Hello and welcome to the first installment of "Help...", which is - as you probably guessed - an advice series!
Today's issue is surrounding friends, and more namely, what happens when you have no close friends. Firstly, there are a few reasons you may have no close friends, so let's take a closer look!
You have friends, but you have nothing in common
I'm addressing this issue first, since it is the one I have the most experience with, as it is something I'm going through at the moment. I have lots of wonderful friends in my school, but we just don't "click". When we're in college, we have fun together, but outside college? We never speak! Occasionally we'll go out together, but it usually ends it me feeling pretty left out while everyone laughs at their inside jokes. There are kind of two ways to deal with this scenario, depending on your circumstances.
Grin and bear it - if you're in college, or only have a few months left of school, and you don't want the hassle of making new friends, you can just grin and bear it. This is what I do, and since I have close friends from outside college, it really doesn't bother me. At the end of the day, school is about education, and if you nee to spend a few months living in the library, it might be shitty, but your results won't be!
Look for new friends - this is a harder task, but it is probably the better option. If it gets to the point where you really think you has nothing in common at all, look for new friends! Join a club or society (I know everyone says this but it's true!) to meet people with the same interests as you, or just strike up a conversation with a classmate. It's terrifying, but at the end of the day, what's the worst that could happen? They ignore you. Big woop! Who cares?!
You have no friends
The advice for this is kind of similar to the above advice: either put up with it or look for friends. However, it's often not that simple. Why do you have no friends?
People just don't like you - sometimes there's a reason people don't like you, usually there's not. It might be that they're intimidated because you're smarter, prettier... Or maybe they just think you're "weird" because you're different (nothing wrong with that, I can't count how many times I've been called weird!). If this is the case, you need to just keep trying. I know it's hard but just keep trying to start conversations, smiling at people, try joining clubs to meet people with similar interests.
You have a reputation (which you earned!) - the problem with school is that mistakes follow us. Maybe you were a bully in year 6, or maybe you got around a bit in year 9. Whatever the reason for your reputation, it's lead to you losing friends. This is a hard situation, because once people have made their minds up, it's hard to change them. Start by apologising to people that you hurt, or to old friends. If they can forgive you and befriend you again, then soon everyone else will too. If not, while I don't think running away from problems is a good idea, if you have the option of moving to a new college after your gcses, or going to uni after college - take it. A fresh start, where nobody knows your mistakes, is perfect.
You push people away
This is another thing I do a lot. Sometimes, for whatever reason, you don't let people get close to you. The problem is, in order to change this, you need to see why you push them away. Often it's due to insecurities, or because you're afraid of letting people see the real you and disappointing them. Sometimes, it's because we have a secret that we don't want people to find out.
Unfortunately, this isn't something I can give generic advice for, as it really depends on your own situation. However, if you would like advice, feel free to leave a question in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope this post was helpful, and has given you some tips on forging stronger friendships. Remember - the majority of people go trough periods in their life where they don't have many friends, or feel lonely and insecure, so it just means that you're normal! Friends are great, but you can get by without thousands of them. Sometimes you only need one friend, and that might be a sister, a parent or a cousin.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments or email email@example.com