It’s especially sad when it happens in a crowded place. People all around, like an early morning commute in a crowded New York City subway train.
Or maybe at a coffee shop when you’re the only one sitting alone. Ever been invited to a wedding reception, but had no date?
Sometimes it’s cool to be alone. Maybe you’ve been dying to read a great new book, like The Hunger Games. You prefer to be alone so you can get lost in the story.
While being alone might be OK at times, loneliness is never fun for anyone. You feel isolated, friendless. You wish that someone would notice you, talk to you, invite you out for tea.
As humans, we all crave connection to others. It is essential for our sound mental and physical health. It is a biological and psychological need.
But how do we connect with others?
For some people, making friends is easy. These are most often the Type A personalities who come strolling into a crowded room of people they don’t know and instantly strike up a conversation. Within two minutes everyone is laughing and they’re the center of attention.
Other people go to a party alone, say a few Hi/Hellos to the host or hostess, then sip nervously on their drink and eat food hoping, praying that someone will come over and talk to them. Many times no one will and they’ll make some excuse to leave early.
Why is being social so easy for some and so hard for others?
That’s a mystery far greater than my capacity to solve. Especially since I’m certainly no Type A personality. I’m a bit more shy. I think many artist tend to be that way.
But what I do know is, I have a secret weapon that gets me noticed, talked to. It can make people laugh and I can get them to do things I would never be able to ask them to do without it.
It is my camera.
“Ooh! Let me get a picture of that!” is often met with big smiles. Bring your camera to any event and you’ll have a built in excuse to talk to people. You’re no longer the wallflower, you’re the photographer. The builder of memories and all shots funny to be shared on Facebook later or at the water cooler tomorrow.
You’re no longer talking to people hoping to get their approval. You’re working!
And oh the doors it opens. You can walk right up to the biggest celebrity at any party or event and ask, “May I have a picture?”. The bigger the celebrity, the more likely they are to say yes!
But it works at dog shows too. Flea markets. The city plaza. On the streets and in the parks. You can start a conversation with anyone and it often leads to you learning all about that person and them learning about you.
But you don’t have to instantly start talking to people if you don’t want to.
Start taking great photos of cool things around town and share them on the internet. Facebook is a great place to start. If you have neither your own Facebook page or follower friends, find a local community page and “Friend” them to get started. Share your cool photos and invite other over to your Facebook page.
Meetup.com is a website designed to bring people together who share similar interests. Most towns have a Meetup photography group that plans outings where people gather for a couple hours of photo taking together usually at some fascinating area venue. Join them.
There are many websites that let you submit photos for daily, weekly, monthly or annual photo contests. There is nothing like having your photo chosen and being seen and praised. Todaysphoto.org is a great place to start if you’re new.
Taking photos and having your work seen is great way to build friendships and venture off the lonely isle.
In fact, a recent poll of amateur photographers turned up some surprising results:
Photography Ends Isolation – 8 out of 10 surveyed reported that their involvement in photography had increased their contact with other people.
93 people out of 100 reported that photography made them feel good about themselves. It boosts your self-esteem.
Being “shy” is often brought on by feelings of low self-esteem. When you don’t feel good about yourself, you often expect others won’t feel good about you either, so you hesitate to approach them. Photography give you a purpose, a confidence beyond yourself.
Photographer’s Contribute – More than half the people surveyed felt more connected to the local community and the world. They felt their photos were a contribution to the people around them and by taking their photos they were helping to beautify the world and preserve precious memories.
When you feel you are a part of something, rather than an observer, you feel much better as a human being. No one likes to feel like an outsider.
Funny thing is, once you feel better about yourself, others find you more attractive too.
I’ve often said, your confidence is the most attractive thing about you. In fact, confidence in who and what you are, and the things you can do are the biggest single determining factor in your success at everything in life.
Think about it. Aren’t you attracted to confident, energetic people? Regardless of any physical attributes they may have or lack thereof?
We just love people who are sure of their abilities and who don’t much care about the opinions of others.
You will be amazed at how confident you can become when you discover the hidden powers of the digital camera.
There are also more than a dozen other physical and mental health benefits you can get from digital photography.