Why is it so hard to make friends? Unpacking the Social dilemma

It’s a common problem that many of us face – not being able to form meaningful connections with others. Making friends is not as easy as it seems, and there are many reasons why it can be a difficult process.

What is the social dilemma?

The social dilemma refers to the tension between wanting to be part of a community and feeling out of place. It’s the feeling of wanting to connect with others but not knowing how to go about it. The social dilemma can arise from various reasons, such as negative past experiences, social anxiety, shyness, and lifestyle changes.

The role of social media

Social media can be a tricky tool when it comes to making friends. It can give us the illusion of being connected to others when, in reality, we’re not. We may have hundreds of “friends” on social media, but how many of them will be there for us when we need them?

Social media can also make us feel inadequate when we see other people’s seemingly perfect lives. This can lead to feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem, making it more challenging to reach out to new people.

The impact of society

The society we live in has certain expectations and norms regarding social behavior. The pressure to conform to these expectations can be intense, especially when we’re trying to make friends. We may feel like we have to present a specific image of ourselves to be accepted, which can result in anxiety and stress.

The importance of being true to yourself

It’s essential to be yourself when trying to make friends. Pretending to be someone you’re not can lead to relationships built on false pretenses, which is not sustainable in the long term. The people who accept you for who you are will be your true friends.

How to overcome the social dilemma

Step out of your comfort zone

Making friends requires venturing into new situations and meeting new people. This can be uncomfortable and nerve-racking, but it’s essential to step out of your comfort zone to grow socially. Challenge yourself to try new activities or attend social events.

Develop small talk skills

Small talk is a valuable social skill that can help initiate conversations and build rapport with others. Practice asking open-ended questions and active listening to keep a conversation flowing.

Join groups or clubs

Joining a group or club allows you to connect with like-minded individuals with similar interests. This can make it easier to form lasting connections as you already share a common interest.


Volunteering is an excellent way to meet new people while making a positive impact in your community. It also allows you to showcase your personality and values, which can attract like-minded individuals.

Focus on quality over quantity

Making friends is not about having a large number of acquaintances but forming meaningful connections with a few individuals. Focus on building strong relationships with those who share your values and interests.

The benefits of having friends

Forming lasting connections with people has many benefits, such as:

  • Reducing feelings of loneliness and depression
  • Increasing feelings of happiness and confidence
  • Making life more enjoyable and fulfilling
  • Providing support during challenging times
  • Expanding your social circle and opportunities


Making friends can be a daunting task, but it’s an essential part of human socialization. We need connections with others to thrive and live a fulfilling life. The social dilemma can be overcome by stepping out of our comfort zones, being true to ourselves, and focusing on building meaningful connections with like-minded individuals.

FAQs about the social dilemma

  • Why is it so hard for me to make friends? Making friends can be challenging due to various reasons such as social anxiety, negative past experiences, shyness, and lifestyle changes. Additionally, societal expectations and the pressure to conform can be a hindrance.
  • How can I overcome my shyness and social anxiety? It’s essential to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to new experiences. You can also practice small talk and focus on building meaningful connections with individuals who share your values and interests.
  • What are the benefits of having friends? Forming lasting connections with people has many benefits, such as reducing feelings of loneliness and depression, increasing feelings of happiness and confidence, making life more enjoyable and fulfilling, providing support during challenging times, and expanding your social circle and opportunities.


  • Roohafza, H., Afshar, H., Keshteli, A. H., Mohammadi, N., Feizi, A., Taslimi, M., … & Adibi, P. (2016). What’s the role of perceived social support and coping styles in depression and anxiety?. Journal of research in medical sciences: the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 21.
  • Rizkalla, N. (2019). The Impact of Social Media on Friendship. Journal of Media and Communication Studies, 11(1), 1-12.
  • Sullivan, H. S. (1953). The interpersonal theory of psychiatry. New York: Norton; 1 edition (January 1, 1953)

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