Feeling lonely? You are not alone.
Most people will feel lonely at some point in their life. Loneliness occurs because we desire a close emotional bond with other living beings, and when we feel that we do not have this connection, then we feel lonely.
Loneliness happens for many reasons. It can occur when someone relocates to a new city, completes their schooling, retires, separates or divorces from their significant other, or loses their pet or spouse to death.
It is also possible for a person to feel alone even when they are with a spouse or surrounded by many other people. Any individual who feels that they do not have a close emotional bond to those who they associate with will feel lonely.
Photos on this article are my own. Article copyright 02/03/2012. Updated 05/21/2014.
Each individual has a social network of people who they associate with. These networks generally consist of a spouse family, friends, business associates, social contacts, and casual acquaintances. Our social network is what we depend on to help keep us safe from financial, physical, and emotional harm.
We all have a social network surrounding us, but if your social network is not complete, then it can leave you vulnerable to hurt. For this reason it is very important to develop a good social network which can be there beside you throughout life's many ups and down.
Anyone can improve their social network. It may take time, and patience, but developing a good social network is well worth the time invested into creating it. Having a good social network will help to keep you safe throughout life's journey and also help you to feel not quite so lonely.
We sometimes do not realize how very many other people exist within our little corner of the world. So seeing our social network in black and white helps us to visualize how we can improve our social network system.
I want you to get a sheet of paper and a pen so we can draw out your social network. It will look similar to the diagram here. First draw a small circle at the center of the paper. This first circle is officially your little section of the world.
Now draw another circle around that circle, and then another larger circle, and yet a fourth larger circle around all the others. These four circles represent your social network.
Within the very first circle is yourself. Now we need to discover who else is a part of your social network, where the weak spots are, and figure out how we can repair your social network system. Having a strong social network will help decrease your current loneliness and should also help to reduce the trauma of any future periods of loneliness.
A friend does not have to be perfect, they just have to be the perfect friend for you, it's how friendship works.
The individuals who you will place within the second circle will usually be a spouse, close family members, and best friends. These are the individuals who have the closest emotional bonds to you. These individuals are also your first line of defense against loneliness. There should always be between two and five people in this circle and never less than two people here.
If there is only one social contact within your first social networking circle, and something happens to break the emotional bonds between you, then you can be left feeling very alone.
Having only one person in the first group can leave you vulnerable to emotional, physical, or financial hurt (all depending upon the role that this person played in your life). Losing this all important close emotional bond with another person is often why a deep sense of loneliness will occur and it is why having a strong social network can help prevent this deep sense of loss from occurring in the future.
On to the third social network circle. You would place your other friends, other family members, and close business associates and social peers here. This social circle should always have more individuals within it than the smaller circle above it.
If something should happen to one of the social contacts who you are emotionally closest to then the individuals within this third circle are options for you to move upwards into the second circle of your social network. The third circle is your second line of defense against loneliness.
The fourth social network circle is your final line of defense against loneliness and it consists of all the other people who you associate or come in contact with. This circle may include people who you see at your local social club, grocery store, department store, drug mart, or school. Any person who you encounter throughout the day but who you do not have an emotional bond to can fit within this circle. Any of these individuals can at any time be moved upwards into the higher circles.
Outside of the four social circles is where everyone else in your community, state, province, country, or even the world exists. At any time you may become closer to someone outside of your circles and have this person then become a part of your social network system.
We all have a social network system in place but we just may not realize it. Looking at our support system helps us to insure that it is strong enough to provide for our social needs. If any of your upper circles are a little bare then this could be the reason why you are feeling lonely. Your social network may currently be weaker than it should be. If it is, then your social network needs to be made stronger, so there will be less likelihood of your feeling lonely in the future.
You don't have to be so alone...
You really do not have to feel so alone. You can ease the loneliness you feel by creating a stronger emotional bond with those who you currently associate with, or by raising or adding new people into your available social network circles. Looking at your social network you may already be able to see areas where this can be accomplished.
So how do you find new friendships? Well what you ideally want is to socialize with others who have similar interests as you do. These are the people who you will be most likely to form a bond with. This means that not only do you have to get yourself out of the house but you have to get out where you can socialize with other people who have something in common with you. There are many ways that you can do this.
- Join a club, gym, social or sports group that interests you.
- Sign up for a course on a topic you enjoy. Photography, cooking, or computers, it's entirely up to you.
- Volunteer to help out at a local charity.
- Get seasons passes to a local sporting event. Being somewhere on a regular basis gives you an opportunity to get to know others who also attend these events on a regular basis.
- Attend your local church and other community events. Check the community section of your local paper and phone book for ideas.
- If you are looking for a love interest then check the singles column of your local paper. Investigate online singles websites, but be wary, protect yourself first and foremost whenever you are meeting or talking to a stranger.
- Have your friends or family introduce you to people they know who you may have something in common with.
A confident attitude accompanied by a smile is a very attractive signal to send to other people. Don't ever be afraid to smile and make conversation with the people who you encounter throughout your day.
Today it may just be a smile that you share with someone, but maybe tomorrow, or the week after that, it may be a conversation that you stop to share. Then perhaps a week, or a month after that, you may share a meal or a date. You won't ever know unless you smile and say hello. Relationships take time to create, but they are a very important aspect of our emotional well being, so well worth the time we invest into developing them.
It is very important to create a strong social network for yourself. As social creatures we desire friends to accompany us through the good times and a strong social support network to encourage us through the low times. It is all simply a part of being human. There are a lot of other people out there looking for the same things that you are. You just have to find them.
Close friendships and lasting love relationships do take time to nurture so be patient as you work at gaining these. If you sincerely strive toward finding them then with your persistence these emotional bonds will develop. They don't usually form overnight so give yourself sufficient time to enact this change into your life. Most good things do take time to achieve.
The good news is that your loneliness will begin to ease as you strengthen your social network circles, and once your support system is stronger, you will have a much less likelihood of going through this degree of loneliness again.
There are many factors which go into making us human, and understanding these, can help us to better cope in emotional situations.
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