5 Ways To Connect With People When You’re Feeling Isolated & Lonely AF

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How To Deal With Loneliness & Isolation With These 5 Ideas For What To Do When You Feel Lonely

As a kid, it's so easy to make friends that you never think at some point in your life you'll be asking yourself how to deal with loneliness. But being lonely or dealing with chronic loneliness and isolation can have negative impacts on your health, happiness, and relationships.

There are steps to take in learning what to do when you feel lonely, but you need to be willing to take them.

After all, you don’t want to feel alone and isolated anymore.

RELATED: 5 Things To Try When You Can't Stand The Pain Of Loneliness

If you're feeling lonely and isolated then you recognize your need to get out and meet other people and connect. Is that true? Are you prepared to take positive action to help get over your solitude and social isolation? 

Even if that means reaching out to the digital world for connection to human beings, taking action might be scary. But, it's OK. The fact that you want to stop feeling isolated is enough to give you the energy to do something for yourself.

Kudos to you! There are a few ways to do it — both in person and online. It's not an exhaustive list, but it's a start.

Before the age of the internet, people who wanted to beat loneliness and isolation usually had to get outside and meet people. But, now, thanks to internet, you can beat isolation via chat rooms or social media, so that whenever you're feeling lonely, you just have to reach out.

(And we’re not talking about trolling the social media shadows or joining an online argument or perpetuating your favorite paranoia or conspiracy theory … seriously!

Why trade isolation for that when there are so many healthy alternatives?)

So, what to do when you're feeling alone? And, how do you meet new friends?

Here are 5 things to do if you want to stop feeling isolated, lonely, and in need of human connection. 

1. Join a Meetup group

Meeting people is a great way of dealing with loneliness. There are people out there from every conceivable walk of life and many of them like to get together to socialize or share the activities that give their lives meaning.

Meetup is a great place to explore theme and purpose-based groups that may spark your interest. There are Meetup groups for just about everything, and you can browse them easily based on your distance from where they meet. Isn't that cool?

2. Volunteer your skills or learn new ones

From beach clean-ups to sporting events to fundraisers to social and animal services — it’s hard to imagine a limit to what a volunteer can’t do.

Both for-profit and not-for-profit volunteer opportunities can range from advisory board positions to caregiving (for both humans and animals), ushering at symphony concerts to crowd control or general assistance at sporting events, rock concerts, or parades.

There are ways to learn new skills as a volunteer, too, provided you are willing to tackle the opportunity with an open and willing mind.

Connecting with volunteer opportunities is often as simple as dialing 2-1-1 from your mobile device or landline phone. These 2-1-1 call centers exist as community information hubs, and the representatives who answer 2-1-1 calls are experts at connecting people in need with organizations and agencies that serve their local area.

If you are an active social media user, you may also be able to find volunteer opportunities that way. Facebook Groups or LinkedIn for Volunteers are two of the biggest ways you can use social media to find an opportunity that suits your skills or allows you to learn new ones in a supportive, compassionate organization.

You may find that volunteering a bit outside your comfortable skill set — or even in a sector where you have no experience at all — is a terrific way to expand your potential, maybe even toward a new career. If you want to share your expertise, you will be able to find teaching and mentoring opportunities for that, too.

3. Become a one-person force for good

This is a bit outside the box, but you’ve heard and seen the unusual story or two that inspires you. Some of these stories relate to volunteers, while some are one-person initiatives. One of the best, simplest ways to cope with loneliness is to volunteer and do great things for other people!

Here are a few favorites! See if they spark your interest.

This is pretty self-explanatory.

RELATED: The 7 Types Of Loneliness (And Why It Matters)

This just about says it all. Not for everyone, but I know people who have participated, and it can be life-changing.

If you’ve seen Matt’s YouTube videos, you know that he travels the world and dances with anyone he can find. What a way to spread joy!

RELATED: 7 Signs You're Suffering From Chronic Loneliness

Yup, there’s a magazine about this! Get inspired. Sometimes, just reading about it is enough to bust open those feelings of isolation. No one has to win an award for it, but it feels good to know that good intentions are being put into action.

4. Join virtual groups

In addition to being a source for volunteer opportunities and meeting people with the same passions, Facebook Groups and LinkedIn for Volunteers are also excellent resources for virtual connections.

You can participate from your computer or mobile device, sometimes in a meaningful way. For example, if you have an expertise you don’t mind sharing, you can offer that to a relevant group people who need answers.

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5. Try podcasting

One interesting isolation-busting opportunity made possible by the internet is being a podcast guest. List yourself on a site like Podcast Guest or subscribe to their weekly guest request newsletter.

If you fit the guest qualifications for a particular podcast and want to appear, they make it simple for you to send the podcast host a quick inquiry.

Podcast interviews are usually recorded, edited, and "aired" at a later date, so you don't need to worry too much about making a mistake. All you need for this are some comfortable headphones and a decent microphone — your local computer store or even Amazon can recommend the best equipment for you to use as a guest.

If you enjoy talking to people this way, you may even want to start your own podcast on a subject that interests you.

It's amazing what is available on the internet these days.

The 21st Century is rich with opportunities to connect yourself to other real live people and even if that connection happens online, it can hold meaning for you in ways you might never have thought possible only a few years ago.

When you want to know how to not feel lonely anymore, just look online. There are a bevy of resources that can ease your feelings of isolation that you might really enjoy!

Use your favorite search app to see what might be out there, even in unusual areas you haven't encountered before. You could find yourself corresponding with graduate student researchers, testing new applications, or proofreading novels by emerging authors.

Opportunity is limited only by your imagination, so go for it! And please use caution so that you don't get scammed. You're on a responsible search for meaning, not just a frivolous kitten or puppy video binge and you deserve the best.

RELATED: 5 Completely Realistic Ways To Stop Feeling So Incredibly Lonely

There are times when getting out there, however that seems most doable, is just difficult. This article is a "start small" attempt to offer some ideas on how to not feel lonely, but even on the best of days, it can seem like an ordeal to be proactive about your isolation.

When I want to crawl back under the covers is usually the time when I ought not to! The paradox is that at the times when I feel most vulnerable, I'm also the most open.

If you feel that vulnerability and urge to stay isolated, that's the moment when change is nearest to you. Will you take that opportunity? It will keep offering itself until you do and I hope you do. That's the magic moment when everything could change.

RELATED: 7 Signs You're Suffering From Chronic Loneliness

Bill Protzmann is a speaker and life coach on a mission to raise awareness about the power of music as self-care through Music Care Inc

This article was originally published at Practical Heart Skills. Reprinted with permission from the author.