3 Tips to Ease Loneliness

with No Comments

Recently, my daughter spent a day in an assisted living facility. The residents were on lockdown because of an illness spreading through the facility. One lady seemed particularly lonely. As Bethany was emptying the trash in her room, she noticed the deep sadness hovering over this dear woman and decided to simply sit on the couch next to her. Bethany pulled out her phone and started showing the resident pictures of her 5 boys and telling her stories of all the boys’ antics. The resident perked right up and asked many questions. She confessed that she was missing the friends she usually ate supper with. Here’s the thing: it’s not just assisted living residents who are feeling lonely. 

Research tells us that loneliness is at an all-time high. Though many would be considered well-connected on the internet, they lack close friendships.

Here’s the thing: God invites us to connect with and cherish our friends. When we do,  the result is great joy! When you feel connected and experience a sense of belonging, your joy grows because you were designed for community. 

C.S. Lewis valued his friendships and apparently wrote to a friend of his, saying, “If I had to give a piece of advice to a young man about a place to live, I think I should say, ‘sacrifice almost everything to live where you can be near your friends.’” In this day and age, with the internet, FaceTime, text messaging, video messenger, and a host of other ways to stay in contact, it isn’t as necessary to live close as it might have been in C.S. Lewis’s day. However, it takes intentionality to keep the friendship thriving. I have come to realize through the years that friendship is a spiritual issue and something that God honors. 

The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about friendships. As I’ve been reading through the book of Proverbs once again in my early morning times with Jesus, I am loving the wisdom it provides on deeper connections. As I’ve been slowly reading and meditating on these poetic truths, I’ve been particularly struck by all the relational advice Solomon gives. God’s invitation to us is to treasure our friends. He invites us to invest in these relationships so that we, and them, experience the joy of belonging. How do we do this? 

3 Tips to Ease Loneliness

Be Loyal. “A friend loves at all times” (Proverbs 17:17). If ever there was an attribute that mirrors the heart of God, it’s loyalty. Loyalty speaks to faithfulness and steadfastness. Just as God is loyal to us in never-ending friendship, He calls us to mirror His heart in our friendships. When you treasure your friends, you’re willing to put the effort in to keep your promises, take initiative, and stay steady even through challenging seasons. Just as God is faithful and steady in our lives, He calls us to offer that to others. 

If you want to ease your loneliness, be intentional about cultivating loyalty in your relationships. 

Be Forgiving. “Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends” (Proverbs 17:9). Think about how often Jesus forgives you for your offenses and mess-ups. Staggering, right?! Again, we are to mirror that same mindset in our friendships and relationships with others. The truth is, people, even close friends, will offend you from time to time. It’s part of being human. However, each offense that we forgive moves us one step closer to Christlikeness and it cements the value of our friendships. 

If you want to ease your loneliness, stop holding grudges! Holding on to hurt is not helping you feel more connected. Instead, it’s contributing to your loneliness. 

Be Empathic. “To answer before listening – that is folly and shame” (Proverbs 18:13). “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out” (Proverbs 20:5). Each of us is a complicated human being with thoughts and feelings. If you want to enjoy closer friendships, create the space to listen and draw others out. Listen attentively – not to fix someone’s situation – but to let them know you are in the suffering with them. Don’t use pious platitudes. Most situations are very complicated so simply let them know that their feelings make sense to you.

One practical way to be empathic is to send a handwritten note or card to a friend who needs a little encouragement. Let them know you are praying for them, and with them in the battle. I have discovered that beyond text messages and Instagram posts, friends love cards. They take a bit more effort, but send a powerful message. 

Everyone I know has had enormous stress over the past few years. Loneliness, fear, and depression have been on the rise. As followers of Jesus, we have the opportunity to offer deep Christlike friendship to others. As we pursue deep connections with those God allows us to be in relationship with, not only will we bless others, but we’ll also feel more connected ourselves. As a result, we’ll experience far greater joy! 

A New Resource to Help You Feel More Connected! Rooted Joy comes out May 2 and is the first in the Girlfriend Gathering book series. These books are short resources designed for either a girlfriend’s weekend retreat or a 4-week Bible study. 

Each will include 4 short ten-minute videos that will be downloadable when you buy the book.

You can preorder your copy of Rooted Joy today and begin thinking about which friends you might gather this summer to dive in deeper!

This week on The Connected Mom Podcast we’re talking with Dr. Saundra Dlaton about rest. Feeling tired? This is your podcast! 

Leave a Reply