How to Kill Loneliness

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Loneliness is a phenomenon we’re all familiar with. At some point or the other in our lives, we come across a situation where we feel like we have no one to talk to or no one who truly understands us.

Maybe a long-standing friendship or relationship just got broken. This can set in a depressed and lonely state.

So the question is – how does one deal with this loneliness and eliminate it? In this article, we’re gonna look at just that with the help of Psychology.

What is Loneliness?

Before tackling how to deal with loneliness, we should understand what it means. Loneliness is nothing but unhappiness caused by few and less satisfying relationships.

You could know a lot of people (acquaintances) and have “friends”, but you can still be lonely if they are not close enough & the relationships are not fulfilling.

Why Does it Happen?

Loneliness usually happens for 4 main reasons:

  1. Genetics
  2. Attachment style
  3. Learning during early life
  4. Culture

1. Genetics

Sometimes, there is a genetic factor which leads to loneliness. It’s not clear how it operates, but the genes affected may be linked to depression and hostility.

Higher states of depression and hostility can lead to more loneliness. Depression can lead to withdrawal from others. Hostility can lead to hurting others or forming a negative impression on them.

2. Attachment Style

Attachment style refers to how much security you experience in your relationships with others. It is affected by how you evaluate yourself and how you evaluate others.

Do you see yourself positively or negatively? Do you feel others are trustworthy, dependable and reliable (you have interpersonal trust) or not? These evaluations are formed during infancy/childhood.

Based on these factors, there are 4 attachment styles:

  • Secure: High self-esteem & high interpersonal trust. This is the ideal which will help you avoid loneliness the most.
  • Fearful-avoidant: Low self-esteem & low interpersonal trust. It is the most insecure & least adaptive style. Has the highest risk of loneliness.
  • Preoccupied: Low self-esteem but high interpersonal trust. You really want close relationships but you don’t feel you’re worthy of it. You feel that this may bring about rejection.
  • Dismissing: High self-esteem but low interpersonal trust. You feel you deserve a close relationship but don’t trust others. Hence, you may reject others at some point because you don’t want to be the one being rejected.

3. Learning during Early Life

Lack of social skill development early in life can also result in loneliness. If you’re not aware of the proper or best way to interact with someone, you won’t be successful in your interactions.

For example, if you’re too hostile/aggressive, shy/withdrawn, or teasing (without paying attention to any hurt/anger caused), then you’re less likely to do well in social situations.

These habits do not just go away after childhood unless there is some intervention. Hence, they could continue all the way to adulthood.

4. Culture

The culture you grew up in can also affect the loneliness you face. For example, studies indicate that North Americans tend to place the main blame for loneliness on unsatisfying intimate relationships. South Asians, on the other hand, tend to blame it on their own personal shortcomings.

What Can You Do about It?

There are two main treatments suggested – cognitive therapy & social skills training.

While I’m not a psychologist, it is evident, based on what we’ve understood and what these treatments target, that there are two main things you need to change.

Continue to Page 2 >

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11 thoughts on “How to Kill Loneliness

  1. I think, from scientific point of view lonliness isn’t caused by Genetics. As far as i know it says something which is completely contradictory. Staying In​ group is in our genes which is why we are social beings. Could you site some resources. Otherwise nice article. I’d agree

    Liked by 1 person

    • Okay, that’s possible. The book cites: McGuire, S., & Clifford, J. (2000). Genetic and environmental contributions to loneliness in children. Psychological Science. 11, 487-491.

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    • But I agree with your view to an extent. Being away from the group is not in the best interest of survival and hence evolution would not favour it. But I think it can appear in the form of a recessive trait. So generally it would be undesirable, but in such a case where it may come in handy, it would help the species survive. For example, if the herd is blindly doing something which will lead to their demise, staying away from them would help the species survive even if the ones in the herd die.

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    • Hey. Commend you on taking the plunge. 😀 That’s good. Unfortunately, I’m not into relationships at the moment. Take care. Love yourself and when the time comes, someone who’s right for you and loves you too will come along. Cheers and have a great day. 🙂

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    • comentou em 7 de julho de 2012 às 09:51. eu sou normal, mas acho que essa “normal girl” tá fazendo mta força, viu? nunca fazer a unha, comprar bolsa pela pr!cdtidaie?a?!menas, filha!ainda não te encontrei, nem entre as minhas amigas, nem entre as amigas da minhas mãe, nem entre as amigas das minhas vizinhas, nem na escola, ou no trabalho!quem sabe nas cavernas do afeganistão!

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    • It certainly sounds like your husband is already cheating. Looking at the evidence you presented— you asked him about her posting on his facebook wall. He denied any wrongdoing. Then he starts making phone calls to the exgirlfriend. If not cheating their is definitely deception. I would confront him immediately and try to get the truth!

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  2. Well brought to the point. I agree that we need to apply a biopsychosocial approach to look at the different aspects of loneliness and how it differs for different people in different contexts. I heard that more intelligent people also need less social contact (but I didn’t to the research so far how this has to be understood) … Thanks for the nice article!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Yes, a combination of techniques may be required to cure loneliness. This could also be because loneliness has different sources and some cases may be caused by only one source whereas others may involve various sources that contribute to the problem.

      Oh, interesting view. I found one source which seemed a bit credible, since it cited some book references. Yes, you’re basically right. It seems that intelligent people are better equipped to handle some situations due to their intelligence and therefore may not require as much social company. In fact, socialising can get in the way of them completing their goals. Hence, they prefer less socialisation in comparison to others.

      (Though in general, it seems that people are happier with more socialising. I’d say that if you’re an introvert, this may not be the case. Introverts tend to be more drained from social activity).

      It was interesting to note that intelligent people are not necessarily wiser. Apparently, a lot of them in their old age felt like they could have done more during their lifetime. They may also have more anxiety since they contemplate mundane issues.

      Thanks for adding to the article with your mention of intelligent people’s social contact. Was nice to learn about their socialising and life patterns through it. 🙂

      Source: http://www.psychology-spot.com/2017/02/loneliness-and-intelligence.html

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi. That’s a great service to get all this research results from you, thanks a lot. Good point to mention introvert characteristics. There are views that being extrovert is some what easier to maintain high self-esteem and subjective well-being, what may be related to the benefits from more social contacts too. Happy to be connected to your blog!:-)

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