Lonely people are often physically alone but even more important
are their feelings of being left out, disliked, not being understood and
emotionally removed from others, even when physically with others.
Also, how people view their loneliness influences how they think it can
be overcome, if at all. For example, if a person thinks he/she is lonely
because he/she is ugly, unlikable, or recently lost a spouse, he/she is
likely to feel helpless. If he/she thinks his/her loneliness is caused by
shyness, lack of social skills, or limited opportunities, he/she may feel
able to change. Understanding one's shyness (e.g. that we are labeling
ourselves as shy and expecting to be judged negatively) helps a
person change. Social skills training groups result in less shyness and
more self-confidence (Eisler & Frederiksen, 1980). In short, loneliness
and shyness are cognitive problems as well as a behavioral, emotional,
and skills problems too.
To feel more comfortable approaching others in a social setting,
to reduce shyness.
To be able to converse with others and establish a good
relationship, to reduce loneliness.
STEP ONE: Deciding where to meet people.
Chapter 9 mentions finding new friends nearby and among people
with similar interests and attitudes. Chapter 10 discusses several
problems involved in searching for a mate: how we attract others and
are attracted, how there is a conflict between physical attraction or
"falling in love" and intelligently selecting a compatible life-long
companion, how deception complicates mate selection, how there are
different kinds of love and lovers and so on.
Several books go into great detail about where and how to meet
people. The main point is getting out of your ordinary routine--go new
places and interact with the people there. There are hundreds of
possibilities: sports events, exercise programs, parties, bars, church,
clubs, classes, travel, politics, concerts, museums, shows and on and
on. Talk to new people wherever you are, in the grocery, laundromat,
at work, shopping, etc. Ask friends to recommend possible friends or
dates, get their number and call them up. Put a personal ad in a paper
or magazine. Try a computer dating service. Do something, don't stay
lonely and feel helpless.
Our initial attraction to someone is strongly influenced by his/her
physical appearance. This has several implications: look your best for
others, but in your searching don't forget that the exterior tells us very
little about the personality, values, moods, brains, common-sense,
love and hate that is hidden within. These other factors are so much
more important than looks; yet, we overlook these factors at first.
Many people are lonely because they are waiting for a