Friday, December 8, 2023

Advice | Carolyn Hax: Parent worries that teen daughters have ‘no friends’

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Adapted from an online discussion.

Hi Carolyn: I can’t move past this. I have two teen daughters, and neither one has a good friend group. They don’t do any of the things I associate with “normal” teen stuff, such as talking daily, planning hangouts or going shopping, to football games or to dances. All my friends’ kids have that; it’s confirmed almost daily.

Both kids are aware they have “no friends.” I do believe they’re liked well enough, but also could end up eating lunch alone almost any day. They are good students, and they were kind, loyal friends when they did have them — back in elementary school. I find myself internally obsessing about whether I did something wrong here or whether it’s just their quirky personalities.

I’m downplaying it a bit, but amid some big life stresses, I’ve found myself thinking about the multiple family members who have died by suicide. When did their depression start? I cannot sleep on those days. Do you have advice for me?

Angsty Parent: If your daughters are showing signs of depression (information at, then I urge you to make appointments for them with their pediatrician with the end goal (it can take awhile) of therapy for each. For you, too: You’ll want trained guidance on identifying and meeting the girls’ needs.

Your appointment is a good idea anyway, given your history, even if your girls are not depressed but merely solitary. Plus, “internally obsessing” is worth addressing for everyone’s benefit; it rarely remains inside, and it won’t help your kids if your stress spills over on them.

The cause of their detachment notwithstanding, I urge you to center yourself with the understanding that a lot of people — a ton, a horde — simply do not connect with high school socially and feel no draw to shopping, ballgames and dances. Like, massive numbers of people. Some find their alt-crowd, some power through their misery to graduation, some hear their own drummer just fine. Some siblings lean hard on each other. However they get there, your daughters could find themselves among friends or better friend-candidates on the other side of high school.

Plus, if they’re A-okay with having lunch alone, then they will enter adult life with a resourcefulness few possess at their ages.

· I did not go to my senior prom or any other dances in high school. No one asked me, and the one guy I thought about asking had already asked someone else — as I learned through the grapevine. My parents never said boo to me about it, and I am so grateful to this day.

Dear Carolyn: Any advice for getting through the weekend of my ex’s wedding? We still have mutual friends who will be there (though they have kindly kept quiet about it around me). I have a big mishmash of unresolved feelings for him, continue to wish things had worked out between us and am deeply afraid I’m never going to find someone else. Also, the festivities are just down the street from me, and I’m afraid to step outside my apartment, lest I see somebody.

Unresolved: Leave town that weekend!!! Oh my goodness.

As for the mishmash, stop what-iffing and seize this with both hands: Anyone marrying someone else is not your person. When the alternative is someone who isn’t 100 percent on your side, you’re better off with your own company — which, if not perfect, is perfectly suited to you. And no partner is perfect either. Take care.

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