We all experience bouts of loneliness at times. It is common during times of flux and change (such as starting university or breaking up with someone). But it can also overwhelm us when we’re with a group of friends, so we feel disconnected … as if we don’t belong. So what can we do to keep loneliness at bay?
1. First, don’t isolate yourself – When you’re feeling lonely it is hard to go out and be with others who seem to be OK, and don’t really notice how lonely you feel. But putting up a wall and withdrawing from your friends will only intensify that sense of loneliness, and will further undermine your self-esteem.
2. Second, keep yourself busy – Do things that you normally enjoy with others. For example, listening to a band or maybe going to watch a game … or you could always try something that’s new, but interests you! That would allow you to connect in a non-threatening way … as it takes the focus off talking, and off you.
3. Third, be kind to yourself - It’s likely that you regularly beat yourself up, criticise yourself and are unrealistic in the kinds of expectations that you have for yourself. So what, if it goes wrong? You can always try again – just learn what you can from the experience. And notice your successes and the times when it goes well. It’s likely that this happens a lot more than you think!
4. Fourth, recognise that we ALL battle loneliness at times - You’re not some kind of freak – it’s actually quite normal. It something we’ve all known and understand.
5. Fifth, talk to someone you like and trust – It can really help to talk about your feelings with a family member, a friend or counsellor. It relieves some of the painful sense of isolation – and help to get your life back in perspective again.