How I coped with loneliness

There are many instances in my life where I have had to cope with loneliness and I feel like much of this community goes through periods of loneliness as well. Feeling lonely can be difficult to deal with and can often lead to depression if not handled appropriately. That's definitely something I've gone through.

Something to remember when you're experiencing loneliness is that is doesn't have to last forever. Very often loneliness can ruin your mood and lead to catastrophizing your situation. Going to a new school and having no friends, moving to a new city and leaving your friends and family behind. Having current friends and family move away. For me, my worst periods of loneliness have come after these types of big life transitions.

When I first moved to San Francisco I did not know anyone. In Miami I was very social engaged almost everyday with my friends or family. Then suddenly I gave all that up for a new job and moved to the opposite side of the country. My Fridays changed from happy hours at the Wharf to being completely alone in a crappy subleased apartment. My Saturdays changed from college football with friends to being completely alone in a city I didn't know. My sundays changed from Church with my family to not having anyone to talk to.

I felt isolated. lonely, and just plain sad. I knew to cope with these feelings I needed to keep my mind occupied. Before I started work, I challenged myself to get out of the apartment before 9 each day and to not go back until the sun went down. For that first week after I moved I feel like I explored every inch of SF. I was walking around 40,000 steps a day, seeing parks, beaches, cafes, museums, cliffs, hiking trails, and even the bad parts of SF which gave me a lot of perspective on my situation in life. Although I was completely alone, I was keeping myself busy which did help. On weekends I went out by myself. I didn't know where to go or what to do exactly, but I knew staying in my crappy apartment by myself would not help my mental state. I would google nice bars in my area and sit there by myself and talk to bartenders. I learned a lot about Mezcal and found that bartenders can actually be really interesting to talk to. Although I was completely alone, being out of the apartment on weekend nights helped me cope with my loneliness.

I also attribute a lot to Equinox. It's definitely expensive but it helped me get through a bit of a depression. When I felt particularly isolated and depressed about not having made any friends, Equinox was always my escape. The greeters and regulars were always great to be around. I really believe working out can help get you through periods of bad mental health and obviously helps your physical health.

I also picked up some new hobbies. I walked into a Lamy store and found that fountain pens are actually really interesting and collectable. I do a lot of writing now everyday. I got into some new shows and movies. I watched all of the Sopranos, Succession, Barry, and Peaky Blinders. I would do anything to keep my mind occupied.

Of course despite my best efforts there are still times when I'll be sitting at the cliffs at Lands End and realize I'm still pretty lonely. I miss my friends and family. I miss doing all the old things I used to do. But do realize there is so much support out there. There are people who care about you. Reach out to your friends because you'd be surprised to realize they might be feeling lonely too.

Comments (33)

18d
Mumbles, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Got me in the feels.

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Funniest
18d
Sequoia, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm drunk so forgive typos 

First of all bro, nothing in the world is worht lackig human conection. if you are much happier in Maimi or other places w/ great friends (that's also solid for yoiur career) move there. Not worht staying in SF for your career alone, I've 100% realized this over past few years

Second, try meetup.com for some nice groups w/ hobbies you like. Could be board games, video games, movies, hiking, etc. Lot of ways to meet people 

18d
InvestmentSpanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I made a post recently about making friends in a new city. You will enjoy all of those things so Much more if you just have a few friends to do it with. It's surprisingly easy in a city like SF with tons of transplants

Most Helpful
18d
w99, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think we all get lonely at some point, brother. It is natural for us humans to want to be with others. I think your awareness is good here and you are doing the right things getting out of the apartment. SF might be a bit of a cesspool in some parts but it's still pretty. Enjoy it man, could be in a lot worse cities/countries..

A couple quotes I like to remind myself when I'm in prolonged solitude that may or may not help you;

1) "If you notice, the people who are always alone are those who love too much, care too much, and are gentle, and are kind & compassionate too much" -Keanu Reeves

2) "When you're alone you should call this condition tranquility and freedom, and think of yourself like the Gods; and when you are with many, you shouldn't call it a crowd, or trouble, or uneasiness, but festival or company, and contentedly accept it." -Epictetus

Stay up bro

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18d
Pierogi Equities, what's your opinion? Comment below:
w99

"If you notice, the people who are always alone are those who love too much, care too much, and are gentle, and are kind & compassionate too much" -Keanu Reeves

based Keanu

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

18d
chacharat, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank you for sharing what it really means to move to another city just for a better job. You probably anticipated feeling lonely in a place where you got no friends, but the way you explain it all makes it painfully clear that no one can be prepared for how hard-hitting that change really is. The worst part is that loneliness often leads to needles introspective debates that only worsen the situation. Yet, congrats on choosing the right shows to watch in times like that (The Sopranos remains the best study about so many of the struggles the modern man faces every day), but as you noticed - there's no substitute for genuine human interaction.  

So, I think you'll soon start building a few worthwhile relationships and slowly start shaping this chapter of your life. I suppose the goal is to not give yourself the space to reminisce about how you'd spend a weekend if you were back in Miami. Though it doesn't seem to difficult of a task given how many online distractions there are today, I'm sure by now you've figured out which ones are reliable in practice :) 

Judging by your detailed assertion of your current position and the progress you've made thus far, I have no doubt you'll completely solve the puzzle before long. Cheers!

18d
ENJA, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for sharing.

About to move to a new country with a different language and I am pretty scared.

18d
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:
ENJA

Thanks for sharing.

About to move to a new country with a different language and I am pretty scared.

I've lived in Spain and China and can tell you it's a lot easier for a westerner moving to Europe than to Asia. You'll get used to it - practice the language before you go.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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17d
Synergy_or_Syzygy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I lived in China for 5 years and echo the language part. What I will say is that the expatriate community is incredibly strong and tight knit in Asia. You can literally meet someone new from another country and become friends immediately. They will help you get on your feet and answer any questions you have, and more. Super supportive and incredible community that was among my favorite parts of living there. I never met anyone there who had to feel the way OP felt about moving to SF.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
18d
Pierogi Equities, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Fast and Fiduciary

My sundays changed from Church with my family to not having anyone to talk to.

A lot of my friends have recently left the area I'm in so I empathize a lot with you. One of the things I've looked into is joining some of the church groups in my area.

I would google nice bars in my area and sit there by myself and talk to bartenders. I learned a lot about Mezcal and found that bartenders can actually be really interesting to talk to. Although I was completely alone, being out of the apartment on weekend nights helped me cope with my loneliness.

This is a great way to get good info about good places to eat, things to do, etc. Bartenders always have great insight and are usually really cool. Can also be good to have a neighborhood bar and get in with the staff there.

I also attribute a lot to Equinox. It's definitely expensive but it helped me get through a bit of a depression. When I felt particularly isolated and depressed about not having made any friends, Equinox was always my escape. The greeters and regulars were always great to be around. I really believe working out can help get you through periods of bad mental health and obviously helps your physical health.

I haven't done this as much since I prefer to work out alone or with a friend occasionally, but I've thought about joining some kind of sports club thing like softball, kickball, biking, etc. Seems like a great way to meet people.

I watched all of the Sopranos

fuck yeah

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

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17d
Pierogi Equities, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Gabageezy

I suck ass at softball but I went to a couple games with a friend of mine in the area. I'm thinking of a tennis league in the spring, and also actually I've been really considering some kind of martial art gym, something like Muay Thai or Krav Maga. They look pretty pricey though

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

18d
2rigged2fail, what's your opinion? Comment below:

serious question about the sopranos. I started trying to watch it last year and got to season 1 episode 5 and I just couldn't help myself from googling if he fucks his psychiatrist, once I found it he doesnt fuck her, I threw a hissy fit and swore never to watch it again. the other night, I was stoned and bored, and put it on from episode 5, and watched it for an hour, and thought I can't be using up an hour of my time just to watch Tony sopranos wife let the priest stay at her house and then him killing some old rat at the end was supposed to be the highlight of the episode, not worth it for me. do the episodes get better to justify the time ?

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18d
2rigged2fail, what's your opinion? Comment below:

cheers I think I'll give it a go. one series I like is 'underbelly' because it is a true story. if you like organised crime etc you should check it out

18d
Pierogi Equities, what's your opinion? Comment below:

personally I think that episode is overhyped, but it's a great slow burn show. Very rewatchable imo

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

18d
Short Caller, what's your opinion? Comment below:
[Comment removed by mod team]
17d
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Personally I think the feeling of loneliness is overrated. I have a very small, close circle of friends that I would do anything for - beyond that, fuck everyone else. I think there is tremendous value in being comfortable completely alone, on your own and maintaining sanity in your own skin. How can you achieve anything great in life if you're feeling down about not being around other average people? Miss me with that crap, I'd rather take the time on my own to learn, to grow, to better my craft and do the things that I want to do with my time on the planet. 

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17d
Arroz con Pollo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It's obvious you're successful, but I think from a number of your posts, you come off as someone who can be a pain in the ass to deal with.

I agree 100% about being able to be comfortable being alone, but that doesn't mean you have to go all warrior monk mode and talk to nobody and always be 100% obsessed with the grind. Humans are naturally social creatures. That clip getting circulated of Joey Diaz on social media saying how you only need 3 motherfuckers as friends is so accurate imo.

I have very few friends. 3 of the people I talk to the most live thousands of miles away, with 2 of them being in another country. However, these people are genuinely good people. We all want the best for each other. Sure, one of them drinks too much and is horrible with money, but he's a good guy. Another is a single dad who only gets to see his kid every other week. He doesn't make a lot of money, but he's a hell of a man and a father.

One of the defining moments in my life (and this didn't happen overnight) was when I stopped putting myself first when it came to everything and started trying to help others. It's the positive feedback loop of life - do good for others, and they will in turn do good things. I don't believe in karma and hate the word, but I do believe in the paying it forward line of thought.

Very few people in life will have your back no matter what. It's extremely rare to find someone outside your family who will. I believe one of the most beautiful things in life is bonding with a non-family human. You're both actively choosing to be part of each other's life. Think of all that humans could accomplish if everyone's first thought was of how they could help those around them, rather than try and profit only for themselves.

I've rambled once again, but I think it was warranted. Life is too short to develop no meaningful relationships. Yes, don't rely on others for internal satisfaction and self-worth, but once you've established self-respect, it's my belief that life is better off when you have true, meaningful relationships.

17d
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Arroz con Pollo

It's obvious you're successful, but I think from a number of your posts, you come off as someone who can be a pain in the ass to deal with

You say that like it's a bad thing. I'm not on this planet to be liked, I'm here to make the most of the life I've been given.

I'm not stupid, I know you can't take it with you. I've written here how my entire estate will eventually go to my university for a series of scholarships that will live in perpetuity. A life of making the most of yourself is not always a selfish one.

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16d
2rigged2fail, what's your opinion? Comment below:

if you have a larger circle I find some people tend to get jealous of your perceived high value high fihnaunce careers.

17d
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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