In this article, we discuss what to do if your husband has no friends. Should you be concerned? Is it affecting your relationships? Is there anything you should do? If your spouse is struggling with a lack of friendships, read on.
Do you get concerned about your husband not having friends?
Women tend to be wired relationally and see a great need in their lives for community.
Most of the time it is the women planning social activities with friends for their marriage and individually.
Women are wired to connect. Look around a coffee shop and you will see women leaning into conversation. If you scan the room and take a poll many are probably meeting girlfriends. They need to connect.
You’ll see more women laughing and connecting but the men are often connecting over business meetings, not just for pure socialization.
Women require emotional connections. Some men need this to a greater degree but aren’t on the same scale as a woman’s need in friendships. Men also connect differently than how women connect.
Women connect face-to-face, heart-to-heart, and have a lot more words than men have. Fun fact about words: Men utter 7,000 words a day versus a woman’s 20,000.
It’s still up for debate on the exact number of words we speak but women need words to land somewhere, and usually, the need is met through friendships. We have words that need to land, be heard, and validated.
This comes through friendships. Men don’t usually need that as much. I’m not so sure they’re not relieved we have girlfriends to “get our words out with.”
Ask any woman who is a people person and wired relationally and she’ll tell you her emotional tank is full when she spends time with a friend.
Not all women need or desire it especially if they are introverted. It may feel like work for them to develop friendships. They may only want a couple of close friends and that satisfies them.
Your husband’s personality type and wiring will determine the amount and frequency he needs.
Men often connect shoulder-to-shoulder on the golf course, the basketball court, or casually over a beer or coffee for 30 minutes. They are filled up after that. Women typically need more than that. More frequency and time with other women.
Men often don’t have the depth of relational need in friendships that a woman does.
It can become a problem if it creates issues in the marriage. If you are highly social you might be a party looking for a place. I am definitely this type. My husband is much more reserved and content to be alone for more hours than I am.
You might be wired with the need to have lots of friendships outside of your marriage. Or you may just need a handful of close intimate friendships that feed your need. Know what you need.
Your husband may be wired as an introvert and he doesn’t have the same need. He may be more than content with large amounts of time alone.
Work keeps him busy and developing relationships may just feel like another thing He has to do. The key is knowing what you both individually need in your marriage.
Wiring matters. I’m driven to connect. This is my natural DNA. I’m highly relational but also need a lot of alone time. My gift is connecting. By nature, I am a people person and feel lost if I don’t have friendships. I’m very community/people-oriented.
My need for outside relationships is much higher than my husbands’. He loves people and his profession as a pastor thrust him into people and serving them. Although He loves people he doesn’t have the same needs as I do.
By nature, He is a bookworm. He nerds out with his tech stuff. He is more introverted by nature with quiet confidence. He is a researcher who loves to create things and help people.
Me? I need to be with people and also want to create things. In that order. People first. Projects are my second priority. Some people need to be around people and some people prefer projects or hobbies alone.
Our needs in the friend category are not always the same as our spouse. My husband knows me. He knows I will struggle if I am not connecting with people and am not in an environment where I can be with people.
It’s my wiring. His? Not so much. We get each other and we understand our varying degrees of what we need in friendships.
This works if you have a healthy marriage and your husband understands your need and validates this like in your marriage. You also shouldn’t try to pressure him to have the same needs you have with friends. He may not need or desire it.
Recognize The Difference In Your Needs
Ask him if he is experiencing loneliness because he hasn’t cultivated friendships.
You might be the only friend that he has or that he truly wants outside of the friends you have as couples.
He may not have the same need that you have.
You want to spend time with friends and he doesn’t want to spend time with friends individually and is content with that. This shouldn’t make you feel bad about his choices. It’s his choice and your choice is to spend time with friends.
The key is: If can both be happy if you discuss it openly.
Where do your friendships come from?
Are they friendships that are coming because you’re the only one making the effort or are they friendships that you both have reached out to create together?
It’s wonderful when you find a couple-friendship that you’re both compatible with. That’s not always the case. Sometimes, you might hit it off great with the wife but your husband has nothing in common with the husband.
Your need may be greater than his to spend time with girlfriends over coffee. He may feel totally content staying home by himself watching TV or being by himself.
Understand The Differences In How We View Friendship
A friend of mine recently asked me about the differences between male and female friendship. From where I stand, there are several unique dynamics that arise from men and women’s friendship styles. Let’s begin by focuings on how men and women interpret friendship in the first place.
According to Shaily Shah (Penn State), men and women view friendship differently.
She breaks it down like this:
Friendships among women are typically:
- More intimate
- Open about sharing feelings and secrets
- Talk about their personal life
- Include physical touch and contact
- Prefer one-on-one (or small group) communication
- View friendships as personal and intense
Friendships among men are quite different. They typically:
- Avoid heart-to-heart conversations
- Prefer physical activity
- Enjoy larger groups (more than one or two)
- Communicate on a surface level (tell jokes, insult each other, tease, etc)
- Are more aggressive in their behavior
- View friendship as a team
She concludes with this description:
In general, female friendships are assumed to be closer because they share their deepest feelings to one another and communicate one-on-one. However, male friendships are assumed to be more stable because they view their group of friends as a team and physically engage in activites together.Shaily Shah
Men have different ways of solving friendship problems
They noted two important facts:
1. Men and women problem solve differently.
Men are often more agressive when there is conflict (even in friendships). They argue and even fight until they find resolve.
Women on the other hand are not as agressive (althogh they can be ‘catty’ and underhanded.
2. Once the confict is over, men tend to forgive, forget, and move on.
If you watch any sports event, once the battle is over, opponents tend to show respect for one another.
Not so with women. Women often hold offenses and are not as quick to forgive when friendships encounter conflict.
Two professors (Joyce Benenson and Richard Wrangham) who conducted studies in this area note:
What we’re talking about is women having a harder time when they have to compete with other women,” she said. “Studies have shown that when two females compete in the workplace, they feel much more damaged afterward. I think this is something human resources professionals should be aware of, so they can mitigate it.Joyce Benenson and Richard Wrangham
It is also something that should be taken into consideration in the arena of friendships.
Be Clear About YOUR Needs
Being really clear about what you need and what you desire is key.
If your husband struggles relationally and you are his best friend and only friend that can be an issue.
The issue will be if he starts feeling troubled because he wants to control you. You feel guilty about needing friends and spending outside time with friends and leaving him alone.
If he’s insecure and lonely, it’s on him. If you aren’t feeding your marriage, or with your girlfriends all the time investing more in them than in him, it’s on you.
So, where is the balance in it? Communication as a couple and identifying what you both need and want. Whatever we feed grows. Feed any relationship and they grow and develop.
Couple friendships are great when both you and your spouse connect with both. This can be wearisome. Let it happen organically. Also, there is no such thing as perfect friends individually or with couples. There are compatible friends with similar values and similar interests. Look for them, invest in them.
Bottom line: You aren’t responsible for your husband’s friendships, if it’s a need for him He can meet it. If not, he doesn’t need it or want it.
FAQ on Male Friendship
Since men and women are generally different in our understanding and behavior in friendships, let’s address a few common questions.
Is It Normal For My Husband To Have No Friends?
No. We all need friendships. We are wired and created for relationships.
I often refer to the Genesis account of Adam and Eve. Think about this. Adam had a perfect relationship with God (walking in the garden daily), in the perfect environment (living in the garden), with the perfect job (taking care of God’s garden).
God said, ‘This is not good.’
He had declared everything else ‘very good’ but when it came to Adam, He said something is missing. So He took a rib from Adam and created Eve.
This tells us a lot about how God wired us and why He created us. We are made for relationships.
This may surprise some people, but according to the creation account, we are NOT made just for God. We are made for each other.
So the simple answer to the question is, No! It is abnormal for men to not have friends.
I want to clarify something. Many times when women complain that their husbands have no friends, it is an exaggeration. He probably does have friends. It just doesn’t look the way they think it should look. If he isn’t complaining, you shouldn’t either.
There are cases where men actually do not have close friends. This can cause depression, frustration, and the sense of unmet needs in his life. Often this is projected onto his wife. So your relationship suffers.While you can encourage him to build friendships, you cannot carry the load of his lack of connection with others. Friendship is simply not something you can do for someone else. Click To Tweet
While you can encourage him to build friendships, you cannot carry the load of his lack of connection with others. Friendship is simply not something you can do for someone else.
What Does It Mean When A Man Has No Friends?
I might not mean much at all. As we’ve discussed, men and women (in fact, all individuals) have different relational needs. Some people are wired to be around crowds. Others prefer small groups. Some have a preference for solitude.
It’s vital to understand your husband’s wiring, desires, and needs. Only then can you assess the situation accurately.
I will stress again, you are not responsible for your spouses level of friendships. Your role is to encourage, not ‘do it for them.’
What Should I Do If My Husband Is Lonely?
If your spouse is strugglng because they do not have many (or any) friends, there are a few things you can do:
- Realize you are not responsible for their level, quality, or number of friends
- Love them well and be there for them
- Encourage them to stretch themselves and connect with other men
- Help them find opportunities to build friendships (but don’t take on the responsibility of doing it for them)
- Model close friendships by building good relationships with other women
Final Thoughts on Your Husbands Lack of Friendships
We are wired for relationships. Because of that, we need people in our lives. It’s human nature to crave connection.
It is also true that men and women approach friendships differently. In this article, we discussed some of those differences, and what you can do if your husband has no friends.
A Brief Recap
- Do you get concerned about your husband not having friends?
- Recognize The Difference In Your Needs
- Understand The Differences In How We View Friendship
- Be Clear About YOUR Needs
- FAQ on Male Friendship
We have resources available to help you create the marriage you desire and deserve.
The Healthy Marriage Quiz
If you want specific help for your marriage, or you want to know your healthy marriage score, take the marriage quiz. You’ll get immediate access with suggestions on how to improve your relationship.
The Healthy Marriage Toolkit
Books, Courses, Programs, and Tools designed to help you create the marriage of your dreams.
Five Simple Steps Marriage Course
Marriage doesn’t have to be complicated. In this 5 part mini-series, you’ll discover practical steps to redesign your marriage.
Healthy Marriage Academy
Our courses will help you build a strong marriage. Each course is designed to meet a specific relationship need.
If you are having serious marriage struggles, we recommend starting with ‘Save the Marriage System‘ by Lee Baucom.