Do You Even Need Friends?
Friendships are a crucial aspect of our lives but it can often be challenging to make new friendships as an adult. Research indicates that 1 in 5 people do not have any real or close friends. In fact, studies have found that it can be increasingly difficult to make new friends after the age of 25. As we grow older, become mature and self-aware and as life wears us down each day, we become more cautious about who we let into our lives. This not only affects our ability to connect with others but also leads to smaller social circles, feelings of isolation & loneliness and lower self-esteem & self-confidence.
According to a 2018 study, friendships are associated with companionship, cooperation, conflict resolution and social skills. Close friends tend to meet our social needs such as intimacy, support and validation. “Even having just one friend attenuates the emotional and physiological consequences of negative social experiences,” adds the study. However, the researchers also observed that friendlessness is related to low self-esteem, loneliness, depression and other internalizing difficulties. Friendless individuals “are more likely to perceive themselves as victimized by peers,” develop negative beliefs about others, lack trust, feel unsafe in social situations and anticipate hostile behaviors from peers. This can stimulate a negative feedback loop leading to behavioral withdrawal and isolation. When our social needs, typically met by friendships, are left unfulfilled, it can result in perceived social threat and a strong sense of insecurity.
Studies further reveal that people who are friendless are approximately twice as likely to experience psychological difficulties, internalizing symptoms and mental health issues than people with at least one friend. Evidence also indicates that satisfaction with a best friendship can affect the personal, affective, and social well-being of senior adults. One 2018 study has revealed that “friendship, in terms of intensity (measured by the frequency with which individuals see their friends) and quality (measured by the satisfaction with friendship relationships), is positively associated with life satisfaction.”
To Make Friends, Be A Friend First
Making new friendships is one thing, the more important thing is to maintain those friendships. Our friends require our love, care, time, trust and attention as do we. This is how the connection becomes stronger and thrives. Although you may be having difficulties in making new friendships at this moment, the truth is, it is a natural skill that you need to be aware of and improve within yourself. All you need to do is show interest, pay attention to others and be your genuine self.
It will take some patience, efforts and determination to develop the connections of companionship. But until then, you have a friend in me. So feel free to share your story, thoughts, ideas or opinions below, and I promise I will be here for you like a true friend.
Now go out there and show them what you are made of, my friend.