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πŸ”– Reading Time: 4 minutes ‧

When you’re hungry – you need food.

When you’re thirsty – you need water.

When you’re lonely you crave connection.

But what do we do most of the time? We are too scared to be vulnerable and reach out to our friends, even if we do we stick to boring small talk, because we’re afraid of being rejected, judged or seen as weird.

The truth is nobody kills themselves because they’re hungry – they kill themselves because they are lonely.

I believe it’s because they don’t have the courage or tools to start a conversation that matters.

If you’re like me you probably realized at one point in your adult life that you just talk about “stuff” with your friends. It’s all small talk, chit chat and surface level conversations about the weather, sports and TV shows you’re watching.

Although I live in a city with millions of other people, and have thousands of Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections and Instagram followers… I still felt lonely inside. I realized didn’t have many REAL friends.

While sharing this with more people I learned I am not the only one:

  • 80% of people say they are lonely (the rates have more than doubles since the 1980s)
  • 1 in 4 Americans has ZERO friends to confide in
  • Studies have shown that having poor social connections is serious as smoking a pack of cigarettes every day

I am extremely grateful for my Ask Deep Questions cards and my work being recognized and valued. A few years ago I would have never believed that I spend my days creating different tools and experiences that help people feel less alone.

Watch the whole segment here:

THE NEXT TIME YOU FEEL LONELY, START HERE

First of all, looking at the statistics I shared above, you are not the only one. There are a lot of people (especially young people) that feel lonely and crave a deeper connection with someone. This also means that once we break through the meaningless chit-chat almost everyone appreciates a deep conversation.

So next time you feel lonely, here are some tips to help you feel more connected:

#1 Alone vs Lonely

I know this may sound a bit cheezy, but there is a difference between being lonely and being alone. When you feel lonely you feel incomplete, you have a longing for someone else to make you feel whole.

When you are alone you feel connected yet there are no other people around you. So what could you do to shift your perspective and find the positivity in solitude?

ACTION: Invest some time into self-care and take yourself on a date.

For me this would include some time in nature, maybe a walk in the park, and journaling at a cozy coffee shop.

#2 Use Social Media intentionally

Today’s technology can make us feel more connected than we ever where, but it also can become a huge barrier in finding deep and meaningful relationships. I have spend many hours endlessly scrolling down my newsfeed or falling down the YouTube rabbithole, but when you already feel alone and depressed this will only make it worse.

We start comparing ourselves to everyone else who has perfect lives, dream vacations, loves their jobs and has the best BFFs. You’re comparing your REAL life to your friend’s FAKE highlight reels.

ACTION: Do a digital detox for a day and don’t use your phone.

And once you’re ready, look for Facebook groups, meetups and apps where you can connect with real people and keep all other distractions turned off.

#3 Talk to Strangers

Studies show that people who talk to strangers and prioritize face-to-face interactions are generally happier.

So get out of your apartment, walk to your local coffee shop and chat with your barista. Or look for an event or workshop that lights you up and get ready to make some new connections.

If this gives you some anxiety start by visualizing that all these strangers are just “friends you haven’t met yet” and approach them as if you haven’t seen someone since highschool.

Don’t overthink how to start a conversation, simply say “Hi, my name is Jan, what’s yours?”

And if you’re looking for more tips on what to say next, check out my Deep Conversations Guide where I share more tips on how to get beyond small talk and I even included a “Small Talk Cheatsheet” with conversation starters that you can simply copy and use in your next conversation.

DOWNLOAD MY DEEP CONVERSATIONS GUIDE

Learn how to skip the smalltalk and get to the deep and meaningful conversations at the next eent you attend.

I hope that these few tips will help you feel less alone.

When I moved to Canada from Germany in 2008 I wish I had someone that shared these tips with me. Moving to a new city, yet a new country, is way harder than it looks.

The hardest part is finding YOUR people, the community of friends that really support you and are there for you when you need them. I often think I got lucky having found my tribe after living in Toronto for 8 years, but I now understand that KEEPING THEM is where it gets really hard – but also the most rewarding.

If any of this resonates and you would like some extra support, then make sure to check out my Find YOUR People Online Course or send me a message. I am always happy to talk to new readers of my blog.

Jan Keck

About Jan Keck

Jan’s mission is to help people feel less alone, so by creating experiences, workshops and programs he is fueling the movement for deeper human connection. His work has been featured on TEDx, CBC News, Breakfast TV, Cityline and HuffPost and he is currently building a community of facilitators that design the MAGICAL HUMAN MOMENTS online.