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No Friends, Low Self-Esteem; I Feel Lonely

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Oct 09, 2018

Question

As-Salam Alaikum. As a kid, I grew up with lots of friends. My childhood was fun. After my primary school, my family moved to another state where I had to start all over again. I got into secondary school and made new friends and a new life. After completing secondary school, I reached out to some of my friends and shared gifts with them, but they didn't reciprocate my kind gestures.

After some time, I felt like I was forcing myself on them, so I chose to stay at home not visiting and not being visited by friends. I started to lose self-confidence. I later traveled to another state where I got admission into the university. I got a true friend. Unfortunately, he is now far away.

After my university, I am back home without friends. Coming from a polygamous family where I didn’t receive love from my parents compared to my siblings, I hardly get their attention and support. It gets really depressing. I try to fight the feelings and engage myself in acts of worship, listening to lectures and motivational talks, but sometimes my worries tend to get the best of me.

Counselor

Answer


No Friends, Low Self-Esteem; I Feel Lonely

In this counseling answer:

• Acts of worship are critical for any phase of our life that is either difficult or pleasurable because it is our love for Allah that brings us to worship.

• Try to engage in positive self-talk about your ability to socialize, your worthiness of making friends as well as your future.


As salam Alaykum brother,

Thank you for writing to us. As I understand your question, during your childhood you had friends whom you enjoyed a lot of fun times with. Then you moved to another state and you had to make new friends. After completing secondary school, you reached out to some of your friends with kindness but they didn’t reciprocate. You felt like you were forcing yourself on them, so you chose to stay at home and basically withdrew socially. As you later traveled to another state to go to a university, you did make one true friend along with a few other friends but now they are far away. As you are back home after completing your university education, you do not have any friends.

At this point, you stated that you lost self-confidence. Also, you feel that your family does not show you enough love or attention.

Milestones

Brother, often times through growth and life changes (milestones), we go through a phase where we trying to find out who we are, where we are going as well as where we belong. Even though we have accomplished a lot, we often realize that we are in a different place than our friends. This place can be both physical and mental.

Often times after school is over, friends (as well as ourselves) go off to different places, different countries for careers, marriage, family etc. Because of these changes, we can feel alone and/or rejected.

This is a common phrase for many young adults. I have heard this from not only some of my clients but my own two children. When in their 20s and married, they realized that they were lacking their close friends that they grew up with.

Self Confidence in Action

As you lost your self-confidence because of all of this, brother, it has made it even harder to reach out and meet new people. At a time in life when changes were frequent, this prolonged “loneliness” is now felt deeply.

Brother, it is important to reach out and make friends. It may take courage on your part, but the rewards and blessings are bountiful. I would kindly suggest brother that you do engage yourself in social activities along with your worshiping, listening to lectures, and motivational talks. It is very empowering to listen to these lectures and talks because it gives us tips and ideas about how to become more social and confident.

Acts of worship are critical for any phase of our life that is either difficult or pleasurable because it is our love for Allah that brings us to worship. Insha’Allah, if you reach out and increase your socializing, you will find that you will begin to naturally make friends. It may be hard at first but the more you do it the easier it gets insha’Allah.

Even if you have to go out by yourself, please do. Attend Islamic events, a sporting event, get involved with a group at the Masjid or your Islamic Center. Volunteer to do some charity work or take up a hobby. All these activities insha’Allah will expose you to different people, places, and opportunities to make friends.

Additionally, if you engage in things that you enjoy, it will be much easier to communicate with new people about the things that you are doing because you both will have something in common.

Accomplishments and Self-Family Perspectives

You are at a time in your life where you have accomplished a lot.  Sitting at home and being depressed may be in part, a natural response to the loneliness you feel. However, getting out and being socially active and doing things you enjoy and that are good, will bring many blessings.

As far as your family is concerned, it sounds like you had a wonderful childhood and that you are very much loved. It may be that they feel that you are now grown and appear stable, thus not needing as much affection and support.


Check out this counseling video:


While we all need this throughout our lives no matter what our age, it is quite possible that your parents see you as independent, strong and not needing as much as your siblings. Perhaps discussing with them the way you are feeling may help them become more aware of your needs.

Self-Talk

Please do try to get out and do social activities, brother. Be open to meeting others. Insha’Allah, try to look at this phase of your life as a turning point too many good opportunities as well as a development of new friendships.

Try to engage in positive self-talk about your ability to socialize, your worthiness of making friends as well as your future. If we keep talking negative about ourselves, our opportunities or lack of, as well as our social abilities -of course, we will end up sitting alone because we are not putting in the positive efforts. Try to put in the positive efforts.

Start a New Day

Inshallah, you will be able to start a new day with a positive outlook towards friends and socialization. Be an active participant rather than a passive “wisher”. It may be hard in the beginning but as you engage socially more and more, it will get easier.

Live in the moment – meaning enjoys the activity that you’re doing such as going to a sporting event, helping at a charity, listening to an Islamic lecture at a class. Don’t worry about making friends, don’t look around for friends, but the open for friendships. It will come naturally insha’Allah.

We wish you the best,

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

The Loneliness of New Muslims Explained

Lonely in My Marriage

What to Do If I Have No Friends?




About Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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