From the Netherlands: I have had many friends in the course of my life, some close, and some whom were more of an acquaintance. I have 4 or so people in my life that I consider my close friends, and have been friends with for 20 years. I have moved to Europe since I was married and my close friends reside in the US. I have absolutely no interest in forming any further friendships with people at all because I am content with the few friends I have and find that “friends” tend to be more work then they are worth. I am content staying at home with my husband and talking to my friends in the US when I can. Is this normal? I have always preferred my own company than the company of other people. I prefer to be by myself and do my own thing. I am a very friendly person and have no trouble speaking to other people casually. I just have no desire whatsoever to engage in any further relationships with people because despite my friendliness I just don’t like people all that much.

A: There is no “normal” for the number of friends a person needs. Some people are quite content with a few friends. Other people need to have 50 best friends to be happy. Apparently for you, 4 close friends and a husband is what works for you. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially since you know how to be friendly.

I would only ask you to consider how you can be more connected to other people in your adopted country even if you don’t cultivate close relationships. That may mean just being a regular in a coffee shop or attending a church or synagogue or taking a class or belonging to a book club (to give just a few examples.) People do need each other. As close as you and your U.S. friends may be, you can’t help each other out except from a distance. You can’t grow in certain ways if you remain totally aloof from your community.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie