It can be hard to go to class every day with the innate feeling that you have no friends. Even with how much you’ve tried to move on from it, when you have no friends, life can feel very lonely and your day to day routine can be upsetting. Sometimes, just because you think “I feel like I have no friends” doesn’t mean you don’t, or there isn’t potential there to create relationships.
In the same vein, if you are a parent, no matter the age of your child, it can be disheartening to hear them say “I have no friends.” Whether it be that they feel that they have no friends in school, at work, or in their general everyday life, it can be sad to hear that they have a general loneliness when out in the social world.
In feeling like you have no friends, you actually are not alone. There have been plenty of studies asking people how they feel about the relationships in their lives.
- One study concluded about 1 in every 10 people felt they had no close friends
- 43% of people said they had no friends at school or work
- One in five people have said they have rarely or never felt loved
Those are pretty big numbers which proves that the feeling of having no friends or social life isn’t exactly as weird or out there as you may think. Socializing and making friends can be difficult, especially if you feel awkward in the situation, aren’t sure how to connect, or where to meet people.
Why Do I Have No Friends?
This is a question you may have asked yourself on more than one occasion. You may think yourself “I have no friends in high school” or “I have no friends in college” but you can’t seem to understand why that’s the case. There are quite a few things to look at.
- Are you actively trying to make friends? That’s important. Often we feel that friendships should be formed easily just by talking to someone, but that doesn’t work that way. You have to look at yourself and if you are being open and social.
- You may be trying to push friendships along a faster path than the other person feels comfortable with. Not everyone will be a best friend nor do you have to rush that kind of closeness.
- You may be spending too much time at home or alone when you could be putting yourself in positions where you can easily meet new people.
- Have you been depressed lately, outside even not having a social life? Sometimes depression can interfere. Constantly telling yourself “I don’t have any friends” only exacerbates the problem.
These are not the only factors, of course, but can play a huge role in feeling disconnected. The important thing is to know there are things to do to change this!
No matter what has been stopping you from making friends in the first place, there’s plenty to be done to help move forward with your life.
- Get involved with after class activities. Whether you are in high school or college, you’ll find that there are plenty of clubs and get-togethers in school that will help you meet like-minded people. Don’t be afraid to go; at least try one meeting before deciding it’s not for you. You might be surprised.
- Find a pen pal. There are plenty of easy ways to connect with a pen pal, especially with the beauty of the internet. Of course, let someone know, your parents, friends, whoever it may be, that you are doing this. It’s important to keep safe when connecting with people you don’t know.
- Go to a concert. You’d be surprised how many people go solo and if you can find and connect with those people, you already have something in common!
- Trade contact information with a classmate as a study buddy. You never know how a friendship may bloom and sometimes something as simple as helping each other out with notes or tests can turn into a good relationship.
- Keep yourself entertained in the meantime. Start a blog, make videos on YouTube, try a new hobby. Finding ways to be happy on your own is important in keeping that loneliness away. Plus, it gives you more to talk about when you do meet someone!
How to Help As Parents
Hearing your kids say “I literally have no friends” can be depressing to you in itself. Or maybe you feel like you don’t “believe” it. They have to have SOMEONE they talk to, right? But it’s not always true. No matter how much you think they are a good kid, or how social you may be as a person yourself, it does not mean your child makes friends easily.
- If your child is still fairly young, set up play dates. Find out who in the neighborhood has children your child’s age. Meet up with them at a local park and have your children meet. Give them ample play time.
- Encourage after school hang outs and activities. Ask them what their interests are, if anything is going on at school that sounds fun, and help them find out how they can get involved.
- Bring your child to events with other children. Sometimes the local library will hold fun, free events for kids. Or there might be a kid’s night at a museum. Explore what your local community has to offer, go with them, and be some support in an otherwise hard situation.
- Talk to your child about it. It’s possible some of their problems with making friends has to do with anxiety or social issues. It’s important to watch out for such behavior and feelings and see if it’s rooted deeper than just being shy.
When Having No Friends is a Psychological Problem
If there is something truly stopping you from making friends that feels less like just not connecting and more like a fear or struggling to do social things “correctly,” there might be something deeper in connection with the difficulty of meeting people.
Do you feel like there’s something you are doing that is off-putting to people? Or maybe your nerves are more than just shyness but truly stopping you from going places and talking to people? Social anxiety is one of the biggest mental illnesses that people suffer from and nothing to be ashamed of. It is also something that can, with time, be overcome.
Social anxiety is often diagnosed as having severe emotional distress when:
- Being introduced to new people
- Having to speak in front of a group
- Being watched while doing something (eating is a big one)
- Being center of attention
- Holding conversation, especially with strangers
Everyone goes through nervousness in many of this situations, but social anxiety is when things are more extreme. Fear that feels like it is paralyzing you, anxiety attacks or panic attacks when put in a situation above, many that manifest in physical ways (racing heart, chest pain, labored breathing, stomach aches).
If this sounds like something you, or your child, goes through, it may be time to take the steps to see a professional. Working through the anxiety and fear is possible with the use of therapy, breathing practices, and in more extreme cases, medication.
Treating the problem can be a complete turnaround for a person, allowing them to make the friends they felt they never had much easier than before. You’ll find yourself saying “I have no friends and no life” a lot less than you did before.
Some people are always more introverted than others and while you may never have as large a friend base as other people you know, having just a handful of close friends is what is most important. It’s not about the number of people you are friends with, it’s about the quality of the friendships. Remember this and don’t compare your social life to others. They may make friends easily but may be dealing with other struggles in their lives, just like you.
Being introverted is more than OK. You might be able to connect better with others like yourself, and have healthier relationships with people who also love their alone and downtime. You can easily respect that with each other. They might be walking around also thinking “I dont have any friends” but you could be the one who helps change that!