Almost 16 year old daughter not able to create a social life for herself

Heidi - posted on 07/12/2010 ( 25 moms have responded )

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I have a daughter who will be 16 next month. She is going to be a junior in high school. She has never really ever had a true best friend or close friends who call to hang out or do things. It seems to me like they always blow her off. She'll say she has plans with "so and so" to do something "this friday night" but then it never materializes or they don't answer her texts. She plays a falll sport in HS and also plays a spring/summer club season, and always has fun with those friends (not from her school) but doesn't do anything outside of those games and practices. We had a blow out tonight because she isn't following though on some things here at home and she started crying and after some prompting of "something else must be going on" she finally blurted out that yes, maybe she is a little depressed because she has no friends. i said all you have to do is call someone to do something and she said but why do I always have to call - nobody ever calls me to do anything. she is right...they don't. if it wasn't for softball this summer she would literally not leave the house. That is sad for a very outgoing, vivacious and funny girl. I don't get it. She is outgoing and when she is around people she is very quick witted and it looks like people always have fun with her, but nobody calls her to do anything. Is there something about her personality that turns people off? She just doesn't seem to develop those personal kind of relationships that pull people together and make them want to hang out together again. She is an only child, so my husband and I have always attributed some of it to just being used to and liking her time alone. And, we have always figured that if she is here we know she isn't out drinking and such, and maybe her staying home is her way of not getting involved in all of that stuff (knowing that her options are to go where there is alcohol or stay home). But, she is lonely and wants to have fun with other kids. She tells me I don't understand, that it isn't that easy and that she has slowly lost all her friends and now there is no way to fix it. I don't know how to help her. My heart aches for her. I am still BFFs with my friend from 7th grade, and I can't imagine going thru teen years without that special friend(s) to share and tell everything to. How can I help her? How can I explain to her how to be more receptive to friendships and people and how to get invited to do things socially? How can a girl who is outgoing and funny and able to be quick witted and yet have such trouble asking people (or getting asked) to hang out and do things? She says she has fun in school, and talks to people in her classes and such, but outside of school there is nothing. Help!!! sniff sniff

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Dan - posted on 09/04/2013

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I'm in the same boat but I'm a dad. My 16 year old daughter (junior year) came home yesterday from the first day of school sobbing that no one talked to her and she ha no friends. This really broke my heart and I want to help her out so badly. She is not good in sports and doesn't want to join any groups or clubs. She attended a christian youth group, but didnt make friends there. shes desperate For friends and i feel so bad for her :( She's very pretty but of course, doesn't think so. Where can a girl like this make friends? Any suggestions?

Jane - posted on 07/13/2010

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The things you're saying are generally characteristic of girls with inattentive type ADHD.

My daughter was the same. I used to tell her, "Honey, you're sixteen. You're supposed to be either going somewhere or on the phone planning to go somewhere." But she never did.

If I had it to do over, I would ask her friends over to our house for a standing movie night every other Saturday, and encourage her to call them, or MSN them, throughout the week. Ask questions like, "What's up this weekend?" "What are WE doing Friday night?" etcetera.

Ask her teachers who she associates with, and have her email them. Or just invite them to a movie night at your house to surprise her.

((((HUGS)))) Nothing worse than watching our kids have a tough time.

Bonnie - posted on 07/29/2013

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Hi Heidi. Although you posted 3 years ago I am still responding. I feel like I was reading about my 16 year old son. Very similar situation.
There are 2 summer camp programs that work with teen and young adults with focus on social skills. Akeela Camp in Vermont and Blue Compass in WA state. How is your daughter doing?

Jacqueline - posted on 10/23/2013

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I also get it and am in the same boat. you are not alone. Lets imagine the best for these young ones and ourselves as well. We all deserve happiness joy and respect.

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Shari - posted on 07/30/2014

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Sounds like my daughter. She is very pretty and outgoing, but she says nobody ever wants to hang out with her. She really wants a friend. I asked her if maybe she is a bit too outgoing..she loves to laugh and joke around.

Nancy - posted on 10/22/2013

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Help! My 16 year old daughter really has no friends. Growing up she had lots of friends, she is a cheerleader and also has a boyfriend, but has zero girl friends. She is very type A personality, and is very intense when it comes to school. I often tease her by saying she is like a 40 year old in a 16 year olds body, and she needs to loosen up. While I am very happy she does not drink or party, I wish she had just 1 friend that she could do things with. She is very independent and acts fine about it but I know she is sad that she doesn't have anyone to hang out with. Any advise out there?

Nancy - posted on 10/22/2013

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Hi Dan, Did things ever get better for your daughter now that school has been in for a while?

L R - posted on 10/16/2012

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All children are different. It sounds like your daughter is outgoing but at the same time, she is not comfortable putting herself out there with relationships. I know of a girl similar and this girl cries too. She is involved in sports, etc. Maybe have her join a club in school if she isn't already and push her to have little "hangouts" with girls at your house. Maybe a little party and have both boys and girls come over.... She will eventually find the right type of friends...it's just taking her a little time. In the meantime, you may need to initiate the get togethers and that is ok....

Pamela - posted on 10/14/2012

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TALK TO HIS TEACHERS TO SEE IS THERE ANYTHING GOING ON IN SCHOOL. CHILDREN COULD BE PICKING. MY SON HAS TROUBLE WITH NOISES SUCH AS WHISTLING. THE CHILDREN KNOWS IT BOTHERS HIM AND SOME DO IT ON PURPOSE. SOMETIMES HE MIGHT TELL ME AND OTHER TIMES I MIGHT HAVE TO HEAR FROM A TEACHER OR ANOTHER STUDENT. I FEEL YOUR PAIN.

Kit - posted on 10/12/2012

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I'm sorry to hear the pain you're in over your daughter. First of all--this is NOT your fault. You need to believe in yourself in order for your daughter to learn to believe in herself. NEVER forget that. Perhaps having your daughter volunteer somewhere after school hours may help. Is she interested in animal? older people? the library? If she has some place she needs to go that she enjoys the hurt of no one her age being around to 'play' with her may lessen. This could be a positive in a few ways. One- she will feel good about herself, doing something that interests her and two- if someone does ask her to do something with them she can honestly say she'd love to BUT she has a prior commitment that she will fulfill. Saying that will quite possibly get the outsider interested in something that is important to her and possibly lead to a friendship based on a shared interest. Three- it will build a friendship base of those she interacts with during her volunteer time--thereby reinforcing that she IS worth talking to and being around. There are many other positives to having her do this, but the main one is that she will feel apart of a bigger circle and less alone. I have done this with my son and know first hand that it works. Thinking of you and wishing you all the very best!

Connie - posted on 09/26/2012

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My son is 16 years old and he goes to school every day, he does not like his school but he makes

good grades in everything but gym. He does not have any friends and no social life, I have tried

to get him interested in sports. The only thing he enjoys is playing his X-Box. He was out of school

for the summer and appeared happy, but know that school has started again he appears sad

and unhappy every day when he get home. I ask whats wrong and he always says nothing Mom

I am fine. But he has this sad look expression on his face and in his eyes. I am so worried about

him until it make me cry all of the time because he is my only child and I want him to be happy

and outgoing and enjoy his teenage years. Please help I don't know what to do at this point.

Pamela - posted on 07/29/2010

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MY SON IS 16 AND HE DOES NOT HAVE ANY FRIENDS. THAT WORRIES ME TOO. HE PLAY FOR THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS AND HE ENJOY BEEING AROUND DTHE THE OTHER KIDS, BUT HE DOESN'T WANT TO ASSOCIATE WITH ANYONE AFTER IT IS OVER WITH.. ALL HE WANT TO DO IS BE AT HOME TO HIMSELF AND LOOK AT T.V. I HOPE THIS YEAR AT SCHOOL HE WILL FIND A TRUE FRIEND.

Heidi - posted on 07/28/2010

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Thanks again everyone. I really don't think it is ADHD. My nephew has that and I really don't see it in her. She gets good grades and is smart, and likes reading and such, which I don't think typical ADHD kids are able to accomplish easily (sorry - no offense meant to anyone - not trying to silo anyone). She is involved in high school sports AND club sports - which means she is playing ball and associating with girls on the team(s) almost 10 months out of the year. She gets along great with her teammates during those season's games and practices, but just doesn't hang out with any of them after the game or practice. I think she is afraid to put herself "out there" asking them to hang out. I guess she wants them to think she is already busy with other stuff, so she is stuck in being miserable and alone. She is an only child, so I do think she likes her alone time which is part of it, but I know she is craving a close friendship as well. Her dad and I have noticed that she does better one-on-one versus groups, and many teens like hanging out in groups. I just can't get her to take the first step to invite someone to do something or go somewhere. Her club team got finished with their season last Sunday and her high school team doesn't have anything for awhile so she'll have 2 weeks before any sports again...I wonder if she'll just sit at home the whole time?

Melissa - posted on 07/24/2010

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my daughter is 17, and has always had this issue. Being super bright, a little different and inattentive ADHD has made making real friends a challenge. She has found an outlet though social websites like Neopets and Giaia, she has good friends there and because it is done via a text situation, social cues and the like aren't as important. Also, with a larger pool of potential friends, she is able to meet other like herself. The online friends ships have led to real life meet ups, phone calls etc. We live in a new connected world, the same friendship model we were used to isn't always the same for teens today.

Mindy - posted on 07/17/2010

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Jane Wow I had no idea this was a charachteristic of ADHD my 15 year old is the same as heidi's and goes to counseling for alot of other problems she is overcoming, but social issues are at the top of th elist right now. Thanks for sharing it shed to light

Marina - posted on 07/17/2010

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Wow!!!! I feel for your daughter I really do. My son seems to be the same way,he has a good time at school and at soccer but the rest of the time he looks bored and depressed because he has no close friends to hang out with close to home. I feel bad for himbecause there is nothing I can do to help him. I put him in sports clubs hoping he will make some friends but they don't hang out after the practice or games are done. I hope you can find a way to help your child and maybe pass on your info so I can help ny son as well.

Sylvia - posted on 07/17/2010

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Girls are just hard.. If I read correctly you did say she played sports outside of school. Any particular reason why she has never hasn't played for a school team? Joining school teams, Clubs always gets you a circle of friends with the same interest. Tell her to give it a try...

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Ask her to invite some of the girls she knows and wants to be friends with over for a sleep over. Make it a girls only party. If she has trouble you will be there to make little suggestions. Then watch her blossum. Good luck!

Helene - posted on 07/16/2010

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High School can be a treacherous time in a kid's life. One or two good friends can definitely make the difference. Too many kids want to grow up too fast and teens don't exactly have the greatest impulse control. Plus kids, and some adults, are shortsighted and think High School is the apex of their lives. I agree with everyone's advice. My 16 year old had a lot of friends when she started high school but lost a lot of them when she "didn't go with the flow", so to speak. Tell her to keep trying because you never know who you will make lasting friendships with if you don't. I'll be praying for you guys :)

Heidi - posted on 07/15/2010

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Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and advice - I really appreciate it. The more I think about it, I think this is relating to not being able to trust. She had some bad experiences growing up with people stabbing her in the back or moving away or whatever and I think she doesn't want to get hurt anymore and is afraid of putting herself out there. She also worries too much about looking cool, and doesn't want to appear desparate to hang out. We'll see where this goes. Again, thanks to all of you for your input.

Heidi

Ruth - posted on 07/15/2010

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She probably just doesn't know how to build close relationships. You should have her host some parties and see who she seems to click with and then encourage her to invite that friend (or those friends) over. Teach her how to be a good hostess. That should help. My daughter is a homebody. She has very few close friends. It can be a good thing. She never parties and is going off to a college where none of her classmates are going and she is just fine with that. She says it is a fresh start.

Pip - posted on 07/14/2010

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I feel your pain, it's not great when your child that you cherish isn't being cherished. My son was similar, he even used the same excuse as your daughter, no one rings me so why ring them. I told him you just can't sit around waiting for an invitation, you have to do the ringing then. He likes surfing and surfed with 2 other guys a bit, so I got him to invite 1 of them over (he was really uncomfortable, I think it was fear of rejection) but he did it, then he asked the other guy over. Fast forward 2 years and the 3 of them are really great mates. He hasn't expanded his friendships by adding more but I'm happy now that he at least has 2 friends to call on. After all 2 is better than none. Best of luck

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