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Why Don't I Have Friends and What Can I Do About It?


How to Make Friends as an Adult | By: Katie Lister

April 28, 2024

I have no friends; why don’t I have friends? Why is it hard for me to make or maintain friendships? How do I stop being a loner? Is it normal to have no friends? What can I do to be better at creating and maintaining friendships? If you are looking for answers to these and more questions, this article is for you.

Hi, my name is Katie Lister. I am a practicing Registered Nurse and the founder of Growth Gals. I lead personal development groups and coach women to live their best lives authentically. At Growth Gals, women can connect with like-minded individuals, learn, and support one another, even as they make meaningful friendships.

A big part of my work in these support groups involves creating safe spaces where women feel free to discuss various topics related to everyday issues that affect the everyday lives of women, such as mental health, emotional intelligence, finding your life’s purpose, personal development, and navigating relationships, including understanding adult friendships.

In this article, I will answer the question, ‘Why don’t I have friends?’ and give timely advice on how you can make and maintain friendships as an adult.

Table of Contents

Katie Lister

Katie Lister

Written by Katie Lister, RN, BScN. An experienced Registered Nurse, Group Facilitator, Life Coach, and Community Leader. Read Katie's Full Author Bio

Is It Common to Have No Friends?

It has become increasingly common for people to go through life in solitude. Over the years, life has gotten busier for most people, making it increasingly difficult for them to maintain relationships beyond those they share with family members. Therefore, it is not entirely uncommon to have no friends, including a best friend.

If you often ask yourself, ‘Why don’t I have friends?’ you’ll be glad to know that even though it may feel like an isolating case special to you, you are not alone. According to a 2021 survey, at least 49% of adults were found to have less than 3 good friends. Of this number, 27% were millennials who reported having no close friends, with 22% reporting having no friends.

This is not unique to the younger generation. 16% of Gen Xers and 9% of Baby Boomers also reported having no friends at all.

Some people are perfectly okay with having no friends. Statistics show that people who can be alone without feeling lonely prefer spending time by themselves. This can have some positive impact on life. Spending time alone has been found to boost productivity, improve memory and self-awareness, and offer more time for personal growth.

While some people are okay with being loners and going through life with no friends, having no friends can be triggering and worrying for others. If you fall into the latter category, you first need to understand the possible reasons for not having friends. Once you understand why you have no good friends or no friends at all, you can use this information and a few tips to make and maintain new friendships.

Want to know how to navigate having no friends? Here is what to do when you have no friends

Why You Don’t Have Friends

You try too hard

While this may be a hard reality, some people end up with no friends because they try too hard in their current friendships, which can drive people away. Constantly hounding and pressuring your social circle for a get together can sometimes come off as a red flag. This is often the case when you are over-friendly to people who are less serious than you are about your friendship. If you come across as someone who tries too hard, it is normal for people to start ignoring or avoiding you.   

Trying to maintain friendships is not a bad thing. However, trying too hard can be the reason you lose friends.

You are too negative

If you always see the negative in every situation, your group of friends may see you as the toxic friend they prefer not to be around. Negativity has a way of sipping the energy out of friendships. No one wants to be around someone who always seems to have a problem for every solution. Part of being a good friend involves encouraging your friends and cheerleading them on.  

You are selfish

If you are selfish, people will often not see you as a true friend. If everything in your friendship is always about you, people will tire and start avoiding you. Like any other relationship, friendships should be about everyone in the circle of adult friends, not just one person.

You are too comfortable being alone

Sometimes, you have no friends because you are comfortable being alone. While being alone is not necessarily a bad thing, especially for introverts, it can get in the way of making any effort to have a social life. If you only realize you need friends when you need a shoulder to lean on, you are probably too comfortable not having friends in your everyday life.

You live in fear of being disappointed

A subconscious reason causing a lot of people to go through life without a lot of friends is the fear of getting disappointed. This breeds trust issues. Whether it is with a BFF or a larger circle of friends, it is common to place expectations on your relationships. When these expectations are not met, you often feel let down. The fear of people letting you down may be keeping you from making or keeping friends.

You are too busy

Some people have busy careers or lives that barely leave room for friends. Making and maintaining friendships requires consistent effort and time, which most people do not have. If you already have a family that offers some emotional support, this can hinder you from actively pursuing friendships outside the family circle.   

Do you want to become a better friend? Learn more on how to be a better friend in this article. 

Why Don’t I Have Friends – What You Can Do About It

If the idea of having no friends does not sit well with you, it is probably an indication that you are experiencing loneliness, which may be affecting your mental health.

Some of the things you can do to make new friends and keep them include:

Work on yourself: If you feel that negative aspects of your attitude towards life, low self-esteem, and personality keep you from making or maintaining new connections, it is essential to work to improve on these areas. You can learn how to be more positive, supportive, trustworthy, and an overall better person to attract and keep real friends in your life.

Get over your fear of disappointment: Just because people can sometimes disappoint you does not necessarily mean having meaningful friendships is impossible. In a healthy friendship, you can talk about issues when they arise and communicate your needs in the friendship. With a good understanding, the disappointments can be mitigated in your friendships.

Put yourself out there: The first step to making friends is to overcome your social anxiety, work on your social skills and put yourself out there. Get out of your comfort zone more often for meetups, join social gatherings, try new hobbies, join a book club, learn to enjoy small talk, introduce yourself in social situations, and show interest in people. Over time, you will eventually find like-minded people who are as interested in making social connections with you as you are with them.

Don’t be afraid of rejection: If the fear of rejection keeps you from putting yourself out there and increasing your chances of meeting your type of friends, you need to find a way to overcome it. When creating a circle of friends, some connections will work out while others will not. Just because interests don’t turn into friendships does not mean you failed at your social life and deserve to live in social isolation. It just means that maybe they were not your tribe. Dust yourself off and try again until you meet your people.

Find people with shared interests: Frequent places that increase your chances of meeting friends with similar interests. Think about your hobbies and what you like to do, then find clubs or spaces offering these activities. Here, you will meet people with shared interests, which makes fostering friendships easier.

How Growth Gals Can Help You Become Better at Making and Keeping Friends

Feelings of loneliness are a leading cause of suicide among American adults. On the other hand, mental health and lifestyle experts link longevity and good health to friendships. If you are not one of the people capable of being alone without feeling lonely, it is better to consider making friends and working to maintain them. If you are having a hard time deciding where to start in the first place, Growth Gals can help.

Growth Gals provides a safe, loneliness-free space where women can come together and get the support they need as they navigate different life seasons and better their well-being. We also strive to inspire women to reach their full potential as we create positive change. We support women with the resources to discover their true selves and expand their knowledge base on various issues, such as navigating relationships and making and keeping adult friendships. 

Subscribe to the Growth Gals newsletter to access trending news, resources, and helpful guides for women and learn more about how we can support you.

The Bottom Line

Granted, making and keeping friends can sometimes be complicated in adulthood. However, it is still possible to create and experience great friendships as an adult. If you need help making meaningful friendships, following the tips in this article is an excellent way to get you started. Also, joining Growth Gals presents a wonderful opportunity to make new friends even as you access resources to help you become the best version of yourself.

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