How to Conquer Loneliness as an Introverted Business Owner

Having trouble finding “your people”?

Loneliness is a serious problem for work-from-homers

Let’s start with a few facts. Studies have shown over and over again that loneliness is linked to an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Not only that, but a 75-year study of 724 men revealed that people experiencing loneliness tend to lose their memory earlier, and on average have shorter lifespans.

Finding community through coworking

PHOTO BY ANDREW NEEL ON UNSPLASH

Find digital coworkers

In an office, you know your place. You know how much work is expected of you and how you should spend your time. This is called “Equity Theory“ — you know the value of your work because you can compare it to the performance of your peers.

Find a real coworker… kinda

Have a friend who’s self-employed, or even one who gets to work part-time remote? Work together! Go to one another’s homes or meet up at a coffee shop for some get-sh*t-done vibes. Or if your friend’s in another city, try this idea from Kaleigh Moore: Get an AirBnB for a few days to enjoy a workcation together.

Pretend you have coworkers

There’s this cool little thing called social facilitation, or the “Audience Effect,” which describes our tendency to perform better when people are watching. That’s why you might find yourself cranking through tasks in coffee shops (besides, you know, the coffee). Just working in a place that has more people, even if you’re not interacting with them, can boost your productivity.

Finding community outside of work

PHOTO BY DANIEL FUNES FUENTES ON UNSPLASH

Join a Meetup

Meetup.com is one of my favorite websites because it’s actively combatting the isolating culture we find ourselves in. It’s a platform where anyone can start or join a local interest group on virtually any topic. There are language-learning meetups, singles meetups, religious meetups, foodie meetups, business meetups — it goes on. If you’re looking to get out of the house this week, I’ll bet you can find a meetup happening in your city.

Volunteer

In college, I seriously wanted to live in Japan. I minored in Japanese and continue studying it today.

Get a part-time job

Okay, hear me out on this one.

Reconnect with people you care about

After getting married, my husband and I descended into an insulated honeymoon phase. We only wanted to spend time with each other, all the time, FOREVER.

Building community from the ground up

PHOTO BY PRISCILLA DU PREEZ ON UNSPLASH

1) Attend events

In other words, DO THINGS. As introverts, many of us have the best of intentions when we sign up to attend a networking event or say we’ll go to so-and-so’s party. But when the day of the event rolls around, it’s suddenly so much easier to curl up with a fuzzy blanket and flip on Netflix.

2) At events, look for the people on the fringe

Networking is awkward as heck if you treat it like networking. Instead of “working the room,” a much easier approach is simply trying to make friends with the other people who are feeling out of place.

3) Invite them to eat with you

I don’t know what it is about eating food together, but I am convinced it’s the single best way to get to know someone. I think all office teams should get lunch together regularly.

4) Connect your new friends with each other

If you’re just out to make some friends, you can stop at #3.

Bonus idea: Introduce new friends to their idols

I once knew a man who would attend conferences and make a new friend with someone on the fringes. Then, he would make a point to introduce them to someone in their industry, even if he didn’t know that person himself.

Community comes from initiative

If you’re feeling lonely or disconnected as a freelancer or creative business owner, let this be a rallying cry to do something about it. There are always options for changing your life. But it all starts with the decision to do something.

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Jessie Lewis

Writer, artist, mom. Subscribe to my personal newsletter, The Jumble, for more on creative living → https://jessielewis.substack.com/