What To Do When Having No Friends Is Starting To Get To You

Medically reviewed by Nikki Ciletti, M.Ed, LPC
Updated July 16, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Having a reliable social circle filled with friends and family can be great for your mental health. If you have no friends and are beginning to experience negative effects, it may be time to take action. You might begin by assessing your social situation and determining the main reason why you may not currently have friends. Next, you can seek out potential friends with shared interests, make friendships online, join a gym or a church, or consider spending time with coworkers outside of work. Speaking with a licensed therapist can also be helpful in identifying and addressing the root of your social difficulties. You can do so in your local area or through an online therapy platform.

Having few or no friends can take a toll on your mental and physical health 

Having few friends can lead to feeling lonely and isolated, which have been linked to increased stress, depression, and anxiety. Social support from friends plays a crucial role in buffering against these negative effects, promoting emotional well-being and resilience in the face of adversity. 

Furthermore, lacking a diverse social network can limit opportunities for personal growth and meaningful social interactions, impacting both mental and physical health outcomes.

Assess your social situation

Improve your social skills with online therapy

It can be helpful to begin by assessing your social situation.

Special circumstances

Some people may not have friends because they recently moved to a new city and haven’t established new friendships yet. Others may have always been shy or introverted by nature and struggle with their friend-making skills or social confidence. Furthermore, many people experience life circumstances that interfere with establishing meaningful friendships, like isolation due to geographical or family situations. 

Mental health disorders

Sometimes, people struggle to make friends due to anxiety or extreme shyness. If this is the case, it’s possible you may have social anxiety disorder or another mental health condition that could be holding you back from potential friendships. You can talk to your doctor or a psychologist about mental health disorders if you think you might have social difficulties beyond being a bit shy. 

Autism spectrum disorder

Another factor that can play a part in why some people have few or no friends may be autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD typically affects a person throughout their life, from early childhood through adulthood. People with ASD often have difficulty communicating and forming friendships as easily as people who don’t have ASD. However, people with ASD can learn social skills and successful methods for meeting people and forming friendships in ways that work for them. If you suspect you might have ASD, you might consider talking to a doctor or mental health professional with experience diagnosing this condition. 

Work on your social skills

Working on your social skills can help you make friends and meet new people more easily. If you get better at talking to and empathizing with others, making real friends can become simpler. Even improving your small talk can help you make friends with co-workers or other peers. There may be many resources available to help. For example, you can read books, take in-person classes, or watch video tutorials online. Consulting a therapist can be an excellent way to receive individualized guidance and support. 

Ways to make new friends when you have few friends 

Trying to make new friends can feel awkward at first, especially when you already feel isolated. It’s not uncommon for a person to have difficulty making friends once they’re done with school because the opportunities to meet people may not be as frequent as they used to be. Still, it can be possible to make friends as an adult.

Find people with common interests


Most people tend to make new friends by meeting people with similar interests. You likely have hobbies you enjoy. If you can join a group or two based on things you love, it can be easier to make friends. 

For example, someone who loves sports might meet new friends by attending games or volunteering at sporting events, and comic book fans might find new friends at comic book stores and conventions. If music is your thing, seeing a band you like might be an excellent opportunity to meet people. Book clubs and various crafting groups may also be options for you. 

Friendliness and sociability are skills that can improve with practice. However, it is often easier to talk to people if you have common interests. For example, seeing a person wearing your favorite band’s shirt can be an excellent way to start a conversation.

Seek online friendship

Developing friends online can be helpful when you feel lonely and want to reach out to others. Online friends may not be a substitute for real-life friendships, but talking to people online can be comforting and give you practice making conversation. Many people find good friends through social media, and sometimes, people form deep connections with others they never meet face-to-face. 

There can be many online communities, and it’s usually easy for anyone to chat about things whenever they have the time. Some excellent ways to meet people online can include the following:

  • Joining Facebook groups 

  • Discussing your passions with like-minded people on Reddit

  • Playing online video games

  • Take an online pottery class or another class based on your interests 

  • Using “friend dating” apps like Bumble BFF

  • Finding virtual or in-person events and gatherings on Meetup.com

Join a gym

Joining a gym can be another excellent way to make friends. Chit-chat with a friendly stranger at the gym can become a friendship over time. Also, regularly going to the gym can be a good opportunity to work on your physical health, which may help you feel more confident when talking to others. If you find the gym intimidating, or if lifting weights and walking on the treadmill isn’t your style, you might attend fitness classes that pique your interest instead.

Join a church or spiritual group

Another option may be joining a church or other religious group, which can be a good way to meet people and form friendships. You are likely to meet people who have common interests with you at a church or another spiritual organization, which can help you make good friends with shared interests. 

Ask your coworkers to spend time together

Another idea can be to consider whether your coworkers could potentially become your friends outside of work. People regularly become true friends through company social events at work and some even find their best friend in a work setting. You might start by simply asking a coworker to grab a bite to eat with you after your shift is over.

Work with a therapist

Improve your social skills with online therapy

Speaking to a therapist for professional help might be a good idea if making friends is a challenge for you. Some people who don’t have a support system may begin to withdraw from society, potentially making it even harder to meet new people. A therapist can be a source of strength for those who feel lonely or isolated. 

Benefits of online therapy

If social anxiety disorder or shyness is the reason behind your friendship difficulties, then it may seem intimidating to attend a therapy session in person. Online therapy can empower you to get the professional guidance you deserve from the comfort of your home or another familiar location with an internet connection. You can also choose to speak to your therapist over the phone or through online chat if you don’t feel comfortable with a video call.

Effectiveness of online therapy

According to a 2022 study looking at the potential efficacy of online cognitive therapy for social anxiety disorder, internet-based therapy can be an effective way to reduce social anxiety symptoms. In many cases, it may eliminate a social anxiety disorder diagnosis altogether, as 73% of the study’s participants no longer met the diagnostic criteria after treatment.


Social connections and friendships can be essential to your mental health. If you have trouble making new friends, it could be due to a social anxiety condition, ASD, extreme shyness, or certain circumstances, such as recently moving to a new location. You can seek out new friends by joining a gym, taking a class, or participating in an online chat or gaming group. Another option may be talking to a licensed therapist online or in person to get personalized insight and guidance.
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