One of the biggest challenges of being single is loneliness. But it does not just hit people without partners, it is everywhere. In researching this topic, I found articles in the Harvard Business Review, Washington Post, The Guardian and on NPR. Even the former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is concerned and states there is a “loneliness epidemic.” So, if you are feeling lonely, you are definitely not alone. There are a whole lot of others who feel just like you do. Here are some ideas for finding your people, and perhaps learning something new, getting some exercise or making a difference in the world:
Churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, or other places of spirituality
Depending on your beliefs, this might be an excellent option for finding friends and gaining some spirituality along the way. I have noticed many of the larger organizations have small, more personalized groups and having gone to some of them, found people to be very kind. I think the best way to do this is: google potential places of spirituality, make a list of the ones you like, prioritize and try a new one every week or two. Not only will you meet some great people, you will also learn a lot and have a new appreciation of the world.
Meetup is an online site connecting people of similar interests. One can find groups for learning a language, traveling the world, dancing the tango, hiking Mt. Whitney, reading Kafka, investing in ETFs, creating apps, cooking Thai food etc. etc. etc. Years ago, I attended a hiking meetup and met a lot of fun people. We are all friends to this day!
Traveling abroad, I have found visitors in hostels to be especially nice. When I was in Edinburgh, Scotland eating breakfast, hostel guests sat down and joined me. There was a really sense of community and it was fun hearing about others’ adventures. My big concern was the partying 20-year olds but I was pleasantly surprised to find every demographic represented and visitors open to meeting others. I’m planning on doing some more research in the spring. (It was not all perfect. A friend and I went to another hostel with the word “backpacker” in its name and encountered urine on the stairs, holes in the ceiling leading to creepy places and a very disturbing shower.) I figure I will look at hostels on Hostelworld, research accommodations to avoid Euro-party spots/ disturbing backpacker crash pads and reserve a single. (At this point, I need my own room.) If you’re interested, look for my article in March or April!
Paraphrasing Oprah or some other sage of modern living: If you feel sad and alone, go help someone. It takes the focus off gloomy you and makes the world a better place. There is so much opportunity! Assist with a community fun run, socialize cats at an animal shelter, tutor someone who needs an adult in his/her corner, deliver Meals on Wheels, sign up to work with the Red Cross, cradle babies at the hospital, or take the CERT training and become an expert in community emergency preparedness. Not only will you be making the world better, you will meet other people who are doing the same thing!
Attend local city council meetings. Do you see a need in your community? Talk to city officials about starting a committee. Nothing unifies people like a cause. You’ll meet people and affect positive change in your community at the same time!
I have a friend who just took a singles cruise along the Dalmatian Coast and had a wonderful time. On these specialized cruises everyone is open to meeting others and tour operators are very mindful of bringing people together. I have never sailed the single seas but am looking into it. If you go first, please report back!
Check out the Sierra Club website! There are so many hikes, ways to help the environment, education opportunities AND, as an added bonus, meet people! They even have a section on international trips to help people around the world!
Attend a charity event! You can Race for the Cure, donate blood for Red Cross, play golf for Rylie’s Angels (one of my personal favorites!), etc. Meet new people and do some good!
Check your community and library event calendars online. There is a plethora of author talks, festivals, classes, book clubs, community theater events, trash pick-ups, nature walks, etc. Take your pick!
Animals are good for your health, enrich your life and make darn good friends. Maybe a pet would be a good option! Please keep in mind, they are also a huge commitment. I think the best entry into potential animal ownership is going to your local animal shelter and socializing the animals. If you enjoy that, try fostering an animal. You will become fully aware of the responsibility and can make an educated decision regarding pet ownership.
Just writing this piece has gotten me excited about all the opportunities out there! Try some of these ideas and report back! Or, let us know about your ideas! There are a whole lot of people in this world. No one should feel lonely...
P.S. How do you like my new “Find your clowder…” design!? (A clowder is a group of cats.) I wanted to combine the Spinster’s Guide® cats with searching for friends! Check out the Spinster’s Guide® Boutique for laptop sleeves, travel mugs, etc. featuring this new design!