Reasons Why Teenagers Do Not Have Friends

By Kristine Tucker
Shy teenagers have trouble making friends.
Shy teenagers have trouble making friends.

Teenagers struggle to make friends for several reasons, but sometimes they lose friends because there is a falling out. Peer friendships are important to the majority of teens, so parents should actively try to help their teenager find ways to make or mend friendships. Some teens want to have many friends, but others are content having one or two really good friends.


Some teenagers don't have friends because they're insecure. They fear they won't be accepted or won't be able to measure up to potential friends' expectations, says psychologist Irene Levine on the "Psychology Today" website. A teen might clam up in social settings or overcompensate by being too talkative or overly assertive, appearing awkward or desperate. Insecurity can cause a teenager to assume peers don't want to be her friends so she will refuse to take a risk when an opportunity arises for friendship.

Unrealistic Expectations

Teenagers often fantasize about friendships by imagining that popular classmates are their buddies or a specific person is their best friend, but their fantasies don't always come true. A teenager might not have any friends because she has an unrealistic or romanticized view of friendship, says Levine. She might be better matched with a peer in an academic club or in one of her classes, but ignores that potential friendship because she has her sights on an idealized group of peers. Other teens don't have friends because their unrealistic expectations damaged or ruined their current friendships. They might have falsely assumed that their friends would be perfect and reacted with anger or intolerance when their friends made mistakes.

Antisocial Behavior

Some teens have trouble making friends because they are antisocial. Some are shy and have trouble exerting themselves, making it difficult to start a friendship. Teenagers generally need to show themselves friendly to make friends, so those who keep to themselves can't expect friends to come knocking at their door. You can encourage your antisocial teenager to step out of his comfort zone and introduce himself to a same-age neighbor or a classmate. Help your teen think of something enjoyable they could do together, such as playing video games, working on a class or home project, eating a meal or playing tennis. Antisocial teens often feel uncomfortable in large groups, so one-on-one activities are a good place to start.

Lack of Parental Support

A teenager might not have any friends because she lacks parental support. Some parents might be overprotective and distrust their teenager's choice of friends. Other parents might struggle with their own personal friendships and have trouble setting a good example of how to acquire healthy relationships. Parental support, trust, patience and common sense help teenagers learn to develop healthy and appropriate social interactions, according to an article on the NYU Langone Medical Center website. Supportive parents give their teenager reasons to build friendships and help them develop strong social and interpersonal skills.

About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.