One of the most common statements we make, but what’s the truth behind it? Here are 7 real talk reasons why you don’t have any friends.
I think one of the saddest things I hear is when people say they really don’t have anyone they connect with. Can you relate with that? Surrounded by so many people, all those fake connections on your Facebook page, and who knows how the heck that person found you and added you on LinkedIn. So many people say that they don’t have anyone to hang out with, or anyone who really knows them. And sometimes, you might even regularly hang out with a group of people, and yet still somehow feel disconnected. Like everyone else is in the inside, but you’re still sitting by yourself on the outside.
I think friends are one of the greatest gifts in life. People know me as a relationship kind of guy, probably because most of the posts up here on my blog they read are the relationship ones. It’s because relationships are the core of human existence – that’s what we’re all about. So any type of relationship, whether it be a romantic venture with your special lady or manfriend, a tried and tested relationship with family, or the journey of finding and connecting with lifelong friends, I’m all for it. And yet, for as good as these relationships can be, they can also be equally a source of pain, turmoil, and a constant sense of feeling isolated or cut off.
Whose fault is it that you feel that you don’t have any friends?
Or is there anyone to blame at all for that sensation? Is there some other metaphysical, spiritual, beyond the realms of your grasp to comprehend reason that you struggle to feel connected with people?
You may like it, or you might not, but here is some real talk for the people who feel on the outside… which in truth, is all of us from time to time.
#1: You stay home too much
It’s really hard to make meaningful friendships if you never go to where the people are. Trust me, I get it. I’m an introvert. I’ve just started playing Final Fantasy 13 (bit late to the party, but hey). I live in a forest in a double brick house with one immediate neighbour. INFJ for days. I feel you, I hear you, I’m here to represent you.
Friendships don’t grow unless you’re present with people to build them.
It’s like if I wanted to grow some plants in my backyard, but I never went outside. They couldn’t even start growing if I hadn’t planted them. And then if I wanted to make sure weeds didn’t choke them out, or birds didn’t come and destroy them in their infancy, I’d have to proactively pay attention to them as they grew. It’s the same with friends.
Would you rather have a close relationship with other people, or with all the screens in your life? The only problem is that your screens can never love you back.
#2: You haven’t met someone new since high school
When was the last time you met someone for the first time? Like, really met someone? Not just, “Oh heeeey, how are youuuuuuuuuuuuu, good to meet youuuu, join my growing seemingly anonymous pool of acquaintances I spend no active time with”. But actually taking the time to meet and to stay with people.
I reference high school because for many of us, that was the last time we experienced what we believed to be close friendships. But you forget that every friendship you ever had was at one point new. What did you do then? Just do it again, except not when you’re in high school. Do it again, like… now.
#3: You’re waiting to find common ground instead of making it
I love hitting it off with people. When I find out someone is a nerd too, or works in IT, or loves the JC Slaughter track at Cootha, or has been to Maleny as many times as me, or has a stable and mature life yet still has a soft spot for Dragon Ball… magic happens.
Not everyone is in all those boats. In fact, many people aren’t in any of those boats. And while it’s nice to find people who have common experiences, the reality of making and developing friends is actually in creating common experiences. Dinner out together, new conversation topics, exploring new topics. Discovering why others find something interesting, and expanding your horizons to learn about something you don’t necessarily rate yourself yet. It’s like when you’re dating someone. You’re creating common experiences. Dinners, phone calls, long drives, trying something new – you’re building commonality. Friendships are built the same way.
Why not do something you’ve never done with someone? Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t meant you can’t learn to love it, and hey, it gives you both another thing to talk about.
#4: Your word is worthless
I’m gonna level with you here.
When you get invited places, and you say you’re going to be there, do you actually followthrough? Do you say you’ll be at your friend’s wedding, Christmas party, Hanukkah… whatever, and just consistently not turn up?
The reality of friends in our lives is that they get tired of you screwing them around. If you want to destroy or disable any friendships in your life, be inconsistent. Live an unreliable life. Don’t turn up. Don’t help people after you said you would. And then get angry when people stop inviting you to things.
The truth is that people aren’t pieces of furniture or little accessories we can choose to switch off and switch on in our lives at times that are “convenient”. People are people, and they quickly get tired of being screwed around. If you stop being flippant, then you’re more likely to actually develop something that goes the distance.
“Oh, but I’m so busy”. Eventually the man or woman who makes themselves too busy for friends eventually looks up and finds there’s no one left and they have to start again. Don’t be that person.
#5: You’ve been hurt before and haven’t moved past it
You can’t have people in your life with them eventually hurting you. It’s just a fact of life that people suck. You do, I do, we all do. At some point, you’ll do something selfish, and I’ll do something aggressive in return, and then we’ll both hate each other for a while.
What happens next though is what determines what will happen in our relationship. In the words of a slightly older song, “I tried to hold your hand, but you’d rather hold your grudge”. In your life, are your hands so full of grudges and pain and past hurts that there’s no chance for anyone to get close to you?
#6: You’re so negative, you should be the opposite end of a battery
Who are your favourite types of people to be around? They’re the ones who speak life into you, right? I know there are people in my life who are a true joy to just even be around. If they say they’re free to hang out, it’s time for me to clear the calendar and just breathe the same oxygen as them, because they’re so refreshing.
How about your least favourite people to be around? They’re the ones who sap your strength, tell you how useless you are at things, and who belittle and complain about every single good and bad thing that walks past them. This person is marked by the constant use of the phrase, “The problem with that is…”.
Well, the problem with that is… no one wants to be friends with a personality vacuum who complains themselves into a coma. You exhaust other people when you live a life like that. You don’t appreciate when other people around you are like that, so why be that person to anyone else? It doesn’t make sense.
#7: Your questions and conversation are way too superficial
The bottom line of friendships is that they’re driven by questions. Dr John Warlow, author of the Living Wholeness Framework, rightly says that part of helping people feel connected is the use of I statements and You questions. “I really feel like this is the case, but how about for you?”.
Friendship is a fusion of revealing yourself and discovering another. It’s peeling back the layers and taking your mask off, while at the same time, exploring the life of another. What a rewarding experience when friends are just real with each other.
Are you a real friend? Or do your conversations only centre around what happened in that episode of Gotham the other week and where we’re going for dinner? If you want to build real friendships, you yourself have to become a real friend.
How about you? What are some reasons you’ve found that people don’t have any friends?