Socialization

Much networking is goal directed. You want something in your life, and you go out and network to find that thing, be it a lover, a friend, a job, a service or a product. There is more to life than goal directed networking, however. It is also important to just be with people sometimes. Socialization involves being with and a part of other people; enjoying their company, confiding in them or letting them confide in you, and working together towards shared goals. Going to church, joining a club or group, chatting on line, calling a friend on the phone, or hanging out with friends are all means of socialization. These are the activities that banish loneliness feelings and promote the sense of safety, belonging and enjoyment that helps people to feel secure.

Being able to socialize well is one of the main reasons that having good social skills is important. If you have social skills, you will have an easier time socializing and you will more easily enjoy the benefits of having healthy caring relationships with others:

  • you feel a part of something larger than yourself (a church, a lodge, a club, a group)
  • you are supported in various ways when you need support
  • you have people to spend time with and do things with. This wards off loneliness and provides entertainment and distraction from pain.
  • you feel wanted, included and cared for
  • you have a place to confide your secrets or to share ideas and feelings

Time spent socializing can help build your confidence (or at least keep it from sinking lower), strengthen your sense that life has meaning and purpose, raise your spirits and confidence and help protect you against the effects of stress and loss.

Since socialization really just boils down to spending time with other people you care about or whom are engaged in something you care about, there are numerous ways you can increase your socialization:

  • Initiate interactions with friends and family. Call friends or family members and talk or chat, or invite them to spend time with you. Have a party, exercise together, eat at a restaurant or just hang out. If your schedule is too busy to allow for this sort of thing, then change your schedule to open up a little time.
  • Introduce yourself to neighbors and other people you come into contact with frequently. Say hello when someone walks by and ask how they are doing.
  • Join groups. Participate in religious services, civic groups, service groups, hobby groups, exercise groups, gyms, and similar sorts of community groups. Take a class that interests you. Regular attendance is important; it takes a while before people sense that you're no longer a stranger.
  • Advertise yourself. Create a profile on a dating website, or describe your plight anonymously on a free classifieds service like CraigsList (where interested people can email you anonymously).

Private or shy people who struggle with loneliness issues often find it a challenge to increase their socialization because of intense feelings of anxiety or self-defeating beliefs. Such people should consult our sections on changing behaviors and thoughts and on changing moods above where methods for overcoming social anxiety such as cognitive restructuring and relaxation are provided.

Keep in mind that it is the quality of your relationships and not their number that determine what benefits you will receive from socializing. It is the deeper, caring relationships that provide benefits, and not the shallower temporary ones. For this reason, even if you are good at socializing, take steps to deepen your relationships. Do things for other people and test to see whether they reciprocate. Pursue those relationships which do reciprocate your investment, and avoid those which do not. Risk letting a few special people know your intimate thoughts. Do this slowly so as not to overwhelm. Relationships have to be reciprocal to become real friendships. Give-and-take is essential.

Comments
  • Aaron Agassi -=- FoolQuest.com

    Get serious, please! Do not insult our intelligence. Many people enter cults in desperation to belong. Of course, almost any alternative can be better than some cult. But finding anywhere where one will then have real input seems next to impossible. And making friends remains the same pointless crap shoot, online or off. And activity arbitrarily for sheer distraction is no answer either.

  • Anonymous-1

    Bah, hunbug! - Aaron Agassi

    You've made my day! :)

  • Anonymous-2

    If most lonely people packed the gear to do these things, they wouldn't be lonely in the first place. There's little to be done for most lonely people.

  • Anonymous-3

    It sounds like you have been hurt. It's good you're talking about this.

  • nowhere man

    I have been extremely lonely most of my 45 years.

    When I was young, my childhood was mostly spent alone, I was a social outcast. I had very few friends and sometimes none at all. I was harassed constantly by my peers.

    I have had long standing friendships which are now gone and also a marriage for 8 years now gone. Now, I have an 8 year old relationship that is kind of dry. My only son will be moving on to college next year and the prospect of this is simply unbearable. There is also the prospect of my love relationship ending soon because of illness,strife, and philosophical differences.

    I have found most people to be shallow, unintelligent, rude, selfish, (shall I go on ?) Don't really know what anybody can do about it. I look around and I see corruption and evil running rampant. I am mostly disappointed with life and people.

    "No one knows what its like to be the sad man, to be the bad man, behind blue eyes" "No one knows what its like to be hated, to be fated, to telling only lies"

  • Elma

    My perception of people is the same as yours. I can't get over it. I've even seen a counselor, which I have always seen as weak and degrading, and the idea seems to be to ignore the evident truths that I have come to realize about the pointlessness of existence and the fact that everyone I know has the potential to betray me at any time. I'm on Wellbutrin now, and it's helped a little, if only as a placebo effect - I think I'm going to be better. But it is the only reason I get up in the morning - to take my pills. I don't know what the point is still, when for some people, they'll never be loved, and eternal love is a Disney dream, especially when it comes to men, who can get over a heartbreak with a beer and a few days' bitching, whereas women suffer for the inexplicable and draining love of nothing but the shell that most people are.

  • frustrated

    I came across this site when I was seeking advice on how to overcome social barriers thats keeping me from meeting and having relationships with people-especailly women. I know I have a lot of work to do in improving social skills. I am a 27 year old man, I don't really have very many friends, and my past lovelife has been very unsatisfactory. I am not ugly or a dork or anything like that. I have had some bad trials in life and unfortunately alot of it has manifested in how I view myself. I have joined a Church singles group. It has helped me to a point as far as in getting me out of the house and all but it hasn't brought me any success with women and everytime I go to one of the outings, I get nervous and tense up everytime and i'm always looking for signs of approval or dissaproval among the other singles. I need to not only read about social skills, but to apply them properly and successfuly to social situations, instead trying to make or maintain conversation and then shooting myself in the foot because of poor dialogue, shuttered speech, and poor body language, resulting in a displayed of low confidence. I have even gotten to the point where I have questioned my own existence and even wished I was dead a few times. The sad thing is I am fully aware of the situation and causes, b ut I can't seem to break out of the self-destructive cycle. I am not too pround when I say that I need all the help I can get.

  • Anonymous-4

    I am a college student and I work and go to school. I have a great relationship with a man who loves me but I have a horrible issue of loneliness. I moved to a large city with my best friend and she left me so I was left by myself. I met people in the 3 or 4 yrs I have been here but I have no friends. Sometimes I get so sad and I ask myself what is wrong with me. I am a beautiful intelligent 20 year old woman with absolutely no friends. My boyfriend says its all in my head that I'm just like everyone else but I cry when I'm alone. i'm not depressed but I do feel like people will reject me if I try to reach out to them. Maybe I feel like this because my mother left me when I was eight yrs old. can anyone give me any advice?

  • Anonymous-5

    I am almost 52. Last week I just realized that every single one of us is in this world A.L.O.N.E. We come in alone. We die alone. In the interum we simply interact with one another, however, everything else is alone.

  • Anonymous-6

    yes i agree that we are all lonely. but in the spiritual world, there is no loneliness. god is everywhere. we are never alone. we should have a constant conversation with him at all times whether we are feeling lonely or not.

    as we become wiser in this world, the only dominant realization that everyone has to learn is that this life is passing fast. there must be a meaning to all this! the feeling of loneliness is the mechanism for us to realize that we dont really belong to this world. we are really meant for the afterlife! we should prepare and be excited for that! cheers!

  • hurt one too many times

    I find so many people to just be cruel. I always thought there was something wrong with me, but I realize that I am a good person. Not perfect, but a compassionate human being with feelings and consideration. I feel like there are only a few of us left in the world, slowly becoming extinct by the cold-hearted.

    Lifehouse "Simon" - "The arrogant build kingdoms made of the different ones, breaking them 'til they've become just another crown"

  • Suzanna

    Hi There! I feel all your sorrow. I am also one of the extremely lonely people. I am 30 years old and live 6000 miles away from where i was born and raised, and away from my family. It was my choice, I have no one to blame. I agree with all of you. It is difficult to establish good, honest friendships and relationships nowadays. My approach to my loneliness however extends beyond the psychological and physiological explanations and takes loneliness to a spiritual level. Everyone must agree that we are social beings. We are not supposed to be alone. God created man and woman to unite and become one. It means that every one of us has the desires and needs to be loved, to be cared for, and to be accepted by another person. I only feel truly compelete when I have a solid emotional background, unconditionally loved, and I know that I always have someone as my support. In turn, I know that I am able to love them back, care for them and can make them happy. I know that my loneliness is coming from the lack of finding true love and honesty in people. Without love I feel like the Bible describes: "They are admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth... they have lone for a better country - a heavenly one." (Hebrews 11: 13-16) "They are not of the world, even as I am not of it." (John 17:16). In my oppinion, there are less and less people who capable of giving slefless unconditional love like Jesus did. I bilieve that nothing is wrong with us longing for love and human interactions. Since we are in a body, we can experience God's unconditional love through the kindness and love of other humans. I wish people today would focus a little more on real and not superficial love. I wish people were not so selfish. There are too many topics that teach people how they only need themselves to true happiness, and also teach them to focuse more on the "Self". I must disagree. I indeed need others to love me and make me happy. I just have to find them so I can love them back and contribute to their happiness too. Cheers!! Thanks to God!

  • Lacy

    I can relate to all of these feelings, my heart goes out to each and everyone out there that is hurting! A prayer from my heart to yours: Lord please touch each and everyone of these people with your love,mercy,grace and kindness. Help them all to see how much you love them even though they don't feel loved. Lord I choose this moment to love each person through your Holy Spirit. Amen

  • joanzie

    I am lonely and sad because my hubby just passed away.We have been married for 28 years and I miss him so.I wish I had one more day to tell him thank you for loving me unconditionally.Thank you for our beautiful children. I want the world to know you are a good person.I am sure there are alot of people in this world greiving for a loved one. God Bless you all.

  • Dutch girl

    I know this feelings of loneliness can be overwhelming and you feel utterly lonely and miserable. So are thousand of other people on the wordt! This is not to make the problem smaller, it is a serious problem and there are things you can do about it. It is possible to change, with help. I read and did a course Creative living.. step by step to a life without loneliness. I liked the honest approach of the author (it all started with her own loneliness) and the practices she gives are very helpful. Not : go to something you like and mingle. But start first with yourself. Who you are. What are your patterns who prevend you from changing. And she gives Step by step through practices you get the feeling that you can change. What you possibilities are, what you want. She helps you to find out what you want. It is a dutch book but I am sure that there are book in your own language who can help too. The author is Jeannette Rijks, i am pretty sure she help you with some good titles if you mail her (in her book she says she will answer questions). Goodluck and love to everybody outhere struggling with loneliness and with themselves.

  • Anonymous-7

    I come across this website when I decided that I want to do something about my issues. I'm looking for a website or some sort of guidebook to aid me when i'm feeling like this. Anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

    A little bit about me. My relationship with my partner ended long time ago and because I was presistent, she gave in. We're no longer together but we talk almost everyday upon my request. I think I'm at the verge of stalking her because I call her like 100 times a day. She gets really annoyed with me because I get really jealous with almost everything she does Not only that, I am very needy and feeling insecure most of the time.

    The crazy part is not because I like her a lot and want to be with her but it's because I am afraid of being alone and bored. When that happens, I cry to get over it.

    So, any suggestions people out there?

  • Anonymous-8

    In my parents' generation, friends were made across the fence and often these were just acquaintances who helped to make life convenient once in a while. True friends are needed to make loneliness go away. Even just one.

    So how does a person get friends?

    Answer: Go to the huge variety of groups there are out there for every type of interest imaginable. Our parents did not have this luxury but we do!!

    We can now end our loneliness by going directly to groups where our own interests are at the forefront. Right away we have something in common with those people, which is one of the main requirements of friendship!

    Also, I think it is important to go to places, perhaps volunteer, where there are people who are in need.

    Those people would love to hear you read to them or just talk a while or listen to the poetry they memorized so long ago. This is another way to increase the number of people in our lives and have a range of experiences in the mix!

    Sometimes avoiding loneliness only means getting out to do anything at all, and giving our time to someone who would just bloom from the attention!

    No-one is lonely when they are engaged in something with a purpose. Find that, and you will find a lot of good things coming into your life which will certainly ward off loneliness!

  • DannyM

    Getting out and about sometimes help's with loneliness but what is being talked about her is just surface level contacts with others, not the close, caring relationships most of us crave.

    And being out there and seeing so many happy couples enjoying each other can amplify one's grief at not having a partner and can make leaving the house very difficult.

  • mare

    MOST OF THE TIME IM FEELING HAPPY AND ALIVE, BUT SOMETIMES I FEEL A VOID INSIDE,LIKE A VERY DEEP SADNESS.

  • Ghost

    How? I've been trying for 51 years, people just won't leave me alone. I don't bother anyone and don't want to be bothered by anyone. Why can't you just live your life and not step on mine. Get a hobbie, get a life, but leave me alone.................

  • Michele

    Loneliness can be like a vicious circle. You crave the company of other people, but if other people either shun you or hurt you or use you in some way you become so disappointed that it wears on your sense of "self".

    I have struggled all my life with feeling "left out" and alone. Starting with my own family. Many times over the years I attempted to form closer relationships with members of my family. But if I attempted to reach out for support I was generally left with feeling like they viewed me as some kind of unwelcomed burden. I dont bother trying anymore to avoid being disappointed by them. (example- I had my gall bladder removed 2 weeks ago and not one of them called to ask me how I was).

    I have had a series of disasterous "love" relationships over the course of my life, the worse one being involved with an extremely abusive partner. I have since moved on, I received all kinds of councelling to recover emotionally and pychologically I successfully pursued a very challenging career that gives me a huge sense of personal accommplishment, yet I still have feelings of inadequacy when involving matters of the heart.

    I am very outgoing. I have a great job that requires me to interact with professional people. I do so with ease, yet there is a small scared person inside of me who worries that it is all a charade, and the sensible side telling me I am being silly. I realize its all about self confidence. Its also about not wishing to get hurt again. It about feeling inadequate. In the end you put on the brave social face, yet inside you are still very much alone.

    Sometimes it is far easier not to try, to hope even for some kind of personal connection with someone else. I drag my loneliness around with me like some silent witness that seems to confirm that maybe I am just destined to be alone.

  • toni

    i am sitting here at work dreading going home. i live by myself, and I feel like I step into a void everytime i walk through the door. I try to stay busy, but that keeps me from being at home and getting things done.

    I keep myself busy during the day, even on the weekends, but it's the going home at night and facing the loneliness that's difficult.

    I've never been in a relationship and have gone through several groups of friends. I think the group of friends i have now I am stable with. It's not having the intimate companionship. I get so depressed not having anyone to intimately share my life with me. I try to remain hopeful, but mostly i feel like i have to resign myself to a life of being alone.

  • anon

    What a very interesting (and helpful, I might add) conversation.

    What I want is to be loved.... no matter what. Ugly/handsome, fat/thin, young/old, rich/poor, good/bad.

    E.g. would I continue to be loved if I was a fat, ugly, old, poor not-nice guy? I dare anyone to say Yes to that.

    I do find SOME consolation in knowing Jesus hung out with, and accepted, the bottom-of-the-barrel people, but its not the same as flesh-and-blood, unconditional acceptance.

    What I've been working on is unconditional self acceptance. If I can at least accept being with myself, then I won't be quite so lonely.

  • leeann

    Ive been with my partner for 6 years. we dont have children (im 44 and have never wanted any) My partner is here in body but not emotionaly. I do the chores and watch t.v of of a night time and hes on the computer, usually ebay and then goes to bed. I try to make the relationship interesting and exciting by going to dinner, weekends away etc. it normally ends in disaster coz he gets tired or whinges about the money spent (mind you its my money we spend as i am a little more finanancial than him). Im desperately lonely with this man. I feel i put a fair bit into the relationship but his effort is rather dismall. i often cry from loneliness when he is only in the next room. i try not to say much to him incase he confuses my want to talk and be close, as wanting to fight, which hes expressed to me many a time when Ive said something innocent or lighthearted. im lonely and miss him. ive wanted to leave plenty of times but have found out, having a joint mortgage is harder to escape than marriage!

  • Circeya

    At first, I ask you to excuse me if I make mistakes. English is not my native language.

    I'm very associative and I know that I can call anybody to spend time with me when i feel lonely. I always have new telephone numbers in my phonebook.

    I'm 22 and in my country (in Kazakhstan) almost all my contemporaries are engaged or married. Sometimes I wonder how I didn't find my soulmate. I had a lot of relationships, maybe it means that I will not meet him. Maybe problem is in me?

  • pareidola

    In 1996 a beautiful, intelligent, witty and nutty wonderful guy took an interest in me. I was 30 and he was 18. We were a couple for 10 years. During that time I spent most of my time with him, and let my friends fall by the wayside. Another woman showed up and he fell in love with her and now 2 years later they're still together. My ex-mate and I are still good friends but he is my only friend. Because of a mixed up polyamory experiment I participated in for his sake (since I had been his first and only lover, and he seemed to crave the experience) I ended up with herpes, but he didn't. I also had a tooth decay problem that led to my getting dentures. Now I am 43, have herpes, bad skin, and am toothless. No one is ever going to want me again who will even halfway compare with the one I love. I am so constantly depressed no one really wants to be my friend and frankly I don't blame them because I realise I need to be less self centered in order to have friends. But looking at a life with no love relationship, celibate and lonely til I die, is not very inspiring. I've tried therapy, counseling, etc. they all say the same pat things, and I am not religious in the Christian sense so church is not a place I can get solace. I need some kind of help though, I am not enjoying the solitary activities I once loved. And I am a hypocrite, because I detest the idea of having sex with some ugly old man and so why would some cute young guy have anything to do with me? I would be suicidal but I'm too cowardly. (I also have a drug problem, except that drugs are the only pleasure life offers me any more...and the 'problem' is just that they are also starting to not be working any more...) I read the comments by young people here and am dumbfounded that they can feel that way 20 or 30 years younger than me...believe me kids you have it far better than us superannuated ugly people do.

    - "sick of being a loser"

  • Anonymous-9

    Everyone feels loneliness, but some are better at hiding it. It is human nature to sometimes feel like something better is supposed to happen. I can imagine that everyone that is reading this and that has visited this site are intelligent wonderful beings. Smile, take a walk outside, and enjoy what this life has to offer you. Remember that it is ok to feel lonely and sad, but you must count your blessings not troubles.

    I am studying abroad in a foreign country and I began feeling sad as i sit alone in my room. I came across this site and hearing other peoples stories have helped to raise my spirits in knowing that my feelings are not alone. We need to become stronger together!

    "Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can go it alone." ----Quote by Margaret Wheatley

  • Anonymous-10

    i am lonely iv been no my own every day for 2.5 years it will sound strange 4 me to say that up till 3 months ago i was with someone for 5 years

    i met her long time ago and loved her but it took 3 years till we fell in love it was perfect we were sole mates in every way 24 7 together house a life it was grate ... then slowly i started to see a differnt sid to her she stoped me goin out i went from bein a club dancer ex games nut confidant and sexy to bein sat in bed for 3 years mentaly ill couldnt leave the house was lost in my mind and spent most of my time trying to kll myself after a few months she left saying she needed space but we didnt split she came to c me then she went away and text me to sell the house and never contact her agen .... you may ask y well i spent most of my life bein mentaly abused and betten by family so when i met her she new wot she was doin she new that if she made me feel loved something iv never really felt till then that i would beleave anything she sed she beat me down and made me loose all my happynes and when she had me were she wonted me she stole thousends of pounds and left as we new each other for so long all my frends were her frends mine are long gone she has desamated my life and left me with nothing im 25 make brad pitt look ugly but i just sit here alown my family never botherd with me i see no way of fixin my life she new wot she was doin and she will do it agen i wasnt the first man she has mest up i will never trust agen i feel so alown it herts really not just the mind i have gon out met ppl but it dosnt work ppl dont wont to know me

    i speek to doc and thay all say the same crap in differnt ways iv spent 25 years trying to be apart of this world maby i should exept it dosent wont me m, 25, uk

  • Jeremy

    I'm 36, and I've been lonely most of my life. It's very hard for me to socialize with most people, make friends and keep them. I try, but I'm so awkward and socially inept, that I think I make most people feel uncomfortable.

    I recently found someone on MySpace, and after chatting online and on the phone for hours every day for over a month, we knew we were in love. She travelled to meet me, and we spent a weekend together that solidified our belief that we were meant for each other. Not able to stand being apart, we agreed that I should move in with her. The first week I was there was great, but the relationship started to fall apart shortly after that, and we broke up about 3 weeks after I moved in.

    That relationship made me realize two contradicting realities: I won't be happy unless someone deeply cares for me the chances are slim that I'll be able to have a lasting relationship as long as I have that need. I feel lost, and I only hope that with a lot of work, I can improve my socializing and learn to love myself the way I want someone to love me. I'm really trying, but it seems like a lost cause most of the time. However, I'll never give up.

  • Anonymous-11

    As I typed 'loneliness' on google, I realised how alone I am.

    I am 22 years old, in a foreign country. I have always been quiet and shy. I am in a relationship with someone I adore with my life. But I find I am not getting what I give back. I feel lonely and tired and wonder where I am headed. I find his eyes far away and his thoughts elsewhere. Without him I am lonely. But the worse thing is, sometimes with him, I am lonelier. And I am tired because I have given this my ALL.

    I try my best everyday to realise that there is more to the world. But sometimes I am just plain tired and want to curl up in a blanket and let sleep erase loneliness.

    I read a couple of comments on this website that helped somehow. But the comment of one person struck me. He said that he will never be happy as long as he depends on someone else to love him. My situation is this. How do I let go of this? How do I stop depending on someone else's love for me and be self sufficient and happy with what i offer myself?

    It's nice to know we're not alone.

  • Anonymous-12

    Hmmm, I just read every single entry on this site, so I guess I qualify as lonely!

    I seem to keep myself on the cutting edge of survival to avoid catching up with how I feel about my personal life. I'm not aware of it being a strategy, but it's what I do. And, because I'm so busy & filled with survival concerns, there's no room for anyone to come into my life. Clever, eh?

    Actually, there is someone in my life, but he's even more preoccupied with survival than I am, so we don't see each other much, and there isn't much emotional sharing. Just the bare bones of interaction plus sex.

    I suppose Eckhart Tolle would say I need to open space into my life. Everything is so condensed, hurried, and unfulfilling in survival mode. I feel that I'm behind and can never do enough to catch up. What a lonely place to be. In talking this out, it looks like I need to find a place to stand in my personal life that is somehow "enough" just as it is. Stand there and breathe in the spaciousness of that little completeness.

    I think I have enough.... goldfish. They are so beautiful the way they swim. I have plenty of socks really. I have plenty of books and tea at the moment. Hmm, I do feel spacious in fish and socks and books... and not quite so lonely.

    Preoccupied & hurried = lonely.

    Spaciously breathing = curious & optimistic about what could be next.

    Thanks for listening.

  • cherie

    is loneliness a disease of the mind?

    I don't fit the typical profile of someone who's lonely, so in some way I kind of feel even more alone. i'm sort of outgoing and more extroverted but lately i've been feeling like there's this hole inside of me. Maybe loneliness is a side effect of going through changes? My life has been nothing but changes lately and I'm kind of still stuck in the past, unable to move on.

    I used to have a sole desire to be independent because I've been dependent on other people for my happiness for pretty much of my life. But at the same time I can't live without that "rope" to hang on to.

    trying to figure things out... it's tough.

  • Thomas

    I feel lonely all the time, every day, because I've spent 90% of my adult life without a girlfriend, and because woman won't try to meet me. It is NOT fun, and certainly not conducive to exercising social skills, to not be desired when women comparable to me get showered with attention. I'm attractive, smart, educated, professional, emotionally available, and a good man--but women won't try to find me because they refuse to treat me equally like us good men treat them. They expect me to act according to traditional culture just because I'm male, while they (rightly) expect culture to change for their equality as females (and it has to a great extent). I have feelings, too, you know? I'm a kind, compassionate, loving person deep down, but not one woman in my demographic has ever tried to meet me.

    But also, when reading through some of your comments, not only did I feel not so alone, I felt moved to try to give back something by responding to many....

    Pareidola:
    You're 'only' 43--still relatively young. There are men you're age who are single. There are men with herpes, and probably even singles networks for that condition. And I know a woman who was in a car accident when she was a little girl and had to get dentures when she was still a teenager--but she was still very beautiful.

    Leeann:
    That is so sad. If I was married and found out my wife was crying from loneliness in the next room it would kill me. Did you have any clue that this guy would be like this? I wish I had had a 'normal' life with more girlfriends and now a wife--I have so much love to give for the right woman.

    Toni:
    I've felt the same way, and now I guess I don't just because I've spent so much of my life alone.

    Michele:
    Thanks for telling us. I don't feel so alone after reading about how alone others feel.

    joanzie:
    I live heartbroken every day because women don't try to see the goodness in me like I can see the goodness in them, because I haven't found the woman (or women) I love. But if I ever do, I will be devestated if she passes away and I'm still alive. I can't imagine what you're going through.

    Learning Loneliness:
    It's a very profound thing to really realize how alone we are as individuals. Buddhism or Taoism can really guide people who are strong enough to deal with it.

    Is there something wrong with me?:
    Isn't your boyfriend your friend? I wish I had a "beautiful intelligent 20 year old" girlfriend--I'm too old by society's standards (although I still feel like I'm 22). I'd help you. Your college probably has psychologists on hand. Reach out to one of them.

    frustrated:
    It sounds like you need to also focus on your self-esteem, and not just on the mechanics of social skills. Think back to your childhood, or another time in your life if your childhood was bad, when you really just enjoyed what you were doing (has to be something not destructive, obviously). Maybe it was playing baseball, maybe it was just enjoying a really good cup of coffee. Now understand that you enjoyed it because the capacity for joy is in you. You can relate to those good things because you have good in you. And because of that, alone, you're worth loving (even if you're the only one that knows it--at least for now!). The best, and first, person to love you now is yourself. Once you have that realization, it will help you to relax more with other people, and help you to remember that when your with other people, practicing your social skills, you can focus not only on how to deal with them, but how to show them what you enjoy.

    Elma:
    I'm a man, and I seriously doubt I could get over a real post-relationship heartbreak with a beer and a few days bitching. But I've never really had a good enough relationship to have my heart really broken over. And that's what breaks my heart. And, it's broken every day--I'm smart, attractive, educated, professional, and no women have ever talked to me, or tried to be my friend. I dream of that fantasy of love--and have so much love to give--and am heartbroken by the thought of already getting older, let alone the thought of never having that love I dream of.

    Nowhere man:
    Yes, many people do seem to be shallow, unintelligent, rude, and selfish. Except for the unintelligent, these traits are exaggerated by capitalism. I'm an intellectually gifted person, and I too usually feel disappointed with people (and with life, because of people). Humans have evolved pretty far in 100,000 years, but the average person's intelligence is not going to yield a lot of great insights, or strong morals, on its own. It's so very important to the entire species that average people continue to find and learn the good things that all people (average people included) can come up with. Ending capitalism will go a long way to reducing evil and corruption (though so few people want to accept that).

    For you specifically, it sounds like you need to carve out a space (imaginary or not) to hang out in and forget the bad things in the world for a while. And taking the steps to make new friends might bolster your enjoyment of life in the face of your son going to college.

  • JK

    I've always suffered more or less from the "trait" type loneliness explained in the defn's of loneliness. at 41 & after being single for 8 yrs this is exacerbated by every one of my 50+ long-term friends & acquintances having found their partner, & my last close single girlfriend now living with a guy. I swear to God I would NOT drop my single friends when I've found someone, that's the cruelest blow. all of a sudden you stop hearing from your newly partnered friends or they move away & they don't give a stuff what you're doing because they no longer need you to fill in time with them. I'm smart, (possibly too smart), athletic, sporty, well off financially from my own efforts & into lots of things but I don't meet men other than already partnered, or men aren't that interested in me, not the one's I like anyway. sometimes it's ok but lately, I'm getting older & tired of the years ticking by - I incessantly wonder when when when will it by "my turn" like has happened to my friends. life alone really truly sucks, it's a total waste actually. I don't want another 20 yrs of this, there's seriously no point at all. I think unrequited (sp*) loneliness is the worst kind of pain, I wouldn't wish on anyone, apart from my mother.

  • Anonymous-13

    Lonliness is indeed a vicious circle.

    You desire company and companionship, and you always find yourself reaching out to others but are often rejected.

    I belong to several groups, but like another person said, these are all surface contacts.

    I have yet to make a deep connection with someone. No one has every really gone beneath my surface.

    Even going out among others can be a lonesome experience depending on the type of event. Especially an event where most people go with another person.

  • Anonymous-14

    Jeremy I really felt for you in your comment. I had a long term relationship (12 years) that fell apart when my mother died. I then got into a relationship with a very selfish woman who was quite psychologically abusive.This last 4 years, then after 2 years I started dating another woman, but she never spent any time with me and so we seperated. However, I am confident that I will find someone. I think unfortunately for men, it is impossible to attract women if we already have emotional difficulties (whereas the converse is not the case). I think reading dating books is actually useful, and I think my problems are giving to women who are selfish. Top tips (which I find hard to follow, but work when I do) would be: 1. Only stay in a relationship if it makes you happy (unless it has been a long term relationship, whereby you mutually support each other). 2. Don't waste time with a woman who you feel you are not right for or who is not attracted to you, 3. Woman are not attracted to men who chase them relentlessly. If they back off, you have to back off completely... indeed never restrict your options if you are not in a stable relationship (women prefer men who are like by other women). 4. There are lots of opportunities, it is just finding them I think men tend to feel 'in love' at the start of a relationship, whereas for women it takes around 2 years. Thus, as a man, don't overcommit too soon. As for women, I think a top tip would be, if a man looks at you and smiles he is probably interested in you at least as a friend or a even a lover! but he may be too shy and fear rejection. At least smile back! As for lonliness, I think it is extremely common now. The city where I live I know there are thousands of beautiful lonely women, but they are in the same situation as the men... we all have lots of contacts but very few deep relationships. The women here are terribly terribly shy, I think because they have been exploited by men interested only in sex with lots of partners, and therefore it is difficult (but not impossible) to get dates because women are so defensive. Work and other distractions prevent us committing time to people. We become obsessed with doing things, not enjoying things with people. We need to realise there is nothing to fear by talking to strangers. We will die before we realise and before we want, and indeed our friends will all die as we get older. We must make sure we spend quality time with people we care about before that. Write an action plan to do SOCIAL activities and YOU be the first one to invite someone else out for a meal or a film. I think part of being an adult has to be realising that we are all in the same mess, and it is our fear that is stopping us moving forwards. I am off out tonight with a new friend.. I wish you all the best that have written here. I feel deeply towards you, so lets pull together and make it our obligation to stop other people feeling lonely! hugs

  • Angela

    I never knew that so many people felt the way I did. I'm a suburban girl from up North in the US and two years ago picked up and moved reluctantly to rural Eastern N. Carolina to teach Kindergarten. I made some friends here in my first year but they since moved away. Most locals are married, have children, and that's what they do after working all day. The closest actual city is like 2 and a half hours away and my family is 8 hours away. I dread coming home and not interested in meeting someone who is going to stay in this county forever. Finding this website at least lets me know that people feel like I do. I'm 28 and I should be young and having fun but I just feel like an old woman.

  • Anonymous-15

    i recently turned 20 last month and still suffer from being socially inept. I want to a have normal life but its very hard. I want to go to college but i feel too old now.

  • Allan N Schwartz

    Hi, my educated guess about you is that you are avoiding college not because you are too old (you are not too old!) but because you feel socially inept. The best way to learn social skills is to put yourself into social situations and going to college would do that for you. Go To College.

    Dr. Schwartz

  • Anonymous-16

    Thank you Dr. Schwartz for responding to me

    That’s what people keep telling me but I am going to see a psychiatrist soon. I am still feeling scared about going to college.

  • Andy

    I lost my partner (he left me after 8 years), just before Xmas. Total betrayal of 8 years of life together. Another woman involved. 6 weeks later I lost my job, then 3 weeks after that, my beloved dog had to be rehomed as I can't get my life back together and keep her in the house alone. I tried everything to make it work, including the ex helping out. It just didn't work. The worse thing was, the job was keeping me going over the break up, then when the job went, it finished me off. Alone in the house, trying to keep my dog, or accept a new job and not keep my dog.

    I am now absolutely depressed, scared on life and in deep grieving for all that has happened. I was a loving, giving person who didn't deserve any of this. I am trying to so hard to just get on with things but it feels like all of the lights have gone out in my life. I pray for strength to get through everyday. Please God, help me, let this get better, let there be love, friendship and good times in my life again, without this agonising knot in my stomach every day, as soon as I wake up. I hope this gets better.

  • Don

    I am married to my 3rd wife. Lost my 2 privious wifes. My present wife makes me happy and looks after me. I never had any real friends and till this day I still don't. Got to a point where I feel very uncomfortable about being with people. I think my wife realizes this however she herself likes to be alone and not with people. Real problem....

  • Michelle

    Hi! I've been isolating for most of my life, going all the way back to age 5, when my parents put me in an institution for the mentally retarded for 18 months. My parents spent a lot of time yelling at me. As I was born with cerebral palsy, I was also totally reliant on them for my care. I wasn't able to get out of the house on my own until I was 13, which was right about the time I underwent a series of major operations, the first one leading to severe nerve damage. The only time the yelling stopped was when I was in the hospital, when my parents went out and left us with a baby sitter and when I was at a summer camp. So I learned it was safer for me to be alone, and my isolating ways got worse. By the time I was 17, I was watching a black and white TV in my bedroom so I wouldn't be in the same room with my father. He attacked anything I was interested in. The last straw was when I had part of my right hip removed. My parents expected instant and total pain relief from this and when my pain skyrocketed, I got screamed at and called curse word names by my parents. I moved out without their blessing or support. I eventually re-established the relationship, but it died when my parents tried to have me declared incompetant, institutionalized against my will, going behind my back and telling MY few friends that "we can't be her parents anymore unless she's put away.

    One family member says we have "communication problem". And the rest of my family would have it that I remained silent about my past with them and certainly off the web. (I do what I can to keep my identity a secret" I have a few friends, but being on disability and in a wheelchair, plus my shyness puts the brakes on how far friendships go. I feel an intense anxiety around people. I feel like I deserve to be yelled at, hit or worse, like some of what my parents did....they did verbal abuse but didn't go further because my body was and is fragile.

    It's a shock when anyone is nice to me....I am very terrified that more yelling will take place. I've had chronic pain for five years, so I am barely managing. I want my life to improve. I want more friends but socializing is terrifying. Psychiatric help with this is not forthcoming. It took me three psychiatrists and several years to convince my psychiatrist that my suicidal feelings were not a logical reaction to my wheelchair, which I came to terms with years ago. I do feel it would be the kiss of death to any friendship.

    I tried to keep this short.

  • Anonymous-17

    Is anyone else out there fighting the illusion that everyone else is having a good time? I can't seem to stop viewing the world and the people in it this way. It is crazy to think that everyone is well adjusted with a fulfilling career, tons of friends who love them and married to their one true love. Thinking this way makes me feel like such a failure in life, so inadequate, isolated and alone. I am a single, never married 32 y/o registered nurse and quite logical most of the time. Why can't I just see the reality of people rather than the social mask? Its like I know but am not quite convinced. Oscar's for everybody! You have me fooled, anyway. I also seem to picture everyone who is married as sucessful. Even though I haven't met anyone who has a marriage that I admire or would want to be in. I have always believe whole heartedly that there is a man out there that I will fall in love with someday. After years and years of being alone (out of a romantic relationship), I can't help but fear that it is becoming easier. What happens when hope dies? I don't want to know. I stopped telling cat lady jokes two years ago-hits too close to home. I only have 2 cats now but lately I've found myself breezing through the "Free to good home ads"-YIKES!

  • All Alone in a world full of people

    I feel relieved finding this website and knowing I'm not the only person out there feeling this way. I am 42 and a military wife. I love my husband but he does not understand what I am feeling. I am alone all day, when he comes home he's in his own world. I hate going anywhere. I do not feel comfortable at all being around people. My husband started a coed softball team and I feel lonely on the field. I'm a turtle that will poke his head out but then quickly go back in the shell for safety. I see a psychologist but have a hard time telling him everything because I feel very ashamed and embarrased. I shut myself off from everyone and everything. I feel like either I'm non exsisent or on the other hand if I go into a store, I feel like everyone is looking at me, critiizing me. I have no idea where this comes from. I have always had low self esteem but never this low. I look at myself in the mirror and tell myself how pathetic I am. I would never attempt suicide, however, I do wish I would go to sleep and just not wake up. I hear people say "you need to find yourself" or "learn to love yourself before anyone can love you" well, the problem is....I don't know how to do that. My glass is not just empty, but it's shattered. I hide behind this keyboard. It's safe. It won't reject me or put me down.

  • Rich

    As I read through almost every post from 2009 back to 2008, I was able to identify with the circumstances all of you are dealing with when it comes to the chronic state of loneliness. I too feel the emotional pain it creates on a daily basis, and yes, I do ask God for relief and help. Loneliness is a condition that builds over time and can have dramatic effects on a person's thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. I'm not referring to transient loneliness that occurs as a result of an abrupt situation, such as the loss of a loved one. I'm referring to trait loneliness, which is the type that I experience every day. No matter where I go or who I'm with, I have the constant subjective experience of loneliness. For years, I couldn't figure out what that experience was. I assumed it was depression and so I went to my family physician who eventually prescribed me anti-depressants. After some time, those just didn't seem to work it was as though there was something there I couldn't quite pinpoint. Even during my marriage, I was completely lonely and felt alone in the world despite being with a wife who cared for me and was understanding of my mental health issues. Without disgressing too far, it took me all this time to figure out what was truly the root cause of what was bothering me (BTW, I'm a 42 y/o male...I was in several relationships after my marriage with woman and felt lonely in every one of them). I am working through my experience with loneliness with the help of a very skilled therapist, as I am also working on issues related to social anxiety. Studies show an overlap between loneliness, social anxiety, and avoidance behaviors. I recently came across a book that I believe will help explain the sociological, psychological, and physiological issues surrounding loneliness. I have gotten through the first 2 chapters and I found so many parallels with the research this psychologist has presented. The name of the book is Loneliness - Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by John Cacioppo and William Patrick. I highly recommend this book for people who suffer from chronic loneliness and want to understand the dynamics behind it and eventually lead a life that is socially content and connected with the world around you. You can find the book a www.tantor.com (search word - loneliness) or at Amazon.com.

  • Anonymous-18

    I don't know what to say. I just find it depressing that there are so many lonely people out there.

    I have a degree in psychology but it hasn't helped me feel lonely. I am a guy in my late 20s and I am going to confess that I sometimes hold my stuffed animals close and it makes me cry. I have a family but I feel like I have no connection with them. I have always been Painfully Shy and have had extremely hard time making friend. When I got fired from my job many years ago it was the loss of my few friends at work that hurt the most not loss of the stupid job.

    Not a single person ever calls to talk to me at home. I was taking some pills that numbed the pain but my SSRI has stopped working after several years and the pain feels too real. I wish I could just get a lobotomy so that I wouldn't feel the pain.

    It has been so hard talking about it but I was reading about avoidant personality disorder and how these people never express their feelings for fear of being humiliated and laughed at, and that really sounded like me. So I though I'll take a chance and say it:

    I am freaking lonely. I wish I wasn't. I wish somebody would like me even if I am overweight, if I have no job, if I'm not handsome, if I'm not rich...just for me. I wish somebody would find something good, somewhere deep in me. I wish I could find something good about myself, somewhere inside me. I wish I didn't need. Needing makes me feel weak. I wish I were self-sufficient. I wish I was free of this pain.

    Thank you for listening and reading.

  • Social Critic

    I read Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Coupland, who put it very well: some people get attention from others, and some do not. I am quite familiar with profound loneliness. I have to make lists to remind myself of who cares. I know some people doubt others even care about them. I can't speak to the part about being painfully shy. I can speak to the fact that we CAN volunteer to do things that help others (and we find rewarding), and we can create meet-up groups, and we CAN go sit in the park and be with nature (or pets), and we can develop a hobby. I'm not satisfied with my social life, I've felt for years I was missing a piece of the puzzle, only to meet a kindred spirit who turned around and royally screwed me (demonstrating he was out of touch with himself). We live in a culture that doesn't respect vulnerability, so we have to show it towards other people: if enough of us show compassion, real compassion, which is one thing we can learn from our loneliness, maybe the world will be an easier place in which to live. Not everyone lives like we do in this country: autonomous and distant. I've come across real compassion and realized how we've been trained to be this way, we can work on re-training ourselves. And I can't stand it.

  • Carol

    After reading all your comments I am starting to feel better. I am a 61 year old teacher who is looking to find more sincere friends that I can relate to and do things with. I have a husband who is retired. His life revolves arounds golf. I love him, but am searching for more friends to help forfill the emptiness in my life.

    I was very close with my mother, but she died two years ago due to alzheimers. I helped her through this disease for nine years and now I am missing her terribly. I have a sister but am not close with her. I also have a son whom I love very much, but he has his own life.

    The comments you have all made have helped me to help myself. I have a lot of acquaintances but not really good friends. Although, I do have one very close friend. I am going to start investigating finding a group with common interests so I won't feel so lonely all the time.

  • someone

    I really don't know how to explain how I feel. Ever since I was diagnosed with bipolar and started my medications I have never felt the way I used to. It started out in college because of the sleeping problem I have had since I was fifteen on average sleeping a few hours a night usually around four. Anyways, I was a fairly social person and I made a group of friends the entire floor of my dorm and many more. A little while later, I was sleeping every other day. After I met with a psychiatrist to help me with my problems which did include anxiety and socialphobia (I had numerous panic attacks when there are more than about 20 people I don't know in an area such as a classroom). Enough of backstory and now to real problem, I have felt very strange after being medicated. I can't talk to anyone for more than say a few minutes until my mind draws a blank and then I just stop caring about the conversation. Even with my roomates who were very close friends during my first year in college I can't seem to care about people. I lost all connections I had and it is so nerve wracking and depressing when I know there is something that is missing inside of me. Deep down I want to be able to socialize, but I feel detached from every single human being I talk to. My emotions are drained and I always have an emptiness inside. Now after going through a mixed episode recently I don't know what to do. Its a strange concept to me alien even, to actualy have any sort of interaction with other people. A new semester started this year and it was completly diffrent from last year. I attempted to talk to people and made a couple dozen aquantiances this year I have yet to even start conversation. I just want to feel something other than this.

  • Darcy

    I don't know where to begin to express how I realy feel inside.. I've admitted to friends for months that I think I need to talk to s counselor or psych. Dr. I am a single mother of two kids with no insurance.. One who is 4 and the other is 1, the one year old isn't mine she's my niece. I haven't dated or had sex for over a year and I lost my job two weeks ago and now I am in the process of moving because I was trying to help my grandparents out.. financiallly and physically!! Now guess what they actually lied to my face when I asked them why there were boxes on the table and pics wrapped up in them. I am now moving into one bedroom at my mothers house where I am trying to chase two kids (move in and find a way to fit 3 people in one room)down and get reminded frequently that I didn't turn off a light I didn't close a shower curtain or now the new rule is to leave it open ha ha ha !! They actually tried to get me to put the toilet paper on a certain way before.. DO I have time for this NO!! When my job ended two weeks ago I started looking for my school I already knew I was going to go,but since my job ended then now was the time. I have a test to take in a week and I still have my grandparents stuff to pack up that my wonderful father nominated me for. I know I am not working, but I am WORKING I am trying to go to school and I have two kids!! and moving.. Sure daddy I have all the time in the world!!! He was never around anyway he alwyas wanted a son instead of me and now that I am 29 I have a 4 ear old brother I have my proof of that (that's a whole new story) and I wish I didn't. He's the one that can't old a job not me, he's the one who dodge our house last time when it came time to move. That's a whole new story. I feel absolutely no support from my family! Never felt my dad wanted me and now feel like I am struggling to be a good mother because I am soo busy I almost lost my niece tonight because she was in the tub tonight and fell under water.. I was sooo busy that I didn't sit there I trusted my four year old son to watch her in the tub WHAT THE HELL I wasn't ever that stressed before I knew I yes I needed to be there!!! It's not worth this I just need some help and a companion a friend someone to talk to someone to tell me I' not crazy PLEASE. I have a few good friends, but they are married and have kids of their own.

    My 1 year old niece was born addicted to cocaine and marijuana.. she is happy and healthy now thankfully and I have lived with my grandparents for 5 years and the were packing before they even told me they were seriously looking. My body is weak sore and briused from packing and moving things on my own that in itself everyday tears down my confidence.

    Thank you for reading.. it felt good to put it down at least a little : )

    I could unfortunaltely go on and on, but now I hear a baby girl crying.

    Good luck to everyone struggling and god bless!!!!!

    Darcy

  • CarryingMyCross

    I have been betrayed and stabbed in the back and maligned by so-called friends that I have developed tremendous fear of meeting people. I always have this feeling in the back of my head that he/she is thinking bad thoughts about me. Any oblique remark hurts me and I have wept inconsolably (so unbecoming of a man working in a decent office) in front of all my colleagues. I don't know how rest of my life is going to pass. I am always scared, always thinking bad thoughts. I am terribly lonely and depressed. I used to have suicidal thoughts, but now i think, it is silly to put an end to life for what others - a thousand others - think. That I have been maligned is known to me, but I have to continue to live on pretending nothing is happening. My pain is unbearable I have lost dignity and self esteem, having been reduced to a laughing stock. Is there anyone who has suffered this fate?

  • Alex Arana

    Hey, guys. I see that you're all in a lot of pain. I'd like post my experience because I wish to share my loneliness, but also provide comfort for anyone looking for someone to identify with. My goal is to paint a picture to you as well I can about myself, so you can compare with my plight, and hopefully it will be of some use to you. Dissect and observe me to your heart's content!

    I'm almost 18, attending High School. I've had a few girlfriends, and have a handful of friends. I get along with most cliques, and people respect me, generally. I'm that guy that everyone acknowledges by his last name when he enters the room, if that makes sense. The equivalent of, "SCHMITY!!" But, ARANA!! instead. People look forward to how I make them feel.

    I often think that all my friends or acquaintances are off having a good time, and I feel offended that they don't call me or text me that often. This isn't exactly illogical for me to think, because often, I'll discover something happened, and I wasn't invited. I invest a lot of time and effort in pleasing people, considering their feelings, making sure I don't let them down, keeping my promises, being punctual. People seem to take advantage of it. I go above and beyond, and people appreciate, but don't reciprocate.

    While people generally like me, I've always been, and still am, socially awkward. During a casual conversation, I'm too occupied with what the right thing to say is, or how to make the person like me even more. This usually happens in school, so I suspect my anxiety of the place itself transfers to my interactions there. Nevertheless, I need to please.

    I suspect that my elevated vocabulary and amiable sense of humor attract people to me, as those are the qualities that people comment on frequently. They testify, "Thats why I like you." However, when the weekend hits, my phone never lights up. People appreciate who I am, but only when its convenient. I've never been someone's best friend. Ask any of my friends what friend they would choose to be alone with for an eternity, and they would pick each other. When the teacher says "Partner up!", I'm usually disappointed with the results.

    I figure that a lot of soul-searching and self observation is needed for me to truly know why I have social problems. Maybe I need to connect more with my peers, or simply be outgoing and request some time to be spent. Maybe I shouldn't expect people to come to me, even if they are my friends, and just go to them to request to hang out.

    At any rate, I've read most posts on this page. I'm a firm believer in looking beneath the surface, and you all sound like people who are worthy of friends. Everyone is, anyways! I implore you to e-mail me or call me if you need someone to talk to. Seriously. Pen pals, phone aquaintances, whatever. I'm very easy to talk to, and I seem to make others feel good, even if it doesn't yield good results for myself. Take advantage of my invitation, literally! I expect at least one call, let it be you. If you're ever feeling lonely and need someone to have a casual conversation, take advantage of your anonymity. It doesn't matter if you read this post a month or a decade from now, my offer does not expire, nor does my sincerity.

    Happy Holidays, however hard it may be,

    Alexander Arana 952-465-9633

  • Pat

    Okay so, i'm 18 and in high school, and i've been having problems since i was very young. Even as a kid in day-care (i was told) that i used to act out and get into fights all the time in an attempt to get attention. I vaguely remember. Within the last couple of months, my mother told me that when i was younger, i would cry whenever she told me that she loved me. I'm sure, even at 18, if my mom would sit me down and sincerely tell me that she loves me, i would bawl like a baby.

    Right now in my current situation, i've never been so alone in my life. I moved to Houston from a small town about a year and a half ago. When i first moved here, i didn't know anybody, and i sat at lunch by myself everyday, and i would text my mom telling her how miserable i felt and how much of a loser i am. When i finally started to make friends, i became very unhappy with the friends i was making. Though i feel extremely lonely, i have been the center of attention in many occasions, but not because of my personality. The fact that i'm a black kid with big gauges and skinny jeans and so forth makes people want to meet me, but because of my loneliness and social-awkwardness, they often tend to depart out of my life as soon as they get to know me. At the beginning of this school year, i bought a lot of better clothes, and i felt more confident. More people started coming up to me, and i have a lot of aqquaintances (spelling?) now. This doesn't help my loneliness at all. I live in a small two-bedroom apartment with my mom. My mom is a manager at a local Wendy's, and i've felt unimaginable shame my entire life because of this and i feel like people look down upon me. I seem interesting, but in reality, i'm just a poor, socially-awkward teenager, who feels more alone than anybody. Because i see other kids at school with a lot more friends than i and how socially graceful they are, i try to change myself all the time. This often results in the other kids thinking that i'm weird. Because i've only had like, 2 girlfriends (each only lasting less than a month) i feel like a total loser. I feel like girls like being treated badly, so i tried to make myself more "mean" though i have a heart of gold, but nobody knows. My behavior is constantly changing, and the friends i do have, have little respect for me because i always tend to make bad decisions, which deepens my pain. I want to be respected! My mood is highly altered by the music i listen to. If i listen to heavier music like death metal, i become more aggressive over time. If i listen to softer indie music, i feel extremely lonely and sad.

    Even today, i had a possible chance of having some kind of relationship with a girl from school, but because she hasn't tried to contact me in 5 days, i feel like she's already talking to another guy. This caused me to get an attitude with her, and now she hates me and doesn't want to speak to me ever again. This deeply scars me. My insecurities seem to screw up everything in my life. Today, i've spent the entire day locked in my bedroom sleeping, eating, roaming the internet, and watching television. I feel like i'm not going to be successful in life, and i'm stuck in a hole that seems inescapable.

    This started off as a comment displaying my loneliness, but ended up being just me complaining.

  • Anonymous-19

    Several years back I was betrayed by my closest friends, I was part of a very large clique and it seems one friend that I was especially close with started this campaign against me which forced me to become paranoid and I locked myself in my room for a year. It got worse after that, I no longer can look people in the eye or trust them, I'm always thinking negative thoughts and sometimes assume the negative meanings of simple words that will drive me nuts. This leads people to think I am weird and for some reason that I'm insulting them, I've even been bullied because people cannot seem to understand me. Everyday I have this very negative stressful outlook on life, in public I have this paranoid air about me.

    I do not see any hope. I'm stuck, I feel as if my life is over and I can no longer fix who I am. I want to get better, but everytime I think I am I sooner find out that I'm not and I'm just fooling myself.

  • Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

    Hi Pat and others,

    I want to encourage you and others to seek psychotherapy to help you cope better with these socialization issues. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is especially useful for this because it focuses on social skills as well as the way you think of yourselves.

    Self isolation is not a healthy way to cope. Please seek professional help with this.

    Dr. Schwartz

  • Sharon

    I moved 3 years ago to a new province and am a working Mom of 4 young children. I spent alot of time trying to connect with new neighbours and other Moms at my childrens school. I still feel I am considered an outsider though. No one really calls me, only to see if kids can come over for a playdate. Most of the Mom's are very clique oriented. Most of the kids have known each other since preschool.

    Right now I feel that I don't have any friends, even the ones I left do not keep in touch anymore unless I initiate it but they never really call back.

    My job was changed and am now isolated and work mostly on my own without interaction.

    Most days I feel depressed but don't want to take pills for this. I keep feeling worse and worse. I have no time between work and kids to join a club, no babysitting, etc.

    Am wondering if potential job offer to move back to original home city would be better for me, but my kids love it here and would be upset. What should I do?

    Sharon

  • Holi

    "Keep in mind that it is the quality of your relationships and not their number"

    So true & great article! There are so many ways to find companionship & be active, but that doesn't always cure loneliness. More than company, we all need to feel needed, and after a certain age, it's so hard to make close friends. Everyone is busy with their established friends & family. It's hard to break in. If you are experiencing this kind of loneliness, it helps to connect with people who need you as much as you need them, & create an extended family of friends who also need you like family. Try www.CreatingExtendedFamilies.com

  • Andrew

    I just don't know anymore. Im a Baker and work midnight till 8.30. Im alone nearly the entire shift and when i get home the house is empty. I want to leave and find a new job but i feel stuck here. On weekends when my family are home i lock myself away in my room and play video games. Im afraid when i have to go to the shops or walk the dog. The only 2 places im not afraid to be are in my room and at work. I only feel comfortable talking to 2 people at work which i only see for about 1 hour a day. I totally aviod everyone else if i can. I always think negitively and a few times a week i think of suicide. I just don't know anymore.

  • Ms.B

    You know what? I "WANT" to love again. I think as we get older, the less we can accept and for me, it gives me a feeling of disconnect. Loneliness? I don't know.....I'm okay with being with "ME". I would just like to share my life with someone who is who they say they are, and realizes "I'm enough...............

  • anon

    I have been betrayed by everyone I have ever met...family, friends, my husband. I have noone I can trust. Its a very lonely existence. When you cant trust your sisters and parents, is there anyone you CAN trust?

    Obviously there is something wrong with me that so many would hurt me and stab me in the back. maybe I am not worthy to live...I dont know..I just know I cant go on feeling so sad all the time...so hurt..so unimportant...and I cant afford the tissues any more wither... (at least I still got my sense of humor!).

  • chantelle

    My mother mantel ill coz I lost two twin brothers that die in a house fire in 1995. I worked and worked so hard since I was 14. coz all I wonted was to be like one off them other girls that had everything.

    My mum was the best mum untill the boys die wicth I understand. any one would go crazy. but ever since 1995 my mum had epesods. now what has this world came too to try get someone that is sick help? In 2008 we all most lost my mother too. evern thing I work for for since I was 14 Then I had nothing beside the ---- I pack in to my car the night before.

    I lost two twin brother brothers all ready we try get my mum help over and over again if my mum didn’t get out I wouldn’t be able to cope any more. Even that she try break my neck walking around with knife talking to imaginary friend. We where sit at table just talking. then she turn and goes what would u do if I stab u in the head like this. I was shock walk off all most cry and went in my room to tell my brother. But that nothing.

    I was never told what what was wrong with my mum or what she could do and get away with it. when I was 15 mum came up to me grab my head and said what would u do if I just brake your neck like this then told me she was going to have to slit my neck when I go to bed tonight. coz she didn’t wont me too have a hard life like her witch I understand and I no what she has been though.

    But I never really new about her spilt personally bipolar scozfranc. I rang the hospital to try get her help they told me I was only 15 and could be lie I had no right to put my mum in hospital it was crazy had no right to get my mum help when she was talking to her self.

    I told her I can’t cope there no imaginer friends so stop it u wont to talking to them do it in your own time! She start smash up the house yell at her so call friend in her head this is what you have all ways wonted me and my family split up then went to slit her rise. I said are u for real u could do this in front off me she turn around and said don’t worry bub I wont hart my self ill just Bern them down.

    Then she end up in hospital. after her doctor told her I call up where the cofdencily rights. Its around every august for the last 6 years she lose it and what she say the time before she dose it next time around.

    So next time around she was turn on me she was plot to kill me coz off the doc telling her I rang up. and coz she though I stole her body I went home there was all my photo and this thing say I was going to rest in peace I freak out I rang sunshine hospital they should no it should be on a computer ever august she sick the lady told me I couldn’t put my mum in there she had to put her self in there then off all thing I told her my mums name she said I no your mum she fear got drug problem and very violent.

    I said ok if u no that why cant u help me before she hart her self or some one else. They would now she had no right to say that my mum got a illness so I put a form complaint in. then we went to the cops they came out and went in said they told my mum she had problem she told them to get out they came out said and said yours kid are old another to look after your self the next day she blow the house up.

    The cop put it down as a electoral felt they no she was sick she talk to her self they toke her to the hospital she no how to act normal they sent her home I was like what the hell then she wont to go live on the street with the homeless people I wonted to kill my self I'm a strong kid but when there no one out there to help u where else are u meant to turn to I never got to be a kid I had to grow up fast had no chose but then I was like the mother had to look after my mum ever year going sick that what was bring me down too I had no where to turn to no where to live.

    My dad was a druggy that got pay 1millon dollor 2 house we see nothing we grow up in house commission flats that were wrong seen junky waking up on st ways people overdosing all the time fight.

    I all ways wonted to be a youth worker I feel I can help kid out there that hate there life coz there no much more to life u just need to be show it.. yes it true u follow your parents foot step coz that’s all u no but I didn’t I sent my self back to school.

    Mum stop send me at 13 I was like wow then until now when I cant read I do modeling I got my own car on a lone then when mum burnt the house down when if the hospital or cops did there job properly we would off still had a home but no they wonted me to charg her coz the hospitle sent her home agagin they said it was the only way we could help her I couldn’t she would kill me next time cant these people see that.

    Then her mum did they put her in jail then I went to see her one day a lady came out said are u cheryl daughter I start crying she said I cant bring your mum out here I explain my mum need help they sent her with in the hr to thomas embling mantel hospital we got given me and my bro 500 each a motel for the weekend and said deal with it.

    I didn’t wont to go in to a refuge I had a dog so no one would help me I understand why kid hart there self when there no one to turn to when its not even your foult I could go on and on but what’s the point the system doesn’t do there job properly the mentle health department the Melton police.

  • Eva

    I am sorry to hear about the problems your mom is having and the loss of your brothers. I hope you are staying strong and keep trying for help. No one should be treated as you are by your mother, it is understandable that she has a problem, but this is not an excuse for her to abuse you with threats of death. I think you should try to discuss the issues with someone that has your best interest in mind, such as a therapist, someone at school that you feel you can trust, a family memebr outside of the home, etc. If your brother is aware of the issue, he may be able to help prove that there is a problem and it is not a safe environment for you to be in. If you can't find help in your area, then branch out to places where they do not know your family and let them know your dilemma nad lack of help with the problem. I wish you luck and beg you to never give up on life.

  • Anonymous-20

    These suggestions sound so logical and easy, yet i still have no friends or family in my life. I have been banned from volunteer organizations, my family has blocked my phone calls and i don't know why this has happened. This website doesn't address what someone like I should do when you have nothing to start with

  • Anonymous-21

    I found support with Al Anon. They have free support meetings all over, and you can get a personal sponsor to talk to. I found this to be very helpful and supportive.

  • katrina

    I wonder if anyone has the same problem as me? I am a relatively happy person. however due to lack of family, relocating half way across the world by myself with three kids, and having very little money (struggling) I feel extremely lonely.

    Due to time constraints and a lack of communication skills I have found it very difficult to make new quality friends who I can have a chat with, help each other with kids. Maybe my expectations are too high but I get the feeling that people just do not feel I am someone they would like to hang around with and become intimate friends.

    The result is that I feel ultra lonely and with no family to turn too or husband and no money to take holidays has left me in a predicament.

  • Kathy

    I lost my husband 5 months ago. During our marriage we did not have any friends, my husband wanted to be alone and only wanted me around. I have tried to reach out to the neighbors after his death, they seem that they do not want anything to do with me...What am I to do...While I worked I tried to aquire friends...that turned out a bust...Now I have been forced retired and alone...My thoughts have not been good...My family is far they can not drop everything and fly to my rescue...Where do I start.......Help

    Dr. Dombeck's Note: You might seek support in an online community such as the one we provide: http://community.mentalhelp.net. it's a start and something you can do right now. it's very lonely not having an outlet.

  • Ken

    I don't know how to be anything but lonely. I don't know how to talk to people. What can I do? I'm getting desperate.

  • Victoria

    I have struggled with loneliness a great deal in my lifetime, and I'm only twenty-eight. I've found that the best ways to assuage both grief/depression and loneliness, at least in my own case, are:

    1. Build a relationship with God--cry out to Him when you need a shoulder ask for a change of heart if other changes are not realistic to His plan.

    2. Volunteer--Elderly homes, summer camps, animal shelters, storm victims, the neighbor... I'm sure there's something we all know how to do. Use your talents/gifts/interests to benefit someone else. If you're afraid of opening up to someone who doesn't open up to you first, what a way to start.

    3. Write/Journal--Sometimes, we all just have to let the hurt pour out onto the page. However, don't forget to alot time at the end of your writing time to compose something uplifting. It may be hard at first, but it will get easier if you stay comimtted to the exercise.

    4. (and here's the big one, folks) FORGIVE!!!--Forgive your mom, your dad, your uncle, your neighbor, your ex-lover/spouse/friend/coworker, the kid down the street... yourself. Sometimes, it helps to have imaginary conversations with these people, or to write a letter to them (doesn't ever have to be sent, since this is for you, not them). Do this over and over again until it sticks. Write yourself a note and stick it to the visor of the car, the bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, the t.v., wherever you'll see it and be reminded that you're not feeling hurt anymore that you've forgiven the percieved wrong/wrong-doer. It took nearly my entire life to forgive someone for a wrong they did me when I was very young. It took a lot of tears to forgive myself for allowing that to hold me down for not forgiving sooner so I could move on with my life.

    Nothing is unforivable. The reason I say this: if there is anything unforgivable, then that means that we all deserve the pain/alienation we are/have felt, that heavy weight that will not let us rise above it all and breathe so that we can live normal lives. You can't allow something to be unforgivable, because in putting the other person in "nonforgivness prison" you imprison yourself.

    It was so hard for me to let go (notice I'm not getting into the story, because it's been forgiven, and I'm not holding on to it anymore) after holding on so long... It got so that the pain was my only companion. I was afraid of not hurting, because I was not sure what relief would give way to. For so long, it was all I'd known. Losing the anger was almost a grieving process in itself. My only friend, that hard rock of hatred that had lived in my stomach for so long, had separated me from those I wanted to love, and then it was gone. It had chased everyone away (I had, on the hate's behalf), then it left me alone, too! Then, I had to forgive myself all over again.

    Today, I often think back on the feelings I had in the past (still tryin to break the habit of dwelling on those things in my thought life), and I have to forgive myself for thinking about it all again. We must all realize that it's okay to make mistakes/for others to make mistakes.

    I hope and pray that I have been help to someone out there who is struggling as I once was.

  • Paul

    My comment is simply a thank you to Victoria, who posted a very helpful letter on 5/6/2011.

    I completely identify with the pain of lack of forgiveness and being tied to the memories of who done ME wrong!

    Your letter is inspiring and i find it timely..i am 54 and have battled self esteem and rage issues at orig caregivers..( and of course the big

  • Mirrej

    I am intensely, painfully lonely. It's like a smell I emit that repels people. When I have gone out there are smiles and chats for others but they stop at me. I have zero friends and have had absolutely no friends fir 15 years. Life is passing me by and with each social failure it if course got worse to the point where I'm 46 now and I have no life, I don't go out. My only friend is TV which leaves me blank. I feel that at this point I am so isolated that I have truly become incapable if making friends/connection: I feel no interest or passion for anything and I do nothing to have anything to talk about. Yup, I'm a social retard - It's almost laughably hellish! Therapy, medications haven't helped. I'm not even sure how I continue on - other than I'm too cowardly to kill myself.

    Anyhow, my sympathies for all who suffer intense loneliness. I write this so maybe some of you won't feel you're too far gone & might possibly feel better about your situations. I wish all that you find a way to peace and fullness/fulfilment