Do you ever feel lonely?
Especially being someone who works from home.
You see – the thing is – I thought it was only me…
But the more I started talking about loneliness with girlfriends (or even random people at local coffee shops, on my walks, or at yoga), I soon discovered I wasn’t alone.
And when I saw that 72% of adults admitted to feeling lonely … I thought OMG – I’m even more NOT alone in these random creeping feelings of loneliness.
Which really got me thinking about the causes.
From friends moving to new phases of life to connection meaning going on Instagram or Facebook instead of meeting in real life to longer working hours – there are so many reasons why we as a culture feel lonely.
The most disturbing part about this (for me) is that we can be surrounded by people all day long, but still feel lonely.
Because we don’t always have people in our lives with whom we can have those deep, intimate soul-baring kinds of conversations with – you know the kinds of conversations I’m talking about.
And it’s those types of conversations that are so important for our soul.
So where do we start?
How to make friends as an adult
I for sure don’t have all the answers, but I do think it’s about learning how to make friends as an adult – but better yet – showing up to consistently do it.
So if you feel lonely and want to make new friends but don’t know where to start, here are 6 ways to do just that – start.
1. Rekindle old friendships
Sometimes – or most of the times – it’s not about finding new friends, it’s about nurturing the relationships we already have and making them a bigger priority. If you haven’t been seeing your friends (or family) in-person as much as you’d like, make the time.
And if they’re not near, set up a video call. It’s not the exact same, but will still lend your brain a shot of oxytocin, the love and bonding hormone, that helps us feel connected.
One important note here – if you’re wishing these relationships were deeper or more heartfelt, well, then that requires you to get below the surface. If our talk is always surface level, that’s where the relationship stays. And not every relationship may be able to go to the depths you want, but that’s OK. You’re exploring and learning and trying.
2. Join a group
Search for a group on facebook, find one on the website, MeetUp.com, or call your local community center. Just make sure that the group meets IN PERSON. You can even sign-up for a class at a local community college. The important piece here is that you’re putting yourself out there for more connection and throughout this process, you’ll likely make new friends because you’re already bound by a common interest – i.e. the type of group or class you joined.
Take, for example, one of my closest girlfriends who has twin boys. She found a large “mommy group” on MeetUp and instantly bonded with the few other twin moms in the group. So they made their own smaller group. To this day, those other twin moms are rocks in her life and got her through many sleepless baby-growing-up nights.
3. Start a group
When another good girlfriend of mine moved to a new city, she immediately started a book club. She wrote about what type of women the book club was for and posted it on facebook and the website, MeetUp.
Interested women filled out an application she made and voila! Her book club instantly had a group of 15-20 women – all with like-minded interests – who met weekly who were dying to meet other like-minded women because they each felt lonely. Here, she began to find her tribe.
4. Reach out
I met one of my best friends (to this day) through facebook messenger. She saw we lived in the same city and sent me a message. It went something like this: “Hey, I’m also a Dietitian and entrepreneur. It looks like we’d be friends. Want to meet for coffee?”
And with that message, we had our first meeting and have been integral parts of one another’s lives ever since.
The moral of the story? If there’s someone you feel you could connect with – reach out. What’s the worse that could happen? They say, NO? And if that’s the case, you’ll be fine. I know because guess what? You’ve survived everything you’ve ever done.
5. Host a bring-a-friend dinner party
Invite a friend over for dinner and have her bring a friend who you don’t know and have her then bring a friend you don’t know and keep having each friend bring someone new until you reach your max amount of dinner guests.
Keep it simple by hosting a potluck and go around the table sharing how everyone ended up at your house. There will for sure be some funny stories and likely someone you click with, since everyone is somehow connected already.
6. Use your current network
Ask your friends if there’s anyone they think you’d hit it off with who they know, but you don’t. And then, have them send an intro email where you can set up a coffee date. Easy peasy. This one is especially helpful, if you’ve just moved.
Start with a smile
Regardless of any of these ideas you try (or don’t try), know that even a simple smile and saying hello with people you see in your daily life – like the cashier at the coffee shop or the woman passing you by on your walk – can lead to feeling less lonely and less isolated.
And that just like the relationship with yourself, fostering relationships with others takes some nurturing, time, and consistency. And if you want deep conversations, that takes a willingness to well, go deep yourself and be open.
So be kind to yourself and please know that if you feel lonely, you’re not alone and you have the power to begin changing that. Sometimes all it takes is admitting to ourselves (and others) that we’re lonely and then reaching out.
Because I’m pretty sure you’ll find you’re not alone and you’ll help others feel less alone too.
Lots of love,