For Cheer Up The Lonely Day: People Who Could Use A Visit
Though it’s an epidemic, loneliness is rarely discussed. That’s no surprise, really, since those who are lonely likely already struggle with reaching out to others or opening up on a deep emotional level. But a lot of Americans report feeling terribly lonely. The way our society is setup is pretty conducive to loneliness. Many of the things that advance our society in several ways—like social media, delivery apps, and the ability to work from home—I fear move us back, socially, in many ways. Today, a lot of us can make a living and receive all the things we need to live, like groceries and entertainment, right from our home. We work on our laptops, never meeting our coworkers in real life. We order food to our home, having just a brief interaction with the delivery person. And even those who don’t do any of that may just struggle to connect with people, or have some other issue in their lives that isolates them. For Cheer Up The Lonely Day, here are some lonely people in your life who could probably use a visit or phone call.
An elderly relative
Even if your elderly relative lives in a retirement community surrounded by others, senior citizens don’t only want to spend time with their peers. Having younger people visit is a breath of fresh air—you bring an energy to their day that’s hard for them to find around other elderly individuals.
Someone who is chronically ill
Chronic illness is very isolating. We often don’t realize that those living with chronic illness cannot freely do the things many of us take for granted, like simply going on a hike or even going to a dinner party (if diet is a factor in their illness). But, they don’t want to force people to just visit them at home. So just offer the visit.
An elderly neighbor without children
Even if you aren’t related to her, if you know of an elderly person who never had children or doesn’t have her children in town, pay her a visit. Maybe this is the grandmother of your out-of-town friend or just someone who lives on your street. Elderly individuals who are still independent enough to live on their own but don’t have much family in town can be incredibly lonely.
A newly retired relative
Retirement can be difficult on people. If your parents are retired, then you likely know all the ways they reacted at first—they were lonely! So if you have an aunt or grandparent who has just retired, know she could probably use some company. In fact, spending time with loved ones is exactly how someone should spend her retirement, rather than sitting around and lamenting about her career.
A recently divorced friend
If your friend just went through a divorce, she’s probably on an emotional roller coaster. She’s going through a lot of tough feelings that she just has to go through. It’s easier if time with friends breaks up some of the thinking and remembering. She may also be suddenly alone in the home she shared with her now-ex.
A new mom
New moms are by no means alone—they have kiddos around them, demanding attention constantly—but they can feel alone. Time with kids is not the same as time with adults. If you have a friend who is the mother to small children, she’s probably desperate for some adult interaction, but can’t break away from the kids. So visit her.
A long-time single friend
Your long-time single friend doesn’t need anybody’s pity. She’s got this. But, due to the fact that she is single and has been for a long time, she doesn’t have that built-in companionship that those who are married and in committed relationships do. There are hidden elements of single life that are tough. She probably doesn’t want to admit she could use some company sometimes, but she could.
Someone who just moved to town
Do you have a coworker who is new to town? Or perhaps a friend of a friend (who doesn’t live nearby) just moved to town? It’s hard being new in town. It’s tough trying to make new friends in a place where you feel everyone has already established their social circles. Reach out to someone who is new in town. Invite her to your dinner party or to just grab coffee.
A friend suffering from depression
If you have a friend who is suffering from depression, I understand that the friendship can be difficult. She likely doesn’t want to come out to do social things. And, while you still want to go out and have fun, make time to just pay her a visit at home. It may seem like you didn’t help her, but I promise that you did. Home visits may be the only human interaction she gets right now.
A recent empty nester
Did your youngest sibling finally just move out of your parents’ house? Or do you have an older friend who just sent her kids off to college? Being an empty nester isn’t easy. A home that was filled with noise and activity is suddenly quiet and barren. Pay a new empty nester a visit. Bring your child or pet. She needs a little commotion.
A friend who lost a pet
If a friend just lost a pet, she may not be letting on just how devastated she is. Animal lovers can feel they aren’t allowed to show their depression over a lost pet because people will say, “Well, it wasn’t a person.” But that bond may have felt as close and as important as one with a person. If a friend just lost a pet, I promise you she could use some company.
A friend living alone for the first time
Do you have a friend who is finally making a go of living on her own? She’s always had roommates until now, or she’s had codependency issues, always living with boyfriends, and is finally working on that and being alone? She could use a visit. Show her that living alone doesn’t have to feel lonely.
A friend running a business from home
If you have a friend who has finally made the leap to start her own business from home, she is probably very excited and…very isolated. She’s likely working 14-hour days, with no time to break away from her home office. Bring her lunch. Just keep her company while she eats for 30 minutes. She’d probably love that.
Someone who just moved away
Do you have a friend who recently moved away to a new town? She’s probably a bit lonely there and struggling to make friends. She probably wants to go out and explore her city, but doesn’t have a buddy to do that with. If you can get to her, go pay her a weekend visit. Boost her confidence to get to know her new surroundings.
Becoming a widow may be one of the most difficult things that can happen to a person. Losing a parent is hard. Losing a child is life shattering. But losing a spouse is quite different. That was that person’s life companion with whom they spent most of their waking hours. They woke up next to that person and went to sleep next to them. A huge presence in their daily life is gone. If you know a recent widow, she needs some companionship.