Does Everyone Need Friends?

By Alyssa Schmid

Have you ever felt inferior because you don’t have a close group of friends? Lack of friendship has been known to cause these negative interpretations of self-worth. I have personally blamed myself for not having a friend group many times. It is so easy to see the brunch posts on Instagram and think that if you had just tried harder and gone on more awkward café hang outs that you could have that too. Yet, according to Dr. Daniel Marston, friendships are not required for happiness. Not that he dismisses their pleasant nature, but they simply are not vitally important for your happiness or mental well-being. What is required for happiness is feeling capable in your daily responsibilities and human interaction even in its most basic form. So stop beating yourself up for a friendship deficiency and start focusing on the human interactions in your daily life. Here are seven tips for getting your social quota:

Enjoy Your Coffee in the Café

It is so tempting to rush through a drive thru but taking the time to be present in a café is a simple way to connect with others. There’s more time to chat with the barista and connect with the customer at the table next to you. Even as little as someone asking if they can grab a chair from your table is a meaningful way to fill up your social tank. If you stop by often enough, the baristas will begin to recognize you and that can lead to more genuine conversations. 

Go to the Library

While digital book rentals are becoming more and more popular, make the effort to go to the library. Libraries have many events that can help you connect with your community. Some might even have classes or can inform you about interesting opportunities. The small act of engaging with your local library could lead to finding out about poetry readings, art festivals, or city Christmas events! On top of that, you can forge friendly relationships with the librarians who work there. Ask for book recommendations and then tell them what you thought of it! Show them pictures of your pets and enjoy being present with another human. The library is a free public space that is built around community engagement, so take advantage of it!

 Join a Hobby Club

A quick internet search is an easy way to find other people in your area who enjoy doing the same hobby together. Use the time that you would have spent engaging in that hobby by yourself to interact with others. You can enjoy this social time without worrying about how to achieve higher friendship levels. Just be in the moment and have fun with people who appreciate your hobbies! This is also a great ice breaker because everyone there already loves the same thing! They can share their knowledge and inspire you to keep pursuing this interest. 

Join a Volunteer Organization

Get out of the house and spend your social time while helping people. The great aspect of volunteering is that you can pick a cause that you are passionate about plus you know that your presence is wanted. In fact, you will feel needed because they are counting on you! You will get to work side by side with other people and that takes the pressure off to do well socially. A shared goal and activity are the perfect way to connect with others without thinking about what to do with your hands, how much eye contact to make, and how to handle those awkward silences.

Consider Connecting with Family Members

Although not everyone has family members in their lives, it can be a great option for those that do! Family gatherings are the perfect time to socialize with people without the level of nervousness or awkwardness that usually comes from hanging out with friends. You likely share the same culture and traditions as your family. Best of all, you hopefully know that you belong at these gatherings and that assurance can bring a lot of comfort. 

Talk a Walk in a Public Park

If you have a nearby public park that you feel safe in, go take a walk! This is especially a great idea to connect with others if you have a dog to accompany you. Having a dog with you breaks the ice and opens up a conversation. Dog or no dog, a pleasant wave from a fellow jogger can be encouraging on a bad day. You might even stumble across an interesting community opportunity that you didn’t know about. Public parks can house community gardens, volunteer events, sports events, and exercise groups!   

Join a Community Sharing Social Media Page

There is a growing trend to use social media as a way to encourage community and share with your neighbors. These groups are especially great for sharing and receiving physical items that are needed such as furniture, exercise equipment, and school supplies. Utilizing this resource can connect you with your physical neighbors and encourage your involvement in your community. Sharing needed items is a key benefit to friendship, this means you can still have this benefit with your neighbors!  

In the fast paced, virtual world we find ourselves in today, it can seem hard to meet people. However, by engaging with free and public spaces you can genuinely connect with others. This connection might not be deemed a traditional friendship, but it serves to fulfill you social needs. Since that is all you need, you don’t need to be self-deprecating towards the friendship area of your life! Your presence, experiences, talents, and ideas still matter. They bring meaning to you and those around you whether or not they’re identified as “friends.” Be present today without an invitation.


Marston, Daniel. (2019.)  Why You Don’t Need Friends. Psychology Today.

About the Author

Alyssa Schmid is a freelance writer working on finishing a double degree in horticulture and sustainability at Oregon State University. She deeply loves traveling, baking, gardening, and researching sustainable fashion brands.

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