It isn’t defined by the number of people in your life; instead, it’s the distance between what you want out of your relationships and what you’re getting.
So it’s absolutely possible to be lonely in a room full of people — even people you know — if you’re not getting the kind of interaction you crave.
Have quick, non-threatening conversations throughout the day: make small talk with your barista, the cashier at the grocery store, anyone you encounter who seems receptive.
Think of them as stretching a muscle: not the same as a full workout, but beneficial nonetheless. When you’re lonely, you go inward, and just stretching that little bit can kick-start a process that helps you feel better.
Do something you find totally engaging, to the point you lose track of time.
That activity doesn’t have to be mentally engaging or intellectually rigorous. Maybe it’s reading, running, or cleaning. If you’re truly immersed in what you’re doing, no matter what it is, you won’t have the mental space to be consumed by loneliness.
Take a critical eye to your relationships, individually and as a whole, to determine what may be missing, as well as which bonds could be strengthened.
If there are people on your list who you rarely see but you genuinely value and feel connected to, prioritize them more. And if there are people that don't add up value to your life, trim them out of your life.
Social media isn't inherently isolating; it’s a tool, and its effects depend on how it’s wielded. We can use it in pro-social ways, or in antisocial ways.
Is the amount of time you’re spending on social media each helping you feel more connected to the people in your life? Or is it detracting from the close, one-on-one personal interactions you can only find off-line?