I Have No Friends7 min read

Within the last week, the YouTube algorithm has decided to show me 3 videos of different people (usually between late teens to mid-30s) who say they have no friends.

As of writing this, it is November 2022, more than 2 years since the Covid pandemic started.

Check out this genuine and kind girl who breaks down in tears as she reflects on her life from elementary school through college realizing she never had a girlfriend she felt close with.

At the beginning of the video, she mentions that she is recording the video on a Saturday at 6 pm, when people her age would probably be hanging out with their friends. Ironically, I am writing this article at 6 pm on a Saturday evening.

Trends in Loneliness

In the video below, Josh, a 32yr old guy who’s married and has a child explains how not having any friends is embarrassing and has taken a toll on his mental health. He touches on different points in his life where he would have short friendships that eventually die out. Five minutes in, he becomes more emotional as he reflects on what he’s said to the camera, which is that rather than try to find some friends he will accept his current reality and shift his focus towards himself, his family and his career.

Below, the creator, CAMELOT331, has a video with 1.9MM views about how the friends he once had growing up slowly disappeared as their lives changed (they got married, moved to different locations, etc.). After a few minutes into the video, he paused to hold back tears as he described his discovery at an in-person meetup for his channel where he realized that the 16 people who arrived were his only true friends.

As early as 1 month ago, the pop star, Carley Rae Jepsen, did an interview for her new album “The Loneliest Time” where she discusses her relationship with loneliness being on and off the road. “Loneliness causes extreme reactions and some of those are to do things that you would never think you would do,” Carly says as she discusses her hilarious and sometimes horrifying experiences with trying a dating app.

A quick search for “I have no friends” on YouTube will pull up dozens of videos of people talking about their experiences with having no friends. I don’t notice a particular trend, other than that most videos were posted within the last year. One could argue some people are posting because they notice these videos are getting hundreds of thousands of views. However, each video above feels genuine, and posting such a personal video introduces sometimes unwanted attention.

Parts in each of these videos resonated with me and the people I’m close to. It seems there’s something deeper happening here and I want to understand why.

We Have the Same Problems

Wait, are you also reading this article at a time when you wish you were with friends?

One look at the comment section below any of these videos shows these people aren’t alone at all. In fact, there are thousands of people commenting that they can relate to the exact same feeling!

Okay, since none of us have friends let’s all just be each other’s friends! It’s not that easy.

Over the last 5 years, we see an increase in the amount of Google Searches for the search term “how do I make friends”.

Making New Friends with… ANYBODY

I recently went on a camping trip with two of my friends to Death Valley, CA. During the one night we stayed there, my two friends and I shared stories and laughs with the other 10 campers. We had a nice time getting to know these strangers. However, after the meetup, I can say with a decent level of certainty that I have no interest in going camping with that group again.

On the drive home, my buddy turned to me and said “That group could not have been a more different and unique group of individuals with nothing in common.”

That’s not exactly true. There are experiences, thoughts, interests, and challenges we all have in common. Based on the interactions I had with the group that night, I didn’t feel an interest in pursuing a friendship with any of those people. That’s okay.

We can’t just be friends with anyone, we like people we can relate to. We desire a level of safety before trusting someone enough to allow ourselves to become more vulnerable.

Socializing

Do we have the proper social skills to develop meaningful friendships? A typical day for a guy my age could look something like this… The guy finishes his workday at 5 pm and drives home to play Call of Duty with strangers online. He spends the next hour mindlessly scrolling through social media. He orders Uber Eats for dinner and swipes on Bumble while watching his favorite show on Netflix.

Not once did he have to leave his house and interact with people. A consistent lifestyle like this would not improve social skills.

Being Intentional About Seeking Connection

What should we do? Well, that depends… Do you want a friend to talk about your problems with? Maybe you want a person to share intimacy and physical affection with. Do you just want to celebrate the win of your favorite sports team with someone?

We are no longer in elementary school, surrounded by the same people for 9hrs a day 5 days a week.

I like being an adult because if I want to stay inside and play music all day, I can. However, if I want to make new relationships with people I also have to make a conscious effort to meet those people. I have to determine what type of people I would like to meet. Then, plan to attend a gathering where those people hang out, so that I can start conversations with them to discover common interests.

Have Patience with the Process

As of writing this article, the world population is approximately 8,002,153,241 people. Not only are there TONS of other people on this planet who have several of the same interests you do, but we all share something in common. Every person wants to be loved.

As we go through life sharing love and kindness with others, we open ourselves to new opportunities to meet someone like us.

Of all the people we could possibly interact with, sooner or later we WILL find people we can relate to that we genuinely want to spend more time with and that want to spend more time with us.

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