Having someone close that you can call when you are upset, or just when you need to discuss the season finale of your favorite show is priceless.
But when you are an introvert or going through a time of isolation reaching out to make friends can seem unbearable.
Thankfully, we understand your struggle and can help with these sure-fire ways to encourage friendships when all you feel like doing is barring the door while you enjoy your coffee and magazine in silence.
Social isolation usually isn’t something an individual wakes up one day and decides they are going to do.
It comes on gradually. One day you decline an invitation to an engagement party, and the next day life seems to be happening without you.
Breaking out of your shell and getting out with a few close friends is not only good for your mental health, but your physical health too!
The Guardian reports:
“A study has found that social isolation can increase your risk of having a stroke or coronary artery disease by as much as 30%.”
Isolation and feelings of loneliness go hand in hand. Monica Gabriel Marshall, writing for Verily Magazine, has found in her own experience that those who are lonely choose to be isolated.
Some people isolate after breakups, are coping with single life, or don’t feel they can relate to anyone.
While this behavior is no stranger to society, the psychology of it is now being looked at more in-depth.
According to the researchers on psychology and neuroscience of loneliness at the University of Chicago, lonely people respond negatively to social stimuli.
The findings were reported in the journal Cortex and show that loneliness “triggers a cascade of brain-related changes that put us into a socially nervous, vigilant mode,” Dr. Christian Jarrett explains in New York Magazine.
When we feel socially nervous it makes us want to do whatever we can to leave the situation and not put ourselves in that situation
Shut Off Screen
Verily Magazine reports:
“Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin conducted a survey amongst 316 18- to 29-year-olds and found that the more lonely and depressed participants were, the more likely they were to binge watch TV, “using this activity to move away from negative feelings.”
One quick and effective way to open yourself up to meeting new people is to turn off the electronic devices and pick up your head long enough to see all the opportunities in front of you.
Not many people like to commit to a dinner date or any social engagement, just in case something better comes along.
Making plans is great for this who are having trouble making friends from isolation because it makes you feel like you are moving forward.
Lock in a date or two a month to start with an acquaintance from art class or a friend that you have met with before to enrich that relationship.
Charity provides opportunity to socialize with no pressure.
The people you serve have no expectations on you, freeing you up to move out of your isolation and meet other like-minded individuals who like to volunteer.
Meet up groups are perfect for narrowing down your friend selection to someone you already know has similar interests.
There are groups for just about anything you can think of. So don’t worry if you don’t have a hobby per se, you can try something new until an interest arises.
When a friendship begins to flourish you can work on your hobby outside the group, or expand into other areas of social engagement.
Good friends are those that lift you up when you are down and encourage you in all your endeavors.
Stretch outside your comfort zone and try encouraging a friend when they share something new with you.
It will amaze you how close you can become from such a small, but impactful action.
Those who isolate tend to wait on others to reach out to them for a coffee date, or to hit up the next basketball game.
Call one friend to initiate hanging out, or host a party at your house. A lot of time can be wasted waiting on others to meet your needs.
Be proactive in creating meaningful friendships. And if the first friend can’t commit, don’t give up. There are plenty of friends waiting to be found.
Learn to Let Go
When you spend a lot of time alone it is easy to let your mind run wild on why a friend hasn’t called you, or why that girl who you talked with a lot in hiking group hasn’t texted back.
Café Mom suggests, “Don’t hold every missed engagement against them or think it means more than it does.”
Being resentful only hurts you in the long run, and it’s very possible that the friend is having similar thoughts while waiting for you to reach out to them.
Get in a Routine
Make preset social engagements that run on a continual calendar to keep you from staying isolated.
It feels nice to have a friend that you can rely on to see once a week for a walk to catch up on all that has happened since the last time you talked.
Isolation can snowball quickly into a lifestyle that takes a lot of effort to break out of. If you are already there, pick one of these tips to get yourself out of the house.
You may have had your heart broken, trust betrayed, or any other number of relationship woes that have caused you to push people away.
But we are social creatures by nature, and that is proven by the science of human separation discussed above.
Having someone in your corner when you need them the most is more important than we realize, and you won’t regret the time and effort it takes to get that.
Please let us know in the comments section if you tend to isolate and how it has affected your friendships.