Dear Sugar --
My boyfriend and I have been dating for a year and a half now. We've had several discussions about friendships I've had that brought me down. I slowly started to weed out the friends that were bad influences on me but now I'm so picky about friends that I don't have any at all! My boyfriend is very helpful and encourages me to go meet new people and hang out with the few friends I do have, but they all seem to be busy so I don't know what to do. It seems as though I've become somewhat "closed off" from making new friends, and I'm so picky that even if there is a girl that I could see myself becoming friends with it's hard for me to take that extra step and ask her to go out for coffee or something. In the past I've also had friends betray me and ditch me and I'm sort of afraid that this will happen again so I tense up when people are around and worry too much about it.
My boyfriend tells me that I just need to be more open and friendly and not worry too much about how I am appearing to the other people and just go with the flow. I'm starting graduate school in a few weeks but I am afraid that I might not make friends there either. My boyfriend and I hang out with his friends a lot but they are all guys. I want to have girl friends to go out and do girlie things with but I don't even know where to start anymore! Any suggestions? -- Lonely Lanna
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Dear Lonely Lanna --
It's hard to let yourself be vulnerable and open up after you've been hurt in the past, but your boyfriend's right, it's important to get back on the horse again if you will and take a risk. Being guarded on the inside can translate negatively and aloof to others so getting to the bottom of your trust issues is important. Although you have had some friends let you down or betray you in the past, it isn't to say that everyone will do the same.
Having someone to do girlie things with is important, so if you're still iffy about your old friends, it sounds like you just need to start all over again and make new friends so you can get that sour taste out of your mouth. With that said, starting school is a great way and time to make new friends. Since you will be surrounded with like-minded people, the chances of meeting others with similar interests and life goals is high. Try warming up to the girl you sit next to in class, join a study group, or take some work out classes -- anything to get yourself out there. There is nothing wrong with being weary when you first meet new people, so just take things slow, like you would in a new relationship with a guy. Make these women earn your trust, but don't be standoffish -- remember, your classmates are in the same boat as you are and chances are they are anxious to make new friends too.
I hope starting school will be like turning over a new leaf for you. Give these people a chance, you never know, you could be pleasantly surprised by the outcome! Good luck.