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I Don’t Have a Friend

By Carina Hoskisson

Last Sunday I looked around the Relief Society room and realized that after more than a year in my new ward I don’t actually have a friend.

This is a somewhat unusual position for me: I always have a friend, and if I don’t, I make one right away. My ward is mostly friendly, but not terribly welcoming, if you understand the difference. Most of the women are at least 15 years older than I am and already have friends in the ward. I’ve never been an ageist friend-maker so it would seem that these women are simply not interested in me. I’m the outsider: the one who speaks up in Sunday School, the one who works, the one who doesn’t quite fit.

I have yet to have the “hit-off” that sometimes comes from great visiting teaching pairings. I go to Enrichment activities but sit with different women each time, and never quite feeling like I belong. I’m in the cub scouts, so I don’t have the chance to build up a rapport with a regular group of women (my awesome co-den leader is in a neighboring ward.)

I have plenty of friends at the stake level, and even friends who meet in the same building but at different times. I look forward to stake activities because I’ll get to see a dozen women whom I love and with whom I can commune.

When I’ve been in this situation briefly in the past, I’d just get up my gumption and try assigning myself some friends. I’d sit next to people and engage them in conversation, I’d try to find commonalities and turn up my sparkly-self to Mach 10. It hasn’t worked so far. I’ve spotted another woman on the other side of the room who I think could be my friend. She also sits alone a lot. I looked for her this week and she wasn’t there. I can try again next week.

I don’t necessarily need a friend in my ward, but having a friend at church really does make it a nicer place to be, right? Even President Hinckley said that every convert needs a friend, a responsibility, and nurturing. I’m not a convert, but I think I’d still like a friend.

Have you ever struggled to make friends in a ward?

Did you even decide to move to attend a different ward?

How has making friends made your ward a better place?

About Carina Hoskisson

Emerita

59 thoughts on “I Don’t Have a Friend”

  1. It's true that having a friend in your ward would make it such a better place. We just moved in our ward for about 3 months now.. and I'm having the same struggle in my ward right now, but unlike you, I'm not really good at making friends. I could probably be like that girl you mentioned who sits alone a lot. I am not really comfortable in starting up a conversation but I do love it when people approach me and befriend me. ut then again, another Sunday comes by.. and I'll find myself alone again in the RS class. There was one Sunday I silently cried in the class while we were singing the opening hymn because I just felt so alone… anyway, yes, having a friend in our ward would make it so much a better place. I am hoping I will make some this coming ward trunk or treat…

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  2. Book club, book club, book club. Like you, I feel like I can make friends with everyone, but sometimes you need to create the time and space for unstructured talk.

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  3. I am struggling with making friends in my ward. I struggle with making friends in general, to the point where I've considered making a personal ad. "LDS new mother with love of sci-fi, writing, sewing, knitting and laughing seeks same (new mother part not a necessity.)"

    It doesn't help that our ward is father far-flung geographically and hold Enrichment a grand total of four times a year. Yeah, I can see how that's easier on people's schedules but I wish we could do something more frequent.

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  4. We lived in a student ward for a little less than a year and I struggled the entire time. It was hard because I just didn't fit in–I was in school and my husband wasn't. The rest of the ward had families where the husband was in school and the wife wasn't (it was a small ward–only about 30-40 families). Plus my husband doesn't go to church so people really didn't know what to do with us. Then last year we moved into a ward that I had a hard time with also. Again, I just had a hard time connecting with people. I was asked to give a talk on the same Sunday as two other women. They both sobbed through their entire talks, and I calmly explicated several passages from the Book of Mormon. Afterwards several people commented on my lack of emotion, and not really positively. I felt weird; that's just the way I give talks.

    Anyways, we bought a house in January and so far I have felt very comfortable in our ward. I'm grateful for this because my husband doesn't attend church and so it can sometimes be hard for me to feel motivated to go by myself, plus there is the general awkwardness of being there by myself with three kids. I've been blessed with great visiting teachers with kids similar to my ages. I also am on the Relief Society activities committee and it gives me opportunities to get to know many other women, a lot of whom I might not talk to much otherwise because they are closer to my parents' age. I wouldn't say that I've found my best friend and soulmate in this ward, but I feel much more comfortable and included than I did in the last three wards I lived in.

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  5. I've been a Sunbeam teacher now for over two years, and let's not forget the fact that I'm practically a hermit. So I think I can relate to not having friends at church. If ever I return to the world of Sunday School and Relief Society I am going to be quite uncomfortable indeed.

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  6. I have had periods like that, although at this time in my life I am surrounded by women I adore adore adore. I have an abundance of loving and caring relationships in my life, and I feel warm and cozy at church and in my life.

    We were once in a ward that we didn't seem to gel with anyone. We were there for almost a decade, and neither my spouse or I ever really connected with anyone. We tried hosting parties, inviting families over for dinner, rotating around the room on Sundays, summer picnics, Fall festivals at our home, the works! I won't say that it was the reason we moved, but it certainly did grease the decision-making process. Without deep roots in a place, it felt easier to be transplanted.

    I will say this, even in the area we never really connected personally with people, I will go to my dying day saying that those were wonderful people. That ward was full of wonderful and caring people that served each other, they just didn't happen to be 'my' people.

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  7. To answer your questions:
    ~ yes
    ~ I've decided to move from this ward, but it has yet to happen
    ~ I'll let you know when that happens

    Like your situation, people from the stake (not necessarily in my ward) are more friendly towards me and my family.

    Good thing the gospel is true.

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  8. I moved into one ward almost overdue with my first baby and after three weeks of living there completely unnoticed, I finally baked loaves of bread and set about knocking doors to meet my neighbors. It took an eventual calling in the primary before I made a couple of good friends, but as Justine said, they were all wonderful people. I just wasn't their thing, apparently. We made our first (and, to be honest, only) "couple" friends in that ward. Until one of us moved.

    My current ward? They had us in the ward directory before we closed on our first house. I say first because I love it so much here that when we outgrew the house we simply moved into a bigger one across the street. I have friends here 10-15 years older than I am and some a good 15 years younger as well. A couple of them are quiet; many, like me, will speak up in Sunday School. Some of them, like me, work outside the home. Some, like me 5 years ago, don't. These are the people who know me and love me anyway. These are the people I want speaking at my funeral–because I know they will be way more generous than I deserve.

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  9. I usually am pretty good about making real friends in every ward that I attend but sometimes, I do end up with a handful of acquaintances and no real friends.

    There are 2 things I am grateful for

    1) Visiting Teaching. I know it's cliche, but it can really be a good friend-making tool when I make it more than just about the monthly check mark. I think my RS presidency was pretty inspired. I feel like I'm developing a closeness to my companion and the ladies we have stewardship over. It's a wonderful friend-making vehicle, even if it can be forced sometimes.

    2) Facebook.
    I *love* getting to know people over Facebook. My Facebook page is meant to allow people to get to know me, so it makes it easier to develop friendships. Most people in our ward don't use it, but I've become friends with a handful of the youth (and some of their parents) and it's so fun to get to know them through their internet presence.

    I kid you not, when we first moved into the ward, I went down the ward list and searched for everyone on Facebook, adding friends left and right. I'm really glad I did.

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  10. Are you in my ward? This all sounds very familiar. Seventeen months in this ward… not one friend. And I'm not even sure who I'd nominate for the job. I don't think I belong where I am. So now what?

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  11. I felt like that the entire time I lived in Utah. I lived in a BYU student ward for three years and a Provo family ward for one. Near the end of that year in the family ward, one of the Relief Society presidency counselors asked if I was new. It was a very, very lonely time.
    I've now lived in my current (east coast) ward for a year, and I am finally feeling like I belong here. It took almost the whole year to get to this point, but it's refreshing. I wish I could find a very close, best friend, but I am counting my blessings that I have friends enough to talk to at church and the occasional get-together.

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  12. Well I just struggle to make friends period, so yes I do at church as well. I have used "other" excuses to move when it has been the ward. Although then after awhile (I just got to this point 2 months ago) I stop feeling sorry for myself (I have a big problem with that) and look around and notice all the other ladies who look a bit lonely. Then I make it a point to talk to them a lot. Sometimes it ends up in just another friendly face to smile at once in awhile and then…sometimes it ends up in a real friend. Here is to both of us hopefully making real friends in our ward soon!!

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  13. Yeah, book club. Although I know you're already in something like twelve of them, so I'm not sure how practical of a solution that actually is.

    I'm still in mourning for my old ward and I show it by wearing my blackest expression every week to Relief Society in my new ward. I hate my new ward, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone in it. I dart in, play prelude, and hymns, sit there with my arms folded and a don't-you-dare-call-on-me expression on my face throughout the lesson, play the hymns and prelude, and then walk grimly through the halls, eyes straight ahead. I couldn't appear more hostile if I tried. I know I could find friends in this ward. I just have no desire to make them.

    And I think even if I didn't have the attitude problem I'm currently clinging to like a stubborn barnacle, it's just a tough time in life for friends. Four kids, work, kid's activities and homework and family time, time with the husband now and then – who has time for friends? Even my dearest friends are getting short shrift right now.

    I guess my only point is that sometimes people, like MOI for instance, don't warm up to those of you who are making an effort to be friends for reasons that have NOTHING TO DO with you, and everything to do with having issues. We may like you just fine, think you seem like someone we could like and/or love to hang out with, and just not have the emotional energy to do anything about it.

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  14. I have been in my ward for almost four years and since it is a student ward, I could count on my hand how many couples have been in the ward longer than we have. When I first got married and began attending the ward, I had some family members and old single ward friends in the there. Then I started grad school and my life got crazy. Now I'm done with grad school and realized that in the past 2 years, my family and so have all my friends have left. So now I need to go about and finding friends. It's a lot harder than I thought but I'm trying to do my visiting teaching and attend the RS weekly groups.

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  15. When I found myself in this situation 12 years ago, I started a book club – but not one woman from our ward joined. The women came from my children's swim club. We have had trips to Ireland and hikes to the mountains and lots of pots of herbal tea and stimulating chats. It filled that gap so even when I went to church and still had no friend, it didn't matter. Then one day I understood that a role I could play was to find the marginalised and befriend them. It wasn't I sadly confess an act of charity. It was just something I saw needed to happen. As I did that, I found that my turning to those on the fringe allowed their mainstreaming into the ward more accepting. And like you I felt a friend was just absolutely something I wanted. I prayed for a long time for a kindred friend. A little time later, a sister from Africa, moved into our ward with her 5 children and husband. They came with the shirts on their back after the civil war in Burundi. She didn't speak English. I had served a mission in Quebec. It was a perfect beginning. Though she moved a few years ago, we remain the dearest of sisters. Summing up this rambling then are the times when we are alone, the times when friends outside the ward fill the need and sometimes our prayers are answered in the sweetest ways.

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  16. We have been in our current ward for 5 years, and I actually feel like I have LOST friends. We went through a brief period of inactivity, and people that I used to consider friends have stopped talking to me. There are a few people that I feel like I can be social with, but no one that I consider a close friend — someone that I could confide in, who I could call up when I'm having a bad day, someone that I could count on when I really needed something. I have tried — reached out, invited people, brought meals, remembered birthdays, and nothing — no one has reached back. I sometimes feel desperately lonely and it makes it that much harder to want to come back to church.

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  17. I've been in my new ward for exactly one year, and one month ago I thought, "I'm almost beginning to feel at home here." And one of the biggest reasons is that I do have a friend. The way I've found my dearest friends in the last two houses? I've prayed for them. I know that's kind of crazy, and may not always work like it has for me, but I've prayed specifically for friends on my street (in two cases, for a friend right next door.) And it's worked. It's taken time, and the friends I've made have not always seemed like they'd be my perfect friend-of-choice, but they have been amazing, wonderful women who have ended up being enormously influential in my life.

    That said, I DID feel like I was friendless for months and months after our move, and it was totally lonely. I'm so grateful that things are starting to look up. It changes the way I see the ward, the neighborhood, and my life in general.

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  18. Seriously, I have never thought to pray for friends at church. I finally have gotten to a great point in the friendship part of the ward now, but I am going to start praying for friends in the next ward we will move to (next year) NOW. Kerri, you are my hero.

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  19. Ouch. This conversation hurts. I know there are people in my ward who feel this way, but I don't know who. We have a lot of moving in and out, a lot of really impressive, high-powered, busy people–I think everyone means well and just doesn't quite know how to make the connections happen.

    I want to wear a sign to church that says, "hey! if you're lonely or intimidated, come sit by me. I'm kind of busy, but I'm not at all impressive or scary. I'm the token single mom, too, so it's part of my job to make *everyone* feel superior and successful–"no other success can compensate…" and all that. So sit by me; I'm not one of the cool kids, for sure, but I'm a good starter friend."

    Think it would help?

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  20. It's such a relief for me to be in Primary. I have lots of people I'm friendly with, but no true friends. Sitting in RS by myself is more than I can take. So I'm happy that I've been the Primary Chorister now for three years; at least I don't have to worry about who I sit by every week.

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  21. I appreciate your honesty Carina. I think we have all had times when we have felt like the outsider looking in. I also like your attitude of reaching out more, and especially to those sitting alone. With your determination, I really think you will find who you are looking for.

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  22. After never quite bonding with anyone after years in a BIG, functional, successful,wealthy, strength-of-the-stake ward, I have been astounded by how much more connected I feel to my new, small, eclectic, slightly dysfunctional ward. There is something to that "feeling needed," that allows me to act more myself (your neighborhood friendly feminist), because I know that my on-the-ground work is key to the ward's success. Funny how being in a marginalized ward makes me feel less on the margins. And how that opens my heart to those around me.

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  23. Wow. I'm in cub scouts too. And I speak up in Sunday School. And most of the ladies are over fifty/under thirty do I don't quite fit. And I've almost hit my year mark with this ward. And I haven't really made a friend. Lots of acquaintances, "Know you from church" lite and all. I however cannot turn on the charm. I try to smile at everybody. I try to be polite and respectful to everyone. My biggest problem is I have a hard time learning names unless I see people more than once a week and I think that hinders my progress. Then there's my husband who has found someone to talk rock climbing with, someone to talk cars with, and someone to give him an excuse to meander the hallways during Sunday School (the little boy of a sister whose husband is away from home on business for three months – my husband takes him and convinces him to take a nap). Maybe sometime something will sync.

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  24. I can't believe you wrote about this, I am living this right now. We have been in our new ward for 5 months, and I have yet to find a friend. I sit alone every week in Relief Society trying not to cry. A month ago I just got up and left during the opening song, because I knew I wasn't going to be able to handle it. I've gone to two Enrichments and not had one single person speak to me; I was looking at everyone's faces, waiting for someone to make eye contact with me so I could smile and maybe start a conversation. Didn't happen. We just moved here to Utah from Arizona this year, and I know I have to give it time but it's hard on me. I am so lonely. Thanks for reminding me that I'm not the only one, for some reason that makes it easier to live with.

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  25. Love Kristine's sign idea. It would be nice to cut the chit chat and just get to the heart of the matter. I've found I relate well to women who work, or used to work, have/had infertility issues, love to read, and I'm open to pretty much anything else. Oh wait, I just described myself. 😉

    But with that said, some of my closest friends are absolutely nothing like me… good thing for church callings that make me serve with people I'd normally not socialize with, but usually grow to love.

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  26. Kudos to you for trying so hard. Seven years in this ward, and no *real* friends. Buddies, acquaintances, pleasant interactions, sure. True friend? Nope. But I haven't put myself out there at Mach 10, either. I'm not a put-myself-out-there kinds of person–a definite weakness.

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  27. I totally know how you feel. And even though I know I'd hate it if someone said this to me, the obvious answer is to get out there and befriend someone else. Who do you visit teach? That's an awesome way to make friends. I just started visiting teaching in this ward, and I discovered the one woman was at home with her kids and just needed the occasional conversation with an adult, and the other woman learned graphic design years ago and would like to update her training a bit. So I ended up going for a walk to the library with the one (and her kids) and checking out a book at the library for the other and spending time with her so we could give each other some tips. Cool. But as for bosom buddies that I could tell anything to, I'm not at that point. I guess that means I should get out and serve more, share my food more, invite people to do things with me when I have things to do, etc. . . . good luck to you.

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  28. Oh, and P.S. (it seems like I always have to write a P.S., sorry about that) I think I may have mentioned this before, but for what it's worth:

    My mom mentioned once to someone in the ward that she didn't feel like an R.S. activity was for her, and the lady said, "I haven't felt like one was ever for me. I don't do crafts, I don't read those kinds of books, I don't like presentations and cheesy dinners. However, I go to find out who there might need me that night." Whoa. That sure changed the perspective.

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  29. I'm not uncomfortable in my ward. I know people. When I want to I get together to talk with them. But I don't have a buddy-buddy in the ward. And I'm perfectly fine with that. I actually prefer to sit alone in Relief Society. It's a lot easier to pay attention rather than having people whispering to me the entire time. There are several spots in the room that are constant whispering through the entire meeting. It's highly distracting.

    I rarely have buddy-buddy friends though. I never did in high school. I knew a lot of people. I was friendly with a lot of the different groups/cliques. But I didn't hang out with any of them. I prefer it that way. It's much more freeing and much less confining.

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  30. major frowny.

    i'm going to skip s.m. and come sit with you at r.s. and tell everyone how cool you are and that they're missing out.

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  31. Been there, done that… thankfully, I have a ward full of sisters that know when to come and spark my typically friendly demeanor… and when not to.

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  32. I have a baby I need to not wake up with lots of typing, but suffice it to say that I could have written this exactly at two different times in my life. It was a hard, bitter lesson for me when I learned that no matter how hard you try, you can't make a friend if no one else wants to be one. Pray for the wards to split — that worked for me once. Another thing that can really help is looking outside the ward for friends. Church will still be lonely, but that's better than lonely all the time. I wish you the best.

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  33. I have lived in my ward for almost 14 years and I still feel like I don't belong. The friends I have had, have moved on to bigger and better things, while the ward has groups of women who are only friendly to those in their 'circle' of friends and I have not been invited to be in this circle. I don't have money and my husband is unemployed. We just cannot, at a moments notice, hop onto a plane to jet off to Utah or New York City or Miami, like most of these women can. Without the money, the women in our ward, don't let ya play with them or talk to them or even look at them. I didn't think the church was suppose to be like that.

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  34. I have never had that problem. But I think it's because my husband is a caterer and people love people that can make good food. We can make it into their cold hearts through their empty bellies.

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  35. Our ward boundaries changed in April, my best friend moved away in May, and then we were away for six weeks during the summer. I am still putting down roots in my new ward. I am pretty lonely at church, but I have decided to start looking for other lonely people. When I was playing prelude in RS this week, I noticed my VT companion (with whom I have very little in common) sitting alone and looking at her shoes. I stopped playing, walked across the room, and asked her to come sit by me (or, rather, my purse). Lots of people stared at me as I did that. But you know what? Neither of us sat alone that day.

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  36. i recall Orson Scott Card saying once that whenever his family moved to a new ward, in order to dive right in and feel like they're part of it they would join the choir. being in the choir is a labor of love, attracts a certain "type" of person, and he felt like it was the best way to insta-connect with people. Plus, you don't have to actually sing well 😉

    that might work for a lot of people, but beautiful music more often than not makes me cry if I try to sing it (and frequently when I'm just listening) and i can't stand being up in front of people blubbering away.

    I have had wards i loved and wards i wanted to leave the church over. A wise friend told me (during the a phase of the latter) "It's just a group of people trying to do their best…" Somehow the way they said it stuck in my head and got me past that bump in my road.

    I remember when we were moving to SLC from Vermont, when i found our house, the people we bought it from said, "No matter how great a ward we move into, it'll NEVER be as good as this one!" That made me happy to hear, and i wondered why. When I got back to Vermont, I started thinking "Maybe the PROPHET is in the ward, but they're not allowed to tell people that because it's a closely held fact!" I was all excited that I'd figured out why the ward was so great that it couldn't be beat.

    I was wrong. He actually was in the ward next to ours…or at least he was when he was raising his family 🙂

    I don't have any superclosedailycheckin friends in this ward. but i have come to love my people so much. as it turns out, it IS the greatest ward in the church! i'm not really "like" anyone in the ward. older than a lot of people at our stage in life (DH just finished medical school), two kids, husband is inactive, I work part-time, and most of my peers are well-established in beautiful homes with boats and bigger budgets. but as long as they'll have me, i'll keep 'em. finding my happiness inside me has been the key, i think.

    and also, praying for neighbor kids to move here for my kids to play with. That actually worked! They arrived all the way from South Africa, with a family just like ours in gender/age makeup. They're not LDS, and they different schools, but the boy is my boy's bestie, and the girl is my daughter's good friend. These things (moving) can take a while to get into place, so praying now is a good idea! 😉

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  37. I have no idea what it's like to live in Utah, but way out here in the far outer reaches of the mission field, we glom into anyone who moves in. We instantly invite them to anything we can think of, call, etc etc, because out here where many drive 45 mins to get to church, a place where Mormons stick out like sore thumbs, you have to stick together to make it. I love it that way.

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  38. We moved almost constantly when I was growing up, yet my parents had dear friends in every ward. As I got older my mom told me her secret to loving every ward: She pretended she had been in the ward forever and that everyone else she met was new there. She was always the first to stick out her hand and introduce herself. She made it her mission to make each of those people feel welcome and like they had a friend. She took a genuine interest in finding out about them and extending a hand of service and friendship.

    The truth is, no matter how long someone has been in a ward or how many friends it seems like they have, everyone feels out of place or lonely to some degree or another. When we experience this most of us react by withdrawing, not wanting to feel more out of place by putting ourselves out there and possibly being rejected. Others are apt to perceive this as a lack of interest on our part, and the cycle continues.

    Not only can being the one to reach out help remedy the situation, but we sometimes need to switch our thinking from what we wish others would be for us and begin an earnest mission to become what someone else needs. There is no better cure for loneliness than to lift the loneliness of another. My mom didn’t necessarily find friends who shared her every interest or hobby, but she was never without deep relationships that ended up filling a void for both parties.

    And since I’m droning on and anyone with any sense has stopped reading by now, I’ll just go on to say that I recently felt a disconnect from my own ward and was telling a friend that our RS just seemed distant from one another, like we don’t know one another’s needs and we’re not reaching out enough. As I was talking it dawned on me that I had essentially taken the summer off from being involved in the lives of my sisters. I had stopped reaching out. I realized that I was the source of the very disconnect I felt. I don’t if other sisters were feeling a similar disconnect, but I knew I couldn’t be certain what the state of our RS was until I made an effort to get plugged in know my sisters again.

    I’m really sorry if anyone is actually bored enough to have read this entire comment. Monologue over.

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  39. My problem is my neighborhood. I'm friendly with many women, but the majority of the women in my ward are over 50. There are about 8 of us who still have young children.

    Unfortunately, as soon as I make friends with one of those 8, she seems to move. Three of my friends have moved in the last 6 months. In an elderly ward like ours, most women my age are renting a basement apartment or have moved back in with parents. Their situation in our neighborhood is temporary. And that makes my plight lonely.

    Of course, the older women love me. I teach RS and most of them know me by name, and vice versa because of that. But they're not people who I spend time with outside of the 3 hour block.

    *Sigh.* Where are all the young mommies??

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  40. For me, it's all about time. Some people I do instantly hit it off with, and that's fun. But with lots of other people, it takes time, sometimes years, to get to know them and know their hearts and trust them. We have lived in our current ward long enough that they've seen us through a funeral and two babies and a broken leg, and we have helped out in turn. Being cared for during hard times creates amazing friendships, for me–maybe not the daily check in kind, but the kind of awe I feel at my good friend who pulled me through my broken leg situation. But it was a question of lots of time and circumstances that brought us together.

    So I say give it time, even more time than you already have, and your natural coolness and friendliness will win out.

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  41. I must be a weird one. I live in a great ward with wonderful women all who would or could be great friends — if I let it happen. I don't know why – I go to church and just want to listen. To feel deeply. To not spend my time chit-chatting through Sunday School. I want to be in the scriptures and engaged in the lesson. I know I need a balance of both and probably because I wasn't balanced for a number of years – spending those years focusing on social– neglecting the spiritual – I hit a point where I felt spiritually famished and am probably just catching up. Interesting how one deals with life's ups and downs. Sometimes in healthy, balanced ways – other times not. I need friendship with women and they need me. I know there are many opportunities to serve that I am missing. I need to find that balance… a way to keep spirituality and sociality a part of my church experience.

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  42. That was a lot of commenting! (Whew!)

    My three favorite ideas:

    "I go [to RS activities] to find out who there might need me that night.”

    Acting like an old-timer and greeting others in a welcoming way.

    and

    The sister who prayed to find friends.

    I don't have a need for best friends, but my advice is to invite people over for DINNER. Even people you don't eventually become close to will appreciate you and communicate with you on a more intimate level once they've spent time in your home.

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  43. Within a month of praying for friends for one son and one daughter, a boy FIVE DAYS younger than my son, also the oldest, and equally as nice moved in up the street. My son who is almost a year younger than many of his classmates now has a good friend to go to Scouts with AND next year to become a deacon with. I feel incredibly blessed.

    As for me, 6 1/2 years in this ward, and let me tell you one thing that didn't help my friend-dom (totally a word)–having my husband sustained to the bishopric the Sunday BEFORE we moved into our house. Now he has been bishop for three years. I am sorry for all the bishop's wives I have ever put on a pedestal or seen as untouchable. My very best friends are not in my ward.

    Once–perhaps a few years into this move–I cried and prayed about my loneliness. My answer? "This isn't about YOU." Hmph. That hurt and didn't make me feel better, but I am learning to reach out and serve AND forget myself. THAT does feel better.

    I hope that one woman will return next week and you two will hit it off!

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  44. Thanks for this post and ALL of the comments. I do believe everyone feels isolated at some point in their lives. And some of us creative types seem to have a little harder time fitting in–or just a harder time either wanting to fit in or knowing how.

    I've always felt incapable of making friends. But now in my 40's I think I've finally figured it out (at least for me).

    I love my ward. It helps that I know all the sisters since I was RS pres and have been an RS cnslr three times since. We've been in this ward about 8 years.

    I still fee like I only have one or two truly close friends in the ward though. Wait, I guess more. But just two, or three I open up more to.

    We've invited people to dinner, served them, etc. Those things help and just sometimes luck of finding someone you click with.

    Hope you all don't feel lonely. That makes me sad, because I know the sting that can create in your heart and I feel blessed to have had that sting disappear over the years.

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  45. Wow. I guess with so many of us feeling lonely, who doesn't? I guess we just need to start getting together!

    My challenge right now is that I'm a veteran in a student ward (three years is a lot when most of our ward are newly-weds!). I have a nine month old baby to wrestle with during all three hours of our afternoon church. I'm usually pretty good about being outgoing and meeting new people and being a friend, but now my capacity for chatting during church is pretty much zero. I hope no one thinks that I'm unfriendly when I really wish I had more of a chance to reach out. I guess I need a sign that says, "Please come visit, I'm home all day during the week and would love to be your friend even though I'm just trying to survive church right now."

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  46. We have been in our ward for over a decade. I love it now but did take a while to settle in. I try to speak to anyone new whenever I see them at church. I always introduce them to the Bishop, R.S. president, and anyone else they need to know depending on their family situation. New members are like gold dust in our ward, we love them and need them. Of course it is easier to get noticed and make friends in smaller wards like we have in England. I feel for you and don't know what to suggest. Knowing people is one thing, but a close, true friend is another. We all have a

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  47. My comment jumped up before I had finished it!

    We all, women especially need a friend who loves us. Someone to laugh with, sigh with over gastly comments in R.S., cry with during tragdy. We need to be understood and valued.

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  48. Each time I move to a new ward, I have to make myself go to church for almost a year before I feel comfortable. Growing up I never understood why some people just dropped through the cracks when they moved. Of course you keep going to church when you move. Of course. And then I moved into a new ward where I knew no one but my husband. I understood. I have a hard time meeting people, and stepping outside myself to make the first move–nigh impossible for me. We've moved twice since then and it hasn't gotten any easier, but my testimony of the need to keep going to church grows each time. My gratitude for the fact that the gospel is the same in each place we move continues to grow as well.

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  49. I'm learning that friendship goes in waves. Last year, I was struggling emotionally, so I prayed for lots of things. One of them was friends. I got them, but had to extend myself a lot. I also had a wonderful woman move into the neighborhood who, I swear, has a talent for making friends. She only lasted a year in the ward (military family), but she gave me what I needed, and it was a good year. Now I'm not trying as hard because other things, like Sue mentioned, are piling up a little bit, and I find myself withdrawing from some friendships, not on purpose, just because of life. But all of this has taught me that these things go in waves, because everybody has life things, and everybody needs friends, and sometimes those two go together, and sometimes they don't.

    And those prayers for friends? I swear, that's one of the few prayers works every time. Somebody will call me, or invite our family over, or stop by, just because they were thinking of me, and it always reaffirms my faith that the Lord wants us to have friends.

    Here's another weird thing I do. When I'm feeling especially lonely, I watch a particular woman in the ward who everybody loves, and not in a "she's the most prettiest girl at the ball" kind of way, but in a "she's our favorite person in the WORLD' kind of way. I watch what she does, how she makes people feel, and, well, I copy her. That works, too, as long as I am willing to continue to put myself out there, in the same way she does.

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  50. Belonging takes time, and in my life has always happened by accident. I decided I'm kind of like a lamp. I'm just another source of light, and because I'm just a fixture that no one stops to look at, I find it easy to think that no one notices me. But then enough people notice that it's actually brighter in the room than they remembered it being, and they look around and notice there's a lamp that wasn't there before. They acknowledge me maybe, but mostly just smile at me whenever they see me.

    Belonging in a ward is like that for me. A simple, quiet thing. It isn't marked to me by the attention they give me, but in the attention they allow me to give them. I'd rather have people at Church know I have a testimony than know my name. They're of course welcome to know me and be my friend, and the people who want to be take that initiative. But if everyone else only has enough room in their lives for a small part of me, I want them to take the right part of me with them.

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  51. I haven't read all these blog posts but I know where this is going. Coming into a ward is hard but imagine adding a colorful reputation to that. I came into my ward knowing that someone had called my new bishop to caution him about a "desparate to get married person" who had been married a few times, now dating his latest widower. I had been married before but I wasn't what the informer assumed I was – desparate. In fact I was quite the opposite at the time. My current husband was a widower of 5 months. Some women thought it was too soon.
    As a sister first and a new Relief Society president second, I have the answer to the "no friends" dilemma.
    1st, believe it or not everybody is shy, they don't know what to say.Second, everyone that is new sits with the prickly look of "come to me because I'm not coming to you."
    I came into the ward with the plan to contribute not to worry about who came to me. I raise/raised my hand when I think I can answer a question. That lets people know I'm a participator. I bring my scriptures and my manual. That let's people know I'm interested. I write my name on the list to contribute a meal, or a cake to a function. I ask for a ward list, if not offered. I sit in the middle of a row, versus on the end, over to the side. I ask a question of someone sitting next to me. I get in their and strut my stuff.
    I do the walking and like the pied piper the people follow. Now look where it got me, Relief Society President at 64 years old. Grin
    If you want to meet people, have a pot luck at your house. I guarantee the people who you think are in a clique are the ones that are waiting for an opportunity to be there for you. Talk to your VT, tell them your dilemma, request their help.

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  52. First of all, I LOVED your post about speaking up. I, too, speak up, and appreciate others who do, as well.

    I have had the experience where I didn't have friends in my ward, as a teen and as an adult. It was so hard, yet I had an AMAZING testimony. I learned that I love to go to church for CHURCH, and not to hang with my friends.

    Then my parents moved me to the ward that I call home, and I had an AWESOME group of friends–we are still friends to this day, and live around each other. They are my best friends.

    I appreciate both. And honestly, once I've had a taste of the awesome friends ward, I don't really want to go back to the no real friends wards. So we hopped wards for awhile. Of course, now we're mostly worried about a nursery where I feel my kid is taken care of (where the leaders aren't afraid to tell the kids *mine included* NO) rather than where my friends are at. If I find friends, great. If not, well, I've got my circle, and that'll sustain me.

    But sit next to that other chica–I'm pretty sure you'll click!

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  53. Some subscribers just don't understand, like my neighbor who couldn't visualize the practical intention of this line on your post "….)I have plenty of friends at the stake level, and even friends who meet in the same building …" it makes me to look more intelligent after understanding it.

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  54. Some people just don't make special, one-on-one friends (at least, I tell myself that, because I don't think I've ever really had one in my whole life).

    I've lived in my current ward for over 28 years, and while there are lots of sisters in the ward whom I love and who I feel love me, I can't honestly say I could call any one of them up if I had a crisis, though in such a situation, I would probably call my visiting teachers. My oldest daughter is my closest friend that way, with my mother second.

    I'm one of those over-50 sisters who speak up in church, and I probably intimidate the heck out everyone. But there are several older sisters whom I like a lot, and I know they like me, and there are several younger sisters, including young mothers whom I like a lot, and I think they like me, too.

    And I'm cool with that. I used to dream about a one-on-one, true bosom friend, but right now (anyway) I feel okay with how things are.

    I remember one brother in the ward years ago telling me that his wife felt out of it and friendless, so my husband and I invited them to do something with us one evening (dinner and show kind of thing, if I remember correctly). They never reciprocated, and later, we learned that they had gone boating and camping and so on with other couples in the ward, and that hurt.

    There's a section in Janette Rallison's DAKOTA'S REVENGE, where Dakota, having moved into a new ward, is sitting in YW hoping that someone will come sit with her, and not even her younger sister (who has found new friends) would do that. That struck such a painful chord for me that I sat there and sobbed after reading it.

    So I do know how sad it is, and lonely, and painful. And I really hope those who want close personal friends are able to find them.

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  55. Want to come be my friend in nursery? They've promised I'll be there at least a year so you have until November 2011 to find me. I'm the barefoot one holding the kid with green snot running down his face. See you soon!

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  56. After moving to Utah from New Jersey, I think that it's actually harder living in Utah in some ways. In a quirky, needy ward in NJ, it was definitely frustrating, but we had a close-knit mom's group where no one really COULD get left out because there were so few of us. But in a ward that is made up of my NEIGHBORHOOD in Utah, it's hard to invite people without excluding others, for lack of room. We've lived here for over a year and I still feel like I hardly know anyone. Mostly because I'm in the primary, and because I haven't reached out enough. And a big reason is that everyone seems to have their families and extended families wrapped lovingly around them, so they have no room for friends. Makes me wish I had family around so I could have that excuse too! After growing up in a military family, you'd think I would have this moving/friend-making thing figured out. It's nice to know others struggle too – and thanks for the great perspective and ideas.

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