Friendship is the gift that keeps on giving, which is why it can feel so utterly demoralizing when it is not forthcoming.
If you have no one you can call a true friend, the loneliness can be hard to bear, but there are things you can do to remedy the situation.
Whether you feel you have no friends at all, or just no friends at school, in college, or at work, you should not let yourself believe that you are unlikable.
You just have to examine the possible reasons why you haven’t yet befriended anyone, and seek to address them.
The first step is to look inwards at your own life.
Note: if you’re actually an outgoing and social person, but your personal situation has changed and you miss having friends around you – maybe you’ve relocated, left work to have a baby, recently retired, or something else – the advice in this article is still relevant to you and worth taking on board.
So one answer to the question, “why do I have no friends?” is that you are unknowingly sabotaging your own efforts.
- Are You Blocking New Friendships?
- Have You Been Giving People The Wrong Message?
- Social Skills Are Learned And Need To Be Practiced
- Handy Hints To Help You Find New Friends
- Numbers don’t matter
- Look beyond the barriers of age, race, class, and gender
- Make friends online, but don’t let them be your only friends
- Turn your passions into sources of new friends
- Build a social circle by cross-introducing friends
- Aim for friendships that have a deeper connection
- Don’t Go Chasing Friends
- What to Do When You Have No Friends and Feel Lonely
- 1. Write Your Goals
- 2. Beat Procrastination
- 3. Celebrate Small Wins
- 4. Practice Gratitude
- 5. Be Optimistic
- 6. Don’t Dwell on the Past
- 7. Face your Fears
- 8. Visualize your Success
- 9. Find Inspiration
- 10. Enjoy Downtime
- 11. Meditate Regularly
- The Bottom Line
- More Tips About Staying Motivated
- Read This If You Feel You Have No Friends
- I tend to blame myself for my loneliness. I have a high expectation of what a friend should be — that they will put in as much effort as I do and will not force me to have to make all plans and conversations
- It’s very overwhelming because I can’t just see someone and run up and introduce myself. There is an invisible barrier that stops me
- I feel lonely and ashamed that I don’t have any friends
- 10 Things That Having Zero Friends Will Teach You And What It Taught Me
- You Only Evolve When You Break Your Cocoon
- 1. It Will Increase Your Accountability
- 2. It Will Develop Your Decision Making Skills
- 3. It Will Exercise Your Risk Muscle
- 4. It Will Nudge You to Pursue Personal Growth
- 5. It Will Make You Realize The Need to Learn
- 6. It Will Force You To Question Your Future
- 7. It Will Make You See the Beauty Around You
- 8. It Will Develop Your Courage
- 9. It Will Allow You to Expand Yourself
- 10. It Will Make You A Better Friend
- Be A Friend That Anyone Wishes To Have
Are You Blocking New Friendships?
If you’re reading this article, chances are you are lacking in friends and quite often feel lonely. So it might seem strange to ask whether you are actually preventing new friendships from forming.
You want more friends, so why the hell would you be getting in your own way?
Well, the answer is that you might not even realize that you are doing it.
The mind is a complex beast and many of the things we do come from a place far below that of consciousness. We do them automatically, without thinking, and without considering how they might be affecting our lives.
These behaviors, which are hidden from you, normally form because of some unresolved personal issues.
You don’t need to have experienced major emotional or physical trauma or abuse to hold some deep hurt within your unconscious mind.
Seemingly unimportant events from your past can affect your present mindset and cause you to put up barriers to friendship.
Perhaps you were raised in an environment that encouraged independence and self-preservation which now means you don’t feel able to rely on other people for anything – including friendship or fun.
Maybe you have been let down by people in the past and you are trying desperately to prevent that same feeling of hurt from happening again. You fear betrayal and disappointment, so you keep people at arm’s length in order to avoid such real risks.
Do you simply feel unworthy of the friendship of others because you suffered from bullying and harassment during your early years?
These are just three examples of how you might be putting up mental obstacles to forming meaningful friendships.
The beliefs you hold and the thoughts they give rise to can make it difficult for other people to make friends with you. Ask yourself if this might be the case in your life.
Have You Been Giving People The Wrong Message?
People are usually quite open to making new friends, but they have to feel that the other person wants to be their friend too.
They assess the situation by reading the signs before choosing whether or not to try and forge a connection with that person.
So, you need to be asking yourself whether you are giving off the wrong signals to those around you who might be potential friends.
Do you shun invitations to social events? Have you done so in the past? If so, you have to realize that people will soon stop asking if you keep rejecting them.
They will just assume that you are either not interested or that you have better things to do.
Then there’s your body language and the influence it can have on other people.
If you appear closed off with arms crossed and head down, it doesn’t fill people with confidence about coming and talking to you.
If you look you don’t want to engage, they will steer clear to avoid a socially awkward interaction or potential rejection; after all, they are human beings too.
When someone does speak to you, how do you respond? People conversations that flow naturally and that don’t feel forced.
If you give blunt replies and neglect to make any attempt at prolonging the discussion, the silences will soon have them saying their goodbyes.
You may also (article continues below):
Social Skills Are Learned And Need To Be Practiced
Once you have figured out how you might be standing in the way of new friendships, you have to address the issues you have uncovered.
As with any skill, you have to take steps to learn the basics of socializing and then practice every day to become better at it.
You can start as small as you , even as little as saying hello to a familiar face once a day, but the more often you try, the faster you’ll see results.
You should choose activities that address the particular areas you highlighted in step one.
So if your independence is getting in the way of potential friendships, you should try asking for help as often as possible; start off with tiny things and build up from there.
If you normally decline the offer of a quick after-work drink, why not ask if you can tag along next time your colleagues head off to the bar.
You only have to stay for one drink before leaving, but you’ll get to know them so much better in a social situation that you ever will in the work environment.
If conversations don’t come easily to you, perhaps memorize a short list of cues that you can use if the dialogue dries up.
Make them generic topics what someone did at the weekend or what their plans are for the next holiday in the calendar.
Simple things this can prolong a chat and build the first threads of a bond between you and another.
Handy Hints To Help You Find New Friends
There are a number of things you ought to take into consideration when trying to make new friends.
Numbers don’t matter
When you have zero friends, the number that you are able to make doesn’t really matter. A single friend is better than none.
So don’t worry about trying to form a connection with lots of different people at once; focus your efforts on a small number – perhaps just one or two – and then slowly work your way up from there.
If you find that you can’t keep friends after making them, ask whether you are spreading yourself too thin in terms of the time and attention you are giving people.
This is especially important when you first make friends with someone. Regular contact and connection is what forges strong bonds.
Look beyond the barriers of age, race, class, and gender
As an adult with no friends, it can be easy to think that you are most ly to make friends with those who are of a similar age, social background, or gender, but the truth is that these things matter less than you think.
What matters is shared interests, shared values, and compatible personalities.
So don’t limit yourself when seeking new friends; go beyond the barriers that keep people apart and discover a whole world of potential companions.
Make friends online, but don’t let them be your only friends
With millions of varied forums, groups, chat rooms, websites, and other places for online engagement, it is often easier to find -minded people through this digital medium.
This is not a bad thing by any means, and it can help you to practice your social skills in a safe environment, but don’t rely too heavily on friendships of this type.
Turn your passions into sources of new friends
Shared interests are often good building blocks for a budding companionship, so why not take the activities you enjoy doing and turn them into a way to make new friends?
Use services meetup.com to find -minded people/groups in your area and then join them to indulge in the things you all find fun.
This tip is so simple, you’ll have a social life in no time.
Build a social circle by cross-introducing friends
Once you have made one or two friends, you could help strengthen the bonds you have with them by introducing them to each other.
If they enjoy your company, there is a reasonable chance that they will enjoy each other’s too. This is especially true if you all share interests or have similar temperaments.
Do this successfully and you will have created a circle of friends which is more resilient and ly to last.
Aim for friendships that have a deeper connection
There are different types of friendship and one key way in which they vary is in the level of intimacy present.
Superficial friends are far easier to come by than those where you feel comfortable opening up and sharing your darkest thoughts.
When you seek to make new friends, it can be tempting to opt for a more surface-level connection, one which carries fewer risks and is easier/quicker to form.
The friendships that matter most, however, are those handful that stand the test of time and enhance your life in a major way.
So try to turn one or two of the friends you make into close friends.
Don’t Go Chasing Friends
It’s important that you don’t try too hard to make someone your friend if there is no real connection there.
Chasing people and trying to force friendship upon them is never going to work.
So while you should always give people a good amount of time to see if there is the potential for the deeper connection we just spoke about, know when to call it quits.
It’s a bit dating; if it doesn’t feel a serious relationship (in this case a friendship) is on the cards after a short while, you don’t have to feel guilty when parting ways.
Right now, as you’re reading this, it may seem to you as though you have no real friends and no one s you. Just remember that it doesn’t have to be this way.
You have the power within you to forge new friendships and create a social network of people you hold dear.
It takes time and determination to build those bonds of companionship, but once you have, the rewards are great.
Check out this hypnotherapy MP3 designed to help someone make new friends in their life.
Click here to learn more.
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What to Do When You Have No Friends and Feel Lonely
Last Updated on March 25, 2020
How many times have you not achieved your goals and let yourself down due to your lack of motivation? When you’re not wallowing in sadness and self-pity, you are too busy procrastinating till you can’t anymore and before you know it, you are part of vicious cycle of anxiety and stress.
Whether it’s losing weight or bringing your business to fruition – motivation is essential for growth and success in every sphere of our lives.
That said, it is not easy staying motivated. In order to constantly stay motivated, you need to take ownership of your life and consciously make efforts in that direction.
Well, it’s never too late to take matters in your hands and change the course of your life. Here are 11 effective ways to crush your lack of motivation and always stay motivated:
1. Write Your Goals
The power of writing goals down has always been underestimated. Why write when you can remember, right? Wrong.
Our thoughts are all over the place and the first step to achieve your goals is to organize your thoughts. So, write your goals down, however big or small they might be. Make them as specific as possible and assign deadlines to each of them.
As you write them down and revisit them regularly, they get further drilled in your head, taking you closer to your goals. Doing this small exercise helps you to remain focused, motivated and lets you track your progress with ease.
Start today – take to your laptop or a diary and get down to writing what you wish to achieve in life.
2. Beat Procrastination
Your lack of motivation and procrastination go hand in hand. Every time you procrastinate, your motivation levels take a greater hit. The only way to bring an end to this loop is to stop procrastinating.
Next time you find yourself putting off something for ‘later’, stop and assess the reasons behind it. Get to the root of the cause and eliminate it in order to overcome this poor habit of procrastinating which is sabotaging your life and mental health.
Take a look at this guide and learn how to beat procrastination:
What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating)
When you finally overcome procrastination, you will realize the positive impact it has on your mood and motivation levels.
3. Celebrate Small Wins
In the quest to achieve the bigger goals in life, we often forget to celebrate the smaller wins along the way. An achievement is an achievement – be it big or small, it deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated.
Finished a project on time? Reward yourself. Managed to run on the treadmill for a good one hour? Pat yourself on the back. Found time to meditate? Celebrate it.
It is these small achievements that reinstate that we are on the right path and take us one step closer to the bigger goals.
So, get into the habit of recognizing and appreciating small wins. You will be surprised to see how this practice helps you stay motivated.
4. Practice Gratitude
It’s easier to whine about what we don’t have rather than counting our blessings. Isn’t it?
Making gratefulness a part of your life is a very important step to retain high motivational levels. It revitalizes our spirits and renews our enthusiasm for life.
So, how do you practice gratitude? For starters, keep a gratitude journal to jot down what you are grateful for, express your gratitude to people you love and spread positivity wherever you go. If you need some inspiration to be thankful for, here it is:
60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life
By doing so, you begin to focus more on what you have rather than what you don’t and that is a great start to stay motivated.
5. Be Optimistic
Life is not always hunky dory. There will be bad days when things aren’t going in your favor, when you feel lost and all you want to do is give up.
At such times, instead of letting negativity take over your life, adopt an optimistic approach to life. Quit overthinking, ask the right questions and focus on finding solutions.
Yes, there will be hurdles along the way but if you hang on to positive affirmations and hopes, the journey will be a lot smoother. So, with every passing day, sow the seeds of positivity and you are sure to build a positive environment around you.
6. Don’t Dwell on the Past
A lot of times, our lack of motivation stems from the habit of dwelling on the past. This gives rise to fear and regrets, preventing us from making progress in the present day.
Dwelling on the past is nothing but a waste of time. Understand that the past is long gone, and you cannot do anything to change that.
What you can do is make your present day worthwhile. Instead of looking back and having regrets, learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself and move on.
So, the next time you find your mind wandering off to the past, be determined to change the way you think and consciously concentrate on living in the present. This guide can help you:
10 Simple Steps To Let Go Of The Past
7. Face your Fears
You can never find motivation where there is fear. Identify the fear that is pulling you back and tackle it.
If you don’t face your fear head on, you cannot expect to conquer it and renew your motivation.
Ask yourself: What is stopping you? What are you scared of?
Once you accept your fear, you can work on an action plan and think of solutions to overcome it. This article will give you some effective tips on conquering your fears:
How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)
Seek external help if required but don’t choose to turn a blind eye over your fears – it will only aggravate matters.
8. Visualize your Success
You must have heard the famous quote, ‘see it to believe it’. That is exactly what visualization is about.
One of the most effective self-motivation techniques, visualizing the process to your desired outcome helps you move in a positive direction and achieve your goal.
Close your eyes and focus all your energies on the minutest of details that will take you where you want to reach. Doing this exercise everyday inspires you to keep going and not lose hope. The vision of attaining success will drive you to do better while instilling belief and confidence.
9. Find Inspiration
Can’t seem to find inspiration inwards? Don’t panic. There are plenty of external sources to gain inspiration from.
From motivational books and quotes to speeches, films and apps – it is a good idea to take help from motivational material to rekindle your spirits and regain your motivation.
Everyone is wired differently. For instance, a self-help book might work for your friend, but it might do nothing to move you. So, find what inspires you and turn to it when you are in desperate need for motivation.
Finding inspiration externally fills you with hope and sometimes that is all you need.
10. Enjoy Downtime
You are clearly exhausted with all the running you’re doing in life. So much, that you don’t even have time to stop and think what’s causing you so much unhappiness. All you know is that you are lacking motivation and everyday seems to have become a struggle.
Now, that’s certainly not how you should live the rest of your life.
You need to schedule downtime for yourself, relax and give your mind and body some rest. Take a vacation, indulge in hobbies, meet some friends, put your hair down and stop with all the overthinking. It is important to do things that make you happy in order to think clearly and stay motivated.
11. Meditate Regularly
Meditation lets you take control of your mind. It improves focus and concentration while helping you relax.
Whenever you have had a tough day or find your thoughts going places, the best way to calm yourself down is by closing your eyes and meditating. It helps you to remove all the unnecessary frills in life and keeps you on the right track.
Include meditation in your daily schedule and you are sure to see an improvement in your productivity and motivation.
The Bottom Line
Practicing these simple exercises isn’t the tough part, what’s tough is religiously doing them every day.
However, don’t expect to get rid of your lack of motivation overnight. There will still be days when you will be low on energy but by making these conscious efforts to stay motivated, you are sure to see a vast change in your perspective and your response to bad days.
So, start today and be committed to making a positive change in your life.
More Tips About Staying Motivated
Featured photo credit: Sonnie Hiles via unsplash.com
Read This If You Feel You Have No Friends
“Just go and say hi.”
“It’s not that hard.”
“They won’t bite.”
Oh the joys that come when you have to explain to a person why you have no friends, or few friends, and why it is so hard for you to socialize.
I have always found it hard to be around people. I find that I don’t understand social cues and I can ramble on too much. I feel I get too attached to people and it scares them away, so I instead will avoid starting conversations and then get upset that I’m so lonely.
It wasn’t always this way. There have been short periods of my life where I have made lots of friends, usually when drunk, yet none of these friendships lasted. It’s left me insecure.
Despite all the countless friends I have had in my life, only one remains in contact and cares for me and the other is my husband. Can we count my dog too?
Now it’s stressful for me because I want to talk to people other than my husband, have days out with friends, and I also feel bad for relying on my only one friend, who is a gem but busy, so I tend to keep a distance as I don’t want to be a bother.
People tell me it’s easy to start a conversation, but it makes me feel so sick that if I try to talk, my voice will disappear. I can’t even type because my fingers will freeze. If someone tries to talk to me I get so caught off guard that I say something so wrong that it gives them a bad impression.
I tend to blame myself for my loneliness. I have a high expectation of what a friend should be — that they will put in as much effort as I do and will not force me to have to make all plans and conversations
If a person never makes time for me then I can’t class them as a friend, yet I get given the whole ‘busy’ adult excuse, which I understand but if you really care about someone, you’d make an effort at least once a month to see or talk to them surely?
For me, I could move countries and it wouldn’t be noticed. I never get texts outside from family and only a message once in a while from that one friend. I’m pretty sure if I died not many people would notice, as sad as that sounds, this is how little I am checked on or seen by people in my real life.
It makes me feel so immature to let it bother me because I feel there seriously has to be a problem with me, I am a built-in person repeller. Why is it so hard for me to make and maintain friendships? Am I not kind, am I really strange?
Whatever it is, adult loneliness is a serious thing and it isn’t just the disabled or elderly, it’s those with mental health as well who can’t start friendships or join groups.
To me, it’s a big thing to even say hi, usually in a squeaky voice, because I’ll be too busy analyzing the person and overthinking. I can’t even go out and make friends because I struggle to leave the house and I would struggle to commit to a group as a hobby.
For me to start a conversation, I have to think about everything. What are their intentions? What is their story? Who are they? What will the conversation be ? How will I talk? What will I say?
It’s very overwhelming because I can’t just see someone and run up and introduce myself. There is an invisible barrier that stops me
There are times when this loneliness has made me suicidal. I can’t imagine how I’d cope without my husband or that one friend. It makes me think, if this is so bad for me, what about those worse off? Are they ok? We need to do more to help the lonely.
I ask that you make an extra effort for your friends with a mental illness, take them for coffee or watch a movie at their house, that’d make my day for sure. If they are bad at conversation then don’t take it personally.
“,”author”:null,”date_published”:”2018-04-24T15:25:53.000Z”,”lead_image_url”:”https://thoughtcatalog.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/26641857290_5b3caea808_o.jpg?w=1200&resize=1200,800&quality=95&strip=all&crop=1″,”dek”:null,”next_page_url”:null,”url”:”https://thoughtcatalog.com/charlotte-underwood/2018/04/read-this-if-you-feel–you-have-no-friends/”,”domain”:”thoughtcatalog.com”,”excerpt”:”I feel I get too attached to people and it scares them away, so I instead will avoid starting conversations and then get upset that Iâm so lonely.”,”word_count”:724,”direction”:”ltr”,”total_pages”:1,”rendered_pages”:1}
I feel lonely and ashamed that I don’t have any friends
The dilemma I’m 40 and a full-time working mother of two teenagers. I have zero friends and few acquaintances. Spending time with my husband and children used to quell any feelings of loneliness, but that’s no longer enough. My lack of friendships is making me feel inadequate.
I want a group of girlfriends I can confide in and connect with – even a single friend would mean so much. I get tearful when I see groups of friends out and about. I had a lot of good friends in school, but I let them fall by the wayside as I felt I didn’t deserve them.
I didn’t have good self-esteem and for the most part, still don’t. My husband always comments on my lack of friendships, which makes me feel worse. I’m terrified of being ‘outed’ to my colleagues and relatives as friendless – and I don’t keep any social media accounts because of this fear.
Please help me before I’m too old to go out and make friends.
Mariella replies First, congratulations are in order. You’ve negotiated your way through some of the trickiest stages of adult life without back up.
To have maintained your marriage all these years without friends to offload your frustrations on; to have raised teenagers without mates to empathise, sympathise and offer counselling, and to be a full-time worker without pals to moan to over a bottle of wine means you should be feeling very proud.
My instinct is that “zero friends and few acquaintances” could be more of a skewed perception of your situation than the harsh reality. It may be that the terrain you’re occupying isn’t quite as bleak as you imagine it to be, but let’s come to that a little later.
In a society in which for many of us friends are in pole position and who at times are valued even more highly than spouses is, as you identify, certainly something to mourn.
I don’t want to make you feel worse, but when I consider the low points of my life to date, without the kindness, care and devotion of a small cluster of female friends to give me ballast, I wonder if I would have survived without seriously falling apart.
If you’ve managed all of the above, you are certainly a survivor and an extremely capable person with much to offer those who manage to get close to you. It begs the question of why you are keeping others at arm’s length.
At some point it has to have been a conscious decision to hunker down and go nuclear in terms of family life.
Husband , two kids and a closed shop is what you seem to have constricted yourself to and I can’t help speculating about whether there’s more to this than your short letter describes.
Self-esteem is not something a pithy response from me will alleviate and if it’s at such low levels that it’s impacting on your ability to interact with your contemporaries then professional help should be taken.
A visit to your GP is a good first step. Also consider cognitive behavioural therapy, which has been proved to have a beneficial effect on everything from menopause to stress.
You’ll find a practitioner with the help of your GP.
I’m surprised that your husband, who of all people must be well aware of how much the issue causes you concern, would think it productive to raise it as a criticism.
I don’t want to pour oil on troubled waters, but it could be seen as slightly bullying and I just want to point it out in case his behaviour is exacerbating the situation.
I’m sure he’s a great guy and all is well, but if you’re feeling isolated and the person you live with seems to rejoice in pointing it out there’s something wrong.
Proactive behaviour will eventually earn you the results you’re after
You are clearly capable of making friends, as your school experience illustrates. Having let them go I wonder if part of the problem has been that you’ve failed to recognise their value until recently.
I wasn’t exaggerating when I expressed my awe at your ability to survive without mates; now I’d to see you do something about it.
Making new friends does, for some reason, become harder as we grow older, perhaps because we don’t wander far from the boundaries of our daily lives.
dating, making friends involves kissing some frogs and you need to be ready to make mistakes and display vulnerabilities. You have nothing to be ashamed of and everything to gain by stepping your domestic life to scout for buddies.
Whether you try a book group or a gym class, a drink with a colleague who catches your eye, or make a rendezvous as an act of kindness with someone who looks they need a shoulder to cry on, proactive behaviour will eventually earn you the results you’re after.
The world is full of people hoping and praying for connection with others, not just s on social media.
It’s as if you’ve neglected your own needs and over-inflated the dependency of your family. You have a job, kids and a husband, all of whom offer you an open door to making friends.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so stop letting your erroneous sense of shame prevent you from reaching out for that loveliest of blessings, someone who gets you.
I’d say good luck but it’s determination you need and the desire to change your situation, both of which I’d credit you with along with so much more.
If you have a dilemma, send a brief email to email@example.com. Follow her on @mariellaf1
“,”author”:”Mariella Frostrup”,”date_published”:”2019-08-04T04:59:11.000Z”,”lead_image_url”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/c738b1b6ea70e7bc3dd117a1a5915ee9ba49da39/386_15_3964_2378/master/3964.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=85&auto=format&fit=crop&overlay-align=bottom%2Cleft&overlay-width=100p&overlay-base64=L2ltZy9zdGF0aWMvb3ZlcmxheXMvdG8tZGVmYXVsdC5wbmc&enable=upscale&s=4d9a410713fa96eabc3c1d0738dfde2c”,”dek”:null,”next_page_url”:null,”url”:”https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/aug/04/i-feel-lonely-ashamed-i-dont-have-friends-dilemma”,”domain”:”www.theguardian.com”,”excerpt”:”To make friends you need to be ready to display your vulnerabilities, says Mariella Frostrup”,”word_count”:954,”direction”:”ltr”,”total_pages”:1,”rendered_pages”:1}
10 Things That Having Zero Friends Will Teach You And What It Taught Me
So you clicked this. Maybe the headline trickled your heart in a way.
Maybe you moved to a new place where you had to leave your friends and start afresh.
Maybe all of your friends got married and the usual time you have with them is no longer there.
Maybe you don’t connect with the old company you used to have.
Or you simply struggle to find the right sets of friends for you.
We all undergo a certain phase of life where something changes and we either adapt to it or dwell on the bad side of it.
Let it be clear that I am in no way advocating having zero friends or that you need to abandon your friends. Having zero friends is difficult to swallow, no doubt about that.
Many people feel sorry for themselves when they undergo a certain crisis in their lives. They think of it as a validation of themselves. They equate not having friends to rejection.
But too often, when you decide to flip an issue, there’s always good that will come it.
Friends are valuable blessings that can help us carry through any storm we face. As Anne Shirley puts it in the novel Anne of Green Gables, “True friends are always together in spirit.”
For this context, “friend” will mean your kindred spirit who you can physically bond with. Someone, you can call anytime to drink coffee together, share a meal, shop together or pursue the same activities.
These are people who are very, very close to you both in heart and in physical presence. They make you feel strong and being around them gives you that extra confidence to pursue anything.
Let’s be honest here. Even though friendship is not about the distance, most of us are longing for a physical company at certain times. It’s part of the biological makeup of a human being.
But what if, for certain circumstances, they become reach?
Do you simply wallow in pity or step up your game in this time of adversity?
You Only Evolve When You Break Your Cocoon
When I was young, my sisters tell me that if they have to color my life, it would be black and white. It’s not very colorful as they want it to be. That is until I met my friends.
My friends are undeniably one of my greatest blessings in life. They understand my situation and are always willing to compromise to help me. They picked me up when I got kicked out from my aunt’s house for standing my ground. They opened my eyes when my heart was full of bitterness.
It was really painful when I had to move to another country. The transition that I thought would be easy became harder than I expected. And for years, I wish I had my friends to help me walk through.
During the painful process, I have discovered and learned so many things that I will never learn during the times of comfort.
It may seem hard to accept in the beginning, but behind every pain, you evolve into a stronger person if you decide to overcome it.
1. It Will Increase Your Accountability
Friends act cheerleaders at times. But too much dependence on them is not a good thing either. We seek opinions and validations from them even though we can produce the answers.
When you walk alone, you increase your accountability to yourself. You have no one to blame for the actions you did or did not do. You recognize it is your responsibility whether you the results of your actions or not.
No other opinion colors your decision so you have no choice but to stand up for what you did. In the process, you become stronger and more careful in the future actions you make.
2. It Will Develop Your Decision Making Skills
Sometimes small decisions can be difficult to make. It’s extra challenging to decide on the coffee flavor, the shade of lipstick or even the new electronics to purchase.
Don’t worry because your friend saves the day. He/She can enumerate the list of why you must choose this versus that. So in the end, even though you want this, you choose that.
After all, you trust your friend’s instinct more than you trust yourself.
But you cannot use that as an excuse when you’re out there alone. You have to make your own decision your own wisdom. You cannot be pulled to follow the opinions of others.
At first, you will feel uncomfortable when deciding on your own. But as you get used to it, you become better over time.
You’re able to weigh the pros and cons of an issue. You’re able to make a judgment the information and experiences you have. By doing so, you increase the capacities of your higher-order thinking skills.
In the future, you become more confident to produce a quality decision. This does not only translate on simple stuff but also on big issues that require wise decisions.
3. It Will Exercise Your Risk Muscle
This alone time is the perfect opportunity to try new things. No one clouds your opinion whether you can do it or not. You’re not scared to look foolish. After all, not all friends have the same interests.
My journey of being alone started when I pursued graduate school. While my friends supported my decision, they cannot join me in my journey. I had to feel comfortable jumping from one class to another while adapting from different sets of classmates.
By being alone, you’ll see opportunities you’ve never seen before. You’ll learn yourself more as you try something new. You’ll face the challenges and struggles on your own.
You interpret “no” as “ON”. Instead of saying “no go”, you say “GO ON.”
Eventually, you become bolder, instead of playing it safe and never knowing you could have achieved your dream.
4. It Will Nudge You to Pursue Personal Growth
When everything seems comfortable, no one bothers to change a thing about himself.
When you’re alone, you’ll begin to think of your values. You’ll revisit areas of your life that need to work on. You’ll evaluate your performance if they meet your new standards.
Instead of ignoring or settling for less than you are, you take on a new path. You stretch your vision. You realize that your life can and will be much greater than it already is.
Each day would be an exciting opportunity for you to evolve.
For every minute of fun, you invest an hour’s worth of work to be the person you want to be.
Photo by Felix Russell-Saw on Unsplash
5. It Will Make You Realize The Need to Learn
Our friends cheer us up when we win and console us when we fail. We become complacent on our performance because the opinions that surround us are nothing but pleasant.
On your self-journey, you’ll discover areas of yourself that were deeply hidden before. You’ll see that there are many things to learn. You’ll realize that the more you learn, the more there are to learn.
At first, it will make you feel embarrassed. You won’t believe how much things you actually do not know. Resistance will try to prevent you from learning.
But you pursue learning anyway. After all, the only audience and critic you have at the moment is yourself. You accept your status as a novice and determined to master anything you want.
As Robert Herjavec has said:
“Before you can absorb the teachings of a master, you have to absorb a lot of advice and gather a lot of experience.”
6. It Will Force You To Question Your Future
When you decide that you can’t dwell on your misery, you begin to dream about your future. You craft the details in your head. You visualize where you want to end up.
Then, the important questions that were once ignored will start to come out again.
Who do you really want to be?
Is the path you’re taking the path you really want to be?
Are you willing to compromise the comfort of now for the better future you desire?
The answers will not be obvious right away. But you decide to take on the new path anyway.
You begin to take inventory of your capabilities and skills. You develop a game plan to improve your situation. You may not know the entire steps but the “how” will show up during the process.
From there, you become flexible on the different changes and factors that affect your journey.
7. It Will Make You See the Beauty Around You
Because your risk muscle starts to evolve, you’ll spot new adventures. You’ll go to unusual places that you’ve never tried before. You’ll explore the public library that was once part of your childhood. You’ll enjoy the ambiance of the park that you used to ignore.
You become aware of the significance of each person and thing around you. Life and time are both precious.
Every time you wallow in pity, you are robbing yourself the chance to enjoy what you have.
8. It Will Develop Your Courage
Being alone can help you become more independent. You don’t mind eating or shopping alone outside. Instead of dwelling on self-pity, you’ll remove the negative self-talk that you nurture inside. You’ll experience a sense of liberation.
When you go to places you’ve never been, you develop courage.
When you try things you never did, you develop courage.
When you exploit opportunities that scare you, you develop courage.
The way Harper Lee puts it in the novel, “To Kill A Mockingbird”,
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.
9. It Will Allow You to Expand Yourself
Sometimes we get so confined in one social circle that we lose sight of the bigger circle that needs us.
It’s not simply about having friends, it’s about being a friend to others.
When you learn this principle, you don’t chase friends anymore. You become friend to other people who need your presence. You embody the definition of a friend.
Instead of limiting yourself to few people, you volunteer to organizations that need your help. You give yourself the opportunity to let others see the good in you. You become available for others not because they ask but because you understand their need.
10. It Will Make You A Better Friend
The journey you are in right now will help you realize the old practices you used to have as a friend.
Instead of deciding for your friends, you’ll help them form their own decisions. Instead of restricting their capabilities, you’ll encourage them to explore their potentials. Instead of convincing them to settle on what they know, you’ll inspire them to learn more.
You don’t become an enabler you once used to be. You become a friend who actually helps them transform themselves.
It will only happen when you reach the inner fulfillment of being a friend to yourself.
Be A Friend That Anyone Wishes To Have
Having friends around can be very delightful. You have great companies that will share your triumphs and pain.
But life often presents us with many twists and turns which are meant to test our endurance. This phase of your life will test how you can transform yourself into a better you.
Don’t consider this as a defeat, rather, an opportunity to know yourself more.
In the future, when you look back, you’ll be happy that you chose to see the good things in this situation. Because you overcame the pain, you become the right friend that anyone wishes to have.
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