A search on the internet for practical ways to deal with being single and dealing with loneliness will suggest finding a new hobby or getting a pet. I do not think that a pet or a new hobby will help me combat loneliness. This is probably because the feeling of loneliness is usually quite fleeting for me.
Maybe the way I experience loneliness is different. Maybe it is not. I can be walking down the street after a stressful day at work and feel the inordinate surge to talk to someone. Not just anyone but someone I know romantically. Or it might be hitting my left leg on a stone and having the need to talk to someone about it immediately. The realization that I have no one on speed dial to talk to about it for me is loneliness. However, such feelings dissipate once I get home and get carried away with other things.
Being Single and Dealing with Loneliness… Does the suggestion on the Internet work?
I am not about to dismiss the suggestions on the internet on how to combat/deal with loneliness. I am very much aware that most of these recommendations/suggestions are backed up with adequate research.
Below are some practical ways of being single and dealing with loneliness:
1. Admit you’re lonely.
Being self-aware has helped me identify certain feelings. However, I am quite certain that not everyone can identify emotions cruising through them.
I find this particular suggestion of dealing with loneliness quite helpful. Especially owing to the fact that most people are ashamed to admit that they are lonely. Ami Rokach, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, agreed with this assertion when he stated that people are ashamed to admit they feel lonely because they associate the experience with social isolation.
A close friend blurted out this very day, ‘I am so lonely!’ I admired her honesty and self-awareness.
2. Remind yourself it’s not just you.
You might be going through the worst, unimaginable situation. However, such a situation becomes instantly bearable when you recall that you are not the only one going through that. The same applies to loneliness.
When I am consumed by those fleeting thoughts of loneliness, I am instantly consoled when I remember that a close friend is battling the same feelings. The feeling that you are not alone in your loneliness is quite comforting.
However, it is dangerous to bask in such feelings just because you are aware that a close friend is dealing with the same feelings. For me, I avoid visiting my lonely friends when I am lonely. Just like the popular saying goes, “Misery loves company.” It might be a disservice if I allow myself to wallow in loneliness with a close friend.
3. Music Helps
This is not a suggestion I found online but rather a personal experience for me. Sometimes, loneliness might be a result of spending too much time in your head. The voices in your head can get so loud, and music can help to shut them off! Feel free to sing out your favorite Adele song! A song about heartbreak might just be what you need to wade off loneliness.
4. Talk to Strangers
Some of the closest friends I have garnered over the years kicked off with a ‘hello’ from me. On the bus on my way to work, I am tempted to put on my earphones and block out the world. Sometimes, I remind myself of the need to connect with people, and I start a conversation about the high cost of gas. This is a topic that my fellow passengers can easily relate to. Most often, these conversations end in the bus without the need to exchange contacts. However, such conversation might help you feel seen and less alone.
Connections and friendships are waiting to be made with every person you come in contact with.
5. Take a Break from Social Media
According to Healthline, the use of social media leads to depression, anxiety, loneliness, and lower self-esteem. This is very true and can easily be experimented upon. A day I spent scrolling through Facebook, Tiktok, Twitter, and Instagram is usually the loneliest for me.
TikTok, for instance, has many videos/vlogs of happy couples. When you are engulfed in loneliness, the last thing you want to see are such videos. You have to remember that people are projecting false images of themselves, and it appears difficult to live up to them.
Allow yourself a break from wandering mindlessly around social media. Allow yourself a certain amount of time every day on social media, and then step back.
5. Enjoy Your Freedom
Being in a relationship made me realize that relationships are all about compromise. When I am consumed by that feeling of loneliness, I remind myself of how mentally tasking relationships can get sometimes.
Caring for others typically entails putting their needs ahead of your own and going out of your way to help them. Relationships may be exhausting emotionally. There are disputes and envy, but if you’re single, you don’t have to deal with any of that drama. You are free to do anything you want without regard for the approval of a significant other.
6. Maintain Friendships
One thing I learned about adulthood is that it is very difficult to maintain adult friendships. As a thumb rule, whenever the thought of someone randomly crosses my mind, I either drop a message or call them immediately.
So yes, it is easy to strike up a conversation with a fellow passenger on the bus and even exchange contacts. But if you don’t make extra efforts to maintain the friendship, it will die a natural death.
One way I go about maintaining friendships is total honesty. I can easily call a new friend and start the conversation with something like this, ‘ I was feeling a bit down and needed someone new to talk to.” I notice that people are quite receptive to such honesty.
Conclusively, connecting and nurturing friendship is the one of the best approaches to overcoming loneliness!
7. Remember, loneliness is temporary.
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned how loneliness, for me, is more or less a fleeting emotion. When these emotions engulf me, I always remind myself that they are temporary. I think you should adopt the same approach! Even if you’re feeling lonely now, that doesn’t mean you’ll feel lonely forever. Loneliness, just like sadness, won’t last forever!
A post on Twitter caught my attention about how women need to start accepting that they might never find a suitable life partner. The post further emphasizes why we need to start embracing singlehood and, at the same time, grieve the loss of any hope/dream we might have nurtured on minding a life partner.
That post made so much sense to me. Because as it is, not everyone will end up with a life partner. Embracing singlehood comes with profound peace. It also lessens the pressure of expecting every romantic relationship to lead to marriage or something more permanent.
Here are more practical tips on embracing singlehood:
1. Engage in meaningful activities
Note that ‘meaningful activities’ here are quite subjective. For me, meaningful activities can be immersing myself in my favorite TV show or getting my nails done! The most important thing is to live in the present. Happiness, in general, is determined by your thinking and how you spend your time rather than by your relationship status.
2. Expunge negative thoughts
Recognize that not all of your thoughts are true. Negative ideas frequently enter our minds without our awareness. We may eventually come to accept these ideas as gospel. However, it is critical to challenge these ideas and examine the patterns.
When do these thoughts tend to arise? What is the polar opposite of this terrible idea? For example, if your negative thought is “I’m not good enough for that guy,” try thinking, “I’m not going to settle for a relationship with someone who doesn’t appreciate me.”
3. Be a goal getter
There is no law that states that you need to be in a relationship to achieve your goals. We are sometimes guilty of believing that our lives will begin after we get married or live with our spouse as if we are in some kind of limbo until then.
4. Reduce your romantic expectations
Thinking that the next date may be ‘the one’ puts a lot of pressure on the date and can make you feel insane. Furthermore, if you are anxious for your next date to evolve into a relationship, you may be naive to some important warning signals.
5. Do put yourself on a pedestal
Don’t believe that you have to modify yourself to be dateable. The more you alter, the more difficult it is to maintain the illusion, the more stressful the relationship gets, and the more miserable you will become.
6. Talk to your friends
It is totally OK to share your feelings of being left behind by your friends. They may be unable to maintain your former social pattern, especially if they have children of their own, but they may be able to relate with you more.
Bottomline: Being Single and Dealing with Loneliness
There is no hard and fast rule on dealing with loneliness as a single woman. However, take it easy on yourself. Again, recognize when you might require professional help. Sometimes we need professional help to escape the dark thoughts keeping us in isolation.