• Few or No Friends

When you have no other friends

Published: April 8, 2015 | By | 34 Replies Continue Reading
When someone has no other friends, she may put up with more than she should for fear of losing the friendship.


Hi Irene,

For the last couple of months my friend has been selfish, going on about her problems while telling me to “shake” my problems off. She has also been taking my insecurities and phobias as something she can joke about with other people.

After being completely fed up with this nonsense, I confronted her and told her how the things she was doing were not right. She took great offense to this and just stopped talking to me in general.

She completely victimized herself in our relationship and disregarded the impact it had on me. I don’t know what to do. I have no other friends.

Signed, Cece


Hi Cece,

When a person has no other friends, she can be very dependent on the one friend she has—and also somewhat undiscriminating.

You feel like your friend is self-centered, unwilling to be supportive to you, and jokes about your insecurities behind your back. If this is the case, it doesn’t sound like she is the type of friend you can trust or confide in.

It sounds like you have felt this for quite some time but were worried about saying something for fear of losing this friendship. When you did build up the courage to say something, your complaints fell on deaf ears because your friend doesn’t seem able to see things from your perspective.

You can try speaking to your friend again and see if her anger has simmered down but I would strongly suggest that you cultivate other friendships in the meantime. You want friendships that entail more give and take, not ones that feel one-sided and unsupportive.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Comments (34)

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  1. Dotti says:

    As a true believer I love all people. I am kind of friend who anybody can call on and I’ll be there and if I am able to help I will help. I may not have a lot of friends but the friends I do have are very special to me. I know I am special to them. Friendship works both ways not just one doing all the work.

  2. Carol says:

    I’ve been on the planet many years. If there is anything really valuable, maybe the most important discovery of all; be your own best friend. I’ve had many friends throughout my life, but knowing myself, not putting others in charge of my life or make them responsible for my everyday existence. I have done therapy when I was younger. I learned so much from her as she told me I had all I needed in order to decide what to do with my life and the person I could most depend on. It was me! I am the only one who can decide right from wrong,and who is encouragement in my life. Have I made mistakes in choosing friends, of course, we all do. I believe we do this when we don’t know ourselves or how to think independently of others. Just the other day I told someone,”I had choices in my life, so I take responsibility for the outcomes. Carol

  3. JanetR says:

    I live with my elderly parents in a large house. I am a lady of 50 years old and have very few friends. My parents are very selfish and toxic people as well as being very domineering and controlling. They basically just use me to pay rent to them and they treat me with no respect, most of the time. Every time I try to move out, my mother goes ballistic because she doesn’t want to be in an empty nest with my father, since she hates him. My parents have had a very bad marriage for 52 years and they made their kids suffer on account of it. My father is a gambler even though he worked full time for over 40 years when he was younger. I have always had to be the cash cow for my parents whereas my siblings took off and lived on their own and they never helped me get out with them. I feel trapped and I need friends. I have a lady friend who is very toxic. She’s got a bad, explosive character and I just want to stop talking to her. I am not surrounded by good people and I see psychologists often. I wish my life could improve. Thank you for listening. I am also a professional woman with several professions. I am highly educated and very cerebral. I like books about the liberal arts, science and philosophy and history. I worked in technology for a long time due to the type of education I pursued. I’m very smart about books but I always get oppressed by diabolical matriarchs. They’re horrible, especially my mother.

    • Pat says:

      I don’t know how you could get your parents to treat you respectfully after all this time of treating you so badly. I would definitely ditch the toxic friend, because it sounds as though you have enough toxicity in your life, even if I had precious few other friends.

      I suppose I’m not as good to my parents as you are to yours, because, like your siblings, I’d be getting out. Or I’d be demanding that they treat me better or I’d threaten to move out (and I’d follow through). I don’t wonder that you’re feeling trapped. You’ve only got one life to live. I wouldn’t waste it where it was unappreciated.

      Best of luck to you.

    • Sarah Anne says:

      JanetR- I would move out if I was you. Life is too short.

    • Yissel says:

      When I came to this country I lived with my father & stepmother, I though I would finally have a family, I was mistaken. I lived with them for 4 years, got depressed & even tried to commit suicide. Even after that my parents didn’t think there was anything wrong with the way they treated me, they just wanted the therapist to fix me. Eventually they even stop therapy. I should have left them as soon as I graduated high school but it took me a few more years to live them. What kind of person puts up with that? I was sick. Eventually their toxic ways rub on u. The best thing I did was moved out, and stared to really live life. Since my parents were bad I had to learn a lot of things on my own. Leave them & start living life! The world is waiting for u to occupy the place that belongs to you, a place full of joy, laugher and great memories. Many times during the holidays I feel sad since I wish I had a good, functional family, but we don’t. We don’t choose who our parents are, but we can make the choice to live life. You deserve to be happy. Look for family members in your family that are kind to you, look for guidance in people you admire. In many ways your parents are probably decreasing your chances to make friends, they probably scare them off. When u live u r going to wish you have done it sooner. Take a cue from your siblings, and try to stay in touch with them. To me RESPECT S D MOST IMPORTANT THING, then comes love. & I don’t take take disrespect from nobody, not even my parents. They r like kids right now in d sense that they know u wont leave them and manipulate the situation. “LEAVE THEM” , be firm, Iis ur life. stay friends wt ur horrible friend until u find real friends that treat u well. But don’t treat her like a friend, treat her like an acquaintance. Do not tell her anything too personal that she could use to hurt you. Only have her when u want to have a good time and if she tries to treat u bad, tell her that u have to go. She will start to get d idea. When u find good friends, drop her. It’s a process but it start with you. Make the choice.


    • Yissel says:

      Totally forgot, my reply is for Janet R.


  4. tonu says:

    hi I am a 41 year old male, and I have no friends and my family live far away. it has been like this for about 10 years I can go days and days without having to use my voice I obviously live on my own nobody has ever been to visit me my father and 2 sisters have also never been to visit me they don’t even know my address if there is something they need me to do they will just send me a text, I don’t drink and because I have no friends I have lost all confidence.
    I feel very unattractive and I’m preparing myself to spend the rest of my life on my own, I just wanted what everybody else wants to find somebody to love, friend someone to actually speak to. if I had to describe myself I would say I am very normal also I am a gentleman and I have good manners, but all of this doesn’t seem to help me one bit.. I do work but I actually work on my own.
    12 months ago I took an overdose what a member of the public found me and the police took me to hospital, my father and my sisters were both informed that i was in hospital but decided not to come to visit, never asked why I took an overdose and never tried to talk to me or offer me help.
    I haven’t tried to take an overdose since and I won’t because I feel like I know where my life is heading now and that is just a life on my own and I have just got to accept it.

    • Jeni says:

      Tonu don’t give up hope. You sound like a lovely man and the are women out there who would love to find someone like you. Have you thought about joining mixed groups were you might get to know women ? Like an art groups or a gy or.book reading groups ?! Some sort of relaxing group where you could chat to people ?
      Have you considered starting out by acquiring email pen pals to get you started with making friends. Please excuse me if my ideas might sound too simple I don’t mean to offend you in anyway. I’m merely brainstorming here! I would be a penpal email friend to you because you sound like a great guy.

    • Deena says:


      I am very sorry about your situation. You seem like a very nice person. The only advice I would give is to embrace your situation and to be more confident, because once you take the focus off the negative and put it towards the positive, things will start to work out for you. I don’t recommend dating sites but a friend of mine met a great guy and it may work for you. Also just try to get out more and enjoy yourself and you’ll be alright.

      Regarding your family, have you all ever had a close relationship.

      • jacqui says:

        Tony you sound like a very lovely man. Perhaps you could consider getting a job where you work with people instead of on your own.
        Or maybe join a club or do voluntary work. Volunteers are usually very friendly people. Volunteering also makes you feel good about yourself, that you are helping others.

    • Yissel says:

      Hey Tonu

      In order for things to get better you have to want that for yourself & get better. When the problem is the family people usually want to leave their families, but is backwards. If you had an overdose is because you are either using substances or you are depressed. Either way you need help. You must decide to fight for your life and get better for yourself. With family or no family by your side. I don’t know why a family will just give up on you, but DONT GIVE UP ON YOURSEF. When I was 16 I tried to commit suicide & was at the very bottom. I left my parents house & made d choice TO BE HAPPY. Happiness takes effort. Seek Professional help. (Get better by all means necessary) if u have to see a psychologist do it, if you have toread self help books do it, if u have get antidepressants do it. Or do all d above. Find your passion & pursuit it, go out by yourself to enjoy a movie, a good dinner at a restaurant, savor life, move out, do exercise, eat healthy, play sports (where u will make friends) & once you are confident in your progress find someone to love. Your family doesn’t talk to you? Who cares? Make a family of your own. We women fall in love with personalities not looks. But even that you can change by eating healthy and working out. Once you get better they might reach out to u, or not. But don’t depend on them to be happy. & if they come around you will have to determine if having them in your life is productive or not. They don’t sound like they r good to me, but I don’t know them you do. If they are toxic drop them. But don’t give up on yourself. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!!!


      • Natalie says:

        Great advice Yissel.

        Tonu– you must give up on your family but not on yourself.

        Some years ago when I was doing quite well, employed had my own apt, healthy and I would occasionally call and talk to my Mom (she rarely called me) she told me she thought I needed to check myself into a mental hospital. For no apparent reason. I said, why would I do that? She said, you obviously have mental problems. This was very strange. I was speaking to her about my plan to buy a car. My Mother said, I was speaking with your Dad about this recently and we agreed we would help you if you would just check yourself into a mental hospital.

        Background: My parents lived across the country and I had not seen them in almost 4 years. I hadn’t gotten into any trouble or had any problems.

        My Mother continued, “Your Father and I agreed we would help you in any way we could financial, come visit, move you home if you had broken your legs, so having a severe mental problem is no different and we will help you. But first you must check yourself in.”

        I thought this was very strange and soon got off the phone with my Mother and went back to life with my friends, my boyfriend, my FT job, my volunteer work, bought a car.. etc.

        Okay, now fast forward 5 years. I break my leg in a boating accident and my apartment is a third story walk up (no elevator), my car is a stick and requires two legs to drive, I live in a very hilly place and cannot get around with a broken leg. My doctor says I need surgery and it will be 12 weeks before I can put any weight on my leg. I recently had broken up with my boyfriend who was emotionally abusive (not intentionally, but same difference.. he is severely bipolar and refused to take meds) and did not want to ask him for help. My friends had recently married or had moved to larger cities. I had been working a contract job which recently ended and between jobs when I went on the boating trip.

        Now, I hadn’t spoken regularly to my Mother since she we had the conversation in which she urged me to check into a mental institution. I spoken to her on her birthday and at Christmas, and maybe Thanksgiving. I still sent cards and gifts but didn’t really see a reason to keep my parents in my life since they seemed to have a very skewed view of me, and refused to listen as well. But I needed help. My parents had gotten divorced in this time and my Mother lives alone in a large 3 story house. While it was positively insane of her to try to convince me to check myself into a mental institution for no apparent reason. I had nowhere to live for the next 3 months and oddly I remembered her comment about how my parents would of course help me any way they could if I had a broken leg.

        Unfortunately, now I did. I called and chatted with my Mother a while. Told her about my leg and my surgery the next day. I had planned to stay in a hotel for a week after and former co-workers would check on me. I said after that week I would be able to get around by wheel chair and coherent, but was not in a good situation (no elevator, hilly city) to take care of myself for the next few months. I asked if I could come visit and stay in the study on the ground floor, so I could wheel myself outside and even to the store. My Mother did not say a word.

        I finally asked her again. I know she can be a private person, but we never had any real words or problems. I am her only daughter. She lives alone in a three story 4 bedroom house. I said we could catch up and spend time together, or I could stay out-of-your-hair, but needed a place to stay for about 2 months.

        I planned to keep my apt and return once I could put weight on my leg. I guess i would need her to drive me to a doctor about once a week, to check on my progress. My Mother again was silent. Then she said in a quiet yet defiant voice, NO. I said, I can respect your decision, but you are my Mother and I don’t know what else to do, won’t you please help me? She said No.

        So my point is, I’m sorry Tonu. Sometimes Family is pathetic, and it hurts deep. But you have to go on. I didn’t have much money, and I had tons of medical bills. Had to pay my apt, which I couldn’t get into. Was basically homeless and felt like my Mother wished I wasn’t even alive.

        I went to surgery. I went to hotel for the week. Was in intense sheer pain, alone in a foreign place. It took me 45 minutes to get out of bed and wheel to the bathroom and back. Almost died in my sleep the first night, due to the meds being too strong. Ended up staying in a crappy cheap motel for months, laying on a crappy mattress with my foot in the air 22 hours a day. I watched a lot of movies. I found delivery services, wheeled to a nearby $1 store that had snack food. I managed to sublease my apt to a friend of a friend to cover the rent. I racked up credit card debt. It was a very lonely lonely time.

        But I’m proud to say made it. I healed up, took the bus (in the wheel chair) to my doc appts, wheeled up hills in the rain, had bedbug bites, ate left overs for breakfast. But I survived. And now I know who I can count on. Myself. And the kindness of a few distant friends was a very pleasant surprise.

        It’s hard to lose your parents, especially when they are still alive. But sometimes you have to, to go on with your own life. I wish you the Best! Try to get out a meet people, little by little you can make a life you like.

  5. Nancy says:

    I have NEVER been allowed to have friends. Lived with very alcoholic dad and dysfunctional mom until I was 27 and never allowed to have friends. Couldn’t even talk on a phone unless I wrote what I would say at age 27. Then sold to my husband and kept in a religious cult/commune for 30 yrs. At 69 I’ve tried to make friends and have NO idea how. Counselors just run the other way and won’t help me, been through 31 of them. Nobody wanted to be in my wedding the second time. At age 69 I wonder why I’m living!!!

    • Carol says:

      Nancy, First, I am sorry you have had to go through so much pain. I am rather stunned by your story. I would like to hear what Irene and/or Amy have to say about what kind of help to offer you if so many therapist have not been able to do so. I’ll wait to hear what they have to say to you. Take care, Carol

      • Irene says:


        It sounds like you have many physical problems as well as emotional struggles. If you are waiting for surgery, you need to focus on your health for now. Perhaps, you’ll be lucky enough to find a cancer support group to speak to and offer suggestions about local “helpers” in your community. Treating PTSD requires specialized expertise. Perhaps, a social worker at the hospital can help you identify someone trained and understanding to help you with your emotional issues.

        Hoping for a rapid recovery from your surgery! You sound like a very resilient person.

        Best, Irene

        • Nancy says:

          Somebody called the police on my birthday from Texas and said I was going to commit suicide and they locked me up for 12 hrs. in the hospital and did NOTHING. They didn’t talk to me, feed me, or anything and let me go with nothing. Like my entire life from HELL. NOTHING was the result.

          I have tried to get transportation to go out to places and they refuse because I fall easily due to post polio. The lady from Office of Aging was here last week and said the only thing I should do is move from Maryland. There is NO help here. We live in high crime area and no one will come here to help me.

          So my life in HELL without friends!!!

        • Nancy says:

          When the police locked me up for 12 hrs. on my birthday no one from the hospital talked to me at all. They give you absolutely NO help whatsoever. All they did when somebody finally came to the room was ask me if I was going o kill myself, and I said, “No, I just want to go home. It’s my birthday.” And he let me go home with not one word of help.

      • Nancy says:

        That’s what all the counselors say and refuse to see me. It doesn’t help me one bit.

      • Nancy says:

        It sounds like everyone—just because I have lots of health problems, am 69 and don’t have any friends just forget the OLD LADY. One day you will be old and in pain and wish somebody cared about you!!!!!

        • Pat P. says:

          I know that this is a late reply, but I was just browsing through this post and saw some of your comments that resound with me.

          I am, also, 69 (almost 70), with LOTS of disabling health problems; had a very brutal childhood (physical, mental, sexual abuse); have been suicidal (tried twice, thought about it continuously throughout my life); have PTSD/depression; have had about as many therapists as you–who give up on me/don’t help; have been very poorly treated by some of the medical profession (appalling disrespect and neglect)–partly because of being an OLD LADY, partly due to chronic pain issues and being poor; have no friends or family; have little money; have been told by Dept. of Aging and Social Services that “there is no help” for me in Maryland (The system IS bad); and am “old and in pain and wish somebody cared about you (me)”. My life has been HELL. “I wonder why I am living.”

          Of course, this is only a surface comparison, and there will be differences, but the many familiar expressed thoughts were enough for me to feel a strong empathy towards you.

          Writing this may not help much, except, maybe, to let you know that I do feel for you and understand your frustrations, as best as I can from the information you relayed.

          I wanted to know how your cancer surgery went, and how you are doing, in general. I, sincerely, hope that something has improved for you and wish that I could provide some words of wisdom and encouragement. I know how much life can suck and be overwhelmingly tough, especially with no one to support you through incredibly difficult times.

          I may not know you, but I am concerned and wish for you some luck and peace.

    • Nancy says:

      I have a LOT of health problems, PTSD caused by religious, physical, sexual and mental abuse; 2 heart valve operations, 2nd pacemaker, congestive heart failure, lung problems from post polio also slowly not being able to walk, diabetes, arthritis, bleeding ulcer, and now possibly cancer waiting for surgery!!!

  6. Lauren says:

    I also wanted to say that I have heard from others (family , friends, co-workers and others I have read about) that having The Talk with a friend about issues with the friendship can easily go wrong. It’s not always “by the book”.

    From my own experience and from others, sometimes the person will say:

    Ok , I’ll try to do better ( and not mean a word of it, as the behavior just continuous)
    OR They will get their backs up and angrily disagree and start to criticize you
    OR They will get angry, back off and end the friendship.

    I don’t really know what the answer is, but it could be better just to call them out on it RIGHT at the time that it happens. That way things don’t build up. And if you feel that despite calling them out on it makes NO difference, then you know that the friendship is really broken beyond repair. Who wants to be the butt of someone else’s anger and resentment, anyways? It’s better to have friends and acquaintances who we get along well with, instead of mean ppl we have to try to keep in line. It’s too exhausting.

    Good luck to you with everything.

    • DJ says:

      Good point Lauren. One can communicate using all the correct techniques (not generalising, I statements, neutral language, when someone does X to me such as you did (describe) I feel Y and would prefer you do Z instead, what are your thoughts?) but it doesn’t always work. I used to wonder what do I do when it doesn’t work and as the answer (say in a communication course was can’t win them all) I became discouraged from asserting and communicating as I felt I then looked weaker for not being heard or taken seriously. An example was that I would spend a round trip of 4 hours plus $50 in petrol to regularly go up and visit a not working friend who wouldn’t reciprocate despite access $2.50 fare concession and the time to do so. I really wanted her to meet my beautiful cat who wouldn’t have stood up well to a 2 hour car trip, see what I’d done to the place, show her around (and she likes cats). I started with invitations then raised the issue that I’d really like her to visit and how did she feel (excuses of why she couldn’t come) to eventually raise the issue that I was upset that she didn’t want to make the effort to reciprocate (I wasn’t expecting tit for tat but just make the effort once or twice)
      However I heard about Cloud and Townsend’s Boundaries which gave a lot of answers and heaps of strategies to this including how to protect yourself and avoid the resentment that comes when a friendship is unequal. It’s well worth reading.
      Since having started reading it and starting a course in it I’m finding it easier to communicate and be assertive using the correct techniques as I have other options if it doesn’t work.

      • Lauren says:

        Hi DJ,

        Thanks for sharing your experience. Yes, it doesn’t always go by the book. And yes, your cat sounds lovely, and I agree the cat would not do well on a two hour car trip.

        I have heard about Cloud and Townsend’s book Boundaries.I will order it on my e reader. I have just finished Dr Cloud’s Changes that Heal. I also subscribed to Dr Cloud’s daily messages (one liners which are really good). I also have the Boundaries course on line, but I haven’t started it yet. Will soon!

        You are right that we can’t change others. No amount of “meaningful talks”
        seems to be able to change things for the better. I think Dr Cloud has the right idea with finding effective boundaries. I really look forward to reading it and doing the course.

        Best wishes to you,

        • DJ says:

          Hi Lauren that’s great. I’ve heard about the online course too and trying to work out the best time to enrol. I’ve read the boundries book and one around difficult conversations but would like to read some others after I’ve got my head around the boundaries stuff!!
          If you’d like to engage in an email chat about boundaries let me know and I can give you my email as its good to discuss what’s being learnt.

  7. Amy F says:

    Having just one friend puts a lot of stress on the relationship for both people. It sounds to me like both you and your friend feel like victims in the relationship. When I have conflict with someone, I try to think if she were telling the story of our troubles, how would she tell the story. This helps me see her point of view, what I might be doing to contribute the conflict and how I can approach things differently.
    When you say you “confronted her”, I wonder if the way you spoke to her put her on the defensive, rather than encouraged further discussion. People generally respond best when invited to a discussion, instead of being told all the things they are doing wrong. Using “I” statements, like “I felt hurt when you said ABC last week when we talked about XYZ” is easier to hear than dumping a list of complaints. Being specific and avoid words like always and never. Even if this friendship doesn’t work out, those are good communication skills to use with people whether family, coworkers, classmates, acquaintances or friend. Learning to be a good communicator is a life long skill that people can continue to improve. Don’t rob yourself of this by laying the blame 100% on others or seeing yourself as a victim rather than a contributor in the conflict.

  8. jacqueline says:

    I couldn’t have said it better myself, Carol! Excellent advice.

  9. Lauren says:

    Cece, Congrats to you for standing up for yourself and speaking back to this questionable friend. She sounds really mean and judgemental. You don’t need that type of treatment. We learn something from every friendship, sometimes even more from the bad friendships.

    Now you know that when you encounter another friend or potential friend like this,don’t waste your time on her. It’s not good for your self esteem, and you could be spending your time making more and better friends, instead of throwing your precious time away on people like her.

    As the others have suggested, join a club, perhaps sports like tennis, or an art group, or a photography group etc. there you will meet other who will be acquaintances at first, and then some will develop into various types of friends (good friends , casual friends, acquaintances for example).

    Try to find several friends, and in that way you will broaden your social skill set and your outlook, and protect yourself from falling into the same trap again.

    I’m sorry to hear that you were treated so shabbily by this former friend, but I know that you will learn from the experience, and that you will grow and that you will meet better friends.
    Best wishes,

  10. DJ says:

    Cece I hear your pain. Having few to no friends is really tough. But oat yourself on the back for speaking up. It is hard to quickly make friends one can confide in as its a long term friendship deepening process. Perhaps join some clubs or groups that do activities you enjoy so at least you’re mixing with people who have a shared interest and can chat about that interest even if you can’t confide in them. Although hard try not to have expectations that you will meet people but try to do it purely for the activity,
    Best of luck

  11. Carol says:

    P.S. Knowing how to be a “friend” doesn’t just happen. Throughout our lives we learn what that means to each of us. Maybe you need to know what kind of person would be good enough to be your friend. I think you would teach this person more about what a friend is by sharing your needs with her. First of course it would be good to take some time to know the kind of friend you want and be clear being respected is a top priorty. I certainly have thought someone would be the kind of person I would want to be my friend, but it didn’t always work out, so I was and am already to take care of myself by not being true to myself.


  12. Pat says:

    I don’t have anything useful to say, Cece, but I’ve sure been where you are! People like your “friend” just make me feel bad about myself and who needs that in a friend? If people make feel that I, and my feelings and my problems, are less important than them and theirs, because they’re self-absorbed, then that friendship is not going anywhere.

    I hope you’re able to find some real friends straight away and can just relegate your former friend to the acquaintance category! Best of luck to you!


  13. Carol says:

    Can any of live without a friend? Maybe it’s time to take a long walk with yourself and design what kind of friend or friends you wish to have in your life. I feel this person either doesn’t know how to treat others, or maybe you both are hanging on to each other becasue that’s easier than being alone for awhile as you find a path to a person who knows how to bbe respectful to others. Take some time to get to know yourself and what kind of friend or friends you truly want in your life. Of course I am the person on this blog who believes that first you become your own “best friend” first. If we take the time to really believe we deserve respect above all in friendships, then usually we can find that friend we want in our lives. Good luck to you! Carol

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