Gone are the days when you could run next door to the neighbor’s house, knock on the door, ask if Susie could come out and play, and instantly you were friends.
Granted, our requirements for our friends back then were simple: Be nice and play with me. Boy, have times changed! Now we need to schedule appointments just to talk and catch up. We have twenty things fighting for our attention and we wonder why our social life is suffering.
Maybe you’re like some of my clients who say, “I really want friends and I am trying, it just doesn’t seem to ever amount to anything.”
While there seems to be no shortage of advice on how to go make friends, I’ve found that for many that are suffering from this missing piece in their lives, there’s more to it than the simplistic advice of “make yourself available” or “go introduce yourself to three people you don’t know.”
I do not discount that making new friends takes work. But there are reasons why you’re not attracting the type of solid friends that you desire. Here are 8 unexpected reasons you may not have the friends you want:
- You’re needy. Neediness can be expressed in many ways. If you are the type who feels like someone ‘should’ be there for you, or return your call within a certain time frame, or always be the one to initiate contact, you may be sending off the needy vibe. One clue: you’re always apologizing but inside you’re building resentment. Any healthy person is going to smell this from a mile away and run!
- You play the victim. If you are the type who is always getting hurt, than it may be time to get some help to examine why. I’m not saying in any way that you deserve it, but certain victim mentalities tend to attract abuse from others, and until you understand what you’ve been through and how it’s affecting you, it will likely show to those considering a friendship with you. There are likely two people who will look to connect with a victim: those looking to rescue you, or those looking to take advantage of you.
- You expect others to read your mind. Each of us is born with a different temperament and some temperaments are more expressive than others. If you have the type of temperament that expects others to know what you’re thinking and respond accordingly, you will likely be severely disappointed. If you don’t know your temperament, my free report, What’s My Temperament?would be a great place to start to learn about how your mind works.
- You seem to wound easily. Similar to the victim mentality, wounded people get offended easily. If this is the case, others may be nice to you but will not want to get too close. No one likes to have to walk on eggshells. It helps to remember that it takes time to get to know someone and whether or not they can be trusted. Give a little (or a lot) of wiggle room for mistakes to be made as you to get to know each other.
- You try to be everything to everybody. This usually comes from desperation. Instead of being who you are and allowing the right relationships to come and go, you may be trying to be something that you’re not. Again, understanding your temperament is a great place to begin to identity how you are uniquely made. Once you understand and embrace who you are, you no longer have to be an unhappy chameleon.
- You’re expecting an instant connection. Relationships take work, including friendships. It doesn’t matter if you had the most amazing time talking to her for three hours at a mutual friend’s wedding, it will take time to truly get to know her—her strengths and her weaknesses (and yes, even awesome people have weaknesses).
- You make it all about you. I see too many women so absorbed with what they are going to say, how they come across, the appearance they give, and the problems they have. Would you want to make a connection with someone that was so insecure? Yes, insecurity comes from self-focus, and it’s not attractive to anyone who is seeking a fulfilling friendship.
- You make it all about them. On the flip side, you may make the mistake of always making it about them. Always listening to their problems, always helping them in a jam, always going to the places they like. While you may not have to think too hard about what to do or where to go, it leaves you feeling empty; the total opposite of the reason you wanted to develop friendships in the first place.
When it comes right down to it, are you being the friend that you are looking for? If you’re not, you’re never going to attract someone who wants the kind of friendship that you seek. But if you are, you will eventually attract quality relationships. Be patient.
If you find that you are always surrounded by difficult people, check out our Toxic People Survival Guide. It’s your FREE guide to learn how to identify and deal with difficult people.