Conquering Isolation and Loneliness in Columbia, SC—Counselors and Coaches
Everyone is connected to everyone else these days. Instagram. Google Chat. Snapchat. FaceTime. Facebook. Twitter. With the press of a button on a smart phone or tablet, someone in Boston can see and speak to someone in Tokyo. But much like people can be in a room filled with people and still feel lonely, people can have access to technology and social media that allows them to connect while still feeling disconnected from people. In fact, research is showing that social media may be a lead contributor to loneliness people feel.
People may be sharing their selfies, but are they sharing themselves? Connecting with loved ones is not necessarily the same as interacting with them on social media. Deep connection occurs when people are known to each other—when friends know each other’s fears and doubts, when loved ones know each other’s hopes and dreams. Fighting loneliness means pursuing healthy relationships.
“Our uniqueness makes us special, makes perception valuable—but it can also make us lonely. This loneliness is different from being ‘alone’: You can be lonely even surrounded by people. The feeling I’m talking about stems from the sense that we can never fully share the truth of who we are. I experienced this acutely at an early age.” —Amy Tan
Within a healthy relationship, people share their truth, as author Amy Tan explains, and they are accepted for who they are. To fight their social isolation, many people are setting their tables and phones down, and they are tuning into their friends and family members. They are opening up about their own lives, and through these healthy connections, many are feeling less lonely.
If you are like most, you may be reading this and thinking, “well, I’m just not great with social skills.” That is an understandable thought, but the truth is that social skills are like any other skills—people can improve. Some may be naturally better than others, but everyone can do better. Many people are working with a counselor or coach to do just that—learn the social skills they need to build a deep community for themselves.
That is why Thriveworks Columbia offers counseling and coaching for loneliness—the isolation of modern life is not inevitable. We have worked with many clients who felts alone, but with intentional effort, they now have a network of support and care.
Building a Support Network
A skilled therapist can help people find the particular social skills they should cultivate and will help them the most. However, there are a few tips that can help almost all people as they are building up a support networks. Here are a few keys to having better relationships and feeling less lonely:
Key #1: Rethink Community.
Sometimes people do not see how much community they already have in their lives because they measure it by a preconceived standard that their current relationships do not fit. People may think of community as an idealistic Normal Rockwell cover for The Saturday Evening Post or according to their favorite sitcom. However, community is rarely that perfect. Today, people are rethinking community.
Having community does not necessarily mean living one’s life within the same small town. People are defining communities in ways that work for them. For some, that means joining an adult volleyball team, a book club, or a religious group. For others, it means volunteering at a local pet shelter or as a youth soccer coach. Community can be anything, so long as people feel connected and known.
Community can be anything, and it can be found anywhere. Many people still find meaningful connection in those small towns. Others enjoy the bustle of a city where they know their favorite corner store is open 24/7. Others wants the rhythm of a suburban life. Deep community can be found online as well, when intentionally pursued.
Key #2: Pursue Inner-Circle Friends.
Healthy community means having all different kinds of relationships—some deeper than others. Acquaintances are the easier type of relationships to build. They are usually built upon convenience, but they also dissolve easily. People also need deeper relationships—they need inner-circle friends. These friends are the people to call to share a success or a disappointment, and they return the favor. These friendships last through life’s challenges and changes. Inner circles friends…
- Interact with each other outside of the original context where they met. You may have connected with this first at work or through the Parent Teacher Organization, but inner-circle friends move beyond convenience and support each other in different contexts.
- Can ditch poker night or the manicure when one or the other needs to talk. They can just be together with no other activities.
- Trust each other with their true selves. When people go through a divorce or receive a promotion at work, their inner-circle friends will know about it.
Counseling for Isolation at Thriveworks Columbia
Are you ready to learn more about building community and conquering loneliness? Anyone can establish a strong support network, and many people are working with a counselor or a coach to learn how. Thriveworks Columbia has appointments available for fighting loneliness and building community.
At our office, we make evening and weekend appointments available, and we accept most insurance plans. When you first call to schedule a session, you may be meeting with your therapist the following day. We do not keep a waitlist. Our hope is that every client who wants more community in their lives will received the help they need when they need it. Contact Thriveworks Columbia today.