‘Why do so many adults have no friends or only a few?’ and ‘How can I make new friends as an adult?’ are common questions people ask, especially when they are younger or if they also don’t have any friends.
If you are an adult who has no friends or only a few of them, you may be ashamed to admit it or feel like you are missing something. But you would be surprised at how common this ‘problem’ is.
It is normal not to have any friends as an adult. You are also not the only one who doesn’t have them – so many other adults don’t have friends, and some only have a few good ones. According to a recent survey, one in every five millennials has no friends.
But, ‘Why is that? Why do so many adults have no friends?’ You may wonder.
In your younger years, you probably had a lot of friends. So, what happened along the way to adulthood that made you lose them or affected your ability to make new friends as a grown-up?
In this post, we shall discuss some of the common reasons why so many adults don’t have friends or have only a few.
Since you may feel lonely because you have no friends, we shall also provide some tips to help you learn how to make new friends as an adult and how to maintain good friendships over time. Read on…
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10 Reasons Why So Many Adults Have No Friends
- Loss through death
Let’s start with the tough and inevitable cause of the loss of friends as you grow older, death. Loss through death is one of the reasons why many adults don’t have friends anymore, especially the elderly.
Unfortunately, you can never regain the friendships lost through death, and you will have to move on and learn how to make new friends as an adult, which can be difficult.
- They lost touch with their friends
One of the most common reasons why so many adults have no friends or only a few is that they lost touch with the ones they used to have, intentionally or unintentionally. Making new ones is also not a priority for most.
Adults have more responsibilities, making it harder to make time for their friends. You are probably too busy working, spending time with your family, building your life, and overcoming the various challenges you encounter.
Additionally, you may drift apart because you or your friends moved away to another town or country, have very different lives, lost each other’s contact details, or have changed over time and no longer have anything in common to talk about.
- Unresolved conflicts
Perhaps your friend wronged you, but you never told them what they did upset you, and you also did not forgive them. Or, maybe, you wronged someone but never apologized or made any other efforts to resolve the conflict.
Misunderstandings and unresolved conflicts are among the most common reasons why so many adults have no friends because many people hold on to grudges even years later.
If you want to maintain long-lasting friendships in adulthood, learn to communicate what upsets you, forgive people, apologize when you are wrong, and be willing to change bad behavior.
Most of the things people refuse to let go of are not worth losing a good friend over and can easily be resolved.
- They prefer solitude
When you are younger, your parents, teachers, and situations could make you want to have friends in order to fit in and feel like you belong somewhere.
Now that you are older, having friends is not mandatory, and not everyone feels lonely, left out, or bored for not having any friends.
Loners such as introverts and shy people may prefer solitude, which could be one of the reasons why so many adults have no friends or only a few.
They no longer have to make friends or spend time with anyone else if they don’t want to, and that’s okay for them.
- They cut the toxic friends off
Although it is important to have friends and try to maintain long-lasting friendships in adulthood, not all types of friends deserve to be in your life.
Adults can easily spot toxic friends who don’t add value to their lives better than children. As such, one of the main reasons why so many adults have no friends or only a few is that they cut the toxic ones out of their lives.
Unfortunately, being burnt by these bad friends in the past can make it harder for adults to trust and let other people into their lives to make new friends in the future. Not having friends could then become an act of self-preservation.
- They pushed their friends away
Do you push the people you love away? One of the reasons why so many adults have no friends, especially in their 20s and 30s, is that they pushed them away.
You could push your friends away due to being toxic, unwillingness to be vulnerable with them, failure to stay in touch, high expectations, and lack of support.
You may also push your friends away because you want to isolate yourself when struggling with something, such as mental health issues, family problems, or financial difficulties. You don’t want to burden others or bring other people’s moods down while hanging out with them, so you stay away.
- Lack of opportunities to make friends
When you are young, there are numerous places you can meet other kids to play, talk, and do other activities. For example, school, church, playgrounds, camps, sleepovers, and parties are excellent places to meet new people, make friends, and strengthen bonds with existing friendships.
As an adult, these opportunities may no longer exist. People work too much, whether at home or in the office, and rarely attend events or go to places conducive to the formation of long-lasting friendships.
Additionally, your and your friends’ schedules may never align to make it possible to meet up. And while you can make friends in places like the bar, these friendships may only last for the duration you are there.
Lack of opportunities to hang out and meet new people is one of the main reasons why so many adults have no friends or have only a few.
- They changed
They say that change is the only constant in life. It is, therefore, inevitable you and your old friends will change as you grow older, physically and mentally.
Change is one of the reasons why so many adults have no friends anymore. You may no longer have anything in common with your friends, thus making your friendship difficult to maintain in adulthood.
- Independence and self-reliance
Kids need to learn new things about themselves and the world as they grow older. And for this, they need help from others, such as their friends, parents, and teachers.
They cannot survive alone, not only because they lack the financial capacity but also because they lack enough knowledge, skills, and other tools to do things by themselves.
Adults don’t have such limitations. You already know the basics about most things and can easily learn what you don’t know without having to interact with others to ask for help. You most likely also have a way of making money and a place to live.
As such, one of the reasons why most adults have no friends is due to their independence and self-reliance. They can be without friends and still do just fine because they have the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to survive by themselves.
- They are in toxic relationships
Sometimes, one may not lose friends or fail to make new ones because they want it that way. Abusive controlling partners are the reasons why some adults have no friends.
Their toxic partners may isolate them from others and be overprotective. They may not want them to interact with anyone else and could manipulate them into thinking their friends are bad.
Negative Effects of Having No Friends as an Adult
Some people may be just fine not having friends. But though having and making new friends may not be a priority for most adults, it can be disadvantageous not to have any.
Examples of the negative effects of having no friends as an adult include;
- Loneliness and isolation
Without friends to spend time with, support you, or do activities with, your chances of feeling lonely and isolated will increase.
Unfortunately, research indicates that loneliness and isolation often lead to depression and anxiety.
READ ALSO: 10 Simple Ways to Live a Healthy Life
- Lack of social skills
Interactions with others are how we develop social skills such as communication, conflict resolution, cooperation, active listening, empathy, and self-awareness. Therefore, one of the effects of having no friends as an adult is the lack of social skills due to no or fewer human interactions.
- Lack of a support system
No man is an island; we all need each other. One of the negative effects of having no friends as an adult is that you will only have yourself to rely on, and sometimes, you may not be enough.
You may need people to provide various types of support, namely, emotional, tangible, informational, and appraisal support. These can be finances, advice, a shoulder to cry on, reviews, and connections, among many other things.
- Decreased creativity
If you have no friends or family, you may have nobody to share your thoughts and ideas with; hence having a hard time coming up with new ideas or knowing whether the ones you have are good or bad. The decreased creativity is one of the main negative effects of having no friends as an adult.
- Less interesting memories
When you look back at your past, what do you remember? What are your memories of your time in high school or college?
For most people, memories of past good times often involve others. If you have no friends, one of the negative effects is that your memories may not be as happy or as interesting to look back on.
While there are many ways to be happy alone, friends can contribute much to your happiness. You can do a lot of fun activities that will make your life exciting and interesting, thus, creating better memories to look back on and share with others later.
How to Make New Friends as an Adult
While it is not easy to make friends as an adult, it is possible.
If you have no friends and want to make new long-lasting friendships, you are taking a positive step that will improve your life and overall well-being.
Friends contribute to our happiness, growth, and sense of fulfillment in life. And as you have seen above, not having them can have negative consequences.
Here’s how to make new friends as an adult easily;
- Get out of the house or office more and talk to strangers.
- Join a gym, book club, sports team, or any other place where there are likely to be like-minded people.
- Attend events or parties and have deep, meaningful conversations with those in attendance.
- Use apps such as Bumble, MeetUp, Facebook, and more to meet new people.
- Participate in community projects.
- Interact with your neighbors, fellow parents, colleagues, and local shop owners.
- Go on group trips for solo travelers.
- Volunteer at a non-profit organization, hospital, nursing home, or animal shelter.
- Take a group class for things such as cooking, yoga, pottery, music, or painting.
- Turn your acquaintances into friends by sharing your likes and dislikes, spending more time with them, being open, caring about them, and including them.
How to Maintain Friendships in Adulthood
Now that you know how to make new friends as an adult, don’t lose these ones too. It will probably not be easy or possible to always stay in touch with your friends due to the above-discussed reasons.
Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean you should stop trying to make and keep more good friends in your life. After all, you have seen the negative effects of having no friends as an adult and you most likely don’t want to face the consequences.
Below are some of the best ways to maintain friendships in adulthood;
- Communicate regularly
- Plan to do activities together, preferably in person, but virtually is also okay
- Be supportive, caring, and accepting
- Resolve conflicts as soon as possible
- Be honest
- Trust and be vulnerable with them
- Be authentic
- Manage your expectations of your friends
- Reciprocate the energy you receive
- Respect each other’s boundaries
You now know the reasons why so many adults have no friends or only a few, the effects of not having friends, how to keep more good friends in your life, and how to make new ones when you are a grown-up.
However, even as you look for ways to make new friends and maintain friendships in adulthood, you must be intentional about it and filter out any toxic ones.
Remember that the number of friends you have doesn’t matter as much as their quality. Not everyone deserves to be your friend.
As an adult, you probably already know that it is better not to have any friends than to have many bad ones. So, be selective with the people you let into your life; but do let people in and try to make long-lasting friendships as an adult.
Read more articles from Aisles of Life here.