2 “I have what many would call a dream job working in California’s Silicone Valley. There I’m surrounded by many colleagues and acquaintances. I have no one I’d call a true friend. At times my loneliness is overwhelming.” —Cindy, 24 years of age “Sometimes I think there is something wrong with me. I’m married to a fine woman, have three great kids and a job which is satisfying and pays well. Yet, I feel very much alone, in need of a deeper human connection.” —Eldon, 53 years of age Loneliness is a widespread issue faced by many people today. Loneliness strikes the young and the old; males and females; the employed and unemployed; the married and single. Loneliness is no respecter of person, gender, age, or position in life. Exactly how many people suffer from loneliness is difficult to determine, because many people are afraid to admit they feel isolated. “In our society, loneliness is a secret we keep—sometimes from ourselves,” notes Ann Peplau, PhD., a professor of social psychology at UCLA who has studied the subject for more than twenty years.
“Loneliness has a stigma attached to it. There’s an assumption out there that if you’re lonely, it must be your own fault. Otherwise, you’d certainly have lots of friends—right?” Based on her research, Dr. Peplau speculates that “at any given time at least ten percent of the population feels lonely.” As depressing as loneliness can be, there is this good news: loneliness can be shaped, managed and even overcome. Here are a dozen ways to combat and defeat loneliness. 1 Remind Yourself You Are Not Alone in Feeling Lonely Loneliness is triggered when our need for a close, caring relationship is not met. This is a condition which almost everyone experiences at one time or another. Remind yourself that you are not alone in feeling lonely; that loneliness is a part of being human. Even those who wrote the Bible experienced bouts of loneliness. Many Psalms are cries of loneliness. Consider these: • Psalm 38:11—“My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague,and my relatives stand afar off.” 3