1. Believe that your Twitter/Facebook followers are truly your friends. Invest more time and effort in wooing, and keeping, their approval, meanwhile, dismissing the approval of actual people you’ve known for years.
2. Take social media seriously.
3. State publicly, and often, how sick you are of being alone, and yet, whenever you are in public, be sure to keep your eyes firmly trained on your smartphone/tablet at all times, so as to avoid even the slightest scrap of human contact. Meanwhile, continue to publicly lament your inability to find true love.
4. Believe in true love without true effort.
5. Document, instead of live, your life.
6. Choose irony over achievement.
7. Chase the fantasy of perfection.
8. Choose perfect fear over messy human connection.
9. Be guided by your fears instead of your dreams. (FYI: Allowing your dreams to guide you, in our fear-soaked culture, is another short-cut to loneliness, but such is life.)
10. Refuse to learn from your mistakes.
11. Read men’s/women’s magazines and take their advice.
12. Devote the best years of your life to watching TV.
13. Care more about TV characters than your own character.
14. Reject compromise.
14. Visit cat cafes rather than cat shelters… or even, your own cat(s).
15. Believe that orgasms are somehow indicative of real love.
16. Believe that being married implies true love, or even true commitment.
17. Actively seek out postings on social media to enrage you.
18. Take “romantic” “comedies” seriously.
19. Take “Hollywood” seriously.
20. Take yourself seriously.
21. Take life seriously, even as you keep stopping yourself from truly living the life you desire.
Originally published as “How to Be Lonely in America” on Huffington Post