This is one of the most personal topics I am ever going to write about in this blog. As I am writing this, I know I am going to reveal a lot about myself, which is perfectly fine. After all, I yearn to express myself to the world. It is almost like a need. I cannot live without it. After taking the decision to be a writer almost two years ago, I knew there was no going back. I also knew that writing was a very solitary endeavour, and solitary endeavours steal you away from the outside world. There was going to be no meeting new people, no making friends and no nights out. However, I accepted my fate willingly and peacefully.
Even before deciding to commit myself to writing, I spent most of my time alone. In hindsight, I do not regret a single moment of it. As a teenager, I did not really have so many friends. My father always told me that a book is a man’s best friend. I did not believe him at first, but whenever I got bored of playing video games, I would take a look at some of his books in his study. I would never forget the day I picked up Don Quixote. It was one of the best days in my life. When I started reading it, I could not take my hands off of it. It really was what changed my attitude to books — and friends.
The benefits of having no friends: what you should expect
In this article, I will show you how life could not be more considerate of you because it gave you no friends. I only ask one thing of you: hear me out. Just open your heart. Try to open your mind to my words. Feel my words. Do not just skim through them. What I am about to tell you can change your life like it changed mine. Grab a cup of coffee or whatever you need to do to bring yourself to focus as much as you possibly can.
Before we start, I would like to pinpoint that this you should not use this article as substitute for the advice of a medical professional. This a personal approach that worked for me. I sincerely hope it works for you, too. I have a feeling it will.
Let us go.
You have no friends — and?
Is it okay to have no friends?
You have no friends? How can you not have any friends? Everyone has friends!
Apparently, people have it all figured out. This is why is human relationships are so stable that 630,505 of marriages in the US end in divorce each year, most of friendhips are replaced every seven years and most people lose their friends after the age of 25.
So — why are you even seeking validation from someone who has no clue about social relationships in the first place?
The people you are seeking advice from were not raised in elite how-to-make-friends schools and have no PhDs in sociology. People barely understand what is going on in their own minds, let alone understand what is happening in others’. Worst of all, they are still audacious enough to give ”advice” on how to make friends.
You do not need to ask whether it is okay to have friends because nobody knows the answer — if there is any. If fellow confused humans do provide you with one, discredit it like the plague. Most of the time, the answer is a cocktail of I-do-not-know-what-on-earth-I-am-talking-about and I-know-what-is-best-for-others. It is the worst cokctail in the world. Do not drink it.
Since people do not know any better, your answer to the question is as valid as theirs. If their answer is ‘’correct’’, so is yours. In fact, you are more qualified to answer the question because introverts like yourself are far more reflective than the general population.
Maybe you should write an article on whether it is okay to have friends or not!
Acceptance is of the essence
No, there is nothing wrong with you
Before we talk about the amazing opportunities friendlessness offer you, I would like to say that it is not coincidental that you, out of all the people in the world, are reading this. You are different, and I know how you feel because I have been like that, too. I have often been misunderstood. Worse, I have often been made to feel as if it was my fault that I was misunderstood. You know what? I am here — still standing and still moving forward and never looking back. I not only proved those who misunderstood me wrong, but I surpassed them in every single way you could possibly imagine. You are probably starting to think that I am arrogant. Well, if loving myself and realising that it is thanks to it that I survived all the shame of having no real friends, then you are absolutely right.
You think that there is something wrong with you because you do not have any friends, and I do not blame you that you feel this way because human beings are the most unsocially social creatures on earth, which perfectly fits their inconsistent nature; they love emphasising the social aspect of life; yet, they are not so good at it. Otherwise, they would have impressed you into being their friend.
Accepting your introversion
You are perfect the way you are now. You are everything you are supposed to be, but to reach your full potential; to be the best you could be, you need to accept your essence. I cannot stress self-acceptance enough. I wish I could know you on a personal level, but I do not think I am making horrible speculations because; by taking time to read this, I know you have a big introvert in you.
Accept it. Love it. Unlock its secret powers to grow yourself into someone who is perfectly fine with their perfection. As soon as acceptance takes place, all the other benefits that I am about to mention below will follow. Please, accept the friendlessness of your introversion. If you have not, stop reading this and have a talk with yourself. Talk to yourself out loud if you have to. Scream, shout or get angry. If you want to cry and be sad before you do, go ahead.
What matters is that after you do any of these things, you truly come to terms with the fact that you may not have friends for now, but it truly is the best gift you could ever ask for if you see it from a different perspective.
The best gifts do not come wrapped in silky cloth.
After you accept who you are and that you are friendless thanks to it, get back here and continue reading to reap the rewards of your courage.
Now, let us talk about the seriously overlooked gifts of having no friends.
Why having no friends is the best gift life could offer you
It is simple logic. The less time you spend on others, the more time you spend on yourself. Time is not just gold. Time is literally your life.
Would you like to spend your life on yourself or on someone else? Would you like to spend more time working on improving yourself or waste it away on some jabber with someone? People who truly value time rarely want to share it with other people. They want to use every second of it in the enhacement of their personal character, productivity, self-awareness, career and creative interests.
How much time having no friends saves you
This is how much time people spend on visiting or entertaining friends according to a 2016 study:
- The average American: 46 minutes
- The average Canadian: 68 minutes
- The average Britton: 83 minutes
- The average Dutch: 87 minutes
If you do the math, you will find out that the average American spends 5.36 hours per week on friends. It does not sound like much, does it? It stops being so when you realise that it translates to the numbers below.
- 21.46 hours per month
- 257.6 hours per year
- 20,350.4 hours per lifetime (the average human life span is 79 years)
What you can do with the time friendlessness offers you
Can you imagine what you can possibly do with such a massive amount of time? Let me give you an idea. In Outliers, one of the most influential books ever written on achievement, Dr. Malcolm Gladwell stresses the fact that you need 10,000 hours to become a world-class expert at whatever activity you decide to spend them on. This powerful finding would later be eternally famed as the 10,000 hour rule.
If you are the average American, this translates to the statistics below.
- If you spend 46 minutes a day for 38.81 years on your favourite hobby instead of chit chatting with a friend, you will be one of the best in the world at this hobby.
- If you think 38.81 years is too long, spending an extra 46 minutes a day on your creative endeavour will enable you to achieve eternal name and fame in 19.405 years.
You will start to feel lucky when you realise what you can do with your time without friends. You will feel even luckier when you contrast this with how too much time a lot of people waste away on being with friends.
So, Carpe diem. Seize the day!
Having no friends has already put you in the perfect position to do it.
If you have no friends, you can use it to build incredible resilience.
How did I arrive to this conclusion? Through the personal experience tunnel.
Let me tell you how I turned ”I have no friends” into ”I am resilient”.
Personal experience with having no friends
After I migrated to my host country, I did not know anyone. I did not have any friends and the fact that I worked from home made it that much difficult to interact with the outside world. The people I taught online were the only humans I interacted with, and the fact that I worked really hard almost everyday took the ‘’I have no friends’’ feeling to a whole new level. Depression was setting in. I was smoking and drinking more. I knew I had to unwind in one way or another – alone.
The fact that I was doing well for myself because of my good job distracted me from the unpleasantness of having no friends, but it would only last for a short while. The sense of achievement also did not stay for long, and I thought I would not be able to continue like that. I thought I could not take it. I thought that I needed friends to save me from such a miserable existence; that life was not about working like a slave for some breadcrumbs. Life was supposed to be fun and friends and letting go – at least sometimes.
There came a point when I could not take it anymore. It was time to try something different. It was high time I opened up to the world and made some amazing friends. So, I downloaded a mobile application called ”meetup”. The name is already telltale, but for those of you who are hearing about it for the first time, it is an app that arranges social meetings for all kinds of activities.
Unfortunately, life did not wait for me until I was ready to make friends, especially when a nascent Covid was beginning to spead at alarming rates. The government introduced social restrictions and ”meetup” cancelled most of the meetings and switched a few to ‘’online meetings’’.
It felt unbelievably surreal. Just when I was about to make friends, I could no longer do it because of something you can barely see with a microscope.
At the end of day, I accepted my fate. However, I wanted something to change. I did not want to go back to the smoking and drinking. Out of sheer anger, I promised myself that the Covid outbreak would help me to get used to friendlessness. I focused on my job, I worked out instead of drinking and smoking and, whenever I felt down, it was a movie night with some sweet and salty popcorn.
After the restrictions were lifted, the need to get friends was less overwhelming. I did not even feel like socialising much anymore. Even when I did meet friends, I could not wait to get back to working on my writing projects. It was during the Covid outbreak that I decided to be a novelist, and this very blog you are reading right now is the child of my biggest dream.
It is amazing how we think that we are unable to survive hardships, but when we are forced to go through them, we are surprisingly resilient.
Mind you, I did feel down sometimes, but the job, the exercising, the movie nights and the travel plans I promised myself to carry out when restrictions were lifted kept me going. Maybe I would not have refined my resilience if I was not forced to; however, with the wisdom of hindsight, I am glad I was. This is one of the reasons why I do not believe in freedom. Sometimes, to be truly free, you will have to be forced to be. I am free from the need to be with friends and I can focus more on what my heart always truly desired; self-expression.
It took me almost five years to to get used to the feeling of having no friends. Now, I can tell you that all I feel is peace. I work almost every day and it does not feel as horrible as it felt five years ago. Having no friends awarded me resilience. I was forced into social isolation, but it was absolutely worth it. You think you cannot do it, but little do you know what you are really capable of.
More interesting personality
Thanks to the fact that you have no friends, you are likely to be one of the most interesting people who have lived. Spending time alone exploring the geography and history of world, refining your tastes in art and literature and learning a language are some of the few precious jewels only you can collect because most other people are busy being ‘’social’’. When you have no friends, you are naturally predisposed to such activities. Such activities mold you into a superbly interesting human being.
I have known people who spent so much time with their friends they ended up copying their personalities. This condition is akin to being a zombie; a body with a lifeless mind. There is no colour to how they think nor what they say. They become a carbon copy of the nearest friend in the room. I do not think it is sad, no. I understand the appeal of wanting to blend in, but it just makes me grateful that I do not have friends and spend little time with the people I know in my host country.
You, on the other hand, have an opportunity to have a colourful personality palette with ideas, abilities and virtues as numerous as the extra hours you have on your hands thanks to having no friends. You will be able to sit at a dining table and command respect and admiration by the maturity of your character, the idiosyncracity of your opinions and the depth of your knowledge. Everyone around you will feel like a student in a master class instead of agreeing with every single unagreeable thing they hurl at you.
Friends sometimes seriously disrupt your routine, which makes you less productive. The key to productivity is consistency. When you come up with the ideal routine for yourself, sticking to it is of the essence. When the routine is interrupted, it creates confusion.
Let us say you have set your eyes on a few goals you want to achieve. Let us also imagine that you have a few friends. One day, you receive a call from a friend inviting you to a party. You do not want to disrupt your routine, so you say no.
After a couple of weeks, your are surprised to see your friend calling you again.
There is a party — with girls. A lot of girls.
You hesitate, but your friend’s argumentative skills are on another level. You start thinking that this could be a good opportunity to unwind. Eventually, you decide to go.
After you come back home, guilt starts eating away at you. You look at what you were doing and you wish you did not go. You have a hangover, your sleep quality will not be as good and getting up early tomorrow is now an impossibility. When you do wake up, you are drowsy and do not really accomplish much because you cannot focus. All this affects your motivation and your confidence in your ability to be productive.
Having no friends also spares you their overwhelming emotional demands, which can disrupt the positive energy that is crucial to productivity. If your friend had a breakup, for example, it would take a lot out of you to get them back on their feet. Do not get me wrong, It is wonderful to make fellow humans feel better, but productivity-wise, it is not wise.
If incidents similar to the ones above keep happening, disrupting your routine will become a habit, and in no time you will find yourself with something that only looks like a routine and, inevitably, your productivity will nosedive.
You are more productive when you have no friends.
”I have no friends” equals ”I am safer”.
Psychologists have long established the relationship between friends and risky behaviour. The findings published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Developmental Psychology and Journal of Pediatric Psychology all corroborate the fact that risky behavior, which ranges from mild to extreme, is more likely to happen when with friends.
Personally, I have never really been into the business of impressing others to feel good about myself, but I have seen people go to crazy lengths for the sake of impressing their friends. If you have to do things at the expense of your health or even your life to make friends like you, you are better off without them.
Having no friends is much safer. Thank you.
You are more likely to have good health if you have no friends. People tend to smoke, drink, and do God-knows-what other stuff in the company of friends. In a recent study conducted in Sydney, Australia, 21 percent of the 316 young people surveyed identified as social smokers, 42 percent of whom reported smoking at least once or twice a week. 77 percent of the young social smokers also said that they smoked when going to bars, clubs, parties and social occasions. Click here to download all the study’s findings as a PDF file if you want to know more.
Social drinking is another way friends can negatively affect your health. In the UK, a study by Springer Nature concludes that peer pressure is one of the driving forces behind alcohol misuse: ”The findings offer insight into how peer pressure is expressed in adults living in the UK through social norms which influence people’s drinking intentions and drinking behaviours (…) For example, requirements to ‘keep up’ with a certain level of alcohol consumption expected within a social group and linked e.g. to perceptions of gender identity mean that people in order to ‘fit in’ can drink more than they would have liked to.”
Less junk food
Having friends can also lead to bad eating habits, which can put your health at serious risk in the long term. The fast food that is consumed as ”part of the fun” on nights out with friends is a contributing factor to health demise in later years.
Happiness in introversion
Some people may argue that your emotional health is taking a toll because you do not have friends. I beg to disagree because such an assumption comes from the false idea that you cannot be happy without friends. You can be happy without friends, especially if you are an introvert. Since you have come this far in reading this article, you most likely are.
Even if not having friends had a negative impact on well-being, the effect would be minimal on introverts. It comes naturally to introverts to be alone. However, since society’s norms do play a role in the perception of well-being, having no friends makes you feel more miserable than you are supposed to. Worse, society makes you think that there is something wrong with you for not having friends, which is downright ludicrous.
Humans are born different. Yes, they are social, but they do not live in caves. They still interact with each other when going to school, the grocery store, the library or the café. Interactions that happen in such places also count as social activity, so introverts’ well-being will very much remain intact.
In the previous section, we talked about how having friends can put your health at risk. However, such socially acceptable ways of fitting in are costly, too. Cigarettes, countless rounds of alcohol, nightclub entrance fees, Uber rides and fast food all cost a lot of money — money you can spend on quality activities that will neither harm your health nor disrupt the clarity of your mind. Personally, I love saving money to go on holiday to a different country.
Remember, having no friends already saved you tons of money, so reward yourself appropriately. Buy a book worth reading, a video game or even a musical instrument. Maybe you can go on holiday somewhere, too!
More emotional independence
Freedom from needing friends to feel good
During really tough times, we need as much support as we can get. Some people do this by leaning on their friends. On the other end of the spectrum, there are people who do it all by themselves.
Since you have no friends, you can use this as an opportunity to make yourself fall under the second category. Instead of panicking and messaging friends in times of need, you will use your inner strength to regulate your emotions. You are already naturally predisposed to be good at this by being an introvert.
So, why should you not use an introvert-friendly weapon to be one of the most self-collected people out there? Why depend on friends instead to do it for you? Having friends, no matter how people try to deny it, makes you emotionally dependent. Your friends become mirrors of your self-esteem. That is putting a lot in others’ hands.
An unlimited, steady reserve of strength
To be truly independent, you need to learn to love yourself in moments of strength and weakeness. Since you will be both the benefactor and the beneficiary of self-love, you will have an unlimited, steady supply of self-esteem and happiness that comes naturally, independent from any kind of external stimuli to achieve it.
You are not going to feel horrible about yourself if you lose a friend, and you are certainly not going to lose confidence just because a friend is not available to do it for you. You are also not going to doubt your decisions in times of big decisions. Asking for a friend’s opinion may provide a different perspective. As you do it again and again; however, the confidence in your own decision-making gets gradually eroded. Believe me, I have been there. You are not going to feel it ‘’happening’’ to you, but as time passes by, you will find yourself doubting that you can make the right choices without ‘’consulting’’ a friend or anyone for that matter.
Below are a few strategies that enable me to do without friends in tough times.
Talk to yourself outloud
I can never overemphasise this. It will feel a bit unusual at first, but once you get used to it, you will not be able to live without it. Talk to yourself about how you can get through whatever you are going through. Tell something to yourself that will break that buried strength within you free. Do not be shy when talking to yourself; talk to yourself like you mean it. It is the only way you can unlock that strength.
Voice record your diaries
If you want to take this a step further, voice record your diaries. The reason why it is better than a written one is because writing is cognitively more challenging, which can burn you out in the long run. Talking is much easier and you get to hear your feelings in your words. Talk about anything and everything that bothers you. Do not forget to talk about the things that make you hopeful, too. Talk yourself out of all your frustration; psych yourself up by talking about the things you look forward to experience; dream — and make your dreams come true by getting back to your chosen life path stronger than ever.
Spill it all out. Hear it all out.
Capitalise on strength training
I am almost certain you did not see this coming. What does strength training have to do with emotional independence?
Strength training increases your raw, brute strength. You will be able to move very heavy weights, which will help you build massive confidence in yourself and your ability to cope with stress. After all, is there anything more stressful than squatting under a whopping 400lb of weight? Or lifting 485lb off the floor? Or pressing 154lb over your head? Even science supports the fact that strength training strengthens the central nervous system.
If you handle such monstrously intimidating weights without having a friend near you, you surely can handle anything else all on your own. You may be having doubts at the the time of reading this, but when you actually see yourself moving very heavy weights, you will believe it. When you get there, you will remember my words, and you will be smiling.
The program I recommend is Stronglifts. It worked for me and many others. You will gain remarkable strength following the program. Just learn more about the correct way of performing the movements on the official website before you start the program. This is crucial in protecting yourself from injury.
There are other strategies that I have never used but do sound incredibly promising, especially CBT because I have read quite a lot about it and it is one of the most effective ways to self-regulate your emotions if you have no friends to talk to. CBT also fits the introverted personality perfectly because it requires the kind of introspective thinking that it excels at. Best of all, you can learn CBT all by yourself. You do not really need a friend or a professional to do it for you, which further cements your sense of emotional independence.
Final word on having no friends
In this article, we talked about why having no friends is the best gift life could ever offer you. A lot of people see friendlessness as a problem to be solved instead of a strength that can build self-acceptance and self-love.
Society says that if you have no friends, you have no life.
We introverts say: ”To have a life is to avoid wasting one, not the other way round.”
Society really is clueless. When you willingly accept friendlessness to help you be the best you can be, people say you are lonely. However, when you start reaping the rewards of friendlessness, they start liking you all of a sudden. Some of them get so jealous of your accomplishments they still call you a no-lifer because they know they are not capable of what you are capable of.
Genuine self-acceptance unlocks massive individual potential, and being friendless puts you right at its gate. Fear is the only gatekeeper there is. It may feel scary to have no friends for a long time, but slowly but surely, comfort will overpower discomfort; dissatisfaction will transform into satisfaction as you start seeing the gift of having no friends getting unwrapped.
Before you and I talk to each other for the last time, I would like to offer you my own gift. I discovered this motivational video almost ten years ago, and it stills inspires me every time I watch it. As a teenager, It used to remind me that having no friends was for the purpose of greatness. Click here to watch it.
May you get all the benefits of friendlessness, my friend in friendlessness!