Can loneliness be avoided?
Every single person in this world struggles with loneliness, doesn't matter their age. A 9 year old kid to a 70 year old man, a lot of people feel lonely in life. Even though we can't avoid our feelinfs, it's important that we don't let those feelings come in way of what our life actually is.
Those who function badly in social interactions are usually well aware that they have a problem. They know that they are unhappy, dissatisfied, and unpopular, but often, they don’t know why. Are there any effective ways to reduce this problem and the pain it produces? Once loneliness develops, it is obviously not possible to change the individual’s history by providing different genes or by altering what occurred during early parent–child interactions. It is, however, possible to acquire new and more appropriate social skills— more effective ways of getting along with others. Social skills include the ability to “read” others accurately—to know what they are thinking or feeling, the ability to make a good first impression on others, the ability to regulate our own emotions, and the ability to adapt to new social situations. Most people learn social skills gradually as they interact with others at home, in school, and in many other locations. But for various reasons, some individuals don’t seem to acquire these basic skills, and one result of this may be that they are good candidates for loneliness.
Fortunately, social skills can be acquired, and psychologists have developed several procedures for helping people acquire such skills. One involves having individuals interact with strangers, and then showing them tapes of their own behavior. Many people low in social skills are sincerely surprised: They don’t realize that they are behaving in ways that “turn others off” and make them want to avoid further contact with them. For instance, they don’t know that when they make a request, it sounds more like an order than an appeal. Similarly, they may not realize that they cut other people off as they try to speak. By viewing videotapes of their own behavior, and with guidance from experts in social skills, they can learn to do much better in these and other respects.
Another approach involves cognitive therapy, which is designed to get the people receiving treatment to think differently about others, and to develop more realistic expectations about social interactions. For instance, they learn that most people are very sensitive to criticism, and that, as a result, it should be used very carefully.
In sum, just as people can be taught engineering, table manners, and how to drive a car, they can also be taught social skills and how to interact with other people in more effective ways. Acquiring improved social skills can be an important step toward reducing loneliness, since these skills make interactions with others more pleasant for both parties, and that can be the start of the lasting relationships that lonely people lack. Of course, it is not easy to change long-established patterns of thought and behavior, but the important point is that they can be altered, and to the extent they are, the factors that cause people to lead lives of lonely desperation can be changed.