Loneliness, like toe cramps or a velociraptor attack, can often strike when you least expect it. There you’ll be, just hanging out in your cabin in the woods, flicking through an old copy of Hermit Annual, when out of nowhere a velociraptor will come through the window. After you’ve fought it off, you’ll suddenly realize you really want a conversation, or a snuggle, or someone to tell you whether that velociraptor bite looks infected. You might stumble outside and attempt to engage in stimulating conversation with a tree, or try to embrace a woodpecker, or ask the clouds about the bite, but these are bound to be fruitless efforts, and will probably leave you even lonelier and with extra woodpecker-related injuries. Here are some things to do when you’re feeling lonesome tonight, or tomorrow, or next week.
Find other grapes (Bear with us, it’s a metaphor.)
Sometimes the loneliest you’ll even be is when you’re surrounded by other people, drifting through a crowd of strangers like a grape in a bowl of soup. (See! Metaphor!) Shallow conversations with the carrots working at the coffee house and the chunks of onion on the bus only make you feel like more of a grape. What you need to do is reach out to the other grapes. Text your friend to meet you at the bookstore or ask your sister to come to the movies. Call your parents and have a long chat with them, or if you still live at home, just, y’know, go home and have a long chat with them.
Find a furry companion to hug
We don’t mean that unfortunate kid with the hormonal condition (although if he’s willing, you should go for it!), we mean a cat or a dog, or a goldfish with a hormonal condition. Even if you’re craving human companionship, animals can be just as good, and sometimes better, since they don’t make judgements and won’t tell anyone that you’re sitting on your bed, crying into a bowl of chilli popcorn, in your underpants, on a Saturday afternoon. Your neighbor’s cat won’t pull away and dial 911 when you bury your face in her neck (unlike your neighbor) and your dog will listen to you read your diary out loud with rapt attention (as long as your have a handful of liver treats).
You know who invented the internet? The U.S. military, or someone. You know who stopped the internet from fading into obscurity like VCR tapes and turned it into the magical playground it is today? Lonely people just like you! You can bet that the myriad blogs and Tumblrs and YouTube videos of dogs saying “Ri ruv roo!” weren’t created by people with parties to go to every Friday night. You are reading this, a post on a blog, and are probably going to comment on it, so clearly you are already across this whole “internet participation” thing. To distract yourself from loneliness, participate in the internet even more! Start a blog, change the layout of the blog you already have, edit hilarious inaccuracies into Wikipedia articles and brag about it on Twitter, or Facebook chat to someone who you’re reasonably sure won’t respond with “GO AWAY.”
Learn to do stuff alone
“But how will that help me be less lonely?” you shout in astonishment. “Shut your face and we’ll tell you!” we reply. We’ve discovered through a series of randomized assumptions that a big factor of loneliness is boredom. If you’re sitting in your room in total silence with your head inside a pillowcase, then of course you’re going to get tired of your own company. Taking up a hobby that can be participated in alone (like photography, fly fishing, or wandering around) will at least get you out of the house, and might be a conversation starter. Then you might make friends with other grapes just like you, and you can all live in a cabin in the woods and fight velociraptors together.
Doesn’t that sound nice? How do you fight loneliness?