Faith / Opinion

Ways to Feel a Bit Less Lonely

We’ve all felt it. 

That sinking feeling when you walk into a cafeteria, lunch tray in hand, and look around for a friendly face, only to see a sea of unfamiliars.  

No one knows your name.  

No one even cares to know. 

So you slide onto the end of a table, alone again.  

Or maybe you’re surrounded by people you might call friends, who laugh and talk and hang out what seems like every second of every day. 

And you laugh along because they all expect you to.  

But it feels like no one knows the real you, the person under the happy façade. 

Sometimes it feels like nothing will ever change, that no matter what you do, you’ll always end up that person sitting at the end of the table or surrounded by empty friendships. Loneliness often feels permanent.  

I have good news for you though: it doesn’t have to be. Although feeling completely alone can feel dark, there is hope for deeper relationships. But how can you break out of that loneliness and find others?  

Change One Thing 

I get it. Between homework, sports, and extracurriculars, your schedule may be completely booked out. Or maybe the stress of college is enough for you and fills up most of your time on its own anyway. The idea of making any changes to it may feel like just too much. 

However, if you’re feeling stuck in a relational rut, making just one change in that crazy busy schedule can mix things up just enough to make a few new connections. 

That change can be as big or as small as you want it to be. Maybe it’s joining a club or even just hanging out after class for a few extra minutes every day. Maybe instead of looking for a familiar face in the cafeteria, you look for someone else who’s sitting alone and take the opportunity to make a new friend.  

Just remember that making a change in your schedule doesn’t always mean adding something to your schedule. Subbing something in your life out for something else can often provide just the right amount of change to mix your social life up a bit. Maybe sub one club out for another. Or take an hour out of your night that you would otherwise spend watching Netflix and ask a friend to watch a movie with you instead. 

Making these little changes can seem small at first, but over time can lead to your path crossing other people’s paths that you otherwise would never have met.  

And it just takes one new connection to make the world feel a little less lonely. 

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone 

Sure, it sounds cliché, but stepping out and doing things you wouldn’t normally do can help you build deeper relationships. It may seem intimidating or even downright like a waste of a night to go to a football game or a school play, but if you go with some friends, it makes it all worth it.  

Sometimes initiating a hangout is a good way to deepen relationships. Organize something fun after school with some people you’d like to know better, like going to a coffee shop or movie. Or invite a friend to a club you’re a part of. Taking the effort to spend time with others outside of school hours can be helpful in showing others that you want the relationship to be deeper and provides an opportunity to deepen it too. 

Whatever you do, stepping out and going the extra mile to try to get to know others better will always pay off in the end.   

Remember that You are Never Fully Alone 

Unfortunately, loneliness is part-and-parcel with being human. Although there’s lots of things we can do to make and deepen relationships with those around us, sometimes friends aren’t always available to hang out or despite our best efforts, those deep relationships can elude us. 

One of the best cures for loneliness is to view time alone as not wasted time, but as time to get to know yourself better. Because no matter where you are or who you’re with, you always have yourself. Do things that you enjoy doing: go to the gym or buy a pastry. Find a good book to get lost in or go for a long drive and listen to your favorite music.  

Whatever you do, be sure to do things with your free time that feel meaningful in some way. Whether they feel like self-care or entertainment, filling your time with meaningful activities can go a long way towards lessening the ache of loneliness. 

Don’t Give Up 

Although sometimes it can feel like you’ll never break out of the aloneness you find yourself in, don’t keep trying to find those deep relationships. And in the meantime, until you do find them, focus on getting to know yourself better, on filling your time with things that you genuinely want to do. Those deep friendships you want will follow. 


Tags: , , , ,