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Feeling distant from friends

I moved to Australia nearly two years ago from another country (which is a long plane journey away) where I’d lived all my life up to that point. It was hard but I adjusted fairly well, and fell in with a group of friends who were generally nice and I’ve got along well with. I’m still in touch with my friends back home. Recently, over the holidays, I’ve started to feel a bit homesick and that I don’t feel that close to anyone here (I’ve felt this way a few times before). I like the people I’m friends with and - like I said - I get along well with them but I don’t feel as close to them as I did my old friends back home (and I had known those friends for a similar period of time). I tried talking to my mum about it, but she didn’t quite understand. She said I’ve got plenty of people who are friends with me. She also mentioned that there are people who don’t have any friends at all (which really don’t help - I know it’s true and I recognise that other people have it worse, but that isn’t going to make me feel any better). She said I need to make an effort to feel closer to them, that I could arrange to hang out with them more outside of school (which I sometimes do but it’s never me that arranges it) and that would help me feel more close to them, but the reason I don’t do that is because I don’t feel comfortable doing it since I don’t feel close enough to them in the first place to invite them to hang out at home. I’m turning 16 in a few months, and want to do something nice for it (it’s a milestone age) but I feel anxious when I think about the idea of doing something big with them. I feel really sad and shaky. What should I do?

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Re: Feeling distant from friends

Hi @Clementine75,

 

That does sound like a tricky issue and having to deal with such a huge change like an overseas move is definitely tough because it impacts everything about your life. I can definitely understand why you might feel anxious about the situation, about maybe wanting to get closer to your friends here but also feeling uncertain about reaching out, and you raise a really important in that it doesn't matter if other people have it worse, the struggle that you're going through still matter, as well.

 

Turning 16 really is such a milestone and I think that you definitely deserve to celebrate it properly and have fun! I'm hearing that you do want to try and reach out and arrange something with your friends here, but that the anxiety is making is hard to go through with it. I'm sure that other people will chime in, but maybe it's possible to try and find a compromise so you can still have fun while doing what you feel comfortable? For example, maybe you don't have to go all out and invite everyone you know, but maybe just reach out to one or two people you feel closer to in particular here and ask them "I thinking of doing X to celebrate my birthday, what do you think?" And you might be surprised by how positive their reactions will be as well Smiley Happy

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Re: Feeling distant from friends

I just feel like I’ve known them for a while and it’s very surface level. A lot of us do drama together, but it doesn’t feel like we have a lot in common. A few (but not all) of them are pretty heavily religious, while I’m probably more agnostic (they’ve invited me to youth groups before but I never went since I don’t feel comfortable not being particularly religious). I like them and we can chat or hang out sometimes casually as a group, but I don’t feel I particularly click or am particularly close with anyone. I’m not really sure how to deal with that. I’m not even sure if I want to feel close to them, I just want to feel close to someone.

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Re: Feeling distant from friends

Hey @Clementine75, what you're feeling is totally valid regardless of what other people's circumstances are. It makes sense to be feeling disconnected from your new friends and feeling homesick. I think it's tricky with making friends, some people you can just not "click" with so perhaps forcing it to happen would be unhelpful? It sounds like you're still wanting connection with someone, but you haven't met anyone you click with yet? Making friends is really hard, do you reckon you could find a group to join with an interest of yours (eg. Sport, craft, etc)? With your birthday, it makes sense you'd want to spend it with people you feel connected to! Could you perhaps do a video chat with your old friends? Im unsure if you're still with your family but perhaps you could do something with them (over video if youre not living together?)
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Re: Feeling distant from friends

I do a lot of theatre, and I’ve met people there who I like and get along with, but again, not anyone I’ve “clicked” with. I was considering doing something like that with my old friends (I have just have this expectation in my head that I should do something big and special).

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Re: Feeling distant from friends

Yeah that makes sense, perhaps you could join something on top of theatre? I get what you mean about not wanting to go along to youth groups because you have different beliefs, I had the same hesitation when I was at school. Do you have any other interests other than drama? I hear you about wanting to make your bday special, but it's completely up to you what you do. Often if we have these big expectations that can cause a lot of anxiety and disappointment. Getting in touch with your old friends sounds like a nice thing to do, even if it's not for your bday
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Re: Feeling distant from friends

Hey, @Clementine75 your feelings are so valid and completely understandable. I went through something similar at your age although i didn't have the feeling of homesickness since i never lived anyone where else. I also live in Australia. 

 

@Lost_Space_Explorer5 and @TOM-RO you both have given such great advice, i would also suggest joining another club or something like that to talk to more people. My advice is to figure out for yourself without expectations what you want to do for your birthday to celebrate as your right 16 is a milestone and like @TOM-RO said make the celebration something you will enjoy. I would suggest for making a deeper connection with them is to try to get to know them whether that at lunch at school or going out to the shops together. My other suggestion is to find ways to limit your anxiety or to better cope with it. For me, it was having things to talk about or questions to ask and slowly putting myself out there as to not go too far out of comfort zone. 

I hope that you find someone to build a deeper connection with and be proud of yourself for reaching out and been willing to do something to get what you want.

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Re: Feeling distant from friends

Hey @Clementine75 I'm feeling for you, making close friendships can be hard and I remember feeling the same way when I was in highschool. I wonder if you could do a virtual birthday thing with your friends from where you used to live? That might be fun!

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Re: Feeling distant from friends

Hi @Clementine75, I'm sorry that you feel distant and lonely and I think that's pretty normal and a lot of people have the same feelings during their life. I had the same feeling when I was in high school. I am turning 22 now and I sometimes still feel distant from my friends as well.
Having a close friend that has same values and similar interests is really difficult and I agree with @lost_Space_Explorer5, you can make friends through other interests, or you can try something new and meet more new people, this can increase your possibility to find a close friend.
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Re: Feeling distant from friends

Hi @Clementine75,

 

Feeling homesick and missing your friends and those close to you can definitely set you in a bad mood, and make you feel down. But its a completely normal feeling to have and it's not something that will last forever. Maybe you can try to reconnect with your old friends and video call them, do a Netflix watch party online, or play some video games. There are plenty of ways to spend time with people overseas using the internet, and during times of COVID its become a lot more normalized too. 

 

I hope you start to feel better friend.