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How Can I Feel Less Lonely?

Everyone has lonely moments. At times people can feel left out, alone with their troubles, or like they don’t belong.

Lonely feelings can be painful. Sometimes you can get through them on your own or with a little support. Other times, these feelings last longer or are harder to cope with.

How Can I Feel Less Lonely?

The best way to feel less lonely is to increase your social connection. Social connection is the name for feelings of closeness, bonding, and belonging. People who feel more social connection feel less lonely.

Here are things that may help:

Understand and be kind to yourself. First, name why you feel lonely. For example: “I feel lonely because they didn’t include me.” Then remind yourself that it’s OK to feel this way. It makes sense in that situation.

Next try to show yourself a little kindness. Remember that everyone feels lonely at times. It can be painful — but it’s human. And lonely feelings will pass. Accept yourself and your feelings as human. It’s a first step to feel more social connection.

Connect with someone you feel close to. You can:

  • Reach out to someone who cares. Share your feelings if you want. When you feel understood and accepted, you feel less lonely.
  • Bond with someone doing an activity. Pick something you both like. It could be playing music, walking, or working on a cause you care about. A shared activity is a chance to smile and laugh together.

Shared positive emotions and eye contact boost social connection.

Be a loneliness problem-solver. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Turn to other friends who welcome and include you.
  • Have a video chat with someone who you can’t be with in person.
  • Spend more face-to-face time with friends who include you.
  • Find friends you can be yourself with. Choose friends who include others, and are kind, fair, and fun. Be that type of friend to others.

Social connection grows when we feel accepted and know we belong.

Be friendly to others — even people you don’t know well. For example:

  • Say hi to a new student in your class, thank the bus driver, or make eye contact with the person at the checkout counter.
  • Reach out to someone who seems lonely.
  • Do a favor or a random act of kindness.

Even brief moments of friendship, eye contact, and kindness build your feelings of social connection.

Help others or say thanks. There are many ways to do this. You can:

  • Join a service project at school or in your community, tutor a younger student, help out at home, or volunteer at an animal shelter.
  • Write a note of thanks to someone who cares for you, like a parent, grandparent, teacher, or coach. Tell them how much they mean to you.

Getting involved or saying thanks builds social connection and reduces loneliness.

Try a kindness meditation.This meditation helps people feel like part of a big human family. Practicing it increases feelings of social connection and reduces feelings of loneliness. It works best when you do it every day.

Connect with something bigger than yourself. Spend time in nature or get involved with a cause that matters to you. This can give you a sense of meaning, help you feel connected, and reduce loneliness.

What if I Need More Help With Lonely Feelings?

If you’re going through loneliness that feels deep or has lasted a long time, it’s time to reach out for extra help to feel better.

Talk to a parent, relative, therapist, school counselor, or another adult you trust. Let them know what you’re feeling. Ask them to help you find ways to feel better. If you’re dealing with a situation that’s leading to lonely feelings, tell them about that too.

You don’t have to deal with loneliness alone. There’s always someone who will help.

Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date Reviewed: Oct 31, 2023

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