3 Reasons We’re Lonely and How to Cure It Now


{Please help me welcome Lea Ann Garfias to the blog today!}

Like every great mom, I exert enormous amounts of time socializing my children. The extra classes, music rehearsals, soccer practices, part-time jobs, parties, play dates, and church activities crowd the calendar into a cacophony of social commitments — for everyone but me. Everyone is having fun with their friends except me.

I thirst for friends every bit as much, nay, more than my children do. I yearn for a kindred spirit, a companion in arms, a gal-pal. My husband is great — no, he’s smokin’ hot and crazy funny — but he doesn’t get coffee, clothes, and mental exhaustion jokes like a true girlfriend. The need is real.

But when I finally realize my thirst, it’s too late. I’m already emotionally dehydrated, parched from lack of fellowship. I have companions, prayer warriors, and soul sisters right there at my left hand, waiting for me to reach out, and I don’t even see them. All I can see is my to-do list in my right hand. My own life, my own agenda, my own needs grow great in my own sight until everyone else has faded to invisibility.

So I minimize the problem. Seriously, when was the last time we saw a mother keel over from thirst inside the Sack-n-Save? “Mom down with dehydration on aisle 7!” blares the loudspeaker. Tsk, tsk. Should have brought her water bottle, or bought a coffee on the way in, or at least sipped some of her toddler’s apple juice, we think as we nudge our cart around the corpse. Amateur.

Of course getting thirsty isn’t that big a deal — until you are admitted into the hospital for kidney problems (don’t ask me how I know). Similarly, neglecting friendships isn’t that big a deal — until our very souls are on life support.

Those dark days come when we desperately need a prayer warrior, a confidante, a warm hand. The days when the laundry won’t end, the phone won’t stop ringing, and the toddlers won’t stop destroying. The days when the sky falls, the diagnosis comes back, the job ends, the parent dies, the teen rebels, the church splits. The days when all our carefully laid plans and gingerly balanced spinning plates come crashing down, shattering at our feet. The days the dreams die.

Who do we call when we have no words to say? Who do we turn to when the burden sickens our bellies? Who can hold our sighs and our secrets until the skies clear?

God Himself knows we need others, and He declared it not good, not right at all that we be alone (Genesis 1:18). We are created for communion, for companionship. Our togetherness itself glorifies God as His ultimate plan for unified praise.

We need friends, and a friend needs us. It’s a basic life principle that we too easily forget, too casually set aside, until suddenly we find ourselves unprepared for troubles.

Two are better than one,

Because they have a good reward for their labor.

For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.

But woe to him who is alone when he falls,

For he has no one to help him up.

Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;

But how can one be warm alone?

Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.

And a threefold cord is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:9–12; NKJV).

We struggle to make friends, making excuses instead. I’m shy. I’m an introvert. I am busy at home with my children all day. I work full time. I work from home. My church is too big; my church is too small. The church people are not friendly; there are too many cliques. But that’s all we make — excuses. More small reasons to ignore the greatest working of God through me.

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13; NKJV).

God works His love into my life, through my life, out of my life. He reaches out of Himself to love me, shape me, grace me with His likeness, and I reflect Him by doing the same, reaching outside my four walls toward others. God’s love sees through my eyes the needs, reaches through my hands toward the needy.

Thus, the shining badge of faith becomes loving friendship. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34–35; NKJV).

So there are two reasons we find ourselves lonely; yea, three situations that find us without a companion: a cross-country move, a selfish attitude, a schedule that leaves no room for others. The good news is, we can cure all of those.

Moving Away

I’ve moved eight times in my life and across the country twice as an adult. I can assure you beyond a shadow of a doubt that even introverts can make friends quickly in a new town with this simple speech:

Hi, my name is _____________. I just moved here from ___________.

That’s it. Most of the time, a stranger will do the rest of the talking for you after that, maybe asking a few questions to get to know you. They will pretty much fill you in on what you need to know about the street, organization, or store you find yourself in at the time. After that, just accept her invitation to meet at the park / come over for dinner / visit her church. Keep repeating the speech until you have met so many people you can’t remember their names.

A Selfish Attitude

The second cause of loneliness, a selfish attitude, is harder to overcome, because we first have to recognize it. Indeed, it took me way too long, too many years, to recognize the real fallacy of my thinking. I was focused on the wrong things — friends for me. How selfish is that? But of course, I don’t need friends. As long as I continue evaluating relationships based on what they are doing for me, then I’m not going to value the people and opportunities that God has blessed me with. I’m not loving the way Christ loves if I’m only loving myself.

Sometimes I’m not looking to the friend at the left because I’m whining that there is nothing at the tip of my right hand. I demand my friend dress a certain way, educate her children like I do, attend my church, agree with me on politics, doctrine, music, and movies. Stay right in this place, and then I will allow you to meet my needs.

How foolish is that? Such critical attitudes oppose the very love Christ demonstrates on our behalf. The Pharisaical pride in status and association slips into our hearts and lives easier than we care to admit. God places people, loves people in various backgrounds and perspectives all around me. He’s calling me to look around and reach out.

Busy Schedules

Finally, we may be lonely because scheduling conflicts render our calendars more important than Christ-like love. Task-oriented overachievers like me fail to remember that the things we do are less important than the people we touch. If I complete all the to-do lists of men and of angels and have no time to talk with a live person, I am a worthless machine or a faithless robot (to paraphrase 1 Corinthians 13).

God’s plan is to use each of us in extraordinary ways . . . through these ordinary relationships. Our spouse. Our children. Our friends. We are not called to celebrity or fame, we are called to loving relationships. That all starts when we simply reach out.




LEA ANN GARFIAS believes there is enough coffee in the world to make even dreadful Thursdays tolerable. In her book Rocking Ordinary (New Leaf Press), she helps ordinary moms realize their extraordinary influence. When she’s not homeschooling her four children, cheering at soccer matches, or performing the violin, she’s passed out asleep. You’ll find evidence of her existence at lagarfias.com.

1 thought on “3 Reasons We’re Lonely and How to Cure It Now”

  1. This is so good. My husband is amazing! Like ridiculous amounts of amazing. However, he can’t fill a chick’s shoes. Some wives need to get away from their husbands or vent about them. I’d have nothing bad to say. He truly is my BFF. We’ve lived outside the US for 10 years, married for 10 1/2. I just added up all the times I’ve moved in my life and it is 21, 22 next year. But I lived in the same house from age 4-19 (and my parents still live there). We are also on our 4th country, on the 4th continent. Loneliness ways heavy on me so many times.

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