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Social Problems

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. Updated: Apr 22nd 2016

Family and Friendships.

People are social creatures who usually need the comfort and support of healthy relationships with other people before they can feel truly good about themselves. Forming and maintaining healthy relationships is easy for some people to accomplish, but other people find it a perilously difficult task. Some people have specific difficulties forming particular kinds of relationships. They may have good friendships, but be uncomfortable in a dating or romantic setting. They may have had a difficult family life while growing up, but have been able to marry well. Other people have a difficult social time all around, with a difficult family life, few friends and no prospects for satisfying adult relationships. Consider the following questions to determine if your issues have something to do with your social life:

  • Are you lonely?
  • Are you shy?
  • Do you get along with family members or are family gatherings sources of stress and pain?
  • Are there specific family members or friends who are difficult to be with?
  • Would you like to resolve any issues with family members or friends?
  • How close are you with your family and friends? Would you like to be closer?
  • Would you like to be less dependent on family because being with them isn’t good for you?
  • Do you have at least one or two close friends (not your family) who are supportive of you?
  • Is it hard for you to meet people (friends, romantic partners, etc.)
  • Do you have a lover or romantic partner?
  • Are you feeling you would like some or more romance, intimacy and/or sexual involvement in your life?

Jobs, Careers and Meaningful Activities.

In addition to having a healthy social life, most people feel the need to engage themselves in productive and meaningful work. Sometimes this work is performed in exchange for money (as when someone writes a book, cooks a meal, cuts grass or performs other labor or services to benefit someone), sometimes it is performed for love (as when a mother or father spends time parenting their children), and sometimes it is performed simply as a means of doing something useful to benefit their community (such as when a retiree volunteers at the library). Though work may be performed for money, there are often other important payoffs that people engaged in such work get in addition to money (such as a teacher's satisfaction at seeing a child learn). Some people are lucky to find work and meaningful activities that fit their personality and interests, while others end up feeling trapped in careers that don't seem to suit them. Still others would like to work, but can't find any that lasts. Most everyone has to deal with intense work pressure to perform. Consider the following questions to help you determine whether your work or committed activity life is part of your problem:

  • Are you happy and satisfied with your work or career? If not, what is wrong with what you do?
  • Is there anything you would like to change about your job, career direction, or other activity? Would you like to explore other options?
  • Whether or not you work, do you pursue any other meaningful activities that help you feel like you're doing something useful or fun (such as involvement in: a senior center, school, volunteer work, a club, an active hobby, a sport)? Would becoming so involved help you feel better, do you think?
  • Is your work too demanding? Are you able to manage the resulting stress?


Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Anti-loneliness. - Maria - Jan 6th 2010

If you are serious about your loneliness, then go out and help someone else.  Visit elderly people in a nursing home, read to small children, volunteer at a school, library, charity, etc.  Helping someone else will make you feel better.  

Strangers - - Nov 5th 2009

The world is a stranger to me. I feel like all the people around me either don't care,or don't have the courage to stand up and converse with me. It's always raining in my future,and all the rest is blurry. I may sound like a poet,but these words come from the heart.

I'm too cowardly to go suicidal.

I'm too scared to go to some professional help.

I have no friends,and even my family hates me. Life sucks. I can't deal with it.

Loneliness - Michele - Mar 20th 2009


Loneliness is tough. 

I know it sounds cliche, and it's easier said than done, but have you tried joining any groups or classes in your area?  Taking the first step is always the most difficult.  And you may not find instant gratification the first time you go; give it a couple of times.  Join a bowling or dart league.  Frequency of attendance will bring famliarity with other people. 

Read articles or books on attracting a significant other.  Life gets better when you have someone to share it with.

Good luck.

Maybe its better somewhere else.. - Mike - Jan 26th 2009

Some people have it all and MOST don't..Seems not worth living when your alone all your life..Why would dying not be better?..Really..Being alone is the worst life torture and most people never realise it or expereince it..But for us loner types who just can't figure it out, dying becomes something to look forward too..Maybe another start, another time, it will be better.

To At an Impass - also at an impass - Dec 4th 2008

I feel the same exact way. Would love to chat with you.

katassociates at bluefrog dot com

At an impass - - Aug 20th 2008

I feel like I am alone in my world. I know I am supposed to be thankful, but I just can't get motivated to make changes to better myself or where to start. I would rather run away than to fix me. I don't have family; never had. I trust people, but i don't. I am lonely and would love to be in love, but I don't know how. I try to throw myself into my career, but my boss takes the credit for my actions, and discredits me to her bosses. I don't make friends easily. I live in a community that I don't like, yet I can't leave because I have children who are still in high school, and I only moved here so that I could raise my children in one environment. I sound like a victim even to myself. Though I am great at cheering others up, or making them think better of their lives, I feel as if most people think I have it all together, so I don't need the same.

 Any thoughts are welcome.


negetive thinking - siju.cp - Jan 25th 2008

                          I love ranjini very much.I expressed  my love through her friend shushama.after these incident ranjini avoid me.we were good friends earlier.but now she become very formal&try to avoid i feel very tensed situation in my class.i can"t attend the class with fresh mind.i had  lost a good friend.I felt lonly in my class

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