"I don't feel close to anyone. Not even my friends or people I've dated. I don't know how I can feel closer to people when every conversation seems so shallow."
While it may seem like some people are born with the ability to reach out to others, it's likely a skill they've developed over the years. Someone who grew up around family members learns what it's like to be close to someone and generally finds it easier to develop closeness in other relationships. Fortunately, at any stage of life, you can learn to get closer to people.
- You are not vulnerable.You won't feel close to others if you don't share your feelings and your true self.
- They are afraid of intimacy.If you have trust issues that you haven't addressed yet, you maysubconsciously sabotageYour relationships and prevent people from getting close. You may not recognize the signs that someone is trying to move closer or further away from you when things seem intimate.
- You don't see anyone regularly enough.seize the timemake close friends. Just seeing someone on a regular basis can be enough to make us like each other, in a process known as the absolute proximity effect.
- You have not found any compatible friends.It can be difficult to approach people when you have nothing in common with them or don't respect them.
Look at your classmates, coworkers, and others around you at this time. How close do you feel to them? Are there people you would like to get closer to? Or do you need to try to make new friends?
Once you've decided if you want to get closer to those around you or make new friends, you can take the necessary steps.
Keep reading our guideI don't have close friendsmihow to meet like minded people. If you're not sure if your current friendships are healthy, you can find our article onSigns of a toxic friendshipuseful.
To feel close to someone, we have to know them. While some people are willing to share information about themselves, others are more reserved and wait until someone asks. Show that you care about people and that you want to know more about their lives.
We have a list of210 questionsto give you some ideas on how to get to know your friends better. Do you find it difficult to be naturally curious about people? We have some tips on that.How to Be More Interested in Others When You're Not Naturally Curious.
Relationships should be give and take. Sharing something about yourself will make people feel closer to you as they get to know the real you. As a result, they may also feel more comfortable sharing something about themselves. Being vulnerable can be scary, but the payoff can be worth it.
It may take a while to figure out when andhow to open up to peopleso don't despair. You want to get to a point where you can let people know what's going on with you in the right setting without "emotionally throwing them off."
It is important to note that no one in the world gets it right all the time. Everyone has moments in their lives when we feel like we've shared too much or perhaps missed an opportunity to share if we didn't realize it. Do not despise yourself. Remember that you are learning.
Being close to someone is not just getting to know them. Shared experiences are powerful tools for bringing people together.
Be open to trying new things with your friends. If someone invites you to try an activity or go to an event, give it a try. Find an exciting activity or event, such as a guided walk, a sculpture class, or a new form of exercise.
When we want to get closer to someone, we may feel that we need to spend as much time as possible with that person.
But everyone needs some time to themselves. Spending time apart can provide different experiences that you can gather to tell and share with each other.
Too much closeness can make us feel entangled and even trapped. The result can be intense but brief relationships. To build long-term relationships, take your time and give yourself space.
While giving space is important, making your friends feel seen and heard is crucial. Answer calls and messages. Don't let your friends down. Let the people in your life know they can trust you by showing up on time when making plans, keeping your information private, and reporting any issues that arise.
Try to regularly see and talk to the people you want to get closer to. Remember that it takes time to build strong, lasting relationships.
We often find that problems we have from childhood and past experiences prevent us from feeling close to people.
For example, it may be difficult for you to ask for help or to recognize when you are receiving it. Compliments can be awkward. You may find that your friends and other people around you are constantly letting you down. Maybe you give too much and get frustrated when others don't know you. or maybe you havetrust issuesfeeding her fear of intimacy.
Work on developing your self-awareness about what prevents you from feeling close to other people in your life. Have you ever felt close to someone or current affairs? If something has changed recently, try to find out what it is and fix the problem immediately.
We all like to feel good. Compliments make us feel great about ourselves and, in turn, about the people who compliment us.
If there is someone you want to get closer to, there are likely things you like or admire about that person. Let them know Tell your friend that you appreciate their positive attitude, organizational skills, or well-groomed appearance.
Building a relationship with a therapist can be a fantastic training ground for other relationships.
You might think that a relationship with a therapist doesn't count because they get paid to listen to you. But a good therapist will help you master new tools that you can apply to other areas of your life.
In therapy sessions, for example, you can practice self-affirmation when you feel your therapist has misunderstood you. You can also practicemake eye contactwhile sharing personal information and many other skills that help you get closer to others.
In addition to practicing new skills, a therapist can help you identify and understand why you're having trouble communicating with people. Understanding how past experiences affect how you feel and act today can help you integrate with others and move on.
We recommend BetterHelp for online therapy as they offer unlimited messages, one session per week, and are cheaper than going to a therapist's office.
Their plans start at $64 per week. Use this link to get 20% off your first month at BetterHelp + a $50 coupon valid on any SocialSelf course:Click here for more information on BetterHelp.
(To get your $50 SocialSelf coupon, sign up using our link. Then, email us your BetterHelp order confirmation to receive your unique code. You can use this code for any of our courses.)
Support groups can be another great opportunity to practice being close to others, whether you don't have access to traditional individual therapy or as a supplement.
Support groups can provide a platform to share your experiences with others who are experiencing similar difficulties. Most support groups have a policy against "crosstalk", which means that members do not comment on what other members have said. This means you can share what you're going through without feeling judged or receiving advice.
You can try online video support groupsSupport group headquarters. Trained moderators administer these self-help groups. Other self-help groups are run by peers. If you prefer a peer-led group, you can tryAdult children of alcoholics and other dysfunctional families.
In some cases, a lack of social skills can prevent you from connecting with others. These articles can help you develop key skills:
- The best social skills books for adults.
- How to read and pick up on social cues
- Improve your social intelligence
Many people go through periods in their lives when they don't have close friends. It can be due to a lack of social skills, being too busy with work or family life, or many other reasons. If that bothers you, you can learn to make new friends at any age.
Sometimes we are afraid to get close to someone because we are afraid that person will hurt us or betray us in some way. In other cases, we may feel unworthy of people's care and attention. We may fear that people will be disappointed when they get to know ourselves.
- Panadero, PM (1983).The friendship process: a developmental model of interpersonal attraction.Sociological Spectrum, 3(3-4), 265–279.
Negative social experiences and overreliance on social media can make it more difficult to feel emotionally linked to other people. Sometimes a lack of connection might be related to the presence of a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression.Is it normal to not have close friends? ›
Companionship needs vary from person to person
While some people need a lot of social time, others don't. If you're more introverted, you probably feel most comfortable with a few close friends. Too much socializing likely drains your energy and leaves you in urgent need of solitude.
Paranoid personality disorder. People with this disorder are often cold, distant, and unable to form close, interpersonal relationships. They are often overly suspicious of their surroundings without good reason. People with paranoid personality disorder generally can't see their role in conflict situations.Why am I emotionally distancing myself? ›
Emotional distancing can be temporary, in response to a stressful or unpleasant situation, or ongoing, which appears in people who suffer from attachment disorders. Whatever kind of emotional distancing you're experiencing, you should try and find professional assistance to help you cope with it and overcome it.Why am I emotionally detached from everyone? ›
It may stem from an unwillingness or an inability to connect with others. There are two general types. In some cases, you may develop emotional detachment as a response to a difficult or stressful situation. In other cases, it may result from an underlying psychological condition.How do I stop feeling alone and unwanted? ›
- Take it slow.
- Make new connections.
- Try peer support.
- Try to open up.
- Talking therapies.
- Social care.
- Be careful when comparing yourself to others.
- Look after yourself.
Often getting left out can result from simple miscommunications: Maybe your friends thought you were too busy with your job to go shopping on a weekday. Perhaps you accidentally texted them the wrong date or time for an event, and they planned something else without you.Is it common to feel like you have no friends? ›
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Many people go periods without having any friends, so there is nothing wrong with you if are alone right now. However, if you feel lonely, consider discussing your situation with a therapist or attending some social events to make a few friends.
Jessica Harrison, a licensed professional counselor and owner of Courageous Counseling and Consulting, says a lack of long-term friendships is a major red flag. "It shows that they have not been committed to growing in relationships, which takes time and effort on both friends' part," says Harrison.Why do some people not have any friends? ›
People who are uncomfortable with others or prefer to be alone may have a hard time maintaining friendships. Personality issues such as being pushy, too talkative, or controlling can be off-putting to others. Talking to an objective third party such as a therapist can help reveal issues that interfere with friendships.
It is possible to find happiness without friends. As long as you have a strong sense of self and focus on activities that bring you purpose and joy, you can enjoy life at your own pace and on your own terms. Take time for self-care and self-reflection.Am I emotionally detached? ›
One of the key signs that you're emotionally detached is that you aren't open or forthright with others regarding your emotions. You tend to keep things very private, hidden, and under wraps. Even if you're feeling sad or hurt, you never open up about this to others or let your true emotions show.Why do I push people away? ›
Pushing people away is one way of avoiding intimacy. In fact, this avoidance can act as a defense mechanism for people afraid of getting hurt in relationships. This could be because a past relationship ended badly, perhaps with rejection or even bereavement.Why do I have no desire to be around people? ›
Social anhedonia is often defined as an increased disinterest in all aspects of interpersonal relationships and a lack of pleasure in social situations. Physical anhedonia is an inability to feel tactile pleasures such as eating, touching, or sex. The symptoms of anhedonia can include: social withdrawal.How do I stop being emotionally detached? ›
- Practice Mindfulness. Staying in the moment can be challenging. ...
- Practice Roleplay. ...
- Practice Being Vulnerable. ...
- Strengthen Your Bonds.
Shyness, introversion, and social anxiety may make people put the brakes on connecting with others. If a person has poor self-esteem or mental health issues, they may also struggle to connect. If this sounds like you, you may need some extra support to start feeling your best.How do you deal with someone who is emotionally detached? ›
Focus on your own feelings
Both Neblett and Gatling agree that if you address someone's emotional unavailability, express how it's affecting you and lead with "I" statements. It's also important to have clear examples of why you think they're emotionally unavailable so that they don't feel ambushed, Neblett emphasizes.
Children may also use emotional detachment as a way to cope with a traumatic event. Other mental health conditions. A couple of mental health conditions have as a symptom emotional detachment. Some of these psychological illnesses include bipolar disorder, depression, personality disorders, and PTSD.What is it called when you have no feelings for anyone? ›
As a condition marked by lack of feelings, it can be difficult to recognize the symptoms of alexithymia. Since this condition is associated with an inability to express feelings, an affected person might come across as being out of touch or apathetic.What mental illness has emotional detachment? ›
Feeling emotionally detached can be a symptom of another mental health condition, including: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): According to the National Institute of Mental Health , feeling emotionally numb can occur with PTSD. Depression: People can experience depression differently.
People with depression, personality disorders, trauma history, and other issues that can cause someone to feel unlovable are not inherently unworthy of love or positive connections with others. Remember that your thoughts can be inaccurate, and you do not deserve to be abused regardless of who you are.What is wanting to be alone a symptom of? ›
These can be a beginning sign of an antisocial personality disorder. These individuals are forced into isolation because they are or feel like they have been rejected by society. They want to belong to a community, but mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia isolate them from others.How do lonely people behave? ›
It's characterized by constant and unrelenting feelings of being alone, separated or divided from others, and an inability to connect on a deeper level. It can also be accompanied by deeply rooted feelings of self-doubt, low self-esteem, or social anxiety.Why do friends ignore me? ›
Here are some reasons friends might ignore you:
You might be too negative. You might be too high or low energy compared to your friend. You might talk too much about yourself. You might talk about things your friend isn't interested in.
You give more than you take.
At times, one person may need more than the other. But if a friend is constantly a taker and rarely a giver, it's not a balanced friendship. If you're always there for them but they don't do the same for you, it may be a sign to move on.
- Check your motivation.
- Start a convo.
- Practice listening.
- Offer compliments.
- Be a host.
- Pick up the phone.
- Talk to strangers.
A person with no friends is often called a loner. Some other terms that are used to describe a person that is lonely or isolated include recluse and hermit.How do you build a social life? ›
- Focus on quality. ...
- Surround yourself with positive people. ...
- Support others. ...
- Show initiative. ...
- Create a list of different activities. ...
- Schedule regular activities. ...
- Respect boundaries in relationships.
Some people are naturally loners, as in they prefer to be by themselves some/most of the time. But if they're a loner because they dislike others or because others dislike them, it's likely that they're just unpleasant — and it could be a red flag.What is the biggest red flag in a friendship? ›
- They put you down every chance they get. ...
- You feel drained after interacting with them. ...
- Competitive behaviour. ...
- They don't respect your boundaries. ...
- They don't reciprocate your energy. ...
- They find you silly or outdated.
- Overly controlling behavior. Overly controlling behavior is a common red flag in relationships. ...
- Lack of trust. ...
- Feeling low self-esteem. ...
- Physical, emotional, or mental abuse. ...
- Substance abuse. ...
- Narcissism. ...
- Anger management issues. ...
The study, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Evite, uncovered that one of the reasons 42 percent of adults struggle to make friends is due to introversion or shyness. And the challenge is not just in breaking out of their shell but also breaking into new social situations and circles.Is it common for adults to not have friends? ›
Survey suggest that having few or no friends is not uncommon. Millennials are most likely to report having no friends, and those numbers may be growing as a result of social media, internet use, and world events.Is it normal for adults to not have many friends? ›
Some people have higher social needs than others, which means they may want to have a greater number of friends. Those who value their alone time may need fewer friends, and that's OK too. In general, based on 2021 survey data, the average person in America has between 3 and 5 close friends.How does having no friends affect your mental health? ›
Some research suggests that loneliness is associated with an increased risk of certain mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, sleep problems and increased stress.Can you live without socializing? ›
Everyone needs social connections to survive and thrive. But as people age, they often find themselves spending more time alone. Being alone may leave older adults more vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation, which can affect their health and well-being.How do you accept loneliness? ›
- Transitions, stress, or other life challenges can contribute to feelings of loneliness. ...
- Limit social media use. ...
- Re-think how you spend your spare time. ...
- Volunteer. ...
- Be strategic about seeking relationships. ...
- Accept that you won't be friends with every person you meet.
Emotional blunting means you are numb to both positive and negative emotions. You can't seem to cry or feel sad about things that normally would make you sad.Is pushing people away a trauma response? ›
Pushing people away again and again is a frequent sign of mental health problems such as depression and trauma.What behavior pushes people away? ›
Consistently not honoring agreements is a sure way to push others away. Trust in a relationship is core to its success. If someone wants to keep your trust, then they can't ignore or rationalize breaking an agreement without an attempt to renegotiate in advance, or a sincere promise to change that behavior.
“The fear of intimacy can be caused by different reasons including abuse or neglect, medical problems, fear of abandonment, or religious beliefs. Sometimes, it can even be a combination of issues and securing the help of a professional is necessary.”Why don't I feel the urge to socialize? ›
Social anhedonia is present in an individual who shows disinterest in and has a relatively low drive for social interactions. People with social anhedonia prefer solitude. On the other hand, individuals suffering from social anxiety don't necessarily want to isolate themselves.Why can't I socialize anymore? ›
Social fatigue or social burnout happens when you've socialized to the point that you can't do it anymore. Social exhaustion can also be called introvert burnout or introvert hangover. Although it's not a medical diagnosis, it is a valid experience that introverts and extroverts can face.What happens if you never socialize? ›
"Lacking encouragement from family or friends, those who are lonely may slide into unhealthy habits," Valtorta says. "In addition, loneliness has been found to raise levels of stress, impede sleep and, in turn, harm the body. Loneliness can also augment depression or anxiety."Is it normal to not feel connected to anyone? ›
For some people it's just a case of shyness, but if that is so, you'll tend to feel connected to your family and a few close friends, just not strangers. Otherwise, a failure to connect to others tends to be a sign of a psychological health issue.Is it normal to feel like you don t connect with anyone? ›
Shyness, introversion, and social anxiety may make people put the brakes on connecting with others. If a person has poor self-esteem or mental health issues, they may also struggle to connect. If this sounds like you, you may need some extra support to start feeling your best.What is it called when you don't feel connected to anyone? ›
Emotional detachment is when a person is unable to engage fully with their own or other people's feelings. It can occur as part of an attachment disorder or in response to a temporary situation. Emotional detachment can affect a person's physical, psychological, emotional, and social development.Why am I so uncomfortable when people get close to me? ›
You might feel uncomfortable around someone because you have feelings for them, or because it's a toxic or intimidating person. Discomfort can also be a sign of underlying social anxiety or lack of social skills. For example, not knowing what to say can make you worry about awkward silence.Is it normal to feel disconnected from your life? ›
It's been estimated that half of all people may experience a feeling of being disconnected at least once in their lifetime. But around 2 percent of people may experience disconnection extreme enough for it to be considered a dissociative disorder.What does lack of emotional connection feel like? ›
What Is A Lack Of Emotional Intimacy? Relationships that lack emotional intimacy are characterized by feelings of isolation, disconnection, and a lack of emotional safety. Even though there's time spent together, there's no real emotional connection or understanding between you.
People who are afraid of others' judgment, evaluation, or rejection are naturally more likely to shy away from making intimate, personal connections. In addition, some specific phobias, such as the fear of touch, may occur as part of the fear of intimacy.What illness is like emotional detachment? ›
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Some people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, report a feeling of emotional detachment from others or a difficulty expressing emotions.
In many cases, social awkwardness comes from extreme anxiety. Social anxiety is more than just feeling shy. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 12.1% of U.S. adults experience a social anxiety disorder at some time in their lives.Do people with social anxiety not like to be touched? ›
Our study demonstrates one key mechanism through which these problems may arise—discomfort with and avoidance of touch. Highly socially anxious individuals felt discomfort being touched and touching other people, with a strong tendency to avoid physical contact.Why do I feel uncomfortable in social settings? ›
A person with social anxiety disorder feels symptoms of anxiety or fear in situations where they may be scrutinized, evaluated, or judged by others, such as speaking in public, meeting new people, dating, being on a job interview, answering a question in class, or having to talk to a cashier in a store.