By David Joel Miller.
In a past post, we talked about Loneliness first-aid – ways to keep that creature from moving into your life. But if you find that Mr. Loneliness has been a longtime guest in your life – How do you get him to move out?
Here are some ways to banish Loneliness from your life. Breaking up, when you are in a bad relationship is hard to do. The person who is causing you so much pain will resist leaving. Loneliness is sneaky that way. You send him packing out the front door and you might find him climbing in the window later that night.
Here are ways to get through to loneliness that he is not welcome in your life anymore.
1. Become your own best friend.
Remember back to elementary school. If you had a best friend they did not like it if you started hanging out with someone else. Mr. Loneliness is like that. He never grew up. So if you start hanging out with a good friend he will not want to hang out with your anymore.
What better friend to be with than yourself.
This is hard for some folks. They tell me they have low self-esteem. They are not sure they like themselves and they would not want themselves from a best friend.
This lays out a clear roadmap to becoming happier. Make friends with you.
Get to really know yourself and like yourself. Stop beating yourself up. If no one ever gave you credit for things well done, learn to take a bow when you did something right.
Accept yourself and forgive yourself. Become the model of a best friend and start by becoming your own best friend.
It is hard for other people to like to be with us if we do not like ourselves.
2. Reconnect with old friends.
Loneliness wants you to forget about people who have been supportive and rely only on him. Look through your phone list and call someone. Call someone or email them every day. Chances are that since you stopped staying in contact with that old friend loneliness has been hanging around their door also.
3. Make some new same-sex friends.
When people are lonely the first suggestion loneliness makes is to find a new lover. Loneliness knows that the high of a new love feeling will only last a short while. Sex with a new partner can leave you alone sleeping with Mister Loneliness faster than anything else.
The loneliest time for most people is after a close relationship ends.
So if you want to avoid the new sexual partner trap Mister Loneliness has set for you, make new friends who are the same gender as you. That takes the mating ritual stuff out of the picture for most people.
If you are gay or lesbian, forget what I just said and work on making more friends of the opposite sex. The idea here is to develop social connections that can chase off Mr. Loneliness without falling into the new relationship trap.
Those hormones in the brain love releases last 6 to 18 months. If you haven’t learned how to be happy without your partner there all the time, then as that new love turns to an everyday routine you will start dating Mr. Loneliness again.
4. Get out there.
You need to get out of the house and do things. Nothing makes you and Mr. Loneliness closer than you isolating from other human contacts.
Now by “get out there,” do not think you need to hit the clubs and bars. That is a good way to run into Mister Loneliness again. He likes to dress up as an alcoholic or an addict. The man who looks like Mister Right probably has some drug habits and a few ex’s, baby’s mommas and the like.
What you need to do is get out there around other happy positive people. If you have an interest in a sport, join a team or league. If you like reading, join a book club. If you have a religious or spiritual faith, get active in that group.
5. Learn friend making skills.
Learning to make friends is a skill, not an ability. Some people just seem naturally better at making friends but a few of those naturals have confided in me about the process they went through to get good at making friends. Watch those people who are good at making friends and see how they do it.
Do not start telling yourself that you could never do what they do. Maybe not exactly what they do in their way. You are you after all. But you can pick up a few pointers by watching the popular people.
Ask one of them how they do it and you may get a helping hand you never expected.
When in a new place learn to put your hand out and introduce yourself. Ask about others and wait to be asked about yourself. Do not regurgitate your whole life story but offer up small tidbits to keep the conversation moving.
Keep telling yourself you can get better at making and keeping friends.
5. Learn the skills to be alone but not lonely.
Being all alone should not mean being lonely. If you have done the work on yourself, become your own best friend learned the things you like and the things that are not ok with you, then being alone some of the time should be a good thing.
6. Take yourself on a date.
Do nice things for yourself. Go to places you like to visit. Try out new foods and new positive experiences.
Where would you take a tourist who was visiting your town for the first time? Many people have never seen the top tourist spots in their own city. Take yourself there. If you really like the place invite a friend to go back with you.
Ask people you know for recommendations of places to visit. If they come up with suggestions ask them if they have ever been there and either way, ask them if they would care to join you. If they say no do not take this as a rejection of you. We all have busy lives these days and sometimes people are just not available to go places and do things when you might invite them.
Those are six ways to get Mr. Loneliness out of your life. There are many more. Have you found any that work for you?
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended books.
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