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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 respondents said they sometimes or always felt alone. But there are steps you can take when you're feeling especially lonely.
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.
Friends are not found - they are made over time. Making friends is an incremental process; It takes between 6 - 8 conversations before someone considers us a friend.
Proximity and repetition are key. Put yourself in situations where you will see the same faces again and again.
Introverts often see their social style as negative when they compare themselves to extroverts. Introverts don't need a large group of friends. Be true to yourself.
Also, find other personal interests. Taking continuing education classes or becoming a volunteer can put you in touch with like-minded people.
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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.
It's possible to be completely isolated and feel invigorated.
It is also possible to be surrounded by a crowd or be accompanied by close friends and feel lonely.
We crave intimacy. And yet, long before the present pandemic, with its forced isolation and social distancing, humans had begun building their own separate cells.
Before modern times...
It is an umbrella term we use to cover for all sorts of things most people would rather not name and have no idea how to fix.
Plenty of people like to be alone. But solitude and seclusion are different from loneliness. Loneliness is a state of profound distress.
Primates need to belong to an intimate social group in order to survive; this is especially true for humans.
Separation from your group (either finding yourself alone or finding yourself among a group of people who do not know and understand you) triggers a fight-or-flight response.