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What to Do When You Feel Lonely in a Crowd

https://elemental.medium.com/what-to-do-when-you-feel-lonely-in-a-crowd-5b459821f5e7

elemental.medium.com

What to Do When You Feel Lonely in a Crowd
Something that's too often misunderstood about loneliness: It's not the same as being alone I t's an unsettling sensation: You're at a party, surrounded by people you know, chatting away - and somehow, in the middle of all those people, you realize that you still feel strangely alone.

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Loneliness

Loneliness

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.

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Make small talk

Make small talk

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.

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Find a state of flow

Find a state of flow

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.

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An inventory of your relationships

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.

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Refine your social media use

Refine your social media use

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? 

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The epidemic of loneliness

The elderly are lonely. Teens are lonely. People in cities and rural areas are lonely to such an extent that it is considered a public health issue.

One report found that nearly half of r...

Practice small talk

Talk to people you encounter throughout your day. When you enter a coffee shop, make a simple comment about the weather to make impersonal interactions a bit more friendly.

If you practice this small talk in a variety of situations, it's easier to start a conversation with people you want to get to know better.

Get comfortable

Many people desire any company because they don't like the discomfort when they are alone.

Learn to enjoy your own company. Start by reading, watching TED Talks that will make you think, or start a gratitude journal.

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Post-Breakup Loneliness

The process of breaking up can sometimes be compared to the death of a loved one.

Transitional Loneliness

Major changes can create a sense of loneliness, even if they're positive. You might be leaving a job or starting a new job, ending a relationship or embarking on a new relationship, getting married, getting divorced, [or] starting a family.

When struggling with the adjustment period, it can help to acknowledge the feeling and also acknowledge that it's likely temporary.

Caregiver Loneliness

There's very specific loneliness that can creep in when you're responsible for the care of another person — be it an elderly parent, a sick sibling, a disabled partner, etc.

So even though it's a big job, it's important to not forget about yourself. Find a supportive friend to talk to without judgment, or attend a support group.

1. You Spend Significant Time Together

Outside of normal working hours and with all the things you could be doing in a day, there usually isn’t much time left over to spare.

The fact that you and your significant other ...

2. You Include Each Other In Your Regular Purchases

Such acts of thoughtfulness may go from small and seemingly insignificant to as extravagant as buying matching jewelry. Keeping each other in mind to the point where you’re considering them in your regular purchases, you’re probably in a committed relationship.

3. You Get a Key

It’s a big demonstration of trust if one or both of you have keys to the other’s house.