If you’ve ever felt alone, you know exactly how deeply it can affect a person. It’s not surprising some people jump from one relationship to the next in an attempt to outrun their loneliness. Unfortunately, a romantic tryst isn’t a cure, it’s merely a distraction and it’s bound to backfire.
THERE’S A REASON YOUR RELATIONSHIPS DON’T LAST. If you’re willing to jump into a romance to avoid being lonely, it’s not based on anything real. Have you ever stopped to wonder why your relationships are so short? It’s because you were so desperate to avoid the emptiness that you were willing to be with someone you didn’t truly love. A failed relationship compounds your negative feelings, making you more desperate to run to the next person.
BEING IN A RELATIONSHIP DOESN’T MAGICALLY MAKE YOU HAPPY. So you’re in a new relationship. Good for you. Someone expressed interest and you didn’t hesitate to enter into a verbal contract, romantically linking yourself to another person. The problem with rushing into relationships is you don’t have the necessary foundation on which to grow. You’re now depending on one person to fulfill all of your social and romantic needs. If this person can’t give you 100% of their time and affections, they won’t be enough and you’ll be back at square one. Every time your partner chooses to have alone time or wants to go out without you, you’ll feel lonely, insufficient, and just as hollow as you did when you were single. The moral of the story? Don’t put all your eggs into one basket.
There are other places to turn. This is where friends and family come into play. You’re lonely because whatever relationships you currently have (or don’t) aren’t enough. You may have tons of friends you don’t connect with or you may not have friends at all because you’ve given all your energy to your latest fling. Regardless, now is the time to find a real friend. They can come in the form of a relative, old friend, or new acquaintance turned friend.
UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WANT IN LIFE AND LEARN HOW TO GET IT. Examine your emotions. Why do you feel so alone? What kind of attention do you want to give? What do you want to receive? Psychologist Robert L. Leahy Ph.D. wrote, “Just because you are alone doesn’t mean that you have to feel sad and lonely.” He goes on to explain being alone isn’t a bad thing. He stated, “Being alone is a situation – and situations change.” How can you change your situation? First, work on how you view loneliness, then make connections.
CHANGE YOUR DEFINITION OF BEING ALONE. Some people believe it’s bad to do anything in public alone, but that isn’t the case. Do you feel alone while you’re grocery shopping alone? What about when you’re pumping gas into your car? Doing most activities solo is normal – it just comes down to a matter of understanding and accepting it. If you feel consistently alone, remind yourself you’re not. You’re independent and living your best life without relying on constant companionship. You’re strong. Be confident in who you are and what you’re all about.
WHAT ARE THE RIGHT CONNECTIONS? It’s hard to keep in touch with the old squad from high school, but you’re not without options. Give them a call and meet up for drinks or host a reunion party. If you still feel left out or you’re lacking the connection you once had, they’re the wrong connections. The goal is to meet and befriend quality people – people who have similar interests as you. When you can connect with another person over shared interests or goals, there’s no room for loneliness. You’ll each enjoy the time you spend with one another and it often leads to a deeper, more fulfilling friendship.
HOW DO YOU MAKE THE RIGHT CONNECTIONS? Many people feel a rush of anxiety when they consider making new friends. How does one go about starting a friendship with a complete stranger? The trick is to make a few acquaintances, then let that relationship grow into a friendship. It’s as simple as signing up for classes on a topic you’re passionate about. Odds are you’ll meet others with similar interests. Strike up conversations here and there until the next thing you know you’re being invited to parties or you’re asking them to join you in an activity. Meeting people online is also popular – build a virtual friendship that can eventually blossom and spill out into the real world.
WHAT IF YOU HAVE GREAT FRIENDS BUT FEEL ROMANTICALLY LONELY? If your friends are supportive, kind, inclusive, and friendly but you’re still lonely, you need to grow up. It’s alright to feel a little lonely in terms of romance, but don’t overlook the amazing people surrounding you. Most of us feel the desire to get into a romantic relationship. While searching for Mr. or Mrs. Right is normal, it’s never okay to serial date just to curb your loneliness. Real relationships are often built on friendships first. If you’re more into the online dating scene, take your time. Date around before choosing one person to stick with. It might be hard to wait, but it’ll ultimately be worth it.
IF YOU CAN’T GET IT TOGETHER, IT’S OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP. Loneliness is a powerful emotion. If you’ve tried to become independent but can’t get the hang of it, it’s okay to seek help. If you’re still jumping from one bad relationship to the next and now you’re just depressed, turn to friends and family. The people in your life love you and are willing to help if you’re willing to listen. If you’ve alienated yourself from everyone in your life and have nowhere to turn, remember there are always hotlines available. If you don’t want to call in, consider speaking to a therapist. A therapist can help you understand the reasons behind your actions or lack thereof. Never be afraid to ask for help. Even if things are starting to spiral out of control, there are always people who are ready and willing to help.
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