I’m an introvert, which makes it harder to cope when I’m tired of being alone. Most of my time is spent writing, reading, and contemplating the mysteries of God and our world. I rarely get lonely, but when I do I find myself at a loss for ways to reach out to others.
I recently received an email from a “She Blossoms” reader who asked for tips on how to be happy alone when a relationship ends. I’m not big on giving advice, but I’ve been thinking about her for days. I don’t know her exact situation – or even if she’s an introvert or an extrovert – but I know what I do when I’m tired of being alone.
These ideas for women who are tired of being alone include practical tips, commonsense advice, spiritual insights, and general thoughts on life and love. Whether you recently lost a loved one or you feel lonely in a marriage or long-term relationship, these ideas will help you reconnect with yourself.
The best way to cope when you feel lonely and tired of being alone is to reach out. You may not be able to pick up the phone or visit with friends this minute, but you’re welcome to share your story with me in the comments section below! You might be surprised at how comforted you feel after writing your thoughts down and expressing your feelings.
Here’s a snippet of my reader’s email:
“It’s been a week since I broke up with my boyfriend. After four years, I caught him with another woman. We started having problems with this same girl last year. He told me he loved me and I’m who he wants to be with. He also said they are just friends and I have nothing to worry about. But little did I know it was more than friends. When I caught them he then told me to get out of his house. I’m not welcome there anymore. I’m so heartbroken. I lost friends because of him. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. I just feel lost, depressed, and tired of being alone.”
When You’re Tired of Being Alone
It’s often helpful to get to the root of why you feel alone and lonely. For example, Melissa is going through the painful process of healing after a breakup and letting go of a man she loved and trusted. It takes time to grieve the end of a relationship – and she might even be a little bit feeling sorry for herself (she emailed in response to my article 4 Ways to Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself After He Leaves).
The grief that follows a death, divorce or breakup always brings feelings of loneliness. We’re faced with the sadness and disappointment of the end of a relationship. We have to cope with the thought of being alone for now…and perhaps for the rest of our lives. Being alone is hard because we were created for relationship and connection.
When I’m tired of being alone, sometimes I step back and take an objective look at my life. I ask myself questions like these – which I invite you to answer for yourself:
- How long have I been feeling alone and lonely?
- What specific experience led me here?
- Am I grieving something or someone I lost?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how comfortable am I being alone?
- What is the worst part of being alone? The best part?
- Who do I miss? Who do I want back in my life?
- Is this feeling of being alone and lonely normal for me?
The more you know about yourself, the easier it’ll be to cope with feelings of loneliness. For example, I remember often felt lonely and alone. I called it “existential angst”, The One You’ve Been Searching For – Echoes of Belonging. It’s normal to feel the loneliness of human existence, even when you’re happily married or surrounding by a loving family. We get lonely for something we can’t even name.
1. Learn the difference between “being alone” and “loneliness”
I rarely feel lonely even though I’m alone 70% of the time. I love silence, and could live happily as a nun or hermit. I rarely get lonely and in fact often feel lonelier in a group than when I’m by myself. But even I get tired of being alone; we really were created to be in relationship, and we feel the physical, spiritual, and emotional effects of isolation.
An idea for women who are tired of being alone is to understand the different types of loneliness. In How to Cope With Being Alone When You Feel Lonely, life coach and author Martha Beck describes three types of loneliness:
- Separation loneliness, which results from being physically distant from family and friends;
- Absolute loneliness, resulting from the belief that nobody understands – nor do they want to; and
- Existential loneliness, which is what Beck calls “a bedrock fact of the human condition: the hollowness we feel when we realize no one can help us face the moments when we are most bereft.”
What type of loneliness do you feel? Separation loneliness is about being physically alone, such as after a husband dies or a boyfriend breaks up with you. The other two types – absolute loneliness and existential loneliness (which I call existential angst) – are about feeling lonely emotionally and spiritually.
When I feel tired of being alone, I’m most often coping with existential loneliness or angst. It typically results in questions such as “why am I here?” and “What is the meaning of life?”
2. Let your loneliness and grief linger
We have a lot to grieve in this world, don’t we? Even if you haven’t lost people you love, you’re still affected by the pain and suffering of others. Whether you’re grieving a personal loss or saddened by other people’s trials and suffering, surrender to your feelings. Allow yourself to acknowledge your grief. Let yourself be sad and lonely for a little while. Simply facing your pain will start the healing process.
Remember that grief and loneliness aren’t just reserved for death or breakups. We grieve the loss of our childhood homes, parents, innocence, and even our dreams. We grieve articles of clothing and jewelry because of what they represent. We even grieve when familiar stores or restaurants close down, when houses are demolished, and when new buildings or tenants move into new spaces.
Being alone gives you the chance to grieve in healthy ways. You’re finally facing your pain…and this will heal you. When you feel lonely and tired of being alone, let yourself be. Be gentle and kind to yourself, as if you were a sad lost little girl…because in many ways, you are a sad lost little girl.
3. Pay attention to what and who makes you feel alone
In one of my other articles about loneliness (4 Meaningful Ways to Hold on to Hope When You’re Lonely), I described how alone and sad I feel after spending time on social media (especially Facebook). I experience all three types of loneliness when I’m scrolling through the updates on Facebook, so I avoid it – especially when I’m tired of being alone.
Womenshealth.gov has an excellent summary of why and how social media increases feelings of loneliness: “[Social media] pictures can be misleading and make it look like people are having a lot more fun than they actually are. Social media allows people to share their best moments, which aren’t always an accurate representation of everyday life. Try to remember that your friend with the “perfect” life has bad times, too — they just don’t share those pictures.” – from Beat the Holiday Blues.
This isn’t just about Facebook. It’s about you, and how certain activities, places and people affect your feelings of loneliness. Notice when you feel most alone and lonely. Pay attention to the circumstances, and start thinking about how you can affect your own life.
4. Listen to what the still, small voice is telling you
When I feel alone and lonely these days, I go directly to God. I’ve been creating time and space for personal relationship with Jesus, and He is slowly changing everything – for the better! Growing spiritually and emotionally is painful, and loneliness is part of the deal. Deep growth requires solitude, peace, and silence…and that always includes feeling alone and lonely.
How do you cope when you’re tired of being alone? What has worked in the past? Sometimes it feels like a chore, but it’s important and healthy to make the effort to do what works for you. If God – or His still small voice, or your intuition – is telling you something, listen. What do you feel compelled to do, drawn to experience, or curious about? Go there.
5. Are you an introvert? Learn your level of “loneliness tolerance”
On How to Cope With Being Alone, I confess that my ideas for women who are tired of feeling lonely are easier for me. The majority of people in the world are extroverted (people who gain energy from being with others), and will do everything possible to avoid being alone. In fact, I recently learned that most people would rather get electric shocks than be alone with their thoughts!
One of the most important ways to cope with being lonely and feeling alone is to know your own personality. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Take this quick, free little A Test for Introverted Personality Traits to find out.
6. Allow loneliness to lead you onwards and upwards
Research from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst found that older adults have different – and more positive responses – than young adults about feelings such as serenity, sadness and being alone. According to this study (called “Older adults have their own perspectives on sadness, loneliness and serenity” in the Aging and Mental Health Journal), it seems that the older we get, the more we welcome being alone.
“Older adults report feeling more serenity than younger persons,” says associate professor Rebecca Ready, who works in the department of psychological and brain sciences. “They also have a richer concept of what it means to feel serene than younger persons.”
What do you think of the idea that the older you get, the more serene and settled you feel? How does this relate to your loneliness when you feel tired of being alone?
Your comments – big and little – are welcome below! Answer the questions I asked in my first tip for coping when you feel alone, or when you’re tired of being lonely. Share your experience and story. Writing can bring clarity and insight, help you sort through your feelings, and grow you forward in unexpected ways.