Being alone means not having anyone else in the same space with you. These are usually good times to relax, study, engage in good self-care and to reflect.
Being lonely, on the other hand, is about the emotions, commonly sadness and fear, that are associated with being alone. Loneliness can often stem from feeling disconnected to others or from missing previously meaningful connections that are no longer accessible.
What Can I Do About Loneliness?
- Recognize that loneliness is a common human experience that can be changed.
- Identify your needs, whether friendships or social activities, and make an effort to meet them.
- Discover what may be contributing to your loneliness. Are you living in a new place where you don't know anyone, have you experienced a recent loss or major life transition, or are you not feeling secure with the people you spend time with?
- Avoid things that could perpetuate loneliness, including isolating yourself from others or evaluating yourself in negative terms.
How Can I Develop Friendships?
- Remind yourself that meeting new people and building friendships requires risk, patience and trust.
- Join clubs or groups in which you have a genuine interest.
- Find a study or exercise partner.
- Smile, make eye contact, be willing to listen, let people know you're available, and be yourself.
- Remember that not everyone has to like you and you don't have to be friends with everyone.
- Don't judge new friendships based on past experiences. Be open to new perspectives.
- Consider seeking counseling to develop your social skills and deal with social anxiety.
- Make efforts to stay connected to previous healthy relationships.
It's important to remember that loneliness is a common human experience that doesn't reflect a defect in your personality or character. Most people experience loneliness at some point in their lives.
Learn to be comfortable with—and even enjoy—your time alone. Motivate yourself to take risks to develop new relationships and improve closeness in current relationships.