Never the Right Word

Never the Right Word

Scripts & Templates for Life’s Uncomfortable Conversations.

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With connectivity across the globe growing exponentially, you would think it was highly implausible that loneliness is becoming the modern-day epidemic. And yet, it is. Despite the ability to reach more people than ever, we seemingly aren’t connecting with others as easily as we once did.

If you don’t believe us and were wondering what loneliness looks like, it can often resemble depression and some forms of anxiety (although it’s worth noting that some of the happiest looking people can be the most troubled).

Furthermore, observers have noticed a rise in anxiety across America and other western countries. For example, In August 2018, Barnes & Noble announced a huge surge in the sales of books about anxiety; which was a 25 percent jump in June 2017.

Forget the stereotypes surrounding loneliness. More of us are lonely than we think, and isolation isn’t just a problem for the elderly and immobile.  We only have to take a look at a recent survey that showed that there is a surge of loneliness among people 18-24 in the United States. 

A staggering half of the survey participants reported that they sometimes or always feel left out and alone, without meaningful relationships. What might be more concerning is that there is concrete scientific evidence suggesting an increased risk of physical and mental health issues for those that feel alone.

While not technically a classified mental illness, feeling isolated is a common phenomenon in western societies. Lonely people experience a lack of meaningful connections with others, a sense of boredom and helplessness, and a lack of purpose or meaning in life. 

As interdependent and social creatures, our survival depends on the interaction with others. A lack of relationships could signal more sinister problems.  If you think that our ability to bond with other humans is irrelevant for modern-day survival, then ask the recently released prisoner who is unable to reintegrate back into society. 

The irony is that lonely people are not alone in their loneliness. Many of us experience periods of solitude at some point during our lives; therefore, it’s crucial to offer the same supportive words we would like to hear if we were in the same situation.

It can be tough to know what the right words to say are to someone feeling isolated. There may be an element of truth to their sadness. Perhaps the person in question is alone after moving to a new city for work. Maybe the passing of someone deeply integral to their lives has knocked the wind out of their sails.

Whatever the case is, life can shake every one of us up at any moment, and this is when our real strength of character is tested and refined.

The trick to making a lonely person feel less alone is taking their focus off the feeling of separation and place it on the people and things that ARE present in their lives. If they can maintain higher levels of happiness, intrigue, and excitement about life for long enough, they will likely draw more people towards them naturally. 
Human behavior demonstrates that if we can open ourselves up to receiving kindness from different sources and develop a genuine interest in others, we are much more likely to keep a circle of people around us.

It may seem counterintuitive to suggest to this person that they accept their loneliness but stay with us for a second. If this person were to perceive their feelings of aloneness for what they are – feelings, they might be able to look at their situation with a fresh perspective. 

They could acknowledge their emotions as an indication of a need for change. That could mean putting themselves out there more or working on their habits to become less judgmental or insular. 

These are all suggestions you can offer this person; however, as with any person who is feeling down, you will need to choose your words carefully. In this article, this is what we’re going to help you out with.

Template 1 | Emphasize Their Inner Resources​

 

I know that we may be surrounded by people and yet feel all alone. But I believe that we don’t have the reason to feel lonely when there’s the entire world inside us. Sometimes we simply need to take a break from everyone and experience and love ourselves. Look into yourself [Insert Name]. You’re strong and beautiful and you’re a thousand times enough.

This template is effective because it draws upon the person’s inner assets and strengths. You are encouraging the one that feels all alone to turn to themselves. You promote self-love and reassure the person that is okay to feel lonely sometimes, pointing out that we all feel that way from time to time.

Template 2 | Stress the Importance of Common Humanity

 

[Insert Name], I’m so sorry to hear that you feel all alone. If it makes you feel better most of us feel that way at some point. Your desires, fears, and sorrows are universal. So is your loneliness. We all feel lost sometimes. I know how strong you are and I know you’ll overcome this challenge.

Reminding a person that “everyone hurts” can help them understand that they are not alone in their pain and that their feelings are normal. Referencing common humanity, you’re not trying to diminish the person’s suffering but to help them feel less alone.

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Template 3 | Remind Them That Everything Is Transient

 

Nothing in life is permanent, good and bad. Just because you feel alone right now it doesn’t mean things will all way be this way. Perhaps you could try [Insert Suggestion] to break out of this cycle?
Perhaps you need to be on your own for the time being so you can focus on yourself?
Hey [Name], I know things have been hard for you every since you moved, but you will get used to your new surroundings and this difficult time will pass.

Template 4 | Help Them Gain Perspective

 

[List the person’s friends and family members that are in their life]. To me that seems like quite a large group of people that are there for you. We care about your wellbeing, even if everyone’s off living their lives and it seems like we aren’t interested. How can we make you feel better?
It may look like everyone’s out having the time of the lives, but remember that appearances can be deceiving. This person may have a lot of friends, but you have a small group of people who care deeply about you. I know which one I’d choose.

Template 5 | Encourage Them to Open Up

 

Hey, I appreciate that you shared your feelings with me. I want you to know that I am here if you need to talk about it. I’m keen to know why you feel lonely? Do you feel isolated when you’re with people or do you simply not see enough people?

This is a short and effective template to encourage someone who feels lonely to talk about it. Sometimes the simplest gestures go a long way. Simply offering to listen to them, you’re letting the person know that they are not all alone.

Template 6 |  Ask Them Why They Feel That Way

 

Oh, [Insert Name], I am sorry to hear that. May I ask, what makes you feel that way? What kind of thoughts are you having?

Encouraging the person to open up and tell you about the reasons behind their feeling of loneliness can be very helpful. Maybe they are disappointed in their partner/family member/friend/coworker. Or they are surrounded by the wrong people. Maybe they don’t know how to handle a toxic relationship. Or they feel like a failure professionally/as a parent/partner/child/friend.

The reasons behind loneliness may be different. If the person is willing to share their thoughts and feelings, this may boost their awareness and help them understand why they feel lonely.

Template 7 | Encourage Self-Compassion

 

You deserve love and care like anyone else. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Think of what you would say to a loved one if he or she was facing a difficult situation. Then, direct this compassionate response toward yourself. I hope this will help you understand that you’re not all alone.

These uplifting words promote self-compassion and self-love. People who feel lonely and isolated are usually drowning in feelings of guilt and shame. They tend to punish themselves with self-criticism and self-judgment.

Encouraging the person to direct kindness towards themselves can help them understand that everyone makes mistakes. This should, hopefully, help them feel less lonely.

Template 8 | Ask for Their Company

 

Hey [Name], I was planning to go to [Insert place]/ to [Insert Activity]. Would you like to join me? I’d really appreciate your help/company while I [Insert Activity]. We always have fun doing things together!

This is a straightforward way of letting the person know they are not alone. You are telling them that their company is pleasurable. Also, you are seeing them as valuable and showing that their opinion matters to you.

Template 9 | Offer Support

 

What can I do for you? Don’t hesitate to call me if you need me. Or if you just want to hang out.

Another way of being supportive is by offering your company. You can offer to do something together or simply to spend some time together. This template is good because it sends the message that you are available as a source of support.

Despite the genuine human need to connect with another, a lot of people suffer from profound loneliness and isolation. Sometimes, you may be surrounded by people in your family, classroom, or office and still feel disconnected and lonely.

It seems that modern technologies, smartphones, and other devices and particularly social media contribute to the epidemic of loneliness. While intended to connect us, these tools are often missing the elements that go with face-to-face interactions.

Loneliness isn’t limited to age, gender, social status, or financial success. Happily married people sometimes feel lonely. Movie stars feel lonely. College students and stay-at-home moms feel lonely.

Encouraging the person who feels all alone to spend time with family and friends, get enough sleep, exercise, practice self-compassion, and talk about their feelings can help in coping with loneliness.

At Never the Right Word, our aim is to give you practical examples of how to handle life’s difficult conversations. If you have an awkward situation that you’d like example templates for, request a topic here.   

If you’re interested in further reading, we’ve also included links to our trusted resources and related posts below. To find out more about NTRW and our recommended tools, you can do that here.  

Lastly, if you found this content helpful or want to share your own examples, let us know in the comments. We’d also be delighted if you shared this article and joined us on social media too!

Never the Right Word

Never the Right Word

Hi there! I’m Amy, and I’m the person behind Never the Right Word. I’m a designer-by-day who’s fascinated by human psychology; you’ll find me learning about what makes others tick through all types of media and good old-fashioned conversation.

In 2019 Never the Right Word was born to fill the gap of ‘how-to’ websites with copy and paste examples showing you EXACTLY what you need to say to steer difficult conversations into positive outcomes.

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