AT book Friends Forever, the authors write that recently the acronym BFF (Best Friends Forever, “best friends forever”) appears everywhere – from teen series to banner advertising. This gives rise to non-obvious stigmas. There is a feeling that less emotionally deep connections are superficial and fake, and the absence of friends is a variant of deviation.
Psychologists Terry Maple and Daniel Marston are trying refute this statement. They write that having close friends is not necessary for social survival. Yes, social isolation is harmful, but there is a huge gap between it and “friendship.” You can get the benefits associated with social relationships simply by talking to other people – not necessarily close friends.
In addition, scientists from the University of California discoveredthat friendship is not as important to happiness as the satisfaction of basic needs and a sense of competence. According to their findings, people become happier not because of the number or quality of friends, but when they feel they are able to do what they want. And also close the basic needs for food, warmth and sleep.
Psychologist, member of the Professional Psychotherapeutic League, blogger.
The inability to build close relationships is often experienced by those who have experienced some negative, traumatic experience that has convinced them that intimacy is dangerous. Then a person, in order to avoid pain, learns to comfort, to fill himself exclusively on his own. This is not that reasonable autonomy in which we act independently, confidently in ourselves, but deliberate independence from others, as a prevention of possible pain.
Therefore, if relatives or the person himself notices that communication quickly tires or evokes gloomy thoughts, it is worth consulting with a specialist to rule out the presence of mental disorders.
But here everyone determines the norm for himself. If someone is comfortable without bosom friendship, such a person does not experience any mental suffering, then there is no need to look for pathology where it does not exist. Live and rejoice!
We talked to people who don’t have close friends and asked them to share how they feel about it.
“I just don’t need any person next to me”
I never had close friends. A close friend is someone you spend more time with than anyone else. You have some obligations to each other. For example, unquestioningly help when needed.
But I cope with my problems myself and am not ready to spend resources on solving other people’s problems. In general, I am not ready to emotionally invest in someone else, and this is also required in friendship.
I am in the company of a person I like – myself. It’s easier for one: you don’t have to waste time on others, adjust to their schedule in order to ever meet. No one distracts with conversations, hikes, other activities.
I am always comfortable with myself, I just don’t need such a person next to me. I feel complete without it. Plus, when you are alone, no one will definitely spill your secrets, envy your success, or rejoice at your failures.
I have buddies. I talk to them when I want to. Sometimes we go somewhere together. But there is no talk of a strong connection and one shirt for two.
And without close friends, I feel great! If I want to have a good time, I turn to one of my acquaintances, colleagues. And this is enough to satisfy my need for communication. After – I go into free swimming and enjoy it.
“Well, I just didn’t want you to go with him.”
My best friend and I have been friends since high school. Together they moved to another city. They rented an apartment together. We met guys together – they were brothers. When I told her that I was pregnant and was going to get married, a friend began to persuade me to have an abortion and assure me that my young man was not suitable for me.
After all, “how can you even marry him? He has nothing: no apartment, no car, no normal job.” I stopped all this and said that I love him, and I want to leave the child.
Then she decided to go the other way: she told my fiancé’s brother that I was cheating on him and that I was, in principle, a “girl of easy virtue.” Their mother found out about this, and our relationship with her deteriorated sharply. In the end, my brother told my fiancé what the matter was. It was difficult to survive such a betrayal.
When I asked a friend why she did this, she replied: “Well, I just didn’t want you to go with him and give birth to a child from him.” I couldn’t forgive her. After this incident, I began to beware of everyone and expect a dirty trick.
I don’t think I’ll ever have the close friendship I had with that friend. I do not feel longing for her and do not strive to look for a replacement. And simple communication is enough for me at lunchtime snacks with colleagues.
“You can call it friendly polyamory”
I have no hierarchy: this one is “best friend” and this one is “even better”. It can be difficult for me to place a person in one of the categories. I have always been sociable, and it was not difficult for me to make acquaintances. It may seem that if there are so many people around, then they are not close friends. Probably, in the generally accepted sense, it is.
The only person I have an emotionally deep relationship with is my girlfriend. And with the rest I communicate about the same. I have a clear awareness: some things I will not tell anyone, and some things I can tell almost everyone. Not even the man I met an hour ago at the bar. With a girl, I can share something very intimate, but even then – if I understand that there is an opportune moment for this.
Often I don’t see the point in building some kind of intricate interpersonal communications when you can just have fun and enjoy communication. If I have a problem, I can solve it myself. I think it’s easier to live that way. Every person in my environment is valuable to me in some way. This can be called friendly polyamory.
“Everyone posted happy photos from friendly gatherings on social networks, but I didn’t want this”
I am single for life. I am not in a permanent romantic relationship. And no permanent friends. I feel ok if I go abroad alone. Or if I go to watch a movie alone. I don’t think not having best friends (and friends in general) makes me worse.
Earlier, before psychotherapy, I was sure that there was some kind of problem in me, a breakdown. After all, everyone wanted to hang out with friends, everyone posted happy photos from friendly gatherings on social networks. And I didn’t want all this, deep down. I was more comfortable walking alone in the park or reading a book.
Now I understand that this is my specialty. I am an introvert, and after work (and it is associated with constant communication), I don’t want to see anyone, meet anyone. I want to come home and restore my balance by lying in the bath or watching a new series.
Sometimes my mother sighs that I am lonely: they say, how bad I must be. And I answer her: “I’m not bad at all, I’m super!”