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25 ways to feel less lonely!

Updated: Jun 18


Whether at home or on the road it’s very normal to feel lonely, and positive interactions are important for our wellbeing.


Even Buddist monks who go solo for days need community ("Sangha"), and scientists confirm that we produce happy hormones like Serotonin & Oxytocin when we connect positively with others.


So what can we do if we're feeling lonely? Here's 25 ideas!



  1. Reconnect

  2. Find a group

  3. Take a course

  4. Join a club / society

  5. Volunteer

  6. New role

  7. Support a cause

  8. Animals

  9. Learn a language

  10. Radio

  11. Make room

  12. Follow the news

  13. Learn to talk to anyone

  14. Dating & friendship apps

  15. (Free!) Walking tour

  16. Bar crawl

  17. Forums

  18. Comments sections

  19. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy

  20. Go somewhere (new)

  21. Do something (new)

  22. Enjoy your own company

  23. Gratitude

  24. Meditate

  25. Join this discussion! 🙂





(Important: Remember to always be safe and responsible when connecting with others online or in person!)





1. Reconnect


During a recent lonely time a friend of mine messaged and reconnected with a friend she hadn't spoken to for years - "It felt just like when we used to talk before, so nice and relaxed, we're going to meet up soon!"


I could feel her happiness and saw them both chatting happily on facebook soon after that too - maybe this quiet time is actually a golden opportunity to reconnect with someone?


A call or message showing genuine interest or sharing something positive for them can mean a lot - especially if they aren't feeling great themselves! - and every time you reach out you're opening another window of possibilities for yourself!





2. Find a group


Looking to meet people for a specific activity, to hang out, or open to ideas? Meetup, Couchsurfing and local Facebook groups are a great place to start!



Meetup shows all the groups meeting in your area each day, so you can search by activity or date to find something fun or even start your own group!


Couchsurfing is famous for letting you host / stay with people, but the real gem is their “Hangout” section, where you can see people & groups to join in your area now or create your own! (UPDATE: There is now a small monthly charge of £1.79 to use couchsurfing due to the impact of Covid)


Facebook needs no introduction, but have checked for local groups eg. in your neighbourhood, town or city, for specific interests? There may be a great community for you just a screen away!





3. Take a course


Is there something you’re interested in, which could also be a place to meet new friends? Learning self-defence, dance, crafts etc could be fun, helpful and also a great place to meet like-minded people, and they’re likely to be around for a while giving you time to get to know each other, and with a shared experience to talk about too!


Why not check online, at a local noticeboard or community centre?



4. Join a club (or society)


Similarly a club or society could be a great chance to do something you enjoy like sports, games or something else, and to also feel part of a community and get to know new people!


Some are even flexible about when you go, so if you have other commitments that make you hesitate about a course then perhaps a club or society could be a good option for you?


Similarly, if you enjoy a particular game like scrabble there are places you can play online and chat to others at the same time - perhaps you could become part of a community and make new friends playing something you enjoy?


Try searching online, noticeboards, community centres etc and see what you can discover!





5. Volunteer


Another excellent way to meet new people and feel good is volunteering - there are always people in the community who need help and will be so grateful for yours, and meeting other volunteers you're likely to meet some very nice, caring and interesting people too!


If you want to make new friends, have interesting experiences and feel really good then volunteering is a great thing to try - and it it can be doing anything, anywhere in the world, so you have some amazing options!


DoIt, NCVO and Volunteering Matters are good places to start, community centres are always good for local opportunities, and if there’s a place you’d be interested to help try asking them directly!





6. New role


Maybe volunteering gave you a feel for something, or maybe you’re interested in trying something new, and perhaps more sociable, for work - if so why not check your options?


Hays Education is a great place to start if you’re interested to work in schools or education,

Blue Arrow could help you find a job in hospitality or catering, or perhaps The Open University could help you gain new qualifications and career options?





7. Support a cause


If there’s something you’re interested in or care about, like animal rights, the environment or helping refugees, then perhaps you can help and also connect with others at the same time?


Peta have good advice for actively supporting animal welfare,

Extinction Rebellion have advice and groups you can join globally, and

Amnesty International have great ideas for how you can help refugees in your community!



There are many other charities and groups, so if there is something else close to your heart why not do some research and see what you find?





8. Animals (time, volunteer, adopt)


A friend who recently retired from a very social role told me he’d felt a bit lonely at times, but one friend had made a difference he couldn't believe - his dog!


Animals can give us such pure love and affection, and nurturing them actually gives US improved feelings of wellbeing as well as them (hence the success of therapy animals): spending time with them can be the ultimate win-win!


If you have a pet you can always show them some love to both feel good, if not there are places where you can volunteer to care for animals, and if you're in a position to and genuinely, long-term want to, there are plenty of animals who are looking for someone kind to live with too!


(As an Englishman currently living in the French countryside I'm grateful everyday for my little cat-friend Bruni, an ever-loving presence when I'm working from home!)





9. Learn a language


This very positive activity deserves a special mention because it gives us so many social options!


We have a community of fellow learners (even the fantastic Duolingo allows you to connect with friends for high-5s and friendly competition!), we’re learning to connect with (perhaps millions!) more people around the world, and we can have great fun sharing languages with in-person or remote language exchanges!


Classes are great socially, Duolingo is fun and free, so whatever your situation learning a language could be a great choice!





10. Radio


Personally, I can’t imagine my life without the radio.


Music, chat, sport, it’s all effortlessly there with you whenever you want it, and as a regular listener you can definitely feel connected & part of a community - for me radio is #1!


BBC sounds has all the BBC stations, podcasts and more

Radioplayer has over 500 top UK stations

World Radio and Radio Garden let you browse stations from around the whole globe

NTS is a very cool global collab with 2 live stations, shows & mixtapes across all genres

Mi-house Radio and Hed Kandi Radio are great for feel-good house music


There is a lifetime of blogs in this so I’ll stop but please send me any faves and will share either here or another blog!





11. Make room


Do you have time in your life for more socialising, or do you perhaps keep yourself a bit too busy?


It might sound obvious, but sometimes the problem isn’t the world around us but the fact that we’re holding the door shut without realising it… we can be so preoccupied that we miss those little moments where a person was reaching out to us, even briefly, as we can miss so many other things!


Are there any times or places where you could be more open and available to the people around you?




12. Follow the news



It can be bleak at times, but it can also be inspiring and very good to know what’s happening in the world around us for a few reasons!


Firstly, if there’s something important that affects you it could be useful to know.


Secondly, there could be something important that affects others, and you may want to do something to help (eg. signing a petition to call for positive action).


Thirdly, if you know about current events you always have something (interesting!) to talk to others about - which can help you to connect with people!





13. Learn to talk to anyone


If you’re not really sure how to talk to others then don’t worry, there are some very simple but effective techniques you can use to help you have more positive conversations!


This is a great Guardian article that covers talking to children, teens, strangers, doctors etc


How to talk to anyone: 92 little tricks for big success in relationships” is a great collection of techniques ranging from small-talk to helping people feel loved and appreciated


There is a wealth of advice out there in books and online, so if there is a specific situation that makes you feel nervous or uncomfortable why not do some research and see what you find?






14. Dating & friendship apps



You've probably heard of Tinder, Grindr etc, but did you know you can use them and other dating apps specifically to make friends?


While travelling these apps can be a great way to meet friendly local people who love to share their culture and make friends too!


There are also specific friendship apps for meeting people into athletics, dog-walking, other mums and more, a nice selection here to help you chat, meet up and send that loneliness packing!






15. (Free!) Walking tour


On a recent trip around Europe I made one of my best-ever travelling discoveries - free walking tours!


The idea is simple: turn up, the guide takes you all on a walking tour around the city, and at the end you pay whatever you want (with no obligation to pay anything if you don’t want to).


I’ve been very happy to pay each time because these tours have been consistently brilliant -

a great way to learn interesting stories, facts and places in a city, the guides are great for answering general questions about the area / country, and I’ve met some really nice people on the tours too!


They’re also great for conversations when meeting people later, so why not look out for posters at your hostel / hotel, or search for “Free walking tour in <city name>” online and give it a go sometime?





16. Pub crawl


Another great way to meet people especially when you’re away from home is a pub crawl - it might not be for everyone, and of course it’s important to drink responsibly, but in my experience it can be a very fun and relaxed way to meet nice people!


Enjoy a fun tour of a city at night taking in different venues, musics & atmospheres; get to know other (often solo) people over an adventurous few hours in a welcoming environment, and again the guides are great for asking general questions about life in the city & country!


As with walking tours have a look out for posters or asking at your hostel / hotel, or search online for “Pub crawls in <city name>”, and get ready to have a fun evening!





17. Forums


If you feel more like connecting with others through messages then forums can be a good place to go: you can search for something specific you’re interested in, see what others are discussing and get involved, or even start your own thread!


Reddit is a hugely popular network of forums covering anything you can think of

Quora is a question and answer forum covering anything and everything

Mumsnet lets you discuss parenting and miscellaneous life stuff


There are so many that it might be worth searching “forum for <thing>” and see what you discover - if you know or find any particularly good ones please share in the comments section!





18. Comments sections


Speaking of which, another great place to feel connected to others is in comment sections!


It can be nice to find something on youtube that you really enjoyed (a song, tv/fim moment, game, sporting event, etc), relive it through the video, and then check the comments section below - there are often very positive, entertaining and interesting comments that can be enjoyable to read and even get involved with!


There are comment sections in other places like newspaper articles and sports reports too, so why not find something you’re interested in and see what other people are saying about it?





19. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy


Sometimes loneliness is a due to our general feelings being in a lower place - if so a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist could be helpful because they teach you how your brain works and how to feel the way you want to!


Solution focused hypnotherapy is a scientific, positive, and extremely effective method for regaining long-term control of your feelings and your life, I personally offer a FREE consultation so you can empower yourself with science and answers to your personal questions, and some people find this clarity alone is enough to feel better!


I’ve also put together some FREE related self-help resources here, so if it sounds interesting then check it out and if you’d like to know more then get in touch!





20. Do something (new)


One of the main things you learn with Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is that positive activities produce the happy-hormone Serotonin - the same hormone that many anti-anxiety and depression medications now look to maximise (SSRIs) - which makes us feel better!


What counts as a “positive activity”? Generally speaking anything enjoyable or helpful will tick the box, whether physical like running and dancing, or less so like tidying or reading!


(Parkrun, for example, lets you find or create weekly runs/jogs/walks with others, and outdoors exercise with others can really get the Serotonin flowing & help you make friends too!)


The list is endless, so try different things and see what helps you to feel good!





21. Go somewhere (new)


Getting moving can be very helpful for lifting our mood, and a change of scenery can help us feel happier and open up possibilities for us to connect with others.


Going somewhere new can be fun and exciting, can inspire us to try and discover new things & meet new people, and gives us some Serotonin and Dopamine too (another feel-good chemical we get for doing new things), so if you’re feeling a bit lost why not go somewhere (new)?


It could be another area, town or city, a different shop, bar, club, class… where could you go?







22. Enjoy your own company


It’s easy to feel like you’re alone and you don’t want to be, but here’s a thought: Is this actually a chance for some quality time doing whatever you want?


We can be so busy in life with work, relationships, activities etc that we’re rarely alone & shocked by the idea of being stuck with it, but given a chance could this actually be a good thing?


Are there any tv shows, books, games, crafts, projects etc that you haven’t had chance to catch up with recently? Is there anything you used to enjoy but simply had time for in a while? Could it actually feel good to simply lie on your bed or floor, and do nothing at all??


There can be some stigma around being alone in modern society, but in a survey 85% of Americans said alone time was important to them, so it also seems to be something most of us need - perhaps it’s something we can appreciate when it comes along by surprise?





23. Gratitude


The Dalai Lama calls it “self-created suffering”, in Solution Focused Hypnotherapy we call it “filling your stress bucket”, but it’s all the same thing - thinking about how things aren’t the way you want them to be creates negative feelings which harm us, including loneliness.


But there is a very simple way to flip this thinking and feel instantly better as a result - to focus on what we do have, and compare it to things that are worse if necessary, to help us appreciate them!


Our car could be better… but at least we can afford that safe little world of options and opportunities!


Our apartment could be bigger or nicer… but at least we’re not facing eviction or on the streets!


Simple gratitude exercises have been found to reduce loneliness and improve health & wellbeing, can be done right now with just your mind, and if you’re not sure how to get started there are lots of exercises here - I’m definitely grateful to the internet for these!





24. Meditate


Another activity that has been shown to have huge health and wellbeing benefits, and which could also help you feel less lonely, is meditation - this time alone could be the perfect opportunity to meditate and (re)discover some wonderful things!




Meditation is very simple to learn, can be done anytime & anywhere for free, and can help you in so many ways that it might just be the best thing you could do right now, so why not give it a try?





25. Join this discussion!


How many of these things have you tried? Were any particularly positive for you? Is there anything you would like to help others?


Let me know in the comments section below, and if there are more great ideas I’ll update the blog to share them, so you could really be helping people all around the world feel better too!



(Ps. Just for fun: You can find your % score by saying how many of these 25 things you’ve done x4, eg. if you’ve done 10/25 then 4x10 = 40%


Feel free to share your score in the comments section as well!)





Best wishes,

Robin :)






52 views2 comments

2 Comments


michaelmaccourt
Feb 16, 2022

Making the effort to connect with others when feeling low and in a kind of masochistic and self imposed isolation has been huge for me as has the “dog” Rob. That notion of “self created suffering” resonates powerfully too. Please keep sharing… and thank you.

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Robin Smidowicz
Robin Smidowicz
Feb 17, 2022
Replying to

Thanks for the comment and glad you found things helpful! 🙂👍

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