Feeling Lonely?

Despite the fact that it’s easier than ever to connect with others in the “global village” by voicemail, email, and chat rooms, many people still suffer from loneliness. Loneliness is an empty, painful feeling that may be brief or long-lasting.

Surprisingly, the “cure” for loneliness is not necessarily being around other people. Many people feel lonely in the midst of company, while there are others leading solitary lives who don’t feel especially lonely.

The key is in how you react to feeling lonely. If you simply feel sad and take no action to change things, you will probably continue to feel lonely. But there are at least two other approaches to the problem.

The first approach is to actively work on developing a social network. Instead of waiting to be invited out, you can contact friends, family, or coworkers and plan get-togethers every week–having lunch, going to a movie or sports event, or just “hanging out.” If you just moved to the area and don’t know many people, take an adult education class for fun and socializing. There may be clubs or organizations of interest you can find by scanning the local newspapers.

The second approach is to develop a full, satisfying life without needing to be around other people all the time. If you accept and like yourself, then you can enjoy your own company. Having a fulfilling career and some interesting hobbies or pastimes can make for a very rewarding life. In addition, people who are happy and fulfilled tend to be more attractive to others and therefore have more social opportunities as well. Enjoyable hobbies may include:

• Reading

• Writing

• Cooking

• Composing, playing, or listening to music

• Painting or sculpting

• Photography

• Hiking, biking, skiing, or other outdoor activities

Of course, there are many other rewarding pastimes. What’s important is finding something that works for you.