Some people can spend time with a group of people and feel lonely, others might hardly ever see anyone and feel lonely. Loneliness is not so much to do with who is around us but is often more to do with how well we feel accepted, needed, wanted, cared for and whether we are naturally an extrovert or an introvert.
Many people struggle with loneliness – men, women, young, old, married, unmarried, those who believe in a God and those who don’t.
It would be great to chat with you about things that will help you to feel less lonely and more accepted, needed, wanted and cared for.
You are so much more than just a physical body, you also have feelings, emotions and a spiritual side to you. You really need to think about how to help the whole of you and not just your physical body.
It is good to think about why you feel like you do? Have you always struggled with friendships, has getting on with people been tough since school days or has something changed more recently?
Think about what it is that you are actually wanting and needing, what does it look like? Sometimes we set unreasonable goals from people and then get disappointed when they fail to live up to them – sadly people don’t always act kindly when they should, but then neither do we all of the time! Are your expectations reasonable or too idealistic?
Do you always feel lonely or is it mainly at certain times of the day? or on particular days of the week? or is there a time of the year when you find you are more lonely?
Noticing when the worst times are can be helpful because it shows us when we need to make the most effort before those feelings of loneliness strike us and it’s too late.
Are there things you enjoy doing or visiting, meeting people with a similar interest to you is a great way of becoming less lonely.
The advantage of meeting people at clubs or groups where they are there because they enjoy a certain activity, is that you automatically have something in common with them – you don’t have to struggle to know what to say, you can ask about their views on the thing the club is about.
We often want people to be more interested in us, but often that begins by showing interest in them – be patient, because the opportunity to talk about you and your views will occur – but to start with let them talk about what they think.
Do you believe there is a God? Have you ever spent time trying to learn about who Jesus is, what he did and why he did it?
When you believe that Jesus loves you and is deeply interested in you it gives you a different picture of the world around you and of what your life is all about.
Often we are looking to find in other people want we really are designed to find from God – someone that is always with us, who loves us, is interested in us, cares about us and who wants us to talk to Him and get to know Him.
Church can be a great place to meet people and find caring friendship, particularly if the church meets midweek in small groups in people’s homes – it is there that you will become a person rather than one of a crowd, it is there where you will feel loved and listened to and appreciated.
The more you get to know Jesus the more you will know and understand how much he cares about you and what is happening in your life.
When we meet people it can sometimes be daunting and worrying if we don’t know what to say to build a friendship. When you don’t know someone very well, think in advance of questions you could ask that will help them to see you are interested in them as a person.
Once you know what they spend their time doing, instead of just asking them if they had a good day – ask them “what makes a good day or a bad day for you?”, and “what was today like?”
Another question you could try and ask is, “have you ever thought what you would like to spend your time doing if you didn’t have to earn money to live”, explain that you were thinking about this the other day and tell them what you decided – but be brief and don’t give too much detail – and then ask how they would like to spend their time if they could choose?
We are not always going to find friends in every situation we find ourselves in. Sometimes it’s going to just be a case of keeping busy with what we are doing, taking a book to read, and then going home afterwards. This is not failure – the more we can take away the pressure from ourselves of having to try and find someone who likes us in every situation – the more we can begin to realise that being loved by Jesus, and thought of as important and significant by him is enough for us in some situations to free us to feel okay about time spent alone.