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13 yo daughter, no friends ... zero

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13 yo daughter, no friends ... zero

Old 12-13-2020, 11:37 AM
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Default 13 yo daughter, no friends ... zero

Just want to get your thoughts on this guys.

13 yo daughter, grade 8 ... zero friends. She goes to a private school, but her one and only school friend didn't get in. And now, one of her major activities ... figure skating which she has been doing for 10 years appears to be coming to an end. She has always been shy / introverted, but my fears are she will dive into depression, possibly self-harm or seek company from someone online / chatting etc... she literally has no one to talk to. I mean Zero.

On the other hand, my own story, I had exactly two friends going into grade 8. One moved away. My other friend failed and then repeated a grade and made a new circle of friends. I was worried about it in grade 10, but when I realized things arn't going to change, I didn't care anymore in grades 11-12. I literally talked to no one between grades 10-12. I didn't see the benefit at the time, but now that I'm 48, I see that it made me independent, I depended on no one. I also picked up a lot of skills and hobbies and got very good at some of them. As a lifetime introvert myself, I don't need to be "fixed". I’m fine with it. In fact, I like it. I have maybe one real friend. I still managed to get married, have a few kids. But I can't say my daughter will have the same experience.

Here is a bit more about her just to draw a picture. She is super fit, generally a strong willed young lady. She’s introverted but I don’t feel she is shy. In fact, I feel she has a strong will. Very much a girly-girl. Good family relationship. She's never really been bullied. I know she wants to make friends, just doesn't know how. Even when we involve her in other activities (hard in COVID), she just isolates herself. Her academics are very good. I’ve always thought it would be easier if she were bad at math or something. We could just get a tutor.

Just wondering if you guys have any insights, experience or ideas? Could this be a genetic thing? Doesn’t a young girl need someone to talk to? I'm a bit confused how worried I should be. So far, my wife and I have encouraged her, guided her, made suggestions ... but not force or pushed her. Besides, how do you "force" someone to make friends? I would really appreciate your insights / ideas… if you need more info pls ask.

Concerned father of a daughter.
Old 12-13-2020, 11:49 AM
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Some kind of team sport or activity?
Old 12-13-2020, 12:05 PM
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My wife really enjoyed the book How to be an introvert in an extrovert world.

It’s a common problem but it sounds like she is already in a great place to succeed: well rounded girl with a dad that cares.

I know several girls like this and it seems that when they realize they are any more different than anybody else, and have the confidence they get from loving parents, they eventually realize they have friends.

I would really encourage you to offset any void she is feeling by making sure you know she is loved. I heard a man explain once that when a girl has had a father tell her, often, how pretty she is and how important she is to him, When boys start telling her this, she won’t feel drawn to it every time.
Old 12-13-2020, 12:17 PM
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What about her mother’s involvement? Does she confide in Mom? What is Mom’s take on the situation?
Old 12-13-2020, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Bfish View Post
Some kind of team sport or activity?
Originally Posted by Beehaw View Post
My wife really enjoyed the book How to be an introvert in an extrovert world.

It’s a common problem but it sounds like she is already in a great place to succeed: well rounded girl with a dad that cares.

I know several girls like this and it seems that when they realize they are any more different than anybody else, and have the confidence they get from loving parents, they eventually realize they have friends.

I would really encourage you to offset any void she is feeling by making sure you know she is loved. I heard a man explain once that when a girl has had a father tell her, often, how pretty she is and how important she is to him, When boys start telling her this, she won’t feel drawn to it every time.
Guys, thanks for the responses, new activities are always suggested and encouraged but she has hew own will and like I said, she'll let you know what it is Now that figure skating is probably out of the day, that opens up more opportunities IMO but she is pretty upset about it.

Great tip, I tell her that each day I drop her off at school (which is every day) and make sure she's looking at me when I say I love her. Fun for me is I mix it up and find creative ways to get that message across. LOL I've always considered it a special role in a man's life to be a father of a daughter. One that not every guy gets to experience and one you can't buy.

In today's online world, I guess my concern is that she may find someone online to talk to. We talk about this regularly, the dangers of the internet ... I'm quite certain she won't lie to me. One thing I noticed even in young adults is that they are usually terrible liars. Like you can just sense the lie.

I'm just trying to figure out if there is something else I could do for her.
Old 12-13-2020, 12:28 PM
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It's a tough age. We moved states 6 times before high school, none of them were hard until the last one 3 days before I started 9th grade. Cliques were already formed; and I was pretty introverted myself. Made no real friends for the first few months... it was honestly stressful at that age. I ended up having to do a school project in small groups. I was the kid sitting there alone after the teacher said "okay split up into groups of 4 or 5"..... teacher saw this and said okay just pick any group.... so I did the walk of shame over to a few dudes who I'd already figured out shared some of my interests. That was 20 years ago; and we'll all be donning tuxedos next summer while the last one of us walks the plank....I mean aisle.

I made another group of friends around that age through the youth-group at church.
Old 12-13-2020, 12:29 PM
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Get her a horse. my daughter is not that outgoing but the friends she has in the horse world are all good kids their families are generally good people you want them around and have a sense of responsibility.
Old 12-13-2020, 12:29 PM
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I am an introvert as well. Have done fine flying solo most of my life very few friends, and I mean real friends. All others are just acquaintances and a major reason may be I also grew up a Military dependent. I was and still am used to people coming and going in my life, very few things lasted more than a couple years.

There is one point though, and that is I know how to socially interact with others and I can make friends if I wanted to. I learned that from socially extroverted parents and siblings, team sports, etc. I developed the ability to act extroverted when in reality it tires me out and is more work than necessary.

So maybe you need to help by showing your daughter how it is done, it could help. But overall your daughter sounds pretty mature for her age and might just no longer has the ability to connect with people in her age range.
Old 12-13-2020, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by PXMAN View Post
What about her mother’s involvement? Does she confide in Mom? What is Mom’s take on the situation?
Oh yea, she is waaay closer to mom than she is with me. I'm the one she runs to when she needs something fixed.

My wife and I spoke about this at length. We came to the same conclusion as we've been doing for years. Love her, support, guide, suggest ... but we stop at forcing her. We can start a new activity, maybe an art class. She is very good at many forms of art. But from past experience, she just isolates herself.

When I drop her off at school, COVID, they line up outside to go in. Other students are chatty, she stands away from everyone and its not because of COVID. I tell her all the time, just go up and talk to someone, or stand with a group. But I was exactly like that, no way in hell I would just insert myself into a clique / group like that. So I know my suggestion won't fly. I was there... like her.
Old 12-13-2020, 12:38 PM
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Crap
Tough age and it sucks to worry about someone you love
Obviously, encourage her in anything she wants to do

Not trying to be flip now, but
Teach her to run the boat and how to catch fish

It will boost her confidence - she will learn to make decisions
It will give her an opportunity to make friends - let her invite anybody she wants to
It will give you Father/Daughter time - nothing better than that
Old 12-13-2020, 12:45 PM
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I had a difficult time at that age because it was impossible to know who to trust. For an introvert that is magnified. I would talk with her and find out if she's had some problems making/keeping friends and perhaps that is why she's flying solo. It was difficult for me because I got bullied mercilessly, and most of the people I thought were friends turned on me to save themselves. She might have had that same experience and just doesn't want to get hurt anymore. She definitely needs someone to confide in outside of a parent, because let's just be honest, there's some things you can't talk about with your parents in your teen years. Sure, parents have this pipe dream of "oh we can talk about everything" but if you remember when you were that age you know that is never going to be 100% true. Maybe it's another adult in the neighborhood, or somebody at church (if you attend), whoever but she needs a vent.

I'm in the same boat as you now, lot of acquaintances but only one true "no filter" friend. We can air out whatever it is that's bothering us but even if we don't agree at least we have that outlet to get it out and share the load together. It has been a godsend to me for sure because we have been able to walk through fire together and come out untouched. I think everybody needs that, regardless of their age. And at her age, she's going to need a lot of wise counsel, so just make sure her counselor isn't Instagram or a Kardashian.
Old 12-13-2020, 12:48 PM
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Buy her a puppy or cat.
Old 12-13-2020, 12:51 PM
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I think you said it. She's like her Dad.
Old 12-13-2020, 12:53 PM
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No friends is better than the wrong friends
Old 12-13-2020, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by coastboater View Post
I think you said it. She's like her Dad.
That is very true and I turned out fine. But that doesn't mean she will... that is the nature of my concern.
Old 12-13-2020, 01:11 PM
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Probably too late, but have another kid. My two daughters, though 3-1/2 years apart, are each other’s best friends. I worry a little about the youngest when the oldest goes off to college.
Old 12-13-2020, 01:17 PM
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No first hand daughter experience, but I have watched how my brother in law interacts with my niece and was impressed.

He takes her out on daddy/daughter date nights once a month or so. She is involved with youth group (church), and she rides horses as well as works there part time. She is 15 now, and appears to be doing well with school and not getting in trouble.

I think a good good male role model is important.

Teach her her what to expect from a man once she starts dating. Open the door for her, pull out her chair, etc..

p.s. I was the first guy to open the car door for my wife ~12 years ago. That and my amazing looks sealed the deal.
Old 12-13-2020, 01:20 PM
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Does she seem pretty content? Because there is a whole world of difference between introvert and dipping into self harm.

I imagine that 13yo is probably the hardest time for girls to break into a friend group.

Athletic girl coming out of a sport that takes dedication, get her into another sport. Even a solo/team sport like cross country or swimming gives camaraderie and interaction. Sounds like she has a good head on her shoulders.
Old 12-13-2020, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by olsaltydog View Post
I am an introvert as well. Have done fine flying solo most of my life very few friends, and I mean real friends. All others are just acquaintances and a major reason may be I also grew up a Military dependent. I was and still am used to people coming and going in my life, very few things lasted more than a couple years.

There is one point though, and that is I know how to socially interact with others and I can make friends if I wanted to. I learned that from socially extroverted parents and siblings, team sports, etc. I developed the ability to act extroverted when in reality it tires me out and is more work than necessary.

So maybe you need to help by showing your daughter how it is done, it could help. But overall your daughter sounds pretty mature for her age and might just no longer has the ability to connect with people in her age range.
Originally Posted by tvguy243 View Post
Crap
Tough age and it sucks to worry about someone you love
Obviously, encourage her in anything she wants to do

Not trying to be flip now, but
Teach her to run the boat and how to catch fish

It will boost her confidence - she will learn to make decisions
It will give her an opportunity to make friends - let her invite anybody she wants to
It will give you Father/Daughter time - nothing better than that
Thing is I don't know how its done. I never thought of it that way, you may be right. She may be a bit mature for her age. I've had very little involvement with her school or course work. She just handles it on her own and she's fairly organized. But that may be a result of having no friends. If you have no one to ask, you better be organized and have things figured out.

Here is the other part I didn't get to. I've very close relationship with my son who is 15. We go on multi-night fishing trips together as well as a lot of other things we do together... I don't think this is a coincidence, but she is just as close to her mother as I am with my son. And it just so happens that she is not interested in doing any of the things I do with my son. I figure, its some kind of mental block. He is older than her, of course I do things with him first. I explained that to her, but she just looks at me blankly and says she is just not interested when I suggest the same activities I do with the boy.
Old 12-13-2020, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by tvguy243 View Post
Teach her to run the boat and how to catch fish
And invite another kid to go fishing with you. At 13 it may be too late, but it's worth a shot. I took both my grandkids fishing from the time they could walk. My granddaughter lost interest at about 13. She's 18 now. Last summer I took her boyfriend fishing... LOL! My 13 yo grandson is still my fishing buddy.

Another idea - take her to breakfast one day a week. Or once a month. Then drop her at school. I've taken my grandson to breakfast every week since he was 2. It is great time with them!

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