So this week is Loneliness Awareness Week. Even though it might seem like we’ve all got hundreds of friends and followers on social media, it is still really common to feel alone, or have friends or family who are dealing with it. Thanks to keeping social media in our pockets, it’s super easy to connect and communicate with others, but this can mean that when your phone isn’t buzzing, you find yourself spending a lot of time alone. We’ve put together seven of our best tips to help you out if you find yourself feeling like you’re on your own.
1) Social Media Isn’t Real
Yes, looking at social media, you would not be wrong in thinking that anyone with an Instagram page is having the best time ever, and has the best family ever, the best holiday ever, the best breakfast ever; even the best dog ever. But remember, you are only seeing what people want you to see. You actually have no idea what is really going on behind the screen.
Just because someone has 10,000 followers does not mean they have 10,000 friends. We are all guilty of ‘hyping’ up our lives on social media, so we should know that our profiles are not a wholly accurate representation of our reality. Don’t compare your life, and friendships, to something that is just not realistic or attainable. Comparison is the thief of all happiness.
2) Remember your worth
If you’ve been feeling lonely for quite a while then it’s understandable that you might start to feel unwanted and/or unworthy of other people’s company. This can lead to you seeing social occasions as further opportunity for rejection. You may start to shut yourself off from people as a consequence because you don’t believe your presence will be missed or worthwhile. But always remember, if you have been invited, it’s because your company is wanted! You are deserving of all the love and kindness people have to offer you so accept the invitation, get out there and enjoy yourself!
3) Start something you enjoy
Good friends often have much in common. Find something you enjoy doing and you’re sure to meet some like-minded people. Sporty? Go to an exercise class or join a run club/gym. Arty? Go to a life drawing class or attend an exhibition! Music fan? Get down to your local venue and support some up-and-coming bands! You could even volunteer your time somewhere. Make the effort to introduce yourself and you’ll meet a whole new bunch of people.
4) Compliment yourself
Are you self-doubting? You may have let your insecurities get the better of you, and this might be preventing you from putting yourself out there socially. Try acknowledging one positive thing about yourself a day, as a gradual reminder that you are perfect just the way you are and do not need to change for anyone!
5) Do not settle for bad friends
You may be craving company but don’t give your time to people who do not value or deserve it; you can still feel lonely in the company of others. Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist at NYU, noted: “Reams of published research show that it’s the quality, not the quantity of social interaction, that best predicts loneliness.” Ditch the frenemies – you don’t need them!
6) You are not alone in your loneliness
You are definitely not the only one out there feeling lonely. Despite the fact we live in an era where the internet has made communication as simple as a message away, it seems we are lonelier than ever before. With this in mind, don’t be embarrassed to make the first move if you want to reconnect or re-establish relationships with old friends. Missing someone? Text or call them and they’ll more than likely be glad to hear from you.
7) Embrace ‘me’ time
‘I’m gonna be my own best friend‘ – listen to the wise words of Beyonce and learn to enjoy spending time with YOU. When no one is available to hang out, chill with yourself! It can be really revitalising to spend time alone. Take a bath, watch a film, read a book, listen to music, reorganise your playlists! Try to make a list of things you’d love to do when you’ve got a spare minute so that you can always be busy instead of bored. Your own company is just as good as anybody else’s and it’ll prove to you that you’re a great person to be around.
Maybe you feel lonely, but always remember that you’re definitely not alone. For more inspiration, be sure to follow our Instagram @Ditchthelabel.
If you’d like somebody to talk to or get personal advice about how to overcome your loneliness, then you can join our community here.