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Ask The Experts

Never Had a Girlfriend

Worried_about_a_friend_2014

I’ve never had a girlfriend before. It’s always been something that’s bothered me and made me feel insecure, and it feels worse now that school has started again, to the point where it may be causing or contributing to some minor depression in me. Almost all of my friends have gone through at least two significant others since high school, but I’ve had none. I can only assume it’s because I’m shy and have trouble talking to strangers or just generally making conversation… I feel like I’m missing out on a big part of life and I don’t know what to do. Is there something wrong with me?

Victor Schwartz, M.D., Medical Director, The Jed Foundation answers:

It is useful to realize that people mature socially at different rates and some people are comfortable dating during high school but some are not yet completely ready for this even in college. The question you might consider is whether you feel you are making progress toward a greater degree of social comfort and getting more prepared for the idea of dating? Do you socialize with groups of friends? When you do, are you able to participate in conversation and activities? This can be a good step toward becoming more comfortable socially. If this is also difficult for you or if you really feel stuck, you may try to find some counseling through your school. Many school counseling services run groups for people who may have social anxiety and lots of young people find this very helpful (and when you see that many other people struggle to some extent with similar problems, it can be comforting too!). You can get some help with this at your counseling center. This would be a helpful step for you.