The Lonely Expat
Loneliness is becoming a modern epidemic.
“We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of
loneliness have doubled since the 1980s.”
(Harvard Business Review)
What is Loneliness?
Loneliness isn’t being alone. It isn’t being isolated. It is a deep-rooted, painful feeling that we
are disconnected from others, even though we are surrounded by many. Disconnected from
others, and at the same time alienated from our Self.
Empty? Different? With no purpose? “I don’t even know how I became this person.” What keeps us away from talking and opening up to other people? How my life changes because of this lonely feeling?
The impact of Loneliness.
Loneliness can kill. They say, loneliness is like smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Sleep problems, high stress, low immune system, depression, high risk of heart disease. In the end, my quality of life is changed in a way that it is difficult for me to find pleasure in small things. I cannot help but think of the vanity of relationships.
Eventually, my loneliness has become my only company; my friend and my enemy.
Loneliness in the Expat’s journey
Loneliness can be temporary. It can be the aftermath of a transition, of an emotionally heavy
period (a new job, a new place, a divorce or a breakup, a lost friendship). Expats and Internationals
who relocate to a new country are in front of a totally new situation: new job, new culture, new
friends. Even though this transition entails an exciting change in their life, still, every time they are
faced with a challenge, their support network (family, friends) is not in close proximity in order to
help out. Being new in a country/culture sometimes feels like being an outcast. It takes some time until expats can integrate, build their network and feel again like home. But, as we said in the
beginning, loneliness can be temporary. Give it some time. And after a while, it can give its place to
more connections and real friendships.
Let’s defeat Loneliness.
Every time that we think of what scares us most about our loneliness, we are given the opportunity
to face this fear. We have to take the risk: to reach out to others and to create bridges even though
we are afraid of getting rejected. We have to decide how we want to live: with Fear or with Trust?Either one or the other. Because one excludes the other; one counteracts the other.
Reach out to others; make friends even though they are not like your best friends; learn the
language, or at least the basics; dive into the culture; accept the people; embrace the differences.
Participate in the Lonely Expat Survey, and help us help more expats to feel less lonely.
By participating in this survey, you gain 20% discount on any workshop of AntiLoneliness.
You are not alone.
Let’s defeat Loneliness.
About the author
Vassia Sarantopoulou is a counselor-psychologist, founder of “The Anti-Loneliness Project” since
She provides counseling services in one-to-one sessions, and also organises self-development
Workshops and Support Groups. Her main focus is to bring the balance and inner peace in her
clients’ lives. To help them overcome challenges and not to feel that they are struggling by
The main and most common issues she has tried to deal together with her clients have been:
anxiety, depression, divorce, panic attacks, grief, parenting, relationship conflicts, infertility, time
She has studied Psychology in Athens, Greece, and she has completed two Master courses, one in
Counseling and Career Guidance (Athens), and one in Psychology (Leiden University, Netherlands).
More information about AntiLoneliness and the services offered at: www.antiloneliness.com.
You are not alone. No one deserves that.
Counseling to defeat loneliness.