My 19 Year Old Daughter Has No Friends. What Can I Do To Help Her?

Question

Asked by twall

My 19 Year Old Daughter Has No Friends. What Can I Do To Help Her?

My 19 year old daughter has no friends other than her younger sister and facebook "friends". She has always had trouble making friends and keeping them. I think she has always felt like she doesn't fit in with her peers because she is short. She was and still is picked on because of this. She is very self-conscious and worries about what others will think of her. She spent most of high school with maybe one or two friends but never socialized outside of school. She never went to parties, dances or other things that her peers did. It broke my heart to see her sitting at home missing out on so much. I know it made her sad. I told her that things would get better when she went to college. She could have a fresh start with new people. I encouraged her to get involved in activities that interested her and to to talk to girls in her dorm. She says she tried these things but they didn't work. She made one friend while she was away at college and has tried to keep in touch with her over the summer, but just like before, this girl seems to have lost interest in my daughter. People have always told her that she is a nice, sweet girl but they never seem to be all that interested in being friends with her. She saw a couple of therapists for almost a year to talk about her feelings, but she felt like it didn't really help. I worry about her future. I don't want her family to be her only friends. I want her to get out there and enjoy life. I pray that people will see the beautiful, smart, funny caring person that I see and they will like her too. I don't know what other advice I can give her. Please help!

Answer

Hi, there. I'm sorry your daughter is having such a hard time making friends. I'm wondering if your daughter, while she was in therapy, did any problem-solving work with this. I also wonder if she could possibly have some disorder like mild autism. Or maybe she's just a "late bloomer" and her time to shine will be a little later. I have a friend with a daughter in college who is a bit like this, although she does have a boyfriend, but she has a hard time emotionally connecting to others. I have a son with mild autism and developmental disability who has no friends other than those with whom he does scheduled activities through an agency. I guess it's hard to know what to say without knowing more about your daughter. I don't think being short is the problem, although she may feel like it is and maybe it makes her feel invisible or like she has to be defensive. I don't know. If this is making her really unhappy, maybe it's worth a try to talk to another psychologist. Sometimes there isn't a good "fit" and that's why it doesn't help, but maybe with the right person, she could make some headway.

I wish you and your daughter all the best and hope you'll try not to worry too much. I know it's hard sometimes to watch your kids struggle when they're adults and you really don't have any control over what happens.