How to break the vicious circle of loneliness

Loneliness can trigger a cycle of psychological reactions that perpetuate the situation and can actually make things worse. Self-protection and social avoidance can make your fear for loneliness become a self-fulfilling prophecy. As a result, you miss opportunities to make social connections.

Getting out of that vicious circle is not easy. But The Lonely Corner is here to help. If you struggle with loneliness, there are three important lessons you need to keep in mind:

You probably have high expectations of interpersonal relationships. As a result, there is a risk that you will not see meaningful connections – or opportunities for them – or that you will reject them because they do not meet your expectations.

Lesson 1: Don’t set the standard that the connections you desire must meet (too) high. You don’t have to be 100% the same to have a connection. And don’t expect too much too soon – give a new connection time to grow.

You may be holding back because you have negative expectations about social interactions. You look too much for signals that indicate that a contact is not meeting the requirements. Subconsciously you are prepared for the disappointment and rejection you are expecting.

Lesson 2: Be responsive when an opportunity comes up and remind yourself that it might actually have a positive outcome. Have a little bit more faith.

If you have been feeling lonely for a long time, you may have developed a negative self-image and you are probably judging both yourself and other people negatively. You may feel less safe in social situations and focus too much on signals that indicate disapproval or rejection.

Lesson 3: Don’t assume the worst about how others feel about you. Challenge your negative thoughts and reserved attitude by trying to be more open to new connections.

It may not be easy, but remember: many people struggle with this. You are not alone!