I Don’t Have Any Friends (19 Reasons Why and 10 Common Mistakes)
As social animals, we humans tend to understand the world through the social connections that we form, and the friends that we end up earning. In our initial developmental stages, our immediate understanding of the world makes or breaks our ability to make friends.
However, since it is not a stagnant parameter, whether or not we end up making a lot of friends through the various walks of life, is variable and it changes with time.
A lot of people are outspoken or extroverted in general and love to communicate. There are several people who have a general aura of positivity and attraction. Then there are some who hold the ability to transform every mediocre time into a good time, thus ensuring people like to stay in their company.
However, even if you possess all of these abilities, chances are that you might still not end up making a lot of friends as you navigate through your life- the reason for this being that your circumstances or experiences from these friends may not permit you to make friends.
The point that I’m trying to make is, if you feel like you don’t have any friends, it’s a pretty good possibility that that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. It’s simply how things are.
This also does not have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution such as making new friends in the absence of retaining older ones.
Some people may, unfortunately, go through experiences that may create more harm than good if they try to look for ‘rebound friends’.
The reasons for not having friends may be many. Since this is a generally disliked and uncomfortable topic as it reveals man’s deepest and darkest insecurities, a lot of people don’t talk about it.
In that case, if you’re reading this as someone who has ever felt a void on losing or just not having any friends, please know that it is completely acceptable and there are several ways to cope with it.
Keep reading on to know that you’re not alone in this!
Table of Contents
◉ Know these 19 Reasons and 10 common mistakes why you can tell- “I don’t have any friends” ◉
This is probably no surprise and you’ve doubted yourself too. If you have always found yourself shying away in front of others, not wanting to introduce yourself to a roomful of strangers, eating by yourself at lunch in school, staying at home holed up in evenings with a book or your favorite show, cancelling plans last minute, being told by your ‘friends’ that “you don’t meet us enough!”… then you might just be introverted.
If you’re still figuring out whether you’re introverted or not, chances are that you probably aren’t, because otherwise wouldn’t you have known by now?
But in any case, there are a lot of free and interesting tests available online that help you decide your extraversion levels based on certain situation choices that you’d prefer to make.
Bottom line of this point is, if you’re introverted, gelling with people and going that extra mile to make a friend, will be difficult and if easily avoidable, will be preferred!
It is sad how loosely people have started to throw the term ‘anxiety’ around, today. It is disrespectful of those who actually suffer from the mental ailment.
Lots of people do not show the potential to perform simple tasks through their day which require them to interact in social situations.
Because of how easily it comes to everyone else, a lot of these victims of social anxiety begin to sense that something is wrong with them, and eventually develop an anxiety around that very reason, too.
For someone already going through so much, this becomes a very unhealthy state of mind to be in.
To top that, their social skills are severely hampered and they greatly hesitate to console themselves and withdraw themselves from that state.
Social anxiety is a real problem, and many are affected by it. If it stands as an obstacle in forming valuable friendships, I just want you to remember that it’s okay. And it’s okay to seek help.
There are several online as well as offline resources available to cater to the needs of socially anxious individuals!
I can see how it’s easy to feel left out and alienated from this whole society of people that does not understand your struggles, but please don’t blame yourself for something you can’t control!
Remember: your mental illness is a part of you, but it does not define you. You’re stronger than you think you are!
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Not everyone who’s extroverted is a good communicator.
You may have no problem talking to people, but you also might not be able to convey exactly what you want to, or be able to strike a natural conversation that allows a give-and-take of intellectual thoughts.
If you are generally awkward as a converser, then you might not have any friends, or as many friends as you’d like.
And that’s okay, really!
Not driven by the ability to have friends, but you should consider working on your communication skills in general. They help you open up several avenues.
Since man needs to communicate to get even the most basic tasks in life done, it is crucial that you learn how to communicate.
You may not master those skills (which is perfectly okay!), but if you can learn to get by without being awkward every time you try to convey something, it should be okay!
Whenever another person approaches you with any information, you unconsciously give a lot of attention to their tone, manner, etiquette and ability to express.
That helps form your impression of them, which then decides whether you want to continue to establish a long-term friendship with them.
Therefore, basic communication skills go a long way in removing that unwanted awkwardness!
If you’re suffering from being differently-abled and experienced alienation, let me take the time to apologize to you on behalf of the entire human race that likes to point at things they don’t understand and term them as abnormal.
You are precious, you are heard, and you are a fighter.
You do you!
No two people are the same, and you’ve made it this far despite believing that you aren’t enough. But you are. It’s them who don’t see that.
The people who have been through numerous challenges are often the kindest, and I’m sure that once you do find a friend who’s deserving of your friendship, you will realize that you were wrong to ever blame your fate.
I cannot speak for you because I do not want to disregard your struggles. I can only say, I understand.
Please remember that those people who do not want to be friends with you just because you’re different than them, do not deserve to be friends with you anyway.
Would you really want to be friends with someone who has such a bad outlook on life? Why settle for less? Please never do. You’re worth all the happiness in the world.
If you’d like to get to know other people facing the same struggles, be sure to look up online and offline forums and communities. You might even make a friend through the process!
Isn’t it great to have empathetic friends who just instantly get you than to settle for those who don’t attempt to understand you?
The latter set of people have the habit of finding defects with you so they can cover up their ugly mindset.
Don’t let that happen.
Don’t give them that power over you.
You’re here for a reason!
5. Other commitments
If you’re at that stage in life, you might have noticed that transitory periods make you lose sight of social groups. When we’re babies, our families are our whole world.
When we just enter school, our impression of the world and interacting with other adults is shaped by our understanding of our mentors and teachers.
When we enter pre-teens and teens, we tend to spend more time with friends than family. And when the transition from school to college or college to work happens, we might find a partner or just commit to our work life, highly neglecting our social life and our friend groups.
What happens as a result is that we lose sight of what it usually meant to hang out with friends, and who we are when we interact within our social circles.
If your set of existing friends are also following that same journey in their respective lives, they might understand why it is more important to focus on building a career and less on ‘hanging out’ as frequently as you guys did before.
However, if they aren’t there yet or if their professional goals require them to be in a different state of mind or hold a different outlook on what it means to maintain and retain friendships, they may label you as a bad friend and just break up with you.
Whether or not these extra commitments that you then take on are highly productive and crucial for you is determined by you alone, and it’s a highly subjective strain of thought that can’t be addressed on a generalized scale.
However, if your ‘friends’ have a problem with you making other commitments, then it’s probably best to get rid of such friends who restrict you from your growth and demand so much of your time and energy in such a toxic manner!
6. Set patterns and notions
Because of the experiences that we go through and ultimately grow through in life, we might like to do things a certain way. For example, if you grew up witnessing examples of friends betraying one another too often to see a pattern and fear that it may happen with you too because of how normalized you considered the whole affair to be, you might not want to let someone into your life as a friend to the extent that people otherwise tend to!
This is completely not your fault, and it’s very sad to see just how often you’re made to believe that it is your fault.
A lot of people don’t realize that just as their subjective experiences with the idea of making friends has been good, yours could possible have been bad- bad enough to not want to make friends at all! It is very easy to criticize someone for not doing things, often being labeled as ‘extra’ and ‘drama queen’ and ‘unnecessarily dramatic’.
However, like I said, you do you!
People who make such snarky good-for-nothing remarks often don’t put themselves in your shoes before attempting to do so. That is not your fault, and you do not owe explanations to anyone. If your previous experiences forbid you from making friends or that becomes your general choice, then those who can’t respect that should kindly maintain their distance from you! 😉
7. Safeguarding your different interests
If in the past, you belonged to a company of friends who used to do a lot of activities, exhibited behavior or gave advice that radiated negative vibes, then it was probably easy for you to identify the whole affair as being toxic and unhealthy. On top of that, if this friend circle was never appreciative of your personal interests, or never wanted to do things that you did, labeled you as ‘lame’ or uncool, and basically bullied you, chances are that you broke off from these relationships in order to make more room for what you wanted to follow to enhance your personality and work on investing in your own self.
Here, it becomes crucial to meet your own expectations from your own self and it’s these little act of bravery that matter. However, if they help you become a better person and feel comfortable in your own skin, then they’re absolutely worth breaking it off!
If this has happened to you, and you’re reading this article right now, I can almost bet that you’re not reading this to find ways to ward off your loneliness. No, you’re probably just here to see if there’s anyone else who broke off relationships to go work on themselves and are doing good today! Trust me, there are many people like you out there.
When all the support that you need to thrive in life is your own, you just know that you have made the right decision to move away from negative cues and step into a space that can make you feel like your own best friend and have fun while doing so.
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8.Your priorities aren’t …always right
Coming to the more difficult reasons why you probably don’t have friends- and we say difficult because these reasons are difficult to accept-, your priorities may not always be right and if you’ve lost your friends during reprioritizing, maybe it’s time to do some introspection.
As we often enter into newer, different stages of life, meet new people, expand our social circle, make new friends, shift our focus every now and then, spend more time with other people, join other people in new projects, activities or get into a new relationship, we tend to change our behaviors in one way or another.
While this should not really matter, it can sometimes stand in the way of our existing friendships and relationships, leading them to a point where things maybe become uncomfortable and eventually, lonely.
In such a case, we many end up spending time with just one person, someone else, who perhaps does not fit into our usual circle. We many also feel that other do not need to know, and this causes us to partake in activities such as think differently, say ‘next time’ and avoid meeting them, call them less frequently, not answer their texts, and sadly, eventually not value them as much.
The reason I state this on our list is because you may have moved away without even realizing it, because life always happens in the background. There’s always someone else, there’s always a new job, there’s always the need to spend more time with some other people and make time for other things in life.
However, a deeper evaluation of that can help understand whether that is responsible for losing some close friends. This brings a lot of self awareness into your life, think twice, and you may also find ease when you decide to make new friends, whenever that be!
9. You gossip
They say that if you ever have to be the least aware of what you’re saying and how within any social circle, it’s your friends. You have a lot of fun, talk a lot, also probably indulge in wrong behavior just to make you feel something. A lot of us have made that mistake in social settings and friendships that weren’t really worth the trouble.
One of these acts or problematic behavior may have been gossiping. Whether or not your general predisposition makes you prone to participating in gossiping, the bottom line is that it’s very unhealthy behavior and can make the people involved more uncomfortable than you think.
It may just be a fault within your personality that you can’t help, you may not intentionally target someone, and you may also think that it doesn’t really matter that much. All of this is okay. It is understandable.
As humans, we all make mistakes. But if you feel like your friends have generally grown distant from you in the past or that they tend to get personal when thinking about their friendship with you, then you might need to focus on how they feel and get to the bottom of why things happened the way they did, to make amends.
Spend some time thinking about your past relationship with a friend who you fear thinks of you as a gossipmonger (even if you didn’t intend to be one). Self awareness is key here, and you’ll see how soon you’ll be able to focus on the things that matter and feel free. Listen to them, take their advice, indulge in a productive conversation. Refer to an example, support how they felt (even if you didn’t mean to make them feel so), and keep this in mind for the next time!
It really is that simple.
10. You’re competitive
This is a no-brainer while also being a strict no-no when it comes to your social life with friends. A lot of people have subjectively different ideas about life, and let’s face it- you can’t really help it if you’re competitive. But it is very important to remember that in relationships and your friendships, when you’re talking with people within your circle, making statements for your own self when you’re alone, dropping cues of your competitiveness in conversation, exhibiting behavior that suggests you’re comparing states, judging someone because their personality is ‘weak’ or ‘frail’ …all these things portray you as a highly negative individual. You may not be aware of performing these activities, but these can seriously mess up your personal one-to-one relations with your friends and also hinder you from making friends, retaining close friends, or just spending time with them qualitatively.
Your friends may not entirely focus on bringing this to your attention, but you may end up feeling lonely after that alienate you or begin to exclude you from their circle.
They may go seek new people to be friends with instead and extend their social circle without you!
11.You have unrealistic expectations
You may have a set notion of what you want your friendships to look like, how you want one person to interact with another in a friendship, or simply keep wanting for them to be the ‘ideal friend’.
As mentioned earlier, there is nothing wrong with holding subjective beliefs about the world and what you want your social life to look like. Everyone holds a set of personal ideas, which perhaps might not always align with those of your other friends.
When it comes to spending time together, meeting new people and making newer friends, giving away valuable advice, holding a conversation, investing in the relationship/ friendship, deciding how often to meet/call- are your expectations too unrealistic?
They may not want to join you as often on walks, may have close talks with many people at once, may not want to meet as often, answer their phones as frequently as you would want them to, spend so much time hanging out, or even share the same interests.
They may not even think of not spending time together as being alone.
They may have a different world view.
Does that make your expectations unrealistic?
And if so, would you want to be friends with someone who you thought had unrealistic expectations? Food for thought.
12. You bully your friends
This is a straight-up, big, fat NO. Even on the off-chance that you don’t realise you’re bullying, any and all sings that your friend is perhaps uncomfortable because of your actions, should be a strong hint for you to stop bullying them.
Unintentional bullying is caused when you’re going through loneliness or mental problems yourself, when you need a break from other things going on in your life, when you feel like it’ll be ‘fun’ to indulge in some ‘harmless’ ragging, and when you’re trying to simply make new friends.
However, there is a limit to which extent you can go to, before realising that you’re making a person feel like you’re the opposite of a friend, as if they’re lonely and can’t focus on how they really feel, can’t talk to someone or are shut up when they’re talking, like they hold no value in this relationship.
Loneliness is never a reason to bully anyone. NOTHING is ever an excuse for bullying. It’s a big no no.
13. You were bullied
That brings us to our next reason- you were bullied. If you were, I’d like to apologise on behalf of those who put you in that position. As established in the previous point, bullying is never okay and it is never the victim’s fault either.
It is alright to want to have a friend who knows how to meet your basic expectations of decency while knowing how to value a relationship and not act in any way that will break the friendship. If they can think and feel like it is their personal as well as social responsibility to make you feel included, then they’re worth your time. If you’re being bullied, walk away!
Having said that, it is also important to acknowledge that it is lonely for someone who has been a victim of bullying and a real conversation needs to take place in order to make them feel better.
Although this is just a start, it’s a good one, and the right focus on this will make all the difference. People who have been bullied need to feel like they can talk to someone without fear and perhaps just call someone who values them enough and will appreciate them talking about what happened in order to help them vent it out.
If you have been bullied and you think you know someone who can understand your self and not focus on things that don’t matter, and someone who won’t judge your personal attributes for what happened to you, then these are friendships you should maintain, definitely!
However, if you’re finding it difficult to maintain friendships because of this, we hear you. And remember that it is okay to feel this way.
You are not alone. Spend all the time with your own self because you are and will be your closest friend.
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14. Age gaps among new friends
Is it possible that the friend groups that you currently are a part of, hold significant differences from you in the way that they feel, think, ask for advice, suggest you meet at slightly noisier places, stay up late, value the wrong things in a friendship, judge a person on different parameters, make friends in a manner that is different from your own, talk in a different lingo, give less importance to things that you hold in great regard- such as their job- and call each other by weird-sounding nicknames?
And is it also possible that alongside all these possibilities, they are not the same age as you?
Age gaps are rare but they are perfectly valid reasons for feeling like your friends do not really think as you, often creating a scenario where they don’t meet your expectations of who a friend is like.
They may make you feel like a misfit, and you may fear or even consider drastic steps such as breaking up from the squad, for example.
However, the only up-side to this is that if you know, you just know. And it’s better knowing why you’re not succeeding with making friends than being left to wonder, isn’t it?
15. You lack diplomacy
Although there are no set prerequisites to a set of qualities that you must possess in order to be a decent friend, if you’re someone who acts gullible and lets people take advantage of yourself, without really understanding social tactics or group politics, you may lack diplomacy and end up losing friends. I know what you’re thinking- it’s not your fault that some people are immoral! It’s true, it is clearly not your fault.
But getting real here- this is the way the world works. Not everyone you cross paths with, will think of being a good human being or friend towards you at the expense of their own comfort, and will probably use you for their own benefit.
In such a case, it is crucial to learn how to be diplomatic and avoid being an open book in order to safeguard your own self and think in a way that will benefit you. You may need to get a bit selfish here, and frankly, it’s better to be alone than to be with ‘friends’ who spend so much of their energy scheming and plotting.
But in case you’re wondering if that can be a reason why- yes, it totally can be!
16. Your group has broken apart
A lot of the times, especially in institutions (study/work) where groups are formed easily, we need not worry about going to those individual people to maintain personal relationships because our social equations with them as members of the same squad work for us.
It is when the squad breaks up or naturally drifts apart that we realise that we’re unable to maintain personal one-on-one relations. Since we never looked at certain individuals as our close friends, we did not bother to maintain personal relations with them.
As a result of this, when the squad broke off, you probably did not spend enough effort in maintaining the friendship, which is understandably a big task! It is completely natural and it is one of those things that happens all the time. So you need not worry! 🙂
17. You have protective parents so making friends is a problem
Although this is not a problem with grown adults, you may sense that this problem is continued even after you’re a grown adult. Children who have protective parents endow a huge role to them to make decisions regarding their social life, what behaviors or groups they must not indulge in, which people they must stay away from, etc.
Although many of these parents’ intentions are arguably good, what this does is that it creates a need for validation within the child’s mind, even after the child grows into a fully-functioning adult. In the event that they may not be able to depend on their parents’ opinion on certain people within their life, they tend to simply avoid interacting altogether just on the off-chance that they could prove to not be good friends.
Protectiveness has its repercussions, which is a whole other topic in itself- but in case you feel like you’re losing friends, you might want to ask yourself this question!
18.You’re unaware of social cues
Remember that series of events where 3 of your friends yawned twice while you were speaking and you asked them if all of them slept late the earlier night? Or the time where your friend kept scooting over to the other side of the couch when there was so much space in between? Or when that one friend wore headphones while eating beside you?
All of these things must’ve definitely happened, and they could have also been missed social cues from your end. In all 3 situations,
- Your 3 friends must’ve been bored because you must’ve been talking for too long
- You friend must’ve wanted their personal space/ you could have just had bad breath that day
- You must be a loud chewer!
Social cues seem very rude once you understand them, but the whole reason why they exist is to hide the otherwise ugly, unattractive, hopelessly blatant truth, which seems far more rude.
There are certain things that you can’t just talk and convey because that comes at the cost of your friendship.
So, the next time, you find yourself questioning this, be sure to note social cues!
19. You tend to assume things
Understanding things without requiring an explanation is definitely a good thing, but make it a habit and it could lead to assumptions.
What’s more is that if you’re not too keen on communicating what you end up assuming, it could lead to grave misunderstandings and severely damage the friendship in question.
If you observe a pattern before realizing that you’ve lost friends, which includes not wanting to talk about what’s bothering you, being left to feel like you’re all alone, thinking your friend prefers someone else over you, thinking they are different to other people …then these are all signs of clear assumptions that can lead you down a very unhealthy road!
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❂ 10 common mistakes why some find it hard to make friends ❂
1. Psychological trauma
2. Toxic traits
3. Superiority complex
4. Wrong company
5. Insecurity or jealousy
6. Neglecting friends
7. Worrying about Social Status
8. Lack of effort from your end
9. You’re a complainer
10. Weak Foundation of Friendship
⦿ What is friendship ⦿
‘The state of being friends’ is probably a very natural act, that takes into account the mutual feelings that two individuals feel for another another. Ideally, any friendship is not driven by selfish motives or finding faults within a person.
Rather, it is the only relationship that you end up choosing for yourself.
It is bound to help you feel free to share or offload any stress that you have been experiencing and share the sorrow to feel better.
A good friendship also celebrates the happiness within one’s life, allowing you to form an unconditional relationship with a person whose thoughts match yours.
☢ Tips on how to make friends ☢
💡 Take every chance to see them. Whenever you can, step outside and be there for them.
Even if it’s just for something as casual as getting a drink together or as serious as joining them for a funeral from their house.
Every good friendship is made up of people who are there for each other. It is understandable that you may not be able to be there every single time. Which is why, every time that you can, try to be!
💡 Create a group!
With the kind of technology that exists today, it is very easy to stay in touch and end up making groups so that you can include as many people as possible.
Especially if you’re someone trying to get to know people better but don’t have the time or energy to invest into all of those people individually, it is best to form a group and be active! Aside from just friendship being the reason, if you can click on something else such as books, movies, politics, technology- the better it’ll be!
If a person has interests that align with you and they are placed alongside other people who will also feel free to make conversation about things or topics that they know about as well as like, it’ll maybe be easier to get along!
💡 And last but not the least, be approachable. This can be as easy as keeping a smile on your face and being open to anybody who approaches you.
Since we don’t always know where we shall end up making friends, they can exist in any corner. If these are people who just like what you do, and you end up meeting at an activity for say, a free webinar, you might still end up becoming the best of friends!
The idea is to know how to be neutral and yet helpful while also exploring a potential friendship with people you may not know very well at the moment.
📌 Is having a friend important? 📌
This is a very tricky question, because the answer to this will be highly subjective, depending on one’s experiences. If I’m a person who has had great experiences with having and maintaining friends, I might vouch for the importance of friendships more than someone who has had bad experiences in the past.
The bottom line to this question’s answer, is that while it’s not essential, it is enriching to have a friend. Please note the difference in the effort I make when I say, that you shouldn’t aspire to have a friend just because you’ll be considered ‘weird’ or ‘unnatural’ otherwise.
Everybody should be free to make their own choices based on what life has offered to them, without feeling compelled by any external factors.
Having said that, if you can find a friend who helps you feel at ease and establishes a genuine friendship with you, then it can become one of the most important relationships of your life!
☝️ Conclusions ☝️
There is no one person who has it together. We’re bringing this article to you, to help you understand that you are not alone. There are several people who are either just unlucky with friendships in life, or who make an active decision to limit the number of people they come in contact with, thus limiting their friendships.
In any case, this article aspires to help you to understand why you think you do not have friends, and what steps can be taken to figure out why that must be happening.
Aside from this, if you’re a person who is looking to make more friends and delve deeper into what you can do to mix with people who help you act like your true, free self, then you must definitely consider learning from this article.
You do you. That is all that matters.
✍️ Relevant Questions ✍️
Q: What do you do if you don’t have any friends?
A: If you’re looking for newer friends, then you could try to go over the reasons why you think you don’t have any, and identify the areas on which you need to work more.
Q: How can you tell a fake friend?
A: Any friend who does not celebrate your wins, thinks of you only when they need something, and anyone who does not make you feel free when you’re with them, is a fake friend!
Q: What percentage of adults have no friends?
A: 9% of baby boomers, 16% of GenX and 22% of millennials have no friends at all. In fact, 3 out of 5 people (Americans) fall into the same category.
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Author: Ruth Jesse
Ruth is a life coach who specialises in finance, relationships and career development. Outside work, she loves writing novels and guides for personal development.