I feel very lonely and left out by everyone, with the exceptions of my husband and my parents. When I was fifteen I made the mistake of gossiping about a friend. My childhood friends and neighbors began to pull away and have since not talked to me, except for saying hello and goodbye.

I began high school and found it difficult to strike up conversations. I always felt that others were talking about me and making fun of me…. I have a flaw that causes me to make inappropriate comments without realizing it….

I am a professional now, but in all my university years I couldn’t make many friends. I never fit into their conversations or their plans, and to this very day I have only one friend…. At times I feel marginalized by all those around me, and I don’t want my son to inherit this from me.

Dear Friend,

You are probably not going to like this answer. It may make you mad. So you have the choice of whether to accept what we are saying, or to disregard it completely and go on with life as before. You get to choose.

You have admitted that you are aware of what causes other people to ostracize you, but you don’t think that your actions justify their reactions. You gossiped back when you were fifteen because you felt insecure in some way and you wanted to make yourself look better than the other girl. By putting her down, you tried to lift yourself up. You also admit that you are prone to make inappropriate comments about others currently in your adult life. You say that you do it without meaning to, but that is just an unacceptable excuse for bad behavior. Of course you can stop, but your insecurities take over and you allow your tongue to just make things worse.

The solution for your problem is to stop thinking so much about yourself and how everyone has treated you badly. You are so wrapped up in yourself that you interpret everything as being about you. It’s not! But you can’t do anything about the past and the friends that you have already run off. The only thing you can change is the future.

When you are in a conversation, or you want to join a conversation, ask non-judgmental questions and memorize the answers. Act like other people matter to you, and show interest in their lives. Remind yourself to not talk about yourself at all, but rather about what interests them.

Find a way to do volunteer work for people less fortunate than yourself. Think about those people’s lives, and how you can make a positive difference for them. Your son will learn caring and positive communication skills as he observes your care for others.

Scripture tells us, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.”(1) If you will ask God, He can help you give up the grudges that you still hold against past and current acquaintances. Then practice loving everyone else, and you can become the kind of person who makes friends more easily.

We wish you well,

1 Lev 19:18