Loneliness and How to Establish and Maintain New Friendships

Developing and maintaining relationships as adults can be difficult. But they should be a priority. Research has shown that those that have deep fulfilling friendships are more likely to have self-confidence, overcome stress, and experience more positive emotions.

Indeed, while the quantity of relationships is not necessarily important, having high quality relationships is one of the key components of happiness.

Prioritizing Fulfilling Relationships

If you are experiencing loneliness in your life, it is important to make it a priority to develop fulfilling friendships or relationships. It can be difficult, as it is tough to force these relationships, and making friendships as an adult can be a struggle.

But there are strategies that you can use to start to develop these relationships. For example:

  • Joining Like-Minded Group Activities – For those who enjoy specific activities, such as painting, bowling, hiking, etc., joining groups that engage in these activities is a good way to meet people without pressure. You are not obligated to make friendships with anyone, but you are in a position to do so if you find someone you click with.
  • Using the Internet – There once was a stigma associated with meeting people online, but that stigma has faded, and should not be a deterrent to taking advantage of websites and other services that connect you to other people that are also looking for more fulfilling friendships.
  • Reconnecting with Old Friends – We have a tendency to put people in boxes. For example, there may have been a friend that you lost touch with, and that person is in a “box” with other people you are no longer in contact with. But there are no rules about who you can and cannot contact. Sometimes a simple phone call is a good way to rekindle a friendship.

Finally, sometimes the issue is not that you do not have the right people in your life. The issue may be that you are simply not in the right ’emotional space’ to start feeling fulfillment from those friendships. Issues like self-doubt, low-self-esteem, a history of negative past relationships, and more can all make it more difficult to feel close to someone else.

If that is the case, the solution may be some type of individual relationship counseling. Indeed, many of my patients are individuals that have the potential to create and maintain fulfilling relationships, but for a variety of reasons are unable to “feel” the strength of that relationship. They many feel lonely even when they are with other people, and do not necessarily experience the connection that these friendships offer.

If you find that you are struggling to find happiness in your life, and you’ve been feeling lonely no matter how many or how few friends you have, it is valuable for a goal of yours to be finding these friendships and focusing on ways to eliminate your loneliness. For more information, please call me at (516) 732-0273.