Loneliness – longing for contact
We live in a time when more and more people feel lonely and alone. Many do not experience having friends in real life. But they spend time on computers and social media. We have cyber friends. Contact with other people in everyday life takes up less and less of our time because we can avoid face to face contact.
Some people find they know a lot of people superficially, but don’t have anyone emotionally close nor have anyone the trust. They have nobody to turn to when they need help. We learn early in life that we need to cope with everything ourselves and be self-reliant.
How do you find friends? The answers are many: buy a dog, become a member of a club, volunteer, etc. But does it help with the feeling loneliness?
Since loneliness is experienced by people who are alone and by people who do not have many friends, but also by people who have friends and contacts the answer may be more complex.
So what is loneliness and who suffers from it?
If you have social phobia you tend to avoid other people.
You fear their criticism or rejection. You feel awkward in social situations so you avoid them. You create a life with very few contacts and eventually become more and more isolated and lonely.
If you suffer from depression you may have a tendency to isolate yourself because you feel bad. You find it hard to relate to other people and it drains you to be in social situations. Just making a phone call can be exhausting and you want to avoid it.
If you have experienced disappointment and let downs from other people you might find it difficult to trust and open up. You eventually shut others out and live your life alone.
If you have experienced losing someone or you have moved many times in your life you might have difficulty forming a new bond. Or if in childhood you were abandoned or have experienced a death in the family you might feel uncertain about depending on someone else. Being alone can seem easier. This way you do not run the risk of losing someone, being abandoned or going through the same pain again.
Another factor in feelings of loneliness is low self-esteem and self-criticism. If you do not feel good about yourself it can be difficult to make contacts. If you do not feel worthwhile you might doubt that someone wants to be with you. Relating to friends you are passive and wait for them to contact you. Thus friendships slip away and you blame yourself for ending up being alone.
If you have many friends but still feel lonely the cause of your loneliness is not lack of contact but might rather be lack of intimacy. If you do not open up and share your inner feelings honestly you might feel lonely in the company of others. You keep the facade and no one knows you on a deeper level. The contact remains superficial and empty.
We all need contact with other people and we need face to face contact. Having any kind of face to face contact will be satisfying to us as human beings. Yet we need to have more than just superficial contacts. Having deep contact with others help us know ourselves and we feel connected.
If you feel lonely you might take a look at what keeps you from creating contacts and meeting people. And if you have friends but feel lonely when you are around them maybe ask yourself if you are really are opening up when you are together.