-Mayah Taylor, MA
Loneliness can be defined as a state of solitude or being alone. Humans are social creatures. At our core our need to connect is innate. Our social connections are a key source of our happiness, mental health, and emotional health. Loneliness isn’t limited to internal circumstances such as being a natural introvert or feeling shy or socially awkward. Loneliness can also be a result of external circumstances such as moving to a new place or attending a new school where you don’t know anyone. Or maybe you’ve recently broken up with someone and you let your friendships die or become distant, but now you want to start fresh and fill that loneliness void that has been created. In this blog, we will share with you 3 ways you can make meaningful connections that count.
Understand Your Loneliness
Get to the root of your loneliness. Establish when your feelings of loneliness happen. Maybe it’s when you are by yourself or maybe it occurs when you are with others or someone in particular. Whatever the case may be, begin to pay more attention to when you feel lonely so that you can then understand what’s causing it. Explore what may be getting in the way of you forming relationships and connections. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a health professional like a professional counselor to help you explore your feelings of loneliness. Sometimes the loneliness your feeling could be a result of an underlying problem like depression, anxiety, etc.
How to Connect If You Are Introverted or Socially Awkward
Being introverted or socially awkward can often cause people to isolate themselves from others which can lead to those feelings of loneliness. It can also be a source of anxiety when faced with social situations. So how can you overcome the social awkwardness and your introverted personality to connect with others? If you know large crowds or gathering make you feel uncomfortable or highly anxious, aim to hang out with others in more of a one on one setting or in a small group setting. This can lessen the stress level you feel like when you are in larger crowds and also allows more opportunity to form close, meaningful connections in a more intimate setting. Small group settings can prevent an introverted person from becoming overstimulated and focus more on getting to know other persons in that small group setting.
Small Steps Matter
If you are not sure how to reach out to someone to form a connection remember to start small and keep it simple. If there is someone in your life that you want to connect with, a good way to reach out is to simply call them. The phone call doesn’t have to be a long one. It can be one where you simply say, “Hi.” Maybe you invite that person to engage in an activity that both of you are interested in. Another way to take a small step into forming connections with others is to extend yourself by joining a group or volunteering. This can be a simple, safe way to ease into a social setting that’s not overwhelming and to explore with socially interacting with others. As you become more comfortable you can practice interacting with others in those settings starting with a simple greeting or small talk to gradually having meaningful, “getting to know you” conversations.
Making connections that count can be challenging when you are battling loneliness. The key things you need to remember so that you can begin to get out and form those connections is to first understand why you feel lonely and the root cause of it. Then you can begin to take simple steps such as planning to engage in social interaction in small groups or small situations, reaching out to someone with a simple phone call saying, “Hi.” Invite a person you want to connect with to engage in a common interest activity or join a group or volunteer to help create social interaction situations to participate in at your own pace. Shedding your loneliness and creating connections may be challenging. But with these tips that we’ve shared with you, you can begin to ease your way into creating those connections as well as alleviate the anxiety, the overwhelming feelings that generate with being social and shed the loneliness.
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