Will I ever stop feeling lame for not having many friends?

Even online I have a hard time meeting people and becoming friends with them.


Friends can stand with you, but not for you.

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Hello Diner. I will respond to your question with a question. If “not having many friends” makes you feel lame, how many friends will be enough? Ten more? A hundred more?

Satisfaction is naturally impossible to achieve so long as you’re unsatisfied. I think there is another question in there, which I’ll address later, but to answer your original Order, you will stop feeling lame when you stop feeling lame. “When” depends on how long you continue to criticize yourself for not meeting your own expectations.

But you eventually will. The more life you experience, the more people you will meet. Some of those people will have compatible personalities and will gladly be your friends. Furthermore, having more years of practice living in your own skin, you will be more comfortable in it. You will stop worrying about whether you belong, and simply belong.

It is very much like the time you realized you were an adult. I don’t mean being old enough to drink and vote, but when you simply were an adult. One day, you realized you’ve been meeting your responsibilities and living as you chose for some time now. You just didn’t notice when it happened.

That’s how being comfortable in your social group feels. You just become content. If that’s all you were wondering, great, but I’m guessing that’s only part of your question. If that’s true, your question is probably, “how do I stop feeling lame, faster?” or “how do I feel like I belong?” or maybe even “how do I belong?”

Again, the question of “how much?” comes into play.

So let’s ask the question this way, Diner: How do I be universally liked and accepted? Let’s assume “how much?” is “everyone,” OK?

We explored in this Fortune that groups, when first encountering an outsider, naturally reacts coldly toward that person. In that last Fortune, the “outsider” was a student dressed in a black bag as a political statement, not knowing at the time he will be the classic example of a scientific theory.

This is probably the reaction that discourages you. You then go into a cycle of feeling like an outsider and withdraw before the group has a chance to know you–making you feel more ostracized. What’s worse, you might even go looking for signs that people dislike you. Good old confirmation bias. But remember that things got better for the student in the black bag. The other students started protecting and defending him, without ever finding out who he was.

So show up and be present. Participate. As always, never be afraid to discuss this with a counselor. It will be scary at first, but without noticing the change, you will get better, find your equals, and simply belong. Science has proven this. Good luck, Diner.