Did you know that having no friends can be a good thing?
Although genuine friendships add more meaning and value to our lives, you shouldn’t feel pressured to make new friends (or keep old ones) if you don’t want to.
Besides, true friends are rare. And if you lean on the introverted side, it may take longer for you to connect with new friends just because superficial relationships may not be your thing.
Somehow, social media has made the world think our worth is determined by how happy we look in the pictures we share, as well as the number of friends we have.
To the point where so many people feel there’s something seriously wrong with them if they have no friends, or if they only have a small circle (that was me a few years ago).
It’s not just social media, of course — it’s society in general. But I’m blaming social media because in my eyes it has taken it to an extreme.
Is it OK to have no friends?
I have written an entire post on the topic, so feel free to check it out here. But in short, having no friends is totally fine. Really.
Most people who have no friends feel bad about it, not because of loneliness, but because they assume having no friends is bad, and feel guilty or anxious about it.
In turn, this affects their self esteem and sense of self worth. In turn, this makes it harder for them to socialize because they may believe they are not worthy of new friendships.
Whereas if they looked at the issue more objectively, they would realize having no friends doesn’t really mean anything.
It’s not a good or a bad thing; it doesn’t define who they are — it’s just their current situation.
If you have no friends and you’re really happy (because you like the advantages), then you don’t need to make new friends. At least not right now.
If you have no friends and would like to connect with new people, do so. It really is that simple.
Just don’t compare your life to that of other people (or to their social profiles, for that matter). You are not them, and their priorities/personality/situation are not yours.
Why it pays off to be selective with friends
Imagine you had 10,000 friends.
I’m not referring to followers, or people you’ve met once or twice, or old friends you no longer meet.
10,000 real friends.
Now, anyone with the slightest sense of logic would realize it would be impossible.
How could you have the time and energy to interact with so many people? How could you even appreciate the time spent with them?
When thinking about ridiculous numbers, it’s easy to see why having a smaller circle has advantages.
But what about a thousand friends? A hundred? Fifty? You decide what the threshold is.
But I’m pretty sure even fifty close friends would be too many, for the exact same reasons mentioned above — there are only 24 hours in a day, and your resources are limited.
Quality always beats quantity. Not just in terms of material possessions, but also and most importantly when it comes to friends and relationships.
This is why the thought that you have to have many friends to be happy is pure nonsense.
Not only does it depend on your personality type — there is such a thing as having too many friends, simply because you don’t have an unlimited amount of time and energy.
Plus, how long does it take to make new friends? Assuming you want to connect with people on a deeper level, it’s going to take a while.
And yes, sometimes you meet a like-minded person and it feels like you’ve known them for decades. But it’s rare.
4 advantages of having no friends
Easier to socialize
With the right mindset, socializing and meeting new people is actually easier when you’re alone.
This is one of the things I learned when traveling solo — you are much more approachable, and come off as friendlier, when you are alone rather than in a group.
The hard part here is to find the motivation to actually go out and try new things on your own. Most people find it intimidating.
But it’s also much more rewarding. Plus, if you have no friends, you are free to go pretty much anywhere — you don’t have to make plans and see what your friends want or don’t want to do.
Easier to focus
Let’s say you’ve decided to go all-in on something. Or you’re building a business, or you’re in a career where you basically have no free time and have to focus all your energy on it.
Or, you have a hobby or a job that requires you to travel frequently. Or you’re studying all day for an exam. Whatever the case may be.
In some circumstances having many friends, or having friends at all, could be a big disadvantage. Because ultimately friends can be a distraction. In a good way, of course.
But there may be a time in your life when you simply can’t afford to spend time with friends because you’re so incredibly focused on something else, because that something else is your number one priority.
Hopefully if you’ve chosen your friends wisely (and said goodbye to those friends that were not right for you), drama won’t really be an issue.
The thing is, it’s not always easy to spot people that drain you. Especially if they’re your friends.
Sometimes you get stuck in an endless cycle of comparing, drama, and toxic feelings in general, and you’re not even aware of it. This is what some people realize after going on a social media detox.
The solution to this, of course, isn’t being a misanthrope. But if you have no friends, you won’t have to worry about being exposed to negativity or drama (at least not from other people).
The fourth advantage of having no friends is that you have a lot more freedom, in the sense that your perception of self isn’t influenced by them.
Meaning: what you think you are is almost always influenced by the people around you and who they think you are.
And if you think you’re smarter than most people, and that your friends don’t actually influence you in any way — please think again, because this is a subconscious process.
If you have no friends, you will experience a higher level of freedom, whether you realize it or not, and that freedom can turn you into a better person (have a look at my article about hermit mode to find out more).
4 disadvantages of having no friends
Harder to socialize
As mentioned above, this won’t be an issue if you have the right mindset.
But for most people, it really is daunting to just go out on their own and try and meet new people on their own.
It can be incredibly frustrating to just sit at home and think of what you could do if only you had one or two good friends you could go out with.
The key is to not let the fact that you have no friends discourage you, and do the things you love and go to the places you love, as if you already had friends (the difference is in your mind anyway).
Over time, having no friends, or no real friends, can easily lead to feelings of loneliness.
Which is a natural emotion. And you need to distinguish between the kind of loneliness that is okay (and natural), and the kind of loneliness that’s telling you to change something in your life.
Just like the dissatisfaction with any other areas in your life.
You want to be honest with yourself and understand whether you should simply ignore these negative feelings (e.g. lack of something), or use them to motivate you.
In general, having no friends doesn’t prevent you from going to places or experiencing new things.
But sometimes it does, and that’s how having no friends can be a big disadvantage. Think of things like:
- Long, deep conversations about life or important topics that you simply can’t have with a complete stranger
- A trip or vacation where you’d much rather be in a group than being alone
- A business opportunity where you need a partner you can fully trust and that can’t be done on your own
- Asking for feedback or advice (the kind that only a close friend can give you) when you’re stuck
- A night out, or anything fun, that feels much better when you’re sharing your feelings with friends
Lastly, you do need to be aware that having no friends for longer periods of time can lead to mental health issues, or feelings of isolation (which is different than loneliness).
You can sacrifice your social life for a while, but if it turns into a lifestyle, then it’s probably not very healthy.
Again, you need to be in touch with your emotions, and be honest with yourself. And if you’re struggling with things like social anxiety, or social phobia, please get help ASAP.
Social interactions are, after all, one of our basic needs, and if you are not happy about having no friends, or no close friends, perhaps it’s time to reach out.