The Adult Guide to Overcome Loneliness and Make Friends
Once upon a time, I had friends that I thought I would always have. However, as time proceeded, each friend began separating themselves with our own life and pursuits. Some settled for families, others went to college out of state, as others just disappeared off the map.
Eventually, I reached a point where I was left alone with no one to steal my fries, go to the movies with, or simply come home to. I’ve had lonely moments in the past such as the time I enrolled into a new school and had to deal with the social awkwardness of the school jungle. But within a few weeks, I usually made new friends who didn’t bother me.
But the thing that sucks when you reach adulthood is when you no longer go to school and now have to attend a job you hate everyday of the week. Your friend list begins reducing itself and you find yourself more alone than you were the week before.
Unlike television shows where five best adult friends stick around with each other for what seems like decades, real life doesn’t work like that for most people.
People grow up, they move on, and they outgrow their friends. There often comes that breaking point that seems to happen for most friendships because someone decided to take another route. Perhaps your best friend decided to get married or they have children. At first, you both try keeping the friendship going smoothly, but somehow, life gets in the way and you see yourself spreading apart.
As an adult with no friends, I experienced loneliness in a way I wasn’t familiar with. A scar was imprinted in my soul because I knew I had no one to go out with, or accompany me. Life felt empty.
What’s ironic is that during the time I had great friendships, I constantly daydreamed about the joy of being left alone and enjoyed the thought of being forever isolated. But I soon came to realize that isolation was a fate too unbearable to live.
Although isolation was a goal that I often wanted, it wasn’t a lifestyle I forever preferred. Eating alone wasn’t bad at first because I was able to settle for my own rules, but constantly eating alone at restaurants caused me to grow bitter.
Whenever I saw couples, families, or friends spending time together at any public venue, I grew insanely jealous, angry, and depressed. I wanted what they had while also trying to convince myself that I had no need for friends. I gave myself the belief that friends and romance would only hold me back from obtaining my goals.
And yes. I know there were “solutions” to ease my loneliness. Although I had family and “friends” that I could call or message on Facebook, it was never enough. I never understood how someone could tell me that I wasn’t alone because I had a telephone I could call someone with.
As an introvert who never enjoyed telephones, I don’t like the idea of connecting with someone over a device. I need to make eye contact, read their social cues, see their facial expression, and get an up-close experience. Perhaps telephone communication can help the small percentage of people in the world, but I honestly believe humans weren’t made to truly connect over a device.
It’s why most long distance relationships don’t work out. It’s not only because sexual needs can’t be met. There’s a certain element that’s missing from both person’s lives. Humans need to touch each other skins and feel each other energy to reach a true connection.
I repeatedly had nostalgic feelings about the days I had friends and how simple and happy life was back then. I grew more bitter day after day. My days consisted of going to work and then returning back home. I even developed a few workaholic syndromes because I hated the idea of returning back to a home that was going to be empty anyway.
I hated pulling out my cell phone because it was a reminder that no one had texted or called me that day. It was just proof that no one was waiting for me at home. Life was miserable and despite all of my accomplishments, achievements, or gains, everything seemed pointless if I was going to be alone to enjoy it all.
What use is gold if you can’t enjoy it with the ones who love you most?
Pulling Logic into the Equation
Logic and psychology told me that I didn’t need friends to feel good about myself. All I had to do was self-accept myself to live a happy life. And it makes sense. The only person who can make me happy is ME.
But logic usually goes down the drain when your emotions get mixed into the recipe. You unwillingly compare your life to others when you view it on a daily basis. You grow jealous after hearing everyone’s enjoyable time on the weekend with friends and family. You hate television shows that show the simplicity of having a group of friends you can keep for years.
Loneliness Negative Effects
One of the dangerous signs of loneliness was dealing with a domino effect of bad habits. My thoughts became darker towards myself and the rest of the world. I became lazier and lost sight of my goals.
I couldn’t see the point of continuing on if I had no one to enjoy it with. I lost my interest for reading and pondered about the necessity of actually living, questioning what would happen if I were to suddenly disappear. Would anyone be affected? How long would it take before anyone notice?
Making the Necessary Changes
Although I can’t remember the exact moment, whether it was walking on the sidewalks in the hopes that someone would hit me with their car, or at a park alone one night, something hit me. I had to take control of my life and do something about the sickness I was being manipulated by.
Loneliness was overruling my very existence and the only way I could act against it was to actively do something. And so, I went out at night to be around young single people who wanted to have fun. I went downtown and to other places I never traveled before in San Diego.
At first I never had the courage to walk up to someone and speak to them, so I trained myself to beat that fear. I read books on how to converse with strangers, whether male or females. I took dating advice and social anxiety lessons to never allow my inner emotions to take me hostage. I watched continuous videos from various dating coaches to understand the best ways to beat social anxiety.
A major lesson I should pass on is that despite all the lessons and tutorials you go over, it won’t make any difference unless you actually practice them. Sure, reading dating advice gave me a positive boost because I felt like I knew something other people didn’t, but I always had those dreadful emotions whenever I was around people I wasn’t comfortable with.
So I made an effort to only embrace one social approach lesson and apply it before I settled for the next. It’s never easy making your first approach to anyone you don’t know because you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into. They could be crazy, give you a mean reaction, or simply not be interested. But I discovered so long as you remain comfortable and positive while speaking to anyone, they’ll be more than happy to speak with you.
You might come across a few people who won’t have the time or energy to speak to you, but don’t let that dictate your day. You have no idea what they’re dealing with to give you negative emotions. People don’t necessarily like being mean to those who are kind unless they’re suffering from stress and can’t handle the pressure of speaking to someone else.
There were people who gave me negative emotions when I initially tried speaking to them, but the next time I saw them they were more positive than me. Just remain positive as much as you can and avoid shunning your own negative energy at them simply because they didn’t show you the reaction you wanted.
The longer I continued speaking to people and understanding the way social cues worked, the happier I felt. Perhaps it was the idea I was expanding my social circle, or maybe it was because I was finally overcoming my major challenges. Either way, I noticed how my depression had dramatically reduced itself within a short period of time.
However, never assume that going out for a few weeks will cure your loneliness forever. Sure, it feels great going out to meet new people, but it still doesn’t replace the true bond of a friend. The act of going out is to get yourself comfortable in the real world and understanding the way humans behave.
You need to understand that humans can’t always be predictable and that you’re going to have a conflict of interest, different opinions, and different agendas. But what makes a friendship special is enjoying another person’s company despite your petty opinions.
Never search for friends. Let it happen naturally
Back at a time I was struggling to find people to hang out with, I came across a woman who was exiting the building I lived in at the time. I can’t remember how the conversation went, but it ended with me saying I wanted to keep in contact with her since I was new to the area.
Our texting conversations started off slow with witty remarks we sent each other from time to time. I usually told her about some strange person I met as she told me about a strange guy she went out on a date with. She usually liked to make fun of me as I did the same to her and before I knew it our texting conversations continued throughout the entire day.
The first time she wanted to hang out together was when she was playing Call of Duty because she had nothing else to do. So out of boredom, she asked if I wanted to play since I mentioned I was finally getting good at it. So I went to her place and spent time with her.
At the time, my mindset wasn’t trying to date her because I had my eyes set on someone else. It was comfortable just being with someone rather than being alone. After a few hours, I managed to learn a lot about her and what she enjoyed. From that moment, our bond continued growing.
When people search for friends, they automatically give themselves a checklist on how that person should behave. They already have a list of hobbies that person should have and how they should spend their days together. But that never works because you can’t shop for friends or for anyone you want to care about you.
Thus, accept that people will have their own values and are trying to live their own lives. Learn to accept other people as they learn to accept you. When I met my friend, it didn’t start off strong where we immediately wore matching jackets. It was weak because we only sent each other messages out of pure boredom. But as we began understanding each other more and more on a daily basis, it built a friendship I didn’t even see coming.
Imagine friendship as a plant. When you speak to someone, you’re planting a seed in both lives and the only way you’ll see anything blossom is if you continue putting an effort to keep it that way. Such as how plants don’t magically grow by simply wishing for it, friendships don’t grow that way either.
Put in the effort to say something witty to another person from time to time. Reveal your true self to them and get an idea of the type of person you’re speaking to. Never rush a friendship or else it’ll die just as fast.
Never Feel Threatened by the World
Loneliness over an extinct of time can cause a person’s view of the world to turn very negative. They see the world as unfriendly and withdraw themselves from social events and other people. They unwillingly conjure false beliefs about reality and why it’s okay to remain forever alone. But as a person who constantly used this excuse, loneliness sucks and has to be cured.
When you withdraw yourself from the world, you abandon the possibilities of finding the happiness you eagerly want. I understand. You want friends, but afraid because that means you might face rejection or abandonment. Not to mention you’ll have to deal with the gradual buildup of even getting a friendship established.
Making friends may not be the easiest thing to do in the world, but what helps is simply seeing the world in a more adjusted light. Love people as you love yourself. Loving people isn’t easy either.
Such as working out and eating healthier, loving other people requires a constant reminder to keep it up because it’s necessary. If you watch too much News or read too many negative stories about humans, you’ll easily see that humans can be pretty evil. Thus, it’s highly recommended to limit your consumption of any News media.
Keep a positive view of mankind as a whole because it provides you with a healthier view when speaking to strangers. It prevent dark thoughts from purging your mind and subconsciously causing you to push others away from you.
Never Go Too Fast Too Quickly
It can be tempting to hook onto everybody that comes your direction when struggling to overcome loneliness. You make the assumption that by sleeping with more people you’ll feel less lonely than you were before. You think if you have a high quantity of people in your life, it’ll make you happy.
However, this usually brings you an inverse impact. Sleeping with 100 people isn’t going to make you any happier than if you found 1 special person to sleep with. Such as how drug and alcohol can give you an amazing affect at first, it usually provides a bad aftermath once it’s been abused.
Having a bunch of connections won’t help you beat loneliness either. It’s like having 5,000 Facebook friends when you don’t even speak to any of them. People who give themselves too many easygoing companions can feel seriously alone because they don’t know who to share their intimate time with.
Whereas, someone with maybe a couple okay friends can feel content and happy. As you begin building your contact list, value those who provide you with trust and support. Or else, although you will have a friendship, it won’t be the one you longed for.
Think in little steps when getting to know someone. Go with them to a coffeehouse or have a short discussion about general hobbies. Be thoughtful to yourself and question whether the relationship is healthy or not.
Avoid Being “Practical”
It’s a hallucination to think that if you have no friends, “everything will turn out badly” or “you’ll generally be alone forever“. This isn’t authenticity. Its a conviction.
If you accept that you’re generally bound to be forever alone, odds are, you’ll wind up that way. Up until the point I had that realization I was the only one capable of making that decision, I remained alone. I had no friends or no one to really talk to.
In a situation where you truly need to overcome loneliness, make a more positive self-satisfying prediction. Know no one other than yourself is going to open the gateway to friendship.
When you graduate from school and work at a job, it’s really easy to not have friends. When your life is constantly busy, the idea of friendship seems unlikely. These are “practical” thoughts you should throw away. Nothing’s stopping you from getting a cashier’s number if you constantly see her everyday and share a random fact about one another.
There’s no reason why you can’t find the time to volunteer somewhere repeatedly and meet someone there. The one fact we, as adults, have to give ourselves is that although making friends isn’t as easy as it was back in school, it’s still possible. We just have to put in the effort to make it so.
So, to make a long story short, follow these simple steps to begin incorporating a lifestyle to easily find friendships as an adult:
1. Abandon People who make you miserable: Avoid the mistake of being friends with someone simply because they’re available. If you constantly spend time with people who talk harsh about you behind your back, they’re not the type of friends you want in your life. Search for people who’ll provide you with the support and love you need.
2. Keep Your Life Active: Don’t stop living life just because you have no one to spend it with. Keep your social life active by going out to social events such as museums, bars, hiking trips, and coffee shops. Learn to interact with people by doing things that you love.
A site that usually helps me meet other writers is meetup. There, you can meet a variety of people who enjoy just about anything you might be interested in. Perhaps it’s dancing, painting, or yoga. There’s a variety of activities you can get yourself involved in.
Remember, you don’t live in a situation where you can rely on social circumstances such as school to bring people into your life. Take initiative by actively pursuing ways to get yourself out of the house and meet other people who enjoy similar things to you.
3. Remain Consistent: Friendship doesn’t happen by simply saying hi to someone once a month. When you were a child, you made friends because you went everywhere with them. You may not be able to eat and play with them throughout the day, but you can still remain consistent with staying in their lives.
That could either be through text messaging, Facebook chat, lunch dates, book clubs, or time at a bar after work. Meet someone on a regular basis and remain in communication with him or her. Start small upon meeting anyone for the first time and gradually build up your social time the more you become comfortable with them.
Enjoyed This Article?
Share it with your friends on Facebook
For more tips on that you might find useful for this topic: