Hi everyone! Today's Reader Reply email is from "C." She asks a great question - how do you make friends in a small rural town, especially when you're a teenager?
I am 15 years old, and live in a small town.
I took your advice, and attempted joining subreddits and meetup.com groups, but in my town those and virtually nonexistent, especially ones pertaining to things I am interested in. And then of course my age is a problem as well. I can't drive or go many places without a driver's license, so I'm usually grounded to my home, have to ride my bike, or have to ask my parents for a ride.
The truth is, I do have many friends, just none that I can touch. Yes, I am in circles and reddits online where I have made many good, nice people who share my interests. And before this makes you skeptical, I am very careful and always take extreme caution when making friends online, following all of the usual rules like not giving away your address, making them show their face and voice first, not posting pictures with my location tied into the data of the photo, etcetera. However my mother, having watched tons of crime dramas and such for years is wired to believe that everyone online is a predator. This is where my extreme cautions come from. They're there for me when I need to talk and such, which is why I'm still here. I don't know what I would've done without them to keep me grounded. Still, I would really love some friends that I can touch and go places with. Especially since it would make my mom happy.
I've been searching for about an hour for teen programs or meet ups, but have yielded little to nothing. My school district is small as well, so everyone already knows me. Over the 10 years I've gone to this school, I've tried and tried and tried to reach out a hand, but it seems like no one ever grabs back, you know? My mom always says it's because I'm more mature, which I do partially agree with. After all, my young life was hectic. I didn't interact with other kids a lot, and mostly either kept to myself or ended up hanging out with adults. So I suppose you could say I was left behind because I'm too far ahead if that makes sense? Gosh, I hoped that didn't sound too narcissistic. And I've also tried to reach out to older students too, like seniors and juniors, but of course there's some strange freshman plague where they want nothing to do with you no matter what.
I'm sorry this has gotten into a lengthy essay about my feelings and life and I'm sorry to subject you to my ramblings, but I would greatly appreciate it if you maybe had some advice of where I could try and find friends? Thank you very much!