I Find it Difficult to Make Friends for Life

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a male part-time worker in my 20s. I don’t know what having a friend is like and wonder why I can’t make friends for life.

Since elementary school, I’ve never been able to form close relationships with friends that would allow us to clash and deepen our friendship or even play together in groups.

When I was in junior high school, I was an honor student who studied hard and became class president. But I had no friends to share my problems with. I stopped attending school in the middle of junior high school.

I took a correspondence course for high school and graduated without getting involved with many people. I couldn’t make lifelong friends at university either, and have not kept in frequent contact with anyone since graduation.

I like interacting with people, and I believe that others think I’m able to communicate reasonably well with those around me.

However, I always end up having only superficial relationships, and feel lonely. I only go out by myself or with my family.

I feel like I’ve grown up without learning how to make friends and also feel as if I’ve been left behind.

E, Saitama Prefecture

Dear Mr. E:

If you don’t know what a friend is, then first define it.

Are you thinking of a dangerous friendship as described in “Hashire Merosu” (“Run, Melos!”) by Osamu Dazai (1909-48)? But that story is fictional and not realistic.

Then, is friendship a relationship where you can open up your feelings and discuss any serious problems? However, if the majority of people in this world had such trustworthy friends, a column such as “Troubleshooter” would not exist. Everyone doesn’t have deep friendships.

Why don’t you lower your sights a little and look for someone you can talk to and hang out with?

I know that you are worried that such a friendship will end up as a superficial one. But I think the lifelong friends you seek begin with a casual relationship as an acquaintance.

Do you have a favorite pop star, author or video game? What are your hobbies?

It would be nice to make a kindred acquaintance over a common topic. If you don’t have a hobby, find one. It may be easier than making friends. If you find one, your loneliness will be eased a little.

Tomomi Fujiwara, writer