How do you deal with loneliness

I have a lonely job, then I come home to an empty apartment. I see family a few times a month and that helps, but aside from that I don’t have much of a social life.

Part of the problem is that loneliness is about quality, not quantity of people. One person you really connect with is worth more than 10 acquaintances or 100 people who you know you don’t relate to or connect with.

So I don’t know if the problem is so much a lack of quantity, as a lack of quality in my interactions. I don’t have anyone I truly understand, who I feel understands me and who I feel comfortable trying new or fun things with.

I’ve been trying the philosophy of becoming a better friend, see if that helps. Become a better listener, show more genuine interest in others, etc. in the assumption that that will give me better connections with people.

How do other people deal with it? I see a therapist, but those are for issues unrelated to loneliness.

You hit the nail on the head right there. Very few people are lucky enough to have 1 or 2 friends they can be completely open with, and anyone among that group is genuinely blessed. Unfortunately I can’t think of any proper advice, true friends are the type who discover each other, not necessarily one seeking the other.

Umm, excuse the snark, but if you’re currently seeing a therapist, you should probably speak to him/her about it.

There are hundreds of therapies, I’m currently in therapy for trauma and am doing treatments for that (aka not talk therapy). I would probably need to find a different therapist for this issue.


I read. There is nothing better than an engaging novel to remind one that humans are not always the best companions available.

Walking is good, too. Fresh air, sharing nods and smiles with people, remembering that humans are not all bad.

Volunteering, too, is a good mechanism for being among people. I am looking forward to the public post winter clean up of parks areas in a couple of months.

Sometimes I am lonely. Sometimes I miss smoking.

PM me and I’ll add you to my Facebook friends list. I know it’s not much, but over the past decade I’ve come to realize that online communities can be remarkably tight. Other than that, it seems to me that there can really be no other way to ameliorate loneliness other than companionship. People have been resorting to alcohol and other mind-altering substances since the beginning of time, but we all know that these only mask loneliness, not ameliorate it. I’ve read papers suggesting that the human-dog attachment bond is so strong that it essentially rivals the strength of human-human attachment. A visit to the pound might be in order. A lot of people I’ve known have sublimated loneliness by pouring all their spare time into a single hobby, or better yet, some activity which benefits a disadvantaged population or prepares the next generation for the tasks that will befall them as they mature.

IMHO, you can’t have quality without having quantity first. Good friends don’t come out of nowhere, they come out of having a lot of shared experiences with people who may not become good friends, and eventually finding or building a stronger connection.

While I agree that quality is definitely better than quantity, I’ve met my closest friends by having a large quantity of lesser friends that I’m able to spend time with. They introduce me to new people, I develop social skills, and suddenly there are people in my life that I truly connect with.

I used to be a sad and lonely girl. I was terrified of talking to people. Once I slowly pushed through my anxieties about social interactions I was able to make more friends than I can handle. I have just two that I consider to be like family but I met both of them through other friends that I just enjoy spending my time with.

Just food for thought.

Edit: Damn, beat by a few seconds.

Good information so far.

I agree a pet would likely help, but I wouldn’t feel right leaving it alone in the apartment 8-9 hours a day. If I got a pet I’d need to get 2. I’ve considered it, but the extra cleaning would be a hassle.

The fact that quality comes from quantity is true. The people I’ve met who I have a good quality relationship with usually (but not always) came through groups where I had a lot of superficial social interaction, then met a few people I clicked with.

I was looking into volunteering more. I assume a good cure is to make other people feel less lonely. That is usually a good trick with people, try to help other people avoid feeling what you don’t want to feel and it helps you deal with it better. ie, if you feel lonely, help others feel less lonely. If you feel anxious help the people making you anxious feel less anxiety. If you feel depressed, do something to make someone else feel less depressed, etc.

I remind myself that it’s for the best in the long run. Keeps things simple.

I do cry sometimes at 3am.

I rarely feel lonely, although, like you, I lead a relatively solitary existence. You know what I do when I do feel lonely? I think about all the people who have screwed me over, the pseudo-friends, the people who when the chips were down, chose themselves and tossed me under the bus, the lousy bosses I’ve had, the people who’ve ripped me off, etc. etc. Then some douchebag honks at me in traffic for violating his personal Zone of Control that extends two miles from his front bumper. Then, when I get home, if I have any vestige of longing for the company of my fellow man remaining, I turn on the TV and listen to some Republihole rant about how the poor should all die.

Problem solved!

I’ve had friends who were suicidal, deeply depressed, emotionally troubled. I haven’t had one I truly know kill themselves, but if one did I would rather they have been my friend than not though because I enjoyed the time I got to spend talking to them, debating with them, etc. There are a couple of people I know and have known for many years (online, not in person) who seem pretty close and if I found out they did kill themselves I would not know how to feel. Part of me would feel sad they were gone, part would be glad they finally found resolution. The whole ‘the only acceptable emotions in response to suicide are anger and disappointment’ is not something I subscribe to. I’d feel a mix of sad and relieved for them, but I wouldn’t feel ‘I wish I had never known that person’.

Wesley, is their anything in your life that you feel passionate about. An art form, hobby, science project or book?? It could be anything. The lonliest I have even been has been when I am amoungst people I just don’t connect with. Bored or lonely can easily be confused. Sometimes I feel like I have traded in my real friends for internet friends, we seem to have a lot more in common, I find them on web sites that I have an interest in allready.

I could be confusing loneliness with boredom. I hadn’t thought of it, but yeah my life is pretty repetitive with pretty much nothing that makes me feel alive. But I think both are lacking (meaningful social relationships, meaningful hobbies/interests I can act on).

Interests: Biohacking, transhumanism, secular humanism, neuroscience, progressive politics, international politics, the examined life, etc.

I think the fact that this is one of the few boards where I can have intelligent discussions about these issues is a major reason I’ve been here so long.

It’s funny you said you feel lonley, you have always been one of my favorite posters here. I find you a little odd but in a good vulnerable honest way. You give off good vibes.


This is a brave thread.
I deal with loneliness badly. I rage, rage against my condition but continue to sit in the cage.

I understand where you’re coming from, Wesley. Loneliness is, for me, one of the most difficult emotions to deal with. I can’t help but feel sometimes that if I’m lonely, which I often am, then I must have failed somehow. Failed to be a good friend, because there isn’t a friend on hand right that moment. Failed to be interesting enough to attract a new friend. Failed to try hard enough to make friends. It helps to remember that pretty much everyone is lonely at times.

How do I cope with it? Well, I occupy my mind. Sometimes just watching tv is enough. When it’s not, I read. When my brain really has some energy, I write. Reading things online doesn’t seem to help, since it’s a reminder of all the other people out there with full, happy lives. Years ago, I joined a Unitarian Universalist congregation, since they’re completely cool with me being mostly agnostic/occasionally atheist.

I also keep two cats. Yeah, cleaning up after them can be a pain, and between food and kitty litter, I’m shelling out at least $100 a month in their upkeep. But, for instance, one of them is currently sitting on my desk between me and the keyboard, purring and raising her head to check on me. The other will occasionally bring a little nerfish ball over and play catch with me. It really does help.

And I forgot. My sig line used to be “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” /shakes head and rolls eyes.

Looks like I nailed it.

I think we need to know what you need here, Wesley.

Are we reassuring you that your pain is just part of the human condition, offset by many other pleasures?

Or are we talking you off the ledge?

Option 1: Loneliness is better than dealing with jerks.

Option 2: Loneliness is better than … the ledge.

Do you need more help than we can offer?
Are you really at risk?

Videos of animals being cute. Pictures of baby animals being sleepy.
The Internet.
Planning a garden.
Couponing and then shopping at the (24 hour) store after 10pm and leisurely strolling the aisles. Folks seem more friendly that late. Maybe we’re all just sleepy and unguarded.

I’m not at risk of anything and I’ve found some therapies that actually seem to work to deal with my traumas, I was addressing Foggy in post #11 about how I have known friends who are suicidal and depressed, and even if they end their lives I’m glad for the time I got to spend with them.

Loneliness definitely beats the hell out of dealing with abusers, users, the personality disordered and pathologically selfish, etc. But that’s like saying eating nothing beats eating food infected with salmonella and e.coli.