When your expectation or aim is to have everybody like you, or to have one hundred friends turn up at your birthday party, you set yourself up to live in a world where you will never have enough friends.
If your aim is to have everyone like you, or have 100 friends; but you only have 20 friends, you will feel like we live in a world where it is hard to make friends.
If you have become too obsessed with the idea of having everyone like you, or making 100 friends; and you have 20 friends, every social interaction will be difficult for you. Every social interaction you have, you will want the person to like you or be your friend. And when you get rejected, it becomes more important than it should be. If you get rejected by 4 out of 5 people, you will think to yourself that it is hard to make friends. As your aim was to get all 5 people to like you or be your friend, and you get rejected by 4 out of the 5, you will think that it is hard to make friends.
On the other hand, if you aim to have 10 friends, and you already have 20 friends, you will think to yourself you have more than enough friends and you do not need anymore. And if you talk to 5 people, and 1 out of those 5 want to be friends with you, you will think to yourself you already have more than enough friends, and you just made 1 more friend. So you will believe it is easy to make friends. Going into the 5 social interactions, your aim was 0, it did not matter whether you did not make any friends from those 5 social interactions. And when you made one friend, you made more friends than you wanted. You will think to yourself how easy it is to make friends! This will become your perception and belief about life. Each time you go out to a social interaction, and you do not need friends, but you make one or two, you will think to yourself how easy it is to make friends. And if you do not make any new friends, you will not be affected by it; because you already have more than enough.
If your aim is to have only 10 friends, and you have 20 friends, you will feel like you have more than enough friends, and you will live in a world where it is easy to make friends.
You will be less afraid, or not afraid at all of being rejected by others, because you have more friends than you want. So if other people do not want to be friends with you, it does not matter to you.
On the other hand, if you want a hundred friends, or you want everyone to like you (which is unrealistic), and you have 20 friends; you will feel you do not have enough friends. If your aim is to have 100 friends, even if you have 50 friends, you will still feel you do not have enough friends! So whenever you meet new people or try to make new friends and get rejected, you will be hurt by it. This will make you fear rejection more.
Hence, realising that you only need to have a few reliable friends, will change your perspective.
And being realistic, most people only have a few friends.
Thinks about it logically, there is not enough time to maintain friendships with a lot of people.
And psychologically, we cannot maintain close emotional relations with too many people.
So being realistic, your aim should only be to have a few reliable friends, not a hundred friends.
And ironically, this mindset will help you make more friends, because you will be less afraid of rejection and you will not be a people-pleaser.
You should have a low aim for the number of friends you need, but you can still improve your social abilities and be open to getting to know people who want to be your friend.
The reality of the situation is that as people become older, they will be more and more busy and spend less time with others. The reality is that there will be fewer people willing to spend time with you due to them becoming more selective as they become older. And those who do spend time with you will not spend as much time with you as they have other commitments like work and family. So you will have fewer friends, and those who do stay your friends will spend less time with you. You can become affected by this, and this will happen if you set yourself a high aim, like wanting to have a lot of friends that you spend plenty of time with. Or, you can lower your aim, to aim for a few friends that you spend time with every now and again, and this will cause you to not be affected by it as you will perceive yourself as having more friends that spend time with you than you want.
You should spend your time on hobbies or other tasks where you do not need people. You keep yourself busy. So you do not feel the lack of having spare time without friends. You can still improve your social abilities, and try to meet new people, but you do not need it. So if it happens, it happens, and it is a bonus.
For those of you who are hardcore addicts of wanting to improve your social abilities, here is a winning formula for you to think about. Have a low aim for the number of friends you want. Then continue improving your social abilities and going out to social events. But do not get overly invested in it. You already have enough friends. You are just going out there to have fun and pass time. If you pick events like cooking classes or dance classes, or you join clubs like theatre clubs or sports clubs; you will be learning something as well. You will be doing something fun and interesting. And as a bonus, you are talking and meeting people there. But meeting people is not the main goal of going to these events or clubs. But if you do happen to meet someone you find interesting, put in the effort and be friendly. You are already there talking to them, so you might as well be friendly. If that person is interested in getting to know you better, then you can try to build a friendship with him or her. But you do not need it. You already have enough friends. This is just a bonus.
It’s like after your high school basketball team won the tournament in your final year of high school, but you decide you want to go to the basketball courts to play just for fun. You already have achieved all you want in basketball by winning the tournament, but you just want to practise throwing the ball for fun. It is similar to this. You already have enough friends. You have more than enough friends. But you just want to test out new friendships with others for fun.
Lower your aim for the number of friends you want to have. This way you will not be affected by rejection and other people not wanting to be your friend. Lower the aim to be less than the number of friends you have, or aim for slightly more than you have and work to get to that many friends. A good aim would be maybe 6 to 15 friends. Once you have this, you will no longer feel like you want or need any more friends.
And the aim can be to have 5 close friends, and 10 friends who are not close friends but you see every now and again.
You can aim for just 5 close friends (as in friends that you see more often than usual). This will significantly reduce the pressure. Matter of fact, a lot of television shows in popular culture have only groups of 6 friends. Television shows from the 90’s like ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Friends’ only had around 6 friends in the group. And shows in the last decade such as ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and ‘Big Bang Theory’ also only had around 6 friends in the group. Popular television shows normally become popular because they accurately capture the reality of the people watching the show at the time, and people can relate to it. For shows with people having just 5 friends to become popular over the last two decades, this implies that most people can relate to only having 5 or less close friends. The remaining friends they have would be acquaintances or people they see rarely. Maybe they were friends they used to be close to, but not anymore.
So having a few friends is normal, and there is nothing weird about it.
And just a note of caution. You will meet idiots with low self-esteem who try to convince you they are better than you because they have a lot of friends. Ignore them. If you get caught up in their version of life, you will then start judging yourself by the number of friends you have, you will increase the aim for the number of friends you have, and you will get caught up in the pointless quest of wanting to be popular. That is a waste. There is nothing wrong with being popular, but this should not be the main aim. It is something that just happens. Avoid people that try to make you feel bad just to make themselves feel better.
Having friends who try to convince you that the point of life is to be popular, or you deciding by yourself that you want to be popular, is what will lead to you increasing your aim for friends to a high level and wanting everybody to like you. This is a bad idea and will lead to more pain in the long run. You will become too emotionally invested in wanting to have too many friends.