What is loneliness, and how do you deal with it? This is a topic that many individuals are faced with every day, and although it is often associated with old age, young people are more and more affected by it, too.
How do you define loneliness?
Loneliness will feel different for everyone, which makes it difficult to summarise in a few words. Often you’ll find it described as the feeling of sadness when you have few friends or family members with whom you chat or share experiences with.
At this point, things can get slightly confusing, because this could easily be interpreted as someone simply being by themselves. However, being alone is not the same as loneliness.
You can choose to be alone and be absolutely fine with it, whereas loneliness and feeling lonely can even occur when you’re sitting amongst a big group of people you love. Most of the time, you don’t choose loneliness, it creeps up on you as you get caught up in other things, such as family life, work or building a career. Many only realise later in life that the number of social connections they have has dwindled, and this can negatively impact their health.
The importance of friendship
Whether you’re old or young, all of us can experience loneliness from time to time.
As mentioned above, you can surround yourself with good people and still feel lonely in the midst of it all.
So how can you deal with loneliness or even try to avoid it altogether?
This is where your friendships and how you care for them are important. Not only does a good friend make you feel less lonely, but it can also help decrease stress and anxiety.
Many find that as they get older it gets harder to make friends as you and they get more caught up in work, careers and family stuff. What’s important to remember is that there’s no expiration date on an existing friendship or on being able to build new ones. Additionally, the quality of a friendship is much more important than how many friends you have. Having one or two good friends, whom you trust and can talk to and who will check up on you and vice versa is priceless.
Reconnecting with old friends and building new friendships won’t happen overnight, and like all good things, it will take time. If you don’t know where to start, consider all the things you like. For example, if you like reading, see if there’s a book club in your area. By joining a group, club or team where you share the same or similar interests, you increase your chances of connecting with others. And talking about something you love with someone else who also enjoys it is a great bonding experience.
The important and kinda scary thing to remember is that, whenever you’re making new friends or reconnecting with someone, you have to put yourself out there.
Take it slow, if you want and need to, and realise that the effort and time you put in will be worth it for your health and your happiness.
If you’re interested in learning more about love and relationships, sign up for the Lovedoc waitlist. You will be the first to receive updates on the app launch and a sneak peek at the app itself.