Loneliness can touch many of us from time to time, but sometimes it sticks around long enough to actually change the way we interact with people. When you're lonely, you approach friendships differently, and as a result, new relationships don't have a chance to develop to their full potential. This can, in turn, make loneliness even worse. Here are some tips for finding quality friends when you're lonely.
Get the Heart of Your Lonely Feelings
Loneliness doesn't necessary mean that you have no friends at all. It could mean that you don't have the deep, meaningful relationships with friends that you desire. After all, you can be surrounded by people all the time but if none of them knows the real you it can make you feel just as lonely as if you had no friends. Therefore, the first step in turning your lonely feelings around is to determine why you're feeling this way. Ask yourself:
- Do I have any friends in my life?
- Have I opened up enough to the friends I already have?
- Am I comfortable being alone?
- Do I make friends easily but not keep them for long?
- Do I get bored with friends and push them away?
- Do I believe that I deserve good friends in my life?
These questions can help you get to the root of the problem. For example, if the issue is not enough friends, you can work on getting out more and meeting new people. If, however, the issue is that your friendships don't last, you need to work on getting to know friends on a deeper level and also sharing your life a bit more.
Meet More People
Being around more people can help you meet new friends, and the more friendships you develop the greater the chance that you'll find folks you connect with on a deeper level. Variety is the spice of life when it comes to friendships, so don't be afraid to connect with people from different walks of life, education levels, and experience. Doing so will help you learn more about yourself and this can help with issues involving low self-esteem.
Joining a group (such as a movie group, book club, or business group) is a great way to meet people when you're lonely because the focus is on a shared activity. You'll be in touch with people who have similar interests as you, and making a connection will happen more organically.
Develop Respect for Solitary Time
Loneliness is very different from "being alone." If you've experienced loneliness your first instinct might be to avoid spending time by yourself. But being comfortable when you're alone, and even craving some time to yourself, is healthy and can actually help you develop better relationships in general. Find hobbies that you can do by yourself and help you enjoy the time you spend alone.
Put Your Focus on Someone Else
Another great way to combat loneliness is to take the focus off of yourself and place it on another person or even a pet. Spending time with a dog will not only help you feel less alone, but it also provides several ways to meet new people.
Volunteering is another good outlet when you're lonely. Helping others changes your perspective on the world and can also be a good way to make friends. There are several organizations currently looking right now for people just like you to volunteer.