Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Ask HN: Coping with Loneliness
138 points by muzuq on July 18, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 121 comments
Given the like natures of the people frequenting this board, I would imagine that I'm not alone (hah) when dealing with loneliness.

I've, over the past few years, grown more and more lonely with very little outside contact. My job does not interact with others much, topping out at the same few co-workers day in and day out.

I've only ever had a small group of friends, which has grown even more thread-bare with age.

Besides "go meet people" (how?), how do the fine people of HN deal with loneliness? Especially in the case your quite introverted? I like being alone, just not all the time, and not to the point of despairing loneliness.

I reach out, for fear that it envelops me.

I've been dealing with just this issue. I, too, am an introvert and require time alone after socializing to 'recharge.' I had a fairly intense bout of depression recently, I realized that it was in part due to do loneliness. So I did some introspection and talked things over with a trusted advisor.

So some things to consider in no particular order:

Shame about being lonely drives people to feel more lonely. Don't let that trap engulf you.

Take steps to explore your psyche and see if the roots of your loneliness are based in issues like self-esteem. Don't take this lightly. It's easy to dismiss, but if those forces are present in your life, they'll be very difficult to see clearly.

Are you religious? Go to church (or sangha or whatever). Got an addiction? Go to a 12 step group meeting. Like board games? Find folks that like to play and hang out with them. Seek out opportunities to interact with people preferably in the flesh, but online can work too.

Get a therapist. Or a spiritual guide. Whatever, as long as they understand how the human psyche works, and that you're there to work. If that suits you.

Don't underestimate loneliness. There's a reason why our most feared punishment is isolating people. Because it's terrible.

Learn to relish solitude. Don't let an idea about solitude trick you into thinking that being alone is good.

Humans are social animals. Not being part of the herd represents an existential threat to us. This is a major cause of suffering in our species.

Humans are solitary animals. Being part of the herd can be a major stressor for us. This is a major cause of suffering in our species.

Best of luck.

> Are you religious? Go to church (or sangha or whatever). Got an addiction? Go to a 12 step group meeting.

That escalated quickly!

> Like board games? Find folks that like to play and hang out with them.

This one is definitely good advice. Introverts find it easier to mix with fellow introverts. I speak from experience. I can trace an awful lot of friends back to various magic the gathering sessions or lan parties

Wise words, and I appreciate them. Thank you.

Go to Bangkok. Find a Starbucks. Order your drink of choice. Within 30 minutes you will be chatted up by a girl. Enjoy! p.s. This happened to me back in 2003. We were together for three years. Got addicted to the lifestyle in Thailand - eating out with friends every night, going out to the islands, beaches, diving, golf, malls etc. I worked remotely. My g/f had a lot of friends too. It was a lot of fun. Beats eating dinner alone in front of the TV - which was my life before going there. Seriously though, if you want to change your life go to Thailand.

I was in Thailand for 3+ months (Jan to April) and worked in coffee shops and co-working spaces M-F usually 10-5 and never was approached by a girl at a coffee shop. Was my first time outside North America. I had good success dating there on Tinder though! I'd actually get daily matches there, where back in the US I get none. The only issue I had was sometimes the girl I met could type English well, but had trouble with speaking so it was hard to have a convo past hello and how are you when we met in person.

Overall, I've never been to a place where it was easier to meet new people and make new friends. I liked Chiang Mai more than Bangkok, but they're definitely two of my favorite cities ever. Koh Lanta is also a paradise.

I'm planning to go back in January again. The lifestyle there is perfect for me at this point in my life (28 year old web developer).

Some pics from my trip: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B45Al_n9xsrna25kZ0RFdXBOb0...

Thailand's a notoriously conservative country despite its international reputation.

Far more likely to get chatted up in the West than there.

I could offer an alternative viewpoint for people reading. I live work here, a normal 9-5 job as a programmer. Mostly my dinners are at home after work because I am tired from, well working. Malls get boring quickly, and travelling to beaches while working here often? No thanks. Some of my colleagues do it a bit, though.

The Starbucks example is very exaggerated unless you are very very good looking and luck, and even then I am sure it would happen every time.

All in all, just because you go to Thailand your "alone" situation might not change in the long run.

That being said, I do agree with coming to Bangkok and it can definitely be an amazing time. And to directly address the 'girl' focused aspect of the comment, dating here is a very relaxed and fun experience.

This is the most bizarre comment that might actually make me go visit a place. Sounds like a different world!

haha - yeah! I'd be happy to send you some pics and some of my writings about the place, but I don't know how to do that! Sorry! It is a different world!

I've put my email in my HN profile so email me if you want more info. Cheers!

Suprisingly alluring comment, haha. Might have to think about it....

DO IT! :)

I find going back to nature every now and then is a nice band-aid on my solitude wound. I'm still alone, mind you, but natured is filled with amazing things you can look at, focus on.

Trekking has become a major part of my life in the recent years. It allowed me to discover myself in more details, how my mind works. I also briefly met people along the way, and slowly realised that their mind worked the same kind of way. They were travelling alone too, for most of them. Yet we were instantly friends. Didn't keep in touch, because that's life, but it's alright.

Try this: take a weekend for yourself, away from civilisation. Take a tent, go get lost in the woods (well, not actually lost), spend the night. Forget about your phone, your emails. Just tell one trustworthy person where you go, roughly, just in case.

Take that time look at the trees, the insects, the clouds, the Earth. Maybe you'll see a fox, maybe fireflies, maybe you'll only hear birds.

And if you're not willing to spend a night just yet, then wake up early, and be there at sunrise. Have a breakfast, have a lunch. Walk, or not, whatever works for you, but just take your time.

Then stop for a moment. Anchor yourself to the ground. Why not walk barefoot? Imagine your feet are rooted deep down into the earth, all the way down to the burning core. Feel the wind on your skin, hear the birds in the distance, see the trees shiver in the wind, enjoy the silence.

I'm afraid I haven't yet found a cure for loneliness myself. But this above, my friend, is what makes my life worth living!

Good luck, you'll see better days :)

Don't cope with it - fix the problem. Emotions are designed to tell you important facts about the word. Pain tells you that there's ongoing physical harm that you ought to avoid, anger tells you that you're in an appropriate position to start or threaten to start a physical fight, grief tells you that you temporarily need to get the support of the tribe as you adjust to your loss, and so forth.

What loneliness tells you is that you haven't gotten the sort of stimuli you'd expect out of having a position in a social group. Experiencing it sucks because this is the sort of thing that is extraordinarily dangerous.

So, how do you get "I am part of a larger group that accepts me" signals? Go and do stuff. If you're not naturally inclined to stay on top of things, get organized about it. Texting/IMing your friends/acquaintances is a good choice. Volunteering somewhere could also help. Regular hobbies are great - I do social dancing. Swipe on a few Tinder profiles and see if you can strike up a conversation. It really doesn't matter what you do, so long as you use your planning faculties and organization to compensate for your lack of socialization drive.

>Swipe on a few Tinder profiles and see if you can strike up a conversation.

I would strongly advice against that. Research has shown that the use of Tinder decreases the self-worthyness of in particular male users.

I strongly agree with this. Internet dating generally has become a toxic experience for men. It definitely increased my feelings of loneliness.

Anyone who is already lonely or lacking self-esteem should stay well away.

I'm not familiar with the current generation of dating apps, but I met my wife on plentyoffish a few years ago. I also was a lonely introvert and provide my experience as an example to the OP:

I was in a very similar situation to the OP, an introvert who's career and interest led to a state of near constant solitude. I lived this way for over 10 years. I had a weekly routine; weekend was going to the store and househould maintenance, weekdays were going to work and fiddling with side projects after work. I would visit family every few months. But otherwise I was entirely alone. I feel that I am a true introvert, and relished it for few years, but it ground on me. Later I realized that I could die and no one would know for weeks. This was profoundly saddening to me.

I used online dating off and on for years with no success, and a lot of frustration as the parent indicates. It can be crushing to message 20 women and get zero responses. Over the years I worked on tweaking a message (a/b testing essentially) to see what would get responses, got some flattering photos to use. Then after I started getting some responses, and going on a few dates, still nothing. At one point I gave up for good, decided I was asexual and unlovable, and resolved to live out my life alone.

I won't say I was ever depressed, I do have a melancholy disposition. I experienced one episode of real depression for maybe a day, it was a dark pit, I couldn't stand to live. Luckily it only lasted a day, and never returned. That episode showed me how bad depression can really be. Not a constant state of being down or blue, but grinding darkness that makes your own skin unbearable. It was terrifying.

What drove me out of all this was series of illnesses with my parents. I had always imagined I'd get married have kids, but had zero success dating. I realized if I ever had kids, they wouldn't know my parents if I didn't act. So I got back on the horse, systematically used plentyoffish to date a lot (edit; well, less than 10 so not a lot) of girls and eventually met my wife and we have two kids.

Nowadays, I'm happier than I've ever been, but things aren't perfect. Being married is hard, particularly since my wife and I were both older when we met and "set in our ways". She's not the easiest person to live and neither am I. Our kids are a joy though. I get zero alone time now, which also grates on me. I REALLY need it, and my spouse is not sympathetic.

My wife says about herself "I was lonely wierdo, until I met you, now I'm not lonely, just wierd", which also applies to me, which amuses us.

Anyway all that's my .02, you're not alone, and that was my path.

Thanks for sharing your story, it was nice to read. It's good to have a counter-example to prove that people can and do meet their spouses online.

I tried online dating about 7 years ago and found it ok, had a few interesting dates but nothing special. I then met my wife (offline) who I thought was my soulmate.

After a few years she left me, and I decided to try online dating again. It feels very different. The women have this incredible sense of entitlement. I don't really blame them, apparently they receive so many messages that it's impossible to reply to them all. It's common to see something like: "If you're just going to say 'hi' don't bother messaging me.", but you can also waste a lot of time writing thoughtful opening messages that just get ignored. It's a painful daily reminder of exactly where you fit in the pecking order, which is why I wouldn't recommend it to someone who is already lonely.

It's hard to pin down exactly what has changed in between the 2 times I tried online dating. But I don't remember it being such a challenge just to get someone to reply to me.

I would even add that online dating has substantially led to a decline of the male 'market value'. Somehow all my friends who got to know their girlfriends offline made in my view better choices than those who meet online. But maybe it is also based on their character, ie that they are more extroverted and willing to go for someone if they see someone they like.

Thank-you for sharing your story, I really appreciate reading all of these wonderful comments letting me know that this is a more common thing than people lead on....

In regards to dating sites, I've tried using them on/off for probably a year or two now. I've had a couple dates but they fizzle out quickly. Unfortunately, my age-group is big on the "hook-up" mentality which really doesn't appeal to me. Maybe, as you said, I need to just get back at it.

I don't agree that you can "fix" emotions [or, say, remove an emotion by eradicating all sources], rather than cope with them. But, I think you raise a really valid point. I need to start doing, rather than thinking about it.

This post, albeit inconsequential, was my first step in "doing" something about it. I've been alone for years. I've never admitted it. I'm reaching out. I just need to.. Scale up.

Thanks for the advice.

The problem isn't that you feel lonely, the problem is that you aren't getting the necessary amount of social contact and stimuli.

A caveat: one can experience wrist pain because one's watch is too worn too tightly, or in the the aftermath of a motorcycle accident, OR as the result of the carpal tunnel syndrome. Sometimes the most "obvious" diagnosis is not the most correct: one may have indeed had a motorcycle accident or warn a watch too tightly one morning, but the pain felt in the afternoon, could be largely due to carpal tunnel symptom finally manifesting itself (possibly brought on by stress or injury.)

Likewise, one can feel lonely or empty due to insufficient social contact, wrong kind of social contact, insufficient exercise, or due to physical or psychological conditions.

Healthy empiricism is vital: like you said, our senses are telling us something for a reason (our ancestors wouldn't get far on the savannah if the predator they saw with their eyes was just as likely to be a fantom as the real thing, or if feelings of loneliness or isolation were just as likely to suggest eating more of a certain berry instead of joining a hunter gatherer pack), but it's important examine evidence impartially and in total (like a physician would do) as well as to make falsifiable hypotheses (one can never say "i have this specific pain due to a twisted wrist from an accident" with full certainty, but one can say that this is not the case if the wrist is not fractured in the first place and thus avoid treatment specific to a twisted wrist.)

I'd advice the OP to quantify the social contact one is getting and to describe its qualities (with evidence for and against) and make an action plan that tests the hypothesis, rules out some common alternatives (e.g., if one has family history of depression or physiological conditions like thyroidism, see a doctor first; if one is also not getting insufficient physical exercise, try that as well.) and a fall back plan if those aren't the case (perhaps taking a vacation to see if one needs a change of scenery, going to a conference and talking to others in the industry to see if a different group of colleagues might help.)

One somewhat bad advice I keep hearing is to enter into something that involves a long term commitment (e.g., get a pet, change jobs, or most commonly and more dangerously go to a dating site) as the first and/or only thing to try. All of these things are good and in many case help (e.g., now that I'm married and have two dogs, I find myself feeling less lonely than I did prior to this, even some of my closest friends have moved away recently), but have the tendency to act as short term distractions from a deeper or more difficult problem. It may end up doing little to help or might make things worse in the long term (neglecting a pet, hurting one's long term career, or getting into a codependent relationship) IF done without any reflection beforehand, that is "just because" it seemed at the time that to be the easiest and most obvious thing to do.

If you're anywhere near Regina, Canada, my name is Greg and my email is in my profile. I'll take you out and introduce you to the finest people I know.

That aside, you've received some excellent advice in this thread. I won't reiterate any of it. Instead, I just want to say that you're very brave to come here and make a post like that.

I wish you the absolute best. Feel free to email me if I can be of any help.

There should be an app that's like tinder for meeting other like minded people. Like when you move to Regina, Canada and see that there's an awesome guy called Greg who will introduce you to cool people

I don't feel brave. I just feel happy that this conversation can be had without judgement, without trolls, without feeling badly about mentioning it.

I'm not near Regina, but your offer means a lot to me. Seriously.

Thank you.

Two more ideas from me:

1) Toastmasters. This is like alcoholics anonymous for people that are addicted to shyness. And very likely there will be some people there that are even more quiet and introverted than you are.

2) Social dancing. I'm guessing you are male, in which case you will be in high demand. Even if you are overweight & ugly as sin, if you can keep a beat then the girls are gonna want some. If you are as intelligent as you sound then this is also a big plus: the smart people end up being the best dancers. And it's not about talking or being interesting, it's about the mechanics of space and time (physics and music). I would recommend tango: this is where all the real nerds end up.

Getting over the fear is not going to happen on its own. Instead I would suggest finding something where you are more excited than afraid.

It seems like dancing is a super popular suggestion.

I keep saying to myself that I'd be no good and it'd be embarassing, not to mention I'm not (never have been) a "dancer" but I'm thinking this swarm intellect might have a point... And perhaps I should seriously consider signing up for a beginner dance class.

Any reason why Tango is where the nerds end up?

Tango is the most free: every step is improvised. Maybe at the beginning the focus is on sequences (of steps), but you quickly leave this behind. So the "nerds" like this because you can do all kinds of creative stuff, without having to stick to "one-two-cha-cha-cha" or whatever. For some people this is too much, and they need sequences, but for me I am hopeless at memorizing the moves but am good at just negotiating the basic mechanics of the situation. Tango is also very "introverted": from the outside it doesn't look like much is happening! (i'm not talking about performance tango obviously..)

I would suggest you try whatever dance attracts you. For example, consider if you like the music. You might like swing, but I find it's too energetic & bouncy for me. Salsa always seems to have the music up way too loud. If you do try tango, stay away from "ballroom" tango, the real one is the argentine tango.

But yeah, be prepared to be not good at it at the start! It should be ok though, especially if you enjoy it, it wont matter how many moves you can do. It's all about letting go of the thinking mind and just being present to the moment.

Here's ~5 years tango dancer @ HN :) From where I am now tango actually seems an unnatural choice for nerds. Of all the social dances tango is one of the most intimate in terms of personal space, which makes any nerd nervous and clumsy. On the other hand, it seems like one of the least physically demanding - check out Buenos-Aires 70+ grandpas on YouTube. I think it is a combination of two: crave for intimacy plus actual ability to imagine oneself as a hero of those videoclips, as opposed to fit and dexterous lads from swing and boogie-woogie, or half-naked machos from salsa, kizomba and bachata :)

There is also a point of general availability. When you check out your typical dance studio around the corner, there are salsa, hustle, swing and tango. Of those aforementioned tango seems most promising from romantic point of view.

Just to widen the definition of nerd a little: doctors, engineers, artists, scientists, architects... There seems to be alot of deeply intelligent & smart people in Tango.

Hm, if a pugilist can learn how to dance[1], you can too. You don't have to become John Travolta or anything, just knowing the steps is enough most of the times :-)

[1]: Sting - "The night the pugilist learned how to dance" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SptmkMYQdRs

Another fan of Toastmasters here. If you're local to the Bay Area, my friend runs a kind and impressive chapter in Mountain View. They are called the Sierra 49ers.

I'm an introvert. There's a saying, "You're never alone with a good book." For me, that's certainly the case. If you're not a bookworm, try audiobooks.

Also, I love dogs (probably more than most people). They're loyal, do not judge (unless you have a treat), and live in the moment - what more could one ask for?:) Animals can provide a lot of companionship.

Oh, definitely, a dog will change your life. I can't imagine mine without my Phoebe. I even made her a website: https://phoebetheceo.com

It does come with a lot of responsibility, and that agonizing certainty that you'll grieve your pet after some 10 years of great companion.

Dude, as a fellow pool owner, I feel I must point out that you should never let anyone or any animal play on-top of a summer cover like that. It's fast-track method to drowning... :(

My book shelves are overflowing :)

I agree, never alone with a good book. But, having spent weeks at a time reading 5+ hours a day, it can become lonely in itself.

A doggo might be a good choice

Friends & I 'invented' unsociable socializing. At the weekend we'd sometimes meet in a coffeeshop, bring our books and just read. Stopping occasionally for a chat & refilling the coffee, but the main focus was reading.

Was perfect way to spend an afternoon without draining too much energy.

That sounds absolutely wonderful actually

> A doggo might be a good choice

Seconded. If you like dogs, having one forces you to go out. In my past days (before I met my wife), my dog was the only thing to get me out of the house. I'd frequently go to the park, beach, etc.

Going places before the I got my dog felt like going to a movie alone. With my dog though.. well, I had someone, and better yet, I was focused on my dogs enjoyment. If she was happy, I was happy. I also became a lot more sociable and had more social interactions when I didn't care about other people, strangely enough.

You could also try finding a book club at the local library.

You are wise to seek out advise on this. Loneliness is a terrible thing that can have very serious consequences like depression. Lot of comments here are suggesting activities like dancing etc. There is no harm in doing these activities but you have to do them because they interest you and you enjoy doing them. If you try to do things just to meet people, you will surely meet people but they will not become your friends because you have different interests/ personalities and have less in common with them. Do things that you like (sports, music, video games etc.) and seek out people who do those things. You will make friends more easily. Also, do not disregard friends that you made in school/college. They can be lifelong friends. If you have lost contact with them, seek out contact again. If you are religious, go to your church/temple/mosque. Sense of community, belonging and socialization are some of the biggest benefits of religion. It is likely to alleviate loneliness.

I am extremely introverted, but one of the social activities I've found that actually DOESN'T drain me is going to game nights at my local game stores. Most stores have something going on every night, ranging from standard issue board games to RPGs to miniatures tabletop games. It's amazingly easy to make friends when you're all engrossed in whatever setting you're gaming in!

Do these types of events have spectator focused areas? Eg, I'm a bit of a gamer (not much these days), but frankly tabletop/etc doesn't really interest me. Despite that, the idea of going and watching the crowd, almost like a coffee shop, sounds really enjoyable.

Like a coffee shop with the added bonus of everyone having similar interests. Who knows, the wife and I may make some friends too, or take part.

However, I'm asking because I don't want to go there and feel obligated to partake in some event/thing. Lowkey with benefits is what interests me. Thoughts?

Usually there isn't a spectator area per se, but spectators are always welcome. Most people are very excited to answer questions about their game of choice, strategy, what to buy to get in to the game, etc. Trust me, I'm well aware of how intimidating it is to walk in somewhere you haven't been before for a game you may not have played before, but once you mention you're new and interested, you'll be amazed at how welcome most people will make you feel. Most game stores also have demo sets of whatever game you're watching so you can test drive before you buy.

I'm interested in this too. I'm not huge into playing tabletop games but would enjoy watching and conversing with the people playing.

I've been struggling to begin rehabilitating and changing my home environment.

I went through hell with a series of offensively noisy and aggressively inconsiderate neighbors. So, I avoided home. And I didn't invite people over. And, as the months wore into years, my home took on aspects of neglect.

I was "trapped" at first by some circumstances I didn't deal with well. Then more thoroughly by the self-reinforcing nature of this decline.

Basically, if I'm not comfortable at home, I do not have people over. I lose a big part of my control over my interactions as well as my ability to reciprocate.

Further, since these circumstances stress me so, I don't feel well about myself -- including my inability to more effectively deal with the situation -- and this also causes me to engage less.

And as this is self-reinforcing, so is the attendant, resultant loneliness.

When I do get away from it, I enjoy interacting with people and seem to do reasonably well at it. Well, the "cool" people are still too self-absorbed to accept me. Fuck them -- a lesson too long in learning.

I'm not saying I have "the answer." But my intuition, of many years now, has not changed: I need to get the hell out of here and to somewhere I'm simply more happy and at peace with myself.

Otherwise, half my mind is always at least subconsciously worrying about the monster behind the door. Like neighbors with sub-woofers who would rattle my windows for hours on end.

That's an awful spiral. Correct me if I've misunderstood, but this is caused by bad neighbours? If this is really the root, take the leap and move out! Perhaps you can try flat-sharing next.

I live in a rural town, which I love (courtesy to introversion) but sometimes it can get lonely, and yes, that self-reinforcing spiral then happens. I try to go to tech events in big cities at least once a month so I'm reminded that I 'belong' to this community, even though most of the time I don't interact very much. (And that's ok too, be comfortable with who you are! :)) Seems to be working, that and monthly meetups with old friends and nurturing an appreciation of my own company. This is just me though - try different things so that you can find which suit you best. Chin up!

OK, I've been in the same situation with the same type of terrible neighbours.

So let me make this simple. Get Out ASAP! Do whatever it takes to get out of there as soon as possible, but every day you stay your mental health will deteriorate. Cost should not be an issue here.

When you get out, ensure you are in a somewhat flexible situation, rent instead of buy etc. It'll take some time to heal and your preferences or needs might change during that time.

Things will be so much better afterwards. In retrospect, I can only say that for everyone in this situation, their first priority should be getting out.

Good Luck !

Something I think I've overlooked is exactly this, my environment. I know that I don't help myself, trapping myself in my home.

Good luck with your journey, and thanks.

Some options that I have tried and have helped:

- Try Meetup.com. Endless options there. Don't be afraid to be awkward. Read about social skills and practice them.

- Be a better friend and initiate contact with people you know - don't wait for them.

- Also make a list of all people/friends you know local or non-local. Refer to that list and keep in touch. This is harder than it looks but is important. I was surprised how many folks I had a good connection with but did a sucky job of keeping in touch with.

- Attend workshops, classes etc where you have the chance to meet others in a like minded setting. Especially overnight ones. There are always group events happening in urban environments. Seek them out.

- This is going to sound dumb - but try to interact with people via social networks. It teaches you a bit of initiative and also leads to in person quality time in some cases. But be careful that you don't get swallowed by it.

- Have something interesting at your home - like board games, gaming , good list of movies to watch. That way you can feel comfortable inviting people over to hang out at your place and have a good time. It feels nice to say "I have a really cool board game - why don't you guys come over and let's have some fun, along with some beer/drinks"

- Be interesting - if you are passionate about 1 or more interesting topics outside work, and talk about it with folks you meet, they will remember you. It could be AI, self-improvement, meditation/mindfulness, running, fitness, music and so on. But learn to talk about your passion intelligently. It leaves a mark.

Solid advice, thanks.

As for some of your suggestions, it's not that I have a laundry list of out-of-touch friends. I keep in touch with every one of my good friends from High School and College. The problem is, that list is about | | <- that big. Also, I removed myself from all social networks (and have read a number of articles linking FB usage with depression, which I dont need more of).


> Also, I removed myself from all social networks

Problematic. For many people these are the only ways they are organizing activities together. It's all about how you use them...

As much as HN loves to hate on Facebook, it has its uses. I can't imagine it not hurting OP's chances at meeting new people.

Talk about your loneliness with anonymous strangers in the chatrooms. Reiterate your pain points to them. Never reveal your identity, never meet them.

You are not looking to make a connection.

The goal is to get bored with what ails you. After telling about why you feel bad 20 times to 20 different people your brain gets bored with this narrative. Then it moves on to more interesting things and you stop feeling bad.

This strategy helped me get over post rejection loneliness in few short months.

Remember, loneliness is not being alone. It's feeling bad about it.

> Remember, loneliness is not being alone. It's feeling bad about it.

I agree with the first part, but not with the second.

IMO, loneliness is not feeling bad about being alone, it is suffering from being alone. All four combinations of alone/lonely are more or less common.

Personally, I find the "not alone/lonely" combination hardest to take: feeling alone among people. Realizing that made me spend more time on my own and being less lonely as a consequence. Still, nothing helps when really feeling lonely, except meeting someone who does not make you feel even more lonely.

You are right. "Suffering from it." is much better way of describing it than "Feeling bad about it."

I was too feeling lonely not long ago after losing my partner of many years. I had fallen into a pretty bad state and just felt more alone with ever passing day. After my grieving I knew something had to be done and I decided to choose between two things I've always wanted to do, boxing and salsa dancing. I eventually enrolled in a boxing academy and love it. My coach is a great man, my fellow sparing partners are almost like family now. I have made a connection with these people I never imagined I would have. I suggest you think of something you've always wanted to do and just DO IT.

Bonus: I also look and feel great now thanks to working out.

I have moved a lot during my career (Oz/China/Thailand/Europe/US, 8+ cities, now 35) and frequently that meant arriving in a new country or city with zero friends, family or support network and making do, so consider myself well schooled in this problem.

The de-facto approach is drinking. Drinking is a great way to meet people but it is often skewed toward young to middle aged people without family so can get old/tired/irritating/self-destructive. The good thing is it's easily available all the time and there's a ton of venues, so if you don't like one just browse for another.

As others have said there is no substitute for social groups... there are many options here. One good one is dancing, there are quite a few cool social dance groups in many cities now, swing/salsa/tango/etc, and in general talent is firmly not required! The younger me would have said it's not my thing, but now that I'm in my mid 30s (and married with kid) I think it's an awesome scene and regret never getting in to it! Seriously, check this stuff out.

There are also a few good team water sports with big social elements .. things like sailing, rowing, outrigging, dragon boating. Sailing is good because you can do the social side but also get some self time, while being part of a wider community. If you want more team stuff, you can sail larger vessels where it's total commitment. The other options (paddling style) are pretty full on social and may be a bit much, depending on your personality.

Would you mind sharing how you managed to move so much as well as its impact on your career?

Skipped university. Made my own opportunities where there were none otherwise. Favoured cheap places. My career had very little to do with where I was physically.

Pick up a sport/hobby with a social aspect. Many cities (I'm assuming you live in a populated area) have City League sports you can simply sign up for, pay a fee, then get put on a team.

You can join a low level (or high level if you're competitive) dodgeball team, or soccer, or basically whatever strikes your fancy, then meet some new friends. It also gets you out of the house once a week or more with some new faces.

Thanks for the ideas. I've thought about it, but I.. I hate sports. I'll poke around for some non-sport related hobby groups, perhaps.

To add to the GP: you might consider trying ultimate frisbee. The barrier to entry for a city league is really low (little athletic ability and no domain knowledge required) and many players tend to be technical people: I know several software devs who play frequently. In addition, the community is the most welcoming and least disparaging I've ever seen in any organization, bar none.

If you're really really not into athletic pursuits, I would second meetup.com for your interests. You also might check to see if your city has any bars/restaurants focused around board games or trivia. Those are also great for meeting new friends.

Love for solitude is a great gift, I think. I used to be stuck between introversion and extroversion; on one hand I did things better on my own, on the other I sought validation from others, all the time. Guilt only amplified this problem. It was pretty toxic, and took many years to sort out .. it's only recently that I can feel 'substantial' enough to enjoy my own company. (I feel that this is actually an illusion, but a much needed one to save my own sanity!)

But you're right; we're social animals and will never get away with complete solitude. It sounds that you do enjoy your own company, but need the occasional 'break' from yourself. You mentioned that you have a handful of friends? Focus on them, even though you may feel that it's tedious.

I know that "going out and meet new people" is cliche but it's so true that it's a great first step. Try meetup.com to find out events that you might be interested in. Don't just go for tech, try a new crazy thing, oh and hiking ;) Sunning your face and relaxing your eyes over vast expanses can do wonders to the soul, I find.

Find a hobby that you want to do more frequently in a week. A hobby that allows you to have lots of people around you that you will see more frequently, but not necessarily forces you to talk to them.

This is the first few part of the friendship formula. Proximity and frequency.

+1 To that I would add that consistency is key in forming relationships at activities. If you show up consistently for the same activity without skipping sessions, you automatically become part of the "core group". People new to the group will now look to you for guidance. This will ensure that a) people come and talk to you and b) you are forced to talk to them and help them, and in doing so you'll forget about your own hangups c) your consistency instills confidence in others that building a relationship with you is worth their while

I've observed this in my own attendance at things like weekly pick-up sports games, organized leagues etc. Players who show up week after week are just as well-regarded as more-skilled, but less regular players.

a hobby, i usually do martial arts in a class environment. also for example consider getting a sociable pet such as a dog, bearded dragon, etc.

with a sociable pet you get company at home; and for instance with a dog there are usually local dog parks where fellow owners _eventually_ meet eachother and while not becoming friends always can be a social event with your peers.

I still struggle with loneliness from time to time. A sporting activity can help. In my case, I started sailing. I couldn't afford a boat of my own at the time (1994, I couldn't afford much of anything then to be honest), but the local yacht club is volunteer oriented and easy to join. I was able to sail club boats and that made it easy to interact with other people with a similar interest. The volunteer aspect meant I was frequently paired up with someone else helping out with club functions. Obviously it doesn't have to be sailing, but getting outdoors with an activity that involves teamwork can really help.

Also an introvert to some degree, and I've worked hard at overcoming this so I am indistinguishable from an extrovert. Working in front facing customer support, sales, marketing, management, fund raising ... yeah ... introvert is a bit harder for those things. So I had to adapt.

I've been working out at a gym for many years (semi-social, makes easy conversations possible with like minded people, though you have to worry about people with ear-buds whom don't want to be disturbed), karate (very social, good strong local friend group now ... go to dinner with them, go to events with them, all help each other).

I had in the past done various meetups (many years ago), to get conversations going.

I recommend getting a nice friendly dog; labrador breeds are great. I have a Chesapeake Bay retriever mix as as a rescue ... wonderful companion, and excellent conversation starter when I walk him. Very friendly, rarely barks ... he's a rescue, and had a terrible life before we adopted him.

The dog part is tremendously helpful BTW. When my wife and daughter are out, I can sit on my couch reading a book, and he'll hop up next to me for comfort. I'll talk to him, and happily, most of the time he doesn't answer ... though he knows enough words (treat, cheese, bone, walk, trot, outside, play), that I'm rarely really ever alone.

Find a hobby or pursue the ones you’ve got. No, not the React/node.js meetup, ya dork, something not tech related. Here are the places or hobbies I frequent where I could make new friends if I wanted to: 1. Local animal shelter. They always need someone to walk dogs. Personally I’m married, but were I single and looking for someone (in my case, female), oh man, it makes a great filter if you like animals. And the asshole ratio of folks I’ve met at animals is pretty darned low. On a related note, many in these comments suggest a pet. Know that a pet, especially a dog, is a lot of time and responsibility, and not to be taken lightly. Where do you all those animals at the animal shelter come from? Not a “child” level of responsibility, but my dogs take up a substantial part of my day.

2. Bluegrass jam, or any casual music circle thing. The people you meet are also people you might spend a weekend camping with because you end up at music festivals together. Gotta learn an instrument, though. And one one will occasionally run into the “gotta be better than everyone else and make sure they know it” asshole, but rarely. Usually a pretty mellow bunch, and the good ones let their playing, not their mouth, speak for their skills.

3. Some kind of sport, like running or cycling, or even beach volleyball I guess. Caution: could be assholes a’plenty if you get in the wrong group. I prefer runners, as they’re generally a more laid back group. Try trail running if you like it so laid back you’ll smell pot smoke before a race.

Those are the three things I regularly participate in where me might meet people (including a romantic partner), and generally nice people at that. Extrapolate to your own tastes and interests.

I almost tried accept and live with my loneliness for years as I thought I would need practice later on in life. It actually wasn't _all_ that bad, but I'm probably not a normal person. What got me a bit out of my shell was going out on dates from tinder or other dating platforms, and really you should venture into it as "I'd love to go to {XYZ} and check it out, I just feel weird (tons of anxiety) going by myself. It'd be great to just meet someone else there and try to enjoy the place together, regardless of whether or not it'll go anywhere relationship-wise."

I find it still really hard to make male friends as a male. I've even gotten numbers from other guys who I've met at a bar and had a blast with all night, but it's still just a little bit weird to call the guy afterwards. In order to make male friends, I think it takes a shared interest in something and repetition. Maybe through a meetup or a weekly rec-league dodgeball game or something that you wouldn't hate dragging yourself to.

Making that first step _is_ tough though. Good thing is that it's usually the toughest.

The big thing I've learned is that loneliness is simply your brain signaling you to go meet people - it's natural and there's nothing wrong with it. Meeting people is hard though - but there are plenty of ways to do it, especially now with internet. It does require a set of skills, though, just like everything else. I've found therapy can really help develop and tune them.

When I was younger and needed to get out more I took salsa dancing classes in large groups for a year or two. It's good exercise, great music, and gives you an excuse to go out and interact with real people outside the computer.

There's an interesting lesson in there as well about pair dancing, in that you can have wildly different experiences with each partner, similar to relationships.

Having had a similar phase in my life, the thing that helped me was philosophy and esoteric psychology. Especially: http://gnosticteachings.org/courses/gnostic-meditation.html

People speak about thoughts, emotions and actions as if they knew what they are or how they are gestated. "I AM mad!", "Because I THOUGHT that ...", "I do FEEL alone", etc.

They think they are behind their thoughts, emotions and actions, that they ARE what they think, feel and do, and nothing could be further from the truth and it is the easiest thing in the world to evaluate it because they couldn't stop thinking for a minute even if their life depended on it.

And this is the gravest error we commit, to believe we are in conscious control and therefore solving problems seems abstract or even impossible to us. As they've said in older times "if you know not that you are asleep, you cannot wake."

See once for yourself the reality of how unconscious awareness leads to chains of thoughts running completely on their own without the involvement of will or participation, leading to mechanical emotions and mechanical action.

See this happening and something is evoked, the capacity to act against yourself or the inner urge that drives you to behave in a certain way, the unconscious machine that merely reacts to impressions outside and inside. It becomes possible to act free of constraints where otherwise you would merely re-act according to how you think or feel or are accustomed to.

Philosophy called it the paradox of free will. From there on problems actually can be solved because inner change is possible and feasible. If you understand that the outside is merely the reflection of your inner state, everything can change radically.

I spent around 5 years crippled by this very issue, to the point where I was so lonely I was terrified of any social contact, and close to not wanting to continue. It took just as long to 'recover' from this very real issue. You are in no way alone with this issue, and I think is really felt throughout the IT industry.

The way I am learning to overcome my loneliness and social anxiety issues, is be forcing myself to go out with people when I am invited, and to exercise (perhaps to the extreme) with cycling, climbing, swimming, running, etc.

Remember however that loneliness is not something that anyone else can solve other then yourself. You may need to change your situation, and surround yourself with people similar to yourself, and understanding kind people if possible.

As others have said loneliness is a problem of situation, and lack of contact with others. Your absolutely doing the right thing by reaching out and talking about it however!

I'm like you - an introvert who likes being alone, just not all the time. And sometimes I just feel like hanging out with some new friends. I think meeting people isn't the primary problem, though - I just don't put in the effort to stay in touch with the people I do meet because most of the time I don't crave outside company or conversation. So when I do feel like being social, the connection is just not there - that is on me.

I recently joined a hiking group on Meetup.com and it looks promising. Being out in nature with other people who enjoy being out in nature, being active, seems like a good way to meet new people in a more relaxed setting (that is, not a loud bar or work event). Then the onus will be on me to stay in touch with at least a couple of them, but even if I don't there will always be the next hike where we could catch up.

The one thing that really helped me with loneliness was when I started chanting and practicing Buddhism. It was in fact the sole reason why I started practicing in the first place. It's been a long journey and although I would still consider myself an introvert, it has broadened my social network significantly. I do spend time alone occasionally but I have a family and a network of friends.

I believe human relationships and social interaction are the key to happiness and the lack of it is a major source of suffering. However, at the same time, we also have our individual characteristics that define us. Balancing both our need to be an individual and our need to be social relates to being in harmony with life.

I try to help as many people as I can feel less lonely so I'm happy to have a chat if you'd like.

Thanks for this question. I think many people will be curious about the comments here.

In my case, I have stopped thinking about it. Admittedly, some days it's not so easy, but the next day it's gone. What can I say. Some people like parties, others like strange things, and we like to be alone.

I'm very happy to see such a lively, helpful discussion sparked from my post.

May I ask what you do on the days that it is bothering you? Do you just keep going until it doesnt bother you?

I find that I can do this, and have been doing this. It's just lately... The days I'm stuck living and feeling my loneliness outweigh the days I forget about it.

That's a good question. I have been thinking a lot about it to try to give you an honest answer. Or maybe, give myself an answer.

As always, is complicated. Probably two major things happening. First, years of practice. Second, a new hobby/hope.

For years of practice, what I mean is, for example what I learned about myself while talking to a therapist. Also techniques from books, blogs, videos, etc. More interesting, and probably more important is what I have learn about how the mind works. That really helps.

The hobby/hope/purpose or whatever they want a call it, it's very helpful. I'll even say it's necessary. It has to be big, like the coolest thing ever. To make you wake up every morning thinking about it. Many of the activities recommended here could be a good option, but only if they would help you achieve that cool thing you like.

Send me an email and I'll invite you to our "Solo Founders" slack channel, it's not super active, but if you're feeling lonely or just wanna chat, it's nice to have a few regulars to reach out to.

We all help each other, which can be handy to bounce tech problems off too

Thank-you for your offer, might just have to take you up on it!

Forget about introversion vs extraversion. Its waste of time. Learn about attachement theory.

> Forget about introversion vs extraversion. Its waste of time.

What makes you say that? I ask because I've also become slightly sceptical of the idea. Is there real, empirical evidence for people being one or the other?

I remember hearing someone on a podcast (I think it was Ramit Sethi) talking about "Introvert Porn", where he's saying there's all this stuff online basically reassuring introverts that it's part of who they are and there's no point trying to change. The reality is that (in his opinion) social skills can be learned, and social interaction becomes less tiring when your social skills are better.

I'd love to hear any arguments for or against the introvert vs. extrovert theory, because I feel like I'm still making up my mind. I've always felt like an introvert, but I'd prefer to think of it as something that's in my power to change.

Introversion and extroversion is really a scale, but most people use it in a binary way. Plus, it varies by the context.

It has also taken on it's own social meaning. For example, shyness is often associated with introversion and that may not be the right way to look at it.

> Plus, it varies by the context

I guess this is the core of my question. How much is something allowed to vary by context before it's basically rendered meaningless as an idea?

Or you can look at the science:

"A 2012 study completed by Randy Buckner of Harvard University discovered that introverts tended to have larger, thicker gray matter in their prefrontal cortex — a region of the brain that is linked to abstract thought and decision-making — while extroverts had less gray matter. Buckner concluded that this might be accountable for introverts’ tendencies to sit in a corner and ponder things thoroughly before making a decision, and extroverts’ ability to live in the moment and take risks without fully thinking everything through (which has its cons and benefits, of course)."

We have different brain responses to arousal hormones - which is what allows introverts to do the abstract stuff that extroverts can't manage.

What you win on the swings, you lose on the roundabouts.

The two easiest/best ways to establish strong social connections are 1) a shared interest and 2) being introduced by a mutual friend/acquaintance.

You could look for groups to participate in that involve some established interest of you, such as a book club. You could also put the word out that you are looking to widen your social circle and find some means to signal to existing acquaintances that you would appreciate it if they kept you in mind or pointed you in the right direction. Just letting people know you are open to introductions can help foster them. Introverts are often basically giving off "Go away!" signals without really being aware of it.

I was part of a caring community for years. When Trump was nominated they decided that in order to support women men must be silent. It's been a lonely year. It's hard to make friends when you don't drink or care about sports.

-"go meet people" (how?)-

TLDR: Don't overthink it, just start with smalltalk.

Go to gym. Work out, simply talk to people. Go to a bar. Have a drink, simply talk to people. Look up amateur sport activities in your area (hiking, trekking, whatever). Join, participate. Simply talk to people. Why do I keep saying 'simply talk'? Because in the end it _is_ really simple. Loneliness is consequence of overthinking. If you don't feel confident, work on your image a bit. Some muscle mass and 'cool clothes' can do wonders (I know it sounds superficial, but hey it's truth).

I remember being very very lonely. It took a long time to accept the emotion as a transient feeling instead of a permanent state of being.

You have to put yourself out there and do the work. That means make friends or even friends of friends. Find a hobby? Join a coed team sport (softball?)... bowling league? meet ups? Take a cooking class... anything with other people and in some subject you would enjoy.

You can accept the emotion and recognize it for what it is as a passive observer. Take things one day at a time.

Can you give some more details of how you currently spend your time? Live in a city? How many hours do you work? How long is your commute? Do you work weekends? Live alone?

Work (enjoy what I do) ~40 hours/week. Commute is about 20 minutes one-way. No weekends anymore, thankfully. And yes, live alone. Free time spent reading, tv, WoW, learning. I try to hang out with a friend at least once a week for a few hours

Changing your living situation to include forced socialization can help. Move into a city center with social flatmates? On the more aggressive side of the spectrum, remoteyear.com

Use Meetup.com to find people with similar interests. Write down a list of things you enjoy doing with other people (hiking, board games, whiskey tastings), join 15-20 Meetup groups, and start attending meetups that appeal to you. This helped me find a group of hikers and discovered lesser-known hiking spots after moving to a new city.

I am an introvert, and meetups are a good way for me to control the circumstances and volume of socializing in my life.

My situation is a bit different. I work from home, it's gets really lonely at times. i focus on activities. I go out on bike, join biking groups on weekends once in a while, take long walks, go hiking with friends, play soccer on weekends, and ride a motorcycle. Through activities I have something to look forward and that's the basis of life. I do meet passing crowd through activities though only a few continue to be in touch.

Thank-you for sharing your situation. I think the more discussion on this topic, the better for all of us.

Walking/hiking seems like an easy habit to get in to with benefits abound.


I find it hard too.

What I do right now is: 1. Suck it up. This kind of works quite well for me, since I've also done meditation retreats in which you'll be forced to learn to deal with it. 2. If you don't have much time to go outside, then make it more of a point to call people. 3. Find something to do. Changing your attention to something else in which you can get engrossed in is definitely a good thing :)

I started to play games, with voice. Join clans, talk to strangers. After some time I was hanging out in raidcall room just to talk.

This is generic advice, I know… but go out and attend a planned activity that requires strangers to interact with each other. It can be salsa dancing, it can be Toastmasters, it can be poker, or anything in between. Just find some sort of time-bounded activity where you interact with people by default and can attend on a set schedule. Good luck!

Here's something that worked for me: all of a sudden I got this crazy interest in airsoft. Bought a gun and joined locals who get together every week to shoot at themselves. This is just an example, but the concept is great: find a hobby. You'll then find people with very similar interest, and hanging out with them is a lot easier.

Whatever other options you take, also arrange to get a counselor / therapist. Consider it an investment in your mental health. Adjusting to meeting more people is stressful and they will support you through it. You will also improve your personality (no matter where you start with, knowing yourself helps).

I don't think there is a solution to this other than a significant lifestyle or personality change.

Some people are personable and extroverted and are surrounded by people that want to be around them. For the rest of us it doesn't come naturally. I would suggest just becoming comfortable with it.

I joined a car club and met some acquaintances that way, hopefully some of them become friends. There's got to be something you like to do that other people like to do.


Just kidding. One thing I've learned to avoid depression: keep yourself occupied. While you're finding your solution it'll help you stop getting any worse.

You can try joining a no-profit local community. Also if you are in a tech city you can probably find a lot of tech-related meetups full of friendly people

You need a hobby outside the computer world, something you cannot automate, like fishing or sailing, to meet different people and share the passion

For me the simplest is to find hobbies that I like. I do martial arts or board games. They are both pretty social and easy to start for new people

I remember taking adderall and working 16 hour days for a few weeks at a time. Every once in a while I would message my friends with the word "helllppp" but I was too high generally to care about my predicament. That is how I dealt with loneliness in the aftermath of about failed wedding engagement

Loneliness is more widespread than you could imagine, and it effects every person differently.

The easiest way to develop friendships or make connections with people is to show up regularly to a scheduled event. Even if you are the shyest, most social awkward person in the world, if you keep showing up to a regular event you will help combat loneliness.

My first suggestion is physical activities. If you're not already doing something active start there. Doing something physical will wear you out and help keep your mind from focusing on being alone. It is also a great way to meet new people and have something to talk about. Join a gym, a running club, start going to a rock-climbing gym, join a hiking Meetup group, find someone at work or a neighbor that likes to bike and go for rides, join a sports club or team, play airsoft/paintball, go geocaching, etc. There is something physical for everyone of all body types and abilities. Lets say you like lifting weights. Start going to the gym 3 times a week. Maybe after a few weeks you see a free yoga class and are interested, take it. Say hi to someone. Later on that person may need a spotter, or have a question. Boom, you've made a (sort of) friend.

Once you have a physical activity built into your routine, find one or two non-work (and non-video game!) hobbies that you enjoy. Chess, tabletop games, fishing, walking around the city, going to museums, fixing cars/machines, restoring furniture, painting, drawing, old electronic restoration, going to bookstores, -- literally anything you could see yourself spending 1 or 2 hours of free time on per day or every few days. Start doing this regularly. Don't worry if it's alone. Being occupied with something you like will make your mind too busy too care. PLUS once you need to drum up small talk with a friend/co-worker/whoever you will have something to talk about.

Don't be afraid of "looking lonely". If you enjoy going to bars/coffee shops/dinner/whatever once in a while, go to one! If you can invite someone great, if not, go anyway. You'd be surprised how many people do things alone. If you have the gift of gab, chat them up. Maybe you won't have a new friend, but it will be some interaction. Sometimes all you need is to physically be present around people to help cure the loneliness.

Also, and this one was the biggest change that affected me, say yes to things! If you are lucky enough to get invited to do stuff (by family, coworkers, anyone), say yes. Even if you can only show up or do the activity for 30 mins, go. Saying yes has a snowball effect, the more you say yes the more you will be invited. If you absolutely need to say no, have no interest, etc, offer a counter-invite to a separate activity and then follow up. Also, invite people to do things. Even if it sounds boring/lame/mundane. Have errands after work? Invite someone. People are more willing to do boring stuff then you would think.

Thank-you for the indepth reply! I think a lot of valuable information is there.

I usually don't feel afraid of "looking lonely" but, there have been a few times I stop myself from going and grabbing a dinner at a bar / diner or whatever because I get caught up thinking people are going to pity me for being out to dinner alone.

I really like the counter-invite idea you mentioned in your last paragraph. I've been trying to say "yes" to everything I can but sometimes I just can't make it, and I've never thought to counter-invite.

change your diet first... again... change it meet ppl in your free time and be prepared to fail when trying to mingle, but enjoy the little moment of happiness that soon or later will come.

You could take up smoking. Every day I drive to work it's like the smokers are having a social get together. If you're worried about getting addicted you could start vaping 0% nicotine. The vapers are in the smoking circle too.

I haven't had a smoke in 2 years, not planning on going back to it. I grasp your point though

Good for you! I have quit off and on over the years. It's been a long time since my last smoke. I definitely used to meet more people that way though.

Email me if you ever want to talk. pryelluw@gmail.com :-)

Have you tried therapy?

You mentioned "fear" in context of reflecting on your situation but it is possible that it is some sort of "fear" that is keeping you from extending your social wings.

Join a local running club. Worked for me.

When I moved to a new city where I knew literally no one I spent a lot of time thinking about, and working on this problem. I generally have a pretty small circle of people I consider friends and for me friendship with a new person doesn’t “just happen” I have to interact with someone repeatedly (I don’t think it’s a revolutionary observation to point this out but it is worth noting that repeated interaction is key). At the same time though, I’m introverted and sometimes I just do not want to interact. So I thought about the types of interactions that I feel more comfortable in so even on days that I don’t want to interact I can still usually handle them.

For me that means meeting people via activities. I’ve additionally found I’m happier when I’m a bit active so a lot of the specific examples lean that way but the general principle is the same.

Structured activities where the whole group is 20 people or less I can almost always handle especially if the activity itself is solo and the group socialization part can be dropped into and out of easily. My favorite activities like this are target shooting or archery: can’t handle people for a bit? Go shoot targets no one will disturb you. Feel like interacting? take a break and go to the water cooler ask for a tip on your form, compliment someones grouping etc and a conversation naturally starts up. But as soon as you are getting overstimulated it’s easy to go “I should really go practice see you in a few rounds” and drop out of the conversation.

Classes where we have to partner up so I’m interacting with a person or several people within the class, but one on one, with a known end time, work really really well for me. On days I can handle more interaction the door to chat a little during class and usually there is some conversation that happens just after. On days I don’t feel up to socializing there isn’t an obligation though. And because the interaction is structured around a skill I don’t ever have to stress out about carrying a conversation. For me boxing worked well, as did dance classes (which after I had done for a while so I felt comfortable and less like I was going to step on my partners feet led to social dancing). Language learning classes and meet ups were tougher but still worked well.

The final thing I did took some work but It’s really paid off in terms of expanding the people I know: I actively tried to turn myself into a social information hub. I have become a person who knows what is going on in my city in any given week. What are the beer festivals? What community events? What operas or plays in town? What fun runs are happening? What concerts are coming up? I don’t go to 95% of the things I know about but it means I can immediately make myself valuable to a new acquaintance by going “Hey you expressed an interest XYZ did you know $eventRelatedToActivity is happening? Seems like something you might be interested in” which firstly shows them I listened to them which everyone likes and makes them like you more and secondly tells them I’m a good person to maintain contact with because I can point them to things they enjoy.

Start a family.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact