Why can't i make any friends

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Why do people become friends?

Each now and then i get an email from one of the readers who tells me that he has got problems making friends and that's why i decided to write that article.

The mistake most people make when they approach others for the first time is that they directly display their desire to have the other person as a friend. When you read a little more about the psychology of friendship you will find that that there are rules that govern the process and that this direct approach goes against all the rules. (see also I have Problems making friends)

Here are few quick rules of friendship:

  • People become friends when they have shared interests: If two people have the same shared interest then there is a big chance that they will become friends (see also Tips to make more friends)
  • To compensate for their insecurities: People become friends with the ones who posses the traits that they lack in order to compensate for their weaknesses
  • Mutual benefit: Contrary to common beliefs there is always some kind of benefit behind each friendship. If a person believed he can get a certain benefit by making friends with another person then he will start approaching him. (see also Why some people have no friends)
  • Because that person makes them feel good: People become friends with those who help them maintain their well being. If for example you like to laugh then most probably you will become friends with the person who can make you laugh

Why can't i make any friends

Now when you go directly to someone and show him that you want to be his friend then most probably he wont feel comfortable as he wont see any benefit coming from this friendship. Most people feel uncomfortable around strangers and the only thing that motivates them to leave their comfort zones is the reward that they might get. (see also Fear of the opposite sex)

when you approach a person all of a sudden without letting him realize that there is some kind of a reward that he will get then he will never be motivated to become your friend and he will prefer to remain in his comfort zone. (see The connection between motivation and needs)

In other words you might be a great person but the problem is that you don't follow the right approach and that's why you aren't making any friends.

How to make friends the right way

If you decided to make friends with someone then watch him from a distance for few days. Find out his interests , try to understand his needs and collect information about his insecurities if possible.

As soon as you have this information you can either show that person that you have the same interests (indirectly), help him feel better or helping him satisfy any of his unmet needs.

Here is a simple example, lets suppose that you found someone who is eager for attention but is not getting any of it. In such a case you can begin by praising him and showing him that you are fascinated with his deeds. Because you exploited the core of that person's unmet needs he wont just be your friend but he will like to be around you as well.

The more you understand people the more friends you will be able to make. The problem isn't with your personality or worth but its with your approach and lack of proper knowledge.

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