Nobody wants to be alone. You feel sad, depressed, unproductive and become closed off from the world. Being lonely is not only bad but it can also be dangerous, not just for yourself, but for others as well. John Cacioppo gives a TEDx talk on the lethality of loneliness. Loneliness has been on the rise with the increase 1 person households over the years. People don’t like to talk about loneliness because it is stigmatized or embarrassing.
We are evolutionary designed to be social creatures and if we disconnect from others, it can affect our survival as individuals and groups. Lonely people live shorter lives. There are warning signals for us to be aware of so we know when to reconnect with others. Just like when we get hungry, we get food or water when we are thirsty, we need to socialize with others when we start to feel lonely. This socializing can’t be substituted with online social networks but needs to be in person and feel another’s touch.
John proposes 3 steps to overcome loneliness. First, recognize the warning signal and don’t deny it. People may recognize they are lonely and just ignore it to go back to playing Final Fantasy or just stay home and text message people. Second, understand what being lonely does to your brain, body and behavior. Feeling isolated puts yourself in self-preservation mode and has unwanted and unknown effects on our thoughts and actions. Third, respond and develop the quality, not the quantity, of relationships. You can confide to a close friend, spend good times with friends or family, or be part of group or community that is bigger than yourself for a good cause.
Everybody knows being lonely is bad, but it is not always obvious why it is bad and how to overcome it. I felt very lonely and socially isolated growing up and I coped with by playing a lot of video games. This numbed the loneliness and did not really help, but actually hindered me in the long run. It wasn’t until I learned game and started going out and developing relationships with other people that I felt happier and had clearer thoughts.
Whenever you feel isolated, reach out to a friend or family member and spend time with them. Go out with them for coffee, drinks or dinner. Watch a movie, play sports or a board game, or go on a trip. Cultivate those relationships so you never feel lonely. If you move to a new city where you don’t know anybody, you build rapport and make new friends, attract women and create or join a social circle quickly so you will be happy, productive and healthy. Understanding game will help you accomplish this.