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Feeling Lonely and Want to Change? Here’s How.

Feeling Lonely and Want to Change? Here’s How.

Feeling lonely is one of the worst emotional situations we know of. After you take care of your physical needs (food, shelter  and security), the need for friendship can only grow bigger.

Being alone, not having someone to share your worries and hopes with, makes you feel a certain kind of emptiness. It’s actually natural for your body to make you feel that way: our physiology is designed to push us to go and socialize, and stay CLOSE to people.

In this article, I’m going to share with you how to deal with loneliness, and start meeting the kind of friends that you need.

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    Why Feeling Lonely Can Get Worse With Time.

    Maybe you noticed that when you are lonely, you start to feel cynical and suspicious of people. That’s normal because deep down in our nature, loneliness is associated with rejection and danger. These emotions are tied with loneliness.

    Even if YOU decide that you want to be left alone, you still feel that society is rejecting you, and the mental gap between you and other people grows bigger if you don’t do something to stop to it. This can lead to loneliness worsening by other means:

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    • You stop relating to normal people because you spend a lot of time on your own, which makes it even harder to start making friends.
    • You start losing your social skills. Social intelligence is like any other kind of intelligence: if you don’t use it, you lose it.
    • You become irritable: when you’re lonely, problems and setbacks start to seem bigger to you.
    • You lose some of your motivation: after long periods of hard-work, a bit of socializing can give you all the energy you need. The lack of it can make goals matter less.

    The thing is, loneliness drains your energy, and make your goals and aspirations seem much harder to attain.The sooner you deal with it, the better.

    What Kind of Friends Make Loneliness Go Away?

    As you might know, not everyone can be the friend you could openly share your life with. In fact, some people can make you feel even more “alone”; we call them “the close-minded”. You don’t want to spend your time with those!

    You need friends who will understand you—ones who will actually LIKE the unique things you do, and accept your individuality. These are the kind of friends with whom you can share your life, your dreams. You could go out with them, without ever worrying about being judged or being seen as “weird”.

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    It’s with genuine friends like this that you start to feel really happy that you have the right people with whom you can go out to parties and nice dinners; to go on trips and adventures; to celebrate your birthdays and have the fun of your life.

    How to Start Meeting Friends

    The rule of thumb is that friendship needs to be ABOUT something: this can be a passion, an activity, a hobby, a shared opinion, etc.

    What you need to do, is get to the places where you have the highest chances of meeting others who are looking for friends too. These places are Meetup groups, charity groups, or expats’ events (check Internations or Expats .com). You can also join a Toast masters group if you also want to learn public speaking.

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    Why it Works

    When you join a group, you feel obligated to go there each week: it’s hard to forget about it and get distracted. These groups are designed for people to meet new friends, and when you attend,  you can introduce yourself to anyone you bump into. Try to find as many commonalities between you and the people you’d like to hang out with later, so it’s only natural to keep in touch with one another. If you just do just that, you’re way ahead of the curve—you’ve taken the first step out of loneliness, and into a life full of the friends and the fun you absolutely need.

    If you’re eager to learn more techniques for meeting people, having great conversations, staying in touch, and making friends, then I recommend that you get on my Free Social Skills Newsletter.

    In it, I’ll share with you precise steps you can take to get the friends you want.

    See you there,

    Paul Sanders

    More by this author

    Paul Sanders

    A communication expert who tries to help people improve their social skills and make friends anywhere.

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    Last Updated on May 21, 2019

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

    If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

    Example 1

    You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

    You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

    In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

    Example 2

    You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

    People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

    You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

    Example 3

    You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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    The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

    Example 4

    You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

    Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

    If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

    Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

    • Understand your own communication style
    • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
    • Communicate with precision and care
    • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

    1. Understand Your Communication Style

    To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

    In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

    Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

    2. Learn Others Communication Styles

    Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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    If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

    “How do you prefer to receive information?”

    This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

    To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

    3. Exercise Precision and Care

    A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

    On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

    Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

    I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

    I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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    In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

    The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

    Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

    4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

    Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

    In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

    “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

    Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

    Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

    It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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    It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

    It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

    Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

    Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

    The Bottom Line

    When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

    I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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    Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

    Reference

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