What helps Loneliness (from Franzoi/Oswald's Social Psychology):
- Comfort food and hugging a pillow, stuffed animal, or pet are more soothing than other distractions and coping mechanisms.
- Paying close attention to whoever we're interacting with. In particular, asking them more questions and saying nice things about them (practice non-self-centeredness.)
- A common social deficit among lonely people is over-disclosing personal details about their lives too early on when getting to know people. Learning discretion and disclosing more and more over time, slowly, is an important skill (relationships based on early and detailed self-disclosure, whether reciprocal or not, tend towards co-dependence and aren't likely to last.)
- Regulate moods before interacting. Aiming for a neutral state—appearing calm—is an important skill.
- Realize that people don't generally notice nervousness, and can't detect your thoughts and feelings.
- Internet interactions can actually be beneficial to loneliness, but only if they complement face-to-face/IRL relationships (superficial/passive online connections and interactions tend to increase loneliness.)
- Consider: social skills training programs, DBT, group therapy, theatre/improv.
- Social skills training focuses on four key areas: active listening, communicating respect, empathetic responding, and self-disclosing (ACES.) Adding in practice with relaxing the body during socializing also helps.