My College Daughter Do Not Have Any Friends

Updated on February 19, 2012
A.S. asks from Dulles, VA
17 answers

My daughter is a college junior and she does not have any friends. She is an introvert but feels bad that she cannot make friends. She says no one is interested in her and do not call her. She do have some people hand around but no one to call as a friend. She questions me, why am I am like this mom, why am I not like others bubbly, and humorous like others. Apparently people seems to hang around people who are fun and she thinks she is not funny. I advice her to join some clubs that interest her where she can meet like minded people but she is very busy with course work and does not find time to join any clubs either. She does not have a boy friend either and she thinks boys don't find her interesting. My heart aches when she says things like that, I want to help her but I am lost. She is very smart good looking girl and should find someone. Is being shy and reserved nature is what causing this issue? She also says that the problem is within her and I she don't know how to handle this. She needs to have some social fun life in addition to studies at college, any advise is appreciated. Thanks

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answers from Dallas on

She may benefit from speaking with a therapist (maybe they have one on campus?) about why she finds it so difficult to make connections with new people. I had the same problem when I went to school. I was also shy. Eventually, I saw a large group of girls sitting at a table eating lunch in the union and I basically just bit the bullet and walked up and asked if I could sit with them. I ended up making friends with a few of those girls. She just has to get in there and strike up a conversation with people. Joining a club would also benefit her.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

You already know the answer, she needs to join clubs and participate in activities where she will meet people who like what she likes. Maybe if someone else told her this.... an older cousin, a counselor at the school....

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Santa Fe on

You gave her great advice. She needs to join up with groups that she finds interesting. She needs to make time to do this. I took a full load of classes (18-19 credit hrs a semester) yet still found time to socialize, and I studied very hard. She needs to get out of her comfort zone and go to some of the social things that go on in the evenings. She can ask her roommate or a acquaintance friend to go with her. Does she live on campus? Does she eat at the campus cafeteria? These are places to talk with others and find people she can relate to. She needs to look for study mates in her classes and meet up at the library to study with other people for tests. I would study alone and in a group. Some of her greatest friends will be those who studied with her and suffered through that hard class with her! In the evenings her campus may have a poetry hour or an open mic night with music. Or there may be socials for people to meet. She needs to go to things like this regularly and when she finds someone she likes she can invite them to meet her for coffee or to study together.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

A lot of people are like her, I am to some degree as well. I love your advice, join clubs with like minded people. Even if it was just one club, she would be able to make the time if she really wanted to. Book club, political club, photography... there are tons of things like this on and off campus she would probably really enjoy. She may have anxiety about going to them, I think that her speaking to a counselor would maybe help her.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

You gave her good advice and you can tell her from me that you CAN get past this. She sounds exactly the way I was as a highschool JR. After moving many times I felt very isolated and just plain tired of leaving friends. I probably was even a little depressed that summer between sophomore and junior year and spent the whole summer alone reading. My mother gave me some advice that helped a lot. Two things! One - she said isolating yourself and not reaching out is selfish by nature. What if someone else out there could really use a smile or a friend too? Two- she said you must just learn to smile and say hello to people. That's it. Practice smiling and saying hello even if you think the other person might judge you. Usually people don't approach you because you SEEM unapproachable or uninterested. You have to be willing to make the first gesture and it is as simple as smiling and saying hello even if it's just in passing. Lastly my Mom gave me an ultimatum - she said don't come home until you have joined at least one club or sport and found one volunteer activity to do this year. She said she would seriously make me live in a tent outside if I didn't! Of course your daughter is older but perhaps you need to be more firm with her and let he know if she doesn't take any steps to start helping herself then she needs to see a therapist. Perhaps there is social anxiety underlying. You know what is GREAT for anxiety? Exercise! Tell her to join an intramural or advertise for a running partner. Or join an exercise class at the gym. Good luck! I can definitely relate and I hope she works it out.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I'm afraid that at 20-21 years old, you can't make friends for her. If she is shy and reserved and is not doing anything to seek friends out, then this is the issue. Other people are not required to reach out to her, and if she is not reaching out to them, they may think that she is not interested. If she wants friends, she must seek them out. What keeps her from calling people and asking them to get together, go out, etc.? Does she live on campus? My daughter is currently visiting colleges and every place we've gone, they've told us that there are tons of activities on campus and that young adults in college DO have time to participate. We had a college tell us that if a student is not enrolled in at least three non-class activities, they call the student in to find out why - they are worried that the student is overwhelmed, depressed, etc. She needs to seek people out and cultivate friendships, rather than waiting for other people to do this.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Hi, Chotu:

Sounds like your daughter has a problem listening to

It is NOT about people giving her attention, it is about her
GIVING other people attention.

For example: I was feeling blue the other day because it was
Valentine's Day and I felt like noone was going to wish me
Happy Valentine's Day. I went on line to Jacque Lawson and
looked at e-cards that I thought were beautiful. I sent some cards
out to people that meant something to me. Voila! I had some really
sweet responses.

The point I am making is: It is not about getting, it is about giving.

If your daughter can't come out of her introverted self, then she will just have to cope with being alone. She needs to change the negative tapes running around in her head that she's telling herself. She is her own worst enemy.

Just my thoughts.
Good luck. Thanks for caring about your daughter.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Honestly I think it is a perception issue. I just graduated and the kids invited me to stuff, I am old enough to be their mom, literally, some of them went to school with my kids, ya know.

I know my daughter is friends with a lot of introverts at her school. Most extroverts like the stability of introverts so they are drawn to them.

The advise to join clubs is good. Meet people. Just because you are not the center of attention doesn't mean you aren't part of a group.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Study groups are another idea. It is amazing the amount of bonding you can do trying to get through a project. Let her know she is not alone.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

First of all, I think there are lots of people who have tons of friends and seem bubbly and outgoing - yet they are actually lonely inside. Just a thought...

I think she should consider a very-part-time job. When you join a club, you can still remain on the outside and feel like everyone else is friends. But with a job you have to interact with the others. I think it's a great way to get pushed out of your shell a bit, meet people, and gain social skills. Something as simple as a few hours at an ice cream shop or in an office on campus. She may be making herself too busy with coursework in order to avoid putting herself out there socially. I just find it hard to believe that she doesn't have 2-8 hours a week for something (volunteer, job, etc.). She just needs to find it in herself to take the social risk. And it would probably help boost her self esteem.

Good luck to you and her. It's so tough being a mom!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I can relate to some extent - I am also on the shy side and always found it hard to break into a new circle of friends. And I think it gets worse when you over-think it. Like how she questions why she isn't bubbly like others... I think if you wonder if there's something wrong with you, it makes it even harder to break out of your shell and put yourself out there. I mean, to be honest - I still wish I could be naturally bubbly. But I'm not and I realized I just have to be comfortable with who I am and through the years I have (like someone else said) forced myself to talk to people and join groups. I agree with the others about joining a club. Tell her making friends is not all about being funny and being bubbly. It's about making connections with people, caring about each other, helping each other. Maybe a less pressure situation might make it easier for her to meet people... Like maybe something off-campus like volunteering someplace. Or maybe she could join a "meetup" on in a group that has similar interests as her. Or a book club? She'll automatically have something to talk about when they discuss the book. I'm sure you already have but make sure you tell her you love her the way she is. She doesn't have to be a bubbly outgoing person...she just has to be who she is and when she gets comfortable with that it will be easier for her to spread her wings, so to speak. Good luck..I wish her the best. She sounds like a sweet, smart girl.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You have given her great advice. Just because someone is bubbly and has the attention of others does not mean they have real friends. But she needs the social skills to be developed so she can function in the job she will be getting when she graduates.



answers from Washington DC on

Even though local my DD stays on campus and works there too. Even with that and her bubbly personality she hasn't made an abundance of friends. Keep encouraging her she will get it



answers from Dallas on

does she live on campus? if she does she should enlist the help of the RA (resident assistant) who can help her meet more people and help her connect with other people and become involved in activities. Is your daughter depressed? or has she suffered from depression in the past? Many campuses also have counselors that she can see to try to get past her shyness. Also, please remind her that she may need to make more effort. To have a friend, you need to be a friend! Good luck!


answers from Washington DC on

how many people is she calling?
people won't reach out to her if they don't perceive a spark, a kinship, something that connects them. and it starts by reaching out to other people.
the advice to join a study group is excellent. there's already a sense of camaraderie, a shared goal.
i had a mom get furious with me because my son and his girlfriend didn't talk to her daughter on a field trip. i had to tell her that although our kids had shared a homeschool group, her daughter had been to my house multiple times, and they all took classes together, her daughter (who is extremely shy and suffers from depression) never responded to any of the overtures the other kids made toward her. it wasn't her fault. she's a brilliant girl and has lots of nice qualities. but i think it was just too much to expect other kids to keep doing all the work of trying to develop a relationship. at some point there has to be reciprocity.
your daughter is going to have to be brave, take a deep breath, and make the opening overture to other people. and learn to deal with the fact that occasionally this results in rejection.
but often it doesn't.



answers from Washington DC on

One thing that might be happening is that she is putting too much pressure on herself to do well in school. Ask her to try to get at least one B instead of an A in a class! She should try to be too busy having fun to get all A's! Sometimes we prioritize academics so much that we forget what really is important in life. When she graduates, she will feel so lost without grades -- up to now, her only way to judge her quality as a person. People who have better social connections are usually more successful in a career than people with better grades! For people who are shy and can't seem to figure out where to fit in, I highly recommend doing backstage work in the theater. Shift crew, costume changes, whatever. There is something about working in the theater that helps bond people together. Backstage theater folks seem less judgmental of each other than a more competitive kind of club, and no one turns anyone down who wants to paint a set! And onstage folks are so much the opposite of shy that it's easy to interact with bold and friendly people at the same time. Whereas, job hunting can be really hard on the ego (unless the school provides good help getting jobs -- in which case I definitely agree with the other post about getting a job - that's really, really important too of course). Also look for volunteer kinds of activities especially with little kids -- sometimes shy folks interact best with little kids for starters.



answers from Chicago on

Your daughter sounds a lot like my daughter. My daughter was always shy but always had a few friends until she started college. She could not make friends at college and ended up becoming extremely depressed. She started seeing a psychologist who has helped her tremendously. I think it would be a great help for you daughter to see a psychologist. I have always been shy and it is amazing how much my daughter's therapy has helped me. I am doing things now I would have never done a few years back. I wish I had gotten help for my shyness years ago. Encourage your daughter to talk to a therapist. They will be able to help her overcome her shyness and give her the coping skills she needs. It is so hard to see your child suffering. If you want to you can email me and I can talk more to you about my daughter. A lot of her therapy was working on changing the way she felt about herself and how she felt others perceived her and it sounds like your daughter is going through the same thing. Best of Luck!

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