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How to Overcome Loneliness

“Man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it’s dark.” ~Zen Proverb

After my ex-girlfriend and I broke up several years ago, I never felt more alone in my life. I hung up the phone with tears streaming down my face as I stepped into my new reality.

I only had one friend in the world, who happened to live fairly far away, so most of my newfound singlehood was spent alone.

It was difficult for the first few weeks due to all the painful emotions that usually come with a break up, but after a while the pain went away.

Usually I could keep a positive attitude and project the appearance was all okay, but truth be told, I was a very lonely person back then.

Sometimes, a coworker or some acquaintance would ask if I was seeing anyone to make conversation. I told them that I was taking a break from dating for a while to heal from the break up.

However, I really had no idea how to meet people. After being in a relationship for seven years and losing touch with a lot of friends, my social skills were pretty much nonexistent. I wanted to meet people, make new friends, and date, but I really thought I was just incapable of doing it.

At one point the loneliness just overwhelmed me. I was walking down a street one night. As I was passing by a busy restaurant, I looked in the window and saw so many people at quiet, intimate tables sharing smiles and conversations over candle light.

Suddenly I just couldn’t take it any longer. My mind became flooded with all of these thoughts like “Why is it never me in there with someone else?” or “Why am I always alone? Is there something wrong with me?”

Before I know it, I was crying right there, while walking down the street.

It all just seemed so futile. What was the point of living if I didn’t have anyone to share my life with?

That’s not my proudest moment, and back then, I’d probably be ashamed to share that with you. That was likely one of my lowest moments in my life, at least when it comes to loneliness.

However, I’m hoping that I can share some positive advice that I’ve learned since then that has helped me—and may just help you too.

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you feel lonely in your life:

First: Remember that feeling separate from others is the direct result of focusing on how others are different from us.

When you look for differences, you will find them. When you look for similarities, you will find them as well. There’s nothing wrong with doing either; however, each has their own set of consequences.

When we spend your time focusing on the differences, we begin to have thoughts about how “It’s different for him because he’s a man,” “She wouldn’t understand because she’s rich,” “He has kids so he wouldn’t have time,” or “She’s so attractive, she would never ‘get’ my situation.”

We start to place others into all sorts of categories.

Most of these categories include all the things that make them different from us. If this sort of thinking continues, eventually, we will find ourselves standing alone against the entire world—us verses everyone else.

There are indeed different circumstances and situations that we all have to deal with; however, it is also just as easy to see that underneath all the differences we may have, we all share a common human experience. We all feel the emotions of pain, love, loneliness, fear, loss, sadness, and joy.

When you start to understand that the human experience we share gives us more in common than the different circumstances we may be in, we can start to feel a lot closer to other people. This is the way to begin to mend feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Second: Become curious about others and you will never be at a loss for words or feel unable to connect with them again.

Have you ever memorized a bunch of “conversation starters” to keep things flowing just in case a conversation hits a dead end?

“So, do you like cats or dogs better?” “If you could be any ice cream flavor, which one would you be?” or “Did you hear that they want to charge a toll on the freeway now?” often come to mind.

Sure, they might keep the conversation going, and they can work well, if your goal is to avoid anything resembling an awkward silence.

But silence only has to be awkward if you let it.

The secret to connecting with someone else and feeling a sense of bonding isn’t to simply fill up time up with idle words and pointless conversation topics. Connection is achieved through shared experiences or empathizing with others.

Instead, allow your curiosity to naturally steer the conversation. Ask a simple question. If you’re paying attention (instead of worrying what you’ll say next), you’ll notice that there are many conversation topics embedded in a simple answer or comment that can keep you talking for hours and result in a much deeper connection.

Third: Be brave and put a bit of yourself out there.

If you’re hungry for a deeper connection with others, don’t be too reluctant about taking the lead in the situation and putting a little bit of yourself out there to steer the conversation in a deeper direction.

Talking about the weather or your 401k can get old after awhile, but if you change the direction and start talking about how the weather makes you feel or what you’d like to do with your retirement savings after you retire, then that can make for a much more personal and interesting conversion.

Essentially, what you’re doing is you’re welcoming other people to get more personal and share more of their feelings and experiences too.

That’s really at the root of building a connection with someone else—getting to know them as more than just a collection of surface level facts. Once you start to learn more about their feelings and opinions on things, you can start to develop a real bond.

It may seem vulnerable to put yourself out there, and it is! It can be difficult at times to share parts of yourself with others, but that’s how others will really get to know you.

Loneliness can be something difficult to deal with, and it is a sad fact that so many people suffer from a lack of close friendships and connections, despite the fact that many of us live in or near major cities.

If you ever feel lonely, don’t be afraid to try and strengthen a weak friendship or build a new one. There are people everywhere and I truly believe that all of us are worth getting to know.

Photo by Kara Allyson

Avatar of Clay Andrews

About Clay Andrews

Clay Andrews writes for the relationship advice blog The Path to Passion. He helps people feeling alone or stuck with their relationship situation find the love and connection that they want. He loves meeting new people. Visit the blog and say “hello.”

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  • http://www.qwitr.org Tony Fuentes

    First of all, Clay, let me applaud your willingness to be vulnerable in this post. That takes a lot of courage. 

    You offer some great tips.

    One tip of my own I’d like to add is to have the courage to sincerely ask “real” questions. If someone tells you they’ve been divorced five times, freaking ask them what happened. You’re not being polite by avoiding the elephant in the room.

    People appreciate sincere, non-judgemental curiousity. It allows them to feel safe around you and allows you to be safe around them. It’s breeding grounds for real connections.

    Just breathe, listen to what they’re telling you, and ask the damn questions you really want to ask. :)

  • Fiona

    Thanks for being so open and honest. I have dealt with and in some ways I’m still dealing with a similiar situation. Thank you for your inspiration and brave post!

  • Mick Wright

    It’s funny, when you do steer a conversation in a “deeper” direction, how often the other party really appreciates it.  It’s as if they’d been waiting and hoping to have the chance to talk about something meaningful with another person, and you’ve just given them the opportunity to do so.

  • http://theviewfromherebycraig.com/ Craig Ruvere

    Wonderful Clay! Truly. I think everyone at one point or another experiences lonliness and feels as though they are the only person in the world experiencing it.

    But the sad reality is, they’re not.

    People need to understand that others are in the same situation and with a little work you can connect to some of the same individuals. It takes courage and work, but in the end it’s really up to you.

    Thank you for your inspiring words and tips.

  • Benjamin1254

    Sitting here dealing with issues at hand I still feel this way. Ive been single going on 6 years! It sucks and it is what it is. Mind you i have caught myself in those deep depressed moments where like you said up there you start to think of why your so different from everyone else. I found also that coming to the logical conclusion of finding a better feeling thought and moving forward has helped alot. There is no logical reason to sit in despair and feel bad or negative thoughts. I find it easier to watch a movie or find a thought or joke that makes me laugh and do everything I can to keep that feeling going. In the long run doing just that had made things 1000x better for me in the end. It use to eat me up inside.I use to sit for HOURS and wonder why no one wanted me, or why no one cared, or why I couldn’t find another lover. That was not the case at all in the end. It was the fact I had no appreciation for the moment and my current situation. The love I want will eventually find me! That I know is a fact. For now my time is best used to focus back upon my life and my loved ones and when the time is right that lover will find me…. Keep your mind positive and good things will always without hesitation show up in your life!

  • talia

    What a fantastic post. So good of you to share your vulnerability with us. I truly believe everyone experiences loneliness at one point or another.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chrissie-Aime/511603290 Chrissie Aime

    beautiful post! “Become curious about others and you will never be at a loss for words or feel unable to connect with them again” <3

  • http://creativelifeinwords.wordpress.com/ Andy Bowker

    This is a great post – thanks for sharing :) 

  • Kenneth

    I was talking to my counsellor about this only a few hours ago! I was saying how I spend so much time feeling lonely and somehow expecting there to be a miraculous end to it – I likened it to expecting a kettle to boil instantly without realising that I needed to put some heat under it to give it a chance. Pretty irrational and a sure way to stay lonely! Thanks for your timely post – i needed some tips so I could create some conditions to end my loneliness and stop expecting the miraculous end of it without any input from me!

  • Adeboer92

    Thank you for this post. I often feel that I am alone in my loneliness. No one else must feel this way. What is wrong with me? I recently graduated from college and had to move back home, away from my exciting college life and all of my friends. I feel as though my social skills are completely lacking. The only time I am social is when I am at work, and even then, I always feel awkward. All of my coworkers have significant others, so I never really fit in with their conversations.

    I will definitely be attempting to follow your advice, and hopefully I will make a connection with people who feel like me.

  • Hannah

    I have a hard time talking with people my age (early 20′s) about anything meaningful…a major source of my loneliness…

  • nectar

    Thank you so much for this post Clay! I have felt very lonely for a long time…partly due to a fear of socialising and also being single with my friends are all settling down. Anyway, I decided that sitting in my flat in london and feeling sorry for myself was achieveing nothing except time passing are prolonged loneliness so I am heading off to work in yoga retreats in Europe to meet more like-minded souls…sometimes we have to get out there and find our tribe! thanks again for this very timely post…i loved all that you said :) 

  • Klccoxw

    Excellent article. I will share this also in an email. Thank You

  • http://twitter.com/Clay_Andrews Clay Andrews

    Tony, yes, asking “real” questions is definitely important and that’s something that I really encourage people to do.

    There’s an exercise that I give to people where they have to have a 10 minute conversation with someone else where they are only allowed to ask questions. The way that you “win” is if after 10 minutes, you actually care enough to want to keep asking questions.

    Thanks for your comment!

  • http://twitter.com/Clay_Andrews Clay Andrews

    Benjamin, I think you touched on something very important and that is “why” questions. Asking yourself “why am I lonely?” or “why doesn’t anyone want to spend time with me?” are going going to give you answers to those sorts of questions (and it will likely make you feel pretty lousy…).

    Looks like you’ve stumbled across something important too, which is to just do things that you love and enjoy time with yourself. If others are there, great, but if not, that’s okay too.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

  • http://twitter.com/Clay_Andrews Clay Andrews

     Kenneth, Ah! Yes, the miraculous end! One thing I’ve learned in my life is that things tend to happen much more quietly than we’d care for in most cases. Just keep heating that kettle one degree at a time and it will boil before too long.

    Thank you so much for leaving a comment!

  • http://twitter.com/Clay_Andrews Clay Andrews

    Craig, Yes, I think that loneliness is just part of being human. I’ve yet to meet someone who has never felt lonely.

    Sometimes it’s easy to get so wrapped up in our own problems that we think that our situation is so unique and that we’re just broken (I’ve been there myself!).

    But really, no matter what your situation is, there are probably countless people out there who can relate to the emotions you felt and through those emotions, you can create all sorts of bonding and connection.

    Thank you again for your comment :)

  • http://twitter.com/Clay_Andrews Clay Andrews

    Mick, yes! Sometimes it just feels like we all just have all of these social norms we’re trying to keep up. We just sometimes forget that other people are also human and we just want to connect with one another.

    Thank you so much for your comment.

  • http://twitter.com/Clay_Andrews Clay Andrews

     Fiona, thank you for your comment. I know loneliness can be challenging, but remember, no matter how you feel, you are not alone. There are plenty of people out there who feel the same way as you and they’re probably just waiting for someone like you to come up to them and say “hello.”

  • http://twitter.com/Clay_Andrews Clay Andrews

     Thank you for your comment and thank you for sharing :)

  • http://twitter.com/Clay_Andrews Clay Andrews

     Nectar, I used to live in Bangkok for a short while. It was difficult because I barely spoke any Thai (just enough to buy food… ha ha!).

    Anyway, I took some yoga classes to help keep me active, and to meet people and to do something besides just ruminating to myself was very helpful.

    Thank you for your comment (and I hope your “crow pose” is better than mine…)

  • http://twitter.com/Clay_Andrews Clay Andrews

    Hannah, yeah, I know what you mean. It seems like all the people in their 20′s are just into shallow things like going out and getting drunk (at least it seemed that way for me).

    But you’re absolutely not alone. Oftentimes, the more shallow something is, the more people truly long for a real and meaningful connection. It’s just that sometimes people go for quantity over quality. Sounds like you’re more interested in quality though :)

  • http://twitter.com/Clay_Andrews Clay Andrews

     It can be tough when you suddenly leave an environment like college and you have to seemingly start over from scratch. I know you’re probably not happy to be living back at home either (I’ve been there myself…).

    But as long as you keep reaching out and making connections with others, it’s only a matter of time before you really connect with someone and build a meaningful friendship or relationship.

    Thank you for your comment.

  • http://twitter.com/Clay_Andrews Clay Andrews

     Andy, thank you for reading, and thank you for leaving a comment!

  • http://twitter.com/Clay_Andrews Clay Andrews

     Chrissie, thank you so much for your comment. Curiosity keeps us connected to others. Even if it’s someone we’ve been married to for decades.

  • http://twitter.com/Clay_Andrews Clay Andrews

     Talia, thanks for your comment. Yes, I really do think that loneliness is just as much a common human emotion as joy, sadness, and anger. The only problem is that when we’re in the middle of it, it can feel like we’re the only one in the world. Thanks again for your comment.

  • Annie

    What you describe in the beginning of the post is exactly me right now – lonely, writhing in pain, almost completely isolated. After over six years of being with someone, I find myself on my own looking for answers, seeking for the truth, struggling to understand. It turned out I was in a relationship both deceitful and duplicitous. I know I should be thankful I have gotten out but the fact remains – I’m left with no one to give me a hug and hold my hand. Many thanks, Clay, for sharing your story. Even when we don’t know each other, there’s comfort to be had in having a common experience and knowing it can be overcome.

  • http://twitter.com/singleinatlanta Single In Atlanta

    I love this post. You hit it right on the head when you said– in order to have a real connection with people you have to open up and not just talk about things on the surface. I’ve always felt that way, but I get looked at strange expecting that from people. You solidified the fact that I need new friends. Thank you. =)

  • http://www.carlsbadvillageortho.com/ CarlsbadVillageOrthodontist

    These are pretty helpful questions to pose for anyone who’s experiencing alienation. I’m glad you’ve overcome it, and I’m hoping a lot of people can learn from this. Loneliness, especially on the fringes of isolation and depression is quite a dangerous position to be in.

  • james

    Thanks for the article. Very much needed

  • Kim

    Thanks for sharing!  And I needed to read this tonight.  I’m not sure how someone like myself can be happy and content so much of the time, as well as busy with many friends to spend time with, but yet there are days like today where I feel so alone.  Again, thank you for the post today!

  • Dshort2010

    Just because I’m alone…doesn’t mean I’m lonely.
    After my divorce, I felt like I HAD to surround myself with people and actions every free moment I had.  I was afraid I would get lonely.  Lot’s of time with the wrong people and too many one night stands took almost as much out of me in one year than the 17 years of a bad marriage.  It took some time to realize that I truly appreciate this time of my life…to work on ME.  Sometimes I just want to be with myself…and I have a choice to do that.
    Someday I will share my life with someone else…but for now I just embrace the time I have.

  • Jon Chang

    Clay, I’m glad I found your article today. I’ve been feeling lonely on and off for a while — so you sharing your vulnerability, I feel honored to read you and your courage in sharing.

    I loved your advice about being curious about others. I can initiate chat with strangers all the time, asking lots of questions and bringing out amazing stories. It really does work.

    I had a question, though, Clay, if it’s okay to ask… If you’re asking all the questions, and the person’s replying, but they’re not asking you any questions back – what does this mean? Does it mean they’re not interested in you, or that they’re just a conversation answerer like most people are? If you’re taking the initiative all the time, is there no hope for the connection…? Curious to hear your answer, as I haven’t one.

    Best wishes to you.

    Jon

  • Nora

    Hi,
    I am just reading through the comments and your question caught me. I am such a person, who tends to answer the questions and forgets too often to ask back. So I will share a littlebit about how it feels and what it is about. But I have no idea if it is similar with others. I normally feel really good if someone is really interested and asking questions (there es a difference, if it feels some kind of real or if you feel examined or interrogated). But I then so appreciate the situation to talk about myself and just then the next interesting question is coming and I will answer. Talking about oneself is wonderful, many people love it :) So I really often need some time, some silence, to get my thoughts together and really ask the other. And actually some times I am honostly more interested in talking than in asking, if I am not conscious. Some times it flows on itself, but sometimes not. I like if the other is getting his/her own experiences and thoughts on the question asked, so it is more balanced and I get a starting point and get out of the interview-talking-modus :)

    When I don´t ask back, It can mean that I am not interesting in the other person, but it doesn´t neccessarily.  But most times it takes some time (sometimes more than there is, when its a little chat between the doors) to get me back to the other person. So I would say for me it is better when others kind of weave their own things into the conversation.

    lovely greetings,
    Nora

  • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch | be me. be natural.

    thanks for sharing your story so openly. sometimes i feel so alone though, as if i can’t connect with anyone. but then i realize i have to make the effort to connect with others first
    Noch Noch

  • Marz

    Thank you for this.  Somehow it makes me feel less alone to know i’m not the only one who feels alone at times.

  • Steve

    Thanks Clay  This is the first post i have read   and i am going to read at least one every day ..  

  • Lance

    Thanks for the article.  There’s something too similar about this story for me.  After an “epic” and emotionally draining relationship, I too have found myself somewhat alone even after living in this city for 5 yrs.  I often think about relationships and the fact that I just haven’t been able to form lasting friendships here.  People seem to come and go; it definitely isn’t like when we were kids.  Back then friendships were simple and effortless; they just seemed to happen on their own.  I definitely had no problems back then.  Even in college I was more popular than I am now.  For some reason, when we enter adulthood, the process seems to change for the worse.  Why did things get so complicated?  It seems like it takes so much more conscious effort and work to start and maintain friendships.  Aren’t we supposed to get better at things once we get older?

  • fabact

    Hi - first of all I’m so glad I came across this site! secondly,

  • fabact

    oops. secondly, I had a question..I have felt this lonliness quite a bit inbetween long spans of relationships and also a feeling of regret for not having gone for the ‘good guys’ in the past. I could have been married by now and having kids and now I’m afraid I’m running out of time. It’s an aweful feeling to have and I sway back and forth between regretting (I’ll go through phases of regretting certain guys) – to feeling good about myself and telling myself out loud that I forgive myself and knowng I’ll find someone and I just have to be patient. but its’ moments when I’m alone that regret is so hard to get rid of  !!

  • Not alone anymore

    I just wanted to really thank you for this post. I’m going through a really lonely time in my life right now and reading it helped a lot. I do the “me vs. everyone else” thing a lot — to the point where I imagine I’m the only person on Earth who feels this way. Reading this helped me realize I’m not alone — that I’m not flawed or “messed up” or whatever — just lonely. And I think I can handle that. For now.

  • matt

    Clay, Thanks . your story is alot like my own . my best friends have always been the woman I was with .a little over a year ago my ex girlfriend and I broke up .since then i have struggled with loneliness . sometimes on the weekends I will jump on the train and just go anywhere duck into bars,get drunk and walk the streets till 3 in the morning . I try to make friends and strike up conversations but most of the time people don’t really want to give me the time of day .I feel rejected cry while walking the streets and wonder why people seem to not like me . I know im a little rough around the edges and don’t have the greatest self esteem . but I have been learning to have better people skills . I listened to the fine art of small talk by Debra Fine and how to win friends and influence people .I also plan to get involved in toastmasters . I like your article and will use what I learned from it . Thanks again !
    Matt

  • Krys

    Thank you so much. I’ve been battling loneliness and depression for several months now and this has really picked me up tonight. My future husband is in the army and stationed 6 hours away, and my best friend just moved 4 hours away. I’m a major introvert and am trying to learn how to make new friends and also enjoy my time to myself rather than being stuck on how much I miss the man I love and my friend. This post reminded me to enjoy some time to myself but also encouraged me to get out and be with people. Thank you.

  • James

    Loneliness is really horrible. It’s wonderful you are brave enough to open up yourself and share your emotions with others. I have to tell you, I often and not only once felt the way you did walking down the street. I had some times, I just felt pursued by couples walking arms in arms down the street both with a big smile full of love. Those moments smashed me down. But just worrying without doing anything doesn’t enhance your situation. I don’t know how you got all your insights. Your inputs are really great. Communication is so important and that was often my problem to get to know new interesting people and especially by talking to the other gender. I didn’t find a solution by myself, so I took the advice of an online life coach (Your24hCoach) to get some of such insights. The most important learnings I got out of it, is that you just have to put yourself out there and start to chat with people. Sometimes I failed, pretty embarassing circumstances… however like most things in life… practice is everything. And how you say wonderfully there are many other people out there looking for companion and relationships.

  • trying….

    I accidentally found your article while i was seeking for the ways to overcome my loneliness. I separated with my ex partner a year and half ago. Since then I have suppressed my feelings and kept myself busy with work. But I know I have always felt lonely and wanted to meet someone. Today, I couldn’t repress the burst of pain from crawling out any more. I was crying reading your article. I have friends but I want to meet someone who I can be in a relation with. Meeting friends don’t really help curing my loneliness… sorry for my gibber jabber…

  • http://www.facebook.com/amanda.mae.d Amanda Dohrwardt

    Love this❤

  • bacillus

    I enjoyed reading this, but find it hard to relate since ive never really had anyone or been in a long term relationship. I feel as if I have become indifferent to this feeling that maybe my loneliness is perpetual, and that maybe I should just resign myself to this fate.

  • aqua

    in this situation myself, trying to fight the feelings of loneliness but they manage to creep up on me from time to time. I find it hard to make deep connections with people and hopefully following your advice this will change

  • shineOnMybrothersAndsisters

    Thank you so much. You’ve given me a lot to think about. I’m currently in a relationship of a bit over a year, and in that time I’ve isolated myself from socializing with other people. I don’t know how it happened, but I know that I was depressed long before I actually got in a relationship (so it was a miracle that the relationship even started). But once I found someone, it gave me an excuse to essentially halt most of my meaningful friendships with people. The friends I saw at school everyday became more of just a way to pass time, and before I knew it, we were all going our separate ways to different colleges and I was essentially left with myself, my boyfriend, and one other close friend who I talk to maybe once a month. I’m in college now, but I’m still living at home, so I don’t have the ease of the dorm environment to spur friendships. I’ve made some friends at school (I’m at a community college), but most of the people in my classes are a different age than me, so they’re pretty shallow relationships. I had no idea how to deepen any of my connections, and the loneliness has been killing me. I started AD’s probably 3-4 months ago, I believe, and for awhile it helped, which is how I opened myself up to the loose friendships in the first place. And my boyfriend has been living at my house for awhile, which helped, but now I realize that although I love us together, I’ve used him as a crutch to avoid having to become vulnerable and start other friendships. Meeting new people is so ridiculously HARD! Especially for someone who already has a mood disorder. In high school, everything was so easy because you saw all of the people around you ever single day (mostly), and could count on that fact. But now, it’s not only finding people with common interests, but also opening up to them and somehow getting THEM to open up to me. Your second point inspired me for the next conversations I have with people I want to be closer with! Although it seems so obvious, it’s often so hard to get over the nerves of trying to get people to like you and actually LISTEN and CARE about what they’re saying. That natural curiosity has been lacking from my conversations for so long that I wondered what was missing. So I’ve been rambling for awhile now (or not rambling, but going way too in depth about my life), and I would just like to say thank you, again. It’s wonderful to know that there are people who are going through and have gone through similar troubles as me, and that are willing to put themselves out there enough to help others get through it. You’re wonderful! Have a beautiful life.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Neinka-Lando/100000980899409 Neinka Lando

    I am Neinka Lando. And I have lived alone for 29 years; I’ve had 4 relationships but none ever went too fare; I am 48 this year and still, I’m a pure virgin. I am a huge believer in and of sacred geometry and Metatron’s cube. I am a disciplined biogenic naturalist and love long slow explorations through nature. I can tell you that women girls and ladies all love someone who is highly secure about themselves who they are and about all their beliefs. I drank some smoked some & lost touch with discipline & self-accountability for a while. when I thought my life was over, Gaea came and showed me this brilliant box inside what I now know is my pineal gland and said “{It was never meant for you to understand all the sacred coded parables and coded languages written in their Bible: For if it were, the whole world would surly be set free}”

  • prakash

    Likeallll

  • TheAbsoluteTruth

    as a straight man that is looking to meet a good woman to share my life with, loneliness can be very depressing. i was married at one time before she cheated on me, and i was a very caring and loving husband that was very much committed to her as well. it is very hard for many of us men since many women nowadays are so very mean and nasty, and don’t know how to talk to men anymore without cursing at us.

  • Telling The Truth

    well as a straight man looking for love again, it is very difficult for me since my wife of 15 years cheated on me. i will just be very happy to meet a good woman for me this time around to share my life with, then my life would be complete.

  • the_designer

    I think the way you have flipped your viewpoint on life after going through a dramatic breakup is something that you should be proud of! Not many people can flip their views like you have and then on top of that inspire others as well. So I congratulate you on this and the great article you have given us :)

  • NeverWrong55

    with so many GAY WOMEN nowadays it is very hard meeting a good one now, that is why it sucks for us straight men to be alone now.

  • Sachu

    Love this blog. After two months i’m using this word love. We are broke up mutually only cos of parents. Both of our parents played well for two years and they got what they want. He went to banglore cos of work. Unable to face chennai without him. I have resigned my job and simply sitting in home. Unable to meet my friends, colleagues, everyone around me. Being a sentimental person, i’m unable to overcome. For past two months i’m dying like anything. I didn’t go out for 2 months. Food, movie, places names, songs, products which related to him like the phone which he used, his favourite branded shirt, the nick name which he used to call me, food we shared, msgs, mails, even wall paper, Oh my god, unbearable. We can die instead of this. already i tried cos of my parents opposition. After that he got promise from me that i should not try that once more. He too facing this pain a lot but still he wanna live happily by forgetting all the past. Now he said ok to his parents for arrange marriage. I’m very much possessive.. cant explain how badly its hurting me inside. Unable to sleep, eat, talk… I’m like a dead body with the soul. Lost all the faith on all relations, god, music, everything. I’m a musician but i didn’t sang a single line after i broke up. What wrong i did. Is any human around me? India is such a bad place to these love matters. Even now i’m typing with tears. Life has to go…. that is the term i’m remembering daily but to be frank i’m unable to come out. I feel like i’m standing inside a volcano. Its paining a lot. I’m screaming for help. If any parents read this post from india, pls don’t separate real love.

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  • Anonymous

    Good post, but also depressing. The fact is, loneliness is a modern disease of Western society, where people live in unnatural, alienating and isolated conditions on a daily basis. Depression is virtually unheard of in indigenous and tribal cultures, where people live in community and share friendship and resources on a daily basis. Loneliness and depression are unavoidable outcomes of living in “civilized” society, which is totally unnatural to the human animal. We are social creatures and are meant to live with others. The book, “The Depression Cure” by Dr. Ilardi talks about this point exactly… so, for those of us without relationships and family, we’re pretty much on our own, unless we join some type of pre-established community. Being alone too much and too often is unhealthy and creates a lot of stress in the body. No wonder so many people in the West are on antidepressants or live as addicts. Striking up conversations with strangers is great and can temporarily relieve loneliness, but the STRUCTURE most Westerners live in is all wrong.

  • Gaurav
  • abhishek

    Nice

  • ray

    Normally I would just look at this, not bother on even commenting and just go on. Lately I have been trying not to isolate myself out of everything and get involved.. idk.. I definitely agree with what you said about how I only focus on differences. My story is basically that I just finished getting in a fight a little while ago with my best friend. I loved the friendship but basically in all truth, he was my only friend. The friendship is pretty much broken for good (it came down to physical fighting almost) I don’t really feel as if I have any friends left.. I don’t know I don’t even feel like I can write a coherent message about this but w/e this is what I have so far..

  • Matthew Wallace

    I really appreciate your will to help us with the way that you have suffered Clay. I definitely feel lonely, but I keep getting the impression that many others just simply don’t understand me and I also don’t understand why. I think I have “forgotten” how human we really are since so many people I used to know have moved on to stable relationships and jobs and I feel left behind. I also feel ashamed of the fact that I have no friends because I feel like there is something wrong with me. I studied a chem degree at the University of Calgary, but I took 8 years because I was so lonely and depressed – I’m still ashamed of this and I cannot find any sound work in my field because of my loneliness. Now, I just sit at home and study my own courses (which mind you is something I actually want to do) but doesn’t replace the connections I really want. Please advise.

  • timo

    Agreed

  • Walt

    Nobody loves me. For real! Am I frightened of the opposite gender? Just because my two ex-wives took me like Grant took Richmond, can I possibly be afraid of the sweet smells and gentle, sloping curves of a woman? Probably.

  • Walt

    Actually, the women of today don’t know if they want to be men or women, and a high percentage of them aren’t very nice. They’re self-absorbed, negative, nasty bitches who think that if they give you a little pussay, you owe them your money and your life. Now, would I rather be lonely or be with a nasty, selfish, greedy bitch? I’ll take lonely.

  • Anne

    hi, i’m going through this right now. it’s sad for me, because recently i broke up with my bf and well i don’t have anyone to talk to. My old friends are not in the same page as i am and whilst i try to connect with some people it’s difficult because they don’t seem to open themselves as much plus they’ve got their own life and family so they are kinda set.. it’s hard to find good new friends because the majority of people are judgmental and that is so frustrating. i wish to meet new friends that are into my stuff but it’s very difficult… :(

  • gwe

    well don’t’ generalize, not all women are like that. you just have to look in the right place and be open to be able to recognize what kind of woman is she.

  • naturegirl

    I feel lonely too. I just went through a break up this year and I am finding it hard to connect to people. I feel like I lost my social skills during the 3 years we were together. Before I was in the relationship I was very social, had many friends and had good social skills. Now that I am single again, I am finding it hard to meet new people I have things in common with and I don’t go out much. I honestly don’t know where to meet people at my age.
    Being in my 40′s ,it seems many people my age are married with children or in a relationship. Finding single women, unattached, to make friends with isn’t easy.
    I’ve reached out to try to make some new friends but it takes a lot of effort and commitment and it isn’t always reciprocated. I tend to find myself doing all the inviting and I eventually give up.

  • Sunshine

    I was in a relationship during my college days for almost 4 years and then broke-up because of his abusive and controlling nature. It may seem strange that I spent such a long time with him inspite of his nature, but the fact was, I was not gutsy enough to imagine my life without him. During the course of that relationship, I bonded with nobody but him. And then, when I brokeup, I didnt know how to come out of it. I felt very deeply wounded and became lonely.

    But then, I made loneliness my strength. It gave me time to reflect upon myself and my life. Frankly, I fell in love with myself and my family. And I have really been happy since then.
    Now I bond well with people, make friends and make them laugh and enjoy the process. I also take out some lone time to understand myself better and I must say, it makes me feel really good.
    I have realized nothing lasts forever. We didnt bring anything with us and we wont take anything with us. So as long as we are here, its good to spread love and smiles

  • Speaking The Truth

    Very hard for us men as well, and now that i am almost 60 years old which makes it worse for me. I was married for 15 years myself before my wife Cheated on me which i was a very good husband too, and Loneliness is certainly no fun at all which many of us men are hoping to meet a good woman for us this time around that had just went through a Divorce.

  • name

    not really a helpful article.

  • ginger

    “I truly believe that all of us are worth getting to know”.
    I believe this is the most naive belief I’ve ever heard. Time will prove you sadly wrong.

  • Jim

    Yea, but many of us men would Love very much to meet a good woman to share our life with after we been hurt by so many women that are just so mean nowadays.

  • Cody

    I feel lost most of the time. I am self employed and work alone, then come home alone, seems like a waste of time, I don’t feel like I am accomplishing anything. Just seems strange to me, I am in a place that I have never been in life, and I don’t like it.

  • Rene Thomas

    Hello Matt. I’m in pretty much the same situation. Four and a half years single, so no useful advice except emergency songs. “Can’t hurry love” by Diana Ross and The Supremes, “I Know it’s going to happen someday” by Morrissey and, if all else fails, “Pretty good day” by Loudon Wainwright III. Good luck, strength and peace x

  • AMANDA

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  • aleisha

    Thank u for writing this. It really got me thinking about working on my social skills and putting myself out there more, to connect with people. I just got out of a relationship and have been really lonely. It would be nice to have friends to hang out with and connect with people. There are 7 billion people in this world. No one should be lonely.

  • aspacelot

    You made me feel a little better. Thanks a lot, I really appreciate the time you put into writing this.

  • del

    exactly what i feel almost everyday. i have just broke up about 1/2 weeks ago yea the lonely feeling becomes worst. Isee many ppl eating together, walk together. But i did not cry anymore most of time, just smile or sad inside, but as many said, have to be grateful for what we have. so i usually looked at my feet and told myself, ” hey at least you can go anywhere and sightseeing without bothering ppl “

  • littlebird

    I have been with my partner for six years and I have never felt more lonely…

  • MeHere

    Loneliness is a horrible thing. I am almost 40, female, and have never had a relationship – men have just never been interested in me in that way despite my efforts. I now find it very difficult to relate to my peers at work as they are all ensconced in the married/babies/kids years of their lives and I have absolutely nothing to contribute to these conversations. To be honest, I think some of them assume I am a closeted lesbian (I’m not) because I NEVER mention relationships, either past or current, and I have worked there for three years now. It’s like that part of my life doesn’t exist – because, in fact, it really doesn’t. I think some of them just don’t know how to relate to me, as the easy conversation starters of husband-and-kids and ‘guess what my five-year-old said yesterday’ don’t apply to me. Even when I do chat to them, unless it’s a really hot topic of conversation, either in the news or in our own department, they usually don’t hang around too long. I think they feel a little uncomfortable around me. I am also not very good at maintaining friendships, because as with work colleagues, the conversation ALWAYS reverts back to relationships (which is completely normal and not something I resent), and I just have nothing to contribute, although I would really like to. There are simply no stories to tell, no experiences to relate, no funny little anecdotes to recall.
    My love life consists of a few one night stands, a few (online dating) first-date drinks, none of whom contacted me again, and…..well, that’s pretty much it. No cinema trips, no dinner dates, no Sunday afternoon road trips to an event, or walks on the beach with an ice-cream, no weekends away….none of those things have ever happened for me and believe me, you notice it when you can’t even drag up one man-related story from your past to throw into a conversation with your workmates.
    Anyway, it’s been two years since you wrote this post so I doubt you’ll even see this comment, but it’s helped to type it out. As for an answer to my loneliness? I don’t have a clue any more.

  • Joanna

    Ha, I love your taste in music!

  • http://matchaproblem.wordpress.com/ lisbet

    I saw it, and I just wanted to hug you, because lately I feel so lonely I just want to give up. :(

  • Jawad

    Oh man I am going through the same situation right now, and you are absolutely right, we should be able to identify the positive side of being alone, it will give you time to take care of yourself and get back on your feet, especially in my situation where i have to be looking for a career and establish myself, so i can’t at all afford to be looking for love and relationships, but sometimes the feeling of loneliness overwhelms you, and you feel longing to have some fun and ease off a little… that’s when the pain starts…i don#t know when it’s going to end…

  • Jawad

    Lance, i would say an explanation to this is that when you enter adulthood, you start having responsibilities, get more concerned about your future, especially when you’re in a transitional period in a job you don’t wanna be in , that’s when the stress starts building up , and it manifests itself as negativity which becomes part of your character without you even noticing, and that leads either you to be too lazy to put effort and be spontaneous, or it simply pushes people away from you. this is part of growing up , figuring out life and what is really is, horrible realities, and agonizing truths, but eventually you have to accept it and move on ….

  • Shannon Galbraith

    I’m in a little bit of a different boat, I’m a single mom of 2 boys who are sooo clingy. I get no help from their father or anyone else. I am also without work at the moment, hopeful of finding work again when kids are back at school. Anyways I’m broke, have no way of getting out or seeing anyone. I get told I’m attractive quite a bit, but even so, I haven’t had intimacy with a man for several or more months now. I feel like my soul is being torn in half. I have no friends really, no time to myself (without my boys) and no man to comfort me. :-(

  • Soleil

    I moved to the east coast from the midwest about 14 yrs ago right after college. I had an adventurous attitude, made new friends, but began to date with a lot of on and off again relationships. I wasted all this time and slowly all my friends I gained here and my friends back home became married with kids. Let’s just say that when you are female and your friends get married and have kids, they really disappear. Just this past year I again wasted time with a relationship that was going nowhere. I held on for dear life (even though he was a sociopath) because at 36, I was so tired of being alone while all my other friends disappeared into their married or serious relationship lives. I just wander why everyone becomes so absent when they get into a relationship, it is like no one else exists. I want to be in a relationship but still have meaningful relationships with friends too. It just doesn’t seem that way with my girlfriends, or used to be girlfriends, they just want to stick to their man or man and child and not hang with their single friend. I still go out to bars, but just because you have a family, doesn’t mean you have to go to a bar to hang out with me. I am actually quite sick of the bars. I have no problem hanging with you and your child, going to the park, zoo or pool. I don’t get it anymore. I get excuse after excuse from my girlfriends…”Im so busy, Im so tired, I have no money to do anything.” They can’t even pick up the phone anymore let alone get together. Im very bitter at this situation. At the beginning of June I could feel things slipping with me and my boyfriend, but we were doing really fun things on the weekend that kept me not feeling lonely, several weeks later I found out he was cheating. My one friend, only because she broke up with her man around the same time, started hanging with me and jumped on board to go to my scheduled alone trip to Puerto Rico (I just got back several days ago). I was super excited I wasn’t going alone and we had a blast, but as soon I stepped off that plane, I began to cry because I knew I was going to go back to being alone day and night, it also doesn’t help that I am a teacher and have summers off, so while Im home all day, everyone else is working. Also I have always found ways to try and be active, I am in a dart league, I take an African Dance class and I work out to help with my depression…..Im at my wits end. I am almost ready to move home, but I don’t know if that will even help as all my friends are married with kids there too. All I know, besides the pressure of being a woman unmarried in her late 30′s to get hitched, is that they also don’t talk about the loneliness you experience from not relating to any of your girlfriends anymore

  • MCSteve

    Hey Clay,

    I am really happy that I stumbled upon your post. I’ve been single now for 7 years, I have had flings here and there but i’ve never been in a long lasting relationship, the thing that many of us want but some are just too afraid to admit it. During this time i actually became really close friends with a woman from Canada. Me being in the states, I knew an actual relationship with this individual was close to impossible and would require one or the other to sacrifice everything that they knew to make a move. In the first 3 years of knowing her, we ended up catching feelings for each other but this was shortly erased after both realizing how difficult a long distance relationship sounded. So I stopped my advances, 4 years after that ( being present day) I finally met her in person for the FIRST time in my 7+ years of knowing her. She came to visit for the week and we had an amazing time together. I was okay with the experience just being strictly friends, but she ended up initiating the next step and things started to become more romantic and physical. During this short time i’ve experienced everything that I could ever hope for in a relationship. Meaningful conversations, complete unison with things we believed in, wanted to do, we clicked so perfectly that the things we did disagree on, those things or views were respected by the other. Today she went back home, and when she walked away I was completely shattered, it was the effect of making a horrible decision to inflict trauma on myself with starting something that could not be sustained. when I came home early this morning to my tiny studio apartment, the loneliness hit me like a train. I sobbed for a good 30 minutes or so, the drastic change of feeling the warmth of someone that truly understood you and going back to the reality of my lonely life and not having any close friends or family members near me since they all live half way across the country and going back to the job Monday Morning that I cannot stand. I know I need to be positive and erase the feelings that I have, but at this point in time. It’s pretty damn hard. Thanks for anyone who read this, I just really needed to vent and thanks for the post Clay.

  • ALex1911

    pretty much my entire life, I have nobody to hang out with , am 30 and never had any girl friend , I frankly really HATE weekends and vacation periods, Christmas etc cos everybody is enjoy it and can party and I can’t do anything but sit on my computer or hang out by myself outside, I tried to be nice to everyone , act like I am interested in them be open but get ignored all the time essentially , I often just wish my life would suddently end either by some car accident or heart attack etc (I often drive without seat belt in the hope that it may finally happen, simply way to coward to do it myself) during the weekends wait for the weekends but when I am in weekend I actually want to get back to work due to sheer boredom , it’s like a never ending circle of doom

  • A.M

    All my life I had no idea what its like to live free. I read so devotedly that earth gave me culture shock. School was hell. Family seemed alienated. I wanted to live in my books, eat words and drink vocabulary. I wanted to get high on literature and egest reality. Do you think its time for change?‎

  • Michela Allen

    Bejamin1254 Im wondering how things are going for you right now. If you get this message send me a response. Its been two years now…. Just wanted an update. I am currently feeling this way ….
    Be blessed and happy!:)

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  • CJ

    This overall sounds good except for the initial stumbling block – how do I even meet these potential people I’m supposed to put myself out there with? Nearly everyone I know is married and prefer to hang out with other married people. I’m included only when it’s a larger gathering which is typically a couple times per year. Most places are pretty awkward to go to alone and even if I do, I get there and everyone else is with someone. And please don’t say “get a friend to go with you”; that’s my whole point – I’m single (divorced) and my friends are married staying home with their families. I have no friends to get out there with. No, I’m not some crazy, hateful leper. I’m your average, middle class educated woman with a sense of humor and integrity. Everyone who knows me tells me and each other how much they love me on the rare occasions I see them out or at work, then they go off with their married friends or home to their families.

  • Very Difficult

    It is very hard both for men and women to connect with one another today unlike years ago when it was much easier.

  • Misty

    Everything you just said is exactly how I feel. I am 35 recently divorced and right now I am just floating through life. My career is doing great but I am personally very sad and lonely. I go out w/ co workers from time to time but haven’t had any REAL friends since my early 20′s. They have now went there way and have kids and I really feel out of the loop. Thank you for putting into words my EXACT feelings :-) glad I am not completely alone.