Trouble Making Friends: Is it normal to... - Anxiety and Depre...

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Trouble Making Friends


Is it normal to have trouble making new friends through depression? I’m a very awkward/quiet person in general, which makes it difficult to make friends and get close to people. Does anyone else have the same experiences? It’s almost like I’m only close to my family and husband, but struggle with getting close to people outside of family.

I’m at a point in life (middle 20’s) where I’ve lost all childhood friends from going different routes in life and it’s difficult gaining new friends. I have a lot of loving people around me through work, church, and family but I find it difficult to create meaningful relationships.

Just wondering if it could be linked to depression or I’m just too quirky.

23 Replies

I have always had the same problem and I am way older than you. I also have anxiety as well as depression so being with people creates more anxiety. Do you think you have anxiety? Having anxiety and depression makes it hard to put yourself out there in front of people. As you get older you will learn ways to get around it but even at my age I still have only a few close friends. In all honesty, having a few close friends, who will accept you for who you are and who will be there when you need them is way better than having a lot of "friends" who are only there on occasion.

Makayla11 in reply to Olinick

Hi, thanks for your post! I’m positive I have anxiety, but just admitting it makes me feel insecure. Social anxiety has a lot to do with making friends and being able to speak to people. Thank you for your encouragement!

I too suffer from anxiety and sometimes extreme introversion. It's normal for our type of personality to dislike shallow relationships and take longer to make friends. And it's just harder, period, to make lasting friendships in today's world. I have a handful of close friends spread around the country, but only one nearby. I agree with Olinick that having a few close friends has been most important to me. You might consider if you could try to reclaim some of those childhood friends. The Internet makes it easier to stay in touch. If you can talk on the phone occasionally, and see each other in person every few years, it can keep important friendships alive.

Makayla11 in reply to onthetrail

Thank you! I’ve lost childhood friends for “good” reasons, as those friendships weren’t fruitful. But I still miss them since they were such a large part of my life for so long. As I started depression medication, it’s helped a little with wanting to open myself up to meeting new people and work on being open to people in general.

I'm the same, in that all of my good friends from childhood and college live far away now. I'm struggling a lot now too, because I work remotely and don't have coworkers.

If it helps, almost everyone I talk to seems to find this challenging i.e. making friends as an adult, whether they have depression or anxiety or not.

I'm trying to be more aggressive about it since I started working remotely and feel more lonely. I've been going to Meetup groups. These are good because you know others are looking for friends too. It's tough to find someone truly compatible though. I guess there's a luck aspect too.

Thank you for the kind words! Meetup groups sound so scary to me haha, but I definitely are the benefit from them. I’m blessed to have a church group I attend weekly, but it’s still difficult to open up to them because I always have that little voice in time back of brain saying I’m so different from them so why even bother trying to get close. Anxiety/depression sucks, but we just have to learn not to listen to its lies!

Ugh, I get the "I'm different from them" thing too. It usually fades away when I get a reprieve from anxiety, which is my signal that it's a lie anxiety is telling me. Unfortunately that usually doesn't make that lie any less powerful when it's got its grips on me.

I'm having an anxious day today, and am getting the same exact "Why bother" thoughts about upcoming social stuff a friend is trying to plan.

A church group sounds fun! Probably about the same as a Meetup group, heh. Everyone there is just desperate for a little interaction/community. Sometimes I wish I were religious, so I could participate in church, heh.

CatIsMyCopilot brought up a good point. When I first got out of college I moved back home. Many of my high school friends were all over the country and my college friends were mostly in the opposite end of my state. In addition I got a job teaching in a small private school so I had very few co-workers. At the time someone suggested joining groups of things I was interested in. I did that for a long time. I can't say it was always easy. The biggest problem was the age difference between me and the rest of the members. Most of the people my age were still doing the partying/bar scene which never appealed to me or they were already having families of their own. Most of the people I was getting to meet were older by like 30 years so it was hard to find something common with them. In time I did start to meet other people and some of those friendships continue to this day.

Makayla11 in reply to Olinick

That’s so great to hear you found those long lasting relationships! I tell myself if I just find a few people to be close to, then I don’t need an entire army of friends. Quality over quantity I like to always think.

Hi Makayla11, my impression upon reading your post is that you're finding yourself feeling lonely and isolated even though you have a relatively good/active social life/are part of several communities.

What makes for a connection meaningful for you? Is it the love you might have for another person? The level of resonance or an intuitive level of mutual understanding? A deep sense of familiarity?... What makes a relationship special could be an excellent question worth examining.

During a depressive state, it can be harder to make friends. That would be especially the case if you go out less /reach out to people less than you normally would/ don't keep up social engagements. However, i know from my own personal experience of severe depression that depression is not what necessarily prevents friendships. Rather, it is the level at which I open my heart to and trust others, as well as my ability to accept and give love. I've made some of my deepest and longest lasting friendships, and met the most incredible people during periods of intense vulnerability. This was not always the case, and i used to be more closed off to others. I did a lot of work on myself to get to the perspective i have today.

I don't know if these words help, hopefully they do. I know you'll eventually find answers to your questions and will overcome this difficult time in your life. Be patient with yourself. Take care and wishing you the best.

Makayla11 in reply to Erual

Thank you so much for your uplifting advice! I do have a very loving family/in-laws along with a large church and community group. I also work at a large company so I’m always around people. For me, I’m always struggling with “small talk” and coming up with things to talk about, even though my heart desires to be able to be the life of the party. It’s like my brain is always jumbled so it’s difficult to make sentences sometimes. A meaningful connection to me is fully trusting someone who I feel will not judge me but will love me for who I am, with all my awkwardness. I realized my anxiety/depression makes me alienate myself from people and I’m trying to correct that. Also being honest with my community group about what I’m struggling with has been a huge weight off my shoulders. They help empower me and provide comfort during this season I’m in.

I know what it’s like makayla! It’s hard, but maybe start some small talk with people and maybe ask them if they want to get together for lunch sometime, you aren’t as awkward as you think! I’m a quiet person too and have trouble making friends but usually I will just go to church, work, dog park and make friends! There’s so much you can do, you just have to get out of your comfort zone:) you can do it!!!

Makayla11 in reply to pink83737

Hi, thank you so much! I actually asked my coworker to lunch next week, so I’m super stoked I did that. Normally I would refrain from doing that because I assume they wouldn’t wanna get lunch with me, but I just asked anyways!

pink83737 in reply to Makayla11

I’m so glad you asked your coworker to lunch! I’m sure they would be very happy to go with you :) it always feels good being wanted xx

How do you make light getting to know you conversation when all you have to talk about is the horror of your day to day fight with some crippling disease? So, yes, in my experience even if I didn't have the social anxiety and the inability to feel hope, it would still be very hard to make friends and turn casual friends into the kind of people you can really open up to.

Makayla11 in reply to argh52

Hi I totally agree. Friendship relies heavily on trust and non-judgement, which can be hard to do when society likes to look down on people with depression/anxiety. I find that the best people to open up to are the ones who have been in your shoes and understand what you’re going through. 😊

I suffer from depression and social anxiety, so making new friends and having to talk to new people is excruciating. The worst thing is because of my dad’s work we had ti move a lot so every time we went to a new place I had to make new friend. I am 24 years old and right now and I have literally no friends. Like I’m not being dramatic I have no one to talk to . I can’t stop feeling worthless

Makayla11 in reply to sara7495

I am 24 too! I feel worthless as well, even though I’m always surrounded by people at work and even my husband, there’s just something about not having friends that really gets me down. I completely understand how difficult it can be but I think we can get through it together!

Makayla11, experiencing depression is not easy. but you are not alone. I am a survivor of 3 deep depressions and anxiety and some panic attacks. have you tried discussing this with someone? I am here if you wish to talk... hugs

Makayla11 in reply to Sabio77

Hi Sabio77, I spoke a little with my husband about these things but I try not to dwell on it too much. I wish I had a best friend (other than my hubby) who understands where I’m coming from and just listens without trying to “fix” me. Sometimes all I want is a listening ear and kind, compassionate heart to open up to.

Sabio77 in reply to Makayla11

Makayla11, thank you for replying to me. yes, I would be glad to talk with you anytime to help you vent, or bounce ideas off of me. since I have been thru it, I totally understand as I mentioned before. I'm here for you. send me a pm or reply on here. but I would like for you to keep in mind something very important. You must believe in yourself and that you have a self-worth. You were created with a gift, some more than others, but everyone has at least one. So I say, believe in yourself. Look deep within you to find what that is that you like to do. then begin to seek after places, people and activities that stem off of that. Hugs. :)

I feel like you too, i still have contact with old school friends through internet but we all moved to diferent places. Like you, i'm close to family and my girlfriend but it's hard to have that connection with new people. I think it's because everybody seems so busy with work and personal stuff they don't have time to relax and talk like we did when we were kids. All chats are superficial, about weather or that drink we had at the bar, but nothing evolves too much.

Makayla11 in reply to Synthwaver

That’s very true, conversations become so much different as an adult. We all have so many things to worry about (work, mortgages, adulting in general) and that becomes so easy to talk about in conversations. I wish it was easier to talk deeper, like what we are struggling with or what we need help with or even what are our goals or aspirations in life. At least that’s the type of things that engages me in s conversation - learning about the unique characteristics of a person.

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