What Is It Like To Have No Family? [BY CHOICE OR NOT]

Having no family can leave you feeling isolated, vulnerable, and lonely. Family plays a vital role by providing support, safety, guidance, and affection. These previous points are, of course, only true if your family relationships are healthy and productive. If you had a toxic relationship with your family, you may find peace in distance. Regardless, finding new hobbies, connecting with friends and work colleagues, and having a pet can mitigate these feelings.

Family is everything – or so the saying goes. But what happens when you don’t have any family or choose not to include your family members in your life? Is it true that you will be lonely, vulnerable, and depressed?

Daily life sees us among other people, whether you are the shy loner or the extroverted chatterbox. This may be your direct or extended family, or it may be people you consider family (your “chosen” or “found” family), but in both cases, it is essential to have a support system around you. So, what happens when you don’t have any family at all?

child with no family sitting on road with luggage

Related Reading: Eight Reasons We Need Family & Family Support

What Is It Like To Have No Family?

Having no family could mean a few things, and all of these could leave you feeling isolated and alone in some way or other. Whether it is a result of the death of all your family members, choosing to go no-contact with a toxic family, being cut off from your family because they don’t agree with your lifestyle or choices, or just not knowing what happened to your family (such as the case of a closed adoption and adoptive parents who have passed away), having no family can be incredibly difficult mentally and emotionally.

Today, youngsters are often seen jetting off to other countries for many reasons, be it for studies, financial opportunities, or adventure – and finding yourself in a strange place without a family around you may give you an idea of how it feels to have no family at all.

Having No Family Can Be Traumatic

The first thing one needs to acknowledge about not having any family is that this isn’t a natural state of affairs. We are all born into some sense of family, whether that’s a single parent, adoption/foster family, or a typical nuclear family. Finding yourself in a position where you have no family is the opposite of typical and presents its own set of challenges.

To be in this position, typically something traumatic has happened. Whether you have lost your family to death, illness, or a similar tragedy, or whether by choice (moving away, cutting ties due to abuse, or the like), it is essential to recognize that this leaves a mark on us and is quite painful to deal with.

What Does Life Without A Family Feel Like?

For those who chose a life away from family members because of their negative, toxic, or potentially harmful influence, life without family can initially feel like a relief. Many in this position have noted that they are finally free and can be happy. But the truth remains that despite cutting off toxic ties, we still need to have other, positive, people in our lives in order to not feel completely isolated.

Living an empty life devoid of intimate connections can be very difficult. Without a family, loneliness, and feelings of isolation often crop up. Why is this? Simply put, the family also serves a purpose, and without family, we can be left in the lurch. Let’s look at some reasons why having family (chosen or traditional) is essential:

  • Support: Those nearest and dearest to you are a valuable source of support; whether it is emotional support when you’re feeling low or physical support in times of trouble or illness, your family plays a vital role.
  • Protection: The idea of being physically alone all the time can be daunting for some. We tend to feel safe physically when other people surround us. Sharing a living space and having other people around, especially at vulnerable times such as evenings and night times, brings a sense of safety.
  • Guidance: Family members, especially those older than you, such a parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, often take on a guiding role where their experiences in life can help you. Learning from their experiences and having family around to give advice is vital, particularly during formative years such as being a teenager or young adult.
  • Affection: We should never underestimate the importance of physical affection and attention. Human beings are creatures of connection and relationship, and whether you are introverted or a loner, at some point, you will have the desire to connect with others. Having a spouse or intimate partner meets these needs.
  • Filling your days: Working at a job or career takes up large chunks of your time, but what about the time you have to relax? Having your family around means, you have people to spend time with, do hobbies with, or take leisure time with, which is vital to being in a good mental state. Often families share interests and hobbies.

Related Reading: Why Does Family Hurt You The Most? [ANSWERED]

Depending on your unique situation, your family may serve some or all of these functions. And while being without a family may be a personal choice made for your safety or well-being, you still have the needs and desires above that need to be met. You may make your own family with a partner and your own children, or you may choose to join another family which becomes like your own. Either way, you will form your own support group, even if it isn’t the one you were born with. Otherwise, life can feel empty, meaningless, and without purpose.

How To Live A Happy Life Without A Family

Not all of us indeed want to be surrounded by people all the time, and even if you are very introverted, shy, and prefer to be alone, you will need to do some soul-searching to identify whether you are prepared to live a solitary life without any connection of any kind. You may have friends, acquaintances, or work colleagues that could fill the gap.

Daily life without connection has been said to feel monotonous. As human beings, we also need people to have input into our lives to help challenge our way of thinking and encourage us to grow and learn throughout life. If you have no family at all, for whatever reason, it doesn’t mean you are doomed to a life of misery and sadness.

Here are some ways that you can have a fulfilling life, even without having a family:

  • Friends: Even if you aren’t overly friendly, having at least one or two good friends that you can rely on and add value to your life is vital. Relationships need to be maintained, so invest in time spent with your friends. Many people have friends closer to them than their family ever was.
  • Hobbies and interests: Find something that you like doing in your spare time, whether that is a sport-related activity such as gym or running, or whether it’s gaming online. There are opportunities to engage socially in all of these scenarios, and even if you don’t necessarily click with any one or two specific people right off the bat, it meets a need.
  • Work connections: While many recommend not merging business with leisure, there is something to be said for the connections we make with our colleagues. We spend a large portion of our daily life at work, and you can build incredibly satisfying and fulfilling relationships here. A mentor figure at your job is essential for those without family.
  • Pets: While the belief that humans require human connection is popular, we should never underestimate the significance of an animal companion. Pets provide physical affection and unconditional love and can help to make your personal space feel less lonely. It is also a very good feeling to be able to take care of a pet.

Continue Reading: Why Do We Miss Our Families So Much?


There are many reasons why you may be left without a family. While for some it may be a good thing to have separated themselves from a scenario of painful relationships, toxic manipulation, or even abuse, the desire to connect with people or share your life with others may remain.

Having close connections is essential, even for the most introverted of us. It is challenging to live life in isolation without the support, love, and joy these relationships bring to us. And while you shouldn’t feel pressured for this to be family, you can fill your life with connections built with others instead of family and still live a happy, contented life.

Skip to content