If you're finding yourself on your own a lot more than you'd like, these suggestions can help you find a supportive community.
Being alone can be refreshing, but it isn’t always what people want. For professional or personal reasons, we may become disconnected from other people as the years go by. If this happens, we may find ourselves with few people around us as we grow older, which can lead to loneliness. How can we overcome this isolation? What can we do to stop feeling alone? Here are 11 suggestions.
1. Decide not to be alone.
Loneliness is not an inescapable fate. It’s never too late to make friends. If you don’t want to be alone anymore and are looking for friendship, the first step is to convince yourself that you can find friends: Yes, even at your age. Yes, even in your situation. Yes, even with your physical limitations. Yes, even in the city or town where you live. It can be done!
2. Put on your “see friends” glasses.
Change the “lenses” through which you see the world around you, and you’ll discover possible friends in the people you meet every day, whether they are already known to you or not. Every day can be a happy surprise, but it all depends on your outlook.
3. Cultivate your family ties.
If you’ve disassociated yourself from your relatives, it’s time to strengthen your family ties again. Think in terms of concentric circles, from your closest relatives to those furthest away. Your parents, uncles and aunts, siblings, cousins … Look for occasions to reconnect with them, starting with a phone call to congratulate them on their birthday or anniversary. Invite them to go out for coffee or a meal, have a conversation, take an interest in their health, or ask how they are doing.
4. Travel in a group.
Instead of traveling alone, travel in a group with strangers. You can organize it yourself or join a trip organized by a church or a group through social networks. A few days in another country or city, in a more relaxed environment, creates the opportunity for casual conversation with traveling companions. You can learn what they’re like and find things you have in common, which can form the basis for forging a friendship.
5. Learn about historical, architectural, or artistic routes in your city or region.
In many cities and some towns, there are routes of various kinds that lead you to points of interest, often with organized guided tours. There may also be group photographic outings or outdoor drawing and painting classes or sessions. Such activities facilitate making connections and exchanging ideas with others.
6. Learn a language.
Join a conversation group in a language you studied in the past and want to practice, or decide to learn a new one. You’ll grow intellectually, and getting involved in language-learning activities will bring you together with people with similar interests. There are often groups that meet in cafés or restaurants, for example; you don’t necessarily have to go to a language school, although it’s not a bad idea.