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Battling Loneliness:

Making friends in adulthood

Connection is an extremely important part of mental health. Isolation can be a sign or symptom of mental illness, as well as a contributing factor. While in school, we are surrounded by a group of our peers, the majority of whom are actively seeking friendship and connection.

What do we do once it feels as if we no longer have a built in social network?

Making friends in adulthood can be intimidating and overwhelming. 

Most people experience loneliness at some point in their lives. Loneliness can feel crippling, but its important to remember that others are seeking connection as well. Fear of rejection can contribute to loneliness and inhibit seeking of new relationships. Making friends in adulthood is hard.

Schedules fill up more quickly, lives get busy, and it can seem impossible to find a time to meet new people. Also, friendship circles get smaller as we get older, have less time, and really start to choose who we want in our lives. 

So what can you do to feel less lonely and cultivate a social circle?

Don’t put too much stock in Facebook.

With the use of social media, it can appear as though everyone else has an enormous friendship circle and vibrant social life. Remember that a person’s social media page is a highlight reel, and often does not include the negative or mundane.

People are generally very careful about what they post on social media for the world to see. So if you’re feeling like everyone is posting incredible vacation photos or brunches with friends, think about how you choose to portray yourself online.

Remember that, if you are only posting fun and interesting aspects of your life, and leaving out the days when you’re feeling lonely or sad, others likely are doing the same.

Do things that make you feel good

When we feel better about ourselves, others want to be around us. Engage in hobbies that increase your self esteem. Not only will you feel good about yourself, but you might meet likeminded people who are also looking for connection.

Remember that there is a difference between being lonely and being alone. 

Just because you are spending a Friday night in, does not mean you do not have any meaningful relationships in your life. Try to enjoy the alone time by doing things that you enjoy doing by yourself.

Balancing this with spending time with others can make the alone time feel more meaningful and less lonely. 

Moving to a new city, starting a new job, ending a long-term relationship; all of these things can contribute to feelings of loneliness. Major life transitions can make us feel as though our lives are upside down.

If relationships are feeling totally out of reach, or you are feeling isolated without knowing a way out, seeking counseling can help to reaffirm your ability to make meaningful relationships. 

Call me at 217.203.2008 to schedule an appointment or email me [email protected]

Resources

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/friendship-20/201305/friendships-in-adulthood-needing-making-and-keeping-them

https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/how-make-friends-adult-ncna860971

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/pieces-mind/201301/accepting-loneliness