Friendships can be difficult relationships to cultivate, especially when you're an adult.
Our tightly-packed schedules and the transient nature of society doesn't allow enough time to build a friendship past an acquaintance level.
People come into your life who you consider good friends at the time, but often friendships fade once whatever brought you together ends.
Maybe you meet at work and become close, but once one of you moves on, the friendship goes too.
Or, perhaps you move to a new city and leave behind a lot of contacts without staying in touch. Sometimes you just outgrow friendships and drift apart.
There are many reasons that people lose friends or go through dry spells without friends. Without that close connection of a true friend, you might feel like you can't relate to anyone or that no one understands you.
Having meaningful friendships is such an asset, but if you feel like you have no friends anymore, it can be lonely and difficult.
Social connectedness fosters a positive cycle of social, emotional and physical health.
It's a vital component to overall well-being. Humans are wired to connect with each other and have friends.
Research has shown a decline in social connectedness over the past twenty years, and loneliness now represents one of the main reasons that people seek counseling. This means if you are constantly thinking to yourself, “I don't have any friends”– you're not the only one struggling with having no friends.
These thoughts are not a reason to give up and live a life of solitude. Let's go over some ideas to attract new friends so you can feel more connected and less lonely.
What to do if you are lonely and are asking yourself, “Why do I have no friends?”
Not having real friends to talk to or hang out with can make you feel isolated and lonely.
You don’t enjoy feeling like you don’t belong anywhere, but you’re not sure what to do about it — or whether that’s just your baseline.
Maybe it’s just normal for you to have no close friends.
It’s certainly less complicated. No drama. No late-night or early-morning phone calls or texts.
No worrying about whether you’ve done something that has finally convinced your friend that you’re not worth the trouble.
But at some point, realizing that you have no friends makes you feel stuck. After all, friends have a way of polishing you and making you a better person to be around.
So, what can you do about it?
One thing you could do is ask yourself what you’re interested in and where you’re likely to find others who share one or more of those interests.
Even if you don’t find a bestie, you’re likely to find someone to chat with amicably.
It could be a class or a public reading/book signing, a writer’s convention, or some other meet and greet.
You could also meet new friends on social media.
Find ways to help them out with something — whether it’s helping them promote a book or finding something on the internet for them.
The more you show your willingness to help without expecting something in return, the more likely those new connections are to become friendships.
But whatever you do to reach out to others, don’t forget to be kind to yourself.
- Be the kind of friend you’re looking for, and practice self-compassion.
- Be mindful of the things you like about yourself, and be grateful for them.
- Celebrate your wins, even if no one else is there to celebrate them with you.
You’re more likely to attract new friends if you consider yourself worthy of their friendship. Let's look at some of the ways you can find those friends.
I Have No Friends: 31 of the Best Ways to Attract New People
Choose 1 of the 31 techniques below on what to do when you have no friends:
1. Focus on the positive in people.
Everyone has traits that are less than desirable. It’s easy to focus on these but look for the positive qualities that are good and strong in other people instead.
If you catch yourself thinking about a person's negative aspects, remind yourself that everyone (you included) has faults.
You will never find the “perfect” friend — but part of friendship is loving your friend in spite of any perceived flaws.
2. Smile often.
Science has proven that when you smile, you feel happier as it spurs a powerful chemical reaction in your brain. Smiling makes you more approachable and attractive to other people, making it easier to connect with them.
Try smiling even when you are talking to a friend on the phone, as the person you're connecting with will be able to feel your smile. Smile often, it is contagious.
3. Let go of grudges.
It can be challenging to release negative thoughts about how someone has hurt or offended you in the past.
However, these negative thoughts only reinforce the pain and will make you less likely to forgive and move on. Let grudges go and focus on all of your blessings instead. Holding onto grudges won't benefit you in any way.
4. Compliment people.
When you have no friends, remind people of all of the wonderful qualities you see in them. .
You can never express too often how much your friends mean to you, so don't be reticent to tell them.
5. Be a helper.
One valuable way to create lasting friendships is to consider what you can do for your friends to make their lives easier or better.
Find out what they need and be there for them. Learn to anticipate their needs so you don't even have to ask.
Be available to your friends during good times and bad. Let them know you are invested in the friendship by investing your time, energy, and physical presence.
6. Be kind.
Kindness is always something you should practice. Practicing selfless acts of kindness can be a major contributor to your happiness and the happiness of those around you.
Do unexpected things to help brighten a potential friend's day. Cook a meal and deliver it to a new neighbor. Buy a cup of coffee for the person behind you in line. Any small act of kindness can be the beginning of a connection with someone new.
7. Participate in the “give and take.”
When you are around other people, try to avoid talking too much about yourself without showing interest in those you're speaking with.
Ask insightful questions to show your genuine curiosity about who they are and what they are sharing. Be willing to offer information about yourself when others ask you questions so you don't appear standoffish.
8. Seek out new environments.
You can attract new friends if you are never in environments where you can meet them. One of the best ways to meet like minded people is by joining a group or Meetup related to your hobbies or interests.
If you love gardening, join a gardening club. Into running? Participate in a local running group. Do you love to read? Maybe a book club would be the best place to meet friends.
If you're an introvert, it can be hard to put yourself out there. But you can't attract new people in your life by sitting home alone. Stretch yourself and find people who like what you like. That makes it easy to strike up a conversation that can lead to friendship.
9. Practice active listening.
It is important to be an active listener. Active listening means you are fully present and engaged with the person speaking. You aren't distracted by your phone or looking around for someone more interesting.
Active listening shows you are genuinely caring and interested in what the other person is saying. It builds rapport and a sense of connection.
When listening to another person, try to restate, summarize, and provide feedback on what this person has shared. This validates him or her and allows the speaker to feel comfortable talking to you.
10. Practice empathy.
Showing someone else that you are willing to put yourself in their shoes and relate to their struggles is an important part of forming a connection. Become a safe space for a potential friend to open up and be vulnerable.
Validate your friends' perspectives, even if they do not align with your own. Withhold any judgments and offer any help that you may be able to provide.
11. Speak up if you sense something is wrong.
When you can tell that a new or potential friend is under stress or upset about something, speak up.
You don't have to demand that they talk about it or detail what is going on in their life, but let them know that you are there for them if they want to talk. This will make them feel secure that they have a shoulder to lean on.
12. Go the extra mile.
When someone asks for your opinion, it means that they value what you think.
Go the extra mile to show your new friend how invested you are in them by doing more than they expect. For example, let's say a friend asks you for recommendations for a good restaurant. Offer more than one recommendation with the pros and cons of each so they can have options and pick which one is best for them.
13. Don't walk away when it gets tough.
If a new acquaintance is going through a hard time, don't back off and assume they need space. Be there for them and offer your help. If they need space, they will tell you. Let know that you are there for them.
Being there during the hard times shows a potential friend that you are a person of integrity and character — valuable qualities in any friend.
14. Make others feel wanted.
Show others that you like being around them and are interested in what they have to say. Be confident enough to let new friends know that you like being with them and want to get to know them better.
Insecurity is a common feeling when you are trying to develop new friendships. But most people will respond positively when you say, “I really enjoy your company. I hope we can spend more time together.”
15. Understand boundaries.
You don't need to be in contact with your new friend 24/7. Respect that new friends have other people in their lives and other responsibilities that take their time.
When you have time away from each other, it doesn't mean that this person doesn't like you or enjoy your company.
16. Be the instigator.
One of the most attractive qualities in a friend is the ability to make fun and interesting things happen.
Be the person who initiates fun outings and events. Find unique and exciting things you can do with a new friend that relates to his or her interests or hobbies. Make it easy for this person to join you by making the arrangements and necessary plans.
17. Introduce new friends to others.
When you are with a friend, show him or her how happy you are to be out with them by introducing them to other people you know.
This will expand your network of friendships and help someone else build new connections — just as you are trying to do.
18. Be dependable.
If you want others to be attracted to you as a friend, be sure you are dependable. Keep your commitments. Show up on time. Do what you say you're going to do.
Build a reputation for following through and being available when someone really needs you.
19. Be positive and optimistic.
Show other people that you are lighthearted and enjoy life. Try not to complain frequently, show cynicism, or gossip about others.
Laugh often and let others know that you are fun and easy to be around, especially at the beginning of a new friendship.
Optimism is attractive and makes others want to spend time with you.
20. Develop confident humility.
Reflect enough self-confidence that you are able to laugh at yourself. Be strong enough to ask for help or advice. Be humble enough to recognize that you don't have all of the answers or know what's best for those around you.
Being humble and self-deprecating doesn't mean you are insecure. It shows that you have a realistic view of yourself and that you are always growing and learning.
21. Say “yes” more than “no.”
No one likes being turned down by their friends. However, sometimes other plans or life responsibilities get in the way.
It's easy to say no when you feel lazy or tired, and it can become a habit, even if you don't have other plans. You may decline an invitation when you just don't feel like going out.
Related: A Simple Guide to Making New Friends
But if you want to develop new friendships, make it a point to say yes whenever you can. Put in the extra effort to be available so you have the time together to build the connection.
22. Don't gossip about others.
If you gossip about other people in front of a new acquaintance, he or she will wonder if you might gossip about them as well. Gossiping shows you don't respect the privacy and dignity of the person you are gossiping about.
A potential friend wants to feel assured that you will be loyal and respectful. Gossiping shows you're willing to compromise a friendship for the sake of a juicy story.
23. Be comfortable with conversation gaps.
Silent gaps are a natural part of a conversation. Don’t feel like you have to fill all of your time together with talking. It’s okay to just enjoy being with a friend without having the constant pressure to say something.
24. Be able to apologize.
It can take a lot to recognize the fact that you did something wrong. Don’t be afraid to own up to your mistakes. Being able to swallow your pride and admit you are wrong will make you a great friend.
25. Never manipulate.
Any friendship should be based on honesty and mutual respect. You should never try to manipulate someone into being your friend by using a guilt trip or making them feel bad about their choices or actions.
Someone who is interested in a relationship with you will be your friend because he or she finds you interesting and fun to be around — not because you make them feel obligated.
26. Be trustworthy.
If a friend trusts you with some private information, keep that secret to yourself. Guard their private information and don't share it with other people, even if your friend hasn't specifically told you not to.
You want your friends to feel confident that their information is safe when they are talking to you.
27. Be loyal.
Being loyal to your friends requires patience. Loyalty means that you are able to stick with your friend through good times and bad while always staying honest, supportive, trustworthy, and generous.
This means that you can't be afraid to tell them the truth about something, even if it might hurt them. It also means that you will not talk about your friend behind their back, and you will stick up for them if you ever hear someone else saying something negative.
28. Be supportive.
Support potential friends' goals and passions. If he or she wants to be a singer and are having a show in town, go to it.
If this person is graduating from a program, go to graduation. Be there to support a new friend during these significant events to show him or her that you are invested in their life.
29. Assume the best in people.
When you show people that you see the best in them, they will rise to the occasion. Don't point out the flaws or foibles of others, even in jest. Highlight the positive qualities you see them and verbalize your respect and admiration for these qualities.
We are all naturally attracted to those who see good things in us and make us feel like better people.
30. Give credit to others.
Don't try to take the credit for something that was a team effort. Never put someone else down in order to make yourself look better.
Praise the efforts of those around you and share your successes with people who have supported you. Let others bask in the sunshine rather than hogging it all for yourself.
31. Be grateful.
Don't take your friends for granted. Consider your friends with gratitude and express that gratitude to them with your words and actions. Everyone appreciates being valued.
If you feel like you have no friends, don't just fret and complain about it. Take action on these ideas so that you are in control of your social life and your happiness.
Doing so will help you foster relationships that have the necessary foundation for building lasting friendships.
Every action on this list is a vital part of being a good friend, so it's not easy to choose just one or two things to start out with. Instead, notice the points on this list where you have been weak in the past and address those so you don't repeat your mistakes.