Loneliness NZ

Understanding each other better

Imagine what life would be like if your family thrived harmoniously!

This page, which is adapted from a Covid-19 piece, provides resources you can use to see how to improve your family living, interaction with friends, and living on your own. 

Our aim

Whether you live on your own, or with others, an understanding of human interaction within and across family and friends is important to help you have better expectations of each other…and yourself. Loneliness comes about from unmet expectations from people you connect with.

So whether it seems relatively easy or tough right now, learning to connect with each other well is vital to relationship success.

Let’s do everything we can to make our bubble world experience great!

Let’s look after each other, and ourselves.

Let’s have better connections, with and without technology.

Quality relationships are amongst life’s blessings!

Our influence on others

Just as our negative behaviours influence others badly…increasing loneliness, anxiety and depression, so can our positive behaviours influence people to adjust better to family life and friends.

Supplement kindness with large doses of empathy, tolerance, adaptation, sacrifice, respect, gratitude, patience, creativity and servic

At times life will seem very challenging. Having blame, guilt, spiralling-down self-talk, feeling over-burdened, frustration, anger all affecting us puts our family and friends at risk of fragmenting.  

Interacting with each other positively will have a ripple effect to whoever we interact with; across family and friends including when we talk to them on the phone and video.

How we replenish our energy

Some of us recharge our mental batteries by spending more time in other people’s company, and others recharge by more time alone. We all love each other – we just find different amounts of time with each other better for our wellbeing.

Finding balance for considering two people’s needs is important. There is no simple measure whose needs are greatest when, for example, you are alone, interrupted by another person for conversation; or when you want to play games and everyone is absorbed in books, works and devices.

Having strategies will be helpful (Reminder neither need is more or less important – they both are):

  • Talk about each other’s needs regularly, and have agreements when and how often you can interrupt alone time; and how often you will have games and chat times.
  • Enable those that need people more to use central spaces where they see each other passing more often. Let them use the television, radio, You-tube clips, with the sound on to see people in other formats – not to replace conversation but to supplement time with family. Encourage them to connect with other family and friends directly or  using video technology. And lastly, let them be the ones to go outdoors for shopping, getting the most of seeing and speaking to people.
  • For people who need alone time – have a no-noise and no-interruption space allocated away from the central space. Let them spend enough time on their devices – not to avoid family but to rejuvenate and to rejoin family at an agreed time.

Needs, and "life worth living" wants

Have a discussion to understand the difference between needs and wants. You are aiming to give each person some of their wants and needs, without compromising the wants and needs of any other person or the needs of having the household operating well. 

Wants have significant value in making life worth living. Be fair with people’s wants, in perspective of space constraints and changing financial circumstances.


  • some need space from their family; some want a favourite TV watching chair; 
  • some need breaks from chores; some want not to clean toilets; 
  • some need the only computer to do their job; some want time for gaming online; 
  • some need some noisy times; as much as some need quiet.
  • some want chocolate biscuits; some want a particular television programme.

Balancing your optimism and pessimism for wellbeing

One of the challenges you will face together is the constant tension between optimism and pessimism

When you have choices, how you frame your words goes a long way to making them positive. You still have realistic discussions; take time to soak in the severity, and then you shift your mind-set to enjoy a lighter moment.

As it happens, being only optimistic is not the best for your health! Before the pessimists go – I knew it! – being only pessimistic is also damaging.

Overall, your family and friends are best to adopt an approach where optimism and pragmatism are balanced.

The rationale here is that if you are overly optimistic that you cannot conceive of an extension, or other restrictions coming in, your disappointment will be huge; after that you most likely will struggle each and every day! That will seriously affect your wellbeing… loneliness included.

If you are overly pessimistic, you might not bother to take the isolation as seriously. A “Why bother if we are all going to die” approach has a greater likelihood of you not putting effort to enjoy life. You are very likely to be living with higher anxiety, and potentially higher loneliness … and as we have seen earlier in this post, your negativity would be influencing others, at the same time as seriously affecting your wellbeing.

We want all of you to have the best wellbeing throughout this isolation… take it seriously and encourage others in your circle of influence to do so too – for however long it is enforced. 

Our self-help resources