She’s the life of the party, conversing with all, entertaining most, but truly knowing none. She goes home feeling empty. Why does everyone but me seem to have people in their lives who care? The thought runs through her mind constantly. She prides herself on being friendly to all, but it’s been years since she has had a real friend. She is a lonely person. She is a person who has many around her, but feels alone at the same time.
Her pain is at the tipping point. She interacts with many, but at the end of the day, she has a lot of acquaintances and no real friends. She is an extrovert. Her story isn’t unique. She like many outgoing types. She is funny, great at telling stories, and can’t keep her mouth closed for more than a few seconds. Everyone assumes she is happy. She wants to be. It’s a desire she’s never been able to satisfy. She is a lonely person who needs to know something.
Truth for the Lonely Person
He’s the guy who would rather stay at home than go to the party. He’s as happy as a clam to be able to simply read a book with a cup of tea by his side. At the office he is a minimal conversationalist. He enjoys conversation, but it drains him. He feels taxed by small talk – it’s superficial and unnecessary in his mind.
A group from work meets for drinks in the evening. Why does everyone but me seem to have people in their lives who care? He battles the thought in his mind. He realizes that he isn’t much of a people person, but every so often he is hit by a ton of bricks with the desire to put away his loneliness.
A Universal Desire
If you find yourself in one of these stories, then you are dealing with something that approximately 1 in 5 people are dealing with right now. Loneliness.
Mother Teresa once said, “The biggest disease today is not leprosy or cancer or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for and deserted by everybody.”
In fact, researchers have estimated that social isolation (loneliness) increases the chance of premature death by 14 percent – a larger percentage than obesity.
Sorry to make matters worse…
The Truth That Makes a Difference
Consider these words of AW Tozer:
God is indeed there. He is there as He is here and everywhere, not confined to tree or stone, but free in the universe, near to everything, next to everyone, and through Jesus Christ immediately accessible to every loving heart.
Often the problem for the lonely person is that they pay attention to people’s acceptance or lack of acceptance of them more than they pay attention to God’s acceptance of them. The lonely person must begin to find their identity in being a person made in the image of God, valued by God, loved by God, and, through Jesus, rescued by God.
The lonely person must first look to God for their remedy.
Secondly, as much as we may like this to be different, people do make a difference. They can easily be part of the problem, but they can also easily be part of the solution.
Here are a few thoughts on gaining a friendship:
- Reciprocity is vital for a friendship – befriend those who want to befriend you.
- Take a chance – you won’t gain a friend without a level of vulnerability (you know, trying to grab coffee for the first time or something similar).
- Take a genuine interest in others – ask questions, let them talk, and listen to what they say.
- Get out of the house.
- Be yourself.
Loneliness can creep into the lives of anyone – outgoing or reserved – so fight it relentlessly from the right foundation. God first, people second.
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