Being lonely affects everybody at one stage of their life or another. Whether you don’t have as many strong friendships as you would like, are recently single or are living away from family – when loneliness and social isolation hit, they hit hard.
Human beings are social animals, we live for and thrive on the company of others. We crave interaction with others, the more we can get the better – just look at the explosive popularity of social networking sites and you can easily see how true this is. Connecting with people matters, no matter how hard you try to tell yourself it doesn’t.
Dealing with loneliness shouldn’t be about accepting it, it should be about learning how to change it and make it so that you no longer feel alone and sad. With that in mind, these steps should help you get out of your isolated state and have you moving forward into a more positive and socially satisfied direction.
1. Reach Out – Whatever connections you still have with people, no matter how weak or distant, use them to your advantage. Reconnect with old friends you haven’t spoken to in a while and arrange to meet up with them for food or drinks. Get the ball rolling and before you know it you’ll be paving the way for quality friendships that will enrich your life.
2. Do Something Extracurricular – We meet people when we put ourselves out there and try new things. One of the easiest ways to do this is to sign up for a class or group that you have an interest in and are likely to meet similar minded people at. If one class doesn’t work, try another and keep going until you land on something that you can happily commit to.
3. Work Hard – Not just at your day job, start educating yourself outside of the standard working week. Take up an instrument, learn a language or pick a subject that you’d like to know more about and start reading up on it. Once you start to open your mind and show some interest in the world, the world will become a far more interesting place and your lonely life won’t feel so lonely anymore.
4. Enjoy Your Freedom – Being lonely is unpleasant, but it also means that you probably have no ties and are free to do as you please. If you have nobody to worry about then you get to decide how your life goes and that in itself is a great way of dealing with loneliness. You can move house, move job, move country – do whatever you want. You might not always have that privilege, so enjoy it while it lasts and make the most of it.
5. Volunteer – Giving your time to a good cause is hugely gratifying and rewarding, and it also puts you in the path of new people. Distracting yourself from being lonely is a great way to forget all about your feelings so put your time into helping people in need and thinking of others.
With the world’s population at 7.4 billion, you can rest assured that you are never alone, even if you wanted to be! Leading a lonely life and experiencing social isolation is sometimes just a reluctance on our own part to put ourselves out there and carve out a life for ourselves that we truly want. Leave all your fears behind and seek out the meaningful relationships that we so badly need as people, then once you find them hold onto them and nurture them so that they are there for you when you really need them.