No Friends: Part I, Self§

writer: russell j.t. dyer; posted: February 19, 2016; revised: August 30, 2017; readers in past month: 1009

When you have no friends, but want them, it’s difficult to know what to do. First, you need to understand that you can’t make other people be your friends. All you can do is change yourself so as to attract and keep friends. This generally requires you to do three things: Improve yourself to attract friends; make contact with others and make yourself available as a friend; and learn how to be a friend. We’ll look at each of these aspects in three articles. In this first article we’ll consider how you might change your life so as to have friends.

In general, people want to be friends with those who are happy, who are fun to be around, as well as make them feel good about themselves. So the first step to having friends is to improve yourself, to learn to be happy with yourself. If you’re not happy being with you, you shouldn’t be surprised if others don’t want to be friends with you. For this first article in this series, let’s talk about how to be a happier person independent of others — even if you have no friends — so you can start to acquire friends.

Exercise Let’s start with something simple in helping you to be a happier person: exercise. It may seem silly, but exercising is the most effective way to improve your mental health. There’s something about getting the blood flowing, strengthening your muscles so that simple tasks like getting up from a chair, leaving home to do fun things, makes things easier and your personality more pleasant for you and others. Staying home and doing nothing other than watching television, reading, or roaming the internet will make you lethargic and resistant to everything, including happiness and others.

Make a routine of doing some sort of exercise, assuming your doctor is alright with it. I like to do simple exercises such as push-ups and sit-ups to start, and then lifting dumbbells. Exercising about thirty minutes each time, three times a week will make a difference in your mental health.

Try also to include an outdoor activity each week for exercise. An outdoor exercise has the added benefit of getting fresh air and sunshine, as well as meeting other people — which can lead to friendship, but don’t push that. I like to ride my bike at least once a week, usually during the weekend. I used to have a kayak when I was living in New Orleans, but I lost it in the hurricane. What I like about bike riding and kayaking is that they’re both outdoor exercises I can do while sitting down — I’m lazy like that. If you don’t like bike riding, maybe just walking around a nice park will suit you.

Eliminate Bad Habits There are so many things I do that are not good for me and not very attractive to would-be friends. I’d prefer not to list them here. But you should make a list of yours, for you to improve. Think about things that you do that might make others uncomfortable. It could be something like cursing at people in other cars when

If you’re not used to having friends and if you’re usually alone, you may forget how to conduct yourself around others, how to be considerate of them. Spend some time thinking about how you act. Notice how others react to your behavior. Don’t be offended by their reaction. Just try to learn from it. Learn to correct your behavior. I do this by apologizing to the person I’m with and then trying to stop myself from doing it again. Usually, I will repeat the behavior, but stop myself sooner the next time. By the third or fourth time, I stop myself just as I’m about to start. Eventually, I don’t even think of repeating the bad behavior: then I’ve successfully eliminated the habit and reaction.

Good Things I don’t like supposedly positive people. To me, they usually are in denial about what’s wrong and pretending that everything is perfect. Eventually, the wrong things in life overwhelm them and they fall apart. I think it’s better to have a more balanced and realistic approach to life — but I still look at what’s right more than what’s wrong. I don’t see the proverbial glass as half full or half empty. Instead, I say that the glass is about forty percent full, if that’s how much water it contains. I say what it contains, but I don’t round up. I’m realistic and focus on what’s good.

In any situation, with anything, there’s always something negative. Water is wonderful: you can drink it, you can wash with it, you can use it to grow plants, you can separate out the oxygen from the water to breathe. That’s seeing what’s good about water. If you’re a negative person, you could focus only on the negatives like the fact that you can drown in water, that it can stain your furniture, or when it rains it may ruin your plans to go out.

The point is, if you walk around noticing what’s wrong with every situation, and notice the flaws in other people, you will be a drag to be around. We all accept that there are things going wrong around us, but those wrong things don’t need a commentator to highlight them. We all see the problems. It’s nicer to be a commentator for the good things in life and in others. Work on being that kind of a person — in your head and aloud — and you’ll naturally attract friends.

Conclusion This article isn’t comprehensive, but it’s a good start to improving yourself to be a happier person and thereby attract friends. We’ll cover some more of this as part of the remaining articles in this series. In the next article we’ll consider some ways to meet people, to find friends — appropriate ones and not just anyone. After that, for the third article in this series, we’ll review how to be a better friend when you have friends.