Even with a population over 7 million, London can seem such a lonely place to those who are new to the city. You can even have a horde of colleagues and other acquaintances around you and still feel like you have no one. Loneliness can take over and can become a huge problem affecting many aspects of your life and can cause, or be a symptom of, depression and anxiety problems. Loneliness affects all of us at one point in life, you are not going through this alone; read my advice below to help you understand and overcome loneliness. Also sign up to new2london and start meeting new friends!
The difference between being alone and being lonely in London
Being alone means theres no one with you right at that moment whereas, being lonely is feeling theres no one there for you or to share life and thoughts with you. As humans we need to be part of communities, relying on each other for a variety of reasons is normal behaviour. Failure to act upon our natural instinct for meaningful interaction can cause loneliness, which is defined as; a feeling, usually sad and sometimes devastating, that one needs more companionship than one is currently getting.
The 5 types of loneliness
This is when you miss a loved one and can become afraid of rejection. It will heal in time and is very common when a relationship comes to an end
“The individual feels cut off from a group that he or she feels is important”. This basically means you feel youve been unjustly cut off by a group. If this is the case, firstly speak to one of the people in the group whom you trust. If they truly are your friends, they will make an effort. If not, you must expand your potential to meet new people in London. Joining interest groups or sports teams will increase your chances of forming new friendships.
Culture shock happens when you move to a whole new culture. This normally affects people new to London. Try to seek out individuals from your original culture, or indeed anyone else who is new to London, to help you adjust to London life.
Everybody feels cosmic loneliness sometimes. Its also known as “existential loneliness” the sense that its not possible to achieve perfect, complete intimacy with another person. Or more simply put, this is when you have nobody to open up to.
This can be due to past experience – loss of a loved one, for instance or due to your psychological make up.
Recognise the problem
As with a lot of personal problems, the first thing you need to do to overcome loneliness is to admit its a problem. Denying that loneliness affects you may seem like a temporary solution but will only cause more problems along the line and denial will delay the only solution to the problem; meaningful relationships with other people.
What causes loneliness?
You may be surrounded by many people, flatmates, work colleagues etc however, these relationships may be superficial, you do not choose to be with them; this lack of intimacy can cause you to have problems confiding your inner feelings. if you are missing meaningful relationships, and the reassurance they give, in your life this can lead to loneliness and, more seriously, can be a sign of depression. Try opening up to your acquaintances, it may help you overcome lonely thoughts and help you get closer to people. If you find this hard, you may be really shy, which could be due to anxiety -there are groups which will help you overcome this. Above all you need to take risks opening up to those around you if you feel they are going to be receptive. Being new in London and in need of friends, you will need to take the first step in turning your acquaintances into friendships or otherwise, looking elsewhere for friends. Avoid getting hurt by assessing the people around you; are they genuine, would I be able to take this relationship further? Friendships generally dont happen overnight, persevere, it will be worth it.
If you spend all of your free time at home alone, this will only to lead to negative thoughts, unhappiness and inevitably, loneliness. You should keep active: play sports – this will keep your mind active, your body fit and youll also be surrounding yourself with people, volunteer – this will make you feel good about yourself and help you meet people. Alternatively, join an interest group. If your work keeps you away from direct contact of people try to spend your evenings and weekends socialising and going to public events. Try to do things youd normally do alone with others; If you spend a lot of your spare time studying, ask someone in your class to join you or if you like to swim or go to the gym, find a partner or group to work out with.