The most common thing my readers say is: “I need someone to talk to.” Sometimes we don’t need advice or help – we just want someone who will listen without judging us good or bad, smart or foolish, right or wrong. But how do we find that person? Who do you talk to when you feel lonely, sad, confused, hurt or scared?
If you need someone to talk to, you are not alone. You may feel alone, perhaps because your friends or family don’t listen well, are busy, or don’t realize what you need. Maybe they’re distracted by the text messages on their smart phones or the Facebook updates on their iPads. There are so many big and little things screaming for our attention…and this makes us feel lonely and unheard. Alone.
You are more normal than you think if you’re searching for someone to talk to. I hope this doesn’t disappoint you. This month alone, more than 4,400 people searched for the exact same phrase. At some point, every one of us finds ourselves not knowing who to talk to – or even how to find someone to talk to. You are as normal as the person next to you.
You don’t need advice, do you? You don’t need more information, distractions, or even tips for finding someone to talk to. You need someone to listen. If you’re on the road or living away from your family, you may need someone who understands homesickness and lost identity. Read 7 Easy Ways to Make Friends When You’re Traveling Solo.
I’m glad you’re here. I’ll share a few ways to find somebody to talk to (more tips, advice, information that you don’t need!). But I’ll do you one better: I’ll listen. You write what’s on your heart and soul in the comments section below, and I will read every word. I won’t give you advice because that’s not my job, but I will listen.
6 Ways to Find Someone To Talk To
When I need someone to talk to, I often write in my journal. This is a good way to sort through my honest feelings before I share them with my husband, friends, or family. But, ultimately, finding someone you can be authentic with is almost as important. There’s something about sharing our secrets and deepest feelings that frees us. When we talk to someone who is accepting and non-judgmental, we can accept ourselves. We can work through our problems and find solutions that help us move forward in life.
When you’re looking for someone to talk to, be wise. Don’t share your secrets or bare your soul to the first person who will listen – especially if it’s someone you don’t know well. Also, be careful not to share your personal information on the internet – even in the comments section of a blog like this. Share your experience and feelings, but leave your name, location, and phone number out of the comments box.
1. Find freedom with likeminded folks
Yesterday I was at a writer’s course; we meet every Sunday afternoon at our local library. We’re working our way through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, and talking about ways to be more creative and artistic in our daily lives.
I needed someone to talk to yesterday. I’ve been struggling with my obligation to people like you, my readers! I love blogging and I love when readers comment…but when they ask for advice, something inside me clenches and hides. I’m not an advice giver or counselor. I’m a writer. I can listen, but I just have no advice to give.
I’ve been struggling with this problem for years. I didn’t realize that I needed someone to talk to until yesterday in my writer’s group. I shared my struggle, and about 10 minutes later realized that my obligation is to myself as a writer and artist. I am not obliged to give relationship or life advice, even if people ask me for it.
2. Learn how to ask for what you need
My group of writers didn’t give me advice or tell me how to respond to my readers. They just listened.
My group didn’t tell me what I “should” do, or tell me how other writers deal with a similar problem. They just listened.
My group didn’t judge me because I said I need someone to talk to. They simply listened.
if you find a group of like-minded people, ask them not to give you advice on your problem. Be clear that you simply need to share your experience, and that you don’t want solutions. When I need someone to talk to, I often forget how important it is for me to be clear on my goals for the conversation. This leads to disappointment and hurt feelings…so it’s better to be clear on what you need before you start talking.
3. Find someone who sincerely wants to listen
In What to Do When Your Wife Won’t Talk to You, several readers described how difficult it is to have a simple conversation. You’d think talking would be easy, wouldn’t you? Especially between people who are committed and in love.
It’s possible to respect and even love your friends and family members, but not to feel heard by them. Sincere and honest listening is a skill many of us don’t learn in school or at work. When you’re considering how to find someone to talk to, don’t just keep “good listener” at the top of the list. Make sure they are sincerely and genuinely interested in listening to your story, from beginning to end.
4. Look at your inner circle
The best tip on how to find someone to talk to is to evaluate your existing sources of support. You may feel alone, but the truth is that there ARE people in your inner circle.
Here’s a list of potential people to talk to:
- Intimate partner, spouse, or dating partner
- Family members nearby
- Relatives farther away, but within phone or Skype reach
- Peers (coworkers, fellow students, neighbours)
- Teachers, bosses, supervisors, team leaders
- Spiritual leaders, pastors, priests, rabbis
- Peer counselors
- Support groups
- Doctor or specialist
- Community resource people, such as at recreation centers or neighbourhood clubs
- Social workers or social services
- Transition house or shelter workers
- Womens’ advocates
- Distress or helpline in your community
- Victims advocate helpline on the internet
- Health lines or mental health resource lines
Ironically, this list doesn’t include what I did when I needed someone to talk to yesterday: a social group of like-minded folk! A Meetup, hiking group, or art group can be one of the best tips on how to find someone to talk to.
5. Consider expanding your outer circle
In the above list of potential people to talk to, I started with the most common “inner circle” people and moved outward to people you don’t know as well. Starting with your inner circle may not be the best tip for finding someone to talk to!
Sometimes we need to talk to someone who isn’t part of our inner circle, who doesn’t know us well. Maybe we’re embarrassed or ashamed of our problem, and we don’t want our loved ones knowing.
I think that’s why so many people comment on my blog posts. My articles are personal and offer practical tips on real struggles we have in love, marriage, and relationships. Readers don’t know how to get help solving relationship problems from people they’re close to, so they ask me for advice.
6. Learn how to talk to strangers
Are your communication or social skills a little rusty? If you’ve been lonely and not talking to people for awhile, you may not know how to make small talk or connect.
In Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know Malcolm Gladwell says we don’t know how to talk to strangers. Thus, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world.
Instead of wandering around your private island of isolation and loneliness, learn how to talk to strangers. And you’ll learn how to talk to yourself.
If you feel like you have nobody who cares enough to listen when you talk, read What to Remember When You Feel Like No One Cares.
“We’re all just walking each other home.” – Ram Dass.