Are We Lonelier Now Due to Life's Changes?

Do you remember when family members often visited for no other reason but to spend time with you? Or you could call a friend or go to their house if you felt sad, and they’d be right there for you. Those were the days of pure connections. But sadly, things have changed a bit since. We don’t share that closeness as much or aren’t there for each other like we used to be. Comments like, “Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need me” or “We must get together” scarcely happens anymore. Therefore, it’s no wonder we feel lonelier than ever before. So, let’s discuss further how we can handle these emotions.

How Life Has Changed

Like everything else, life changes over time. We have advanced technology, enhanced science, expansive stores, etc. But what about changes in people? It seems we are more detached than ever before. We don’t see our families as much, we barely have time to spend with others, and we don’t reach out like we used to. We’ve grown more socially and emotionally distant over the years. But what has caused these changes?

Technology – There is no denying that technology has taken over the world. We use it for work or school, gaming, texting, watching videos, etc. It’s just endless. And because it’s immediately gratifying, people often prefer technology over others.

Demanding careers – Careers have become more demanding than ever before. It’s as if companies expect individuals to live purely for their jobs. But people rely on their jobs for financial security and are more apt to do whatever it takes to hold onto them.

Family obligations – Parents seem to have more responsibilities than ever before. Often, both parents have to work to survive financially. They then must keep up with their children’s extracurricular activities, cook dinner, help their younger children with homework, and complete bedtime routines with their younger ones, all in one day. So, it’s no wonder families don’t have time for anything else.

Social anxiety – Let’s face it, we live in more stressful times. Life is more hurried, finances are increasing, people are becoming more distant, or what seems rude to others. Yet, much of it is associated with anxiety. In other words, that not-so-pleasant friend of a friend might be anxious dealing with people. Or the colleague who didn’t say hello back might be panicking that you’ve acknowledged them. So, yes, more people struggle with social anxiety now than ever, whether due to the uncertainty of this world or life’s unrealistic expectations.

Narcissism – When we talk about narcissism here, it has nothing to do with a personality disorder. Everyone has some narcissism, but that doesn’t mean we’re terrible people. The problem becomes when it’s all about “me” all the time, which is altogether different. For example, suppose a person doesn’t call a very sick friend because they’d rather play a video game, or a sibling always asks for favours but never reciprocates. In that case, that would be considered more narcissistic.

How to Decrease Your Loneliness

So, now that we understand how the world has drastically changed and that relationships aren’t what they once were, what can we do about it?

1. Find someone who will be there for you.

Just because that specific friend or family member isn’t there for you like you had hoped, sometimes we must learn to spread our wings and find new people. You might make a new friend with someone at the gym, book club, or other community. Or, if you’re feeling lonely, you might find a support group with people you can talk with, listen to, and vice versa.

There are support groups of all kinds. But one such place is Barty’s Adventures, where they hold special events and adventures to help men feel better about themselves by keeping active, thus improving mental health. Barty – We Are A Mental Health Initiative.

So, get yourself out there and try not to rely too heavily on that person who hasn’t been there for you for some time.

2. Stop blaming yourself for everything.

It seems whenever anything goes wrong in our lives; we’re quick to think it was something we did. Next thing you know, we’re replaying the same scenario in our heads. For example, “My friend hasn’t called me in a while.” Did I say something to hurt her feelings?” Or “Maybe they found me boring.”

Unless you’ve said or done something to hurt someone, chances are it’s not because they want nothing to do with you. They may be struggling internally, overwhelmed with raising children, having problems in their marriage, etc. We never know what goes on behind closed doors. So, it would be best for you to let go of self-blame.

3. Take a chance at something new.

Did you ever leave a job fearful of the future only to discover that it opened a window to something better than you might have thought otherwise? The same can be true of a relationship. Until you explore elsewhere, you never know. Maybe the friendship changed for no particular reason. Sometimes, people grow apart for no other reason than life’s changes.

4. Accept that you can’t change people or every circumstance.

Our world is ever-changing. So, one thing to remind yourself is that you can’t change certain external situations or how people act. However, you can change how you react. That knowledge might be enough to free up your mind and let go without these circumstances negatively affecting you.

5. Learn to like yourself above all else.

We might feel like we’re not good enough when the person we care about is no longer there for us. But we may never know why things happen the way they do. Therefore, learning to like yourself rather than allowing self-sabotaging thoughts to take over could be the best thing you do for yourself. Remember, just because that person doesn’t come around anymore does not mean you’re not likeable. Plus, things roll off our backs more readily when we like ourselves.

Making Your Own Changes

Of course, it hurts when friends and family seem to disappear. But if you learn to see the situation for what it is rather than tear yourself apart, it gives it less power. And when you finally let go of what may be, you should hopefully find yourself moving forward and feeling less lonely.

Why Not Try Online Therapy?

Hopefully, these points could give some comfort, but sometimes just reading quotes isn’t enough. Online therapy can be a great option if you or a loved one is looking for more support.

Therapy through can be more affordable than traditional therapy and allows many options to communicate with your therapist from the comfort of your home. Most importantly, remember that it is okay not to be okay, and you are no less of a human for feeling your emotions and being vulnerable.

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Feel free to drop by if you’d like to chat and just say, ‘Hey Barty,’ in strict confidence, and you can be anonymous if you wish. Or do not hesitate to leave a question in the comments section below at any time.

Sandy Glover

Sandy is the resident mental health professional at Barty. She previously worked as a therapist, earning a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in counselling. Sandy has transitioned to becoming a peer presenter at several mental health settings through NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Her passion for mental health is evident in her writing as a subject matter expert who draws from personal experience, professional expertise, and education to help eliminate stigma.

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