

Up until I was 9 years old, I moved seven times and attended five schools. In that time I made many friends and lost many friends. After I was 9, I moved three more times but stayed in the same school district. I am now 26 years old and only have two very close friends. I have several acquaintances, but I can't seem to make any long-lasting friendships anymore.

I would like to know why this is happening. I am a bit sarcastic, and not really a mushy girl. Do I have to shower these people with gifts, or is there a secret weapon to keeping my friends interested?

(26 year-old woman)

Answer:

Hello,

First of all, my guess is that you are too hard on yourself about this. Maybe all that moving around convinced you that you have a bigger problem making friends than you really do. You have two close friends, and you have the ability to make more. That's pretty good!

You say you "only have two very close friends." I wish I could ask you how you are using the word "very" here. Even having one friend who is close enough to you and with whom you can spend enough time, is great.

Don't compare yourself to people who seem to have a lot of friends. They are usually talking about people who are more like acquaintances. They may be counting everyone who recognizes them or ever spends ten minutes with them as a friend. I'd much rather have two good friends than fifty acquaintances.

Everyone has about the same amount of time and energy to spend with friends. If your two very close friends use up most of this time, consider yourself lucky. If not, keep the two you have and circulate more. (You made friends well in the past, so you don't need to learn how to do it. You just need to decide if you do want to do it.)

You don't mention anything about your love life. If there's something lacking there, I'd suggest you look here to increase your sense of satisfaction with others.

If you read this and you think I don't understand, you might consider a few appointments with a therapist to clarify the problem and get some better suggestions.

Thanks for writing!

Tony Schirtzinger, ACSW, Therapist

This question was answered by Tony Schirtzinger.

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