I am a male in my early twenties. Till high school, I had a group of friends and we had been friends since childhood.

But I started drawing away from these people because I had different career and life goals and wasn't in as comfortable a position as they were in, financially. I basically couldn't keep up with their lifestyle, because of money and time.

I stopped all contact with them after we graduated and now I have been in college since 3 years and it sucks.
I haven't even come close to living up the life I once had. I do have people that I can call "friends", but these are all people I meet during class or hang out with like a couple of times a month at most.

It's like once a month or so, when I get to hangout and feel like I once did. All the other days, I feel extremely lonely. I do have people to talk to and call friends, but it's not the kind of thing I had way back in high school, where we all lived nearby and would hang out everyday or so.

I was also a popular kid on high school and now i am the exact opposite of that. I learned how dependent I was on these friends in high school and how didn't really have much of an independent identity.

It has been a learning experience but at the same time, I am going through these unbearable feelings of loneliness and depression.

I know what the standard solution is. To go out more and be friendly and join clubs and all of that. First of all, I don't have much time, as I have to work on my studies and career.

Secondly, making friends with people is not that hard but the problem really is that everyone already has their core group of friends whom they have been with since years.

I can manage to be a part of everyone's fringe group but no one's core group. I don't think it's possible at this stage.

To top it all off, I don't have a girlfriend, never had one. I have hooked up a bit but that's it. I feel like a complete loser and the expectations I had from my life at this stage, it has all turned out to be the exact opposite of that.

On the other hand, it seems to be worried about petty things like these when you know millions of people in the world are dying of hunger and poverty. I don't have it nearly as bad.

But these thoughts don't make anything any better. I still feel depressed and lonely and for the firts time in my life have wept and cried like a baby over these things. Many times.
It's like a recurrent cycle of depression. Sometimes the busy schedule keeps all these thoughts away. But reality eventually comes back and hits hard.

I see all the others with their core group of friends, having fun, living the life you're supposed to be living at this age, and I just sit at home doing nothing.

Please help.

Hi. Your description is articulate and clear. I suspect your core problems may be (1) inherited psychological wounds which impair your ability to bond socially; (2) incomplete grief over some important losses [which feels like "depression"]; and [3] comparing yourself to others, vs. accepting and respecting yourself as a unique person. It sounds like you're isolating yourself by judging that others have "core group of friends" which you can never become a part of. That may be an unconscious way of avoiding social intimacy, which can be caused by low self esteem ["I'm a loser"].

To evaluate whether you've inherited psychological wounds, see these:   and...

If you feel you are a "Grown Wounded Child [GWC]," then invest time in this free online "lesson":

To see whether your depression is really incomplete grief, see this:  

Then study online "lesson 3" to learn how to finish grieving and move on:

You may also find lesson 4 useful - it's about healthy relationships:

Finally, I encourage you to stop comparing your life to your peers and to someone else's template for how your life "should be." By definition, your history, ancestry, personality, talents, and interests are unique. See this wisdom:

This is a LOT to absorb and integrate on top of your other studies and work, so take your time. If you have further questions, please ask!

Namaste - Pete


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Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about mood disorders, depression, suicide, relationships, communication skills, problem solving, clear thinking, bonding disorders, trauma recovery, addiction management, grieving, shame, guilt, fear, reality distortion, and trust disorders; courtship, family functioning, "problem kids," mediation, (re)marriage, divorce, stepfamilies, stepparenting, boundaries, self-neglect, abuse, parental neglect, personality subselves, ("parts work"). I cannot answer legal or medical questions.


I maintained a private therapy practice near Chicago for 27 years, and have worked with over 1,000 men, women, couples, and families on a wide range of personal and family problems. I have been in personal recovery from growing up in an alcoholic family since 1986, and have worked with five therapists to heal my own psychological wounds. I maintained a "warm (phone) line" for callers on the topics above for 20 years, and have taught over 200 seminars and classes in midwestern universities, churches, support groups, and schools since 1981. I have practiced internal-family therapy ("parts work") with trauma-recoverers since 1991.

National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) Experts Council; Compassion and Choices, and Final Exit Network

# Several hundred articles in my non-profit "Break the Cycle!" Web site at These articles are augmented by over 150 educational YouTube videos .

# six books on childhood-trauma recovery, effective communication, and stepfamily courtship, coparenting, and management.

A bachelors degree in mechanical engineering (BSME, 1959) from Stanford University, a Masters degree in clinical Social Work, (MSW, 1981), and over 500 hours of post-grad training in the topics above - including clinical hypnosis, spirituality, codependence, addicrtion-management, and guided imagery. My post-grad traning includes two 9-month internships on doing internal-family therapy at the University of Illinois.

Awards and Honors
Hundreds of grateful emails and comments from students and clients all over the world.

Past/Present Clients
Over 1,000 average Midwestern-US women, men, couples, and families. A physical disability limits me to doing telephone and Skype counseling now.

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