The quickest cure for loneliness is to find a friend. Like everything worthwhile, it is easier said than done. Lonely people need a few guiding principles in their pursuit of friendship. Here are five principles that will help you develop good friends.

Principle No. 1: You must diversify your activities. Find a variety of ways to get involved with others: take your lunch break with someone new, join a group involved in playful activity, volunteer to meet some need you identify with, or join a study group. To make friends you have to get out of the rut you are in.

Principle No. 2: You must develop social skills. If you have been alone for some time it is likely you have lost many of the social skills necessary for developing friendships. Relearn them by following these few suggestions: Get sincerely interested in other people. Learn the fine art of asking questions. Since people love to talk about themselves, when you strike up a conversation with someone, get them to talk about themselves. They will think you are the most interesting and intelligent person they have ever met. Use your body language to demonstrate an open and welcoming spirit. Make eye contact. Smile.

Principle No. 3: You must display authenticity. There is no one on earth just like you, so display your uniqueness with authenticity. The word authentic comes from the Greek word authentes meaning author. When you display your singular uniqueness you honor the one who authored you, the God who created you. At the same time you honor the person you really are. Show the world your distinctiveness. If you try to be anyone other than yourself, those around you are robbed of what you have to offer.

Principle No. 4: You must discern wisely. Take the time and effort necessary to determine the kind of friends you want to make. Someone once said, “Chance makes our parents, but choice makes our friends.” Look for good people to draw into your circle of friends then be a good friend to them. Good people make good friends. The wisest man that ever lived said, “Become wise by walking with the wise, hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.”*

Principle No. 5: You must delay intimacy. Lonely people have a great deal of unexpressed emotional energy. Become intimate too soon and you could make a very big mistake. Because of our over sexualized society many people jump into bed before they know their partner’s full name. This kind of false intimacy causes guilt and pain and does not result in genuine intimacy no matter how hot the sex. The popular phrase today is “hooking up,” and I don’t like it because it suggests a sense of despair and worthlessness. Casual sex is no solution to loneliness. Intimate relationships grow best when they grow slowly.

Each principle begins with two words: You must. I am convinced that true friendships, soul-satisfying relationships are not accidental; they are created over time and with great care. They will not come to you without significant effort and risk on your part. Acquaintances and casual friends are normally the result of circumstances, but close and intimate friendships are the result of prudent choices and heartfelt decisions.

*Proverbs 13:20

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© 2014 Ronald Ross

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Dr. Ron Ross (B.A., M.Div., D.Th.), author/speaker/publisher.For more from Dr. Ross please visit his site: