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Why would someone have no friends?

There are a host of reasons why some people have no friends…and it is more common than you might think.

QUESTION

Hi there,

I am so happy to have found your blog! I have a problem that has been ongoing for my entire life, pretty much. I have no friends. Well, let me restate that: I have no friends who keep in touch without me doing all the effort and even then it is spotty! I am 35 years old.

A little history, in case it is applicable to my current problem: in middle school, I had a very close best friend but she dumped me, which was really tough. Then, in high school and into college I had some best friends that I ended up dumping abruptly over the littlest thing, which I have since realized was due to trust issues that I have worked through now. So why can’t I keep friends?

I have a group of three friends whom I have known since I was about 21. They don’t call me or email me really, but if I email and rally everyone for a get together we have fun… but then nothing. And I hear from them that they have gotten together in the meantime. I don’t get it- what is wrong with me?

Around the neighborhood I chat, make meals for the new moms, etc. but then nothing. And the other moms get together without me. I have female cousins who are really great, we have fun when we are together—but they never call or ask me to get together. It always has to be me.

The fact that this is a pattern in all my female friendships troubles me and makes me think that I am doing something wrong, but I don’t know what. I am a caring person and go out of my way to ask people about their lives when I am having conversations. My therapist has said that there is nothing wrong with having to be the one to always initiate a get together, but then I see my others who have a group of close friends who get together and really support each other, and I wonder, why not me?

I am an only child and sometimes just feel very alone. Other times I feel okay with having no friends. But all in all, I wish it were different. Do you have any advice for me?

Signed,
Amanda

ANSWER

Hi Amanda,

Ouch! It sounds like you feel like you’re a pariah. It’s impossible to guess why your friendships don’t “stick” and there’s no uptake by others but the problem seems to be a pattern rather than a one-time occurrence—and something you want to change.

Can you self-identify your specific problem (s)? Here are some of the possibilities why people don’t have close reciprocal relationships with friends. I’m sure other readers will add to the list.

Temperament – Are you shy and uncomfortable around people? This can make people around you feel uncomfortable too.

Insecurity - Do you feel like you can’t measure up to the people you want as friends? Are you able to trust other people? These may be barriers that create distance between you and your friends.

Preference – Are you introverted? When push comes to shove, do you actually prefer being alone rather than spending time with friends? Do you think people know this when they’re around you? Or, are you extraordinarily social—so preoccupied with making lots of acquaintances that you lose out on making close friendships?

Psychological Issues – Do you have a history of difficulty establishing intimate relationships with others? Are you uncomfortable with people knowing the real you?

Lack of Experience – Regardless of age, some people lack the skills needed to make and maintain friendships. Do you think you have what it takes to be a good friend?

Situational Obstacles – Do you live in a geographical area where it is particularly difficult to connect with people? This might include living someplace rural where there are few people or because of a history of frequent moves, being someplace where you feel like an outsider.

Disabilities – Do you have a mental or physical disability? Unfortunately, because of stigma, people shun individuals with mental or physical disabilities. In addition, being homebound can limit the opportunity to make friends.

Personality – Is there something about you that others find grating? Are you too needy? Too pushy? Too talkative? Too controlling? Are you fiercely independent—wanting to call all the shots regarding what, when and where? Sometimes, there is something off-putting about a person’s behavior and the individual lacks awareness of the problem.

Communication Style - Do you respond to your friend’s overtures as well as initiate contact? Are you available on line or by phone, depending on your friend’s preferred mode of communication.

Time Management Problems – Do you have a hard time juggling all the responsibilities and demands placed on you? Do you consider making time for friends selfish or frivolous?

Unrealistic expectations – Have you led your friends to believe that you will always do the organizing? Do you have an unrealistic, romanticized notion of friendship? Do you expect all friendships to be perfect and last forever?

Talking to an objective third party is a good way to gain insight into something you can’t figure out about yourself. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a therapist; it could be your spouse, a sibling, or someone else you trust.

Since you are already in therapy, perhaps this list will provide a useful starting point to explore various possibilities with your therapist. I agree that something is amiss given the scenario you have described and your desire for more reciprocal friendships.

Hope this is helpful.

Warm regards,
Irene


Prior blog posts that touch upon having no friends:

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Category: HAVING NO FRIENDS

Comments (3,072)

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  1. johan says:

    ok , irene , i do know now identifying with others is a good way to get to know people , are there other ways to get to know people ?

  2. job says:

    if ive gone through multiple groups of friends, do you think its me at fault?
    i lost base with friends in HS after I moved and they are all still friends. I always had the same issue of not being invited out. dont know why.
    then my new group of friends, did the same thing and id never hear from them unless i made contact.
    third group, same deal. Now its just me and my gf and random people i call acquaintances, but again, no one ever reaches out.
    the main issue is i never ever hear from anyone unless I go way out of my way. the friends who ive known for the last 5 years, i just stopped messaging them in dec to see what would happen. Not a word from them.

    ive tried being the one to plan things and it doesnt work out, people always give half ass committments. so what am i doing wrong? is it me?

    • Terri says:

      I don’t know if it’s you or not, that’s only something you or those close to you can answer, but I do know I have a similar problem, but I’m sure that it IS me. I’m not willing to have relationships in which I have to put in all the work. And like you, that was what was happening. So, finally after years of putting myself through that….I’m down to about 2 or 3 friends and a wonderful boyfriend I’ve been with for 11 years and I’m happy with that. It’s all how you look at it. It’s better to have only a couple quality people that treat you the way you treat them than a bunch of people who take advantage of you and your efforts.

    • C.j says:

      This happens to a lot of people at some point in their life. They just lose friends from high school for one reason or another. But yeah I get why you’re frustrated about no one reaching out. I’ve often felt the same way. I think a lot of people just cant be bothered half the time. They just make up excuses or wont reply because they dont want to say “no” and make the person feel hurt. Maybe they are busy a lot, forget things or bad at being organized and keeping plans.

  3. Frans says:

    Hi Irene I have read some of the comments I sometimes feel like I am the only one of my kind.I use to be a introvert when I was younger but the job I do now as a Sales Representative I have over two hundred clients and I am now more of a extravert but still I have no real friends and because of a relationship I was married and very badly hurt by my ex I did everything in my mind that I believed a good husband would do for his wife the wedding of her dreams ect.Or so I thought of being the perfect husband now my hart has become very hard when it comes to relationships and trusting people I am trying my best to overcome this but alot of times I always end up alone and I meet women from time to time but I just feel like I will never meet the women of my dreams any advice please?

  4. Jen says:

    This isn’t a grammar post, is it? Christina, I’m sorry for your loss. I’ve lost many friends throughout my life. You will find someone new. It just takes time, and it gets more difficult as we get older because everyone is just too busy with their jobs and families.

  5. Dearsey says:

    I am having the same issue now. I find myself to be kindhearted and lovable though others don’t like it. I got accused of being close to others and those that was around don’t like it. I respect people and I am very thankful for those i do meet. If someone treat me loyal I treat them loyal. I know how to keep to myself but that would make others think I’m self centered and bitter. Its the little things that turn people off when you start to become being ok around. I dont like when people ask me questions start hugging me to let me know I do have people that loves me but when I start returning the love in a friendly and caring manner they get upset and want to start acusuing me of

  6. johan says:

    ha ! thats so nice trying to correct ur self , bet u really dont know why we do any of those , i found out months ago not even the most brillent teachers only know they use those forms of english is because thats the way our langauge has been through out 100 s of years . they have no clue other then that , i myself can read what ive wrote fine without any of of what is so called proper english . and im sure u can too . yes i need reading and other writing help . but uve only failed ur self by instead of making fun of others , u should help and teach them the knowledge u have .

  7. johan says:

    hi sharon ,sorry i havent wrote u , i was in school all last night , i hope ur daughter is doing better , i dont mind if u have to rush to write me bk , thats what friends are for , my teach had to go to the hospital so he wont be teaching for a while , their trying to move my classes but i cant seem to find any good teachers .miss u huggss

    • Grammar Totalitarian says:

      You used the wrong their/they’re.
      You need to capitalize your “I”s.
      You forgot to punctuate your sentences correctly.
      You have failed me, son.

      • johan says:

        i challenge u grammar to instead of making fun of others to teach people like me about grammer . because u have to be smart enough to see anyone willing to try never fails its those like u that wont help people like me that are the true failures .

        • Terri says:

          OK Johan, if you really mean what you say, I’m going to try to help you and Sharon and anyone else that has problems with writing.

          1. Capitalize the first word of every sentence, no matter what.
          2. If you’re not sure how to spell a word, google it first or use spell check, whatever is available to you.
          3. Think of writing the same as talking. You wouldn’t never pause between sentences when you are talking so you should pause between sentences when you’re writing too. A pause when you are writing is no more than a period. Look at my sentences. After ever sentence, there is a period and then the next sentence starts with a capital letter.

          That’s a start. You can learn about punctuation like commas, apostrophe’s, etc. another time. That’s a little more advanced and, in the long run, when writing on a blog, isn’t that important. It’s just hard to read sentences that never end that have no capital letters, etc.

          • Irene says:

            Thanks for these helpful comments, Terri. Written language is a form of communication and if someone really wants to be understood, it pays to put in the extra effort as you suggest.

          • johan says:

            hi terri , wow ! ur always so funny . but im glad at least ur willing to try to help others all u can ty for that . in some ways i dont really even see uses for caps . i can read any sentence without caps of any sort . i do some what understand the period parts and the question parts but i can understand those too without the period or the question mark . i know that caps and the other parts are part our langauge past down for 100S of years .but i also know not one person really knows why there really used they just do them . i think its pretty nice ur trying to show how to use them .

            • Terri says:

              Ha…I wasn’t trying to be funny. I was trying to help like you asked. So, even if you don’t see the use for proper english use, grammar, punctuation, etc., it is still how people communicate effectively. So, why not use caps? It’s pretty easy to do and since you obviously understand how to use periods, it wouldn’t be that hard to start the next sentence off with a capital letter, would it? Just sayin’.

              • Terri says:

                Also, it is difficult to read run-on sentences, that is sentences that should end, but don’t. It’s much easier to read sentences that are grammatically correct, use proper punctuation and have few, if any, spelling errors. Just my opinion. As far as why it’s the way it is?? Why ask why? Why is the sky blue? Why do we go to the bathroom in a toilet? Why do we ride horses when we have cars? I mean, I don’t see why those things need to be the way they are either, they just are. Some things just are.

                • johan says:

                  hi terri , no i mean ur were funny because i was really challenging grammar not u , but ill take what i can get and really i think ud be nicer about showing how to do proper english .and yes ive just started learning about run on sentences .

              • johan says:

                terri , ty for trying to teach me english , im tough student im not the type to follow the crowd just because thats the way it is , im the type that has to fully understand , and without a full understanding of english i,ll never truly know how its done , but i see ur point because even the best teachers dont understand english either they just do it

                • Terri says:

                  Well, I won’t keep trying to teach it if you don’t try to use what I am telling you. Still don’t see any caps, but a lot of commas. That’s good at least. Don’t forget the periods and the caps. :)

                  • johan says:

                    well , for a six grade education and still tring i think i do pretty well for not understanding caps or commas . slow down a bit im not even sure how to use my key board to do caps or apostrophes thats why i use comma,s instead .plus i know if im going to pass the ged later i need to learn all this stuff and understand it .

                  • johan says:

                    hi terri , last night i got on my computer and looked up were the caps are , and i noticed if u push the caps lock all that my key board types is caps , and just pushing the shift button the caps come on and off and i saw the apostrophe button too , i still havent figured out how to completely use them though , but at least i know were there at . i also dont know why the first word in a sentence is capped or why any word is capped .

                    • Irene says:

                      Please try to stick to the topic of this blog, asking for and giving friendship advice. I appreciate your openness to learning language and keyboarding skills but it diverts from the purpose of this blog. Please limit your posts to those that are on topic. Thanks, Irene

                  • Irene says:

                    Thanks for extending yourself, Terri, and trying to be so helpful and positive. Best, Irene

                    • johan says:

                      hi irene , wow long time no hear , well , i did ask for friendship help , but since i was,nt getting any help , i just thought i try asking for other help i need . at least i was getting some writing help . that was better than nothing . ok so lets get back to friendship help , i still need a lot of help there yet .

                    • Terri says:

                      No problem Irene, I try sometimes. Sometimes I get frustrated, but when I see someone trying to learn, I have to try to help. Johan, you need a computer class to teach you where all the keys are. And you seem to be doing ok taking with people on here. You’re doing well with Sharon and with me.

          • Julyrain says:

            After reading it, I feel I almost have all the problems listed there… What should I do?

    • sharon says:

      Hi Johan yea was wondering where you was but don’t worry I fully understand what you in school for at your age don’t worry we can all understand what you write I think you are doing really well anyway I have habit when emailing is pressing wrong key on keyboard ,but anyway don’t matter how are you anyway yea my daughter a little better now on the mend thanks for that I wrote to terri other day but never answered back must be busy others ive emailed they don’t email back either I don’t know they all want replys but don’t answer anyway going to ask you how do you put a bit about yourself on here with reply at the bottom of page like you do what you have to do let me know please oh you never said if you have nice views where you live either can you see the beach from where you are you very lucky I only see trees here anyway still freezing cold here still got snow to come do you ever have snow there then or not. when I send this now I have to press send 2 times before you get it well I bet you having a nice cuppa again and burger lucky you hay I got a cuppa to a coffee so going to enjoy that now well takecare catch you soon sharon

      • johan says:

        hi sharon , its nice to hear ur daughter is feeling better , i live in the country close to the strawberry farmers , but i do go fishing a lot , and to lakes as well as the ocean , mainly ive been going to school to learn to read and write when i was young i never got to learn to read or write but know im thinking i might get my ged too .i like it were i live its quit most of the time . we have trees, strawberrys ,and schools mostly around were i live . its been very nice here so i went fishing and caught 7 bass , ps ill always write when i can , just now school started back and im doing 6 classes a week to get caught up , and ty sharon i think im doing pretty good to for starting at a 2nd grade level . talk soon huggss

        • sharon says:

          Hi Johan lovley to hear from you Sharon here yea nice you live in the countryside where it is peacefull,And its really good that you have come this far with your reading and writing you have done really well I was just saying that’s all at your age I wouldn’t of bothered but if it is somethink you always wanted to do I understand that to you see as you never to late to learn either you have done really well I think and me well I do know how to do it all I had to in the jobs you worked years ago but these days don’t have the time to think of a question mark never mind full stop never mind you will get to know me but yes thankyou my daughyter alright now school Monday for her . oh about fishing years ago someone took me fishing I was watching and me friend starting talking to friends we new fishing I said can I have a go said yes so I was so chuffed I caught a fish but when I realed it in it was heavy rubbish in water the real got stuck I fell in never again all my friends laughted it was stuck to weeds in water so that was it never bothered with fishing again but yea summer holidays loved it that’s what we all liked doing thoughs days anyway how have you been today have you been anywhere nice oh don’t worry if you don’t write one night I understand you are studing in school don’t worry but anyway johan I mean it you should be proud of yourself getting this far I am for you anyway you go have a cuppa coffee and some supper I will catch you later takecare as always sharon

      • Terri says:

        Hey Sharon, I think it’s great that you are reaching out. Sorry I didn’t write back the other day. I go to school and work and have a vinyl record business, so I’m very busy. I put some hints above about how to construct a sentence correctly if you are interested. Maybe with you it’s just typing in a hurry, I don’t know. Johan said it would be nice if people like me would try to help others or teach them, so that’s what I did. Where do you live? I always have wanted to go to Europe, but haven’t yet. I’m from Los Angeles.

        • sharon says:

          Hi Terri nice of you to write back to me lovley to hear from you. Its a great idea what you have said about capital letters ect yes I do appricate it but yea I have always been able to do all that but these days with rushing a letter and busy as I am don’t have time for a full stop but thanks anyway yea, you live in los angelers long way from me I live in great Britain northwales but yes its nice that you are really helping johan I understand hes doing his best and you are as well but at that age I don’t think I would bother personally going back to school but its what he wants and hes doing really well I say good luck johan so terri how long you been in the vinyl record business then is that cds or records or what not sure anyway lovley to hear from you write soon sharon

          • johan says:

            hi sharon , wow ! i think its pretty nice seeing u and terri talking , terri always trys her best to help out others , personally i think terri,s a very nice person . yes im liking school and im meeting people even aroun my age at school , so thats a plus . sounds like to me u had fun fishing , and a little laughter is good for the soul , heck ill do stupid things sometimes to get a laugh or embarass myself , just for fun . im glad to hear your daughter is doing better , and ty for the support of my schooling .

            • SHARON says:

              HI JOHAN WELL I HOPE YOU ARE ALRIGHT YEA HAD A CHAT WITH TERRI YEA NICE TO TALK TO,MY WRITTING WENT SMALLER EARLIER DONT KNOW WHY SORT IT OUT TOMORROW SO AT MOMENT IN CAPS SHOULDNT BE LEAST YOU WILL UNDERSTAND IT,NICE YOU LIKING SCHOOL AND PEOPLE YOUR OWN AGE TO TALK TO THERE YEA NICE ONE,YEA ABOUT FISHING THAT WAS ALONG TIME AGO ID LEFT SCHOOL IN A JOB THEN BUT YES IT WAS A LAUGH BUT NOT WHEN I FELL IN THE WATER IT WASNT NEVER FORGET IT THOUGH,I LOVE SWIMMING THOUGH ALWAYS GOING TO BATHS LOVE IT ONLY IN SUMMER THOUGH, DO YOU LIKE SWIMMING I BET NICE BATHS THERE BY YOU WELL I CANT SLEEP TONIGHT DONT KNOW WHY AND GOT TO GET UP IN 4 HOURS TO DO CHILDRENS BREAKFAST , YOU KNOW YEARS AGO DID YOU OSED TO REMEMBER THE OLD CB RADIOS I USED TO BE ON THAT ALL OVER THE WORLD AND TALK TO LOADS OF PEOPLE THE PEOPLE YOU TALKED TO WAS AMAZING BRILLIANT ,TERRI IF YOU REMEMBER THEM LET US KNOW YEARS AGO THEY USED TO HAVE THEM ALL OVER THE WORLD I WILL BE SURPRIZED IF YOU OR TERRI NEVER HEARD OF ONE . GREAT THEY WAS.SO BEEN ANYWHERE NICE TODAY THEN WELL IM GETTING A CUPPA AND THEN GOING TO BYE BYES I WILL CATCH YOU TOMOWRROW ALL BEING WELL TAKECARE JOHAN FROM SHARON

              • johan says:

                hi sharon , nope i perfer showers not baths , but yes i love to swim , but there arnt many places to swim here .i also do a lot of other things with my life i bowl , fix cars , play card games and many just stay active . yes i remember cbs and ham radios . i had one to bk then , they were fun . bk to school for me today too , im going to have to look for another night teacher tonight , mine had an heart attack and is,nt coming back .have a great day see and hear from u soon .

          • Terri says:

            Hi Sharon. It really doesn’t take that much longer to put a period after a sentence than it does to leave it out and it makes it much easier to read what you are trying to say. I have to admit that it’s difficult for me sometimes to understand what you are saying because of the way you structure your sentences. Sometimes I don’t even want to read long posts that I see that are just one long, long run-on sentence. It’s hard. That’s why I’m trying to help. Because I would like to read what you are writing, but if it’s too difficult to do so, I won’t. I have been in the vinyl record business since 7/2013. My boyfriend and I used to have a regular store, but now we only sell on-line. We both have regular jobs as well, and I am going to school part time to get my Accounting degree. So, I am very busy. It’s never too late to go back to school. I would love to go to Great Britain. We will go on a tour, hopefully soon, to visit Rome, Paris and London….maybe 12 days or something like that. I can’t wait.

            • johan says:

              wow ! id like to learn how to talk with people like u two do . i think thats part of my problem talking with others i still dont completely know how to identify with people like u two do .

            • sharon says:

              Hi Terri yea I do know what you mean don’t worry I will take a leaf out of your book,I didn’t know how difficult it was for you to read anyway dontknow what I pressed on keyboard now writing gone smaller some reason,you have to just read this one as it is im afraid ,I know ITS GOOD YOU BEEN IN THE RECORD BUSSINESS SICE 2013 GREAT DO YOU SELL CDS AT ALL ,NICE YOU GOING ON A TOUR STILL LONG WAY FROM ME BUT THAT WOULD BE LOVLEY HAS HAVE NICE SCENERY AND VIEWS,WELL HOPE YOU ARE ALRIGHT DONT KNOW WHY MY WRITTING WENT SMALLER BUT I THINK YOU UNDERSTAND IT NOW ,GREAT YOU GETTING YOUR ACCOUNTING DEGREE NICE ONE .WELL CATCH YOU AGAIN SHARON

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