Post # 1
- Wedding: October 2019 - Asheville, North Carolina
Let me preface this sob story post by saying that I’m actually the happiest I’ve ever been – I’ve recently finished up my master’s degree, I’m living with and engaged to a man I truly love and want to be with forever, and I have an incredible and supportive immediate family as well as fantastic in-laws that are thrilled with me. Things are so well for me, in fact, that it feels selfish to be preoccupied with what I’m lacking. But here it is anyway.
I haven’t had a close female friend since before puberty. I went through a serious bout of depression/anxiety during middle school/high school and I burned most of my social bridges. I would rebuild here and there, but I never really regained my footing socially. It didn’t help that I was the classic “I’m not like other girls” girl through high school and most of college. I got along better with guys and felt like I could “be myself,” and after a few experiences with flaky girls in college, I decided I was fundamentally “at odds” with women and sort of gave up on finding gal pals. I wouldn’t turn down female friendships, and I had a couple associations with girls, but they were generally like me – weird recluses who would rather burn bridges when shit hit the fan than open up to their friends about why they aren’t texting back. Weirdly I never had this problem with boyfriends, and I would always look to my boyfriend at the time to be the sort of social “one stop shop.” He would listen to me complain, cry, have fun with me, and we also had sex – in my mind, I didn’t need anyone else. Of course this arrangement would collapse after a breakup, and our mutual friends would always “side” with him. So I’d move onto a new guy, and so on until graduating college and moving back home.
After another mental breakdown post-graduation, I got my act together and met my FH while working at my first job (we met online). I was still awkwardly stepping around female friendships with coworkers. I was so afraid that they were judging me, or that I was boring them if we hung out. I felt like a teenage boy, lol. My therapist tells me that I may build new friendships with women after I have a kid, because having children can be an “excuse” to form new female friendships. That may be the case, but for now anyway I’ve got a wedding in two months and I won’t have a single friend there. I’m worried my FH’s extended family will think he’s marrying a weirdo. It’s a smallish wedding with no more than 70 guests, so that’s my one saving grace. My FH only invited 12 friends, most of whom I know and enjoy hanging out with. We’re not doing bridesmaids/groomsmen, only our respective sisters as the Maid/Matron of Honor and “best woman.”
I know this whole thing is only a big deal to me, and no one else will fault me for it. Friendships come and go, sure, but I’m in awe of the people I meet with friends from elementary school. I can’t even maintain a friendship from two years ago, let alone 20. I guess I’m looking for some perspectives or words of wisdoms from other friendless brides out there, lol. Or maybe there’s someone out there in a similar boat who will know she’s not alone.
Post # 2
I’m sorry bee. Let me start by saying that I applaud your self-reflection and the realizations you’ve come to about friendships, particularly female ones. I just posted about this on another thread but you don’t have to wait until you have children to make friends – if you have hobbies, make some new friends that way. For example, recreational sports leagues, art classes, movie meetups, etc. Making friends is often easier when you’re starting with a baseline common interest. It’s scary to put yourself out there but the risk is worth the reward.
I’ve been best friends with the same girl since we were in diapers and my best advice is, friendships are like plants. If we water them, they grow. I always make the time to at least say hi or send her something funny/interesting, even if I don’t have anything particular to say to her. My other piece of advice is that your plans to chat with or meet with with a friend are not less valid because you reached out first. I see far too many people sit and wait for friends to come to them, and that’s not how it works.
Best of luck to you, bee, and in the meantime I suggest just focusing on all of your recent accomplishments and upcoming wedding!
Post # 3
Yes friendships come and go and who knows when or where you might connect with and have a nice friendship with. Whether 100 of your friends come to your wedding or no friends come you are marrying your love. That goes for family too! There are people out there that don’t have good family relationships or no family, you know what’s most important and that is marrying the one that you love. Take joy in the family that supports you, be glad they have your back, and will be there for you. Don’t sweat the small stuff enjoy your day and be happy.
Post # 4
Sounds like you’ll be fine for the wedding. But give women a chance. Some of us are really great.
Post # 5
I don’t know if this is true for you but I’ll share something about myself. I went through a little of the same thing – anxiety throughout high school and lost touch with all female friends. Only was friends with guys. Still have a much easier time being friends with guys and have trouble kindling friendship with other women. It was a big mystery to me until fairly recently when I realized that being friends with guys is “the easy route.” (Now I don’t think this is biologically a guy/girl thing but moreso how our society encourages these traits….) Women expect a lot more effort and time in friendships….they want frequent texts, regular visits, they have expectations. Men are different – you can go without any contact with them for two months and you can pick up right where you left off like nothing ever happened and there are no hurt feelings. It didn’t occur to me that this was “the problem” until I was already well into adulthood. My anxiety spikes up when I’m expected to text now, go here now, otherwise the friendship will take a big hit, etc.
I don’t know what the solution is but that’s what I figured out about myself. Since you mentioned depression, I’m wondering if it might be the same thing that’s going on. Just a thought.
Post # 6
lazywivesclubpresident : I don’t have female friends either, and I’m not sorry, and I’m not self-concious about it. I don’t have depression or social anxiety, or any other reason for not keeping girlfriends around. I’m simply perfectly happy calling my sister and my fiancé my best friends. I have people at work I get along with well; I get along with everyone in my fiancés family…if they think I’m an antisocial weirdo, then I guess I’m an antisocial weirdo! The truth is, I like my circle small, and I’m perfectly happy with my cirlcle the way it is. There’s no need to feel self-concious, Bee. Some people just don’t feel the need to have a network of friends because they’re content with the people who already fulfill their lives. I doubt his family will think anything less of you.
Post # 7
I joined Bumble to find local girlfriends. They have an option for platonic friends only. Not saying it works, but you’d be putting yourself out there.
Post # 8
I admire your self-awareness – it’s not easy to really evaluate yourself like you’ve done!
I do not make friends easily. I’m awkward, I always assume I’m a bother, and I see people with friends and think “They already have friends, they don’t need me.” It’s terrible. I am still pretty good friends with two of my best friends from middle school. One of those friends introduced me to her neighbor/close friend way back then and we became friends too. So there are 4 of us. We all suck at communication and sometimes it’ll be weeks between texts. But then one of us will text something totally random and strike up a conversation, then we’ll go back and forth a few times, catch up, and then the convo dies. We’ll hang out all together sometimes, or just two of us will hang. It takes work to keep a friendship going, but it doesn’t have to be exhausting!
Can you reach out to any of your old middle school friends in Facebook? I know you said you burned bridges, but sometimes a quick “Can you believe what I said? I still can’t. I’m sorry I said those things, especially because we were such good friends! How’s life been treating you since high school?” could be enough to rekindle some friendships. I’ve reconnected with some people I wasn’t even close to in high school and it turns out we have a lot in common now, so we’ll chat occasionally.
Post # 9
Well you admire OP’s self awareness and so do l, but l really admire yours too and think your advice is great. I hope OP follows it.
Women friends are gold imo, of course friendships with men are valuable too but somehow much less nuanced and profound as a general rule. I guess that suits some people’s style more but l have never been one to call my h. my ‘best friend’ .
Post # 10
I have been there and I fought for so many years to not let it bother me and to try to make friends and have those connections. I don’t know about you but I had to come to the realization that I actually didn’t want friends. I just wanted the image. The friends giving me a personal image is one of someone who is liked, is “accepted” is not a “loser” etc. I realize I operate better alone, otherwise I’d have lots of friends. Honestly, anyone can make them if they try. It’s very easy. I only wanted them for the image. And so that is being fake. I am fine with the company I keep. I am fine with acquaintances and walking alone. But as you are in a relationship it is normal and natural and totally ok to share friends or befriend your fiance’s friend’s significant others. I think you need to work on owning who you are, but you have to find it first. In finding that person you very well may make many friends. And if you do not, you will be so comfortable in your skin. It is best to not worry about what others think. They also don’t need to know and may never even figure it out! Always keep your head held high and own who you are. You don’t need to have friends to be happy and you don’t need them to have a successful marriage. Being a good person is what really matters.
Post # 11
- Wedding: June 2017 - A vineyard
Going to start my post by saying I am similar. I really only have 2 female friends. The rest are men. Just generally get along with them more because of more masculine hobbies. Nothing wrong with it. And none of my friends male or female came to my wedding. I was a little sad but understood. I only had my dad and 4 extended family there on my side. My husband had the other 35ish people there. It felt awkward to me but if anyone was judging they have kept quiet.
I know I wouldn’t judge just because I understand life can keep us. Even if we really want to do something. So I would say don’t worry at all about it!
Post # 12
My boyfriend is actually like you – he has few, if any, friends and seems more comfortable that way. He has a very busy job and is happy spending time with me and his family in his spare time. He and I are obviously very close, and he is close to his dad as well and gets along well with his mom and sister, and they see a lot of his extended family, so I really don’t think he sees anything as being missing in his life. I doubt whether he would have leftover time and energy to maintain friendships, and as I say, he seems perfectly happy with the status quo.
It’s really all about what makes you happy and fulfilled and comfortable. There is no one “right” way to live your life or a set of rules about how many friends you should have. If you feel there is a gap in your life and you sometimes wish you had good female friends you could talk to or do things with, female friends are fairly easy to make. (And I agree with a PP, you might want to give them a chance, many of us are really great, caring, loyal friends.) I have made friends by finding people online or befriending someone I talk to at a party, or gravitating towards people I meet and find interesting. It’s really easy, especially when you’re an adult, because many people feel isolated and lonely because we’re all so busy. All you have to do is ask if they’d like to have coffee sometime, and away you go.
I do sympathise with you, though – I’ve had plenty of female friends come and go over the years, and it can be very discouraging. I’ve also had female friends hurt me in what I feel was a very needless manner. I now have about five good female friends and I still have to remind myself to have a thicker skin from time to time. I enjoy my own company and my boyfriend’s company a lot, so I try to see time with my friends as a “bonus” more than a necessity.
Post # 13
As someone who used to struggle to make friendships and have debilitating social anxiety it’s sad to me that your therapist sounds like she is essentially telling you to put off friendships until after motherhood. (Which seems like a terrible idea if you’re already worried about people judging you.)
I think it’s great you have self awareness but also wonder if the narrative you’re telling yourself is stopping you from moving forward.
i had a bad track record with friends for a long time – I was often getting abandoned or having friends who treated me poorly. But it was something I worked through in therapy.
I would say starting in my mid 30s I finally started to find my groove with making genuine friends. I really do think it helps my relationship with my husband because being someone’s soul source of emotional and social support can be exhausting. Not to mention the different perspectives bring richness to my life and I think learning how to work through conflict with friends also helps me do better at it with my husband.
Post # 14
I have a literally almost identical life/friend history! Except my loss of friends was in my late teens to early twenties and were due to a drug problem and my heinous boyfriend of the time. I had the same attitude going though of thinking myself different and not someone who gets along with women. I no longer think that’s actually the case by the way.
Our wedding contained no friends that were only mine, just couple friends of ours, and friends of my husband that are now my friends too. I also worried about it but I actually don’t think anyone thought twice about it!
It’s funny that you mention having kids as a possible solution because that’s actually what happened in my case! A few of the women from the couples in the antenatal class we took have become bona fide female friends. In the last couple of years I’ve also finally (I’m 35) come to terms with the fact that I’m never going to be that woman gossiping on the phone with her many gal pals every day – I’m completely content having my husband as my only true “best” friend. 🙂