Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Monday, August 15, 2016

RELATIONSHIPS: How to Feel Less Lonely When You're Single - 5 Tips

There's no doubt that being single can be a little lonely sometimes, especially if all or most of your good friends are in a relationship. While being a little lonely is inevitable, you don't have to feel really, really lonely. There are many things you can do to make sure that you protect yourself emotionally from the blues, so take a look at the suggestions below and see if any of them might be worth a try for you.

Scheduling group friend nights.

Sure, your friends may be in a relationship, but that doesn't mean that you can never see them again without their significant other on their arm. The reality is that you have to work harder to create your fun when you're single, and one of the best ways to do that is to schedule an activity night with your friends. While you may want to do a night out with your peeps at a restaurant or bar, your coupled friends may be less interested in that because they are in a relationship and would prefer to do that kind of thing with their significant other. But there are lots of possibilities for a group friends night that will appeal to everyone: a theme dinner party; a cooking/baking party; game night; or movie night. The best way to avoid feeling lonely is to surround yourself with people you care about and who care about you.

Schedule regular calls with friends or family members who live far away.

Scheduling phone "dates" with friends or family is almost necessary these days when everyone is short on time. Schedule phone dates with different people and put the dates in the calendar. You can make it even more fun by having a solo pajama party for the date with some of your favorite snacks, a glass of wine, or slipping into your favorite pair of old-school pajamas.

Join an organization to meet new people.

Of course, the real goal in joining a group should be to benefit from the actual activity itself, but a secondary benefit from joining any new group is that you will meet new people. Though it may not sound fun to put yourself out there, just try it once or twice and see if it sticks. Meeting new people is a great way to remind yourself that your life is fresh and things are always changing.

Practice a mind-absorbing hobby.

Immediately, knitting comes to mind, a hobby that is quite the rage among hipsters and older adults. If you practice any hobby, terrific. But knitting and many other hobbies don’t actually suck up serious mental energy from your mind. If you play a game of chess or reorganize an entire closet, you have to really focus. Focusing on a task is an extremely effective activity when you’re feeling lonely or stressed because the act of focusing requires total attention. In other words, you can’t think about your loneliness because you’re focusing on a hobby or task. Simply put, you want to distract yourself from thinking about the stuff that makes you feel bad. Plus, when you finish a hobby, you have the added bonus of feeling proud of yourself for what you completed. Pour yourself into a yard or house task, or a mind-absorbing hobby and you will feel so much less lonely when you’re done!

A simple proverb can be your best friend in the world.

No feeling is permanent, whether blissful or downright miserable. Feelings are fleeting, so remember this proverb: This too shall pass. As unpleasant as it is to have to sit with lonely feelings and try to go about your daily life, at least make an effort to learn a lesson from your loneliness so that you don’t feel like this time is lost or wasted. What does your loneliness indicate? It doesn’t just indicate that you’re lonely and want to find a partner. Go deeper. Your loneliness is telling you that you have a major unmet need in your life. Think about your other relationships with family, coworkers and friends, and ask yourself how connected you feel to any of them? Sometimes loneliness is delivered to shine a light on something we haven’t noticed before.


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