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The longer you stay in your own cocoon, the greater the chances that you will slip into an even darker mental state, like depression. Once you prepare yourself mentally for the road ahead, it’s time to define what “friendship” means to you.

After all, as the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” What do you value most in your friends?

For all you know, they might be in the same situation as you.

Or, you might find that an old friendship that lapsed due to distance can be picked up where it left off.Don’t automatically give up on old friends just because they moved away.Or, do you prefer acquaintances that challenge your beliefs and make you think?Perhaps you enjoy the company of people who share similar political or religious beliefs.The first step to dealing with loneliness is to separate yourself from the feeling so that you can give yourself permission to make positive changes in your life. The fact that you are feeling lonely is not your fault. Once you admit this, you are more than half way to building the social life that you deserve.

Loneliness is your mind’s way of telling you to get out there and engage with the world.Keep in mind that the first few connections will always be the hardest.The more people you are able to connect with, the easier it will be to find other long-lost friends.Do you look for people who enjoy the same activities as you?Do you like spending time with people who share similar beliefs to you?Having good friends is not just a “nice to have” – it is essential for our health and emotional well-being, as I discussed in this interview with Suzanne Braun Levine.