How to Avoid Loneliness When You Don't Have Friends

Three Methods:Making Social ConnectionsEntertaining YourselfImproving Emotional Health

Loneliness is a temporary predicament. It is not a fact, but a feeling. It's easy to assume if you don't have friends that you must be a loser or unlikable. That's not true. Loneliness is simply a signal your body sends out when you are not receiving satisfactory social connection.[1] You can prevent these feelings by keeping yourself entertained and/or maximizing on opportunities to connect with others. Improving your emotional health will also give you the skills needed to handle your lonely feelings.

Method 1
Making Social Connections

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    Join a gym or community fitness center. Use your body's need for physical activity to interact with others. Sign up at your local gym for a challenging group class. At first, you will feel unnerved by participating in a class full of strangers (and potentially making a fool of yourself). Persist and you will find that group exercise can provide motivation, accountability, and camaraderie.[2]
    • Invite the person next to you out for coffee or a smoothie after. Or, after several sessions, suggest a carpool to better get to know some of the people in the class.
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    Lend a helping hand. No matter who you are, there is something valuable you can offer to others. If you play a musical instrument, offer up your services to teach others. Help your pregnant neighbor cart her groceries inside. Offer to walk an elderly person's dog. For more structured helping opportunities, become a volunteer.[3]
    • Offering help to others can make you feel more confident, thereby increasing the likelihood that you might attempt to forge social bonds with the people you meet.[4]
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    Call your relatives. It's a plus when the people related to you double as friends. Whether young or old, reach out to siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, and grandparents. Who said friends had to be your age? Keeping in touch with your loved ones can help you to build social connections and lift both your moods.
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    Take up a hobby. Enroll in a new class or activity learning and doing something you enjoy (or are interested in).One of the most natural ways to make new friendships is through shared interests.[5] Find others who love the same things as you and then try to find a second commonality to further strengthen your connection with this person.
    • For example, join a Meetup for writers. When you meet with the group look for members who share other passions with you, such as for a specific kind of writing, for animals, or for horror films.

Method 2
Entertaining Yourself

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    Listen to music. Pull up some of your favorite tunes on your cell phone, MP3, radio, or YouTube and listen. Studies strongly link music as being influential to mood - grunge music causes hostility and anger while genres like classics, oldies, rock, and pop make people feel happier and friendlier.[6] If you are experiencing anxiety due to your loneliness, music can even help to calm and relax you.
    • Use your love of music to connect with others. Visit a spot that offers live music that you can enjoy with a group. Or, stop by a local record store and strike up a conversation with the clerk about the music you love most.
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    Play solo games. If you have a computer or game console, you can play many single-player games. Video games naturally teach you by providing immediate reinforcement (winning coins, money or lives) or punishment (losing the game or losing a player life). The repetitive actions involved in game-play stimulate neural pathways in the brain, resulting in improved memory, reaction-time, decision-making, and visual capabilities.[7]
    • Game worlds like Fantage, Webkinz, and Wizard101 are great sites for making online friends. Just be careful not to share personal information about yourself on forums, as everyone logged on is not exactly who they pretend to be.
    • Beware that excessive time spent on computers or consoles can evolve into a gaming addiction. Some research also shows that video games may promote aggression and desensitize people from violence.[8]
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    Develop a passion for reading. Reading is a rewarding and healthy pastime for many. Whether you are thumbing through an entertainment magazine or envisioning the characters in a fiction novel, reading can keep you busy and distract your mind from loneliness.
    • Reading can actually feel more socially connected when you identify with particular characters or life experiences. Beyond that, reading boosts cognitive functioning, reduces stress, expands vocabulary, and helps you to develop greater empathy.[9]
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    Watch an engaging TV show or movie. If you live with others, you can invite them to join in as you watch so that you feel less lonely. Watching the television isn't all bad. Certain programs or films can be learning experiences, introducing you to new worlds and ideas.
    • Plus, sitting down in front of the tube as a family can be beneficial to children. Bonding and interaction can come about as a result of tuning in to a favorite TV show or movie with your loved ones.

Method 3
Improving Emotional Health

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    Recognize the benefits of solitude. One of the main reasons you may feel incredibly lonely is because you assume that you should always be around others. It's impossible to always be with someone else, and being alone can be a positive experience. You need to change your perspective of alone time, and see it as the opportunity for personal, emotional, and mental growth. Below are just a few of the advantages of spending time alone:[10]
    • You are able to recharge and find balance in your life
    • You can reflect on actions or events that have happened
    • You can consider decisions before you make them
    • You can uncover your voice and your feelings about certain topics
    • You can get work done without distractions
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    Journal. Putting aside time to regularly write in a journal can be a rewarding and emotionally expressive experience. We often do not know our thoughts or reactions to certain situations without saying them aloud or writing them down. Journaling provides you with an opportunity to find your voice. What's more, this activity also relieves stress and fights depression, which is commonly associated with loneliness.[11][12]
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    Meditate. Regular meditation has been shown to improve sleep, slow the aging process, increase concentration and attentiveness, improve brain functioning, and make you feel happier.[13] It seems this centuries-old practice can also be instrumental in curing feelings of loneliness. Meditation teaches present-focused, mindfulness, which thwarts past- or future-focused worries about loneliness.[14]
    • To learn meditation for beginners, click here.
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    Tame your negative thinking. Sometimes, the solution to feeling better about a situation lies in changing your perspective. We may get into ruts of negative thought patterns about our worthiness to others, and these horrible thoughts only make us feel worse. Thoughts, emotions and behavior are all connected. Therefore, in order to feel differently and act differently, you must change your thinking.[15][16]
    • The first step to taming negative thoughts is becoming aware of them. Take note of self-defeating or negative self-talk as it happens. What are you saying to yourself? How does this self-talk make you feel?
    • Then, reframe these thoughts into self-talk that is more realistic and helpful.
    • For example, you may think "I will never make any new friends". This thought might make you feel hopeless and ashamed. To reframe it, you must challenge it. Can you predict the future? No. So, there is no surefire way of knowing if you will ever make new friends. A better way of thinking might sound like: "It will be difficult to make new friends, but I can try my best."


  • Do something you have not done before.
  • Be kind and talkative.
  • Think positively.
  • Be confident.
  • Go online to meet interesting friends.


  • If you meet someone online, remember that they might not be who they say they are. Do not give away any personal information, or arrange to meet them in person.

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Friendship Problems | Relationship Issues