Lord knows I have made some embarrassing confessions on my blog over the years but this might just be the hardest to write about: I don’t have friends.

Well. I don’t have zero friends. I have people I could call or text if I needed to. I have online friends and there is ongoing banter and conversation there. My years-long relationship with my trainer feels like a longstanding friendship, even though technically I pay her to spend time with me.

But a squad? No: I’ve never had a group of friends. I’m not part of group chats. I don’t even know multiple people on an acquaintance basis, much less a “ride or die crew” kind of situation.

In fact, I don’t have a ride or die. I don’t have a bestie. I don’t have a lunch date pal, a walking buddy, an adventurous travel-loving BFF, a comrade in the menopause wars.

Social anxiety is certainly the main reason I have trouble making friends, but this also seems to be a life stage that just isn’t conducive to meeting people. The boys are older now and I’m not ensconced in after-school sports with fellow parents. I work remotely and have for years, my coworkers are great but they exist in the context of Slack messages and Zoom feeds; no one’s going out for happy hour. My volunteering is on hold because of Covid regulations, and with Instacart I don’t even leave the house all that often.

I never did have a lively, thriving social life, but all I can say these days is that my funeral will be depressingly sparse. Minimalist, you might say. Sort of like my side of the wedding party was.

Like I said, this is embarrassing as fuck to talk about, but I recently stumbled onto a Reddit thread that indicates I’m not alone: 1 in 10 Americans don’t have close friends.

So maybe one of you will read this and think, hey, I’m not broken and weird because I don’t have friends like every single other human being on the planet seems to. Other people feel this way too.

Here’s something I find hopeful: both my mom and aunt have made all kinds of wonderful, rewarding friendships throughout their senior years. If I’m half as lucky, there are still plenty of people I have yet to meet and relationships I have yet to experience.

Of course, that probably necessitates being a willing participant in the outside world and not just hissing and retreating under couches at the idea of talking to someone’s actual irl face. At any rate: goals!

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Kelley O
Kelley O
29 days ago

I’m in the same place as you. I have a boyfriend, we have one mutual friend, and that’s about it. He’s got more friends than I do now because he’s retired so he’s golfing more and meeting people that way, whereas I’m still working. But even my “work friends” are just people I can be snarky with on company time, not people I get together with outside of work hours. We’re all spread out and really have nothing in common other than work. I know people from high school who didn’t move away after graduation and/or college and they made and/or kept friends from high school, especially since they all had kids and their families grew up together, but I moved away after graduation. So I’m FB friends with them, but that’s about it. I see people who have lifelong close friendships and I wonder what that’s like, but I can’t really miss it because I never had it. (shrug) Little too late to start at 59 though. :)

Amber
Amber
27 days ago
Reply to  Kelley O

I could have written this! I had women that I considered extremely close friends in high school/college, but then they all stayed in our home town, and I moved about two hours away. In my mind, that minimal amount of distance wasn’t really a barrier to friendship, so I made the effort for many years to go visit them pretty regularly. But then when I had the realization that it was always ME putting in the effort to go see them, I decided that they must not really value my friendship, and I stopped messing with it. We’re all still friends on FB, but I haven’t seen most of them in person in about 15 years!
I had also made several friends through work that I really connected with. We even hung out outside of work fairly frequently…and then they all moved away, and none have ever offered to come back and visit or invited me to visit them. We still text regularly, but that’s it. The women who are still left at my workplace are now just random acquaintances, who I can vent with while at work, but have never seen outside of the office.
It really makes me sad when I take the time to sit and think about it. As someone said in a comment below, I’ve come to believe that there must be something fundamentally unlikeable about me, or maybe not “unlikeable” but forgettable? Like I’m a fine friend when someone is in proximity with me, but I am not worth them making any sort of effort to actually continue the friendship?

Gigi
29 days ago

Making friends as an adult (particularly if your children are older) is hard. I have a few close friends (close enough that they count as family) but I don’t have a “squad” and I’m fine with that. As an introvert and a Cancer, I am very selective about who I want to spend time with.
And those online friends? They count as real friends too. You don’t have to know someone in real life in order to be friends.

ANDREA
ANDREA
28 days ago
Reply to  Gigi

Other than being a Cancer, I could have written this. I’ve got a few RL friends that I have been friends with for many years. I have lifelong friends from childhood, but I don’t see them regularly. I have some online friends, again, friends after connecting with them manymanymany years ago. I consider them friends, even though I’ve met just a few of them in RL. It’s been this way for me for my entire life.

Belle
Belle
29 days ago

I’ve had lots of friends over my lifetime, but they came in and out, depending on the situation. I have a handful of what I would consider to be “close” friends now in my retirement years, but none that I would bare my soul to. And, since I am an introvert who has learned how to be an extrovert when needed for a short period of time, having a very close friend would most likely be too exhausting anyway. This is when I wish my sister and I were close, but we aren’t and have never been.

COURTNEY
COURTNEY
29 days ago

Most of my friends come from doing community theater, which does require leaving the house. But you can participate only as much as you want. You don’t have to be on stage or back stage, you can hand out programs and tell people where the bathrooms are, and then you get to see the show for free. Ans because you’re probably there on a particular night of the run, you’ll end up seeing the same people which eventually leads to conversations.

Shawna
Shawna
28 days ago

My mom has only known her current best friend for maybe 5-6 years, and she’s in her 70s, so there’s still time!

I don’t have a squad, but I’m lucky to have a few good friends, even if they aren’t friends with each other. I went to Costa Rica with my oldest friend this past year to bring her late wife’s ashes back to her family; I have two friends who each will happily let me crash at their places any time I want to road-trip there; and I have a good friend in town that offered to take time off this week to support me if I needed to talk about the fact my dad just collapsed and died last Thursday while he was working out.

Pinkiebling
Pinkiebling
27 days ago
Reply to  Shawna

I am so very sorry for your loss. Best wishes for healing and peace.

KDC
KDC
27 days ago
Reply to  Shawna

I’m so sorry, Shawna. Wishing you comfort and peace. (I know we don’t know each other, but I recognize you from Swistle’s comment section. I always enjoy reading your comments!)

MCW
MCW
25 days ago
Reply to  Shawna

Very sorry for your loss. It’s not easy losing a dear parent suddenly.

Alex
Alex
24 days ago
Reply to  Shawna

I’m so sorry for your loss, Shawna.

Lisa
Lisa
28 days ago

I’ve never had a squad of girl friends. I’ve seen women who had that at every stage, women who roomed together in college and were a pack of besties, women who travel together, etc and that’s just not me. I was in a sorority, but never close friends with any of them. I’ve had a few close friends over the years and I have a lot of acquaintances. My husband is really my best friend and I’m close with my SIL. I am an extraverted introvert and like being at home so I don’t mind.

Mert
Mert
28 days ago

I hear you. I never had a large pack of friends, but after high school (which was many moons ago), the few I had dwindled away due to time and circumstances. I had found another bestie at long last, from work – only to have her unexpectedly pass in her sleep at 41. Never bounced all the way back from that. I am close to my sister and SIL, but they both live several states away, so we don’t see each other that often. We are close when in proximity, but when not, shrugs.
I am close to my husband and daughter, out of necessity, I guess! My husband has a buddy, and they call or see each other multiple times most days, and I wish I had a relationship like that. If we lived close to each other, I would be your introverted, messed up, annoying but well-intentioned hopeful friend!

Alice
Alice
28 days ago

This may be why I don’t dread the idea of the senior living arrangements. It’ll be kind of like college dorm living – new friends at the ready, all in the same stage of life, not knowing anyone when they arrive..
Right now, while I think I like the idea of a close friend, I’m exhausted thinking about the amount of time I’d have to leave the house to make that happen.

sara
sara
28 days ago

Ive been thinking about this a lot lately. I have 2 “best friends” that have been my friends for 30+ years but TBH I see them like once a year and it makes me sad. Can someone really be considered a best friend if all the relationship consists of are occasional texts looking for proof of life?

heidi
heidi
28 days ago
Reply to  sara

Same. I have a group from college but they are the occasional text, see each other once or twice a year type of friends. Locally I hang out with my husband and his sisters. Sometimes my grown kids. But I don’t have any friends here. I’ve always wanted a ride or die but it doesn’t seem I’m destined for that. I agree with Alice too, senior living sounds like a great idea. I actually loved dorm living for this reason.

Kate
Kate
28 days ago

This resonates hard with me. I have my fiancé and a work/personal friend and my sister, but that’s pretty much it. I was just thinking about this the other day in fact; if my work friend leaves and we don’t keep in touch as much, I will have no one to talk to about any big relationship issues that come up and that just feels so lonely. I’m part of an active online forum, which I greatly enjoy- but I’m only there as a commenter, I don’t have my own journal- so I don’t really have a way to share my own stories. Thank you for helping me feel a little less broken and weird!

Stephanie
Stephanie
28 days ago

I so very much relate to this. I’ve never had a big group of friends. As a child one of my biggest fears was winning one of those “you and 20 of your closest friends….” vacations or parties. I…don’t…have 20 friends. As a painfully shy introvert who is always anxious about what other people think of me, I don’t see how to change it either. It’s definitely lonely sometimes.

MCW
MCW
28 days ago

This resonates. In the last few years, I’ve made lots of acquaintances who I like and would enjoy being friends with. Its the reaching out to make plans and spending time together initially as friendly strangers that’s so awkward at this time in life. So, I stick to old friends and my small family. Truth be told, as an introvert, I could really be happy without any people around. When my family is bickering and leaving socks on the floor, a hermit life sounds quite appealing. I wouldn’t be totally unhappy holing up alone in a cozy cabin and talking to my dog all day.

Belle
Belle
27 days ago
Reply to  MCW

Had to respond….. While I was in the waiting room for my dr. appt today, out walked a lady with a sweatshirt on that read “I’m only talking to my dog today.” I laughed out loud and gave her a thumbs up as she walked by.

San
San
28 days ago

All my close friends live far, far away. I wish I had ONE person that I would feel close(r) with locally, but I don’t … and as you said, in this life stage, it’s hard to find new people (and why does everything feel like a huge effort?)

Anne
Anne
27 days ago

Basically same boat, I think there are so many books movies TV series with these friends group or besties we think this is real and think we should have this too. IRL haven’t actually seen so much and when its only there for a short time or life phase.

Nine
Nine
27 days ago

I’m a confirmed all-caps INTROVERTED INTROVERT, meaning INFP-T, super-shy and social anxiety up the yipper. I’ve always been like this but have truly leaned back into my hermit ways since covid lockdown 2020. I’m truly happy in my house with my boyfriend, so much so that leaving the house for reasons other than food gathering only happen if they are social obligations that I actually want to participate in. I have one bestie who I see in the flesh about once a year, which I realize is not the “norm” for bestie behavior, but she’s used to me and my INTROVERTED ways by now (we’ve known each other since elementary school).

I have made friends via work and I enjoy spending time with them in the world that exists outside of my street address, but I am what is best described as distant compared to more social people. I like meeting with friends 1:1 and talking for hours, but more than a 2:1 ratio of people means I will a) disappear from the conversation and 2) need to lie down afterwards.

Generally speaking, I don’t like people all up in my shit and groups of people have more of the potential to be ALL UP INS. I’ve been working remotely since 2020 (thanks covid!) and don’t ever want to navigate a cube farm + small talk on the daily again.

Cherie
Cherie
27 days ago

I don’t have friends either. I meet people, I have many acquaintances, but no one ever seems interested in more. There are two people that I vaguely see regularly, but I always have to make the move so sometimes I just let it slide. I realized at some point that I must be fundamentally unlikable in some key way, so I’ve spent a bit of time sitting with that and trying to change obvious things. But no luck so far. Maybe I’ll have that lucky future at some point. Here’s hoping.

Pinkiebling
Pinkiebling
27 days ago
Reply to  Cherie

This made me want to give you a hug and take you out to lunch. I doubt that you are fundamentally unlikable.

Pinkiebling
Pinkiebling
27 days ago

If your online friends and admirers could all show up to your funeral, it would be a packed house.
My BFF is local (though I don’t see her often due to schedules), but my other close friends here have all moved out of state. Can’t imagine why they wanted to leave Utah, har har. I also work remotely and rarely leave the house except to take my daughter to / from dance classes. I’ve made one mom friend there but we haven’t hung out.
Multiple close IRL friendships sounds kind of exhausting, honestly.

Jane
Jane
25 days ago

Same. I’m bad at making the leap from casual acquaintances (fellow mom at daycare pickup, co-worker, fellow student in an art class) to actual friend. I always assume people won’t want to be my friend. And that belief gets reinforced when no one reaches out to me.

JMH
JMH
25 days ago

This is why I don’t think I could work remotely. I have close friends that I met through work and we socialize on a regular basis. I am also extremely lucky that my husband and I have 2 other couples that we like to go out with often. The 3 couples even vacationed together last year and it was fabulous

April
April
23 days ago

I *really* appreciate you talking about this because it has been on my mind a LOT lately. (It has been on my to-talk-about list in therapy for ages but stupid shit keeps happening at work and with my kids that always usurp the topic.)

I had a group of friends in college that I have moved away from once I realized I was always doing things they wanted to do and not vice versa. My closest friend is someone I work with and because we talk so much during the week it feels like we both need space on the weekend. She and another work friend also have new babies so we are just totally in different stages of life. I have made some friend through my job but I visit many different states for my job so none of them are local. I have made friends with a mom from my kids’ school but if I think of us hanging out beyond dinner once every few months I can’t even imagine it. She mentioned us traveling together and I thought: no. I guess what I’m saying is I have a lot of casual fiends but no one really close and definitely not a group of people. I wish I had both. I do remind myself my mom has made several good friends in her retirement so maybe there’s still hope.

I’m having surgery next month and it sort of breaks my heart that I don’t have a friend group that will help me or bring my family dinner. I’m sure if I asked people they would be willing to help but I’m not willing to look that desperate.

Social anxiety is a major thing for me and I also think I’m sort of broken when it comes to having close relationships (thanks, family!). 😕 I wish I knew how to fix this.

Joanna
Joanna
22 days ago

Same! High school was pure torture but I had groups of close friends in college and then in grad school. But they all faded after I moved out of state a few times. And when I try to reconnect, it’s just clear that they’re not really interested in staying close. Like I find out they were visiting nearby and meet up with other friends but never try to connect with me. I don’t confront them about it or anything – it’s just painful knowledge. Or I’m visiting my hometown – trying to plan my visit around seeing them and they’re like oh let me pencil you in as a maybe. I always seem to get shelved as “distant acquaintance” very quickly. It’s honestly been one of the most painful parts of adulthood for me – losing friends that I really loved over and over. It’s kind of impossible not to take it personally! And now I’m over 40 and I have one friend, my husband, and my sisters. I have raging social anxiety and it’s so hard to make new friends. I count myself so lucky to have my sisters. I wish they lived closer but we do talk a lot.

Anu
Anu
20 days ago

I’ve learned to limit expectations of other people and distance myself from this ideal of soul-connected relationships with people outside my family. I have ONE friend like that and she is a bit flaky and can never stay in one place. But we always find each other and have across 3 decades now. I do have a friend with a huge squad following her around at all times that always seems to be “there” for her but she’s a multimillionaire who buys people vacations and drugs – it’s all a bit Tanya/White Lotus more than anything else and I think her real friends are her family and maybe our mutual friend from high school. Everyone else is just an enabler/user but it makes her happy to feel surrounded by a crowd. Her prerogative.

I have cultivated very close relationships with my husband, my sister, my nephews and my parents. That is where I get my emotional intimacy needs met. Everyone else is more or less a casual acquaintance that I go out with and I’m ok with that. I think my super close friend making time was in college and I’ve retained 2 from that era I really like (including the flake).

I’m happy to spend time with casual friends, but they weren’t going to hold my hand in the hospital when I got hit with an out-of-the blue brain cancer diagnosis. My dad, my sister and my husband did that for me. I am honestly not sure where to find those types of people or if I even want to.