Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Feeling sad, disconnected, lonely, socially inept and in constant physical pain.

Community Member
I've never had a problem with making friends until about 15 years ago. People always gravitated to me and i never put any effort into making friends. But having said that I have always been kind, sensitive, giving and basically a pushover for unscrupulous others. So now I am a bit more jaded and assertive and don't put up with anyone who I eel may be trying to walk all over me. I have moved to a new location to make a new start after ending a relationship when my ex partners drinking became toxic and destructive. I am having trouble making any meaningful relationships here. My friendships I had made in the other location weren't as strong as i thought that were and have faded to the occasional facebook post. I believe that relationships ARE the meaning to life and without them life's lonely and meaningless. I have of course tried ways of trying to engage with new people, I tried going to P&c meetings. I was polite friendly and made an effort to talk to people (I may have been a little over eager??) I tried 3 times  and volunteered at the disco but my help didn't seem  needed when I asked if the was anything I could do and I felt like like i was pushing in if I joined into a conversation. I talk to a few parents at the school gate but it appears like everyone else s friendships are moving forward and mine is still on a superficial level. I don't know how to make small talk. I always ask people about themselves and am genuinely interested in people but cant get past having superficial transactions. I know it's not the school or people here because my kids have been to 3 different schools and it's always the same for me. I have recently left work as my chronic back pain is getting worse. I would like to volunteer and contribute and feel valuable (I have a long work history and many skills in community service) But would be unreliable due to my ongoing chronic pain. As everyone does, I want to have purpose to my life, have meaningful relationships and contribute to society. Does anyone have any suggestions or could share their own experience of making friendships or relationships meaningful in adulthood. Does anyone else struggle with this? I never thought I'd end up here.
4 Replies 4

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

hello, we go through life believing that our friends are actually friends, but most of them are only acquaintances, they come and go as they please, and maybe if you're lucky you may have a handful, but as times progress's they move, get married or get careers that involve a great deal of their time.

Sure we can keep in touch but that seems to fade away, especially if we want them when someone goes wrong, so they then become an acquaintance, and eventually end up alone.

You made the right decision by moving away from your partner, because it could only lead to trouble, but now by moving you have to find some new people to associate with, sounds easy but it's not, because you will have to decide they become true friends or just there every now and then.

I wonder whether you have low self esteem as you have said ' don't know how to make small talk', so maybe your confidence is also low, and this could be anticipated after what you have been through, and by having a bad back would also add to all of this.

Can I you ask you just before I hope that you can reply, what sort of treatment you are having for your back, and did it happen at work. Geoff. x

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Iloverainbows, welcome.

It's an awful feeling coming to the realisation that a group of people who we thought were friends just happened to be acquaintances and when push came to shove, they shoved off. That's one of the interesting things that adds to the

meaning of life, as you described. Making meaningful relationships. The interesting part is the duration and an important part is what we learn and "take" (meant in a nice way) from those relationships, for example, the fun times or the times that we let our hair down (sometimes too far - call me rapunzel!)

I don't think any relationship that was meaningful ever becomes meaningless because we've taken those amazing parts and stored them in our memories and hearts.

Having said that - making new friends is a pain in the bum. I've found one trick is common interests, something that you are passionate about that you don't need to think about to talk with other people.

Have you tried "meetup" it's a smartphone app and a website. Meetup is groups of people with common interests forming groups and using this app/website to advertise their groups for others to join. For example, I ride a motorbike, so naturally i'm in a group of bike riders. I like embroidery, so i'm in a group of embroiderers. There are so many different groups and it's location based as well.

Does that sound like it would help bridge the gap?


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Rainbows

Making friends seems to get harder as we get older. As you say, others are already engaged within a friendship group and probably don't need another person. So where to go from here?

Paul has made a great suggestion about meeting people. In my experience, when you have common interests talking to others is relatively easy. I left many friends behind when I emigrated to Australia in 1970. I am still in contact with my family, plus friends I went to school with. Those I met later at work for example have drifted out of my life.

So what do you like/enjoy doing? I attend church regularly and have made many friends there. Similarly with a meditation group. The interesting thing about all this is the additional people you meet who are friends of friends. Some of those folk are part of my life now.

I also belonged to Toastmasters and went to a line dancing class until I broke my leg. Not, I add hastily, at line dancing. Your local library will often have contact details for various groups or your local newspaper. Or put in the topic of your choice in your search engine and see what comes up in your area.

You say you like volunteering. Look up the Volunteering Australia website and what you can find. They have all sorts of options. I appreciate your health difficulties but this can be managed in terms of volunteering if the organisation is aware of your needs.

What about your neighbours? Do you speak to them, especially older people who are at home a great deal. They may appreciate a visit or perhaps you can invite them to your home for morning tea. When I moved to my present home I knew no one. Most evening when I walked home from the station I would speak to one lady on the corner of my street who was invariably pottering around in her garden. Over time we became great friends and would help each other out when needed. She did my grocery shopping when I broke my leg and would come and chat to me.

Try making contact with the neighbours. It's surprising what this leads to.

So have a good think about what interests you. Sports/craft/cinema/volunteering/helping others/church/talking to people at the local retirement home. I'm sure there are heaps more options.


Community Member

Hello : )  I can relate to feeling 'disconnected' and socially 'inept'.   I have children also and this makes things infinitely hard because there are always birthday invites, school sports ...   

I can't relate to anyone and have yet to meet someone i naturally gravitate to with ease who in turn seeks my company.    And in a wee small town it's a tricky business - this friendship seeking.

My 1st mental health worker said to me the other day : "Oh well you can't be doing too badly; you are partnered". And then i told him the lengths i went to snare him.    I stalked him for months and watched his every movement before orchestrating a deceitful maneuver to get him to my door.  Kind of like a Trapdoor spider i guess.  I wanted him so much : )

Sorry i have no advice but i know the feeling of not fitting in all too well.     Prior to partner i simply advertised in the personals for company and they all came to my door so it was convenient. Others i met in front of the servo up the road (when i moved back with mum & dad).  And the only 'friends' i have had were those of my partners.  And when those relationships reached their expiry date so did those connections.

Sorry i have no advice but i think i know that feeling