Sometimes when people we care about are far away from us, we can feel more lonely than normal. But it's important to remember that there are still ways we can connect and feel close.
Watch the video of young people talking about how they stay connected with each other, how they help each other when they feel lonely and what they like about each other.
- What different connections did people have with each other?
- What activities did they do together?
- How did they help each other feel better?
What makes a connection and a conversation ‘meaningful’ is really up to us. How would you define the word ‘meaningful’?
Who helps you when you are lonely?
Does watching this video make you think about someone specific in your life? Who helps you the most when you feel lonely?
- remember how you met and how long you’ve known each other?
- describe that person in three words
- list some ways this person helps you feel better
- list some ways you help them
If you are a creative person you can express yourself in a poem, a song, or a painting. Creative activities can be good for our wellbeing too.
Can you start a conversation like this?
Having meaningful conversations with people we care about is an important way to tackle loneliness. Could you have a conversation with your most meaningful connection like the young people did in the video?
It might feel daunting to start a serious conversation about how we feel but most people will respond well. Some key tips to follow are:
- Ask them a general question like, “How have you been lately?” – they will probably say “fine” so ask again, “How have you really been feeling?”
- Give them space to talk
- Actively listen to them and acknowledge their worries, questions and emotions
- Take in what they are saying, and if you don't understand ask them to clarify. Repeating what they’ve said and asking, “is this what is upsetting you?” seems silly but it can help someone feel understood and listened to
- Don’t try to make a joke about it or see the funny side of something. It might be tempting to distract them from sad things, but suppressing how we feel can make it worse
- Avoid interrupting and saying things like “I know just how you feel, the same thing happened to me…” this can be alienating and come across as making the conversation about you
- Make a conscious effort to let them finish talking before you reply
- Don’t rush them. It might take them a while to open up, even one or two conversations. Keep trying, but don’t be too pushy.
- You don’t need to have all the answers, and often people don’t really want advice, they just want to be heard. You can signpost them to these webpages if they want to do something to help themselves, or you can ask them what they think will help them feel better and how you can support them
Starting open conversations about loneliness and listening to others can help them with their feelings of loneliness. Actively listening is when we make real effort to think about what the other person is saying. Can you make more effort to listen actively to conversations you have with others?
After you’ve had the conversation reflect on how it made you both feel, did it help you feel better?