For context I was emotionally neglected as a child, my mother battled with depression and as a result I was not socialized properly during my toddler and infant years.

During my teens years, I missed the golden period to make genuine friendships due to my mental health struggles, I lacked the social skills and the necessary support from my school. I wanted to commit suicide and dealt with self harm during secondary school. People at school thought I was attention seeking. My school counsellor was afraid of me because of my diagnosis and did not provide the necessary support and care I should have received. Due to my poor social skills and lack of exposure to socializing, I had no friends to rely and support on during my secondary school days.

I always find it hard to be happy in social situations, I do talk to people and join social events but they never really resulted in friendships but only acquaintances. I am better mentally now as compared to my secondary school days, the trauma of social rejection and emotional baggage I still carry with me. I think my social needs are not fully satisfied and I am going out of my comfort zone to meet new people. People are cordial with me but I get very upset when my efforts for friendship arent reciprocated equally.

I want to ask how can I deal with feeling sad and disappointment in social situations, its very discouraging to deal with setbacks like this. Sometimes I feel discouraged and unhappy to join social events or even mingle around with people because of the hurt I have been through. It feels like I am trapped in this cycle of feeling hurt, trying and being disappointed.


Hi @Mentalhealth60

Thank you for sharing with us your feelings, I’m truly sorry to hear about the challenges you’ve faced, and I want to encourage you that you’ve actually demonstrated incredible resilience in overcoming those obstacles. Dealing with feelings of sadness and disappointment in social situations can be very hard, but there are strategies that might help you work through these emotions:

  1. Practice Self-Compassion: Remind yourself that healing from past experiences takes time, and it’s okay to have moments of sadness or disappointment. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a friend going through a similar situation.

  2. Set Realistic Expectations: It’s important to have realistic expectations in social situations. Building meaningful connections takes time, and not every interaction will lead to deep friendships. Allow relationships to develop naturally without putting too much pressure on yourself or others.

  3. Focus on the Positive: Instead of dwelling on disappointments, try to shift your focus to the positive aspects of your social interactions. Acknowledge small victories, even if they’re just moments of connection or shared laughter. Celebrate the progress you make, no matter how small.

  4. Seek Support: Consider reaching out to a therapist or counselor who can provide support and guidance as you navigate these challenges. Having a safe space to discuss your feelings and experiences can be helpful in the healing process. You could try reaching out to the nearest Family Service Centre and speak to a mental health professional.

  5. Set Boundaries: It’s okay to set boundaries and take breaks from social situations when needed. Pay attention to your own emotional well-being and prioritize self-care. Taking time for yourself doesn’t mean giving up on socializing—it means ensuring you engage in a way that is healthy for you.

Remember that healing is a gradual process, and it’s okay to seek professional support along the way. You’ve shown tremendous strength in your journey so far, and I hope that as you continue to explore social connections, you’ll find the meaningful relationships you deserve.

Do keep in touch and let us know how you’re coping.

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Hi Cotton Soul,

Its been more than one month since this post. Just to update you. Thanks for your advice. I have not been able to afford for therapy yet because I am currently unemployed, just graduated from university and is a young job seeker with not much income yet.

During this period, I did attend social events and voluntered but did not manage to make any meaningful connections yet.


Hello @Mentalhealth60! :wave:

Thanks for sharing your story. There are some subsidized counselling available if you’re interested:

Also I wonder if you can reach out to your school counselling centre for support in the meantime. Once you find a job, hopefully there is an employee assistance program that you can seek support from too.

But beyond that, we’re here for you. I’m also very happy that you managed to attend some social events and do some volunteering. Do you think it helped in improving your social skills?

Hi Jaws,

Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, no once you are not a student the school does not provide counselling services anymore. I did find that there was some improvement in terms of my social skills but I still found it difficult to connect with others(still learning), due to long years of isolation in my teenage years.

I had some friends in my poly/uni days but after the class ended, the friendship ended as well(classified as friendship of convenience in this case), and they had other friends to hangout with so I was less of a priority to them.


I see, it’s a pity that the school doesn’t provide counselling services anymore even to recent graduates. When you mentioned friendship of convenience, the graph below came to mind:

I guess at some point we will drift apart from our friends and make new ones along the way. I find that transition periods in life (eg the one that you’re going through now) has the most opportunities to make new friends. Making new friends also means that you can now redefine how you want to be known in front of this group of people. In other words, you can put down your past baggage and start afresh.

What do you look for in new friendships?

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Those friends that I had in school were those that I hang around with lunch but werent close enough to provide emotional support for me. For new friendships, I hope I can gain a connection that can provide some form of emotional support and companionship. I heard from others that these type of friendships are usually formed in school and once you become a working adult its harder to make friends as working takes up a lot of your time in Singapore and people’s priorities shift in this life stage, they would be more focused on their career and romantic relationships(their significant other) rather than friendships.

I went to a talk a few weeks ago and they discussed about how people were happier in the 80s and 90s as life was more simple back then, people were more connected and the kampong spirit was there, the speaker went on to explain that currently we feel more unhappy in this era because we are more disconnected from one another.


That is very true. I think when you’re in school, there are less things that demand attention. As you grow, there are so many things that need your attention so making friends or maintaining friendships becomes less of a priority.

I think it’s not easy to find someone who can provide emotional support and companionship. Maybe you need to start looking for a partner instead of a friend haha

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Hey @Mentalhealth60 that’s rather mature of you it’s good to want work on yourself before starting a relationship :+1: What are your hobbies ? Maybe can start looking for social groups there ?

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I don’t have a lot of volunteering experience but my favorite memory of volunteering is with Willing Hearts. Have you heard of them?

You can also volunteer here by offering support to others on the forum (and make some virtual friends along the way) haha

Ooo those hobbies sound so cozy :blush: hmm yeah I think maybe volunteering may help you grow as a person too ! Personally for me volunteering has helped improve my mood and I’ve made a few friends along the way too :+1:

Have you thought about what kinda causes you wanna volunteer for ? @Mentalhealth60

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