The moment you say something like, “I don’t have any hobbies,” you can see it in their faces: pity… skepticism… disbelief.
Suddenly, you’re just not that interesting.
But, really, how important is it even to have hobbies?
Other people’s hobbies sound dull, exhausting, or both. Who needs that?
And yet, if you’re thinking, “Nothing interests me enough that I’d want to make a hobby of it,” you might be wrong about that.
Is It OK Not to Have Hobbies?
“But what interests do you have?” they ask because there must be something.
“I have no interests,” you answer. The thing is, it’s not that you have no interest in anything beyond basic human needs. You’re just tired of people assuming you need a fascinating hobby to hold their interest.
What you do in your free time doesn’t have to meet someone else’s metric for worthiness. It just has to benefit you in some way by:
- Helping you relax—or get psyched up for something;
- Giving you a chance to be alone with your thoughts;
- Giving you something to laugh about;
- Giving you permission to chill in your own way;
- Creating a time and space that’s just… for… you.
It’s not productivity or intellectual stimulation that makes something a hobby. In fact, look up the word “hobby,” and the main requirement is relaxation.
Food for thought.
Why You Are Struggling to Find a Hobby
What’s really stopping you from trying new things? Or what’s making it harder for you to feel interested in anything beyond basic human functioning?
You’re not alone in this, after all. And any of the following could be getting in the way:
- Untreated Depression—making it harder to feel interested in anything
- Unprocessed Trauma—wanting to avoid triggering situations
- Fatigue or Low Energy—due to chronic illness or inadequate sleep
- Social Anxiety or Being Asocial—makes it harder to do things with other people
- Lacking Time for Personal Pursuits—too busy with work or other things
- Lacking Money—which often means sacrificing leisure time for more money
You might be dealing with a combination of these, which makes it extra hard to not only find a hobby but spend any amount of regular time on it.
It doesn’t make you any less interesting or less worthy of someone’s attention. It could mean, though, that it’s time to address the things that are making life such a slog.
Not so you can win a “most interesting person” award but because you deserve it.
I Have No Hobbies: 9 Ways to Stretch Yourself and Find a Hobby You Love
Read through the hobby ideas below and list any that come to mind. It doesn’t have to appeal to anyone else. Be honest about what you like to do, even if it’s not productive or trendy.
Make a note of any points that stand out as a hobby you should try.
1. Take a closer look at an old or casual interest.
Maybe you have an old dollhouse you used to enjoy decorating—until someone implied it was “time you grew up and got a real house.”
Try making a list of all the things you’ve ever had a strong interest in, even if those things don’t sound productive. The following activities totally count:
- Watching movies in a theater;
- Planning road trips;
- Shopping online.
You can also take a look at things you still enjoy now and then (even if only rarely):
- Riding roller coasters;
- Browsing used bookstores;
- Bargain hunting at garage sales and flea markets.
2. Actively pursue new experiences that sound “worth a try.”
Are you considering an invitation to do something that might possibly be enjoyable? Maybe you’re debating whether to try it because “It’s not like I could do this regularly.”
It’s actually fine if you can’t. Just having that experience once, if it appeals to you at all, is worth the trepidation that goes with stepping outside your comfort zone.
You don’t even have to be passionate about it. You could try it and think, “Nope. That’s it for me, thanks.” Or it could become something you look forward to doing again.
Who knows what it could lead to—and how that one experience could change your life?
3. Give someone else’s hobby a chance.
If you draw a blank whenever someone asks, “So, what are your hobbies?” think about things you enjoy doing with your friends or family members. The shortest distance between you and a hobby you love could be someone you know.
I mean, what greater compliment could you give someone than to adopt one of their hobbies because you enjoy it so much. They got you hooked!
That said, don’t feel as if you’re locked into a hobby you picked up from someone else–simply because you want to hurt their feelings by putting it aside and choosing Netflix instead.
You can just agree to try it — no commitment required.
4. Check out your local community calendar.
Libraries often have these available for patrons and anyone new to the area. Pick one up and leaf through it for activities you might enjoy:
- Cultural festivals
- Readings from local authors
- Grand openings of new local businesses
- Discounts on admission to local attractions (museums, guided tours, etc.)
- Local theatrical productions (school or community theater)
- Volunteer opportunities
- Townhall meetings or other civic gatherings
Get better acquainted with your community. You might make some new friends or learn something new about yourself. If it scares you a little, it’s probably worth a try.
5. Pay attention to the things you buy as “guilty pleasures.”
Maybe you’re the one that nearly cleans out your local Aldi of its 40-pc boxes of European chocolates every holiday season.
Because “this would make a great gift,” and you know, even as you tell yourself that, at least one of those boxes is going straight to your secret stash (you’ve been very good this year!).
Or maybe you splurge once a week on a trip to a shop full of interesting treasures. You always find something there that makes you smile. And lately, you’ve needed that.
Whether it’s clothing, books, home decor, or retro anything, what you’ve got there is an actual hobby. It’s something you enjoy. It lifts you up.
You’re thinking of it, now, aren’t you?
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6. Try something related to work you enjoy.
If you enjoy your work and would actually spend some of your free time doing work-adjacent stuff, you could call that—or at least some of what you do — a hobby.
For example, if you’re a programmer and you work on debugging software and writing documentation for it, you might also enjoy creating mobile apps in your free time.
Or maybe you sell RVs for a living, and you spend some of your free time converting an old van into a mobile home for road trips.
Think of something you could do that relates to your job or the job you want to have. In pursuing this hobby, you may develop skills that make it easier for you to get a job you enjoy.
7. Give yourself credit for mundane interests (they totally count).
You can’t say you’re a woman or man with no hobbies if you can think of any activities you enjoy.
If thinking about what to do when nothing interests you just feels like work, think about what you’re inclined to do when you get home from work. Or what would you do if you had the weekend all to yourself?
Don’t be embarrassed if you’re thinking, “I just want to crash on the couch and binge-watch Fringe all over again. Or if you want to go to a theater alone and tune out the world, do that. Maybe you just need to catch up on sleep.
As long as you enjoy it, it doesn’t have to impress anyone else.
8. Give yourself permission to be terrible at something.
Maybe it’s tougher to be interested in something you’re not good at (yet), but that doesn’t mean you have no interest in anything.
For example, let’s say you have a tin whistle, and you’d love to play it like those folks on YouTube who are so good people actually watch their tutorials as entertainment.
But alas, when you try following along, the result makes your head hurt. Still… when you keep at it and can actually play an entire song without making too many mistakes, you feel something you’d like to feel more often.
Give yourself permission to do something badly. Everyone starts as a beginner.
9. Find a cheaper way to enjoy an expensive hobby.
Sometimes, the thing standing in your way is a lack of money to buy the thing you need to get started on something that interests you—like learning to play the clarinet or fixing up a classic racecar.
You can’t buy either one, so you’re thinking, “Well, that’s it. I’m too poor to have a hobby.”
Hold up, though. Maybe you can find the car parts you need on craigslist — or from someone you meet on an online forum. Or maybe you can rent a clarinet from a music store.
Buying new stuff isn’t the only way to try something new.
Now that you know how to find a hobby when nothing interests you (except something probably does–at least a little), what hobby should you try?
What comes to mind when you just need to relax or do something that lifts you up and helps you keep going? What are you doing when you feel most alive?
And what will you do differently today?