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Advice | Carolyn Hax: Parents worry teenage daughters have “no friends.”


Adapted from an online discussion.

Hi Caroline: I can’t pass here. I have two teenage daughters, and neither of them has close friends. They don’t do any of the things I associate with “normal” teen things, like talking every day, planning hangouts or shopping, going to football games or dancing. All my friends’ children have that; it is confirmed almost daily.

Both kids know they have “no friends.” I do believe that they are considered nice enough, but they can also have lunch alone almost every day. They are good students and they were nice, loyal friends when they had them – in grade school. I find myself internally obsessed with whether I’ve done something wrong here or if it’s just their quirky personalities.

I’m downplaying it a bit, but in the midst of the stresses of life, I found myself thinking about the many family members who have died by suicide. When did their depression start? I can’t sleep on those days. Do you have advice for me?

Anxious parent: If your daughters show signs of depression (information on nami.org), then I urge you to make appointments for them with their pediatrician with the end goal (it may take a while) of therapy for each. Also for you: you want trained guidance in identifying and meeting the needs of the girls.

Either way, your appointment is a good idea given your history, even if your girls aren’t depressed, just lonely. Plus, “internally obsessed” is worth tackling for everyone’s benefit; it rarely stays indoors, and it won’t help your kids if your stress spills over onto them.

Despite the cause of their detachment, I recommend centering yourself with the realization that many people—a ton, a horde—just don’t socialize in high school and aren’t attracted to shopping, ball games, and dancing. Like huge numbers of people. Some find their alt-crowd, some power through their misery until graduation, some hear their own drummer just fine. Some siblings lean heavily on each other. However they get there, your daughters may end up with friends or better friend candidates on the other side of high school.

And if they’re fine with lunch alone, they’ll enter adult life with a resourcefulness few possess at their age.

· I didn’t go to my prom or other high school dances. No one asked me, and the only man I thought of asking had already asked someone else – as I learned through the vine. My parents never said boo to it, and I am so grateful to them to this day.

Dear Caroline: Any tips for getting through the weekend of my ex’s wedding? We still have mutual friends who will be there (although they kindly keep quiet about me). I have a great mishmash of unresolved feelings for him, keep wishing things had worked out between us and deeply fear I’ll never find someone else. Plus, the festivities down the street are near me, and I’m afraid to go out of my apartment lest I see someone.

Unsolved: Get out of town that weekend!!! Oh dear.

As for the hodgepodge, stop what-iffing and grab this with both hands: that’s anyone who marries someone else not your person. If the alternative is someone who isn’t 100 percent on your side, you’re better off with your own business — which, if not perfectly, is a perfect fit for you. And no partner is perfect either. Greetings.

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