Surviving high school without friends may be difficult or boring, but it is not impossible. Many teens find socializing awkward due to personal shyness or anxiety. This can make the process of forming friendships complicated. During high school, already established connections can also break up because of different interests, disagreements or the general process of growing up. Regardless of the specific reason, if you find yourself stuck in high school without friends, it is important to find other outlets for your time and energy.
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Nurture Mental Health
Not having friends in high school can affect self-esteem, social adequacy and general psychological well-being. Therefore, it is essential that you take notice of how situations affect you. Good mental health during the teen years can help you have positive interactions in your future relationships. It can also aid you in decision making and help you navigate life challenges, according to the article "Change Your Mind About Mental Health," published by the American Psychological Association. If you think you are depressed or overly anxious, or if the stressors associated with high school seem overwhelming, it is important that you tell a trusted adult and seek the advice of a professional.
Interact With Family
If you find yourself needing elements of a friendship, such as emotional support or someone to talk to, it may be a good idea to turn to a trusted family member. Healthy relationships with siblings and parents can facilitate cognitive development, social skills and intimacy, which are needed for relationships later in life, according to Elizabeth Hair, Ph.D., and colleagues in the report "Helping Teens Develop Healthy Social Skills and Relationships: What the Research Shows about Navigating Adolescence," published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These qualities are similar to those that can be nurtured by friendships during the teenage years.
Focus on the Future
Being a part of a peer group can be an enjoyable experience. However, participating in the wrong one can interfere in several areas. For example, popularity with peers in late adolescence was found to be linked to increased deviant behavior and drug and alcohol use in the study "The Two Faces Of Adolescents’ Success With Peers: Adolescent Popularity, Social Adaptation, and Deviant Behavior," published in 2005 in the "Journal of Child Development." Focusing on academics and your future may be easier without negative peer pressure. Influence from friends can also persuade you to do things you are uncomfortable with or to take unnecessary risks, suggests an article entitled “Peer Pressure: It’s Influence on Teens and Decision Making” on Scholastic.com.
Find a Passion
A healthy pastime can also make coping with not having friends a little easier. This could include sports, volunteering for an important cause, writing or practicing your artistic skills. Becoming involved in one or more extracurricular activities can help you find others with similar interests -- not to mention that it looks good on college applications and presents a way of learning something new, according to an article on TeensHealth entitled “Extracurricular Activities.” Finding activities that you enjoy doing is also a good way to pass the time without resorting to unhealthy behavior.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Annual Review of Psychology: Adolescent Development
- American Psychological Association: Change Your Mind About Mental Health
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Child Trends Research Brief
- Journal of Child Development: The Two Faces of Adolescents' Success With Peers
- Scholastic.com: Peer Pressure: Its Influence on Teens and Decision Making
- TeensHealth: Extracurricular Activities
- Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology: Rejection and Acceptance Across Contexts
- Handbook on Counseling Youth: Josh McDowell