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 or pitying us. But how do we find that person?
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 vying for our attention…and this makes us feel lonely and unheard.
If you typed in the search term “I need someone to talk to”, you are more normal than you think! 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. And, you don’t need advice, do you? You need someone to listen. I wrote How to Get Good Relationship Advice – but there is a difference between asking for help versus simply needing someone to talk to. Below are several tips on how 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.
I’m glad you’re here. After your read my tips for finding someone to talk to, feel free to leave a comment! I don’t give advice, but I am a good listener.
7 Ways to Find Someone To Talk To
When you’re looking for someone to talk to, make sure you put “trustworthiness” and “good listener” at the top of the list! Do not share your secrets or bare your soul to someone you don’t know well.
If you’re in a relationship with someone who uses you, read How to Fix a One Sided Relationship (but don’t expect miracles!).
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. Join a group of people who understand you
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 dear sweet adorable readers! I love blogging and I love when readers comment…but when they ask for advice, something inside me shrivels up and dies. I’m not an advice giver or counselor. I’m a writer. I can listen, but I can’t tell anyone what they should do.
I’ve been struggling with this problem for over five years, and 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 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. Start with 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. Pay special attention to 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. Get help communicating with people
Are your communication or social skills a little rusty? Here are a few resources that might help…
In How to Talk So People Will Listen, Steve Brown shares tips on how to be heard. For instance, he offers ways to motivate your kids or employees, convince your boss to give you a raise, speak with confidence to large groups of people, or give a report that won’t leave people snoozing. This is a great book for people who need help standing up and speaking for themselves – and it will help you learn how to say “I need someone to talk to” without feeling awkward or ashamed of yourself.
In How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships, Leil Lowndes offers 92 easy and effective sure-fire success techniques for talking to people. If you tend to be shy and socially awkward, you’ll learn a lot from her techniques and information.
- 9 ways to make a dynamite first impression
- 14 ways to master small talk, “big talk,” and body language
- 14 ways to walk and talk like a VIP or celebrity
- 6 ways to sound like an insider in any crowd
- 7 ways to establish deep subliminal rapport with anyone
- 9 ways to feed someone’s ego (and know when NOT to!)
- 11 ways to make your phone a powerful communications tool
- 15 ways to work a party like a politician works a room
- 7 ways to talk with tigers and not get eaten alive
It’s possible that you already know who you can talk to, but you don’t know how to connect or start the conversation. In that case, you need to learn new skills for communication.
7. Tell me 3 people you have talked to in the past
Years ago when I needed someone to talk to, I’d call my sister. I also seemed to have more friends when I was young, single, and in university; now my friends are all busy with their children and aging parents. Sometimes when I look back at the people I could talk to in my past, I see sources of support here in my present.
Who have you talked to in the past? Do they remind you of anyone you currently know? Tell me about them in the comments section below. You might even tell me about the thing, person, or relationship you need to talk about.
While I can’t offer advice (as you may have guessed from my tips on how to find someone to talk about!), I do read every comment. I encourage you to respond to other readers’ comments if you feel led, and to share your experience. Writing often brings clarity and insight, and can help you process your feelings.
“We’re all just walking each other home.” – Ram Dass.