Friendship Is Overrated - Why I Have No Friends

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When it comes to the topic of “friendship”, for reasons we’ll explore in this post, people seem to feel obligated to give me advice that I never asked for. They’ll say things like “Nelson you need hang out with friends more” or “you need to work less and find more time to be social”, but  when I ask those same people to give me the specific reasons for why I need to do those things, the best they can usually respond with is something like “because it’s important”.

Everyone blindly accepts the notion that friendships and social activities are critically important elements of well-adjusted people, and while I wouldn’t say that this logic is entirely incorrect, it is massively overrated, and can even be highly detrimental to people whose goals and reason for living are “non-typical”..

In this post I’ll explain why I basically have no friends, and how the entire way we understand friendship is flawed, and can be particularly detrimental to those of us who are working to improve ourselves. I’ll begin by covering some of the lessons I learned towards the beginning of my self-development journey, and then end with more recent lessons that will definitely shock you. 

Lesson #1: Fictional friends made me who I am

At around the age of 13, I developed horrible acne on my face, I became physically repulsive and as a result, what few friends I did have stopped being my friends, whenever I did talk to someone I could feel them dying to get away from to avoid the embarrassment of being seen talking to me.

These were the worst years of my life, but they were also some of the best years of my life, because when the torture of school was over, I’d go home and escape into the world of role-playing video games, Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, Final Fantasy 7, the characters in these games became my best friends, and being fictional characters, they were able to represent human ideals to a much higher degree than most real humans can. Through them I learned what it is to truly be courageous, loyal, selfless, and through these stories I was able to personally manifest these ideals to the highest degree possible as I fought, over and over again, to save the world. 

Around that same time, my desire to share my love for video games, combined with that fact that I had no friends,  led me to learn web design and build my first website, rpgsanctuary.com, a role-playing game review website that gave me the outlet I needed to be able to share this love with others, with the world, actually. 

Fast forward to today and you won’t find someone with stronger moral values than I have. I still see myself as a hero, who might have found his princess, working tirelessly to save the world. 

Lesson #2: Most people don’t really want to see you succeed

At around 16 years old, as my acne went away, I started to have friends again, and for the most part, they were great friends up until the point where I really started to improve. Let me explain. 

Most people on the “journey” of personal development don’t actually improve, they believe that they’re improving, and in a pathetic attempt to validate this, they’ll post inspirational quotes on social media and frequently give unsolicited advice to everyone around them on how they can improve, but look closely and you’ll notice that they’re all roughly in the same shape as before, same occupational skills, still repeating the same bad habits. 

By the way, if this sounds like you, don’t worry, I went through this phase as well. Here’s a little secret to help you out.

When you’re “fake” improving, the people closest to you will cheer you on, but when you’re really improving, you’ll know because the people closest to you will try to pull you down. 

When I started saying “no” to invitations to go out to clubs and parties, my friends told me that I “needed to be more social” and that life “can’t be all about work”. 

When I was at a restaurante with friends, and chose to order a salad and water as they were all ordering cheeseburgers and beer, they’d call me “gay”, which is actually pretty ironic when you consider that a healthy body is actually more attractive to women. 

When, at the age of 26, I sold everything I had, moved back in with my parents, and started my web design business from scratch, my friends were all advancing through professional careers, cheered me on, when I started finding success,  more than a few friends started to question whether or not I was making the right decision. 

The reality of success is that it makes the people around you who are less successful uncomfortable, because your success is like a mirror that puts them at risk of acknowledging their own bad habits or areas in which they could be improving, and most people prefer to not be conscious of those things, because they don’t want to give up cheeseburgers and beer. 

Whether you’re the person being pulled down, or the person pulling others down, my only purpose in sharing this with you is to help provide clarity. I’ve been both of these people, and part of true growth also means not judging others negatively for acting this way when it’s most likely not their intention – this is just basic human nature. 

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Lesson #3: True growth also means outgrowing old friendships

The further I moved down my journey of self-development, the less I had in common with my old friends. I couldn’t talk about sports because I no longer watched sports, I couldn’t talk about politics because I now saw it as a disease. They were back home, advancing through professional careers and raising families while I had moved to Colombia to pursue entrepreneurship and adventure.  Simply put, we no longer had anything in common. 

Initially I felt a strong sense of responsibility to keep in touch, I feared “being left out”, but over time as it became more and more clear that our paths had diverged, these feelings went away. 

It was only last year when I made the conscious decision to unfollow all of my old friends on social media, and it was really difficult, why? Why was it difficult for me to “opt out” from getting updates from people’s lives that I hadn’t had anything to do with in so many years? 

I would love it if you would make a pause here to consider this for a moment, and then leave your reflections in the comments below.

Lesson #4: Every friendship is a commitment

Back in 2013, I went from living in my parents house, to living in an apartment here in Colombia with 4 other like-minded digital entrepreneurs, and within a few weeks and months I suddenly had an entire network of friends that I could run ideas by and seek advice from as we all leveled up together. 

Finding this group of friends was the best thing that ever happened to me professionally, I’ll talk more about this towards the end of the post. 

Anyway, I’ve always been someone who works a lot, but over the last few years as my life purpose has now become vividly clear to me, I work a lot more, and to be honest, I don’t know a single person who can fully relate to me anymore. 

To give you guys the very quick version of where I’m at now, I have become extremely aware of the fact that I am going to die, and that all of this will go away. Understanding this has freed me to choose a life purpose, instead of being assigned one by society, and it is with great pleasure that I choose to work tirelessly to be the person whose words I wish I could have heard when I was that lost, depressed teenager. 

I work entire days, from the moment I get up, to the moment I go to sleep, 7 days a week, and this has meant saying “no” to pretty much every offer to grab dinner, every birthday party, pretty much every invitation. 

The few friendships that I have now are with people who can at least relate to this on some level, a lot of them tend to be people who are more successful and also more busy. If friendships are like plants that have to be water, me and the friends that I have now are like cacti. We can exchange messages once a year and still feel like it was only yesterday when we last connected. 

So my final lesson here is that the best friends you can ever have are people who not only share similar interests or goals, they’re people who will make the same effort to understand you that you make to understand them. 

Summary

Let’s do a quick summary before we bring this thing home.

Lesson #1: Fictional friends made me who I am

It’s ok to derive great happiness from things we do alone, and while I do probably agree that social connections are important, in solitude is where we are truly free to find ourselves. 

Lesson #2: Most people don’t really want to see you succeed

Most people feel defensive when people close to them succeed, because it forces them into the uncomfortable position of taking a closer look at their own bad habits and faults. 

Lesson #3: True growth also means outgrowing old friendships

When we grow, we’re essentially growing into someone else, and in most cases, the person we grow into is no longer compatible with friendships established by our previous self.

Lesson #4: Every friendship is a commitment

Friendships are like plants in that they need to be watered to be maintained, so do your best to find similar plants who need about the same amount of water as you do. 

Alright guys so in closing, I do of course think friendships are important, but not in the ways that many of us may traditionally experience it. We’ve all heard the quote that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with, and I do think this carries a lot of truth. In my specific case, I truly believe I’m the average of Leonardo, Chrono, Cloud, Aeris, and Fei Fong Wong.

I’d love to make another video about how to find high quality friends with similar goals, and what it actually means to be one of those friends, if you’d like a video on that make sure to leave a comment below. 

Make sure to follow me on instagram, @NelsonQuest, where you can see firsthand that I basically have no friends at the moment.

If you want to be notified first when I release new videos, don’t just subscribe, but make sure to click the notification bell, unless you are some extremely needy plant that needs to be watered every few hours, the best I can do is 1 video per week, sorry. 

If you want to learn about using solitude to achieve insane goals, make sure to check out my Dark Mode system, it’s free of course.

This is the path. Ciao and see ya in the next post. 

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