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Is It Ok To Not Have Any Friends?


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Hi,

 

Is it ok to not have any friends?

I haven't had any friends since I was 11-12 yo (20 years ago.) One person told me I can't be healthy without having any friends, my sister said it's not normal to not have friends, and my recent counselor told me, "Do you want to stay how you are (without friends) or get better?" (Implying I'm sick or unhealthy due to not having friends). I have not been friendless by choice BTW- I had a lot of social anxiety when I was in school (and now) and I avoided my peers. It's only now, at 31, that I am trying to make friend(s) at the place I volunteer at.

 

Thank You,

Shana

Edited by lisa2712
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I was always told it's not normal not having friends. So I tried after so much pressure. Out of that attempt I ended up with my bf. We live together now. But outside of him I have no friends. And like before it never bothered me much. 

 

But if you want then by all means try. If you're fine, then by all means do what you want. 

Edited by iaawal
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I can only handle a couple of friends.  And all but one is long-distance.  It is too much for me to deal with mentally and emotionally, and having more than I do now would stress me out.  I can have a lot of on-line only friends without a problem, but the IRL friends I keep to a minimum.

 

As to whether it is ok/not ok to not have any friends, I think it depends on the person, and whether they choose to have no friends or not.

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Totally, it depends on what you value. Bf would hate to be in my situation without friends because he values friendship and enjoys hanging out with people. He's all happy he made friends with his new coworkers so quickly. When we met we were partners in our research lab and he tried to spark up a friendship with me because he's just that kind of person, he tries to be friends with everyone. The other day he went to lunch with an ex-coworker and then with an old classmate. I've never even gone to lunch with a current coworker, I avoid even going to the cafeteria for coffee at the same time. Took a year and a half before I even considered it a friendship and not an acquaintance because I'm just that kind of person. Both are good, just different. Whatever you're comfortable with. 

Edited by iaawal
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I used to have a therapist who kept trying to convince me that my lack of friends was unhealthy, and that I was lonely. I don't get any pleasure from social relationships, but they do cause me anxiety, so for me it's a lot of work for little or no gain. 

 

That being said, I think people do need one another from time to time, even if only for practical reasons. There's no need to be a jerk to people most of the time, either, just because I'm not a social butterfly. I try to be at least generically friendly to people, and cultivate positive relationships with the ones I see most often. There might come a time when I need someone, or they need me, and in those circumstances genial relationships are important. 

 

I think some people genuinely don't feel the lack of social contact as much as others, and there's nothing wrong with that. I would say to my old therapist that there's a difference between being lonely, and being solitary, and that I'm the latter for good reasons. 

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Hi,

 

Is it ok to not have any friends?

I haven't had any friends since I was 11-12 yo (20 years ago.) One person told me I can't be healthy without having any friends, my sister said it's not normal to not have friends, and my recent counselor told me, "Do you want to stay how you are (without friends) or get better?" (Implying I'm sick or unhealthy due to not having friends). I have not been friendless by choice BTW- I had a lot of social anxiety when I was in school (and now) and I avoided my peers. It's only now, at 31, that I am trying to make friend(s) at the place I volunteer at.

 

Thank You,

Shana

 

 

I think some people genuinely don't feel the lack of social contact as much as others, and there's nothing wrong with that. I would say to my old therapist that there's a difference between being lonely, and being solitary, and that I'm the latter for good reasons. 

 

I agree with Mim, and that people have different social needs. And if you are a person who desires solitude, then the lack of social contact would be less "harmful" versus a person who thrives on social contact but is too anxious to seek it out (so either avoids it, or doesn't get the correct/full or affect of it when subjected to it).

 

I had very bad Social Anxiety and Selective Mutism since childhood, but it got to a severe point when I was 14; where I dropped out of HS and isolated myself in my bedroom, to where I had to be home schooled to even graduate senior high. For me, I wanted to be social all my life (I craved it), but I couldn't obtain it because of anxiety. The biggest issue is that I started isolating at a prime time in my childhood where I was supposed to learn social relationships and peer communication. However considering I didn't get adequate anxiety help until I was 19 (and then I got a job, and my drivers license, and started community college - all in the same year) I was severely "socially underdeveloped".

 

Which is why, for me, having no social contact was in fact damaging/harmful to my growth and development; because when I should have been learning how to understand people, how to form relationships, and how to communicate (verbally and nonverbally) with people - instead I was learning how to ease my anxiety by avoiding people. And now at the age of 27 I am learning to how to communicate and socialize with people (although I am 50% more socially developed than I was when I was 19!).

 

The idea of social development and needs is a person by person basis, as everyone above me has expressed. Basically the answer to "is it okay to not have any friends?" is "depends" - and should be evaluated by you and your therapist on what your own needs are, what your personal goals are, and what your abilities are and possible resources to strengthen them.

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That's the problem- I'm not fine. I mean I have lots of anxiety when I go out; I have a hard time going to a grocery store, to the gym, or to anywhere where there's a lot of people. I also have trouble going walking around my neighborhood, and going volunteering one day a week. And I wonder how much of my anxiety (and avoidance) of places with lots of people results from my not having friends for so long. (20 years of my life). The only reason I wonder if not having friends is ok or not is b/c other people have told me it's not normal or healthy to be like this, and I wonder how it feeds my social anxiety.

 

I'm kind of trying to make a friend(s) at the place I volunteer at (once a week) but it hasn't happened so far. Overall, I just want to feel ok and comfortable around other people and outside in the world. Like doing errands and feeling ok with it. When I go to the gym, or go volunteer, I notice how friendly everyone else is with each other- they hug each other, they're like family.

 

But it didn't bother me much in general, with the exceptions of times when other people point out to me that it isn't healthy or normal to not have friends. Now I've been thinking about it, about how it feeds my social anxiety. Maybe I have too much idle time to think about things, as I'm not working now.

I was always told it's not normal not having friends. So I tried after so much pressure. Out of that attempt I ended up with my bf. We live together now. But outside of him I have no friends. And like before it never bothered me much. 

 

But if you want then by all means try. If you're fine, then by all means do what you want. 

Edited by lisa2712
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My husband socialize at work and gets along with people but outside of that he never goes out and sees people. He hates most people. He doesn't even have an MI.

Lol I wonder if things would be different if I worked. The last time I had structure in my life- when I went to college- I  avoided people out of shyness.

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I can only handle a couple of friends.  And all but one is long-distance.  It is too much for me to deal with mentally and emotionally, and having more than I do now would stress me out.  I can have a lot of on-line only friends without a problem, but the IRL friends I keep to a minimum.

 

As to whether it is ok/not ok to not have any friends, I think it depends on the person, and whether they choose to have no friends or not.

I don't have online friends either. I wouldn't know how to make them online since I lack social skills IRL. I only care about this now b/c of what I've been told by people, and I wonder how it fuels my social anxiety and confusion in life. For me, it wasn't a choice in the past, but now I feel I can make a friend (and hence get healthy and normal) if I try with the people I volunteer with.

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I can only handle a couple of friends.  And all but one is long-distance.  It is too much for me to deal with mentally and emotionally, and having more than I do now would stress me out.  I can have a lot of on-line only friends without a problem, but the IRL friends I keep to a minimum.

 

As to whether it is ok/not ok to not have any friends, I think it depends on the person, and whether they choose to have no friends or not.

I don't have online friends either. I wouldn't know how to make them online since I lack social skills IRL. I only care about this now b/c of what I've been told by people, and I wonder how it fuels my social anxiety and confusion in life. For me, it wasn't a choice in the past, but now I feel I can make a friend (and hence get healthy and normal) if I try with the people I volunteer with.

 

 

Actually I have many on-line friends ... it is the ones IRL that are minimal.

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I used to have a therapist who kept trying to convince me that my lack of friends was unhealthy, and that I was lonely. I don't get any pleasure from social relationships, but they do cause me anxiety, so for me it's a lot of work for little or no gain. 

 

That being said, I think people do need one another from time to time, even if only for practical reasons. There's no need to be a jerk to people most of the time, either, just because I'm not a social butterfly. I try to be at least generically friendly to people, and cultivate positive relationships with the ones I see most often. There might come a time when I need someone, or they need me, and in those circumstances genial relationships are important. 

 

I think some people genuinely don't feel the lack of social contact as much as others, and there's nothing wrong with that. I would say to my old therapist that there's a difference between being lonely, and being solitary, and that I'm the latter for good reasons. 

When I was 16 in High School, a guy who talked to me suddenly stopped talking to me. I asked him why, he said, "Because I found out about you." Meaning that I had no friends and that I avoided my peers like the plague. He told me, "Poor, poor Shana, so lost, so confused..." and then I stopped listening b/c I didn't want to hear it. Now  (at 31 yo) I realize he's right, because I've felt confused and anxious a lot of time, and perhaps this is caused by my not having any friends as a teen or since I was 11.

 

BTW I live with my parents and sister in a small house, so there's always my family around me if I need someone to talk to. I'm sure if I lived alone it would be a totally different story. I once was alone in our house for 4 days and I was going crazy, I would have probably forced myself to go out somewhere just to talk to someone.

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Then this is a great thing to start working on with a tdoc. 

Yes, I saw one yesterday, and she told me that, "My anxiety has ruined the past 20 years of my life" and she insinuated that I was unhealthy with my lifestyle. But she seemed like a good tdoc, but she made me nervous (another one of my problems, my mind seems to love getting into problems probably due to all the idle time I have to think).

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Many have their meds and diagnosis in their signature (and I didn't look at your past posts), so I apologize if you answered this before, but are you on any medications? Or doing anything besides seeing your new Therapist?

 

It really helps Social anxiety when having a combination system of meds and therapy. The medications help stable the physical and chemical anxiety, to make it much more tolerable to attend and execute the skills learned in therapy.

 

And FWIW, If you are isolating yourself or preventing yourself from succeeding (in anything) because of your anxiety, despite having desires and skills you want to utilize, then you are living an unhealthy lifestyle. I think your therapist might not have communicated that all too well, but she sounds like she really wants to help you succeed and reach your goals.

 

And please take no offense, but this guy you cant forget about from over a decade ago is a complete dick and has nothing to do with who you are or what you are capable of. I do understand the personal humiliation and harm he caused, as well as other people and events, as do I and many of us who suffer/ed from Social Anxiety have experienced similar. I used to get SIT ON the school bus and get made fun of because I was "invisible", and I was told once that I "sucked at life" and should do everyone a favor and just "stop life". People suck, don't let them discourage you. And I say this because I let people, and my own anxiety, kick me out of my own high school - which I greatly regret.

 

I want you to know you are not alone. I also just started CBT a couple weeks ago, after getting my anxiety more under control with Buspirone HCl (Buspar). However medications don't treat all the aspects of anxiety, and I am learning new skills on handling my need to escape/isolate, self esteem and confidence (which is huge in social aspects), learning to keep calm/kep in the here and now (and other aspects of mindfulness), as well as the general goal on how to feel like I "belong" in the social gathering instead of a "visitor". And it's difficult, it takes homework and practice, and takes a lot of time, but I know it's possible to reach all my therapy goals. Because many people before me have successfully been treated with CBT and DBT.

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Hi,

 

Is it ok to not have any friends?

I haven't had any friends since I was 11-12 yo (20 years ago.) One person told me I can't be healthy without having any friends, my sister said it's not normal to not have friends, and my recent counselor told me, "Do you want to stay how you are (without friends) or get better?" (Implying I'm sick or unhealthy due to not having friends). I have not been friendless by choice BTW- I had a lot of social anxiety when I was in school (and now) and I avoided my peers. It's only now, at 31, that I am trying to make friend(s) at the place I volunteer at.

 

Thank You,

Shana

I have 2 friends. One is busy all the time working (I am on disability) and the other is miles and miles away from me. Both are very close to me friendship wise. BUT there have been many times they have not really been there for me. Therefore many times I consider myself friendless. I don't have anyone to hangout with or go get coffee with or anything, it's sad, but it is my reality. But to answer your question is it ok to not have any friends? I believe: YES. OF course it is okay! You don't have to or need friends, friends just may make your life a little more interesting or not, they could add more drama who knows. Your therapist shouldn't be so blunt in her speaking to you that way. You do what you feel COMFORTABLE with. Nothing more Nothing less. Most people find their best friend in their spouse. Some people find their best friend in themselves. Like I said earlier I've got those 2 friends and that's it. But I am content with it. Like Melissaw72 said I couldnt handle a lot of IRL friends. 

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I think if you feel it's your anxiety preventing you from making friends, then yes it is an unhealthy lifestyle. 

 

Any lifestyle that makes you feel this way is unhealthy. 

 

I'm with sloane. Meds do help. The prozac at high doses made my anxiety beautiful and manageable. Which in turn improved my interactions with others (I have a job where I interact with many people). 

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Sorry, I just edited my signature. Yes, I'm on 2 meds for anxiety. I'm doing the combo of meds and talk therapy.

 

I'm in isolation a lot of the time but not by choice. I live with my parents and sister, and I don't have a car, so I need to rely on their car to do things, and I don't have access to a car most of the time. I feel I'm stuck at home for now, not by choice. I sometimes think all this idle time I have is driving me crazy; too much time to over-think things. For example, I now feel like the air/atmosphere around me is heavy.

 

My mom is the person who is in control of my life and my decisions (b/c I don't make good decisions) and I can't do anything without her consent, and she thinks it's best for me if I focus on school (2 classes online) and volunteering more often (which is hard, due to lack of access to a car). I volunteer walking dogs once a week, but I want to maybe do it more, or find a place closer to me. And it can get hard to volunteer due to anxiety, but I'm working at it.  Many times I don't want to face volunteering, but I have to.

 

I have tried Buspar 5 mg, and I remember feeling very anxious on it. It helped my anxiety lift, but it also increased my feelings of panic (it had a paradoxical effect). I've been told I'm sensitive to medications. I sometimes think of trying it again, b/c it helped my anxiety a lot, despite it's side effects.

 

 

Many have their meds and diagnosis in their signature (and I didn't look at your past posts), so I apologize if you answered this before, but are you on any medications? Or doing anything besides seeing your new Therapist?

 

It really helps Social anxiety when having a combination system of meds and therapy. The medications help stable the physical and chemical anxiety, to make it much more tolerable to attend and execute the skills learned in therapy.

 

And FWIW, If you are isolating yourself or preventing yourself from succeeding (in anything) because of your anxiety, despite having desires and skills you want to utilize, then you are living an unhealthy lifestyle. I think your therapist might not have communicated that all too well, but she sounds like she really wants to help you succeed and reach your goals.

 

And please take no offense, but this guy you cant forget about from over a decade ago is a complete dick and has nothing to do with who you are or what you are capable of. I do understand the personal humiliation and harm he caused, as well as other people and events, as do I and many of us who suffer/ed from Social Anxiety have experienced similar. I used to get SIT ON the school bus and get made fun of because I was "invisible", and I was told once that I "sucked at life" and should do everyone a favor and just "stop life". People suck, don't let them discourage you. And I say this because I let people, and my own anxiety, kick me out of my own high school - which I greatly regret.

 

I want you to know you are not alone. I also just started CBT a couple weeks ago, after getting my anxiety more under control with Buspirone HCl (Buspar). However medications don't treat all the aspects of anxiety, and I am learning new skills on handling my need to escape/isolate, self esteem and confidence (which is huge in social aspects), learning to keep calm/kep in the here and now (and other aspects of mindfulness), as well as the general goal on how to feel like I "belong" in the social gathering instead of a "visitor". And it's difficult, it takes homework and practice, and takes a lot of time, but I know it's possible to reach all my therapy goals. Because many people before me have successfully been treated with CBT and DBT.

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I agree with those who say it depends. There are people - like people with schizoid personality disorder - who just don't want friends, and I guess that's just how they're built. I personally don't like socializing and have few friends and no close friends and I don't think it's good for me. At the times I've been most isolated I've been the most distorted in my thinking along with more depressed and anxious. I find I need regular social contact to help keep me well.

But the thing is, you need some social skills to make friends and maybe you haven't had very much practice? I found group therapy helped me learn social skills in a safe setting. And by the way went a long way to helping my social anxiety. You might want to consider it.

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I think if you feel it's your anxiety preventing you from making friends, then yes it is an unhealthy lifestyle. 

 

Any lifestyle that makes you feel this way is unhealthy. 

 

I'm with sloane. Meds do help. The prozac at high doses made my anxiety beautiful and manageable. Which in turn improved my interactions with others (I have a job where I interact with many people). 

 

I took Prozac (I think it was a medium dose), and now I've been on Zoloft 75 mg for a few months. My psychiatrist seems to want to leave me on this medicine, as I've told him I think Zoloft is making me gain weight, and Prozac would be better b/c it usually doesn't cause weight gain, but he doesn't want to change my SSRI. When I was on Prozac (medium dose) I would come home from public places (like restaurants) and get sick when I got home, as I felt so energized on it (like I took caffeine, I felt stimulated) and also nervous at the same time. When I take diet pills or too much coffee I also get sick, from the stimulant effect.

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    • By lisa2712
      Hi,
      I haven't had any friends since I was about 11, and I'm 32 now. Now, I try to make friends at my volunteer jobs, but people just ignore me, and it doesn't happen. I think that there's danger for someone who doesn't have any friends long-term (I mean 5 plus years of not having a friend, besides a family member). Yes, I have my mom and dad to talk with, but it isn't the same thing as having a friend who's around my age.
      When I was a teen without friends, I turned to music for comfort and happiness. I used to totally fantasize about , idolize,  and adore singers and bands and any decent-looking male in the public eye.
      I read that having friends to laugh with and have fun with is like a "pressure cooker" (is that the right word?), in that friends are like the holes in something that lets hot steam out, and without those "holes/friends" I can only imagine that a person would not be healthy and "normal" and would have tons of problems, which is what I am like. One guy said he'd go crazy if he didn't have any friends to blow steam off with. So, I wonder what not having friends has done to me. I can understand if many celebrity stalkers are people who chronically lack friends and/or have trouble making them, because this lack can lead to people worshiping, fantasizing about, and idolizing people who are in the public eye and who are attractive and popular.
      Now, I try to make friends at volunteer jobs, but I'm totally ignored and left out, like I'm invisible.
      Thanks,
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