Have No Friends? Here’s How to Thrive

Having no friends can leave you feeling lonely and ashamed.

In this article, we will discuss a topic that many people can relate to: “I have no friends.” It is a phrase that can evoke a range of emotions, from loneliness and sadness to frustration and even shame. If you have few or no friends, you may feel like you are the only one going through this experience. However, you are not alone.

Friendship is a fundamental part of human nature and something that most people crave. We all want to feel understood, supported, and connected to others. However, the nature of friendship can change as we grow older.

As we navigate the complexities of adult life, we may need more time and energy to devote to socialising. We may also experience life changes, such as moving to a new city or starting a new job, making it more challenging to maintain or make new friendships.

In this article, we will dig into why some people may find themselves without friends or feel that way. Further, we will explore how to establish meaningful connections and maintain friendships.

So, if you are someone who feels like you have no friends, keep reading. This article is here to remind you that you are not alone. Let’s dive in!

"I Have No Friends": What Does This Mean?

“I Feel Like I Have No Friends.”

It can be hard to carry on if you feel like you have no friends. Lack of friendships can lead to loneliness, social isolation, rejection, sadness, and loss. 

You can feel this way for several reasons, albeit all valid. Did you move to a new house and lose contact with your previous friends? Do you find it hard to make time to spend time with your friends? 

Regardless of the reason, we all have an innate need to belong to a group or community. 

Moreover, you may feel like you have no friends even if you find it hard to open up or communicate. If you have noticed this problem for a long time, it could indicate symptoms of social anxiety. 

You are not alone if you feel this way. Having no friends can take a toll on your emotional and mental health. 

However, if you actually prefer spending time alone (ie you are an introvert), then that can be a completely positive experience. 

Sometimes, introverts or people with fewer social needs may feel like having no friends is a ‘bad thing’. Having less or no friends is a bad experience only when it negatively affects you. 

If you spend a lot of time alone, you can focus on yourself and invest your time and energy in various aspects such as hobbies, work, family, pets, and more. 

If you want to make more friends, you can also reflect on what qualities you value in a friendship. Social media is a great place to get started! Try following people you like and reach out to them. 

When you have no friends, you may start thinking that people around you dislike you, even if that is untrue.

“I Have No Friends Because People Dislike Me.”

It is easy to assume we have no friends because people dislike us. Maybe you feel you have been too pessimistic, self-focused, or distant.

However, sometimes our assumptions can be off. For example, you may think that someone does not like you when they might just be preoccupied with work. Or you may feel like people find you annoying, even when that is not true. This negative self-talk can compel us to ignore the evidence that people appreciate us, thinking they are just being polite.

Instead of immediately believing your brain (which is often an unreliable narrator), it can help to look at the real-life “evidence”. For example, here are some questions that you can ask yourself and try to recall if and when they happened:

  • Have people expressed (whether through action or words) that they appreciate me? 
  • Have people invited me to their party? 
  • Have people said they were excited to see me? 
  • Did someone give me a compliment that made me feel good? 

By focusing on these examples, we can see that we might be more likeable than we think.

"I Have No Friends": What You Can Do

Tips to Make New Friends

Many people struggle to make friends and form meaningful connections, but the good news is that you can take steps to change that. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Engage in small talk

Some people may enjoy small tak, while others may find it boring. Sometimes, small talk may seem completely pointless, but learning the right way to break the ice could be really important in making new friends!

You can prepare in advance and write down a few topics you can use during conversations. 

When you are talking to someone, try to use the below topics as conversation starters:

Actively search to make connections

If you do not have any friends, you can actively look out to make new friends. You can do this through social events, online communities, workshops, universities, workspaces, and so on. 

For example, try not to skip any work meetings or online events. During these moments, you can use the first tip and make small talk. Your chances of making friends will increase when you use all the tips simultaneously and whenever possible!

Below are some places you can visit to make more friends:

  • Cafes
  • Book clubs
  • Gym

Lastly, you can also use social media apps like Bumble BFF or Instagram to reach out to friends in your area. 

Tip: Making new friends on social media can be quite overwhelming. For example, online friends often tend to “ghost” or reply after a long time. Ghosting usually happens due to personal obligations, work, or simply because they might have forgotten to check your messages. In addition, developing close bonds with people on the internet can involve a lot of small talk, where our previous point becomes relevant. 

Join a social media group

Similar to visiting in-real life places such as cafes, you can make new friends even in the online space. 

Social media can be a positive influence on interactions and building communities. For example, if you are interested in reading books, you can look for accounts or forums with readers. 

Instagram has specific spaces for different types of interests. The book community on Instagram is known as bookstagram. Here, you can make friends with people who read all types of books.

Similarly, you can explore other social media apps to see which communities you can join! 

Take the initiative

Taking the initiative can be scary, but it’s worth the effort! 

In fact, taking initiative does not have to be something that you are uncomfortable with. Start slow and take small steps. Try to think about what you are okay with doing. 

For example, if you are extroverted and do not mind being social, you can reach out to a colleague or an acquaintance and ask for their phone number. You can also go a step ahead and let them know that you would love to be their friend and invite them for a future hangout. 

On the other hand, if you are an introvert or an ambivert, you can start slow. Firstly, try to initiate a simple conversation. As you start talking more and more, you can suggest sharing social media handles or meeting for a quick coffee break!

One size doesn't fit all when it comes to socialising.

Things to Practise on Your Own

According to research, our relationships are based on layers of closeness. The closeness layers are known as Bunbar’s Number. 

The first layer includes our five closest friends. From there, every layer is split into a group of 15, 50, and 150 friends. 

As your social circle increases, your levels of closeness decrease. Even extroverts (ie people who seek energy from others) can only maintain close friendships with around 5 people. 

It is quite hard to make friends as adults, especially because we may have several responsibilities like:

  • Working
  • Taking care of parents or older people
  • Paying taxes
  • Engaging in our hobbies

Hence, it is common to not have a lot of friends. 

However, it is completely valid if you feel like you have no friends and feel lonely due to the same. The below few sections provide some tips you can use to make and maintain friendships!

Overcome social awkwardness

Finding new friends can become difficult if you are socially awkward. Social awkwardness could be a symptom of social anxiety. 

However, not everyone who is socially awkward has a mental health disorder. 

For example, if a person has social awkwardness, they may struggle to communicate, talk openly, or share the same space with someone else. 

If you are socially awkward, you can overcome it and become more confident in your social skills. 

Below are some steps you can follow to improve your communication skills:

  • Write down three things that you are most scared about in social situations. For example, this could be something like fear of embarrassment, fear of talking, or physical touch. If you have a fear of talking, you can work on an action place and write down scripts or conversation starters that you can use. 
  • Try to interact with someone at least once every day. The more you familiarise yourself with social interactions, the easier it will be to overcome social awkwardness. 
  • You may or may not like small talk. However, small talk is the secret to developing long-lasting friendships. Try to think of topics well in advance. Prepare some basic conversation starters based on these topics. If you meet someone for the first time and want to be their friend, you can initiate a conversation based on the topics you prepared. 
  • Lastly, try to be yourself. Being authentic is important because you are enough just as you are, and your friends will appreciate you for the same!
If the thought "I have no friends." troubles you, consider working on your social skills.

Improve your social skills

Improving your social skills can be hugely beneficial if you have no friends and would like to make and maintain new relationships. 

Note: Do not be too hard on yourself when trying out these new skills. Learning something takes time, and giving yourself the time and space to learn and apply these social skills is important. 

Moreover, do note that social skills could include aspects that are more comfortable for people who are neurotypical. 

For neurodivergent people (ie ADHD, autism, OCD), trying to change body language or facial expressions can be quite hard and cause stress.

Hence, if you are neurodivergent or suspect you may be – try to have a conversation with people about your needs and your intentions. It is completely possible to make friends as a neurodivergent person! 

Below are some general tips you can follow to improve your social skills:

  • Try to initiate conversations by focusing the topic on the other person. Usually, people find it more comfortable to talk about themselves. Hence, you can ask questions about the other person’s likes or dislikes. 
  • After the initial few conversations, try to reach out more or schedule regular meet-ups. 
  • Remembering small things about a person can make them feel validated and loved. Hence, some way to do this is by remembering important dates – such as birthdays. Let your friends know once in a while about how much you appreciate their presence in your life. Pro tip: if you find something interesting (especially a product or a lace or an object) that reminds you of them, go ahead and send them a text – they will love it!
  • Lastly, and most importantly, remember that it takes two to make a friendship work. Have an open conversation with your friend about how you would like to prioritise your relationship!

Remember that building meaningful connections takes effort. Practising these habits can take time and making friends even more – but try not to give up. Your platonic soulmate might just be around the corner! 

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