Three Key Considerations For Surviving Without Friends

Friends are an important part of everyone’s life. They provide companionship, support and advice. But let’s face it, friends can also be a source of pain and anguish. While most of us balance our lives with the ups and downs of friends, sometimes we find ourselves without any friends at all. This can be a self-imposed situation and a place one just suddenly finds oneself.

If one finds themself in this situation, perhaps you’ve decided that it would be wise to take a break from the stress of friendship. This can be a time of immense personal growth and development, but there are a few things to consider. Here are some key survival tips for living without friends.

1. Mental health resources
Friends do provide a support network that allows us to voice our fears and anxieties and get feedback on our future plans. This support is essential to good mental health. The good news is there are plenty of resources for you. If you don’t want or need personal interaction, check out things online. There are plenty of advice forums and one can get plenty of free advice and counsel.

For more formal or serious issues, consider reaching out to a mental health professional. Most health insurance will pay for this service. There are also generally free or low-cost community resources available too. And lastly, this is an area where one can also turn to the internet. Many professional counselors can now be accessed online through text or video chat.

2. Health considerations
Whether we realize it or not, friends look out for us in times of difficulty. If a friend who we regularly see or talk to doesn’t hear from us for a while, he or she will likely make inquiries about our health. If we fall ill friends can comfort us and provide meals or just companionship.It is vitally important to make arrangements beforehand to cope with these eventualities. The best way to avoid problems is to think ahead and be a bit on the overcautious side.

If feeling under the weather, let people around you know. Workmates, one’s boss, neighbors and the like should all be made aware. You don’t have to act like a hypochondriac, but a quick and simple mention to a number of casual acquaintances and co-workers may keep you from suffering alone if illness gets worth.

3. Personal safety
Spending more time alone means potentially increases the chance of risk of crime or personal injury. The best way to combat this is to be more aware of your situation and surroundings. Police always recommend thinking ahead and having a plan.

When walking alone, take note of those around you and be aware of potential safe havens like stores and shops. If driving and you get the sense of being followed, keep driving to an open business, police or fire station. One can’t be too careful in these situations.

Being without friends for either a short or long period of time can still be a fulfilling period in one’s life. However the circumstances of this condition can put one in situations with which we are not familiar. While simply being without friends doesn’t necessarily put us at any greater risk, it is important to be prepared if bad things happen. The answer to this is to think ahead, be prepared and have a plan. With a little forethought one can make it with no problems.

Happiness And Loneliness- A Delicate Mix

There are many theories about happiness and its relationship to human connection. The ultimate question, can a lonely person be truly happy has been and will continue to be studied. Of course there is no one right answer, as each human being is different in mental make-up and each of us has different components that make us happy.

The relationship between loneliness and happiness

When looking at this relationship, it would appear to be all about balance. A recent study suggests that too much emphasis on seeking happiness can lead one to neglect friends and family and contribute to a feeling of loneliness. On the other hand, people who feel dire loneliness report lower scores for overall happiness. At the end of the day it would appear that loneliness in and of itself is not contrary to being happy. It is possible to be content with loneliness and still experience happiness.

Embrace and enjoy loneliness

It is important to reemphasize that being alone does not mean one has to feel lonely. While this may seem like an argument of semantics, it is deeper than that. Loneliness in the negative can lead to anxiety, stress and depression. There are few positive outcomes for these conditions and most would universally recognize that this is not a good state to be in for too long. That being said, loneliness has also contributed greatly to people’s happiness by spurring one to action. Einstein passed many lonely hours as a clerk in a patent office, but this alone time was ultimately spent productively to develop his revolutionary theories.

Loneliness happiness: A means to an end

How can one be happier through loneliness? Think about the previous example of Einstein. He used his alone time to ultimate benefit, literally changing the world with this ideas and theories. While this alone didn’t necessarily make him “happy” it did allow him to feel fulfilled; the negative of which can be a barrier to happiness. What can you do with your alone time? The answer is: anything you want. Think of alone time as an opportunity for self-improvement, both mental and physical. This doesn’t mean you have to learn a new skill or start a radical new exercise program. Self-improvement in its broadest sense simply means improving one’s condition through one’s own efforts. If you’re feeling lonely, improving your “condition” can be as simple as reading a book, writing a letter or taking a walk. Of course there is nothing wrong with taking on greater self-improvement challenges either.

Lovely loneliness

No, this is not an oxymoron. Loneliness can be lovely if it turned into a positive. While there may not be a huge calling for “I Love Loneliness” t-shirts, turning this perceived negative into a source of strength and new fulfillment is certainly a worthwhile goal. So what are the steps to embracing loneliness? Here they are:

Accept: Come to terms with loneliness and don’t regard it as a negative situation if it results in a positive outcome.
Pledge: Commit to a course of positive action and improvement.
Plan: Thoughtfully consider different options and be specific with actions and milestones.
Act: Put your planning into action, recognizing that things can be change if needed.
Sustain: Keep up the effort.

It really is that simple. Remember, loneliness is only a negative if we allow it to bring down our mental and physical well-being. Used as a spark for creativity and improvement it can bring one into a new phase of happiness in life.

How to Create Your Ideal Life

It appears from surveys and research that the majority of people, perhaps most, are not entirely satisfied with their lives – to say the least. Many are unhappy with their levels of business success or career progression. Many are in unhappy relationships or are unhappy with themselves – from a weight, fitness or health perspective. And, if the surveys are to be believed, most express a dissatisfaction with their financial security.

The point is that very few people appear to be living their ideal lives. Indeed, surveys aside, psychological work stretching back over thirty years suggests that only about 4% of people are living in that “peak experience” zone. From my work with business and private clients over the last thirteen years, I would suggest that these highly respected universities have greatly overstated that percentage – I’ve met only a handful of people (out of thousands) that are living their ideal life.

In a recent workshop with what I would consider to be an exceptional senior management team, we had an in-depth discussion on the concept of “ideal life”. We came to the conclusion that one’s ideal life is a mental concept, one which is based not on what one has, but how one feels. Of paramount importance is the extent to which one feels empowered and effective in the present moment.

Whilst I fully agree with the view that my ideal life might be far from someone else’s – because I am totally happy with the present moment – it’s difficult to expect people to feel they have their ideal life if they’re over-weight, have just lost their business or job, can’t pay their debts, are being subjected to regular domestic violence or have just lost a loved one. These circumstances are very real. They impact not only the fabric of our lives but dent our self-esteem. They are circumstances with which many feel incapable of coping. Indeed, only when you have sorted out the very basics of life – like physical safety, a reasonable level of economic existence, etc. – can you afford the luxury of saying that your ideal life is a mental concept or state of mind.

And yet, state of mind is the one thing in your life over which you have absolute and full control. No one else can affect your state of mind – unless you let them. Outside events can not affect your state of mind – unless, again, you let them. The one place on this earth, in your life, over which you are lord and master is your own state of mind. Unfortunately, the normal state of mind succumbs to the negative effects of outside events and other normal people. Unfortunately, normal people believe that there is no easy solution (or any solution at all) to many of life’s woes. Unfortunately, normal people continuing behaving the same way and, in doing so, have the bizarre belief that they will obtain different results.

If you don’t have all the necessities of life that enable you live your ideal life – it’s your own fault for not doing something about it. By that I mean, not doing something from constantly repeating the same actions, reactions, behaviour and routine. If you want something different or more out of life – then, you need to do different things, take different actions, start acting and stop reacting. You need to free yourself from your not too-uncomfortable zone.

The first thing you need to do differently is to take full control of and responsibility for your own state of mind because, as I’ve said time and again in other articles and on my website, your state of mind is the key – the only key – that you need to achieve and create your ideal life. You need to discipline yourself so that you can develop a clear and present state of mind – a state of mind that is not distracted by useless thoughts (why me, poor me, self-doubt, worry) – a state of mind that is fully focused, not on your ideal life but on whatever it is that you should be doing now – that’s what presence is.

You can only develop mental discipline by being disciplined – I know that sounds obvious, but it intrigues me the number of times I hear people saying that nothing has changed in their lives and, when I enquire, discover that they have changed nothing about the manner in which they cultivate mental discipline. As far as I’m concerned, the best way to develop mental discipline, focus and presence is through meditation – even ten minutes each morning is enough to set off a new chain of events. But, one of my clients meditates for one hour every morning and his life and health have altered immeasurably since doing so. To get up that hour earlier, he needs to go to bed one hour earlier each night. As he says “If I really want to change my life, I had to change my life!” That’s the lesson – one for you, me, all of us. We need to do different things. Meditation is a sure and certain step towards mental control – and once you control your mind, you control your life.

But here’s another simple idea. Do one completely new thing every day – in either your business or personal life. Whatever it is, new actions create new results.

Copyright (c) 2009 Willie Horton

How to Make the Best First Impression

As the old adage goes, “You never have a second chance to make a first impression.” That can be a scary thought for some, considering that within as little as the first few seconds of meeting someone, judgment has been passed. If you are prepared, however, you can create positive, lasting first impressions for yourself. Whether the atmosphere is business or casual, first impressions are made on an everyday basis. Typically we encounter at least one new person daily. According to a recent research study performed at Harvard Medical School entitled Very First Impressions, “Humans are excellent in judging personality traits and complex social characteristics such as dominance, hierarchy, warmth, and threat.” So essentially, when you meet someone new for the first time, they decide almost instantly whether or not they wish to have further contact with you. The dilemma comes down to this: How can one make an outstanding and unforgettable first impression? There are three key elements to making a first-class initial impression in either the business or social world; showing up on time is the first element of success, smiling comes second, and lastly, remember to use the new acquaintance’s name regularly.

I once had a teacher who used to say, “To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late is…well…unacceptable.” Now that I am in the professional field, I realize how true this statement really is. If you are heading to a meeting with someone, particularly for the first time, it is so important that you are at least a few minutes early. Being a little early shows your eagerness and willingness to sacrifice more of your time for your new associate. This concept of being early or on time demonstrates the importance you place on being prepared. Being timely can impact your relationships in both the business and social realm. There are all sorts of implications associated with timeliness in the social world. Imagine the first thoughts that go through a woman’s mind if the man she has been set up on a date with is late to meet her somewhere. Likewise, a man can easily judge a female he is picking up for a blind date if she is not ready when he knocks at the door. Take any steps you can to ensure that you are on time for your first meeting. Wake up a little earlier, eat breakfast in the car, and leave some extra drive time just in case there is traffic. Your sacrifice of five or ten minutes can ultimately impact your chances of nailing the job, getting a second date, or being interviewed for the next employment opportunity.

A smile is the perfect way to show someone you are interested. Whether you are interested in creating a friendship or joining a company, you cannot go wrong with an inviting, warm smile. If you feel uncomfortable smiling, or like you just look fake, imagine that the person you have just me is a close friend. This will help you relax a little, causing you to naturally give a casual smile throughout the conversation. Another great reason to smile is that by smiling, it is actually possible and likely you will begin to feel positive feelings for the new contact you have just met!

In addition to being on time and smiling, it is important to actually listen to what your new acquaintance says—particularly at the very beginning when they mention their name. Once they have said their name, repeat it in your mind five times and try to record it to your memory. Then, make a point of using their name at least three or four times throughout your conversation. It does not so much matter what you say, but your new association will remember that you used their name. Use of your new acquaintance’s name demonstrates that you have paid attention from the beginning because you were able to catch and retain their name during the introductions. By using someone else’s name during a conversation, members of both parties feel more comfortable, because suddenly the conversation has turned to a more personal level.

Once a first impression is made, it is virtually irreversible. It is important that both parties involved in the initial meeting feel completely comfortable. By being on time, smiling and using the name of the person you just met, you can help create that comfortable environment that will lead to a positive first impression, and maybe even a potential job or friendship.