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I Find It Hard To Make Friends

Published: May 28, 2015
Dear TeenHealthFX,

I am a 16 year old girl and I really find making friends really hard - I started college in September and haven't really got to know anyone. I have make two friends and I really like them but because I am so shy it takes me longer to make friends than normal people and when I do start to get to know people I hold back and don't let my true self get out- and inside I am trying so hard to get out and let people know who I really am. I don't know what it is maybe I don't like my self so I don't want other people to know me or if they knew the real me they might not like me. The few friends I do have at the moment I let them get their own way and try my hardest not to get on the wrong side of them. I need to work on not being so shy, so I can work on getting friends

Signed: Find It Hard To Make Friends - Shy

Dear Find It Hard To Make Friends - Shy,

Making friends can be difficult, especially at a new school. Starting college early can add to the difficulty.  However, we think making two friends is a very good start!

It is normal to feel shy in the beginning, but it sounds like your self-confidence may be getting in the way of your ability to make and sustain friendships.  It concerns us to hear you say that you do not like yourself, and we imagine that a friendship in which you do not feel comfortable being your true self is not very satisfying. 


TeenHealthFX suggests you speak to a therapist or counselor at your school, someone who can help you understand why you are having so much trouble letting go and feeling comfortable being yourself.  If you do not want to talk to someone at school and you live in northern New Jersey you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888.247.1400 for a referral to a therapist. If you live outside of northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist, you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) website for referrals near you.


You might also try reading some questions on this site that are similar to yours, such as "Hard Time Making Friends" and "Can't Get Close to Anyone."  It might help to know that you are not the only one who feels this way. 


In addition to speaking to a counselor, you might also try joining some clubs or organizations at your school.  Sometimes it is easier to meet people in a setting where you are focused on an interest you all have in common, rather than in a purely social situation.  You may find that when you put energy into the things that interest you - whether it is a sport, student government, or a volunteer project - friendships grow naturally out of that experience.  College is an excellent place to try things out and meet people who share your passions. 

Signed: TeenHealthFX