Taking a Meaningful Inventory of Your Friendships

Get by with a little help from your

Loneliness is one of those conditions that is at the root of so much of our suffering. Human beings are designed to live in community, and so when we feel disconnected and apart from others our systems don't tolerate it well.

Loneliness is born from the illusion that we are separate.

When indeed, we are all connected in ways our brains can't begin to fathom. Regardless, believing that we are separate and alone, our systems can respond with anxiety, depression, stress, and a host of other mental, emotional and physical discomforts.

Remember, though, that loneliness is not really about being alone. Ever found yourself in a room full of people and still felt the tug of loneliness within? And have you ever felt a deep sense of belonging - in nature, perhaps - with no other human beings in sight?

That's because loneliness is what we feel inside when our fundamental need for belonging is not being met.

We need to know that we belong, just as we are, without having to contort or sacrifice ourselves to "fit in"

Sometimes we can find this sense of belonging in "solitude" (which usually means with nature or with your beloved pets or with your journal, etc.) - and sometimes we just need PEOPLE!

That's where your people come in. These are the folks in your life that love and adore you unconditionally. If you're already naming some names - that's great! Always helpful to know who is in our tribe. But it also might be that you're not quite sure WHO really "gets" you.

Sometimes what hangs us up is that we are looking for that "perfect" friend or partner who ticks off all the boxes - and that is very rare indeed. 

If you are one of the few who has found your unicorn, good for you! 🦄 You'll still want to make sure to diversify, just like the majority of us, in order to assure your needs for connection. 


🐞 Step one: Make a list of your needs in relationship

Break down the many types of companionship you need, want and crave from others. You can begin by writing, "I need people with whom I can...". Here's some on my list!

  • laugh and goof off
  • receive validation
  • cry my big cries
  • speak deeply about spirituality
  • dance!
  • have physical intimacy
  • share silence
  • go for walks
  • get creative and make art with

 🐞 Step two: Add the people

Take inventory of who in your life meets these needs. There may be some categories filled by more than one person, while you might find that some needs aren't being met by anyone at all. Remember, this is not an opportunity for self-criticism or any negative feedback loops. These are just the facts of your social structure as you experience it now.

 🐞 Step three: Grow your relationships

That is to say, see if you can invite some people into those emptier categories. For example, might there be a friend that you don't usually open up to that you could share something with. Or, if you're in a tough spot and you're one to keep it to yourself, see if there might be one person you might reach out to. This will involve some vulnerability, of course, but there is no such thing as a relationship without some level of risk. In fact, you already had to utilize some courage with all of the people on your list just to get them on there in the first place!

 🐞 Step four: Manifest your needs

Still not finding the connection you need? Instead of focusing on who is lacking in your life (again, that puts you at risk of the negative feedback loop), bring your energy to the type of connection you would like to invite more of. We recommend mantra as a powerful way to manifest more of what you need in your life. Examples: "I am loved" or "I am inspired by those around me".

And please don't forget to add us to your list as well - if ever you want to reach out. We count as real people! Because after all, just one tiny shift of your loneliness - from an "n" to a "v" - and you've got yourself a Loveliness! 😘

Adrienne Cress, Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Registered Expressive Arts Therapist

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Adrienne Cress is an Expressive Arts Therapist, Coach and Educator. She is the Co-Founder of The Loveliness and has a private practice in Portsmouth, NH.  

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