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I have been friendless for around 5 years. The reason I'm in this situation is due to my bad traits alone. I have actually grown accustomed to this till recently, when I became increasingly unsettled by the constant silence in my house. Usually, I've been able to shrug off this loneliness by busying myself with my studies, but lately, the strategy is not working.

This desire for friends has been gnawing at me everyday. But I've been alone for so long now that I find it hard to make friends. So my question is, is this desire healthy in terms of a Buddhist perspective? And if it's not, how do I subdue this desire?

  • Hello Lim and welcome to Buddhism SE. We have also a Help Center with useful resources for new comers. Enjoy your time here. – Lanka Jul 5 '16 at 10:34
  • You have to start somewhere to make friends so I would suggest you go to dance classes, some social activities, learning a language class,yoga classes. – user4878 Jul 5 '16 at 11:21
  • @UrsulRosu. Please post your comment as an answer, even if its a short one. – Lanka Jul 5 '16 at 12:59
  • I changed the title slightly to match the first question which you actually asked. You can reverse my edit, if the edit makes the question less clear or not what you wanted to ask. – ChrisW Jul 5 '16 at 13:09
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Any desire that cannot be achieved will cause suffering. Therefore, if (for some rare reason) you are intrinsically unable to make friends, you should accept this situation rather than suffer over it.

That said, the luminous or clear part of our mind is not the same as the bad traits of the mind. If your mind is actually able to see it has bad traits then that part of the mind that can see is luminous & clear. That is why Buddhism teaches we have the capacity to comprehend, work with & change the bad traits of the mind.

The very fact that you have concern about your personal situation shows you have the trait of friendship towards yourself.

If you are uncomfortable with pursuing friendship in an ordinary way, you can find a good Buddhist centre or temple to visit & discuss your personal concerns with a monk or teacher there. The Buddhist centre can be a place where you can learn to develop better traits & friendship skills with others.

The Buddha called himself the 'Kalyanamitta' or 'Noble Spiritual Friend', who does not offer superficial friendship but the gift of skilful methods & wisdom leading to peace.

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I think your situation is made of two parts: dealing with solitude and getting to know more people.

From your description, it seems that you find solitude unpleaseant, so you've developted strategies to run away from it. Why do you find solitude so unpleasant? You have to investigate a little: what happends when you are alone? what kind of thoughts do you have? What do you find difficult to deal with?

As for the second part, try to think about what you understand about "having a friend" and "being a friend". What do you expect from a friend? Are your expectations realistic? Are you acting like a friend? Is there a behavior you can change so you come across as more gentle? Ask for feed-back from someone close ( a relative) and see what you can improve.

Can I ask you if you have a meditation practice? Good luck and take care of you and others!

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Your desire to have friends is healthy and normal. From a Buddhism perspective a layperson should enjoy life in such a way as to not harm himself or others. Having friends is not harmful if those friends are good people. I would advise you to go to dance classes, yoga classes or other activities where conditions are such that you get in contact with other people. There you could also get feeback as Anca suggesteted in her answer. Be kind and gentle to others and to yourself and friends will come as a consequence. You don't have to cling to the ideea " i must make friends" because it will happen by itself if you plant the right seeds.

So enjoy life, continue your practice and accept yourself and others the way they are.

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