How to Be Kind to Someone Lonely

You've seen them, in school, at work, in the neighborhood, people who hang out away from the crowd, keeping to themselves and tending to speak little. You may think of these people as stuck-up or "weird", but inside they may be very lonely and unhappy. You will find that if you are kind and friendly, these people may open up to you and become a friend.


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    Consider carefully the situation. It's not always appropriate to strike up a conversation with someone you don't know just because they look lonely to you. If there's someone on the edge of a group you are part of, someone in your school, your organization, your church, your apartment building etc, it's ok to cautiously approach them. If there's a big age gap, and you are under 16, it's probably wise to tell an adult you are going to try to make friends with this person.
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    If you see them by themselves in a social situation, ask if you can sit with them. This is always a first (and effective) step people should take. Chances are the person is lonely and would enjoy your company, even though they do not know you well.
    • If they say that they would rather be alone, do not press them. If they say they want to be by themselves, take their word for it! Some people don't like talking to strangers, they may have cultural beliefs that prevent it.
    • The person might not be used to getting attention. They might expect you to have a hidden agenda with your kindness. Don't overwhelm the person with sudden attention.
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    If you see them in the hallways, street, cafeteria, etc, smile and wave. Say hi. Be friendly. Do not walk past them coldly or ignore them. You want to make them feel noticed and happy, not overlooked and hurt.
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    If you are participating in a partner-activity in a class, workshop, exercise class etc, offer to be their partner. Ask them kindly if they would be your partner. Do not say, "Do you need a partner?"—make the offer to be their partner. Make them feel as if they are the one in charge, or the one making the final decision.
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    Talk to them in class, in the street, waiting for the bus, in the lift etc. Before work has to get started, during free time, or before the bell rings, converse with them. Ask them what they enjoy, and what they dislike. If you agree with them, say so and laugh. If you do not agree with something they like or dislike, do not point it out. Everyone is different, and has different interests and pet-peeves, so do not allow it to bother you.
    • Listen more. Allow them to get in the conversation too (probably more than you). Remember, no one wants to talk to a person who completely dominates the conversation and doesn't let the other person get a word in edge-wise!
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    If you find the person enjoyable, offer to hang out with them after school or work, on the weekends, etc. Do not pop the question out of the blue, or the first day you speak to them—wait a few days until you're sure both you and the other person feel adequately comfortable being around each other.
    • If they refuse, don't feel bad! They may just need more time to get to know you.
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    If you like them enough to be their friend/companion, continue to interact with them! Talk to them everyday; ask them to sit with you at lunch; walk to them to their classes etc; invite them to your house. The options are infinite! By hanging out with them more often you will open up their heart to you. You want them to feel comfortable and relaxed around you, and you want them to enjoy your company just as much as you enjoy theirs.


  • Do not be discouraged by their lack of interaction. They are most likely not used to being around others or talking to someone else so often; be persistent but gentle, and give them the space they need when they need it.


  • Do not push them too hard! If you become so bothersome that they feel uncomfortable or unhappy, you will turn that person off to you.

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Categories: Happiness & Optimism | Social Interactions