I read recently that 35% of Americans suffer from chronic loneliness. Ok, I did read it on the American Bible Study building’s electronic billboard. But that doesn’t mean it ‘s not true. When I was single in my 20s, after a really hard break-up, I was so lonely that I could physically feel an ache in my stomach. Maybe that had some direct correlation to the emotional eating frenzy that was definitively not a sign of wallowing. No, that was not it.
With my coaching clients, I dole out a lot of strategy and advice. But the most valuable service I provide is a lifeline to a world where a healthy relationship can be a comfort. Unfortunately for the state of affairs on marriage in this country, loneliness is not confined to singles. But it is much harder to dig yourself out of the loneliness hole when you are single. I think of Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, banging and clawing her way out of the coffin that she was nailed into and buried 6 feet under. Almost impossible but she did it. Such is the work here. But it’s so worth it.
So how do you go from the isolation of living alone in a Facebook-induced haze of faux connection? Not that I am knocking Facebook. Geez, my wholeMatchmaker Café business is based on Facebook. But there’s a reason that all of this social networking makes us feel more lonely. We use it as an end in itself instead of a means to an end.
If you want to use Facebook for dating (which everybody does), take specific action. Connect with 10 old friends, message someone to ask them to set you up, or message me to stalk someone for you! (Yes, I do this and it’s very discreet – I’ll explain if you write me).
Don’t resort to emotional eating and watching the Real Housewives – that only makes it worse. Eat and drink from the cup of life – it’s scary but it’s the only way.
Don’t just comment and Like and tweet in virtual reality. Get yourself into real reality. Get out of the house. Walk into Whole Foods and ask a random guy about what he’s eating at the salad bar. Pat a dog that’s not yours (let him sniff you first). Smile at a stranger for 3 FULL seconds (then look away and pretend that wasn’t you).
I developed my Cablight theory one day when I realized that if a cab driver’s light were broken, he’d be driving around all day wondering why there were no fares out there. No one would flag him down. If you’re feeling that lonely, something is broken. Put your cablight on and be willing to try. Rejection does hurt but not nearly as much as chronic loneliness. I promise- I’ve had a lot of both.
Wow- this is heavy today. I need a slice of Bella at Two Boots!! Just kidding- sort of?