Maslow’s hierarchy includes five different types of human needs. The third need on that list, behind only physiological needs (food, water, etc.) and safety needs, is the need for love and belonging.
When we aren’t in a romantic relationship, it can be difficult at times to feel that we belong. Lacking this basic human need can cause loneliness.
However, belonging and love doesn’t only come from being in a relationship. We can find these basic human needs in other ways and overcome loneliness as a single person.
1. Understand That We All Experience Loneliness
When we feel lonely, it is easy to think that we are the only ones experiencing loneliness. It is important to understand that loneliness is something we all experience at one time or another.
A study conducted before the COVID-19 Pandemic estimates that 61% of American adults experience loneliness (Scientific American). If you are experiencing loneliness, you are among the majority. While you may feel that no one else feels the way that you do, you are not alone.
Loneliness is a perfectly normal emotion to have. We just need to learn how to overcome feeling lonely so it doesn’t control our lives.
2. Change the Way You Think About Being Single
In 2020, the US Census found that almost 50% of Americans were single, and a lot more people are choosing to stay single. Why are people choosing to be single?
Well, there are a lot of scientific benefits to living a single life. Among them include:
- Better financial decisions
- More time to think
- More productivity
3. Focus on Yourself
When you don’t have someone else to worry about or plan around, you can focus your energy and efforts on yourself. It is easier to create your ideal life when you don’t have to factor in what someone else wants.
4. Spend More Time with Friends
People in relationships spend the majority of their free time with their significant other. Unfortunately, that doesn’t leave much time for the other people in their lives. Being single means that you can spend a lot more time working on and maintaining your friendships.
5. Better well-being
Single people have been found to be in better shape than people in a relationship. This is partially due to single people spending more time exercising because they have fewer competing obligations.
It is also common that being in a relationship changes people’s eating habits, such as eating larger meals or eating at restaurants more. Single people have more control over their own well-being because they don’t need to accommodate another person.
6. More Schedule Flexibility
When you only have your schedule to worry about, your life is a lot more flexible. Sure, you still have obligations, but your free time is your time.
You can travel, make plans, and do what you want without worrying about working around someone else’s schedule. When loneliness sets in, it can be good to look at the many positive sides of being single.
7. Do Some Self-exploration
A great way to begin overcoming loneliness is to do some self-exploration. What do you really want out of your life? What does your dream life look like? Asking yourself these questions can help you identify what you want and allow you to start working towards those goals.
8. Pursue Meaningful Interactions
Another way to overcome loneliness is to engage in meaningful interactions with people. When someone asks you how you are, don’t just say “good” and move on. Take the opportunity to have an actual discussion.
In today’s society, we are focused on moving quickly and getting things done. But we need to find time for meaningful conversation because we are naturally social beings. Make an effort to seek these interactions every day.
9. Involve Yourself in Social Activities
A great way to feel less lonely is to get involved in activities that foster relationships. This could be joining a reading group, going to a local event, attending a group exercise class, or volunteering at a local nonprofit. Think of a social activity that you are interested in trying out and go for it.
10. Take Care of Something
Taking care of something else gives us a purpose because we know that we are relied on for that thing’s survival and success. You might get a pet or a new houseplant but find something that requires attention every day. Pets are incredible for emotional support and comfort if you take care of them well.
11. Talk to Someone About How You Feel
It can be difficult to open up to people about feeling lonely but telling someone how you feel can be a great relief. We often hold emotions inside and let them build-up, but holding in our emotions just makes us feel a whole lot worse. Telling someone about our loneliness helps us feel less alone and provides the other person with the opportunity to try to help.
12. Work on Yourself
We all have ways that we can improve ourselves. It’s so much easier to work on ourselves when we aren’t in relationships.
Being single is the perfect opportunity to devote time to the things you want to change about your life. Maybe you wish you were more physically fit, took better care of your skin, got more sleep, woke up earlier, kept your house cleaner, etc. Whatever you wish was different, get to work on changing that thing for yourself.
13. Know What You Truly Want in a Relationship
Another great thing to do when you feel lonely is to identify what you truly want in a relationship. Feeling lonely might put you in a place where you are willing to accept any opportunity to start a relationship with someone.
But being single is better than being in a toxic relationship out of desperation. Make a list of the qualities you are seeking in an ideal partner.
14. Grow your Social Network
Growing your social network doesn’t only mean bringing more people into your life. It also means bringing people into your life who add value and make your life better.
There are likely people you used to spend time with that you haven’t talked to in a while. Maybe there’s someone from work that you always wanted to get to know but never made an effort. Build connections with those people and put effort into fostering those new relationships.
Final Thoughts on Being Single and Lonely
Loneliness is completely normal to experience when you are single. Use these tips to help combat your loneliness and get back to living the life you love.