My Son Has No Friends And It’s Breaking My Mama Heart

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My second son, my middle child, is so very special. But, my son has no friends and it’s breaking my heart.

He’s so loving that it makes me ache, so generous that it’s hard for him to keep money in his pocket for long. He’s absolutely hilarious, has the most adorable dimples, and despite treading water in the turbulent tween waters, he’s actually a really great kid.

He’s also painfully lonely.

He’s always been different from the other kids his age.

He’s incredibly well-spoken, enjoys discussions over history or politics. He has a very sarcastic sense of humor and no patience for façade or fakes. He is a true delight to hang out with… if you’re an adult.

11-year-old boys aren’t so impressed.

I’m an extrovert and have never had trouble making friends. Just stopping to get gas can land me in a 20-minute conversation and earn me three new Facebook friends. I love being around people, which I think makes it hurt worse when I see him all alone.

He knows he’s alone.

He knows he’s different.

But knowing you’re different doesn’t make it any easier to be different.

He’s so proud of his ideas, so happy with his interests, and he genuinely wants to share them… but no one wants to listen.

He loves laughing and loves playing video games… but no one wants to join him. He attends social functions and tries to meet other kids… but no one wants to sit by him.

He’s lonely. So lonely. And while his heart is bruised from the constant rejection, mine is positively shattered.

He cries some nights because he hears his brother talking on the phone, talking on the XBOX. He cries when his sister goes to playdates and gets birthday invitations. I cry, too.

I cry because he’s hurt. I cry because they’re missing out. I cry because he has so much to give, but no one seems to want it.

We stopped having birthday parties for him a few years ago, because people stopped coming. We tried for 6 months to find a friend who would go ride go-carts with him to celebrate turning the big 10, and finally just had to make it a family day.

I had to smile through the celebration and hide my absolute devastation.

I overcompensated with the gifts to try and distract him from the lack of guests. My mama heart broke that there were no invitations, there was no giant cake, there were no giggling boys in the back seat farting and teasing each other. It was just us, like it is every night at home, smiling our hardest to make him feel the best.

We talk about it, my boy and I. The differences in our friend circles are stark, and he notices.

I give him pointers, tips, conversation starters he can try when he’s around other kids. I try to set up opportunities to hang out with other kids, try to take him to events that I know will be full of potential friends.

He always comes away alone.

The longer he goes without friends, the more insecure he becomes. The more insecure he becomes, the less brave he is when approaching new kids. And the less brave he becomes, the less time he spends trying.

He gives up quickly now, and it’s breaking my mama heart.

He approaches groups of boys with his head already down, convinced they don’t want to talk before he even opens his mouth.

He sits with the other lonely kid, the one with no one else around, but they’re both so shy or awkward that the conversation fizzles and they sit in awkward silence. I watch, hopeful each time, and fight the tears as they all part ways.

He cries about it sometimes, and I cry with him. He’s an old soul in the body of a boy who doesn’t fit. Middle schoolers aren’t known for their empathy, so there aren’t a lot of kids with the patience to befriend the weird kid. There seem to be more and more kids who would rather tease him.

He knows he’s different. He knows they want to talk about Fortnite or sports or even girls.

He researches pop culture, watches football games so he can have nuggets to offer in conversation. But his distaste for arrogance and false fronts means he has a hard time faking it, and tweens are quick to spot a poser. As aware as he is that he’s not like them, they’re equally in tune.

They know he’s not like them.

They don’t want to talk with him.

They’re at the same developmental stage as he is – physically awkward, hormonally overwhelmed, and not the greatest and taking stands on behalf of the little guy. Middle school is the time of fitting in, going with the crowd, belonging.

And while he doesn’t fit in, doesn’t share all of their interests, he still shares that desire to belong.

I share that desire for him to belong.

I cry for him, my lonely boy. I’m immensely proud of him and know just how wonderful his company is. I also know how tender his heart is, and how much it pains him to be alone. I’m mad for him, mad that kids can be so narrow-minded, mad that what’s so wonderful about him is what seems to hold him back.

He doesn’t have a tribe I can chauffeur around, a team to meet up with, a friend to have inside jokes with.

I am my son’s best friend, and my mama heart is breaking.

I am my son’s only friend, and my mama heart is breaking.

I’m honored to fill the role right now, but I know he needs more than me.

I want more for him, and he wants more than me. No mother yearns to be replaced, but I desperately want to give up the role.

I know it won’t always be this way, I know he’ll find his people. The older he gets, the more the world will open up to him, and I’ll never stop giving him chances to try.

I know he’ll eventually find at least one other quirky kid to hang with, or at least someone who isn’t his mom. I know he’ll be seen for what he is eventually, not dismissed for what he isn’t.

But that day hasn’t come yet, and in the meantime, my mama heart is breaking.

78 COMMENTS

  1. My mama heart breaks too! My 11 yr old daughter is my favorite human on the planet but she Just clams up around kids her age. They are missing out! My love to you and your son ?

  2. My daughter too…she always says she has no friends, and that they are mostly online. I know she would talk to your son in a heartbeat, and be his friend. I know how hard it is to see, and how much the hurt also devastates us as parents. Wish we could reach out and connect the two..

    • Please get in contact with me! My daughter struggles the same way and I think they would get along! Where are you located? My daughter is 14, very few friends because she’s weird and knows it. Same sarcastic sense of humor and has always been able to hold her own in a conversation…. with adults. But she longs to be accepted ?

    • I have never read or had a discussion with anyone who literally described my son. I relate to 100% of what the mother is saying and it at times breaks my heart but over time (he is 13) I have come to admire this remarkable person.
      I too look forward to watching him continue to grow into his own and find his own “nitch”.
      I have wondered sometimes if he is on the autism spectrum, whether is or isn’t he is just amazingly, remarkably, wonderfully made!!! As are all God’s children.

  3. This is essentially my story/my sons story. My heart breaks for you..and the tears, and the heartache and the longing I feel with you. Someone just started an adolescent friend group in our community for children like ours. We are trying it tonight, fingers crossed. Much love to you momma, find me on Facebook if you ever need to vent. Kristian Hulme

    • I was your son, as it were. I never really had any friends, never really fit in. Always the akward on that no one really wanted around. I would love to say that changed as I got older, but that would be a lie. I still don’t fit it, still don’t really have any friends. BUT, I got lucky and met a man who is just like me in that respect, and we have been together for 15 years. I wouldn’t change my past because it would mean I wouldn’t have him.

  4. This breaks my heart as my 11yr old boy is the exact same way, and he is alone always 🙁 I just want him to have a friend, I wish I could make other kids stop teasing him and love him as much as I do !

  5. My heart breaks for you, too. In our day, we had online communities and blogs and—for me—an online diary-site where I found a great community of like-minded people. I have life-long friendships that came from the virtual world where most of my ‘real-life’ friendships seem to ebb and tide. Perhaps, with monitoring and candid conversations about web-safety, parental controls privacy expectations (for safety’s sake) you could find a site he could be a part of.

    Also, check your local library for events. And with his interests in history, you may want to check out sca.org and find a local group to check out together. I have friends in a local group here and they are some of the most welcoming and interesting people! I have a very good friend that would probably make a great digital pen-pal for your son. He’s a substitute teacher and is comfortable (and safe) with kids, but he’s SO intelligent and different and fascinating—one of my favorite people simply because he’s authentic.

    Good luck to your son. And good luck to your Mama Heart, too!

    • My daughter has no friends, but she has a developmental delay. Not a big one so she is more advanced than the children with down syndrome, but not socially up to speed with others her age. She’s somewhere in between and doesn’t fit in. She knows She’s a little different and tries so hard to fit in. Most of the other kids are nice to her, but wouldn’t hang out with her, be her actual friend. The ones that end up being mean to her quickly change their tune when they are made aware of her delay. But she doesn’t want ro be seen as the girl with the “delay”. She wants to be known as a friend. Breaks my heart that she’s unable to experience those best friend moments, that connection. She’s such a great kid, i just want the best for her. Too bad we can’t get all of our children together to be friends..lol.

  6. Hey there! I know this pain all too well. Have you thought about letting him join kid friendly sites, like DIY.org? Its a cool creative space that is just for kids. They have many interesting subjects that a sweet intellect like himself would most likely enjoy. And its a chance to connect with other like-minded kids. Just a suggestion. If we knew each other personally, I’d be quick to extend our family’s Xbox gaming info. Sending love and hope your way!!

  7. my Heart is sad for you both . I understand. I had 2 of my 8 children that struggled the same issues (boy and girl). They are the same. They have a gentleness and sense of humor beyond their years. As sympathetic and connected as I was with them, I realized that I couldn’t be the only one they had to talk to. It took a little bit of extra time, but they each went to therapy, which gave them another relationship, another outlet. High school was easier than middle school. Finally college and young adulthood came and their worlds opened and light and color streamed in as they found other souls in cinque with their own. I found peace and rest. Hang in their sweet mama, his time is coming .

    • You have explained my son as well. My son is an introvert and is 25yrs old now and is in the same boat. My son ended up finishing up HS after he had 2 yrs of college completed, so when he started college, he was younger than many of his classmates. He really only has 1 friend that lives over an hr away and he works from home. My heart breaks for him all the time (I don’t let him know that), but when we talk about life, he tells me he is fine and prefers to be alone. But the next breath will be that he wants to get married and have kids one day. He has tried online sites and has dated a couple, but he is very mature for his age and it doesn’t work out. My daughter has quite a few friends and has a boyfriend for the last 3 yrs. Just not sure how to advise him. Any advice?

  8. My oldest is very much like this and he’s only just turning 6! He doesn’t speak well like others his age, but he still tries and yet, no matter what, no one really accepts him or invites him—he’s still naive about it all tho… I break every time his “friends” are showing pictures of birthdays and fun, with everyone, but my boy is always alone… never invited and yet he’s such a sweet hearted kid! Gentle spirit and kind… he usually plays alone because other kids don’t want to be around him… he really loves cars and will do everything with them and other kids his age don’t really have a set favorite thing… he is content to play quietly right now, however as he grows I see him being very introverted… I was rejected by peers all my life because of how I am too… even tho I try… I break for my oldest… he’s a sweety and everyone is missing out!

  9. Omg…I sooo felt this. It breaks my head. My son is the same way &he has anxiety that I noticed is getting worse as he ages. I suffered from the same thing so it REALLY breaks my heart because it killed me as a child/teenager so I know to some degree how he feels. It’s the worst! I too try to give him pointers to start convo’s etc., he’s soooo smart it blows my mind, he’s hysterical, He’s the most generous & empathic boy. I see his friends from elementary school wave & say bye to him as we leave places but he gets so anxious that he walks by super fast & mumbles bye, which they def don’t hear or see. So I feel like he’s almost pushing old friends away & it’s his social anxiety. I don’t want to throw him in therapy & have him think hes weird or whatever for going to therapy…all though it’s a known fact in our household that myself & his father see therapists. But I also think he’d benefit from an outlet besides me & someone that he might actually listen to the ways to handle anxiety. Lord knows I could have used that when I was younger. I just want to protect him fr/potential mean kids & it rips me up inside thinking of what may/may not be happening in school.

  10. I’m right there with you, but my girl is about to turn 16 and she has all but given up on making friends. She is also an old soul with nothing in common with her peers. She has always had a hard time making friends because of her quirkiness and has been hurt badly recently by a girl she thought was her one and only true friend, but out of nowhere this one just dropped her like a hot potato. She is utterly devastated. I know we aren’t “supposed“ to be our kid’s friend, but I will be her best friend as long as she needs me to be.

    • My youngest daughter is 17 and is also an old soul who has struggled to keep girl friends…they aren’t into the same things at all. Hugsxx I understand this post as well.

  11. If this were my son I would absolutely switch schools. He is in a situation that will likely not change. In a new setting everything can change and be new. I am a teacher so I’ve witnessed this first hand.

    • I totally agree with you. His role has been decided give him a fresh start. The other school may have kids that are similar to him.

  12. I totally understand. I have an 11yo daughter and very similar issues. I’ve talked to the school teachers/counselor and they’ve purposely placed her in work groups with kids who are nice and welcoming to kids that are odd or not popular. That did help. Also gum. All the kids want to be friends with the kid who has gum. Try that!
    You’re not alone. I’m so sorry. Lots of times I hate my daughters autism 🙁

  13. I hope my son finds a friend unlike his mother he’s been invited to parties but no one has invited him over to his house but little steps are what’s important I hope he finds someone that be there for him unlike me I’ve never had many friends the once I did have ditched me after we graduated and would care less when I was having tough time but I had be there when they where and nothing more hurts have family make fun you all over Facebook

  14. I’m hoping we can connect. My son is 11 and an old soul. Adults adore him. He has a dry sense of humor and a museum of antiques set up in his room. He loves military history and video games. He’s intelligent and loves to read. He’s an introvert by nature. They sound like twins. ?

  15. You just describes my 11 year old, adults love to chat with him kids hiss age not so much. If i could h
    Get your email or xbox info, my son has room for another friend.

  16. I had a boy like this, except he was being bullied at school, too, and I never knew until later. On-line homeschool probably saved his life, literally! My son is now 23, confident and getting married in July! You may want to consider taking him out of the daily “failure” scene.

  17. As soon as I saw the title I connected. I have 2 sets of twin boys and one from each set is this way. My older one is going to college in the fall but all he has ever done is sit in his room and play video games or watch YouTube. My younger one tries so hard to fit in, to belong but he doesn’t. His twin gets invited places while he doesn’t and even when he does it’s always awkward because he just doesn’t fit in and he knows it but he doesn’t understand why he isn’t accepted the way he is. He truly doesn’t understand why his peers don’t want to hang out or talk to him. Being a mom is the hardest job in the world

  18. I can absolutely relate. My son is almost 15 and it’s been this way his whole life. Any playdates he had were because I reached out. Any plans were because I set it up for him. The first day of summer, when he was heading to high school; he waited after school hoping to hang out with kids he considers friends, but they had all made plans that did not include him. It was devastating to see him go from hopeful to crushed. That summer, (last summer) he spent entirely alone. He got one single invite to hang out as a group the whole summer. The summer before that was the same. Every summer is like a dagger to his self esteem. He talks and sits with these kids every single day at school, but yet he’s excluded at every turn outside of school. He used to try and text people. Invite people to go skiing, boating, whatever it is we were doing, and he either got ignored or “no.” In return. Once we were going skiing, and told him he could invite someone. He tried several kids who all either said that they already had plans or they ignored the text. Once he got to the mountain he ran into a group of 15 kids from his grade. I cried for him that day. I was angry. I didn’t and still don’t understand why he’s always excluded. We live in a small town. He got here in 3rd grade. This town is all about soccer, baseball, and basketball. He doesn’t play any of those sports. He’s in Lacross, track, and skis. But still, no interaction outside of school or sports. I can’t begin to explain the devastation I feel for him. He’s a freshman is high school and has zero social life. My son has the best sense of humor, he’s very intelligent, quick thinking, he’s a reader so his knowledge and vocabulary have been surprising people for as long as I can remember. He used to be full of joy. The happiest, smiliest, kid you could meet. Now… not so much. He doesn’t try to text people anymore. He doesn’t want to go to games anymore, and to be honest, I can’t blame him. You can only get shot down so much, and 7 years is longer that I would have tried. I pray everyday his day will come. He will find his tribe, but for now. My heart is broken.

  19. My son is the same and it breaks my heart too. He has a couple of friends now, but really they are my friends’ children. My son doesn’t play sport, he’s not into Fortnite etc and so he just doesn’t fit in. He’s got a great sense of humour and would love an online friend or a pen friend. Much love to you, to all the other mums whose hearts are breaking and to the children being left out.

  20. I truly understand your concern/pain! My now 14yr old was the same way up until 7th grade when he became heavily included with his youth group at church. Some days I don’t even recognize my child anymore….He’s grown in so many ways! Our youth group is very large, and they’re are lots of personalities and interests among them but they all have the love of Jesus in common and that was enough to pull my little introvert out into new experiences. I will keep you and your son in my Prayers!

  21. Hugs to you!! I know you are not looking for advice necessarily, but have you considered theater? Theater kids are the best, they welcome everyone.

  22. This sounds just like my son. He’s an old soul, very sarcastic and does better with adults than kids his own age. Junior high was tough and we decided to change schools half way through 7th grade. I was reluctant and nervous, but my son was all for it and although I’m not sure he found his “people” at the new school, it was a positive experience for him. Things are better in high school. Sports have been helpful and I’ve realized that he doesn’t need to be friends with everyone, he just needs a couple of true friends. He seems to have found a couple, but even still most weekends he’s home with us. I worry and try not to compare him to others, but it’s hard.

    Your words touched me, as I have lived everything you are going through. I think being untuned to what they go through is so important. Be aware, be there and help direct them in this crazy time! ??

  23. I could have written this when my son was in middle school. I cried the whole time I was reading it with the total identification. Elementary school was tough, but middle school was brutal. High school, unfortunately, was even worse. My son ended up being home schooled because he could no longer face the anxiety of being alone in a crowd, of being ignored, stared at, teased, etc. He finished high school in the home bound program. He finished college at the local university, which was marginally better because there did not tend to be groups of kids. Most students are loners, on differing class schedules and rushing off to part time jobs, and he could always retreat to his car or the library. He finished college with Suma Cum Laude and now has a job. I am still waiting for him to make a real life friend. And my heart still breaks. He is 26 now and I don’t want him to be alone when I’m gone. Thankfully, he does have two sisters. Much love to you and your son and all the other commenters who are in similar situations with their sons and daughters.

  24. Middle school and tween years can be cruel. My son and his experiences sound so similar to your sons. Rest assured that as painful as this age and stage is, things will get better. In middle school tweens are put in a box they can’t break out of but just wait til he gets to high school. He will find his tribe, there is someone for everyone. My son has blossomed and flourished and is now the leader of his tribe. The soft hearted and the quirky kids are his people and he feels like he belongs and I am sure your son will find his tribe too. Sending you both heart healing hugs as you navigate these waters for a little while longer.

  25. My son is 13, and would be happy to add a Fortnite friend (hes pretty good too). Also, I was/am a bit socially awkward, but my best friends are not like me…they compliment me like a puzzle. IMO More experiences with less stress on finding someone, and the connection happens.

  26. Although my son is a little older, his developmental age is pretty close to your son. It sounds like they have the same little quirks. Please feel free to reach out. I don’t know where you guys live, but my son would gladly video chat and hang out electronically if you guys are further away. My cell is 5034226447

  27. I am so sorry to hear this. My son is similar, but has found similar friends. I’m thankful that he has been able to find friends. Through your post, I hope you find that you’re not alone and maybe friends that he can link up with. Especially since we see so many kids are the same.

  28. I’ve been in your shoes, and to make it worse we recently switched schools, after 4yrs in school he finally made a couple friends, he has to go to a much larger school and try and start over. He was so excited for the first day, theres more people there so more opportunity to make friends, by the end of the first week I pulled in to get him, head down, shoulders slouched, his face said it all, I didn’t even hafta ask. When he got in the truck I asked how school was going, he burst into tears and said, daddy I’m so lonely. Sadly I burst into tears with him, my advice couldnt fix what he was going through. His teacher would send me positive reviews, he was student of the week for good deeds, his grades was all A’s which he has always struggled in school up to this point, but all he could do is pay attention and learn, he had no friends or distractions. About 2 weeks ago I got a email from his teacher saying his grades were dropping. I called her and to my delight she told me why, he had made a couple friends after 4 months of school my boy made friends. I told the teacher I was sorry he was being less attentive and being more goofy, however I let her know that I’m not gonna ask him to change that, I’d rather him be happy with friends and be sociable than a scholar in class, to my surprise the teacher said good for you dad, you made my day. It will get better I promise you, let’s face it, we both have been through this, and honestly it cant get worse than it already had been.

  29. Just so you all know. My son is autistic as well, and today on the news, there is a woman on Long Island NY that created an app designed to find friends just like our kids either in your area and/or online. I don’t know the name of the app, but it’s taking flight in a big way. ?

  30. This has always been my sons story. Hes always had more adult friends than kids his own age. My boy is 20 and in college now. He has finally found “his people”. I know it hurts now but let me tell you…it will get better. The world needs kids like this. They will be the leaders of the world.

  31. I’m sorry to hear this my mother’s heart aches for him. I totally understand I have a 16-year-old daughter and she has suffer from depression, anxiety and is not social with anyone. She would always complained about not having friends so we tried home school but that just made things worse. She has then switched school 3 times and finally has settled into school in the same area I work at. I try to give her tips but nothing ever seems to work. Prayer has helped me thought so much with her situation hope it might be something you can lean on for support.

    If possible please send me your name and address and we would be happy to send cards for holidays and birthdays to our son

  32. It is painful, I have two boys and fee like I can relate. One of my boys is in a similar situation. I got him some cognitive behavioral therapy and Emotional focused therapy and it made all the difference. He realizes now that he has the control to change his thoughts which then affect his behaviors and feelings. He learned the motto of stay and play and keep it cool rather then downward spiraling and assuming that this just doesn’t like him. I also teach him to pray and ask for friends and to keep a gratitude journal. It’s true that he will make friends as things change. It may be good to talk to other moms and ask for their kids to support him since he is feeling lonely also talk to his teachers and the administration. It take a village those mom should know better and teach there kids to reach out to the lonely kids!!

  33. My kid too, except he says he isn’t lonely. He says “ your broken heart is a you problem not a me problem. I’m fine being by myself.” It is hard to understand and be ok with, but I try.

  34. Hi Mom, I went through this with my daughter and at age 15 my wife had a hunch that we followed up on. She thought my daughter was on the spectrum, high functioning autism. She fit so many of the criteria that we were unaware of that we had her tested. Results were positive, and Knowing changed our lives because we had more insight on how to help. After HS she started college and she is doing well, with several friends, without sacrificing who she is or what she believes. He may not be on the spectrum but the key is to keep loving, affirming, and make sure he is not bullied because the signs you mentioned and bullying often leads to something far worse. Hope things turn.

  35. I could’ve written this post. My 11 year old son is the same way and unfortunately it’s causing some serious depression in him. I wish that he could find even just one good friend. Good luck to you and your son! Too bad we couldn’t get them together.

  36. For all the heart ache, I’m glad he has a mother like you that has not given up. I don’t have any suggestions for you other than to try finding hobbies or activities he likes and then taking him out to join other people doing those things… Biking. Skateboarding… Hiking.. astronomy… Ping pong… Whatever. Best of luck to you and your son. I know his time will come eventually.

  37. My son grew up just like your son. Unfortunately high school wasn’t any easier. In fact it was horrible for him. He was in such a bad head space and he became more and more with drawn. I eventually resorted to having him home tutored his senior year because it was extremely difficult for him to function. I didn’t see the point in sending him to a place where he felt the worst and wasn’t thriving. He graduated a year late, didn’t go to the prom or his graduation. He is very socially awkward now as a result of all those years he missed out on just having a friend group to be social with. It still breaks my heart to see him so lonely. I just keep praying that he will find that one friend who will be his buddy for life. I’m hoping he’ll make some friends when he attends college in september. It’s not am easy life for kids like ours. It breaks my heart and I’ve cried many tears for that kid. He definitely has depression and I always keep an open line of communication with him. Keep being his best friend. They need all the support they can get. I know there are thousands of kids out there just like ours, hopefully they cross each others path and find what they’ve been missing.

  38. My son was the same way growing up with an old soul he also lived in two homes 50% of the time with me and 50% of time with his dad. So there were lots of issues… And not being in one place and having to go to a private school not close to either really, made it hard for him to find friends. As he got to the tween years the awkward years it was really hard but all I can share is that one thing that helped my son was when I realized he enjoy talking about things that older people enjoy talking about. So I made sure he had time doing a ton of cool and fun things the kids his own age weren’t even getting to do but in the company of people older than him. He had an outlet to share things and topics that were important to him, and he definitely didn’t feel lonely. If you don’t have a large community Network or big family… Have him volunteer… the people you meet of all ages while volunteering are some of the best humans on the planet. Sometimes you have to change the environment and change your expectations to find a solution.

  39. My son went through the same thing. He is the oldest and very artistic and full of knowledge about a multitude of subjects. Those qualities are not appreciated by most people anyway. He certainly didn’t conform as a child and even as a 28 year old man who listens to astro physics while at his job as a landscaper, he shows no signs of confirming. I told him when he was young that I know how much he wanted friends and one day he would find people just like himself that would appreciate everything he had to offer. He made friends with a group of young guys in high school and they are as close today (with families) as they were in high school. Eventually he found his “crew” but my heart ached for my son as he watched his very popular, very athletic younger brothers (3 of them) have so many more opportunities as far as social status went simply because he was just not appreciated for his differences.

  40. My daughter was the same. Her dad died when she was eight, so she matured quickly and didn’t have a lot in common with the other kids.
    She got involved in Young Life in High School and loved it. It’s a great place to make friends, be silly, and know you are loved by cool, caring adult leaders. YoungLife.org Also, for middle schoolers, sometimes there is WyldLife also.

  41. Your son sounds just like my daughter. We did change schools and found a very small school out in the country where everyone knows everyone. She seems to have found her place there. She knows a lot of kids, pretty much the whole high school and most of the middle school. There are still cliques like anywhere else, but she has friends who care about her.

  42. Oh, dear, your story breaks my heart for you both. I find it heart-wrenching just to deal with the minefield of social hurts that plague most kids in middle school, including my own, never mind your son who is so lonely and shunned. ? Sending love to you both. ? Perhaps there is an alternative school he could try? A charter school of some sort? In our area we have a school that has virtual learning, too. It’s a drastic step to pull your kid out of school and find a new situation, but if there’s one where some other unique kids could find a kindred spirit in your beautiful son…perhaps it’s worth a try? Boy scouts? Cross-country? My daughter’s cross country team has been incredible for her self esteem and social confidence. The team is so accepting and encouraging of all skill levels. And the running in nature is very good for endorphins and mental health. Just some suggestions, for what they’re worth. I truly hope for brighter days for you both.

  43. This is my son exactly. Is it possible your son may be on the autism spectrum? Finding out you’re autistic is such a relief (if you are!) because it explains all these challenges. You give yourself a break, you realize you don’t have to have a ton of friends, it’s ok to have quirky interests… it takes the pressure off. You can just be yourself and not feel like you have to fit in. You recognize your gifts and challenges and give yourself a break. You can find your tribe ?? Again I’m not sure if this fits for your son but it might be worth looking into.

  44. My story…my son. It’s a heart wrenching battle… But I keep reminding him teen years are short in comparison to the adult world where I know he will flourish and find his tribe (of 1, 2 or 3) He’s sincere as sincere can be, the kindest most gentle young man…he’s intelligent and has an endless supply in nuggets of random information because he reads so much – it blows me away how much he knows sometimes!! He’s compassionate and is going to make an amazing husband one day…just like his daddy. But until then…I am his work out partner, movie buddy and his dad takes him shooting or working on cars. It’s taken forever because he’s not a sports fanatic, we tried hockey, soccer, badminton… but we finally found his space, a sport he does well at — Shot Put! (found out by accident) Then joined a Track Team, he’s still alone cause there are no others his age…but he’s excelling and loving that he’s seeing progress & change! It took a long time to find things he enjoys…but to date he loves are Gaming, reading and working out. He’s 13, but is very tall for his age, which makes him stand out even more…everyday is filled with prayers for kind hearts around him and that he will be strengthened in his journey that will better prepare him for the world ahead.
    But yes…still heart wrenching as a mom of an extraordinary kid who can’t connect… but maybe that’s ok… maybe their extraordinary qualities would be changed or altered by too much teen-contact… I stand in belief there is a reason and purpose larger than I know…and his adulthood is going to be freaking amazing because he will know how to persevere and overcome. Kind of like Captain America, before he became amazing, he was tiny, ignored and insignificant yet had the most wonderful pure heart…which is what got him chosen and strengthened his super powers later on!

  45. I feel your pain. This is my daughter. Who is now 19 and still struggles. She struggled with this all through high school as well. Between her periods of depression and adhd it is really hard. Like you said breaks your heart because we want so much more for them.

  46. I’m a father and I feel for your family. I was a different kid in the 90s and early 2000s as well. I wasn’t the norm or stuck with the status quo. It’s tough. But life gets better, and people who are different are the ones who make something of themselves, and are often the most interesting. I often befriended people who were different than me back then because I found it fascinating. Friendship can be a a great thing with people who don’t share same interests as you. You both got this! Totally would love to send a birthday card from my family to yours if you’re ever inclined.

  47. My Mama heart breaks for your Mama heart. Could you share an email address where our children could write to him? Pen pals can become real friends. Someone mentioned above about a school switch, is that an option? Or an alternative school like a Waldorf?

    My heart goes out to you. We’d love to write if that’s an option you go with.

  48. The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth is a great book about this. I’m a teacher and agree that a new setting might help this if he’s brave enough. Hang in there, Momma. I enjoyed your post; it was well-written.

  49. I can so relate with my 15 y/o daughter. I am desperate to find her “just that 1 friend” but haven’t had any luck.

    If anyone has a lonely girl around her age, please reach out.

  50. Oh my god, I felt that I was reading my 13 year old son’s biography, in everything he feels, is going through, emotional, mentally and socially. I do act, feel, the same as you do, right do to trying to trying to hook him up with I guess you would call it, for lack of words,”play hang out date. I cry myself to sleep, and I sure he does too. I sucks, it’s so hard. I wish we could contact each other for emotional support.

  51. My heart breaks for you and your family. There is a great resource that my husband started to help end childhood loneliness. The website is called friendometry.com
    It’s a friend finder based on a child’s strengths as you identify them. Parents can fill out an anonymous profile for their child and then look for other fiends with similar strengthens in their residential area. My husband is a pediatric psychologist and started this website after seeing many families with this same story.

  52. I felt like I read my life story! I am 24 & I didn’t find a sense of belonging till I was 21 by taking care of my nephew. But I still get horribly alone.

    I am 24 now & literally just feel like I am connected to the world. But my lack of sense of belonging doesn’t only come from being an old soul. It also comes from being malested at 5 years old. That experienced fucked up my whole sense of belonging & made me reject myself before anyone else could reject me. I say all of this because I was so hungry to feel a sense of belonging that I have done the internal work to get to the point I am feeling loved by myself, my spouse & feeling connected to others.

    It wasn’t a fun journey; however, I believe my loneliness will help others like your son find a community who understand him & wants the best for him. & others like him because generation-z is the loneliness generation that is alive!

  53. You just described my middle son. My 15 yr old daughter is beginning down the same path of not feeling aligned with her current circle of friends so she’s innately distancing herself from them. My boy is 18 now and beginning to feel hopeless. The only way he sees to make connections is through dating and a future career so that’s his focus for now. He has online buddies that he games with, we even took a road trip across the country to meet up with a few of them but they aren’t the same as real life friends. My heart breaks for you and every parent with this same story. I don’t know how to connect with other parents/kids in the same boat but if anyone would like to connect with us I’ll add a link to our worldschooling website below. It’s so unnecessary for our kids to feel like this.

  54. I have 5 girls. My younger 2 are the only ones who had issues. The older one would said unusual things and no one wanted to be her friend. She started having seizures and it got worse. We recently moved and for the first time in years she actually has friends who came to her birthday party. The younger one has anxiety. So it’s hard for her to be around in a school setting. She has 2 friends from the last town we lived in. So I know all to well how you feel.

  55. I have a 10 year old son and 9 year old son who’d love another friend. They’re homeschooled so they don’t really have like 30 kids in a class…. just ones they talk to at the library and they also have a bit
    Of a hard time….they are also pretty emotional in comparison to most kids I know. Send me an email and we
    Can talk as parents and I know my kids would play video games with him online. They have play station and play fortnite, Minecraft, horizon, destiny, the lot. My 9 year old also has a switch he is a fan of.

  56. I was this way in middle school and high school. I just could not be around fake, vapid girls. It wasn’t until my twenties that I found true friends– all mostly older than me. I struggled more as a teen because my extrovert mother constantly worried and pushed me to be something I wasn’t. Trying to find him a friend is good, but don’t make him feel like something is wrong with him. Take the pressure off. I highly recommend the book “Quiet” to help extroverts understand the introverts in their life. There are many positives about being an introvert.

  57. My son Jax is going to be 13 soon, huge milestone, however a sad one. His teachers say everyone loves him, etc., but not one invite over the last three years. We move a lot. He had a stroke/subdural hematoma at 2 which makes him present as high functioning autistic and ADHD. What rude normal child wants to include them? None, especially at their age so I say fuck them and their snotty ass families!! No one messes with him bc his brother’s a powerlifter and I put up with zero nonsense!

  58. We share a somewhat similar story. My son plays on Xbox alone bc he has no friends. He struggles with all my suggestions and has anxiety about going into the different groups he could join. “They won’t like me so why bother?” I sit beside him as often as I can and just let him chat with me about his games. He gets excited if somehow someone joins him randomly and gets his headset on but they never stay long. It’s sad bc I know he’s a good kid but social awkward. He’s diagnosed with HFA (High functioning Autism) and ADHD so he’s one of two extremes. Quiet, confused, hesitant, and unsure… but then there is also the loud, bossy, all over the place, excited to even be talking to someone else! So it’s extreme! It also doesn’t help he gets fixated on one game and that will be his one focus for weeks but eventually he will move on to something else and focus on only that for weeks. Never ending cycle.
    He’s different and that’s ok. We have accepted that as parents (me more than dad) but it’s sad and hard to watch from the sidelines. Especially when his dad thrives on socialization and doesn’t understand. Im not as social and I never really had any real friends so I know it can be taxing on oneself.
    It doesn’t help there’s been a lot going on around the poor little guy the past few years. He was bounced everywhere bc I had to take care of my parents (both sick with different types of cancers) and then they passed (within weeks of each other) and then my sister (who was fighting a different type of cancer) passed a little over a month after our parents. So my son has sat in more nursing homes, hospitals and funeral homes than the average adult… and he’s 9yrs old.
    Maybe that’s why I have more patience and understanding of loneliness.
    Ugh… this turned into a depressing therapy session! I’m sorry, all I really wanted to say was thank you. Thank you for making me feel less alone. Thank you for reminding me that it’s ok that my son is different and eventually he will find his way.

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