Who realy has no friends?

Following on from this thread http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=372896 about women not wanting to go out with men who have no friends.

How do people ever end up having no friends? I can see such a situation happening transitoraly, in that someone may have no friends locally if they have just moved to a new location. But how can someone end up with no friends at all? Do they try to have no friends? Do they have friends but not acknowledge that the relationship they have is friendship? Is there definition of friendship unrealistic (would they for instance consider that someone who they socialise with and spend time with is not a friend because they woun’t lend them money, or similar)? Are they extremely socially incapable, bordering on mental illness?

A divorce can take a lot of friends away; if you didn’t have much friends to begin with, you’re screwed. But maybe that’s just one of the temporary situations you mentioned.

Are you genuinely having difficulty conceiving of a friendless person? Because it would be fairly easy to perceive a certain negative tone in some of the questions you pose, or at least an inability to empathize.

For a long time after I moved to Oregon, I had no friends (unless you count my SO, to whom I was not married at the time). It’s not just one thing - it’s very complicated. (1) I’m quite introverted and in fact do have a mental illness (one that makes trust difficult for me), as well as social awkwardness. (2) My SO is extremely jealous, untrusting and controlling. (3) It’s much more difficult to meet new people, especially those with whom you are compatible, when you work for very small businesses, as I have. (4) I am a childless woman who is not at all interested in the world of children and child-rearing, which means parents and I have a large area of their lives that can be a hindrance to friendship. (5) I have physical infirmities which leave me exhausted by the end of the workday, thus negating the possibility of me getting involved in many after-work activities like sports or volunteering. Some days, I barely have the energy to get ready for bed. (6) My tastes in just about everything are a bit out of the mainstream - I don’t like most of the same music, TV shows, books, etc., that are most popular with the larger portion of society, so that’s one less area of common ground on which to establish a relationship. It’s not something I’m willing to compromise on, because I have to be true to myself to be happy. (7) My definition of friendship, while not strict, does not include everyone I’m acquainted with on decent terms. I have to actually chose to be in their company and enjoy it, not just happen to be thrown together by circumstances and such. For instance: there are people I know from church, chat with, even go to home groups/Bible studies with - but I’d never have them to my house for dinner or go shopping with them or whatever. There’s just something about them that doesn’t “click” for me. (8) I’ve lost touch with everyone I grew up with. I’ve tried to keep in touch, but some of them just don’t respond any more, so I finally gave up.

Which leads me to my point: friendship is based on chemistry in the same way that love affairs are. You can make an effort to be friendly to someone, but you can’t make yourself feel those warm feelings if the chemistry just isn’t there.

I do happen to have a few friends now. It just took a long time, due to the obstacles above. But I understand what it’s like to not have any, and would never presume that a friendless person “just wasn’t trying” or was otherwise at fault. I hope I’m wrong, and that you aren’t making those assumptions, either.

I’m glad you asked. The whole time I was reading that thread, I was thinking, “Hey, *I * have no friends…” I don’t find it a problem though, or think that there’s anything wrong with me.

FWIW, I’m female. I have never had large circles of friends, instead preferring to focus on only one or two people in my life. That person at this time is my husband. I also have kids, so there’s not a lot of excess time for socializing or doing the maintenance work (phone calls, sending cards) that goes with a friendship.

I do like a couple of people at work more than the others and vice versa, but I’m not much of a one for asking favors from non-family members, so I don’t put them to that test.

The people on this board provide all the friendship I need…all the benefits, none of the upkeep. Woot!

I have almost no friends. I have a few close friends from my days in the service, but they’re scattered across the country and I haven’t seen them in person for years. I still talk to a small handful from high school, and I have acquaintances through my cousins. I’ve lived in this town for 1.5 years and I still don’t know a single person.

I’m a well-adjusted, socially capable guy. I’m friendly, but I just don’t really form those attachments. My wife has friends, and they’re cool, but they’re hers, which she has acquired through work and other organizations. I don’t like to get too involved with my coworkers, and I’m not much for clubs. I’ve seen the drama and sense of commitment that comes with maintaining a large social network, and I’m happy to be unburdened by any such issues. I get plenty of social exposure through my wife’s connections, and it’s fun, but I can’t say I’d miss it terribly if we never partook. I don’t depend on her for all my entertainment needs, either. I have things I like to do by myself, but geocaching, scootering and reading (for example) don’t really require much in the way of social interaction.

There ya have it: a reasonably normal guy, happy with his life, with nary a buddy to hang out with.

At the risk of being a dittohead, well… ditto.

Though I think it’s fair to say that someone who’s married and has children does have friends. It just so happens that they’re his or her immediate family. But of course these are the neediest friends you’ll ever meet, so if you have anything else on your plate obligation-wise, you’ll be hard pressed to maintain extensive friendships beyond your own four walls.

And to echo Maastricht’s point, if you lose this immediate circle of friends through divorce, or similarly, if you happen to be single and of a certain age, you’ll find that a vast part of the population is already tied down familywise, timewise, and friendwise. You’re looking at a dramatically reduced friend pool, in other words.

I do have a very small number of single friends, and I always feel bad on their account. I can’t really hide that I don’t have the time for them, and they know it and I know it. Single people and families just aren’t terribly compatible, it’s a social fact. But if the singles cast off all the families they know, they’d often end up with almost nobody, or worse than nobody. Because let’s not kid ourselves, there are a lot of socially maladapted middle-aged singles out there. Hell, I’d be one myself if I wasn’t married.

Ah, but everyone so far here has friends (their SO, wife, etc) so when someone is talking about having no friends do they really just mean ‘no very good friends outside of my immediate family’ which to me is much more understandable.
I susspect it is also a difference in peoples deffinition of when ‘social aquantance’ becomes ‘friend’ in terms of level of interaction.
I know the name of only one of my neighbours, but a few of them I would consider friends, we chat pleasantly together, we would help each other out if we needed sugar/got locked out/needed a lift, I would consider them friends (though not ‘good friends’) maybe you others would consider such relationships ‘friendship’ but just polite social contacts?

The reason my OP may have come off somewhat offensive, is that I doubt someone could eng up having no such friendly polite social relationships with out eversome sort of mental problem that makes their attempts to socialise very difficult, or that they actively chose not to socialise at all.

Do people who claim to have no friends react to a neighbour who asks ‘hello, how are you doing? The weathers getting much better now…’ by ignoring the person, or simply grunting, as one of my neighbours does?

I have people at work that I’m friendly with, but nobody to socialize with away from work.

I haven’t had a real friend since the 80’s.

I just don’t have the ability to make friends, or even strike up a conversation.

I’ve become cold, bitter, lonely & remote.

If I don’t know their name, how can they be a friend? Just because a neighbor would help you in a situation doesn’t mean they are someone you’d confide in, or lend your car to, or invite to your house for dinner, or even just to hang out & watch TV together. Maybe your definition of “friend” is too loose.

Believe it or not, not one of my neighbors ever says “hello” or appears to give a rat’s ass how I’m doing. Maybe that’s my fault. But, in all my lifetime, it seems there were 2 kinds of neighbors: ones that mostly minded their own business (might wave or say hello, but that’s about it), and those you actually got to know and thus moved from “acquaintance” to “friend” (if not necessaritly the deepest level of friendship).

To be a friend is to know & be known. I talk to my coworkers every day, but they barely bother to remember basic things about me; we get along well, but they never invite me to join them for lunch or shopping. I see my friends quite a bit less often, but they remember me, because they’re not just “being polite,” they actually like me for who I am. They invite us over, we sometimes go on vacation together. It’s like they’re an extension of family.

I’m truly sorry.

I could have wrote this… Wanna be friends? :stuck_out_tongue:

I have one very good friend that lives 8 hours away. My brother would count too. He lives two hours away. My Wife has a number of friends that get together on a regular basis, I see them once in a while. However, I am perfectly happy puttering around our house.

This weekend I’ll be working on our shed (it got out of level during the winter), and looking into a hitch for my new vehicle. I’m looking forward to it.

Got one male friend (known him 25+ years) and my girlfriend (been together 16 years). That’s it, not interested in more, everyone else is just an acquaintence. If my male friend dies or moves away, that’s it; if my gf dies or leaves me, well, that’s the last relationship I’ll ever be in. I have always felt that I am an outsider, one of society’s throwaways; generally, I am content to work, hit the gym, and read books. Usually, I am at peace with this decision, although I do admit that sometimes I am sad and lonely at what I have become. But I am what I am.

I am a married male over the age of forty and have no friends. I do however , have a fantastic wife. She is really the only friend I need. I do have many aquaintances, but don’t find I really have enough in common with them to socialize.

Could well be right, someone whom you are always friendly to and whom is always friendly in return, are they a friend? Admittedly the ‘friend’ neighbour that I am thinking of is what I would consider the lowest on the scale of friendship that I consider a friend. The not knowing names is more due to my remarkable difficulty with names, rather than any lack of wish to know their names. I’d certainly watch TV with them or cook them a dinner, but wouldn’t want to impose on them either.
In fact my own difficulty with names and long term depression would make me think I were a person likely to not have friends, yet I have many people I would consider very good friends, even amongst those acquatances who are married and as such I recognise have little time for socialisong anymore.
I wonder if Bosda just requires a higher level on the ‘friendship scale’ before he considers someone a friend than I have, and that perhapse we have somewhat simlar amounts of friendly social content.
From what he says Bosda isn’t as outgoing as me since he says he doesn’t have the ability to strike up conversations. But if (such a person) can contribute to a conversation started by another (as seems the case for our Bosda who is a more than capable contributer to any thread on the dope, and hopefully as capable in a face to face conversation) then they would seem to be able to make contributions and conversation that could lead to friendship.
That is unless they either don’t know how to continue converstaions without leading to alienation of others in the conversation, or else don’t wish to lead the conversation into places where friendships may be created through the conversation and associated dealings.

I’m wondering, is there a person who considers themselves friendless, who would actually like to have friends and would be willing to take the actions and risk the dissapointments and or costs that are associated with trying to gain a few friends>

Lots of people coming in with one uber-friend so/spouse. I think my OP title was problamatic in that I pluralised friends in my quesion. I think people who have one really good all encompasing friend, do have friends, even if the grammer of that statement sucks. Also an SO’s friends are often your own friends even if they are firstly and formostely you SO’s friends. In the same way that a children’s friends become their parents friends, and the children’s friend’s family often become friends of the child’s family.
I have often heard that adults often find most of their friends through their children, and susspect that it is very true. So those of us without children are likely to have less friends and friends through different sorts of reasons than those with children.

Lone wolf here. I’m a sane (I think), easygoing, generally nice person who has acquaintances, but no real friends. It’s what I choose. I like my own company and I’m never lonely.

As if! Like I’d want a dyslexic mountain-dweller for a pal… :smiley:

Due to your use of the term ‘no real friends’ I’d like to explore further, if I may.

Do you have acquaintances that you would help with moving house, and whom you’d be happy to ask for help from if you were moving. Would you offer them tickets to an event if you won two or more tickets or would you always try and sell the extra tickets you didn’t need. Would you go out to a group meal with them if they were having one on their birthday?
Though you would rather be on your own that with them most or all of the time, would you none the less spend time with them ocasionally if that was what htey clearly wanted of you?

Bippy, I have friends, and my wife has friends, but we don’t hang out with any other couples. Her friends are not my friends. I don’t even know them. When she wants to visit them, she does, by herself. If I went along, I’d be sitting in a corner with nothing to do, because I know less than nothing about roleplaying games or anime or manga. Not wishing to be a fifth wheel, I’m fine with my wife having her own interests and friends. At the moment, she’s 300 miles away visiting an old friend from high school. They have a bond and a history that I play no part in, and they’re welcome to it.

Regarding neighbors, we’ve been in our house for six years, and I’ve never met another person on the street. Couldn’t tell you the names of the people who live on either side or across from us, or what they look like.