Loneliness, insecurities and worrying about the future


As Olly’s third birthday approached, all I needed to concentrate on was his birthday presents, getting him an amazing birthday cake and to plan a fun filled day out for him to celebrate his big day. There was no party to plan for, no invitations to write and no party bags to worry about because who would we invite? He has no close friends, no-one to call a best friend and I can’t help feeling incredibly guilty about it all and wondering if it’s my fault.


As a working family with little disposable income, we have relied on family to look after Olly whilst we have been at work. I work four days per week with Fridays off at home where we have the chance to spend some quality time together doing whatever we want to do; sometimes this includes running errands and attending appointments and occasionally we get the chance to meet up with friends for a coffee and an hour at soft play.

Aside from playgroup which Olly attends with his Nan for a couple of hours every week, he doesn’t get much chance to socialise with little ones the same age as him. He doesn’t get much chance to learn how to share, how to start up a conversation and how to join in with others in a game of tag or playing with a selection of toys. We don’t have many close friends who have children or have children of the same age for Olly to get to know. Our friends live miles away and getting together is not always easy when diaries clash and distance is the biggest barrier. You can’t just pop down the motorway after work for a cup of tea and a slice of cake whilst the kids enjoy an hour or two at the local park!

Last year, Olly and I signed up for the Move With Peppa classes at our local leisure centre on my day off. I had hoped it would be a chance for us to make some friends who lived close by but it didn’t happen. The children that went to the class were much younger than Olly and none of the Parents were particularly chatty despite my best efforts to raise conversation with them.

I know it’s just circumstance that Olly doesn’t have a best friend but I’m really hoping it’s not a reflection on me. I have friends, lots in fact. I have a couple that are close and although I don’t see them as half as much as I would like (due to distance) I know that our friendship is forever and we can always pick up where we left without awkardness or worry. But I’m lonely and I miss the close friendship of having a best friend. This isn’t an indication on the state of my marriage bytheway, I can talk to my husband about everything and anything (poor bloke) but I do miss female conversation with someone who really gives a shit and understands.

Looking at who my own Mother is friends with today, she’s met the majority of them through activities that my Sister and I did during our childhoods (swimming lessons, music lessons, playgroups etc) We’ve grown up with those families and although I have moved away from where I grew up, the friendships are still there and I genuinely still care about them and have an interest in their lives.

I’m hoping that we get the chance to do the same in the next few months when Olly starts a local pre-school. I want him to make friends with children his own age, who he can play with on a regular basis, who he can invite home for dinner and share his toys with. I want him to make friends so that I can make friends with their parents. Is that selfish? For my own sanity, I want to be able to take Olly to school and pick him up afterwards. I want to meet the other Mums in the playground and make friendships. I’m so scared I won’t be able to do that. It really does worry me and is something I’ll need to seriously think about in the next few months.

I feel guilty that I’ve not been able to give Olly that opportunity; the opportunity to form a close friendship with someone. Someone to play and grow up with. Of course, when we ask Olly who his best friend is, it’s Little Ted or Mummy or Daddy which is absolutely fine by me but I’m desperate for him to start building friendships that will last forever.

I really hope I haven’t failed him already. I’m pushing the boundaries of my own insecurities of previously dwindled friendships and hoping that one day he’ll have a best friend to play with.

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  • Reply Toni 22/02/2016 at 11:39 pm

    Em, Olly will form close friends as soon as he starts nursery and even reception.. I tried to interact with playgroups kids and moms but unfortunately if you go alone your not in the ‘click’ and I hated that! Olly will find his feet don’t stress you and he will be fine xx

  • Reply Hayley McLean 23/02/2016 at 12:10 am

    This really struck a chord with me Emma. Tyne is exactly the same, and lately he’s even been saying himself that he doesn’t have any friends to play with – it breaks my heart and I blame myself because I’ve been reluctant to send him to nursery and I’ve not taken him to groups because of my own social anxieties. Its such a horrible feeling.
    I hope Olly makes plenty of friends once school starts, and that you’re about to make friends with the playground mums too. xx

  • Reply Midgie 23/02/2016 at 2:33 am

    To be honest hes quite young to be having a best friend, and most playdates at this age and first few years at school are parents picking parents rather thankids picking kids! Enjoy your time before having to deal with playground politics its a bloody nitemare!! And dont worry he’ll be fine!

    you are right though having kids and being a working mum can be very isolating, hang in there!

  • Reply Nicola Bradbury 23/02/2016 at 9:59 am

    Oh Emma, I could’ve written this post myself as I feel exactly the same about Alfie. He goes to nursery on a Monday pm and all day on a Thursday, but as I only do the pick up, I don’t really get to chat to the parents, other than a quick hello. I have had this same battle with myself almost since he was born. It wasn’t until he was 9 months old, when I went back to work, and my in-laws started to have him, that he started going to baby and toddler groups. I’m lucky that my mother in law knows about all these places as she takes him all over, but I lack in confidence taking him out. All my MIL’s friends are who she met at play groups when my hubby and his sister were toddlers. Neither Michael or I have many friends and those friends we have don’t have children and it really gets to me that we don’t have many friends that we can go out and socialise with or even meet up with of a weekend. I think I’ve accepted that it’s going to be hard for us until he starts school when I can (hopefully) take him and / or pick him up daily. Please don’t beat yourself up. He is a very loved little boy and from what I see, he’s very well behaved. I would love for us to meet up this year as I’m sure Little Mr and Alfie would get on just great!! xxx

  • Reply Rebecca | AAUBlog 23/02/2016 at 11:17 am

    I wouldn’t say you have let him down at all – he is still young. Does he go to preschool? Often they will let you know who he plays with best and put you in touch with that child’s parents. We haven’t had parties for our children yet. My eldest starts school in September so think it will change then x

  • Reply oana79 23/02/2016 at 2:04 pm

    I wouldn’t worry too much at this age. Kids only make friends, good friends, after a certain age. My Emma is 6, has been in church, playgroup and nursery all her young years and still cannot name a best friend. She has tons of friends, loads of play dates..etc but still it hasn’t happened yet. It will happen, for both Olly and my Emma, when they meet that one person they can click with. Try not to worry to much or blame yourself in the meantime.xx

  • Reply Colette 23/02/2016 at 2:22 pm

    Oh Emma, if it makes you feel any better Chloe is getting on for five and I wouldn’t say she has a “best friend” – she has lots of friends she plays with at school but nobody she talks about a lot. At Olly’s age they’re only just starting to get to grips with playing with other kids, rather just simply playing alongside them. I’m absolutely sure he will be fine when he starts pre school and you will have nothing to worry about.
    Making friends as Mum is hard going isn’t it, I was the first of most of my friends to have children and that was tricky. We have quite a few different groups of friends spread across the country and we have more local friends too but we are all often busy and it can be hard to find time to get together with people who live just round the corner at times.
    x x x

  • Reply Sarah Cantwell 23/02/2016 at 4:59 pm

    I’m sure he will find his friends in his own time. Please don’t worry mama x

  • Reply Lindsay At Newcastle Family Life 23/02/2016 at 9:02 pm

    You really have not failed him at all, he is such a happy little man. Sophia turns three in May and she does not have any ‘best friends’ either, she goes to pre-school three afternoons a week since September and does not really play with the other children much. Don’t worry honestly as once he starts school he will make friends no problem, my eldest was with me until she started nursery school just after she turned three and quickly made a friend who is still one of her best friends now ten years later and I am friends with her mum which is nice xx

  • Reply Zoe L 23/02/2016 at 10:39 pm

    I worry about this all the time. We’ve just had J’s 4th birthday and he really wanted a party. With no money and no-one to invite I didn’t bother and he just had a cake, some balloons and family. I’ve no confidence to take him out to make friends and we don’t particularly have those we can invite to a party. I tried my best to interact at the school nursery but its so difficult

  • Reply Sarah 24/02/2016 at 9:09 am

    Oh Emma, I really wouldn’t worry, you haven’t failed him at all. Toby has been going to nursery since he was one and he still doesn’t have any friends! The only other children he ever mentions are my best friend’s twins who are three months younger than him, but even when we see them the boys don’t really play together or talk to each other. And making mum friends is hard too – I have a few other mums that I’ve met through antenatal classes with Toby, and then the pregnancy yoga class I went to with Gabe but they’re just people I meet for coffee, I wouldn’t really call them friends. And although some people are friends now with people from school (my brother has been best friends with the same boy since he was 5 and now they’re nearly 40) but I don’t keep in touch with any of my school, or even university friends. I’m sure Olly will make friends when he starts school, and until then he’s doing fine as he is x

  • Reply Lauren (@laurenbigeejit) 24/02/2016 at 8:23 pm

    Sweets I’m sorry it’s taken so long to reply to this. I hate to see you feeling like this :( Please don’t worry about Olly, you saw him interacting with Pheebs and how good he was with her. He will make friends at pre-school in no time! And hopefully you will find some friends through that too. I say this all the time but I really wish I lived closer to you! You know where I am any time you need a chat xxxxxxxx

  • Reply Lorraine 24/02/2016 at 11:00 pm

    Aww hate to think your worrying lovely. I’m sure he will attach himself to friends in his own time. My daughter even though only 19 months is VERY reluctant to play with other children at groups or anything and will even cry when confronted by the situation of other kids sometimes. It’s heartbreaking

  • Reply Azaria 25/02/2016 at 3:02 pm

    I wouldn’t worry too much about him having friends just now bum sure he will make plenty when he starts pre school.

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