Having Real Friends and Your Self-Esteem
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.
Author: Fay Agathangelou
Thanks for sharing your experience and good on you for moving on from the fake friends. Real friends certainly enrich our lives whereas fake friends are not worth having. Glad you found true friends that you value.
In the state of Arizona I have been classified as SMI, Seriously Mentally Ill. Because the state gave me this designation, they pay 100% on all my psych meds. In Arizona, this is handled by Mercy Maricopa. Check and see if your state has something similar. I completely understand the loneliness and despair that depression can cause. The meds do not fix the problem, but they do help dramatically. Best Wishes!!
Good question, thanks for raising it. A toxic friend is basically one who is bad for your wellbeing - e.g. drains your energy, is negative towards you, demanding, or it's a one-sided relationship. The following article is a good one and it might help to answer your question. http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2013/07/how-friends-affect-our-self-esteem/ Toxic friends are not real friends and sometimes you just have to let go of those friendships. You deserve to have real friends and you can create friendships that are good for you. I hope that helps.
Thanks very much for your comment, I completely agree. Real friends definitely add so much value to our lives. It's certainly worth the time and effort in creating good friendships.
Thanks very much for your comment. I'm glad you're enjoying the company of your new friends. It's definitely worth letting go of the toxic friendships and making room for real friends. Good on you :)
Have an ace Christmas too :)