Having Real Friends and Your Self-Esteem
Monday, December 15 2014 Fay Agathangelou
Having quality friendships is important for your wellbeing and it affects self-esteem in a big way. The sad truth is that there are many people without real friends. They may not have any friends at all, or the friends they do have may be toxic. People without real friends are often judged harshly either by others or themselves. They may be seen as outcasts or they may be bullied. Internally, they may feel shame, loneliness or depression.
There could be so many reasons for not having friends and it's important to not judge others in that situation.
Possible Reasons For Not Having Friends
- Changes in yourself or others. These could be personal or circumstantial. Personal transformation may cause you to lose connection or drift apart from old friends. Alternatively, you or others may move away, have relationships, children or other commitments.
- Letting go of toxic friendships may leave you without friends temporarily.
- Mental illness. Mental health conditions are isolating, can damage friendships and prevent you from making new friends.
- Shyness or social anxiety.
- Fear of being judged or rejected can prevent you from seeking friends.
- Closed body language. Looking disinterested, distant or unapproachable makes others think you don’t want to be friendly.
- Communication issues. Not knowing what to say, not speaking up or inadequate communication skills.
- Controlling parents, partners or family.
- Perfectionism. Expecting too much from yourself or others.
- Personality, personal habits or turn offs. Sometimes these can make it difficult to connect with or attract other people. There may be things that turn people off.
Tips On Making Real Friends
- Be honest with yourself. What is the reason why you don’t have good quality friends? Are there issues that you need to work on? Are there things about you that keep people away? Work on the things holding you back.
- Believe that you deserve to have good friends. Affirmations can help e.g. “I am likeable” or “I deserve to have friends."
- Go to places where there are people. Find social groups, volunteer or join a class or activity that you’re interested in.
- Work on your communication skills. It may be the thing that’s holding you back.
- Make yourself approachable. Have open body language. Stand upright, smile and look people in the eyes. Be polite and friendly.
- Show an interest in others. Listen as well as talk. Pay close attention to what others are saying and ask questions. Be genuine about it.
- Let others know you’re interested and want to be friends. People won’t know unless you tell them. Others may be looking for friends too.
- Look for similarities and common interests. Similarities bring people together.
- Initiate contact with others. Take the risk and say hello first. Invite someone for a coffee or lunch or a game of tennis.
- Be prepared for rejection. What’s the worst that can happen? You lose so much more by being afraid.
- Accept invitations and commit to them.
These are just some ideas to get you started. Making friends does require you to step outside your comfort zone and it won’t happen overnight. Know that you don’t have to do this alone and I highly recommend getting the professional help you need. You deserve to have real friends and it's up to you to make it happen.