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Dealing with Loneliness

  1. Jul 1, 2013 #1
    It's a natural human tendency to desire social interaction of some kind. However, I myself have gotten to a point where I'm crippled by loneliness & it severely affects my daily life. A couple months ago I broke up with my girlfriend of 2 years & I am having a hard time readjusting. Some tend to handle loneliness better than others. Do you think it's a sign of weakness? I personally think that it shows much more strength to make oneself happy & depend very little on others to bring you happiness. How do you make yourself happy?
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  3. Jul 1, 2013 #2
  4. Jul 1, 2013 #3


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    I'm quite the opposite. I'm most happy when I'm completely alone. Regular human interaction bores me and annoys me because I find the act of talking to others to be a very taxing and banal one. I just read books, play video games, or watch tv when I get really bored.
  5. Jul 1, 2013 #4
    I think it is very natural and healthy, and in fact a requirement for a human being, that you socialize with others. I make this claim based on some studies about solitary confinement. People generally become more agitated, quick tempered and such when left alone for long periods of time. Socialization is a human need, not a weakness.

    Having said that, I think it also needs to be tempered with the understanding that you can't depend on other people as your source of happiness. You have healthy relationships with other people when you aren't trying to get something from them all the time. It's a kind of positive feedback thing.

    When I had this problem (when I was willing to admit it, anyway) I tried to find groups that were doing things I was interested in, or just go out in public places and walk around, and just generally be around people without any particular agenda. I did volunteer work, went to concerts and movies, etc. It was actually difficult to do, because sometimes being lonely can be sort of cozy.

    -Dave K
  6. Jul 1, 2013 #5
    You should bond with a woman and friends and society. We are social species; even monkeys are social animals, from which we sprouted. Strength comes from wanting to bond; society does not function if everyone was an island all to himself.
  7. Jul 1, 2013 #6
    I agree with Dave K in regard to going places that interest you. Being alone has definite drawbacks the longer a person stays away from socializing. I have seen this in myself. Interacting with people with mutual interests might draw you out of your loneliness. Give it a try and see what happens. Good luck.
  8. Jul 1, 2013 #7


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    I suggest that you seek professional counseling if you are this distraught. If you feel the professional is not helping, you can stop seeing them right away, you may have to go to several people until you find someone that you feel will help. Don't try to go it alone at this point.

    It's not a sign of weakness, a broken heart is probably one of the worst feelings. The fact that you know why you feel bad is good. You're not in denial.

    Personally, I realize that I suck at relationships and stopped dating a few years ago. Best decision I ever made, I'm much happier now. It works for me, but may not work for others, my ex-husband can't bear the thought of being alone. As our insurance agent told me, you're not his wife, you're his mother. I agree, he can't function on his own, he can't balance a checkbook, or make appointments, or important decisions.

    Anyway, try to find a professional to talk to about things and see if it helps. Good luck to you.
  9. Jul 2, 2013 #8
    Thanks everyone for the help!


    This is precisely the type of persona/attitude that I wish I had. Although I often yearn to go out with "friends", when I do I almost always find myself wishing I hadn't done so. Having this demeanor, do you every feel like you're missing out on life? I would think not because you're doing what you enjoy.


    I don't know if you misread my post, but in the first sentence I do state that my belief is that socializing is a natural human desire; there isn't really a debate to be had there. Sorry if I wasn't clear. Anyway, you stated my problem exactly: I depend on other people for my happiness. To be honest, I'm not really sure how to avoid doing that.

    Also, I don't have any friends. I do have several people in my life whom I talk to somewhat regularly, but we share no substantial, common interests. Consequently, I feel like any time spent with these "friends" is forced and unrewarding. I have one friend with a similar interest in science and math, but he's in a wheelchair, making it difficult to hang out and do things.


    It's not that I lack desire to bond with women, society, friends, etc. In fact, I spend a great deal of time wishing I had friends with whom to spend time. Mostly I spend time wishing I had a girlfriend again; presumably because of my recent breakup. I have issues with anxiety as well, so the thought of approaching people that I don't know is a mortifying experience accompanied with much sweating, faltering, sputtering, etc.


    In theory, speaking with a professional does seem like the most sensible thing to do. I've considered it, but I wouldn't even know where/how to begin the process. Also spilling my innermost feelings to a complete stranger (even if he/she can help) seems like a stressful, uncomfortable experience. Like you said, I can step away & identify my problems. However, doing something to better myself is turning out to be quite unsuccessful.

    From your description, I'd say that I'm akin to your husband in regards to handling loneliness. (I can function on my own, but I prefer to not do so.) The thought of not having a significant other with whom to share things frightens me for one reason or another. It could be some deep, underlying subconscious reason why that's the case for some, but for whatever reason it is the case for me.
  10. Jul 2, 2013 #9
    https://www.morethanmedication.com.au/Health-wise/How-to-survive-rejection/ [Broken]

    You might find information in that link helpful.

    Best wishes,
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  11. Jul 2, 2013 #10
    Well, I saw that, but you also did mention that it might be a "weakness." So I was in part responding to that, and I wanted to emphasise how true your statement was, that yes, it is a human need.

    You need to develop an "inner life." There are things we can do that give us an intrinsic sort of happiness that cannot be taken away or augmented by others. (Though of course we will always be subject to our moods.) I mean spiritual pursuits (whether that is theistically based, non-theistic, meditation, yoga, martial arts, etc.) artistic pursuits, (art, writing, poetry music) intellectual pursuits (you're at PF so I don't have to list those), some kind of physical exercise (sign up for a 5k/10k/half marathon/marathon and start training, even if you've never run before). etc.

    Perhaps paradoxically, you don't need to do those on your own, necessarily. There are groups of people who do all these things, (most that don't cost you anything). Yet they develop an internalized sense of satisfaction.

    Well, part of this is nothing new for us, the intellectually elite. (haha) Many of us math/physics/science types spend a lot of time online, because unless we are in an academic or otherwise science based profession, we are usually surrounded by people who have no idea what the hell we are talking about.

    Rather than trying to "find" friends I think it's best to pursue intrinsic happiness and you'll meet people along the way who are on the same sort of journey. But that's not the goal.

    -Dave K
  12. Jul 2, 2013 #11
    Except not really since you are active on this forum, as per your post count, and I'm sure active in various other on-line communities. You're just uncomfortable with face-to-face interaction, but you don't actually want to be alone or you'd have no interest in forums like this.
  13. Jul 2, 2013 #12
    Sounds a little harsh, but I have to admit I was thinking sort of the same thing. For a long time I romanticized my solitude as some sort of noble sign of strength, and frequently mentioned how I found the company of others tedious.

    But then I realized I was also online almost 24/7. A very convenient and controllable social environment. It allows you to choose which (sometimes very small) niche of people you want to communicate with and how long and when you want to interact with them. It's just a kind of adjustable or fixed bandwidth socialization.

    Indulgence in this tends to feed the "other people annoy me" perspective because real life people tend to show up at the wrong time, stay too long, talk about things you don't care about, and generally do not have an off-switch.

    -Dave K
  14. Jul 2, 2013 #13


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    That's different. I talk to people on xbox live as well but I can stop and move on to something else at will. In physical conversations I have to actually listen to what people have to say and pretend I care; I can't just get up and leave or tell them that they are boring the hell out of me. I mean I could but I'd prolly get sacked in the face. Online interaction is a completely different medium.
  15. Jul 2, 2013 #14


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    I don't dislike social activities, I can only take so much however. I find them very draining afterwards.

    OP: I tend to go through periods of seclusion especially during non-academic times. I find just sitting where there is people helps, going to the community rec center/library/park. As far as the easiest and most non-threatening mode of conversation that's easy to start? Right here on the internet. It's not ideal, face to face is the best. But it's at least a little helpful.

    I wish you the best of luck.
  16. Jul 2, 2013 #15
    Same here, i spend most of my time alone.

    Sometimes i'm happy but usually i'm feeling quite down because i don't anyone to talk to -and even if had, it would be extremly hard since i'm way too reserved-.
  17. Jul 25, 2013 #16
    It's been a while since you've said this, and I'm still feeling the same way. I really yearn for a life of self-perpetuating happiness that you speak of, but I still feel like I need someone else to make me happy. I'm trying to understand why I feel this way. Is it induced by the media? Is it genetic?
  18. Jul 25, 2013 #17
    Awhile? It's been not even a month! :) This kind of thing is not going to happen very quickly.

    Yes we are all programmed by culture, probably, but you have to look at where those things are coming from, for you personally. You can't just get rid of those feelings. You have to look very deeply at them, whenever they are present. Acknowledge them and then let them go. Sometimes they will go away and sometimes they will come back again.

    And I'm not saying go become a monk. Go have fun. But have you looked into any of the pursuits that I mentioned previously? I know it sounds like "go get a hobby" but it's a little more subtle than that, I hope.

    -Dave K
  19. Jul 25, 2013 #18


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    Same here.It's just so much more comfortable being alone most of the time.

    In fact , I do socialize , but it's always one on one.I hate groups of people.
  20. Aug 31, 2013 #19
    Alone has never been lonely. Alone I can do Physics, write poetry, plan novels that are probably never leave the planning stage, meditate, listen to classical music, read novels and mangas- And all this without having to listen about someone's opinion about it.

    I am with you on this one, groups can be unbearable- people seem to get dumber as their numbers increase.
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