Why You Don’t Need Friends To Be Happy

 / 

,
Why You Don't Need Friends To Be Happy

Do you think life is impossible without friends? This post helps you know why friends aren’t necessary and how you can feel better being alone.

Let’s face it: Social interactions are important. We need to interact with other people to get things done.
You need to talk to the grocery store clerk to get the food you need. You need to talk with your boss in order to get the work completed. And you need to talk with police officers and firefighters to get the help you need.

Social interactions have been essential throughout human development. Many thousands of years ago there was a “cognitive revolution” in human development in which humans developed a strong need to communicate with other humans on a more intense level than had previously been the case.

Friends are not necessary for our survival or even our happiness

Essentially, the need for social interactions arose out of our desire and need to share a more detailed understanding of the world and things that needed to be done with other humans. There were similar changes in the development of other animal species but with humans, the focus was on communicating more detailed material and experiences.

It’s Funny How Many “friends” You Lose

Other animal species also emphasize inter-individual communication. This communication is often different from human communication but carries with it the same basic benefits. Nonhuman animals communicate with each other to share experiences and address needs. It would be difficult to overemphasize the importance of inter-individual communication for humans and non-human animal development. Much of how all animals have developed over the years has been to allow them to interact more effectively with other members of their species.

Also read 8 Signs Of A Toxic Friendship

But the importance of social interactions has led to an overemphasis, at least when it comes to humans, on the quality and intensity of those social relationships. We need to interact with each other but it is not necessary that these relationships reach anything more than a basic level of connectedness. It is nice to have strong social relationships but it is not necessary for our survival or even our happiness. Simply put, it is not necessary for humans to have friends.

I bring this up because I have worked with a number of individuals over the years who have suffered because of their lack of ability to make or keep friends. These often are individuals who have autism or some other condition or personality trait that leads them to have difficulties with social relationships. But this also may be a problem that comes up just because a person is not the type of individual who makes or keeps friends easily or may have difficulties with friendships because of isolated location or frequent moves.

Also read 14 Handy Social Skills That’ll Make You More Likable Instantly

What is often very sad about these situations is to see how negative people can get about themselves when they do not have friends. They may very well be able to function in terms of getting things done that they need to be done; they also may be able to contribute quite a lot to their communities. But when people cannot make friends, they often think very negatively about themselves, even if they have reason to be very positive about other aspects of their lives.

Friendship With Ones Self Is All Important

In my opinion, the emphasis that people put on friendships and intense social relationships comes about because humans are often described as “social animals.” There is an expectation that because we are animals for whom social relationships are important, then it must equally follow that the more serious the social relationship, the better.

But in a book reviewing comparative social psychology research, Terry Maple and I (2016) found considerable evidence that being a “social animal” does not require emotionally intimate relationships like “friendships.” Having friends is nice and can be beneficial—but it is not necessary for survival in social environments. 

Social isolation is detrimental—but there is a huge gap between an individual being “socially isolated” and having “friendships.” You can gain all the benefits associated with social relationships just by having the ability to interact with other people. It is not necessary—although it might be nice—that any of those relationships meet the criteria of being “friendships.”

Feeling competent is enough

In a study of 4,382 typically developed adults, Demir and Davidson (2013) found that friendships are deemed important for happiness—but even more important is having basic needs met and feeling competent that one could meet their own needs.

“Basic need satisfaction” and “competence satisfaction” are much more important for determining happiness than are the number of friends or even the quality of friendships. People tend to be happier if they feel they are competent in doing what they need to do and that they are successfully meeting their basic needs. Helping individuals find a path to feeling this way—regardless of whether they meet others’ criteria for a “successful” social life—can be one very effective way of helping them feel less lonely and more positive about themselves and their lives.

Also read 10 Ways To Prevent Your Friendship From Turning Into An Affair

We all need to be able to interact with other people at some point. Social interactions are important both for getting things that we need and for accomplishing important tasks. In this way, we are like all animal species, who all need to interact with others to get things done. But once those tasks are accomplished, it is not essential that the social relationships move beyond that point.

Continuing on with relationships might be nice and bring about positive feelings. But those relationships are not necessarily more important than being comfortable being alone.

Trust Me, When You Start Being Alone You Realize A Lot Of Things

Some people do well spending lots of time with other people; some people do better spending time by themselves. Some people might also find themselves in situations where they have to be comfortable interacting with other people because they around other people so often. And then some people often find themselves in situations where they are mostly by themselves. Neither situation is necessarily better than the other.

Also read Why Are Teens So Lonely and 7 Things They Can Do To Combat Loneliness

We all need to find the best ways for us to be comfortable with (and effective at) interacting with other people. But we also all need to find the best ways of being comfortable being by ourselves and doing things on our own. Handling being alone is as important as handling being with other people.

And remember: Being alone does not have to mean being lonely.

being alone vs being lonely

References
1. Demir, M., & Davidson, I. (2013). Toward a better understanding of the relationship between friendship and happiness: Perceived responses to capitalization attempts, feelings of mattering, and satisfaction of basic psychological needs in same-sex best friendships as predictors of happiness. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14(2), 525-550.
2. Marston, D. & Maple, T. (2016). Comparative Psychology for Clinical Psychologists and Therapists. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Written by: Dr. Daniel Marston
Originally appeared on: Psychology Today
Republished with permission
Why You Don't Need Friends To Be Happy pin

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply



Up Next

How To Claim Your Strengths? 3 Steps to Embody Your Value and Strengths

How To Claim Your Strengths? Steps To Powerful Confidence

The secret to having a powerful inner confidence is knowing how to claim your strengths. It is only when you embody your value and strengths, you will be able to empower yourself and be the very best version of yourself.

KEY POINTS

There is a difference in inner and outer confidence. You must know and strengthen your sense of who you are.

Who you are is an evolving puzzle made of up multiple and contrasting pieces, not one static phrase.

When you can name and walk proudly with your strengths, you accept your weaknesses as a part of who you are.

I turned 20 in jail. I



Up Next

15 Relationship Check-In Questions For Couples To Deepen Their Intimacy

Important Relationship Check In Questions For Couples

Sometimes our lives get so busy that we forget about the people who are most important to us. That’s where relationship check in questions for couples come into play when we often lose sight of our relationships.

But what does “relationship check-in” mean?

Think about it as an arranged meeting when both partners sit down together for honest conversation about their relationship.

It is the time to synchronize, smooth out any wrinkles and express gratitude for each other. It might not sound sexy but this is everything else required in order to have healthy relationships.



Up Next

How To Persevere And Achieve Your Goals Against All Odds

How To Persevere And Achieve Goals Against All Odds: Tips

Have you ever faced a really tough challenge that seemed impossible to overcome? A situation where giving up felt like the easiest option? We’ve all been there. But what sets apart those who succeed from those who surrender is knowing how to persevere.

Perseverance is the key that unlocks the door to triumph. It is the unwavering commitment to keep pushing forward, no matter how difficult the journey may become.

So let us explore what does perseverance mean, delve into the significance of perseverance in psychology, and discover actionable strategies to help you develop the resilience needed to persevere through life’s toughest trials.

What Does Perseverance Mean?



Up Next

Overactive Imagination: How to Tame Your Wild Thoughts and Channel Your Creative Genius

Overactive Imagination? Tips to Tame Your Wild Thoughts

Do you have an overactive imagination? Do you have vivid daydreams? Does your imagination paint vibrant pictures in your mind and create fantastical scenarios? Or do you have elaborate conversations with fictional characters?

If so, you may be blessed with an overactive imagination. Let’s embark on a journey to explore the depths of this fascinating phenomenon, understanding what is an overactive imagination and shedding light on its nature, symptoms, and how to effectively manage it.

What is an Overactive Imagination?

Is your mind constantly bombarding you with exaggerated thoughts and creating vivid images or scenarios? If yes, then you probably have an overactive imagination. These vivid



Up Next

The ‘Sincericide’ Trap: How Being Too Honest Can Backfire

Sincericide: Dangers Of Being Too Honest

In the realm of human interaction, truthfulness is often described as a virtue—a foundation of trust and authenticity. However, there’s a phenomenon called “sincericide,” which denotes the paradoxical act of undermining one’s own sincerity.

Honesty is appreciated, but the idea of “Sincericide” – an oxymoronic pitfall that may lead to undesirable results through too much sincerity.

Trust is built on transparency but it’s also important to know how not to cross the line between being frank and rude.

In this article, we’ll discuss ‘Sincericide’, the secret killer of strong relationships — telling the truth without sugarcoating it. How do you communicate honestly without destroying you



Up Next

How to Have Good Mental Health: 9 Proven Techniques to Thrive!

Life-Changing Benefits of Good Mental Health!

With the amount of stress and anxiety we have to deal with on a daily basis, most of us are aware about the importance of mental health. But do you know what is good mental health? Let’s find out what it truly means and explore the benefits of good mental health.

Good mental health is not just the absence of mental illness; it is a state of balance and inner harmony that allows us to live our lives to the fullest. 

Today, we will take a closer look at what good mental health entails, the signs of good mental health that you should watch out for, the numerous benefits it brings, and some practical tips on how to have good mental health. 

So, let’s dive in and discover the transformative power of positive mindset and good mental health!



Up Next

8 Essential Tips For Learning New Skills: Mastering New Horizons

Essential Tips For Learning New Skills With Confidence

Learning new skills can sometimes feel like an intimidating journey, doesn’t it? If you have ever felt stuck or didn’t know what to do while learning a new skill, then you’ve come to the right place. This article is going to provide you with some valuable tips if you are wondering how to learn new skills.

KEY POINTS

Setting a clear goal and breaking a skill into smaller components can help people learn new skills.

Practice for new skills should be thoughtful, slow, and deliberate rather than rushed.

A growth mindset is the belief that abilities are developed with effort.