How to Deal With Loneliness
People feel lonely for a number of reasons, including simple social awkwardness and intentional isolation. Some people may even feel lonely when they are surrounded by people because they lack meaningful connections with those people.Everyone experiences loneliness sometimes, but it is never pleasant. Dealing with loneliness can take many forms, including meeting new people, learning to appreciate your alone time, and reconnecting with your family. Keep reading to learn more about how to deal with loneliness.
Understanding Your Feelings of Loneliness
Identify the reasons why you feel lonely.In order to make changes that will truly help you, you will need to take some time to figure out why you are feeling lonely.For example, say you assume that you are lonely because you don’t have enough friends and you go out and make more friends. You may still feel lonely after making new friends if your loneliness is the result of having too many friends and a lack of meaningful connections. Consider some of the following questions to help you determine why you are feeling lonely:
- When do you feel the most lonely?
- Do certain people make you feel more lonely when you are around them?
- How long have you been feeling this way?
- What does feeling lonely make you want to do?
Start a journal to track your thoughts and feelings.Journaling can help you to understand your feelings of loneliness better and it is also a great way to relieve stress.To get started with journaling, choose a comfortable place and plan to devote about 20 minutes per day to writing. You can start by writing about how you are feeling or what you are thinking, or you can use a prompt. Some prompts you might use include:
- “I feel lonely when…”
- “I feel lonely because…”
- When did you first start feeling lonely? How long have you felt this way?
Practice meditation.Some research has suggested that meditation may ease feelings associated with loneliness and depression.Meditation is also a great way to get more in touch with your feelings of loneliness and start to understand where they come from. Learning to meditate takes time, practice, and guidance, so your best bet is to find a meditation class in your area. If no classes are available in your area, you can also buy CDs that will help you learn how to meditate.
- To get started with meditation, find a quiet spot and get comfortable. You can either sit in a chair or on a cushion on the floor with your legs crossed. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. As you focus on your breathing, try not to get distracted by your thoughts. Just let them happen and pass by.
- Without opening your eyes, observe the world around you. Pay attention to how you feel as well. What do you hear? What do you smell? How do you feel? Physically? Emotionally?
Consider talking to a therapist about how you have been feeling.It may be hard to figure out why you feel lonely and how to move past those feelings. A licensed mental health professional can help you to understand and work through your loneliness. Feeling lonely may indicate that you are depressed or that you have another underlying mental health condition. Talking to a therapist can help you understand what is going on and decide on the best course of action.
Realize that you aren't alone.Loneliness is a normal part of being human, but it can make you feel like you are abnormal. Reach out to a friend or family member and talk with that person about how you are feeling. As you tell someone about your feelings, you can also ask if they have had these feelings too. This process of reaching out and sharing with someone will help you to see that you are not alone.
- Try saying something like, “Lately I have been feeling lonely and I wondered if you have ever felt this way.”
- If you do not have a friend or family member to talk to, reach out to a teacher, counselor, or pastor.
Move forward.Instead of persistently dwelling on how alone you feel, do things to get your mind off of your loneliness. Take a walk, ride your bike or read a book. Explore activities and hobbies, and don't be afraid to try new things. Having experience gives you a basis upon which you can comment in more social situations (thus talk to more people) and strike up conversations that will interest other people.
- Keep yourself busy. Having down time is what causes feelings of loneliness to creep in. Throw yourself into work or extracurricular activities.
Do social activities by yourself.If you don’t have someone to go out with all of the time, don’t let that stop you from getting out and enjoying yourself. For example, if you want to go out to dinner or to a movie on a date, then take yourself out to a movie or to a nice restaurant. Although, at first, it may seem awkward to be doing things by yourself that you might normally do with someone else, don't hold yourself back. It is not strange to be by yourself and out doing things! Once you remember why you did these things before, you can enjoy the activity for itself again.
- Take a book, magazine, or journal with you if you go out to eat or have coffee on your own, so you'll be occupied when you would usually be conversing. Bear in mind that people do go out on their own on purpose just to have "me" time by themselves; it is not as if people will look at you sitting alone and assume you have no friends.
- It may take some time to get used to the feeling of being out by yourself. Don’t give up if your first few attempts are a little awkward.
Consider getting a pet.If you're truly struggling without companionship, consider adopting a dog or cat from your local animal shelter. Pets have been domestic companions for centuries for a reason, and winning the trust and affection of an animal can be a deeply rewarding experience.
- Be a responsible pet owner. Make sure your pet is spayed or neutered, and only commit to bringing a pet into your life if you're prepared to handle the daily tasks of caring for it.
Getting Social Again
Get involved in activities.To make new friends, you will have to get out and get involved in things. Consider joining a sports league, taking a class, or volunteering within your community. If you are very shy, find a group for social anxiety, even if it has to be online. Look on places like Craigslist, Meetup, or local news websites for activities in your area.
- Don't attend functions with the sole idea of making friends or meeting people. Try to go with no expectations whatsoever and to enjoy yourself regardless of what happens. Look for activities that interest you and that also involve groups of people like book clubs, church groups, political campaigns, concerts and art exhibitions
Challenge yourself to take the initiative in social relationships.Making new friends often requires you to take the first step and invite others out to do things. Don't wait for people to approach you: you should approach them. Ask the person if they want to chat or get a coffee. You must always show interest in other people before they will show interest in you.
- Be yourself as you try to make new friends. Don’t try to impress a new person by misrepresenting yourself. That may lead to the end of the new friendship before it even gets started.
- Be a good listener. Pay close attention when people are talking. It is important to be able to respond to what the person has just said to demonstrate that you were listening or they may feel like you do not care.
Spend time with your family.Working to deepen the relationships with your family may also help you to stop feeling so lonely. Even if you don't have a great history with a family member, you can still try to repair relationships by starting with an invitation. For example, you could ask a family member that you haven’t seen in a while to go out to lunch or meet you for coffee.
- When trying to rebuild or deepen your relationships with family members, you can use some of the same strategies you would use to gain new friends. Take the initiative to ask the person out, be yourself, and be a good listener.
Be a pleasant presence.Draw people toward yourself by providing enjoyable company. Be complimentary rather than critical. For a casual comment, don't nitpick other people's clothes, habits or hair. They don't need to be reminded they have a small stain on their shirt when they can't do anything about it. They do need to hear that you think their sweater is cool or you like their personality. Don't make a big deal of it, but just casually mention it when you like something. This is one of the best ice-breakers around and it builds trust steadily over time as people come to understand that you won't criticize them.
Enjoying Your Solitude
Differentiate between loneliness and solitude.Loneliness is when you are unhappy to be alone. Solitude is when you are happy to be alone. There is nothing wrong with solitude, wanting to, or enjoying being alone. Alone time can be useful and enjoyable.
Work on improving yourself and making yourself happy.Usually, when we're devoting most of our time to other people, we tend to neglect ourselves. If you're going through a period of loneliness, take advantage of it by doing the things that you want to do for yourself. This is a wonderful opportunity and you deserve to be happy!
Consider joining a gym.Working out and taking care of our bodies is usually the first thing that gets tossed aside when we get busy. If you're spending less time with other people than normal, try using that time to exercise. If you exercise at a gym, you might even meet some new friends or a new special someone!
Learn a new skill.Taking time to indulge in a new hobby can help you to overcome feelings of loneliness, even if you are doing the hobby by yourself. You could learn to play an instrument, learn to draw, or learn to dance. Going and learning these subjects with others may help you meet new people but it will also give you a creative outlet for your feelings. Turn your loneliness into something beautiful!
- Cook yourself a nice meal or make baked goods for friends or neighbors. Cooking up a meal is rewarding, you can channel your focus into something nourishing.
- Consider joining a club to meet other people who enjoy this hobby as well.
Do something big.People oftentimes have something really big that they want to do and a thousand excuses not to do it. Have you ever wanted to write a book? Make a movie? Use your loneliness as an excuse to do something great. Who knows, maybe it will turn into something that helps others deal with their loneliness...
QuestionWhat if everyone you know, including family members, are verbally and emotionally abusive? I feel lonely because they don't act as if I belong.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou are your own best friend. So, if you feel that everyone is bad with you, then try interacting on social media to find like-minded people who care about you. Dig yourself into your hobbies. Demand respect in place of abuse when you feel more assertive. Leave these people the moment you are able to -- they don't deserve you and are likely taking advantage of you because they know they can.Thanks!
QuestionI feel like something is missing in my life. How do I stop that feeling when I am in my home with my parents?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry to make the most out of hanging out with your parents. Start a conversation or do activities. Go on walks or go out to eat, play board games or even just talk with them. Everybody feels lonely with their parents at some point, but they are there for a reason and most of the time they won't have a problem hanging out with their kids! If you are feeling really lonely to the point where you can't control it, tell your parents or go see somebody like a therapist. Even if you are older, there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Sometimes you end up with better results than you thought you would have.Thanks!
QuestionWhy do I feel lonelier around my friends than by myself?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou may feel lonely around them because they don't take you seriously or they think you're annoying, loud, mean, etc. Try and take a break from them. Hang out with some old friends, like people you rarely hang out with, but you like them. It may also be that you feel sapped, and your energy is drained by negative friends. Again, find friends who don't do this to you.Thanks!
QuestionI am afraid to make new friends after my old friends abandoned me. I feel it will just happen again.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerOld friends are from the past. Let go, move on. Forget. There are beautiful people out there who are kind, and nice, and loyal. Friends who will be by your side no matter what happens. While you're feeling scared right now, be reassured that you will connect with trustworthy friends once you're ready to reach out again.Thanks!
QuestionI feel lonely even when I have friends, family and a relationship. Sometimes I get the feeling to run away and go to some quiet place. What should I do?Top AnswererIt's normal to feel lonely. You don't need to be alone to be lonely, and not all who are alone are also lonely. It's okay to want to be by yourself from time to time. If that desire is harming your normal functioning, consider scheduling time in your agenda where you are alone, even making it a regular weekly habit. Loneliness can be caused when your social interactions do not provide enough satisfaction. Doing things you like, with other people who like these things too, is one way to relieve that problem.Thanks!
QuestionI feel that my friends use me and don't consider my friendship as a serious one. So, I feel very lonely, even being with people. I don't know how to stop these problems.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou might need to take a break from that group of friends if you feel that they use you and that they don't cherish your friendship. Be reassured that many people feel lonely around other people; this happens when there is no connection, a lack of fulfilling engagement or when you feel that others just don't "get you" and carry on with what you consider to be banal banter. You may be a highly sensitive person (https://www.wikihow.com/Deal-With-Being-Highly-Sensitive) or an introvert (https://www.wikihow.com/Network-if-You-Are-an-Introvert) and being around people who don't understand you can feel extremely alienating. Cherish yourself more and look for people you can connect with, and some of that lonely-around-others feeling may dissipate.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I cope with my grief after a loved one has died?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe pain experienced when you have lost a loved one is a difficult thing to deal with. It is also a normal part of the human condition, so it's important to understand that your grief and pain are real and have to be accepted and worked through. Introspection can help you to process and assimilate to the changes you are experiencing. Remembering the meaningful moments you spent with your loved one can help you get through the grieving process as well as honor that person's life. It can be a great help to talk to others who are also grieving the loss of this person.Thanks!
QuestionHow can a handicapped person deal with loneliness? The handicap keeps me from dancing, joining a gym, etc., etc. I can't do what others do to combat their loneliness.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSports aren't the only way to deal with loneliness. What are your hobbies? What are you interested in? Join a book club, a writing course, an art class, a drama club, a computer programming course. Learn a language, go to a language school. Friends can be made wherever you go!Thanks!
QuestionI feel very lonely, and want to die and blame myself for everything. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThoughts of death are very serious. Make an appointment with your doctor, write down how you're feeling, and ask for a depression screening. This is treatable and you do not have to live the rest of your life this way.Thanks!
QuestionI'm lonely and suicidal. What can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPlease call the National Suicide Helpline at 1-800-273-8255. They will help you!Thanks!
How do I not feel the need for attention, which drives my loneliness. I feel like if I did not initiate so many things, nobody would be interested in me really. How do I overcome it?
- Don't take casual acquaintances to be deep true friends you can trust with everything. Build that trust gradually and accept them as they are. There's nothing wrong with having lots of acquaintances, a fair number of friends you'd be comfortable meeting in person to share activities and a much smaller intimate group of friends you'd trust with personal information. Think of your contacts as a series of concentric circles.
- Realize that one can be "lonely in a crowd." You may have friends, family and acquaintances, but still feel lonely. For some people, it is difficult to connect with those around them. In this case, outside counseling may help.
- Learn to be happy with yourself. When you like/love who you are, it shows. People like to be around those who are upbeat and confident.
- Understand that you don't have to be in a relationship to be happy. It may be difficult to see your friends going off and dating people. But you don't have to date to feel like you're part of a group or surrounded by people that care about you. Date only when you're ready.
- Realize that loneliness can be a right time to try out something new, relax or nurture your creativity.
- For those with religious beliefs, consider fellowship with those of your faith. Most churches should have some sort of regular fellowship. If your church doesn’t, then consider starting one.
- Rest helps you remember things and calms you.
- Think of a happy place, or a place you enjoy.
- Listen to music or read a book in second person (you, your) because it feels like someone is talking to you.
- If you feel lonely consider getting a roommate or live with you parents for a while. Even getting a pet like a cat or a dog can help.
- Take time to improve your talents like joining a dance club, choir, music class etc. You will meet new people with same interest!
- Have an imagination that occupies you from the real world and your loneliness will go away.
- If you feel your friends don't give you enough importance or they may leave you than you yourself build a positive attitude that people are meant to be set free. Let them roam. If your important in their life they will surely come to you now or then. If not then you know where you stand.
- If you're feeling lonely, consider taking a break from social media websites like Facebook and Twitter—they do not help your social relationships. Not only can people sometimes be cruel on these sites, seeing others "update their status" with fun activities can make you feel even worse. Instead, try doing something outside. Maybe take a long walk, play with your dog, or hang out with a sibling.
- Loneliness is a state where cults, gangs and other groups take advantage of the vulnerable and will negatively influence you. Be careful and listen to what others have to say about any group you are thinking of joining.
- If you have a persistent feeling of loneliness, seek medical help. It might be a sign of depression.
- Becoming overly dependent on online communities as a social outlet may lead to addiction and more complications. Use it as a tool to meet people in your local area who share your interests and make the effort to get together with your online friends. It can be a good filter to sort out mutual interests, but don't expect people to be the same offline as they are online.
- You may find bad people in bad groups. Try to find good people in good groups.
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