It has never been so easy to connect with other people like it is today. The surge of apps and other streams of communication let you reach a friend living in Sydney, LA or London. We stay connected, yet we feel lonely along the way too.
Everything is instant, fast-paced and short-lived. This is especially true for friendships because people just drift away. It is okay to spend some time on your own, binging on your favorite show. However, you should still be aware that this will bring you one step closer to social isolation.
If you want to feel less lonely, try to find joy in the following.
Be more attentive in your daily interactions
People you meet throughout your day are more friendly than you might think. Include small changes in how you interact with other people. Instead of just walking past your neighbor, say hello and ask a simple question. At work, try striking up a conversation with the newbie – he or she will appreciate this gesture and you’ll chit-chat every time you meet in the break room. Try to change an acquaintance into something that can be a friendship.
Whenever you do spend time with people you know well, listen more than you speak. Be more attentive and present. Don’t pay attention to your phone while you speak to someone. This is a sure sign that you don’t care or give value to their story.
Just listen more, be emphatic, smile and provide support if needed. These small things will improve your friendship and strengthen the bond.
Be the one who initiates hangouts
If we lived in a perfect world, there would be reciprocity in friendships. What you give to other people is expected in return. Some friendships are based on a reciprocity rule, some are not. However, there has to be an equal amount of effort in order for the friendship to last.
So be the one who initiates get-togethers, hangouts, game nights, movie night and going out in general. Remember that you do this for yourself and to feel less lonely. One person has to initiate catch-ups, so embrace this role for your own sake.
Of course, you should not be the only person who puts in all the effort. If the effort is not returned, it is the time do give less and expect a bit more from the other party.
Join a club
Think about your interests first. Are you into books? If so, find a book club. This will be a chance to multitask – read books and meet new people. Do you like board games? Find a club of board game enthusiasts and start sharpening your cognitive and logic skills during the regular meetups.
You can also play online games and connect with people in this way. You can also turn these online connections into real ones by meeting in person.
By spending time with like-minded individuals you’ll become inspired and get a chance to elevate your skills and interests.
Join an exercise class
Group fitness classes are also packed with like-minded individuals who share the same passion. That passion led you there and it can also lead to new friendships. It is a way to relieve stress in a natural way, be healthy, less lonely and connected to other people.
An exercise is a great tool against loneliness, and group classes can help you fight it on a regular basis. Pick something you’ve always wanted to try like engaging pilates classes and get yourself out there. Not only will you tone your body, strengthen the core and improve posture, you will also get out of your comfort zone. You never know who you might meet there. But one thing is for sure – you will meet a bunch of people with the same mindset.
Give coworking space a try
Maybe the reason you feel lonely is the fact that you work from home. Once we reach adulthood we have fewer chances of meeting new people unless we actively seek new friendships. We meet people at work mostly and when you work from home, those chances are slim. Instead of being at home all the time, find a coworking space you can join.
This will be a great opportunity for you to network, expand your professional circle and meet new people along the way. You can also work from a cafe and get a chance to meet locals and make friends with the staff, too. Whatever your choice might be, there are ways to spend less time alone and more surrounded by people.
Spending time at senior care facility among those who crave a bit of companionship and just someone to talk about can also improve your outlook on life. You’ll give some attention to other people and have fun along the way.