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Mental Health

Are You Lonely? Here are 7 Ways to Change That

Are You Lonely? Here are 7 Ways to Change That


It’s not easy being lonely. But there’s something you can do about it. Here are some ideas.

Avoid all-or-nothing thinking.You might have a very specific image in your mind about what your life would look like if you weren’t lonely. But is that the only way? Keep in mind that you may meet people who are fun to do things with, but aren’t such good at conversation. Or others who can sit and talk for hours but don’t share other interests with you. Appreciate people for who they are. 

Broaden your perspective.Is it possible that you may be overlooking someone who might enjoy spending some time with you, and would appreciate having you in their life? Consider doing an inventory of your social contacts with an eye toward people you might consider reaching out to. Anybody you know who could use a friend? 

Be a joiner.Consider where the likely candidates are hanging out. A spiritual or religious meeting place? Classes? A support group? Volunteering? You might want to do some Internet searching on the things that interest you and the name of your town. Find a meeting and then give yourself a push to take the first step to make a connection. 

Ask yourself: How can I be a friend?As the saying goes, the way to make a friend is to be a friend. So when you meet people, be careful about making the conversation all about getting your needs met. Be a listener. Ask questions. Offer support. And stay positive! After all, we’re all looking for the same thing in the people we form relationships with.   

Be patient.Relationships don’t develop overnight. They take time. So try not to assume that someone can’t be a good friend if you don’t feel a connection right away.    

Get out by yourself.Don’t use not having someone to do things with as an excuse to stay home alone. Walk around at a shopping mall. Take a book and sit in a coffee shop. Go to a movie. Being around people can help you to feel less lonely. And who knows, you might strike up a conversation with someone. 

Don’t get discouraged.Some people are going to be more open to getting to know you than others are. It’s about chemistry, and that’s hard to predict. When someone doesn’t seem all that open to connecting with you, try not to take it personally and get discouraged. Bringing people into your life is a process. Keep at it. Give it time.   

There are a lot of great people who are looking for friends, too. But they’re probably not going to knock on your door if they don’t know you’re interested in getting to know them. Yes, it’s a project. But you can do it!


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Gary McClain