I Have the Friendless Gene

*Editor’s Note: I failed to note that this post is strictly about girl friends. I am very thankful my husband is my best earthly friend and he tells me all the time I am most definitely his best friend. He doesn’t long for a guy friend of the sort that I seem to long for in a girl friend.

I must not be the only 40-something married Momma in America who cannot sustain lasting and real friendships. There I said it. Deep exhale.

If you have that circle of friends or some “besties” (I didn’t even know that term until recently), then this article is most likely not going to be of any interest to you unless you just want to read about someone like me who seems to have the friendless gene. If you like me wonder what in the world is wrong with me or am I just always a day late and a dollar short or maybe always not at the right place and right time … then this article might hit all too close to home. What is the deal? goes through my mind daily. Except I’m going to choose daily to take that thought captive and toss it out of my brain and more importantly, out of my heart. I am NOT going to allow it take root again, because I am going to trust God knows what is best for me and that my idea of best isn’t a part of His plan, which is always better.


I realize friendship is a give and take. I honestly try to do a lot of the giving. In my recent venture into opening up my heart yet again and becoming vulnerable (really takes a lot out of me perhaps because of my history of failed friendships), I gave a lot: a card with a heartfelt note  and small gift in recognition of her birthday, a surprise cup of her favorite coffee except I left out one ingredient I would later realize, texts of encouragement, sharing about very vulnerable areas in my life, being the only one to suggest actual face-to-face meetings for the sole purpose of being together instead of those times we see each other in relation to a more professional connection, which is how we first met one another … but in the end it wasn’t enough because one day I let my irritable and neurotic side show a lot … I apologized that same day but I never heard those three words I forgive you and its fairly clear she hasn’t. And yesterday I realized that potential real friendship has most likely slipped right out of my grasp just like all of the others.

I think one of the big light-bulb moments for me has come in recent months as I prayed and prayed and prayed some more for God to reveal to me how I could change in order to gain friends or even just one real friend. I have a lot of acquaintances mind you, but I was thinking and praying for that kind of friend you’d take a trip with year after year, who you have a language with that doesn’t even have to be spoken, who ALWAYS remembers to support you when not one but two of your children are undergoing major surgery … yeah I realized back in December that one of my “friends” wasn’t really there for me as she “forgot” by her own admission. I rarely speak to her or see her. When we do, we have a good time chatting but there is no longer any depth there. It stays at the surface and that is A-OK. It is just that she isn’t “bestie” material and I’ve come to accept that. It’s really OK.

I’ve come full circle in that quest for self-discovery and realized I can’t change who I am. For better or worse, I’m who I am and yes, I can be difficult to figure out and difficult to walk alongside. I have lots of “friends” mind you, but they always have a circle that I’m not a part of. And quite frankly, it gets old. And it HURTS. BAD. Being the other friend. The sometimes friend. The when-it-fits-their-schedule friend. The The specific time and place friend. The specific label friend. More often than not, our friendship formed from a shared circumstance.

Here are a few of the friend labels I have from sharing a circumstance with these ladies:

Bible study friend

My Child’s Therapist friend

Homeschool Tutorial friend

Childhood friend

Sorority Sister friend

Neighbor friend

Church small-group friend

Adoption Agency friend

Local Adoptive Moms Group friend

Older Child Adoption friend

The list could go on and on. I can think of others, but these are the ones that seemed early on to have great potential, but in all these cases it didn’t take too long for these potential friendships to unravel just as quickly as they seemed to begin taking shape. That is the most mysterious part. I don’t seem to struggle making initial connections, but going beyond that first stage … in worldly terms, I’m an epic fail on that.

I remember the time a former “bestie” (we were tight there for a few months and I never knew why she stopped contact) contacted me out of nowhere because she needed assistance with a project in which she wanted me to use my mad layout and design skills on the computer. That was very strange to say the least. Thankfully, I was able to say no without guilting myself, because I really at that moment in my discombobulated state did not have the time. And I never heard from her again until I saw her a couple of years ago at a dance recital. It was kind of awkward when she went to introduce me to her “best friend” who walked up as we were talking. The unspoken words were heard loud and clear by both of us. I haven’t seen or spoken to her since as our paths just don’t cross, but we were so tight scrapbooking together every weekend and sharing life together. Until one day she just didn’t return my phone calls. I still for the life of me don’t know what happened. It was at the time when we were in our first adoption paper chase, and granted I was a bit neurotic about that paperwork but maybe adoption turned her off? I guess I’ll never know and honestly until I began writing this article I hadn’t thought of it in years.

As I’ve struggled to sort out what exactly is wrong with me that no one wants me in their close circle of friends, I think one thing I’ve concluded is that I’m actually an introvert who retreats in my shell all too often because of my past experiences with epic failed friendships. I’m skeptical because I’ve opened myself up so many times only to have the friendship implode when I have a weak moment and don’t seem like myself to the other person or it implodes for no reason whatsoever. And I wonder what in the world happened. And I wonder am I the only one out of the loop. So they cut their ties and walk away. I can’t say I blame them.

At 41 years old, though, I’m tired of striving for that coveted spot in someone’s inner circle of friends. I’m weary of wondering daily what is wrong with me that I don’t have a friend I could call at 10 p.m. when my husband needs to go to the ER?  Thankfully, on that recent night, I asked our 16-year-old son if he would drive his Daddy to the ER so we didn’t have to take his five younger siblings to the ER. Our life is complicated and we can’t just leave all of our children at home alone. Even with a very responsible and mature 16-year-old son at the helm, we have some complicated situations that just would require too much responsibility to be placed unfairly on his shoulders.

One of the reasons I avoided Facebook like the plague and one of the reasons I rarely post on my blog anymore is I was trying to avoid seeing those “bestie” group photos and captions on FB, which ironically is where I recently learned of the term “bestie” referring to that friend and also with the blog I was hoping to avoid the happy feelings I would get when my blog buddy friends would comment on a post and I would wonder to myself if we lived in the same city, would I maybe be in her inner circle?

As for Facebook, it has gone down quite honestly as I suspected it would. I see post after post of people thanking God for their little group of lifelong friends, their call-upon anytime friends, their take an annual trip together friends, their our kids have been friends since birth friends … and on and on and on. People posting selfies with their besties. People who would say I’m their friend posting those selfies, but I’m never in any because I’m no one’s bestie. I try to hold my head high and speak the truths I know over myself. Even yesterday one of my FB posts is a reflection of this venture I’m on with my Father to claim and believe that I am a child of the One True King and to push out all of the lies the enemy loves to whisper in my mind and heart. He knows all too well that this friendship failure for me is a huge discouragement and he uses it daily to render me useless for the kingdom as I fight feelings of failure, unworthiness, rejection and sadness over my lack of close friends or circle of friends to call my own.

I realize this post is vulnerable in the most vulnerable of ways. I searched on google and found many articles about people not having friends, but I didn’t find the one that has been weighing on my mind and heart for months, but honestly for years too. I didn’t see the one which talked about being the person who would go to the monthly local adoptive Mom friend group only to leave fighting the tears that would flow as they talked about a recent play date which left me wondering but why didn’t they invite me and my Chinese kids to play too? Or another monthly meeting where some of them discussed their recent Chinese New Year party that was held together, but our family wasn’t even invited. So I stopped going. Who needs that right? I was in the group but I really wasn’t. I think the break-up for our family came when we brought our boys home at ages 10 and 5, and this quite frankly didn’t fit into their ideal of what a Chinese adoption should look like, and our boys clearly didn’t fit in their little Chinese girl play groups. But I know when I’m not wanted, and I’m the first to walk away in most instances. It doesn’t mean it hurts less though.

I didn’t see the article either about the Bible study friend, who has has stood by my family during an extremely traumatic time and a time when the few other well-meaning Christians I shared openly with left us high and dry, but we only get together occasionally with our kids, which is great, but she has a circle of which I’m not a part. She has a circle with whom she and her husband socialize and it isn’t taking in any new members. And so I see her and I love her, but I’m not in her inner circle either.

I’m not sure how to tie this up neatly. I don’t think I can. But if you are like me and realize perhaps God has called you to take a different path, a path that doesn’t include any “besties” or that circle of girlfriends who are lifelong and can read your mind with no words spoken .. TAKE HEART ladies. In the words of Matthew West:

Hello, my name is defeat
I know you recognize me
Just when you think you can win
I’ll drag you right back down again
‘Til you’ve lost all belief

Oh, these are the voices. Oh, these are the lies
And I have believed them for the very last time

Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, I have been set free
“Amazing Grace” is the song I sing
Hello, my name is child of the one true King

Jesus is my very best friend. And if He’s the only “bestie” I’ve got, then I’m going to be OK. Because He is enough.

*After writing this post and much reflection, I wrote a follow-up post Turns Out I Don’t Have the Friendless Gene, which you might like to read also.


24 thoughts on “I Have the Friendless Gene

  1. Becky

    My kids say I have no friends. I have many acquaintances too but no besties. I did when I was single and we’d all go and do and travel. I guess my family are my best friends now. My free time is spent taking the kids to their activities. Plenty I know don’t work outside of the home and still send kids to school. I work full time so I can’t do anything with them during the day. Others will travel with their girlfriends and leave hubby and kids home. Maybe it’s healthy to get away without them but I’m not wired like that. If I go out of town they are with me. I’m satisfied to have my “distant” friends and just keep tight with my family. (even though sometimes I long for a girls weekend, I’d be miserable.) I also think we are all at different stages in our lives. Young families, struggling families, those with teenagers that have issues, elderly parents to care for, college aged kids, etc. It’s hard to find someone in exactly the same boat as you. Keep the faith. God is the only one that will be around forever.

  2. Leslie Post author

    Becky, yes, I can totally relate to all you wrote. I think the different stages is a huge part. Even in the homeschool group we are a “part”, I find it hard to find anyone because we have teens down to a preschooler. People will even say things like “I”m glad I’m past that stage” referring to preschool and you realize this isn’t going to go far LOL! And yeah, I have so little time for getting out, but I’d love to find that family like ours to do life with and some seem to find it but so far it has eluded us. We do have a grand time when we go on trips together as a family and our kids have built-in play mates so that works well. I think I know the answer the Lord has given and I’m finally willing to accept it, but it has been a long journey of soul-searching and wrestling and crying out to the Lord. Thanks so much for sharing about yourself more too. Makes me feel like I’m not so weird after all. I like wired differently better, and ironically it has the same letters in it as weird. 🙂

  3. Julie

    Leslie, That is a beautiful post and captures the thoughts of my heart, many times. We all have a need to be loved unconditionally and to be accepted and supported. Don’t buy into the false reality you see on Facebook. The devil wants us to believe that others have something special that we don’t. You do belong, you are loved and Jesus is the best friend that you will ever need. God recently showed me that when I feel unloved or not cherished or whatever – to take that to him and use it as an opportunity for Jesus to fill that specific need. I know that sounds like a nice church answer, but it is true. I have been praying recently about FB, and I see how important it is to be authentic and how to be true to who God called me to be. I need to take a second look at who I am following on FB, and make sure that I am not being deceived by others, or causing others to stumble with my posts. You don’t have the friendless gene. You are loved and adored by the creator of the universe! I am sure it was hard to write this blog post, but I bet many people will connect with what you said. Blessings to you, my friend!

    1. Leslie Post author

      Thank you so much Julie for your encouragement. It was hard to write but it is also freeing. I know God is asking me to write more and I have some other things in the works, some of which will be published elsewhere and some of which probably will never leave the pages of my spiral notebook. Either way writing is therapeutic and also freeing and helps me to see God’s love for me is unconditional no matter what conditions others place on me! I concur with you about Facebook. It is extremely difficult to navigate at worst and difficult at best. I do think I’m supposed to be there but perhaps not for the reasons some are there, which is totally OK. Everyone needs to do what they feel is best and right for them. 🙂

  4. Jessica

    Such a well-written post! You really echo a season of life that is hard when we have young ones at home that take a lot of time and energy. This is me in a nutshell. I need friends, but I don’t keep them. Life happens and we just don’t stay close. Family and work take up so much time, physical time and emotional time, that I just have nothing left to give someone else. If I was able to stay home with my kids and not work or not work a second job, I can totally see developing deep friendships. And, maybe I will in the coming years, if we can make that transition happen, I will make it more of a priority. Right now, I’m disappointed that I don’t have good friends, but I also have to look at the reality of what I have to give someone and I’m not sure I’d make a good friend. I need to focus on family. I’m not sure that’s good or bad. It just is.

    1. Leslie Post author

      Jessica, thanks for sharing some of your story here too. I have to say I do stay home, though with homeschooling 5 and navigating another in middle school, it is like a FT job. I know many don’t get that but it truly is as I can’t do lunch dates and run around town with “the girls” as some do. It is a season perhaps, but something tells me it is more than that at least in my case. You may have hit a point for me too though when you said I might just not have a lot to give though I think I do in some ways. Hmmm. Lots to chew on for me from your post here. Again, thanks for sharing!

  5. Roberta Cordell

    Boy did that ring a bell with me. We had four kids and I was a stay at home mom. I had friends in our church but always felt like an outsider. When we moved to Texas( where I definitely did not want to be), I became friends with one of my neighbors and 40 years later we remain good friends. The last three months of last year I spent in either the hospital or rehab she was always there to give me a hug, books to read,etc. she has many circles of friends but when are together it’s great. When I lost my only sister she flew 700 miles to be there. Guess what I am rambling around trying to say is one true friend is enough for me. I also have a dear friend who I have been friends with since 6th grade. She lives 700 miles away but when we get together we just start talking like we have never been apart. Leslie, I will be praying for one friend for you who will always be there for you.

    1. Leslie Post author

      Thanks for sharing Roberta. I’m sorry it rang a bell for you though. I had a good friend neighbor at our old house, but I was still always the “other” friend with her and since we’ve moved my attempts to connect have gone unnoticed or maybe ignored. Either way there was obviously not much of a connection. I do have a sister and this whole friend journey I’ve been on has given me a fresh perspective on how BLESSED I am to have a sister in flesh who is also a sister in Christ. Just need to be more proactive at cultivating our relationship! Thanks so much for your encouragement and continued prayers. It means a lot!

  6. Janell

    This all sounds familiar to me – people seem to have their own established circle of friends and don’t care to include anyone new. I moved out of state when I got married and everyone here didn’t need a new friend. At that time I still had my best friend (in another state) but the Lord took her home after 25 years of friendship so for the last 11 years I’ve been without her. Have quite a few acquaintances but no one that wants to get together for a visit or get our families together.

  7. Leslie Post author

    Janell, we didn’t move out of state and only moved about 25 miles away but it is WORLDS away from our old home and the city in which my husband and I both grew up. There we did have roots. Here we are the new kid on the block and boy does it feel like it. The established connections here are tight and closed and breaking the barriers seems futile at best. It feels isolating and lonely much of the time I will be completely honest. I’m sorry for the loss of your friend, but I’m so thankful you had each other all of those years. How special! As for getting together with other families, I’m fairly certain our family is way too different for anyone to ever want to do that. We’ve tried to arrange things but they always fall flat. So I’ve kind of given up hope for anything like that.

  8. Christine Stranahan

    Thank you so much for writing this post. I so often feel the same way. My husband is military and we move often. I homeschool my two oldest and I have two toddlers. We are also older parents for the ages of our children. We tried for years to have children and we were in our late thirties when we adopted our first son. The other mothers of children the same ages as ours are always alot younger than me and I always feel out of place. I do long for a really great friend though. I completely feel your pain and I will be praying for you. Your blog is wonderful and I check frequently for your posts.

    1. Leslie Post author

      Christine, you aren’t near Fort Campbell by chance? One of my FB (and adoptive Momma and homeschool Momma) cyber-buddies is there and if you were, I would try and get you all connected. 🙂 As for feeling like the old Momma, I always was the youngest Momma with my oldest son, so I can relate to that just at the opposite end. I will pray you can find that great friend too and keep looking in unexpected places too. God bless!

  9. Nancy

    I would almost say the exact same things as Becky. And I really don’t think you have a friendless gene – you just haven’t met the right person/people. Love your blog and watching your kids grow. And I live way up north…


    1. Leslie Post author

      Nancy, thanks so much and you’re right I think! I also think God knew I’d freeze up North. I am such a cold weather wimp LOL! God bless you and your family!

  10. Lynne Mccright

    Oh my gosh!!! GOD is so GOOD!!! I can not tell you how this has hit home for me today. You just said everything I have always wanted and put it so beautiful. I have spent the last two years trying to figure out my life and the why. I have only recently begun to see that IT ISN’T me!!! Its others. I have spent 45 years being the “Outsider”. No I did not grow up here, No I am not a sorority girl, Yes I do for so many worthy things and yet Its just me. I finally get that God has me the way I am for a reason!!!! I get that reason, And I am going to keep on doing by ministering to those God sends me to because it is his desire. Does it hurt my human heart when I am not included or left out, You better believe it does!!! I refuse to let their behavior effect who I am. They choose who they are just like I choose. But I serve my God my way. I now know why I love reading your blog. God has a purpose!!!. Thank you for sharing your life. I enjoy watching your family grow. Lynne

    1. Leslie Post author

      Lynne, thank you so much for responding. I’m sorry you can relate but I can really relate to what you said too. Lately I have been praying for God to reveal to me HIS plans for my life and I think I already knew, but maybe I have just been resisting. I must be really, really, really stubborn! OK I am. I know I am LOL! I appreciate your encouraging words too Lynne. God bless you!

  11. annaclaire07

    Your post really resonated with me, my friend! There’s not a doubt in my mind that if we lived closer, we would have that “friend” that we both so desire.

    1. Leslie Post author

      Oh Pam! I know we would! You don’t even know how often I’ve prayed we lived closer. We REALLY need to figure out a way to get our families together. C still says he’d love to spend more time with you all. He thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and B and some of your kids in GZ. We just needed more time! We are “neighbors” so we just need to make it happen!

  12. Cate

    I have a best friend but she lives a thousand miles away. I have a few close friends but I’m in my early forties with a preschooler. My friends have high schoolers. Sometimes it’s very lonely, and I worry that my daughter is missing out because we don’t have many playdates. In the last year, I met another older mom with a preschooler. I think we’re very thankful for each other because now neither of us feels so alone.

  13. Susan

    This is such a great post, and so honest! I think that the idea of this tight knit circle of friends only exists in popular literature, movies, and TV. Once, I was in a circle of friends, and all-of-a-sudden I got ditched. I was in my 30s with three small children–and it HURT my feelings! Then I thought…who needs that? So. Silly. Since then I have come to realize that my {best} friends are a collection of friends from different times in my life…they are not in a circle they are in a line. They do not live in my town. Also, my other {best} friends are at my work. They are the people I smile at every day and greet with a hug from time-to-time. Also, on facebook I unfollowed all the ones who ditched me so that it is not right in my face that they are always having a {marvelous time} without me. My husband is also my best friend and we have lots of fun just hanging out together and with our children. So there! BUT–I totally relate to this post…
    I would love to know (probably not) what it was about me that made them need to ditch me.
    I am sure I never will.

  14. kristi wright

    I so much desire to be friends with a family, my husband and I friends with the parents, all the kids friends, and just back and forth at each others houses. It has never worked out for us, I grew up with a family like that and my family was large and did alot of family stuff too, with aunt, uncle cousins, and even though we live in the same town as I grew up in the connections have been lost and it just me, hubby and the kids, which is enough, but it is not the childhood I had and not what I pictured for my kids, no grandparents, no cousins, it just stinks. I try really hard to make connections for my kids and have their friends over, only to never have my kids invited anywhere, I have had families over for dinner, only to never have the offer extended to us, so frustrating. I am also usually on the outside of the friend circle, I have a couple of gals I consider my good friends, but I have never been over to their house for dinner, we do girls night and things out with the kids, but never whole family friend stuff. I try to just chalk it up to people are busy and have family to do stuff with and never think to include us. But that’s ok, the heavenly father is the only Father my I need and it only matters what is in my heart and how I treat others, not how they treat me. Just know you are not alone, and if you lived near me I would be your “that Girl” friend 🙂

  15. Joy

    Here are my thoughts. The “world” out there is not looking for a Godly friend. You are a God fearing and Godly mother. It shows and the world sadly does not want to be around that for fear they will have to change their ways. You are also at a stage in life where your children require much of your attention and time. People can also be jealous of the family and husband-wife relationship seen in your home. You have so much that others wish they had and it is causing them to reject you. I am thankful that you have a wonderful husband/friend and pray that there is another Godly woman out there actively seeking a Godly friend and that God will place you together in His time. Hang in there and wait. In the meantime thanks for being my bloggy friend.:)

  16. Susan

    For some reason I missed this when it was originally posted. I could have written your post.

    When I think about best friends, or even good friends, I realized I don’t have many. My roommate from college who lives in another state – we pick up right where we left off when we see each other and its a shame we don’t live closer. A very good friend who is older than me and was my teacher in the past. And of course my husband, but I don’t really count him – maybe I should.

    Then I thought about the people who I thought were my friends. And the more I thought about it, I realized that these were people who were friends as long as I was able to do something for them. The person who used my work position when her husband was in the process of getting his green card. The friends who would come to our place for New Years Eve because we had the primo view of the midnight fireworks. The ones who used me to babysit. I’m not even going to go down the road of those who hit my husband up for free legal advice because he’s a lawyer.

    Don’t get me wrong. I will gladly do something for someone if I can out of the goodness of my heart. I will give the shirt off my back if you need it. I do it because I want to. My mother was the same way and I learned from her. And while I don’t expect anything in return, it does hurt when those so-called friends are nowhere to be seen when you need them to be there for you. And I realized if people are part of your life only because you can do something for them, they are not true friends. Sad but true.

    As far as Facebook, I think people only post the pretty picture they want the world to see, not things as they really are. No one’s life is perfect and if that what they are portraying to the world, I wonder what is going on that we don’t know about.

    Stay true to yourself and don’t change the person you are.


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