Dear Dr. Romance:
I am 23 years old. I have been feeling lonely since high school and recently, its been getting worse. I feel like I can't have really close relationships with women and yet that is what I crave most right now. I recently cut off a friendship of 5 years because my "friend" was selfish and didn't really care about me. I have been making plans with friends, for instance last weekend, I went with a few friends to Santa Barbara on a batchelorette party. And I talk to/am acquainted with quite a few girls with whom I can socialize, make plans, hang out, but I don't feel really close to them. I really want to meet a few girls that will be my best friends, and hang out with me often, take trips together, etc. But once I establish contact with a girl and we start going out together, it doesn't seem like we can ever get it to that next "best friend" level.
A little bit of background: I don't smoke or drink alcohol and its not a religious thing, so I feel that to a certain degree that has impaired my ability to become close with others. As you no doubt know, most people in our society, most of which are my age, partake in the supposed pleasure of alcohol. They do stupid stuff, and they bond over it, while I am left out. This has wreaked havoc for me in the friendship department in college. I enjoy going out dancing, but because I don't drink, none of my friends who do really invite me out, its always me who has to do the inviting.
The people that do hang out with me perceive me, as best as I can tell, to be interesting, and fun, etc. But for some reason, we cant connect on that deeper level. Can you help me?
I'm sorry you're feeling lonely. Perhaps you're choosing the wrong crowd with whom to seek friendship. A bachelorette party, by definition, will probably involve drinking, as will dancing. It sounds as if you're doing OK meeting new friends, but if you want the people you meet to be capable of deeper friendships, you need to stay away from the drinking crowd. Find a study group, sports club, political club, music group, hobby group or book club within your school in which to meet new friends. If the group isn't centered around partying, you'll be much more successful. "Make New Friends, Keep Good Friends" and "The Tennis Match" will help you have been success with friends, and The 10 Smartest Decisions A Woman Can Make Before 40 will help you with every aspect of connecting with people.
For low-cost counseling, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.
Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for LoveForever.com, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.