Very Special Episode
Loneliness. Loneliness is one of the biggest, most serious happiness stumbling blocks out there. One of the keys — maybe the key — to happiness is strong connections to other people. The lack of these bonds, even temporarily, is a major happiness stumbling block. When we know what kind of loneliness we’re feeling, it’s easier to see possible ways to tackle it. For instance, have you experienced…
For instance, have you experienced…
- New-situation loneliness
- I’m-different loneliness
- No-sweetheart loneliness
- No-time-for-me loneliness
- Untrustworthy-friends loneliness
- Quiet-presence loneliness
- No-animal loneliness
- No-friend-group loneliness
- I’m-alone-in-this-experience loneliness
- Parent-of-young-children loneliness/Empty-nest loneliness
- Everyone-else-is-having-fun loneliness
So what to do about loneliness?
- Take steps to connect with others (obvious, but important)
- Show up
- Revive a dormant friendship. We talked about this in episode 79.
- Nurture others.
I mention two books that I highly recommend: John Cacioppo and William Patrick, Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, and Emily White, Lonely, a memoir about the author’s own experiences and research into loneliness. Also, in my books The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, I write a lot about how to build and strengthen relationships. I also mention the immortal line from Russell Hoban’s brilliant picture book A Bargain for Frances: “Do you want to be careful, or do you want to be friends?” (If you’d like to read a New York Times piece I wrote about my love for Frances, it’s here.)
Elizabeth skipped a Moms’ Night Out.
I give a gold star to Eliza and Eleanor for encouraging (nagging?) us as a family to get a dog. Our dog Barnaby makes us very happy.