• Few or No Friends

Don’t want friends…I want to be alone

Published: August 3, 2013 | Last Updated: April 2, 2016 By | 10 Replies Continue Reading
Please help me, I am so lost. I am in my 20’s and don’t want friends. I enjoy being alone.

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

Please help me, I am so lost. I am in my 20’s and don’t want friends. I enjoy being alone. I have no problem going to the mall, shopping, or even movies alone. I have a small family but grew up with lots of extended family. As far back as I can remember, we had family gatherings and reunions very often. Sometimes there were over 30 people in my house.

Overall, everyone I know and got feedback from says I am very sweet, the first to jump to help and a delight to be around. These days it is still true but something happened to me that my family just does not understand. I can’t stand being with others. I take no part in gatherings and HATE going out with friends. I have only one long-time friend and one that is on and off: (I never want a boyfriend, children or anyone.)

Why is this happening to me? Yes I do have very bad anxiety recently and it plays a big reason in me avoiding people but if I have to, I will go to the party let’s say for my dear elderly Auntie. But generally, I avoid every social gathering and my family just does not understand. I get so stressed over these social situations and get very bad headaches, high blood pressure and my heart races. So instead I cancel on everyone so I can live it peace.

Please let me know if I am normal??? My confidence is so low since everyone says I am a weirdo and freak since I hate people. But to tell you, I finished college! Have a great job and can take care of myself. I just want to be alone.

Signed, Renee

ANSWER

Hi Renee,

There is a difference between wanting to be alone, and being so overwhelmed by social anxiety that you aren’t able to be with friends or groups of people. You are saying you don’t want friends but I suspect your anxiety is making uncomfortable for you to enjoy friends, family gatherings, or think about boyfriends or marriage.

You have a number of strengths: You are educated, gainfully employed in a job you enjoy, capable and independent, and a nice person (which counts for something too!). But in addition to alienating you from people who care about you, your anxiety has undermined your self-confidence.

Clearly, people differ in terms of their needs to connect with others (family and/or friends) but getting headaches, a racing heart and high blood pressure in social situations is not normal. I would strongly suggest that you speak to a mental health professional to determine whether you might have an anxiety disorder. If you do, this is a highly treatable condition either with psychotherapy, medication or some combination of the two.

Social anxiety is the most common type of anxiety disorder and the third most common mental disorder in the U.S. (after depression and alcohol dependence). Once diagnosed, it can often be treated fairly rapidly.

Once you have your anxiety under control, you will feel much better about yourself and your life will be much richer because you will be able to choose whether and when you want to be with other people instead of having no choice in the matter.

Hope this helps!

Best, Irene


Some prior posts on The Friendship Blog that discuss shyness, social anxiety and friendship:

Information from the National Institute of Mental Health on Social Anxiety (also called social phobia)

Tags: ,

Category: HAVING NO FRIENDS

Comments (10)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Luke Madigan says:

    I don’t want very many friends, but I want a few if they’re similar to me in any way; not personality-wise, but interest-wise. Unfortunately, most people aren’t worth being friends with for a variety of reasons: they’re either boring, rude, or who knows what else. I’m surprised people like that make it that far in life.

  2. someone. says:

    Renee,

    You are not alone with your problem. There are many people around, who suffer with similar anxieties.
    I am probably one of them. Just like yourself I come from the small family, who used to maintain really strong bonds with each other. In the past, we had nearly weekly visits of cousins, aunties and friends. I was never alone, but somehow I never really felt a need to be around people, as a child I used to get involved in my own play and I never really bothered with other children (when I was asked to join the plays with others, I wasn’t showing reluctance to do so, however it was not something I desperately needed or volunteered for).

    As years gone on, I was building my friendships with one or two people, but they were mainly based on some kind of purpose (i.e. university projects, exams revision, interest clubs etc) rather than aspects of socialization (going to pubs, discos, shopping together, going out to cinema, restaurant etc).

    I’m 30 years old, I live with my partner at the moment and we found that both of us actually don’t like “mixing” with other people. We enjoy each other company and don’t like the hassle of going out – however it is important to note that there are different reasons for this:

    My partner just likes to spend time at home, it is a comfortable environment for him, somewhere where he can relax after a hard week at work. He does not like to go out because it somehow “restrains/limits his convenience”.

    For me – home is a comfort zone, my little space where I can escape from everyone.I fear of meeting my friends/work colleagues because I often feel awkward, even if I know people I engage with. It might be a fear of not being able to find myself in the specific social situation; fear of not being able to interact freely; fear of being put “on the spot”, not being able to “give a smart/funny answer” or in general fear of rejection/lack of acceptance.
    I know it might sound like a paradox – in practice if someone is your friend he/she usually invites you to the pub because they like to be around you OR they would like you to be around them – maybe that second aspect is causing more of a problem, because on some occasions we might feel like an “addition” and have a feeling that the friendships are not fully genuine.

  3. grace says:

    Absolutely agree
    Dont waste time with fake friends
    They are toxic!

  4. Helena says:

    Also, when you are with fake friends…they will be with you seeming unhappy (like “I have nowhere better to be right now”) and will even JUDGE you as a LOSER/REJECT with snide little passive-aggressive comments!! I mean…even though they are with you and have the power to make you feel good as a real friend would!!! It’s ok to be alone over hanging out with these wolves in sheep’s clothing…realize this!

  5. Helena says:

    I know how you feel. I prefer to be alone than to have what I consider to be fake friends. I have also had social anxiety for much of my life. I think that’s how I ended up with fake friends to begin with. I just settled on whatever to be able to tell myself I have “friends”. I live in a very densely populated area where it feels like at every job or apartment I move to…people around me want the world to know how ‘popular’ they are. I would love to have a few ‘real, deep’ friends to accept and care about me, but that’s too hard for me to find…so I want to be alone over being abused/around people who don’t appeal to me. I feel for you. I am getting over my fear/worry about being called a “loser” possibly. I mean, once you realize that judgment comes from the fear that others have of being alone–it helps. I just wish I lived in the country but not too far from an interesting city–something like that.

  6. Jenny says:

    I am 30 years older than you and I suffer from depression & anxiety & I know what it is like to want to be alone, I was like that ten years ago when first diagnosed and because of that I have lost contact with friends by pushing them away & now I really wish I still had their friendships. Please see a doctor to talk about how you are feeling, I just wished I had when I first felt that way maybe I wouldn’t be like I am now. It is harder to make friends when you are older than when you are in your twenties, but just make sure the friends you do make are worthwhile, you can be in a roomful of people and still feel alone if there isn’t at least one person there who truly gets you. As for your family and being around them in social situations, I have been though that too and lucky for me, mine didn’t give up on me and I have become better to be around them. Give them a chance to understand how you feel.

  7. Kristen A. says:

    There’s nothing wrong with enjoying going out alone. I frequently have to remind myself that if I want to see a friend a couple of times a month, I probably ought to invite people along to things, because my first instinct when I want to go to a movie is just to go to the movie alone. I do agree that never wanting to be with people at all sounds like an anxiety problem that you should seek treatment for… but I’d like to check on the definition of being with “people.”

    Being in the middle of frequent gatherings of thirty plus people sounds stressful to me. When you say you don’t want to be with people, do you mean that you don’t want to be in that situation, or that you’re at a stage in your life where a lot of people’s definition of going out is going clubbing or to loud bars and you don’t like that, or that you’re even uncomfortable with the idea of going out with one or two close friends? If the last one sounds ok, it sounds like you’re a lot closer to ok to me. Having anxiety attacks is still a problem, you do need to seek help to stop that, but you don’t need to force yourself to be part of a big boisterous group. Read “Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking” by Susan Cain, learn how to connect with people in more (platonically) intimate settings and that it’s ok to prefer that to large gatherings, and figure out what you need to do not to suffer anxiety when you do need to attend larger gatherings for occasions that call for that.

  8. No Friends At All says:

    Perhaps I have to admit that there are lots of people like you and me in this world. But it so happens that no one likes me for no reason. And one thing I have learnt from my past friendship’s are

    Guys who dont have real guy friends. Below are the prime reasons.

    1. People want you to be an dumb ass idiot to have you as a friend.
    2. People want you to be a loser to have you as a friend.

    Guys who dont have real girl friends. Below are the prime reasons.

    1. You are not attractive and handsome.
    2. People want you to be an dumb ass idiot to have you as a friend.
    3. No one understands your real character and they are so attracted to people who look better than you and financially better than you.

  9. Amy says:

    Being comfortable with yourself and having the ability to enjoy activities alone is something many people in their twenties envy and strive for. Independence is healthy and an asset. I believe that self esteem comes from within, and that external validation only adds to what you already possess within you.
    But you’re questioning yourself and you don’t seem happy or comfortable around others right now. That’s one of the hallmark signs of depression, which often goes together with anxiety.
    If you’re avoiding people, you aren’t really living in peace, because peace is being able to make the choice without being held back by mental health issues.
    If you were truly confident and happy, the opinions of others wouldn’t hold you back or drag you down.
    I agree with Irene about seeking therapy as a gift to yourself, to help you understand your motivations, and do that you are truly free to decide how you want to spend your time. You deserve to be in control, true control, over how you spend your time.
    If you want to become more comfortable being around people, and to meet like minded folks, you might try volunteering. Anything you do for/with little kids usually brings unconditional positive regard, whether that’s reading to kids at the library or an elementary school or helping out with a Girl Scout group. I was a Big Sister in my 20s. In my 30s I volunteered with children in a women’s shelter.
    Good luck.

Leave a Reply