Is it healthy to have no friends at all?
Having no friends at all can happen for many reasons. You might have just moved town, changed schools, or started a new life path, where your old friends didn’t fit in anymore (or you didn’t fit into their life anymore). Even the longest running friendships could suffer when one of the friends remains single, while all the others have kids. They cease to have things in common. Things change, and that’s a natural way of life. But does that mean that being left with no friends is okay and the way forward?
If you don’t have friends, meaning none at all, it could have a negative effect on your health, physically, mentally and spiritually. Your usual activities won’t feel the same, and you will eventually leave those activities, switching them to things you can do on your own. Initially, there is nothing wrong with that, but too much of it can lead to social isolation and depression.
When you have at least one reliable friend, you can tell them everything, including your fears and worries. You can call them up in the middle of the night to discuss your recent break up, or to talk about the weather, because you can’t sleep. They are the first ones you call when you win the lottery or get a love letter.
Friends are there during the worst and best times. But what happens when you don’t have any? Could family be enough to fill the gap the lack of friends leave? Well, yes, and no. Of course, you can talk to your family about certain issues, and you can even go out with them, just like you used to do so with your friends.
But it won’t feel the same. Your family might not have the same interests as you do, which will mean that you either end up doing things you don’t want, or you stay at home, being restricted to your own company. Having no friends means that you can’t talk to anyone about tricky topics, either. Loneliness will soon kick in, and although you might feel free like a bird at first, you will soon miss that kind of human interaction.
Having no friends might feel like you got your independence back at first, having nobody to rely on, but that’s exactly what will bring you down later. Having no friends isn’t healthy, because you won’t have that social bond you used to have before. You will eventually feel like there is nobody to talk to, and you will close in on the world.
And if you do that, it will eventually lead to many health and mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and isolation. Spending time on your own is healthy and needed, but spending too much time without having friends around has the opposite effect.
Changing yourself to have friends
Having said that, if the reason for not having friends is the fact that you haven’t found the ones that could accept your quirks, then does that mean you need to change, or does it mean that you need to look elsewhere?
Friendships are very similar to relationships in the way they make you feel like you are valued, respected and appreciated. When they are missing, your self-confidence quickly deflates, too. But when you consider changing just so you can fit into a group, it won’t feel the same.
If you change the way you are just to gain access to friends, that defeats the object. Having true friends mean that they accept you, no matter what. So, if the friends you want to make put restrictions on your potential friendship, or tell you that you need to be this way or that for them to accept you, you are better off without them.
You might want to join them, because you are afraid that you will end up being alone, with no friends at all. Nothing will change. But, in this case, having no friends for the time being is better than having fake ones. It might just be that you are looking to find friends in the wrong circles. Try to connecting with people who share the same interests.
Making friends for the sake of it
If you have no friends, and it worries you, you might end up making friends just for the sake of making friends. You know, just like when you are desperate for a relationship and you get together with the first person who smiles at you (we know, an extremely radical example, but bear with us please), you do the same with your friends. You find the first person that shows potential, and declare that you will be friends for life.
Lying to ourselves and ignoring the warning signs is always easier though than facing the truth. This kind of denial is unhealthy, too, the same way having fake friends or having no friends are. You end up living a life you don’t want, and realise a few months or years down the line that you can’t count on your friends.
You might even become pushy, forcing your company on them. You will think of them as your life belt when you are sinking, only for them to abandon you in your time of need. All in all, making friends with just about anyone, for the sake of not being alone isn’t a good way to go.
Recovering from a toxic friendship
Sometimes having no friends is a necessary step you need to take in order to get over a previous, toxic friendship. As strange as it sounds, your friends can be clingy, overbearing, ignorant, and everything in-between that you would hate in a partner. In a way, a friend is your partner, albeit your partner in crime.
For your future friendships to work, you need to give yourself some time and find your true self again. You need to grieve your lost friendship and go through the same stages you would go through after a break up. In this case, having no friends is okay, as long as you work on yourself in the process.
It’s also a perfect time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work, and start your new friendship with that knowledge in mind. You want to have friends, but you don’t want to end up with the wrong kind again, otherwise the whole thing is pointless. You need friends to survive and thrive, but only if they are good for you.
I feel like I don’t need friends
If you are an introvert, you might have already raised this question: why do I need friends, when I feel like I don’t? I like my own company, and I prefer to stay alone anyway, even when I have friends. So, why bother?
This might surprise you, but even introvert people aren’t 100% okay on their own all the time. They have a surge every now and then to go out, and because they genuinely hate crowds, it’s extremely hard for them to mingle. Having a friend or two might help.
Of course, in this case, we aren’t talking about hundreds of friends. Sometimes one true friend we can keep for life is all we need. But even introverts need at least one true friend. Think about it. Friendship can be anything you want it to be. It doesn’t have to mean going to the club to get drunk every Friday, or being each other’s wingmen.
Friendships can be (and should be) about the parties involved. And two introverts can make excellent friends. Even if you prefer your own company and a scary book in front of a cosy fireplace, it would be nice to have someone read the same book, which then you can discuss, right? Everyone needs friends. How big your friends’ circle is not as important as the fact that you have them.
True, you might not feel like having a friend, but what happens when you do and you don’t have anyone on your speed dial list? Think about this time as investment in your future. Besides, friendships work both ways. They are there for you, and you are there for them. Helping a friend in need gives you as much relief, joy and a sense of achievement as having your friend help you does.
Nobody gets me
If you feel like none of your friends get what you are about, that can be for many reasons. Are you expressing yourself clearly, or do you expect your friends to read your mind? Or are you with the right kind of friends? What does everyone benefit from the friendship?
Sometimes the issue lies within us, while other times it’s the choices we make, or the way we act. It could even be misunderstanding and miscommunication that stands in the way of your friendships. Either way, you need to ask the right questions and talk about the issue. It might even be that your friends don’t see it that way.
Remember, what’s good for one person, isn’t always good for another. If you feel like your friends don’t get you, they might feel like you don’t get them, either. But that’s not the end of the world. It could simply mean that you don’t talk about the important stuff enough.
The other thing you need to consider is what your friends are going through right this moment, and what you are going through. Could it be that they don’t understand you, because they have never gone through anything similar? In that case, explaining your situation in detail is key. Think about what would happen if the roles were reversed.
My friendships don’t stick, what now?
If you find yourself drifting from one group of friends to another, without ever developing true, lasting friendships, you need to ask yourself why that is. If this happens once, then that could be coincidence as well as anything else. But if you see a pattern, you might need to look deep within to find out what the reason behind it is.
Do you like being with your friends, or do you find yourself cancelling the last minute? Just like in relationships, when in a friendship, we sometimes with we were alone, and when we are alone, we wish we had friends. That’s a natural process. We always want what we can’t have, and we hardly ever appreciate what we have until it’s too late.
But what happens when you lose your friends in the process and end up being on your own, with no friends at all? Consider whether any of your previous friendships are worth saving. Was the issue with them, you or the circumstances?
Whether you should look for new friends depends on a few factors, too. You might find that you aren’t ready to commit to a friendship, and that’s why you can’t keep your friends. You might have some superficial ones, but they won’t be there for you every time you need them, just like you won’t be there for them, either.
Can having no friends be beneficial to me?
In the short term, yes, having no friends can be beneficial to you, because you have a clearer understanding of what’s not working for you, and next time you will be smarter about it. You may also use this downtime to look after yourself better, or find a new hobby.
But eventually, you will need to re-establish friendships. Being on your own for a little while is like a breath of fresh air, but in the long run, it’s harmful and depressing. You might enjoy your own company, and there is nothing wrong with that. But you can’t let opportunities pass you by. You know the old saying: don’t stop living while you are still alive.
Friendship helps to make you feel alive. Having no friends at all makes you question whether you are good enough to have anyone in your life at all. It has a negative effect on all of your relationships, and you might lose everyone and everything you hold dear. You see, having no friends might seem like a good idea, but if you aren’t careful enough, it can easily turn into something irreversible.
Be careful that you don’t lose yourself either way. Your friends are there to support you through everything, and that’s a gift you want to have. Even if they don’t last, while they do, they are the best medicine.