10 Reasons You Don’t Have Any Friends
The first point to be made here is that the value of friendship relies much more on quality than on quantity. In other words, having a lot of friends isn’t necessarily going to do much for you, especially if they are more like casual acquaintances than intimate confidantes. On the other hand, having a small number of extremely close, reliable friends is widely considered among psychologists and other mental health professionals to be a leading contributor to a person’s overall level of happiness. If your question is why don’t I have more friends, then maybe what you should really be asking yourself is why the friends you do have aren’t enough.
If, however, you genuinely feel that you don’t have any “true” friends, then you’ve come to the right place, as in this list we’ll be breaking down ten of the top reasons a person is most likely to find themselves friendless. A word of caution: prepare to take a deep, honest look at yourself, because in all likelihood, having no friends is something you’ve brought on yourself, rather than the result of other people’s flawed personalities. And before we get started, one other note: if you’re in your teens, or even younger, consider the possibility that you simply haven’t had a chance to meet your true friends yet; often, they end up being people that we get to know in college, at work, or just generally later in life. It’s true that some people make lifelong friends in childhood, but not everyone has that opportunity, so it’s important to give yourself a little leeway.
10. You Don’t Clean Up
Some people like their rooms, houses, and cars meticulously cleaned and organized, while other people are happy to live and let their junk live, too. To an extent, good friends should be expected to be okay with one another’s different styles of maintaining their personal space. Then again, when you can’t open a friend’s car door without several liters of trash falling out, you not wanting to ride with them anymore would be pretty understandable.
The same point can be made for all aspects of personal hygiene. When your living space is dirty and full of junk, it’s going to be hard to attract and keep guests. If your car is so filled with clothes, trash, sports equipment, and old CDs that there’s no room for passengers, well then, don’t be surprised if you don’t have any passengers. And if your body itself doesn’t get a regular, thorough cleanup, well…let’s just say friendly conversation expects a comfortable environment.
9. You Gossip Too Much
Once again, we’re in something of a grey area here. Gossip is just a natural pastime among friends, and for the most part there’s nothing wrong with that. But the wrong kind of gossip – or gossiping to the wrong person – is likely to put a damper on good friendships. So what exactly is the wrong kind of gossip? Well, there are probably multiple ways that gossiping can get you into trouble, but here we are specifically talking about gossiping not just to your friends, but about your friends.
Passing on the news and keeping each other up to date is one thing, but it’s an entirely different thing when you’re talking negatively about one friend to another friend without the target being there to defend himself. Without necessarily meaning to, you’re then undermining both friendships, because the person you’re gossiping to is suddenly aware that you quite likely gossip about them behind their back as well.
Gossip is going to happen – it’s just a part of the way we socialize with each other. But you don’t have to let it become a bad habit. Even when the gossip is about people who aren’t your friends, too much of it can lead to a perception of you as a negative person. This is just another example of how a little self-awareness can go a long way.
8. You Lack Patience
We already mentioned the possibility of being too young to have developed close friendships. The reality is that no matter how old you are, patience is definitely a factor in close friendships. We’re not talking about the kind of patience you need when your friends are late to a party or taking too long in the bathroom, although a little patience in those scenarios can also be helpful. Here, we’re talking about patience to let the friendship develop into one that you understand and care for deeply.
Maybe there’s no one in your life right now who you think of as a close or best friend, but maybe there is someone in your life right now who will be a close friend a little later. Sure, sometimes friendships crop up quickly and unexpectedly, but there’s also something to be said for friendships that take time to grow into themselves. Research (and common sense) indicates that the longer a friendship lasts, the stronger it grows, and that it isn’t until you’ve been friends with someone for quite a while (some studies say seven or more years😉 that the friendship gets to a point where it’s actually very hard to break up. If a lack of patience is even partly responsible for the perception that you don’t have any friends, maybe the question you should be asking yourself is, “How much time have I put into this friendship so far?” If it’s a friendship with the potential to mean a lot to you, isn’t it worth it to keep putting in the time?
7. You Lack Listening Skills
If you’ve ever been told that you’re not a good listener, don’t worry – you’re not alone. It’s something that many people struggle with. You could think of it like swimming; some people may be better at it naturally, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a skill, one that can be developed and honed. Rarely does it become necessary for survival, but learning to do it well sure has a lot of other benefits.
“Being a good listener” may sound vague, but take consolation in the fact that experts agree: speaking is easy, listening is hard. Studies show that the average person remembers only a tiny amount of the things that are said to them over a period of time, whether a day, a year, or a lifetime. We all know that feeling of pretending to listen when we’re actually just waiting for our turn to speak.
When it comes to friendship, however, there is a lot of incentive to practice becoming a better listener. Sales people tend to be good listeners, because that attribute allows them to decipher important cues and messages about the transaction they are involved in. Friendships are also made up of transactions – it’s a give and take of time, trust, advice, and support. If you don’t take the time to be present and really listen to (i.e., understand) your friends’ feelings, it’s likely that they will turn elsewhere to find the support they need.
6. You Put Other Relationships First
Most of us have had an experience involving a friend who got into a romantic relationship and suddenly stopped being available. If you’re that person, then it really should come as no surprise when the people you would have called your friends finally give up trying to get together with you, or at least stop trying so hard. You might feel like you’re still capable of making time for them, but if you’re turning down the majority of their offers to catch up, hang out, or otherwise actively participate in the friendship, then sooner or later they are going to get tired of being the one always reaching out.
Now, it’s true that new romances often begin in full gear, taking up a lot of time and energy, and that’s not a bad thing. Usually, given a little time, things balance out. It’s also worth noting that any good friends you do have will be pulling for you to have a healthy dating life in addition to your friendships, so it’s not like they really mind taking a back seat for a while as you figure out how to fit the romance into your lifestyle. But as your good friends, they also expect to be kept up to date, well within your inner circle, and appreciated for their sacrifices, however big or small.
Finally, it’s worth remembering that while a new romantic engagement may seem like the most important thing happening in your life, your friends will be the ones helping you to pick up the pieces if it all falls apart, so you don’t want to alienate them. All this is just to say that if you’re the type of person who pushes would-be friends away every time you get involved romantically, you should expect them to eventually move on with their lives without you.