“I don’t want any friends!”
If you’re saying, “I don’t want any friends!” we respect that. But, we think taking a deeper dive into what that means is important. Also, we want you to consider some of the reasons you’re feeling so strongly about why you’re saying, “I don’t want any friends!”.
But first, we want to make it clear that not having friends or being someone who doesn’t want friends is O.K. Some people thrive on their own and we support that.
Also, this is a post we hope you can use to reflect on, and also to see a different perspective on how not having any friends can affect your life, or at the very least why you might be resisting the action of making friends.
After you’ve read this post, you might actually realize, you really do want to make friends.
#1. You’re an introvert, who prefers to spend time alone
Some introverts feel overwhelmed when they’re around people. You might need more quiet time and privacy than most people.
Also, you may feel more comfortable thinking alone, writing about ideas, and focusing on thoughts. Keep in mind, introverts prefer to spend time with one or two people, opposed to large groups or more friends.
Carl Jung said Introverts turn to their own minds to recharge.
#2. You don’t know how to make friends … yet
Sometimes we don’t know where to start when we’re talking to people or trying to mingle at a friend’s party. You get home, reflect on the day and you say, “Damn. I don’t know how to act in social situations.”
Sometimes, the main reason you might feel this way is that you haven’t learned the skills yet. But you can start today.
If you’d like to get some free tools, check out our Free Tools page or join our community to improve your skills today.
Protip: Become a better questioner and you’ll see a difference immediately. Remember, ask questions the other person will enjoy answering. Open-ended questions will help you find the spark in people, their likes, and their passions.
Instead of asking “How’s your day?” Ask, “What’s your day been like?”
Do you see the difference?
Also, learn to thread your conversations, small talk will be much more interesting and engaging.
With these tips, you might be saying, “I don’t want any friends!” a lot less.
#3. Starting conversation is hard. Being alone is easier
Sometimes we don’t want to make friends or be around others because we’re insecure about how we may present ourselves. This can prevent us from wanting to make friends or say, “I don’t want any friends!”
And the very basics of making friends or socializing is starting a conversation. Being open to new experiences.
So, starting a conversation isn’t easy. However, you can choose the right social event for you, and believe it or not, it can make a significant difference in your social life.
Check our article about where you can meet people.
But once you’ve picked the right place to socialize, use what’s around you to open a conversation. If you see someone with nice shoes, a shirt, or a hat from your favorite team, say something!
Or, if you’re shy, which is no problem, try to get a good feel for who’s going to be at the event, and be a bit more prepared on what to say. Being prepared can make you feel more comfortable.
#4. Being alone makes you feel good
When we’re alone and the people we usually answer to are gone, you may feel finally have a boost of energy or feel recharged. So, we get it. Being alone can feel good.
And we agree that it can be draining if you’re always connected to other people. If you’re alone you can take time for yourself and take a break from the job of consistent interaction.
Also, if you’re always around friends, you might be making a lot of compromises. However, you might not always be aligned with what other people want. So, a nice night or weekend to yourself is just what you need.
We think many people agree that it makes sense that you say, “I don’t any want friends!” because you realize it feels good doing things on you’re own.
Once you’re alone, the only person’s happiness you have to worry about is your own.
#5. Depression can be a factor in not wanting friends
Vice News does a great job of presenting how depression can affect our social lives and why we might not want to be around people. “I don’t want any friends!” can be from depression.
Here is an excerpt from the article and what they asked a therapist.
Question: Why does my depression make me want to distance myself from other people?
Therapist: This is a confusing, very real, phenomenon: I don’t want to be alone… but leave me alone.
There are certainly many behaviors that help depression grow: isolating yourself, over-sleeping, staying indoors, not eating, eating unhealthily, neglecting hygiene, etc. These are likely not behaviors you would engage in on your own without depression, but depression can creep into your brain and make you want to only do these things.
The other part of my answer is that absolutely nothing is wrong with you for wanting to distance yourself from other people. It could very well be that you’re not feeling yourself, and just showing up feels like it won’t work or will be too exhausting. But if you can, you should fight these feelings, because sometimes your brain snaps out of its depressed state, even just for a little while, when you’re involved with people you care about.
Here’s my best tip: When you’re depressed, do the opposite of what your body is telling you to do…The more you can separate yourself from the thoughts and behaviors that depression brings on.
*Check out more resource below that gives you options for therapy.
#6. You’re anxious, and it feels better to be alone
If you want to consistently be alone, it can be because you have anxiety and it’s easier to control when you’re by yourself. You don’t have anyone telling you how to be or causing you stress. You’re more likely to turn down invitations to connect and socialize.
“A lonely person will generally jump at invitations to socialize, whereas an anxious person —particularly one who suffers from social anxiety — will tend toward more reclusive behavior,” clinical psychologist Dr. Carla Marie says.
If you suspect your loneliness may actually be anxiety, speak with a therapist, who can help get to the root of your issues and help you manage your anxiety and loneliness.
“I’m surrounded by people – but I feel so lonely”
Feeling like you’d rather be alone than socializing can lead to the fact you’re saying, “I don’t want any friends.”
So consider this, you might have a social anxiety disorder (SAD). You may find that you lack some of the social skills needed to connect with people effectively. However, you can overcome social anxiety with patience, preparation, and understanding of the situation.
Five benefits of having friends in your life
1. Having friends offer a healthy support system which is important for your mental health.
2. Supportive friends can increase the chances of you doing daily tasks such as exercise and eating well.
3. Friendship is also linked to less loneliness. With friends, you’re better able to cope with stress and less likely to experience stress.
4. Friends can also offer emotional support and can assist in validating emotions, listening to problems, and do things to help you feel better.
5. Lastly, having friends can help you feel as if you belong to something creating purpose and connection in your life.
Is it bad that I don’t have any friends?
It’s important to know the difference between “I don’t need friends” and “I don’t have friends.”
If you are ok without friends, then it’s likely you’re okay. It’s also important to know that being on your own has a lot of benefits too. Spending time by yourself has been linked to some positive effects such as:
- Increased creativity
- Higher concentration and memory
- More self-awareness
- More time for yourself and personal growth
Surprisingly, to many people, spending time alone or having space from friendships or partners, can improve relationships. Giving yourself time to re-energize is important and healthy for your overall life. See more about being alone below.
What research is saying about being alone
The social scientists Virginia Thomas and Margarita Azmitia tested their predictions about the importance of different kinds of reasons for being alone seen in their research in 2019.
In the Motivation for Solitude Scale, participants were asked, “When I spend time alone, I do so because…” and then indicate the importance of each of 14 reasons.
Answers from the two categories of reasons were mixed together when participants answered the survey. See below.
Examples of the positive (intrinsically motivated) reasons for spending time alone:
- I enjoy the quiet.
- I can engage in activities that really interest me.
- I value the privacy.
- It helps me stay in touch with my feelings.
- Being alone helps me get in touch with my spirituality.
Examples of the negative (extrinsically motivated) reasons for spending time alone:
- I feel anxious when I’m with others.
- I don’t feel liked when I’m with others.
- I can’t be myself around others.
- I regret things I say or do when I’m with others.
People who were alone for negative reasons had a worrisome profile because they were more likely to experience loneliness, depression, and more socially anxious.
How important is alone time for mental health?
Finding time to be alone actually has a lot of benefits, which include:
Being able to become comfortable with yourself, giving yourself the time and space to explore what you’re interested in without interference.
It can be a way to try new things, meet new people, read about topics that interest you, go to new events, and even participate in new ways of expressing your feelings.
Being alone offers you the opportunity to think outside the box and let your mind wander. Without the need to answer to anyone, you can focus inward and what makes you feel good.
Research says being alone can lead to changes in the brain that help fuel the creative process.
Some research says they found that people who live alone sometimes have a better social life and more social energy than people who are consistently around people.
Aloneness vs. Loneliness
Research suggests people are experiencing more loneliness now than they’ve has in the past.
According to one 2018 report, half of Americans feel lonely sometimes, while 25% report feeling lonely almost all the time.
Feeling lonely is linked to many negative health consequences including a higher risk for depression, anxiety, obesity, high blood pressure, and early death.
But it is important to remember that being alone doesn’t mean loneliness. Loneliness is usually a negative feeling which is related to isolation, however, alone time involves feeling free, inspired, and recharging in peace by yourself.
More recently, researchers are now diving deeper into the idea that quality alone time might be just as vital for emotional and physical well-being.
What you can do right now
Download our Tool Kit for free (mini-course, social blueprint, and more) Prepare more when you go out to socialize. We think if you join our community or read a few more blog posts, you won’t be saying, “how to make friends in college with social anxiety?”.
But you’ll feel more confident, prepared and you’ll know what to do next, especially, when it comes to socializing.
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