1. Make new friends aggressively
Always be on the lookout for someone you’d like to see again. In a big city like Los Angeles, if you don’t reach out to someone you see once, you will probably never see them again. That guy you just met on the metro living in an art studio near where you live? Give him your number and trust that he’ll use it wisely on account of his cool Welsh accent and internship at a supposedly prestigious animation studio. The girl you just met at the gym? She has a cool voice. She’s probably a cool person too. Be pleasantly surprised when these people actually seem excited to exchange digits, but don’t be surprised if a cool accent is not actually a proxy for being a cool person. Don’t worry, you’re creating a habit of being friendly, and that’s what matters.
2. Keep yourself busy with books or movies
Nothing stops you from thinking about the state of your life like total and complete escapism. Avoid slice-of-life or romantic comedy movies. Stick to action, comedy, or porn. The purpose is to fill your time. It would probably be better to have goals to work on, but books and movies are definitely easier.
3. Get involved in an online community
Explore online communities that also share your interests, but remember there’s a real world out there. Nothing says “I’ve lost control of my life” than being on Tumblr at 4 in the morning. Reddit, Quora, and Tumblr are all good places to start.
4. Join an online dating site
Receive messages from all sorts of guys, ranging from totally creepy 40-year-olds to playful exhibitionists, to people who actually seem really cool. Convince yourself that you’re not desperate and this online dating thing is just something fun to do over the summer in order to meet new people, visit new places, and possibly get a free meal if the guy really knows how to treat a lady. Mask the encroaching loneliness you feel with multiple first dates. Search for some kind of connection to fill the void. Be disappointed when someone you exchange long, epic messages with turns out to be a total dud. Be pleasantly surprised when you actually want to see someone again. Realize that none of these relationships are going anywhere. Feel alone again. Avoid dealing with this feeling by scheduling more dates. It’s not denial, it’s a series of personal growth opportunities—besides, someone has to break through! It’s just not possible to go through that many failures!
5. Join a gym class
Join a crossfit gym and work out in a group. Focus on making it to the next move without your muscles collapsing. Feel better as your mind becomes a calm blank. Be pleasantly surprised when someone asks you out despite the fact that you’re sweating like a pig and not wearing any makeup. You are now on your path to accepting your body!
6. Learn something new, preferably in a group setting
Sign up for improv classes. See the same 16 people each week over the course of the next seven weeks. If your personality doesn’t make them want to hang out with you, then at least your consistent presence will have some sort of Pavlovian effect on them. After all, you can be friends with almost anyone if you spend enough time with them. Plus you get bonus points for engaging in personal enrichment.
7. Avoid reminders of your loneliness
Studies have linked checking email with increased levels of anxiety; people who frequently check their emails are more prone to depression. Perhaps it’s because you notice that it has been an entire two days since you emailed a newly-made friend and he has yet to respond. Become slightly paranoid that he doesn’t want to respond to your party invitation because he secretly thinks you’re weird. Get excited when you check your email at the beginning of the day and see multiple unread emails, but also realize that constantly refreshing your email won’t make the little notification numbers go up.
8. Learn to be okay with being alone
Everyone has their own coping mechanism for the points in life that aren’t great or terrible, but just… meh. Sometimes loneliness is just boredom and wishing for friends, lovers, strangers, someone to break that boredom. Like Geraldine says in Take This Waltz, “Sometimes life has a gap in it. It just does. You don’t go crazy trying to fill it.” In this case, slice-of-life stories may be just what you need to remember that if you stay still for too long, you’ll face a lull and there’s something to appreciate about that too. But if it really bothers you, you can always cycle through this list again.