10 Things That Having Zero Friends Will Teach You And What It Taught Me
So you clicked this. Maybe the headline trickled your heart in a way.
Maybe you moved to a new place where you had to leave your friends and start afresh.
Maybe all of your friends got married and the usual time you have with them is no longer there.
Maybe you don’t connect with the old company you used to have.
Or you simply struggle to find the right sets of friends for you.
We all undergo a certain phase of life where something changes and we either adapt to it or dwell on the bad side of it.
Let it be clear that I am in no way advocating having zero friends or that you need to abandon your friends. Having zero friends is difficult to swallow, no doubt about that.
Many people feel sorry for themselves when they undergo a certain crisis in their lives. They think of it as a validation of themselves. They equate not having friends to rejection.
But too often, when you decide to flip an issue, there’s always good that will come out of it.
Friends are valuable blessings that can help us carry through any storm we face. As Anne Shirley puts it in the novel Anne of Green Gables, “True friends are always together in spirit.”
For this context, “friend” will mean your kindred spirit who you can physically bond with. Someone, you can call anytime to drink coffee together, share a meal, shop together or pursue the same activities.
These are people who are very, very close to you both in heart and in physical presence. They make you feel strong and being around them gives you that extra confidence to pursue anything.
Let’s be honest here. Even though friendship is not about the distance, most of us are longing for a physical company at certain times. It’s part of the biological makeup of a human being.
But what if, for certain circumstances, they become out of reach?
Do you simply wallow in pity or step up your game in this time of adversity?
You Only Evolve When You Break Your Cocoon
When I was young, my sisters tell me that if they have to color my life, it would be black and white. It’s not very colorful as they want it to be. That is until I met my friends.
My friends are undeniably one of my greatest blessings in life. They understand my situation and are always willing to compromise to help me. They picked me up when I got kicked out from my aunt’s house for standing my ground. They opened my eyes when my heart was full of bitterness.
It was really painful when I had to move to another country. The transition that I thought would be easy became harder than I expected. And for years, I wish I had my friends to help me walk through.
During the painful process, I have discovered and learned so many things that I will never learn during the times of comfort.
It may seem hard to accept in the beginning, but behind every pain, you evolve into a stronger person if you decide to overcome it.
10 Things Having Zero Friends Will Teach You
1. It Will Increase Your Accountability
Friends act like cheerleaders at times. But too much dependence on them is not a good thing either. We seek opinions and validations from them even though we can produce the answers.
When you walk alone, you increase your accountability to yourself. You have no one to blame for the actions you did or did not do. You recognize it is your responsibility whether you like the results of your actions or not.
No other opinion colors your decision so you have no choice but to stand up for what you did. In the process, you become stronger and more careful in the future actions you make.
2. It Will Develop Your Decision Making Skills
Sometimes small decisions can be difficult to make. It’s extra challenging to decide on the coffee flavor, the shade of lipstick or even the new electronics to purchase.
Don’t worry because your friend saves the day. He/She can enumerate the list of why you must choose this versus that. So in the end, even though you want this, you choose that.
After all, you trust your friend’s instinct more than you trust yourself.
But you cannot use that as an excuse when you’re out there alone. You have to make your own decision based on your own wisdom. You cannot be pulled to follow the opinions of others.
At first, you will feel uncomfortable when deciding on your own. But as you get used to it, you become better over time.
You’re able to weigh the pros and cons of an issue. You’re able to make a judgment based on the information and experiences you have. By doing so, you increase the capacities of your higher-order thinking skills.
In the future, you become more confident to produce a quality decision. This does not only translate on simple stuff but also on big issues that require wise decisions.
3. It Will Exercise Your Risk Muscle
This alone time is the perfect opportunity to try new things. No one clouds your opinion whether you can do it or not. You’re not scared to look foolish. After all, not all friends have the same interests.
My journey of being alone started when I pursued graduate school. While my friends supported my decision, they cannot join me in my journey. I had to feel comfortable jumping from one class to another while adapting from different sets of classmates.
By being alone, you’ll see opportunities you’ve never seen before. You’ll learn yourself more as you try something new. You’ll face the challenges and struggles on your own.
You interpret “no” as “ON”. Instead of saying “no go”, you say “GO ON.”
Eventually, you become bolder, instead of playing it safe and never knowing you could have achieved your dream.
4. It Will Nudge You to Pursue Personal Growth
When everything seems comfortable, no one bothers to change a thing about himself.
When you’re alone, you’ll begin to think of your values. You’ll revisit areas of your life that need to work on. You’ll evaluate your performance if they meet your new standards.
Instead of ignoring or settling for less than you are, you take on a new path. You stretch your vision. You realize that your life can and will be much greater than it already is.
Each day would be an exciting opportunity for you to evolve.
For every minute of fun, you invest an hour’s worth of work to be the person you want to be.
5. It Will Make You Realize The Need to Learn
Our friends cheer us up when we win and console us when we fail. We become complacent on our performance because the opinions that surround us are nothing but pleasant.
On your self-journey, you’ll discover areas of yourself that were deeply hidden before. You’ll see that there are many things to learn. You’ll realize that the more you learn, the more there are to learn.
At first, it will make you feel embarrassed. You won’t believe how much things you actually do not know. Resistance will try to prevent you from learning.
But you pursue learning anyway. After all, the only audience and critic you have at the moment is yourself. You accept your status as a novice and determined to master anything you want.
As Robert Herjavec has said:
“Before you can absorb the teachings of a master, you have to absorb a lot of advice and gather a lot of experience.”
6. It Will Force You To Question Your Future
When you decide that you can’t dwell on your misery, you begin to dream about your future. You craft the details in your head. You visualize where you want to end up.
Then, the important questions that were once ignored will start to come out again.
Who do you really want to be?
Is the path you’re taking the path you really want to be?
Are you willing to compromise the comfort of now for the better future you desire?
The answers will not be obvious right away. But you decide to take on the new path anyway.
You begin to take inventory of your capabilities and skills. You develop a game plan to improve your situation. You may not know the entire steps but the “how” will show up during the process.
From there, you become flexible on the different changes and factors that affect your journey.
7. It Will Make You See the Beauty Around You
Because your risk muscle starts to evolve, you’ll spot new adventures. You’ll go to unusual places that you’ve never tried before. You’ll explore the public library that was once part of your childhood. You’ll enjoy the ambiance of the park that you used to ignore.
You become aware of the significance of each person and thing around you. Life and time are both precious.
Every time you wallow in pity, you are robbing yourself the chance to enjoy what you have.
8. It Will Develop Your Courage
Being alone can help you become more independent. You don’t mind eating or shopping alone outside. Instead of dwelling on self-pity, you’ll remove the negative self-talk that you nurture inside. You’ll experience a sense of liberation.
When you go to places you’ve never been, you develop courage.
When you try things you never did, you develop courage.
When you exploit opportunities that scare you, you develop courage.
The way Harper Lee puts it in the novel, “To Kill A Mockingbird”,
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.
9. It Will Allow You to Expand Yourself
Sometimes we get so confined in one social circle that we lose sight of the bigger circle that needs us.
It’s not simply about having friends, it’s about being a friend to others.
When you learn this principle, you don’t chase friends anymore. You become friend to other people who need your presence. You embody the definition of a friend.
Instead of limiting yourself to few people, you volunteer to organizations that need your help. You give yourself the opportunity to let others see the good in you. You become available for others not because they ask but because you understand their need.
10. It Will Make You A Better Friend
The journey you are in right now will help you realize the old practices you used to have as a friend.
Instead of deciding for your friends, you’ll help them form their own decisions. Instead of restricting their capabilities, you’ll encourage them to explore their potentials. Instead of convincing them to settle on what they know, you’ll inspire them to learn more.
You don’t become an enabler you once used to be. You become a friend who actually helps them transform themselves.
It will only happen when you reach the inner fulfillment of being a friend to yourself.
Be A Friend That Anyone Wishes To Have
Having friends around can be very delightful. You have great companies that will share your triumphs and pain.
But life often presents us with many twists and turns which are meant to test our endurance. This phase of your life will test how you can transform yourself into a better you.
Don’t consider this as a defeat, rather, an opportunity to know yourself more.
In the future, when you look back, you’ll be happy that you chose to see the good things in this situation. Because you overcame the pain, you become the right friend that anyone wishes to have.
Want to Fuel Your Performance?
I’ve created a checklist to help you find out if you are operating based on your inner drives. If you are driven inside, your performance and life become better.