Genesis 2:18 the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.”
There are 7 billion people in this world, and yet loneliness is becoming more and more common. It has been reported that the average number of close friends Americans share has dropped from 3 to 2. And the number of people in America with no close friends has tripled since 1985. If you are one of these people, who suffer from loneliness you are not alone.
Interestingly loneliness is not a term used in the Bible, although the word alone occurs 195 times in the NRSV version. Being alone is often a good thing and does not imply loneliness. Jesus had 12 close friends, and of those 12, Peter, Andrew, James and John were held even closer. Even with this intimate group of friends always around he still often chose to be alone with God, which is still not alone and would not be lonely. These 12 men were called to friendship and set out to bring others into this fold.
Isaiah 41:10 do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
Improve social skills–Practicing social skills can be very scary especially for the introvert. But practice anyway. Speak to at least 2-3 people a day if possible. Smile, make eye contact and say ” Hi, how are you?” They may reply with a simple “fine.” However, it is the smile and the eye contact that will have the real impact on your loneliness level. Asking others questions takes the focus off of you and offers it to the other person. You are now thinking of someone else, and loneliness is moved aside even if only for a moment.
Increase social interaction–Put yourself in places where you can meet other people. Even the seemingly superficial act of asking “How are you?” as I have said can have an impact. If you can find ways to increase the questions, you will have more interaction. Ask for help finding something in a store. People love to be helpful, and you are offering them a chance to feel needed, and show they care.
Avoid negative thinking–Not all of the conversations you open will have a positive impact but keep your feelings neutral. The smile and the eye contact you offer will be the thing most remembered and what you said will be forgotten very quickly. Unless by chance, you said something very positive to a lonely person and made their day. That they will remember and you have done a very good thing! Try to have a positive impact on everyone you encounter today. It is a win-win!
Seek support systems–Look for groups that share your interests and join them. I once said to someone, “Close friends aren’t made they just are.” It did not take me long after to realize that was not even close to accurate. Friends are made, by seeking people with whom you have commonality. By taking an interest in them and what interests them. By noticing their low times and offering encouragement. By sharing in their joys and laughter. When you do this for others, you just might find that it comes right back to you.
Remember you are never alone–We were created in Love, by Love, for Love. Open your heart to the Love of God and offer it to others. It is the Love I feel from God and for God that pushed me to write. It is my Love for His people that prompted me to send it out. When I have moments of loneliness, I think of you. You warm my heart.