Feel Like Friends Are Useless? Reasons Why & What to Do

Scientifically reviewed by Viktor Sander B.Sc., B.A.

“I don’t like having friends. I don’t have the energy, and it just feels pointless. Listening to people talk about their problems is boring, and I have a good time hanging out by myself. Am I really weird, or is it OK not to want any friends?”

If you have no friends and you like it that way, you may decide to leave things the way they are. You may decide that your life is full enough with work or school, family, and hobbies. But if you’re reading this article, you may be second-guessing your feelings regarding friendships. You may be wondering whether making friends would be a good thing after all, but feel unsure how to change your attitude.

Some people believe they cannot maintain friendships, so they convince themselves that friendships aren’t important. Or they may not have seen good models of friendships, so they can’t see the benefits of having friends.

The truth is that while there is nothing wrong with deciding not to have friends, healthy friendships can enrich your life.[1] Ideally, you would decide whether to have friends from a confident place instead of fear.

Below are some common reasons why you may have decided that friendships aren’t important, and what you can do about it if you want to give making friends a chance.

Sections

  1. Reasons why you may feel like friends are useless
  2. How to change your attitude toward friendships
  3. Common questions

Reasons why you may feel like friends are useless

1. You’ve had bad friends

If the friends you’ve had in your life have hurt you or been incompatible in some other way, you may have correctly felt that you would be better off without them. But if they are your only model for friendship, as a consequence, you may have incorrectly assumed that every friendship isn’t real.

Of course, it makes sense that you don’t want any friends if you’ve had bad friends in the past or if you have seen bad models for friendships (like the relationships you saw growing up). Friends that put you down, gossip about you, or betray your trust in other ways can leave long-lasting emotional scars.

We have an article with 24 signs to tell fake friends from real friends that can help you understand if you are truly better off without your current friends.

2. You believe you need to be extremely independent

You may have developed a belief that relying on people or asking for help is a sign of weakness. You may struggle to show emotions and have an aversion to appearing “needy”. As a result, you may push people away without even realizing it.

People may develop such beliefs from growing up in homes where help and emotional connection weren’t reliably available.[2] For example, one study showed that mothers that were coached to be more responsive to their infants led to an increase in their social and emotional development.[2] Kids can often learn very quickly not to turn to their parents for affection.

Further studies show that even those who declare that they are comfortable with no close relationships (known as “avoidant attachment” in psychology research) feel better after being told that they are accepted by others or that they would succeed in relationships.[3] This shows that having friendships can even benefit those who do not feel they need them.

3. You’re an introvert

You may feel that friends are a waste of time if you prefer to spend time by yourself. Some people get drained more easily by social contact.

If you’re one of these people, you may need or want a lot of time by yourself.

Many of us need to spend time with others through school or work. Let’s say you’re surrounded by people all day at school, and then you have a customer service job where you need to handle clients. You may be so drained that you don’t have the energy for friends at the end of the day.

In these cases, spending your free time by yourself may be more appealing than spending time with friends.

4. You fear rejection

Fear of rejection can show up many times during friendships. You may fear approaching people and getting turned down or laughed at.

Or you may find that you feel confident talking to new people but are afraid to open up and have friends reject you once they get to know “the real you.”

Getting rejected by friends can indeed be particularly painful after we take the time and effort to get to know each other. Yet like many other areas in life, the bigger the risk is, the more rewarding it feels. Getting to know someone deeply can be an extraordinary experience that is worth risking rejection. Read our guide on what to do if you feel rejected by friends.

5. You judge people harshly

You may have high expectations of people, leading to a lack of desire to be someone’s friend once you perceive their flaws.

It’s good to have standards, but it’s important to remember that no one is perfect. Someone can be a good friend even if they have qualities that you find annoying or opinions you disagree with.

How to change your attitude toward friendships

1. Make a list of things you can gain from friendships

Sometimes we need to take a closer look at things to be able to appreciate them properly. It can help to write down some things you may be able to gain from investing in friendships.

Some things people often get from friendships are:

  • Someone to do activities with, like taking trips, exercising together, or playing group games.
  • Having someone to laugh with. Daily activities can be more fun when there’s shared laughter involved.
  • Support: someone you can talk to about your troubles and who will remind you of your strengths and support you.
  • Someone who will be there when you need help, say if you need help moving.
  • Having someone to challenge you. Good friends can motivate you to be better.
  • Getting a new perspective of life by learning how others see the world. Through friendships, we can gain a more profound understanding of other opinions and experiences.
  • Having someone who sees and accepts you can be very uplifting.

2. Make sure you have enough alone time

Every friendship needs a good balance between time spent together and time spent separately. In some cases, a good friend may want to spend more time together than you’re comfortable with.

Make sure to schedule some time for yourself to spend time alone. If your friends keep asking you to meet up during these times, read our guide on how to respond if a friend always wants to hang out.

3. Work on noticing peoples’ good traits

Try this exercise: every day for two weeks, write down positive things about people you met. Write down at least three things about a person or about several people you met during the day. While doing this, you can also imagine why they behaved the way they did.

Doing this exercise can help you see the best in people, which may lead to seeing how having people with these traits may positively impact your life.

Related: How to make friends if you hate everyone.

4. Work with a therapist or coach

A therapist, counselor, or coach can help you understand why you don’t see the value in friendships and address any past wounds that you may want to work through.

Therapists are used to tackling topics like fear of intimacy, abandonment wounds, trust issues, and various other topics that may get in the way of forming fulfilling relationships in life. To find a therapist, try BetterHelp.

Common questions

Is it healthy to have no friends?

Loneliness and social isolation can harm your mental and physical health.[4] But some people find they get enough connection with family members, a romantic partner, or pets and don’t feel an additional need for friends. However, friends may be a positive addition to your life.

Is it OK to be a loner?

It’s OK to live your life however you want. Some people prefer to spend a lot of time alone, while others like to spend more time with other people. Each preference is OK and normal.

Is it normal to not want to have friends?

It’s normal to go through periods of not wanting to make friends. However, if your lack of desire for friends is long-lasting or comes from hurt or trauma, it may be worth re-examining. There’s nothing wrong with you, but friendships may add happiness to your life.

Why do I think I don’t need friends?

You may have been raised to be highly independent. As a result, you may have a belief that relying on others is weak. You may want to be close to other people but not know how to do it, and tell yourself it’s better not to try. Or you may have a natural preference for your own company.

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David Morin is the founder of SocialPro. He's been writing about social skills since 2012. Follow on Twitter or read more.

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