The Single Girl’s Guide to Life with Chantelle the Coach

#6 - “Why Am I So Lonely?”

August 12, 2021 Chantelle the Coach
#6 - “Why Am I So Lonely?”
The Single Girl’s Guide to Life with Chantelle the Coach
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The Single Girl’s Guide to Life with Chantelle the Coach
#6 - “Why Am I So Lonely?”
Aug 12, 2021
Chantelle the Coach

We as millennials are the most connected generation so far. Though Gen Z might be hot on our heels, they're still in school or university, surrounded by hundreds of people (when we aren't in lockdown) and meeting hundreds of people, day-in, day-out.

Cut to your late 20s and beyond, and your social ties diminish. The house parties slow down, friends start to get married and have families of their own and we're all busy saving to move out, that we can't afford to go out and socialise.

But if you're so connected otherwise with the thousands of friends and followers we've accumulated through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and beyond, then why do we still feel so lonely? Even if our friends are heading off into different directions, why are we finding it so hard to keep in touch and end up as the loneliest generation to date.

Proximity and exposure to new people is just one reason - but why do you feel that loneliness so much? Is it okay that you’re feeling this way?

Listen in to this week's episode to find out why millennials are so lonely and what might be catching you out to feel that way.

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If this show is helpful to you, consider joining our amazing community of other single ladies at https://single-life-be-like.mn.co/ and you'll get access to monthly zoom meetings, The Single Girls Book Club and more!

The Single Girl's Guide to Life was created by Chantelle Dyson. Please send your feedback and questions to Chantelle on Instagram,  join our online community for discussion and support, follow Chantelle on TikTok, keep up with the Single Life blog, and join us at a Single Girls Club event.

And if you loved this episode, HIT SUBSCRIBE  to stay up to date for future, weekly episode of single life living.

FOLLOW: Instagram // Facebook //

Support the Show.

-----

RESOURCES:

The Single Life Confidence Workbook - an 80-page workbook designed to help you overcome loneliness and to not let being single stop you living your life! BUY YOUR COPY HERE

-----

The Single Girl's Guide to Life was created by Chantelle Dyson. Please send your feedback and questions to Chantelle on Instagram, join our online community for discussion and support, follow Chantelle on TikTok, keep up with the Single Life blog, or check out the resources in The Single Girl's Hub.

And if you loved this episode, HIT SUBSCRIBE to stay up to date for future, weekly episode of single life living.

FOLLOW: Instagram // Facebook

life coaching for singles, how to be okay on you're own, overcoming loneliness, how to stop feeling lonely, single women, divorced in your 20s

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Show Notes Transcript

We as millennials are the most connected generation so far. Though Gen Z might be hot on our heels, they're still in school or university, surrounded by hundreds of people (when we aren't in lockdown) and meeting hundreds of people, day-in, day-out.

Cut to your late 20s and beyond, and your social ties diminish. The house parties slow down, friends start to get married and have families of their own and we're all busy saving to move out, that we can't afford to go out and socialise.

But if you're so connected otherwise with the thousands of friends and followers we've accumulated through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and beyond, then why do we still feel so lonely? Even if our friends are heading off into different directions, why are we finding it so hard to keep in touch and end up as the loneliest generation to date.

Proximity and exposure to new people is just one reason - but why do you feel that loneliness so much? Is it okay that you’re feeling this way?

Listen in to this week's episode to find out why millennials are so lonely and what might be catching you out to feel that way.

-----

If this show is helpful to you, consider joining our amazing community of other single ladies at https://single-life-be-like.mn.co/ and you'll get access to monthly zoom meetings, The Single Girls Book Club and more!

The Single Girl's Guide to Life was created by Chantelle Dyson. Please send your feedback and questions to Chantelle on Instagram,  join our online community for discussion and support, follow Chantelle on TikTok, keep up with the Single Life blog, and join us at a Single Girls Club event.

And if you loved this episode, HIT SUBSCRIBE  to stay up to date for future, weekly episode of single life living.

FOLLOW: Instagram // Facebook //

Support the Show.

-----

RESOURCES:

The Single Life Confidence Workbook - an 80-page workbook designed to help you overcome loneliness and to not let being single stop you living your life! BUY YOUR COPY HERE

-----

The Single Girl's Guide to Life was created by Chantelle Dyson. Please send your feedback and questions to Chantelle on Instagram, join our online community for discussion and support, follow Chantelle on TikTok, keep up with the Single Life blog, or check out the resources in The Single Girl's Hub.

And if you loved this episode, HIT SUBSCRIBE to stay up to date for future, weekly episode of single life living.

FOLLOW: Instagram // Facebook

life coaching for singles, how to be okay on you're own, overcoming loneliness, how to stop feeling lonely, single women, divorced in your 20s

(00:09):

Hello, and welcome to the Single Girl’s Guide to Life, your weekly guide to living a single life in your twenties and thirties. This is the weekly podcast that's going to help you, guide you, give you ideas for living on your own, being on your own, and enjoying your single life. I'm Chantelle the Coach, a quarter-life and confidence coach that helps women in their twenties and thirties that are single to navigate that life, to overcome any life transformations, going through the quarter-life crisis, going through a breakup and allowing them to develop their confidence, to make decisions in order to enjoy their life. Now, I act as a mentor, as someone that's been through and a bit of a guide, but also a coach, someone that's able to tease that information out of you by asking you questions. 

 

(00:57):

You're joining here today for the episode on why am I so lonely. Now, as with many of these episodes recently, it always begins with this idea that the reason that these questions are here, the reason we're asking them is often that we head to Google or some sort of search function to find an answer to these. In a previous episode, it was what is love, and it's all about questioning either to try and understand what's going on, which was what is love. In this case, it's trying to know what to do, which was the same as when I explored the idea of what to do when you don't get a reply. The problem with it is that we can't always be turning to Google for our answers.

(01:48):

This feeds into some of the themes today in terms of why are we so lonely? I know it's going to be something that if you're lonely, you might not be reaching out to your friends, though you might. You might ask them for ideas. They very much might have had experience or ideas of how to tackle it, and it's always useful to remember that what worked for them doesn't necessarily work for you. But if you're feeling lonely, chances are you aren't reaching out to some other people because sometimes that can help with loneliness. Instead, because you're worried about being lonely, you actually reach for Google, which in the past has worked for you, you found things out. However, the problem with Google and online forums is that there can be so many different ideas that you become overwhelmed. You don't end up knowing what to do.

(02:38):

Therefore you end up just as confused, just as lonely because you don't have someone to share it with and you give yourself other problems of knowing what to do. If you've ever read a book called The End of Average by Todd Rose, he goes through these concepts of why we believe that there is an average and how trying to apply an average to everything doesn't really work. There are lots and lots of examples in it. I advise you to give it a read when you get a chance. It's fascinating because there are so many cultural backgrounds that sort of change, the ages of even how like babies develop and what they do at particular ages that it's not possible to apply the average or the average is very different in each country. To think that there is a one size fits all solution to every question we have in this world and that we're all going to solve it in the same way is really interesting.

(03:26):

In today's episode, I want to talk about the question why are you so in lonely, some of the explanations behind it, and there's more than one. Therefore you can apply the bits that you really think do apply to you. The other end of that is that we can also look at some starting points for managing that loneliness, which whilst I'm here, I'm going to mention the fact that I currently have a course available. I currently talk about this in August 2021. There is a free course that you could join, How to Manage Loneliness, on my website, on my Instagram. After today's episode, if you're still looking for ways to really carry that out, then you can head on over, sign up to that. It’s three training videos, and it should be helping you to really delve deeper. Let's examine why I touched on some of these things in that course, but really I want to go into it in detail today.

(04:17):

Why do we feel so lonely? Why is that actually a thing? Well, millennials are according to lots of different research studies, the loneliest generation there is despite how connected we are. Yes, we've got all of the technology in the world to keep in touch with people, but it turns out that we inherently feel lonely. Now I don't have the stats on Gen Z. I don't know if it's been done yet. I don't know if enough of them are old enough to kind of counter us. I think they were in this study or the various studies I've looked at on this. The chances are that the survey was 18 and above, so therefore it didn't quite include all of them. It's very possible that they are going to be on par, if not more lonely than us. I'm not sure. That's a bit of a trajectory idea. At this point, though, lots of reports are identifying that the 25 to 34-year-olds, where we don't have university helping us to overcome that loneliness, which Gen Z might be experiencing, are the loneliest.

(05:12):

That makes sense. It makes sense because we don't have school. We don't have university, and we are at that age where people are starting to settle down around us. People are starting to kind of head inwards, invest in their family, their own small family unit. That can leave those of us that aren't looking to do that feeling lonely. Now, being single or living on your own doesn't exclusively mean that you are more or less likely to feel lonely. We all have those people that feel lonely in their relationship. They are partnered up yet they still feel a level of loneliness. That's not something to associate the two together. I think there's a misconception that if you are single, you're lonely or you're more likely to be. That might be true, but it doesn't mean you are. Obviously, you do spend more time on your own. 

(06:04):

However, some people do that because they like being on their own. It doesn't make sense that if we're the most connected, we've got all these channels of communication, ways of staying in touch, that we feel the loneliest. How does that work? What's going on there? The way that you can look at it is that there's a couple of things. Inherently, we're just disconnected. It means that we aren't connecting to other people properly and meaningfully. There's a quote in Lost Connections by Johann Hari that says, “Loneliness isn't the physical absence of other people. It’s the sense that you haven't shared anything meaningful with anyone else.” That quote I've said a number of times or different occasions on Instagram, on stories. It to me really chimes because I think it really hits the nail on the head with what loneliness really is. 

 

(06:59):

It isn't about people not being around you. People live on their own and have the best time and don't feel that loneliness, but the thought of having been busy all day around people in the office, where you work, traveling on trains and buses and having all these little micro exchanges, but then coming home and feeling that you can't share your day with anyone or the winds of the day or that you're not going to speak to anyone until the next time. When I say speak, I mean physically use your voice and talk, not message. Talk to anyone until 8:00 AM, 8:30 AM the next day for when you've got in at maybe 6:00 PM. Even if you come for drinks after work and you've got home at 8:00 PM, you still not going to speak to anyone for 12 hours or more. That I think is where that loneliness can really creep in. Therefore, why are we in this position where we don't share things with people, even when we're on our own?

(07:52):

I think there are a few reasons for this. We have become so reliant on connections, technology-wise, and keeping in touch with people we met before, and so on. I think there's been a lack of, in all generations that is, or it's starting to dwindle out, a lack of investing in the people around you. A lot of people don't know their neighbors so much anymore. You might still touch base with them, but there's not that connection that you might have had before. The sense of community overall, wherever you live, may be very different if you live in more of a village. Although for my experience of that, even in Essex, that still isn't the case. The only thing that kind of brought people together was the old clapping every Thursday of the recent coronavirus pandemic, where we used to come out and clap the NHS.

(08:38):

That was when I really saw the community start to communicate. Even then though it was touch base. Some didn't go much further than that, how long and how far that is sustainable now that that's not happening, but there's this idea that village halls aren't used in the same way as they were before, or they're very much for like the mums and babies. For example, they used to be cornerstones of communities and everyone came together for fetes and yearly events. People know about each other's lives within small communities, but that's just not there anymore. Again, I think it's because technology is there and you think, “Well, I can connect with anyone whenever I want,” when in actual fact you don't then take advantage. The other issue with technology that I've considered here is the fact that because you follow people on mostly Facebook and Instagram for our age group, you get to see what's going on, and so when you think about like meeting up with someone, you kind of already know what's going on in their life. Based on the pictures, based on the posts, you make an assumption about how that's gone, what that looked like. 

 

(09:29):
If they've been traveling, “Oh my God, that looked amazing. Yeah, you went here, you went there. I saw that. I saw this.” There's almost not a tale to tell if they have posted things and you have seen everything. You can interpret what it looks like online as well. It's true that people put that out online in that particular way, but really, you're not getting to what's really hard about that trip. What what did you find difficult? How was it being away from people for so long, being away from your family, being away from your home, whatever it might be? We kind of get this rose-tinted glasses effect that has two impacts. One is this idea of feeling like we know everything that's going on in everyone's life. What that then means is that we're able to kind of predict the conversation. What we do is we go in already having the knowledge. 

(10:15):

Whereas what would be more useful is to go in with this idea of not knowing anything at all and going in with complete and utter curiosity. Curiosity is one of those things that can really drive a conversation. As a coach, curiosity is fascinating. You want to know more. The less you know already, the more that you can ask about, “What have you been doing these last few months?” That question is so open and big that they can answer however they want. Even if they've told you one thing, you could be like, “Is there anything else you've got up to in these last three months where I haven't seen you?” You continue to be curious to find out more, having already explored those things, but we don't have that practice. We don't have the chance to because everything is uploaded online. You already know what someone's been up to. 

(11:01):

That doesn't mean you can't re-ask the question. That doesn't mean that you have been on social media and know what they've been doing. However, quite often you're already predicting. You're already knowing what's coming. If you can get to a point where you ignore what you already know and ask questions through curiosity and actually start to practice having conversations, that's going to help you out there. The other problem, I think that uploading so many things to these social media sites is that you end up comparing and this can feed loneliness. It can feed FOMO, fear of missing out.

(11:50):

It can feed this concept of, “My life isn't perfect and ideal,” which if you didn't know already, that's how it looks on Facebook and Instagram. It’s very difficult for people to be vulnerable on platforms like that. More and more people are. They're stepping out and they're being brave, which is fantastic. However, some people in this society still see it as attention-seeking, as something that they shouldn't be doing, and “God, why would you put that on such a public place?” That's unfortunate in the sense of that it keeps us thinking that we can only show the best bits. Therefore, if everyone's seeing the best bits of everyone's life, then your normal or your struggle, your challenge, it was like it's way off of everybody's wonderful. When in actual fact, I guarantee everybody's going through a struggle, whether they share it on Facebook or Instagram or not, or they're vulnerable enough to share a little hint of it. It's just one of those things. 

(12:39):

Sometimes it's a big thing that somebody does share that's really difficult. Then you think, “Well, why would I be feeling lonely?” Putting something like that on a social media site is very difficult. That's not actually going to help you because it's going to feed the wrong kind of attention. If you then tried to put out on those things, there's a loneliness element. As that quote said, it's about sharing something meaningful with someone. Putting it out on an open platform wouldn't be the solution here. What we have to get good at is actually developing our relationships with people and ourselves so that we don't feel this loneliness. When I say don't feel this loneliness, I don't mean that we're going to eliminate it forever. Loneliness is a key part of our life. We have to feed it to understand that we are disconnected.

(13:30):

There is some sort of threat that we feel that we're unsafe because we're not connecting with people in our community, within our tribe, as it would have been all those years ago. However, people like to avoid the feeling. They think that getting rid of the feeling is the answer. Often when you do turn to forums or people, the answer is this: Keep yourself busy. Go out, do something, keep yourself distracted. You won't feel so lonely. Go spend some time with people, go see your family. Those ideas in themselves won’t actually solve those feelings. Instead, what they do is delay them. If you decide to plan your weekends that you've got tons going on, that's great. You won't feel overly lonely. 

 

(14:29):

However, the minute you walk in on Saturday night, having been out with friends for a brunch, you've seen your mum in the afternoon and had a bit of a takeaway and you've come home. It's 9:00, say. You get into bed to kind of mull over your day, depending on the connections you have with those friends and your family, that will or won't have served you sufficiently enough. I would gather that if it was sufficient, you wouldn't be listening to this episode and considering what it involves. There's a reason that you feel that way. Distract yourself, even if you do it on your own, go for a walk, do your favorite hobby. Again, great. Those are fun things to do, but it's not going to overcome the loneliness that you feel because you're still not connecting with others, with yourself, with your life. You're just filling time. 

That's the problem with Googling. That's the problem with asking people for advice is that sometimes it's well-intentioned. It's an obvious idea. 

 

(15:16):

However, loneliness isn't cured by keeping yourself busy. Loneliness is something you have to work on and look at connecting and making sure that you connect with others. “How do I do that?” Well, there are a few different ways that you can approach trying to look at that loneliness. Why are you so lonely? I've covered a few elements there. Ultimately it's having those deep connections with people, people to share your day with people that take an interest in your day, that message you to properly check in on you. It can be the simplest thing. It isn't about the person that's always there every couple of months. It's about the people that are there consistently for you, and that you feel comfortable enough to be yourself. 

 

(16:13):

Because the reason that it doesn't work to go out with a couple of those friends for brunch or family is there's inherently something there that isn't allowing you to fully be yourself. It's okay not to connect with the people that you used to connect with at school. It's okay to not feel the strongest connection to your family. Often we think that friendships must last forever. They need to stand the test of time and that people that have been in your life the longest family and friends-wise should be the ones that you share most things with. But you are going to change, particularly from your teenage years up to in your twenties or thirties. You are going to be a different person based on all the different life experiences you have gone through. You are going to develop what you believe in ,what you stand for, what excites you, what disappoints you. 

(17:07):

That might not be the same as the people that were originally in your life at the start. As you become truer and truer to yourself, you might find that you feel more and more disconnected from other people, and that's okay. That can be where that loneliness feeling comes from, particularly through a breakup. If you are going through a breakup where that person took quite a chunk of your life and suddenly isn't there, but they were very supportive no matter what the reason that you broke up was, they were very supportive. They were open to who you were and kind of on the same page with things. When they’re then gone, these other people that maybe you haven't invested a lot of time in or you've just started to notice aren't on the same wavelength as you, it's going to add to that loneliness feeling. That's where you have to then start to curate these friendships, whether they are new friendships or you develop existing ones that just aren't quite up to scratch because you've neglected them. 

(17:53):

You just haven't really connected with the people that you should have before. All of that comes down to really assessing what you need from a friendship and relationship, looking at who you can invest time in. A big mistake that we make when we're trying to manage that kind of loneliness is thinking that we need to make lots of lots of friends when in actual fact you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. That's quite a common stat that goes around. Really, you need to look at who are the five people that you spend the most time with. Who are those five people? Are they the people that allow you to not feel so lonely? Are they the people that accept you for who you are? 

 

(18:35):

You do not need to be the same as those five people that you spend the most time with. All you need is that they offer you space. They give you an appropriate amount of attention and time, and that can change. These five people do not have to be who you choose now and who you're going to be spending the most time with when you're 50. It doesn't work like that. People's lives change, your life changes. You're interested in different things and therefore you spend more or less time with different people, but at any given moment, consider those five people who accept you as you are, who give you the time of day on a semi-regular basis. They don't have to speak to you every day. You should have some sort of regularity that you can rely on, that you know is consistent, and who is there for you when you need it. That's a really important one. Not everyone can be there for you all the time, and depending on how their life changes, you know, if children come along, then that's going to change how often they can be there for you. It didn't mean that they weren't there for you two years ago when they were child-free, but you just have to have that in your awareness as you move forward. 

(19:21):

In summary, at this point, there are a lot of reasons why you feel so lonely. Technology has a big part to play in this. It has prevented us from not being able to speak to people effectively and know how to have conversations. It means that we already know too much about a person in their life potentially before we even get to have a conversation with them. Trying to reduce your time on social media or on technology would help you there because then you really don't know anything that's going on. It also feeds into comparison. We think that everybody's having a great time. We think that our lives are comparing to theirs, and then we end up feeling that we're missing out and that can then contribute to loneliness. Again, reduce that time on social media.

(20:12):

We also need to then think about who we're spending time with. It’s important to make sure that you have people that you can connect with on the truest level. You don't feel any compromise about what you're saying, about what you think and what you feel, and to start expressing that is risky. Because if you say it to people you already know, they already have an impression of you and you're worried about losing any connections you've got, because what if they don't want to speak to me because of my new opinions or this way that I've been starting to think? The people that are meant to be in your life and are going to support you will support you. They'll listen to you even if they don't agree. They will engage in conversation with you. Healthy debate is really useful. It's important to have different perspectives in your life. 

(20:55):

You can't have people surrounding you that all have the same perspective. Otherwise, you just become your tunnel vision on one idea, and you never kind of see alternative perspectives and have a true understanding of how other people could see things. It's useful to make sure that as you're changing, your group potentially is changing at the same rate, or at least keeping up with the changes that are going on. That doesn't mean that you can't speak to 10 people. It's just that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. If those people that you're spending the most time with are encouraging you to feel conflicted and lonely and disconnected from yourself, then those times with those people need to change. Making sure that you've got those right people in place is important.

(21:42):

Whilst this wasn't a how-to, if you can understand the why's, you can then start to look at the how-tos. Very simply, reducing the time on social media can be very, very simple, reducing how much time you're on your phone. Apart from which it interferes with every social event I've ever seen, even out for meals. People are on their phones and you can't multitask. It's not a thing. Multi-tasking doesn't exist. If someone's on their phone, they aren't listening to you. The other thing is to look at your friendships and really consider what's going on there with those. Then lastly, I haven't really touched on this too much as the why, but being disconnected also includes disconnection to yourself. That's where the friendship thing can fit in because it's conflicting you between yourself. You need to really know who you are to then be able to work out which friends to kind of really focus on and develop those connections.

(22:32):

If you're feeling lonely, there's some level of disconnection. It can be a disconnection from your authentic self. It can be a disconnection from others and sharing something with others. It can also just be this concept that you're keeping yourself busy instead of actually addressing loneliness and getting to know other people. You're using technology to fill a void or you're using lots of distractions such as social events, going out, seeing people when you're not actually digging deeper than those superficial kinds of commentary and conversations that you're having. 

(23:07):
I hope that gives you some insight as to why you're feeling so lonely. As I mentioned, there's a managing loneliness course that I bought available at the moment, all free that you can sign up to that delves into this and gives you a couple of exercises to use that you can try out and start to address your loneliness. Head over to Instagram to check those out or head to the website. Until next time, everybody, keep thriving.