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Why do I feel lonely even though I text and hang out with my friends often and communicate with many others through Facebook and Twitter daily?

On the one hand, some connections are established more easily and quickly now that the smartphone replaced the telephone; on the other hand, the quality of those friendships is more casual and superficial—social media and “hanging out” have replaced dating as a way to get to know each other better. Young adults today learn how to establish contact with others easily and often, but what is quickly and easily established is by definition also going to be superficial. Depth takes time and effort.

Your loneliness is telling you that you are ready for deeper intimacy. Think of that feeling as an encouragement toward action. Begin by getting to know better someone you already like to spend time with—ask that person out for coffee, lunch, a walk, or any other activity that would allow for conversation. Keep it simple. Don’t put all your hopes and dreams on the line, but do take a first step toward getting to know someone better. Then, if a desire to deepen the relationship appears to be mutual, be prepared to share more of your hopes, your fears, your dreams, your wants—in short, yourself.

Asking someone to spend time with you alone is risky; the possibility for rejection is very real. But accepting loneliness without trying to fill the created need it points to is worse, and it might rob your life of much joy and health. Creating intimacy is a call from God to humanity. Both loneliness and attraction are building blocks given by God to help us answer that call.

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