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Grab the Meic: Struggling To Make Friends

Sian is really struggling with building new relationships and making friends at college. She feels that it’s having an effect on her mental health and has turned to Meic for help.

Grab the Meic is your opportunity to ask us about anything that’s worrying you. We’re here to listen and give advice. If you want to #grabthemeic then check out this page, but remember this advice is not instant. If you need advice quickly then please contact the helpline.

This article is also available in Welsh – I ddarllen y cynnwys yma yn Gymraeg – clicia yma

Hi Meic,

I struggle to make friends with people. I’m generally a shy person, but I’ve always been polite and nice to people, not wanting to start any arguments. I’ve been bullied before in high school. People have whispered stuff behind my back, bullied me online, taken my things and a pair of scissors was chucked at me once. It made me very paranoid to go to classes where I didn’t have someone I was friendly with. In college, I had someone and everything was fine, but she’s transferred and I’m pretty much alone in the class. Everyone else is really friendly with each other and they talk amongst themselves and subconsciously I think they’re talking about me even though I know they’re not. It’s honestly affected my mental health and I have been struggling for a long time but I’m too afraid to ask for help.

Sian (*name changed to protect their identity)

Meic’s Advice

Hi Sian,

Thank you for contacting Meic. It’s really good that you’re looking to help yourself, well done for doing that. 

You struggle with building relationships and making friends because of your shyness and you’ve experienced bullying in the past. This must have been hard on you. All of this has resulted in you becoming paranoid about attending classes if you didn’t have someone there that you were friends with.

You feel that everything that’s happened to you in the past, and the situation you find yourself in now, has had an affect on your mental health. You admit you’re struggling but you’re too afraid to ask for help.

Girl sat on floor with rain cloud above head and sad face for Struggling To Make Friends article

Finding support

All of this sounds like you’re having a really difficult time but, as I said, it’s really good that you’re looking for help. Think about the people that you do have around that can offer support. Are you able to chat with family, or another person that you feel comfortable with, like a favourite aunt or someone? Do you think that your family would be concerned if they thought that you were struggling and hadn’t chatted to them about it?

You could try talking to someone at your college. Every college should have a wellbeing person that you can chat to and who can offer you support. Just ask at reception or ask a tutor who this person is. You shouldn’t worry about it. They have seen a lot of young people, with lots of different issues that they’re worried about. You won’t be the first or only person in college that’s struggling. You are not alone in how you’re feeling.

Girl writing on piece of paper with smile on face fpr Struggling To Make Friends article

Doing nothing changes nothing

I know you said that you’re scared to ask for help, and this is understandable. It can be really hard to admit to someone else that you’re struggling. But if you were to do nothing then what would happen? You’ll probably continue to feel like this, nothing will change if you don’t do anything. If you were to take a chance and try to talk to someone, then it’s likely that things will change for the better for you.

If you’re worried about what to say then it could be helpful to write things down first. It will give you time to think about all the things that you’re struggling with, and it will help clear your head to get it down on paper. When you do go to talk to someone, you can then use this to help you and remind you of the things you want to say. You could take it with you so you can refer back to it, or you can hand it to the person you’re talking with for them to read, and then have a chat.

You could also think about going to see your GP depending on how you are thinking about things.

There’s no rush. Take your time to think about what you want to do. Think about the things you want to say and decide what your next steps will be

Boy sat on bean bag with laptop on knees for Struggling To Make Friends article

Helpful websites

Take a look at the Believe in Yourself page on the Young Minds website. They have a 7-step plan to help with your self-esteem that might help with your shyness.

If you want tips on making new friends then Childline offer advice that might be able to help on their Making Friends page. There might be tips here that you could try.

BullyingUK takes a look at how bullying can have an effect on your mental health. They have advice about where to get support and how to take care of yourself.

The Meic helpline can talk through all your issues with you and help you decide what to do next. You can phone, text or chat online between 8am and midnight every day. You can also check out these articles on the website:

Take care

The Meic Team

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