"Dear Carol, I feel lonely even when I'm around my friends"
The past few months I’ve felt a little lonely. I have two friends at school, but we have gotten more distant. My best friend from last year and I don’t share any classes, and we only say hi if we run into each other in the hall. My other friend and I share a few classes, but I feel bored with her. I feel bad because we’ve known each other for five years, but we have nothing to talk about. I’m part of a different friend group, but I don’t really talk to the girls in it. Sometimes I feel so lonely, but then I feel bad because I have a lot of people I could talk to. Outside of school, my friends and I don’t talk or hang out. I like spending time home alone, but I can’t help wishing that I had friends I had authentic connections with. I don’t want to feel like this forever.
You won’t feel this way forever. You have a good heart and good brain, and I promise you will find your people. Maybe at a job or class or party or place of worship or volunteer program or extracurricular. Many other kids are also yearning for more authentic relationships. How to find future friends? At school, you can say, “Your artwork is amazing” or “Your speech was inspiring” or “You’re such a great athlete.” A simple compliment can really open doors. You are one close new friend away from feeling better. So be kind to your old group, but push yourself to reach out to new kids, especially as you discover your own new interests. Solitude has its charms, but with continued effort, you’ll make new friends. I know because I get many letters like yours. What would happen if, at lunchtime tomorrow, you asked someone to sit with you or put your tray down by theirs?
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