You Might Be Lonely If...

Debra Fileta

July 01, 2021 | 2 minute read

It’s been said that we’re living in a culture of chronic loneliness. As a licensed counselor, I think it’s true. I see it in the lives of my clients on a regular basis. At times, I’ve even seen it in my own life. We live in a culture of people so “connected” yet so “disconnected” all at the same time. 

It’s strange to say we’re living in a culture of chronic loneliness when we can tap an app on our phone and connect with hundreds, even thousands, of people online with the click of a link. But what makes us lonely isn’t the amount of people we’re connecting with, but the depth of the relationships we’re having. Some of the people we call “friends”, we’ve never even met in real life. Some of the people we “like”, we don’t really know anything about. Some of the people we “know the most”, don’t know anything about us in return. 

Partly because of the influence of social media, too many of us have adapted to engaging with people on a very superficial level. We have a life full of “acquaintances” yet very few true meaningful friendships. In my newest book, Are You Really OK? I ask people to take inventory of how they’re really doing and one of the areas is a relationship assessment. I ask the reader to draw a diagram of their relationships in the form of three circles called their “social map”. The inner circle consists of closest, core, life-giving relationships. The middle circle consists of causal friendships. And the third circle, acquaintances and superficial connections. The truth is, too many of us have a ring full of superficial connections, and very few people who know us inside-and-out. Take a moment to draw out your social map, and then ask yourself some of these questions: 

  • Do I find myself spending more time “connecting” online, or face-to-face?
  • Do I have people in my life that know the TRUE version of me?
  • Do I tend to try and “resolve” feelings of loneliness with unhealthy patterns of eating, binge-watching, or absorbing myself in some kind of addictive behavior?
  • Do I allow myself to open up to the people in my life, or do I feel the need to “hide” what I’m going through?
  • Do I try to present an inaccurate picture of myself on social media, and then worry about people finding out the truth?
  • Do I live proactively or passively when it comes to building relationships? What am I doing to actively engage and initiate healthy relationships?

We’re so connected and disconnected all at the same time. It’s because it’s often easier to stay in the superficial level of relationships, rather than put in the time, energy, and effort to invest in deep, messy, meaningful relationships. If you’re feeling lonely today, my challenge to you is this: what can you do to take the next step into meaningful relationships? 

Want to hear more about how having meaningful relationships can impact your life? Check out 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist Morolake Akinosun's story!

Recommended resource: Dig deeper into your social map, and learn more about getting healthy from the inside-out in Are You Really OK? Getting real about who you are, how you’re doing, and why it matters.

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta

DEBRA FILETA is a Licensed Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of Choosing Marriage and True Love Dates, and Love In Every Season and Are You Really OK?. She's also the host of the hotline style Love + Relationships Podcast. Her popular relationship advice blog,, reaches millions of people with the message of healthy relationships. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter or book an online session with her today!

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