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Time and time again, I see people that I love who end up in bad situations with bad people. Why? This is the unfortunate price paid for the fear of loneliness.

A long time ago, I was not in a great place in my life. I didn’t have many friends, and I would always take up with just about anyone because I craved companionship and friendship. I overlooked major red flags because I felt like maybe they weren’t so bad, they seemed like they had decent intentions, and it was better than being lonely, I thought.

Every time in my life when I thought that any company was better than no company, I would end up being taken advantage of, used, or betrayed. I kept asking myself, “What is so flawed in me that I keep attracting these types of people?”

Loneliness is devastating. It truly is. It’s a painful and empty feeling. It also makes us more susceptible to being taken advantage of, because bad people can sense desperation, and they know it’s a weakness. They are all but happy to jump in, to tell us about their sad story that in weakness we are more prone to believe, and when the moment is right- they make their move.

Time and time again, I have seen very good friends of mine, and family, and a few times in my life, myself, alone and single, trying to find someone to make them feel complete. We’ve been told by society that without a partner, we aren’t whole and that we need someone to complete us. In turn, that lonely feeling, feels not only empty but like a pressure weighing heavily down on us- pushing us, urging us to find someone.

However, the trouble with this is that much like my experiences with bad friends, loneliness can push you to choose the wrong partners. Many people end up in toxic relationships with people that are completely wrong for them, and later end up marrying and then divorcing them. Why? Because the fear of loneliness was so much more than the fear of being with the wrong person.

Unfortunately, the major price we pay, the price we pay for that fear of being lonely, is that bad people or people that aren’t good for us are much worse for us than being lonely.

It’s much better to work on yourself and attract the right kind of company than it is to settle for people that are surrounded by red flags. Even though loneliness is painful, being alone sometimes is necessary for our growth. And it’s much better than jumping in headfirst with the wrong crowd.

Cultivating genuine friendships with good people takes time. It takes opening yourself up to healthier environments, and it takes us removing those blinders and setting high standards for the people we let into our lives.