How do you find the right people in life?

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    I’m already in my late-thirties and I’m still hoping to find the answer. Is anyone else in the same boat?

    I was a shy child- making friends didn’t come easily for me, I preferred reading to people, and I’m an only child. On top of that, I’ve dealt with severe abuse and bullying all my life. The thing about abuse is- bad treatment becomes acceptable. I didn’t make my first friends until college. Unfortunately, my only requirement at that point was that I have people to hang out with, since I spent my high school years missing out on parties, bonding with a close group of girlfriends, etc. In college (and after) I gravitated toward and put up with people who were disrespectful and verbally abusive toward me. All for the sake of making up for my chillingly lonely childhood. It wasn’t until recently- believe or not- that I was able to break these toxic ties thanks to therapy and soul-searching. And pretty much every single tie was toxic. It was that bad- not one relationship that I felt was worth salvaging. For a while, I was happy. I finally felt emotionally free. No sinking stomach at the thought of dinner with yet another ‘friend’ who would be spending the whole hour being nasty with me, putting me down, etc.

    But of course, no wo/man is an island. I’ve tried replacing my toxic ‘friends’ with new healthy ones, and that is where I’m just not succeeding. I’m very passionate about the arts and I thought joining activities and groups focused on these things would help. There’s no shortage of these groups since I’m in a large city. I thought I’d find like-minded people here, but I’m still constantly meeting the same types of people who’ve been a source of heartache all my life- people who are mean-spirited and disrespectful. I’m also in a line of work that I detest (though I’m setting the foundation for a new creative career) and although I have met some colleagues who are pleasant to chat with, I don’t meet people I really connect with. I’ve tried classes/lectures, but it seems the few people I do feel a connection with are very busy with their own marriages/kids, and just hanging out with their old friends that they’ve had since childhood.

    As for dating/men, forget it… lol. Take all the above and multiply it by a 100. I just don’t know how and where to meet the right people for me anymore. Really good people. Kind people. And it’s become a huge source of shame for me to be at the age I am and not have ANY friends. I only have my parents at this point for any kind of support, and they’re not going to be around forever.

    Has anyone experienced anything like this at any point? Thoughts? Suggestions? I just have no idea what to do…


    Dear selkied:

    You wrote that as a child you preferred reading to being with people. You are reading this very post right now, online. You can meet men on a respectable online dating site. When men post to you, you read. The words on the screen will not jump at you and if you are uncomfortable with what you read, you can click the screen away.

    If a particular man is respectful toward you and not abusive in any way, post after post, you can choose to meet him in person in a coffee place in the daytime. It is minimum risk since you can leave at any time. If there is disrespect of any kind- leave.

    I think it is a good idea: what do you think?



    Hi Anita-

    Thanks for your quick reply. I have been online– and I just find it exhausting. I have to give it a break. But I’m really focused on finding the right group of friends right now, preferably female, as opposed to a male romantic partner. I’m glad online dating worked for you though!


    Dear selkied:

    Wow, I edited my post to you but the old post got to you first. Okay. Now I know.

    Hope you get others’ advice about meeting women friends. Congratulations for eliminating all the abusive relationships in your life!


    Shiv Nadar

    My friend meeting with right people or your soul mate always depend on your destiny . You will meet new people in your life, but there is always some magnetic forces that will attract you to talk with that new friend . Talk with them and within hours you will understand that is this the right person for you or not. Dnt be shy just open your heart freely .

    Jeanne Forsythe

    I would suggest Meetup.com
    When you join (it’s free), you search by your own interests.
    My boss went through a divorce and was lonely. I suggested it to him. He joined a sailing group.
    The thing with Meetup is these people want to be around people who enjoy something they enjoy. There are photography groups, art, sailing, caving……the list is a mile long.

    In order to find a really good friend, you’ll need to be one. Recognize people’s birthdays. Ask them about their weekend or recent trip. Join facebook and invite them. It grows from there. However, I can’t promise tons of great friends. I feel blessed to have ONE golden friend and several people I can laugh with and have coffee with. And my new job with increased hours has left my best friend a little lonely and missing me. I hate it. But I had to work more. I just try to squeeze in coffee…a quick text…a card in the mail…and an occasional gals evening.

    Best of luck. Hang in there!


    Hello, selkied.

    What a relief to read your post! I am in a similar place. I’m in my early 40’s, an introvert (identify as INFJ), have some emotional and verbal abuse in my past, and find it difficult to really connect with people. I’ve done a lot of soul searching over the last couple of years recovering from CPTSD and the end of a significant relationship. While I have stopped getting involved with people that are outright abusive, I have noticed, just recently, a pattern of finding myself in relationships with people that end up using me one way or another. I’ve had to let go of my last two ‘friendships’ because of this which leaves me friendless at the moment. While I still have a circle of acquaintances and family, it’s a bit lonely and scary. However, it is forcing me to finally learn how to be a real friend to myself and be more discerning about the people I invite into my life. My research into being an INFJ helped me realize that finding people to connect with will be difficult because that personality type is rare and seeks deep connection. That has taken some of the pressure off. During this period of solitude, I am discovering interests and other things about myself that I wouldn’t have otherwise (I am in the process of reclaiming my creativity) and am working on nurturing those aspects. I have hope that the more solid I become in myself, eventually, at the right time, I’ll come across the kindred spirits that are meant to be in my life. It might just take awhile. I guess not much advice here but hope that I at least let you know that you’re not alone even if it feels that way.


    Hi selkied,

    Welp I just had this long reply typed out and then accidentally deleted it. Doh! Let’s see if I have the patience to try to recreate…

    I don’t have much advice but definitely feel like we are in similar boats. I’m 32, also an only child, had few friends in high school and didn’t really make any in college. I have one close friend now that I met at a job I used to have but she also happens to be very busy. I feel like everyone around me has a thriving social life and I just…don’t. And I think this is where a lot of my discontent lies. In the comparing. And not even comparing facts, but comparing my perception of other people’s lives to my reality or my reality that I choose to see. Is this something you do? I know when I am aware that I’m doing a lot of comparing and am able to knock it off, it is much easier for me to be at peace with where I am and just recognize the beauty in my own life. I tried online dating and also found it exhausting and am really not keen to try it again so I am clinging to a relationship I’m not happy in because I just can’t see how I will ever meet someone else in real life! Fear…not good. I also thought about meetup as someone mentioned above but the initial anxiety of meeting lots of new people at once has been enough to deter me. Also thinking about joining a gym, doing some volunteering (not to meet people, but because it’s something I want to do and would make me feel good and less focused on myself) but I tend to get caught up in the day to day and it never happens. Have you thought about trying some volunteer work? I would specifically like to do something with the elderly, maybe just popping in for visits…not sure if these opportunities even exist lol. You mentioned you like reading – have you thought about going to a book discussion group at your local library? Check out their website and see what you can find! I also hear you about feeling like people you do connect with are busy with their own families and established friends, but I think if you express genuine interest and care about someone you like talking to, chances are they will feel the same. It might be up to you to put yourself out there – suggest getting a coffee/drink/hang out, whatever. Can you say explain more about feeling like you don’t really connect with anyone you work with? I feel the same sometimes but when I approach them with a more open and curious mind, I am usually able to find something to connect with them on. Is this something you can do? Interested to hear more from you, I really can relate!


    Nina Sakura

    I dont really have an answer for this – I am only 24, but I can identify with the shyness and introversion bit. I used to get bothered about having less friends before and would feel like something was wrong with me. Problem was that I failed to understand my basic need as an introvert – quality self time and select few relationships. It’s good to be at home this year with mom, dad and my sibling. It’s good to have that boyfriend I love. But more than anything, it’s great to spend more time on me – I spent too much energy before ruminating and driving myself mad – now I just take it easy and enjoy whatever I have. Somehow that desire to hang out with friends has gone down now – sure I have a friend or two around in my city left but I kinda like being with myself now somehow.

    Regarding finding the right people, well frankly I would say it’s a matter of luck and selectiveness. I was always careful about people I got close to – there were some bad apples no doubt but it’s inevitable.

    I think maybe a romantic partner would be more of a good addition at your age group. I understand the thought related to parents not being around forever. It’s a reality one must cope with.

    Regarding friends, I have one basic rule – should be a decent person and have 1-2 interest in common with me. I can’t stand rudeness or any mind games, putting down stuff – those people I prefer to strike off my list immediately – I put with a lot of bullshit at school and stopped at college. hence I have very few and close friends – the rest are acquaintances.

    I hope the other posters can provide you better tips. Take care.


    Understand the frustration/pain. I live in a small town, not a native of the area. But, as you have discovered, even being in a large city can still result in feeling lonely.

    Perhaps there is still a part of you that seeks out those people because they are who/what you are familiar with. I have found that one can self-sabotage pretty easily. May not even consciously realize that you are looking for situations that won’t work.

    Sounds like you never really got the chance to see a good relationship?

    In some respects, you remind me of me a bit.


    One word: Bribery.

    Gets me friends everytime. 🙂

    I’m joking of course. As others have said, you are not alone. Given all the things that distract one in this modern age (family, job, technology, etc.) we all have very little left in the tank to pursue (much less maintain) meaningful friendships. More and more people isolate themselves as a result. It’s sad.

    Still, I’m a firm believer you catch what you want when you do the following:
    1) Announce your intention to the universe (which you’ve already done here – excellent work!)
    2) Get out of the house/apartment/underground bunker and go outside!
    3) When meeting new people, be expectation-free and keep an open mind. This person may not be your new best friend, but they may *introduce* you to somebody else or fill the role of a “supporting cast” member in the play of your life.
    4) Keep up doing your self work – the happier and healthier you are, the more likely you are to attract quality people/opportunities.

    I met my current crop of friends through a bowling league, work, temple, mutual acquaintances, and a women’s group. Be patient, and it will happen!

    Best of luck to you!


    You are not alone. I too struggled with making friends when I was in school.The best answer to this in my opinion is, be the right person. Meaning be yourself as fully as you can, your true self, something about your self that is completely different from others, but first you have to find it. Once you find that true self and begin accepting and acting that way, that is when the right people will show up in your life because those people will resonate with you. And if you are in an environment filled with negative people, try your best to avoid them. Sometimes just because we change ourselves in a more positive way, doesn’t always mean those people in our environment’s attitude towards us will change, although sometimes it might. If you are still finding difficulty, however, i would say completely avoid and move away from them.

    But if you are just starting out learning about yourself and exposing yourself to personal development and spirituality, the first thing i would suggest is establish a positive relationship with yourself, reprogram your subconscious mind with positive and truthful thoughts. Affirm to yourself that you are a powerful, capable, wonderful, intelligent, talented human being (because you are) whom everything goes right for, even if you may not feel that way in the beginning and that is okay. You can also change the language and even the tone of your affirmation so that it works for you. Hope this helps! 🙂


    There are terrific nuggets of wisdom and effective how-to insight provided by each of the posts responding to your inquiry. Keep putting yourself in situations where you can connect with people who meet your needs for being your true, best self.

    The responses to your inquiry made me think more deeply about a list of self-study topics that represent some of the themes shown in each of the responses.

    I’ve learned over time that I need to ensure first that I’m the type of person people want to connect with on a deep, personal level and in an authentic manner which actively demonstrates mutual trust and respect in all ways.

    To become the type of person people want to connect with, I’ve consistently sought out growth and development, and then change and transformation, through self-study of the following topics:

    – Elegance (i.e., how I interact with others via my behaviors)
    – Mindfulness and Presence
    – Mental/Emotional/Spiritual Intelligence
    – Thoughtfulness and Action
    – Behavioral Competencies
    – Personal Core Values
    – Self-Love
    – Self-Actualization (see Abraham Maslow’s 12 characteristics)

    It’s my personal core values that help me seek out and partner with the right people for me. I only seek relationships, whether platonic or non-platonic, which are mutually beneficial and make me greater based on being with someone who makes me stronger than I could ever be individually. Essentially, we’re much stronger together than we could ever be apart. I focus on quality over quantity and keep a small circle of close friends.

    There’s a theory that “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” The theory isn’t meant to demean or discount others. It simply suggests that we need to ensure we always have the right, authentic people by our side to become the best version of ourselves. Smartness, talent, skills, station in life, or family bloodline don’t matter. Certain others will help determine how we think, how we act, and ultimately how successful we are at reaching a level of greatness and our true, best self.

    I hope the journey to finding your true, best self and becoming your best version leads to a satisfying, happy, and fulfilling life.


    I was like you still am in a way, shy, quiet and introvert, hate clubbing or socialising, hate loud, noisey places, doesn’t make me the most interesting friend but for years i worried and stressed over not having friends.
    Now i don’t care, i have my family and the odd acquaintance that i chat to and i have me, friends like everything else in life come and go, they very rarely stay forever. I think the media and social world put too much emphasis on having friends, you only have to chat to the people that say “oh i have over a thousand friends on facebook” guaranteed they never speak to 3/4 of them or even know them.
    I’m a true believer in things, people, relationships ect find you at the right time not when your looking or trying to hard.
    As for relationships well after my divorce to a very emotionally manipulative man i never thought i’d find anyone especially with my anti-social ways, I found my new husband at the tip (recycling depot) believe it or not! he truley is a treasure found in the most unlikely place and that sums up life…its full of unexpected events in the most unlikely ways and places.


    Thanks to all of you for such writing such beautiful and prompt responses. It’s amazing what reading your advice did to lift my mood. Although this issue is very much a reality in my life, I did write the post when I was having an especially bad day. I am slowly realizing something though- a lot of my issues surrounding my relationship problems came from not 1) getting clear on my values, and 2) not living my values to begin with. I assumed that people who likes the same activities I do (art, photography, etc) would also have the same values, but that’s not even close to the case.

    Stacey- I have taken the Myers-Brigg test twice, and once I did get the INFJ type, just like you! The other time, I came up as an INFP. But regardless, what you are saying is very true. If you are someone whose values/personality type aren’t common, it will take longer to meet the right people. The problem is, I’m not very patient when it comes to these things…lol. And perhaps, it does take more of an effort because unfortunately, values like environmental/social responsibility, empathy, feminism, creativity don’t always figure high on people’s lists in the modern Western world.

    Katie- thank you for writing out your experience for me. I don’t feel so alone after reading it, so I appreciate that. I do think comparison is a huge problem for me. I’m not a social media fanatic (luckily), but just seeing people bonding, going out, etc., makes me think, why is it SO hard for me to have that? At the same time, I am very happy in pursuing my writing, spiritual practice, reading, etc. These are the kind of things that young people are not expected to be interested in, and so I’ve always felt like the odd one out. I think you are right- my unhappiness stems, not always from the fact that I’m not in someone’s company at a certain moment, but by the fact that I’m THINKING about what other people are probably doing right at that minute, or after listening to them rehash their plans from the night before. It’s funny because I HAVE had fairly recent periods in my life where I was going out and partying, but with the totally wrong crowd, so I wasn’t happy then anyway! As for work, for ‘practical reasons’ I entered a field that I find super dry, so the kind of people who that field attracts aren’t the kind of people who get passionate about the kind of things that I do. But I am in the middle of a career switch, so hopefully all that will change.

    Many of you who were kind enough to respond have mentioned meetups/volunteering. I actually have been in one particular meetup for a while, but- and I take full responsibility for this- instead of trying to connect with different people there, I got very, and I mean very, hung up on someone there. Totally unrequited. And because of the intensity of my attraction/feelings for him, I neglected to branch out toward other meetups, or even meeting other people at that particular meetup. 6 months for this one guy. So, who knows, maybe there were a lot of friend options I had all this time that I didn’t even take because I was so hung up on this guy!

    Thanks again for all your well thought-out and kind responses.

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