How To Finally Find Your People: An Interview With Jillian Richardson [EP066]

Jillian Richardson is the author of Unlonely Planet, and she’s all about helping you to finally find your people; your tribe. She believes that bringing people together is a sacred act, and in this delightful episode, Jillian teaches how everyone–at any age and in any circumstance (including social distancing)–can find a whole new order of deeper, more joyful community. This episode is filled with tools and tips to help you find your people–online and off. I’m thrilled to share her expertise and passion with you.

Episode Table of Contents

Episode Introduction: Find Your People

Find Your People

Sometimes no matter how busy we are, how connected we are, there can still be a sense of loneliness and emptiness. Jillian Richardson, author of Unlonely Planet, is going to be talking with me in this episode and helping each one of you find out how to discover and connect with your tribe, the people who really get who you are in the world. So stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

Hello everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist, author of the bestselling book, Deeper Dating, and your host. I’m so excited about today’s episode. I’m interviewing Jillian Richardson, author of Unlonely Planet. And Jillian is maybe the most wonderful person I know that helps people actually find their tribe in the world, to understand and honor feelings of loneliness and be able to change them in fun and exciting ways by helping people really find their community.

This week and every week, I’m going to share the greatest tools I know and connect you with the greatest experts I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love and the skills of love are the greatest life skills of all. And if you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to And if you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and you’ll learn more about how to use these ideas to transform your intimacy journey.

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And you’ll also find a complete transcript of this and every episode there. And you’ll also get to hear about my new downloadable course where I guide people through the entire deeper dating journey. I just want to say that everything I’m going to be sharing in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment of any sort. And if you’re experiencing serious psychological or psychiatric symptoms, please seek professional help.

And by the way, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be a fabulous gift if you could subscribe and leave me a review. People have been leaving the most beautiful reviews and it just means the world to me and it helps me support this work. So thank you so much for that.

Jillian Richardson
Jillian Richardson

With no further ado, I want to tell you a little bit about Jillian Richardson and introduce her. Jillian is a professional community builder and facilitator. She’s the author of the Unlonely Planet, a book that I adore and I encourage all of you to purchase.

She’s also most known for being the founder of The Joy List, a weekly newsletter on a mission to make the world less lonely. That’s an amazing, amazing list. I highly recommend people to subscribe to it. She’s been sending it out every Monday morning for almost four years in New York City.

Unlonely Planet
Unlonely Planet

Where Do You Find Your People and Your Tribe

Where Do You Find Your People and Your Tribe
Photographer: Ryoji Iwata | Source: Unsplash

Now, outside of The Joy List, she also runs online and in-person groups for people who want more connection in their lives. She consults with companies who want to create magical events. Overall, she’s passionate about creating spaces where people can drop their walls and be vulnerable. Nothing gets her more fired up than facilitating an emotional journey.

I just want to tell you a little bit about my relationship with Jillian. When I discovered what Jillian was doing I was so excited because in my work as a therapist and as a coach with people who are looking for more intimacy and particularly people who are looking for relationships, I know how profoundly important it is that we face our loneliness and that we begin to find our tribe, our people. Jillian calls it our congregation as well. Having those people I think is the greatest definer of a rich and meaningful life. That’s what Jillian was all about, was helping people to do this.

I was just thrilled because her healing, her vision, is a vision that the world forgets so many times in many ways. It’s a vision that she’s passionate about living.

Kenneth Page: Welcome, Jillian Richardson.

Jillian Richardson: Thank you so much for having me, Ken. Thank you for such a kind introduction. Not surprised, you’re really good at them.

Kenneth Page: Well, it’s really true. I had been hungry for a teacher from my community that teaches this because I know that for me the center of my journey to find love began with this deep recognition of my loneliness that really hurt, but it was big and important to discover.

The Journey of Recognizing Loneliness and Finding Connection

Kenneth Page: I think a great way to start would be for you to tell us your story and your journey, and what was your loneliness, and your journey to both address that, find connection, and then teach other people to do that too. Tell us more.

Jillian Richardson: Thank you! To start from the very beginning, I grew up in a family like a lot of people were my parents were not taught the skills from their parents for deep emotional connection. Growing up I didn’t have the language to describe how I was feeling. I just knew that while I love my parents I didn’t feel like my emotions were okay. I didn’t feel my anger, my sadness was okay. I didn’t feel very understood. I felt really shut down in my body.

That was just so much my normal that I didn’t know any other way of living existed. I think a thing that I forget to appreciate about my life now is that the people who know how to really listen and really be present and be honest about their own experiences of the world, they’re very rare. Growing up I didn’t see that skill modeled around me. Again, I just did not know what was possible. There was just this longing that I had in me for something more that I was unconscious of. I was filling that hole with external things.

When I was in college, I was doing a lot of comedy. A way that I cope is I can be a workaholic. I’m the president of my school’s comedy group. I’m writing for two of my colleges’ TV shows. I have a part-time job.

Taking the Opportunity to Change Your Life

Jillian Richardson: I’m learning how to become a personal trainer. I’m a spin instructor at my college. I’m doing all of these obsessive things. I have an eating disorder to avoid what I don’t even know is really going on with me.

When I left college and moved to New York City in 2015, I took it as an opportunity to change my life. I knew that something wasn’t right. At first, I did all of the things that we’re taught to do to create friends. I was going to bars and shouting at people over loud music. I had my activity friends, like the people who I did comedy with where we would kind of joke with each other. Putting all of the onus on me, I wasn’t being true about my own struggles and what was really going on for me. I wasn’t creating the conditions for intimacy.

I kind of had this moment of just reflecting on how many things I was doing at any given time. And still when I took a pause, how deeply unhappy I felt that I made a promise to myself that for a year I would try as many new things as I could. I was going to festivals alone, to retreats alone. Eventually, I found this experience called “Camp Grounded”, which is a Digital Detox summer camp for adults.

That means no phones, no computers, no substances, no talk about work, no talk about age. All of my coping mechanisms were taken away from me. I just had to be present and playful with other adults.

Find Your People Who Model the Life You Want

Find Your People Who Model the Life You Want
Photographer: Noémi Macavei-Katócz | Source: Unsplash

Jillian Richardson: This sounds sad, but I genuinely believe it’s true. I had never been around adults who could do that before. It gave me a new model of what was possible. It gave me a new community in New York City and it just completely changed my perception of what I could do with my life, which is a huge point that I always try and drive home with why friendship is so important and the people we surround ourselves with is so crucial, is because the people who are around us are modeling the potential for our own lives.

Kenneth Page: Beautiful.

Jillian Richardson: If we’re around uninspiring people, we’re probably going to be living an uninspiring life ourselves.

Kenneth Page: Yes, or struggling upstream every day.

Jillian Richardson: Totally.

Kenneth Page: I love that. I love that. I just acknowledge the point of facing the loneliness. It’s so funny how busyness covers loneliness. I relate to this so well because I know for me I was a gay man living in New York, looking for love is not like I wasn’t looking for intimacy, but I was looking in the wrong places and I was endlessly busy with my career and my kind of desperate search for love.

I didn’t even have time to slow down enough to know how lonely I was. When I began a journey, also like you, of discovering places where I could learn and grow, for me it was a body-mind therapist training program. I began to face the loneliness.

The Beginning of a Good Life

Kenneth Page: I remember this one moment, I had seen kids on the beach or in the playground, if they got really hit by surprise, their mouths would just open up. They were so upset that a sound wouldn’t even come out. That was the feeling of my recognizing how deeply sadly lonely I was. Then, the tears just poured out. That was the beginning of my stopping just looking for love and trying to build it. That was the beginning of kind of what I think of as my good life. I just want to recognize that pivotal moment, that precious moment of saying, “I’m too lonely. I don’t have the connection I want yet.”

Jillian Richardson: I think what you’re saying of kind of taking a pause is the only time when you can truly feel what’s going on inside. I think this moment in time that we’re in right now where the entire country in the world is on pause because of the Coronavirus. I think a lot of people are going to have realizations about the ways that they’re coping and if they’re working for them or not.

Even just for me, I live in New York City. Again, as I said, a way that I cope is through being busy and working a lot and over-scheduling myself. Even just in the first two weeks of this, noticing how many Zoom calls I was getting on and how many virtual parties I was going to and just realizing, I’m doing the same thing to myself. To just take that pause and say, “Why am I so resistant to just being with myself?”

An Ongoing Excavation

Kenneth Page: That’s such a rich point. I could look at my life in some ways and say, “It’s so filled with love – my husband, my kids, my pets, my family,” but on a day-to-day level, I find the same thing. I keep covering that over with busyness. I just want to acknowledge the humbling truth you’re saying, which is that it’s an ongoing excavation.

When you talked about what’s going on now in the world with COVID-19, I got chills, because here we all are, we have this built-in opportunity for a pause. I would love it if you could just talk to everybody who’s in this pause and help us understand how we can make the most of that.

Jillian Richardson: I think a really great opportunity of this moment if people have the emotional capacity for it, and which a lot of people don’t, but if you do, is to just do the deeper emotional work that a lot of us put on the back burner because we don’t have time. That could look like reading books about Somatics and how your body is connected to your emotions. I really recommend the book, The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk. I quote it in my book a lot. It’s a really powerful example of how our bodies can trap trauma and how our bodies can react in ways that we don’t even understand are connected to our emotions.

Also, looking at how our family systems have influenced the ways that we cope as adults. For me, I had my big kind of year of just really diving into my own family psychology.

Find Your People by Caring More for Other People

Find Your People Is by Caring More for Other Prople
Photographer: Bonnie Kittle | Source: Unsplash

Jillian Richardson: I read The Body Keeps the Score. I also read The Drama of the Gifted Child. I kind of joke that people who read that book need a support group because it is a heavy book. It made me personally realize how I will create a mask of an achiever, a perfectionist, of a good girl, of someone who wants everyone to like her. My boundaries are your boundaries.

Pushing myself to care for other people and not taking care of myself kind of having lots of shallow relationships versus really committing to a few deeper relationships and just seeing all of these patterns in my own personal life and realizing how deeply tied they are to my relationship with my family, and realizing if I don’t work on my relationship with my family, even just within myself of healing those wounds, I’m not going to be able to overcome these patterns and I’m not going to feel less lonely no matter how many incredible people I bring into my life because I don’t even fundamentally believe that I deserve this love or intimacy in the first place.

Kenneth Page: So you’re talking about a kind of powerful task that people can do during this pause which is to actually look at their family of origin and the patterns that emerge that they still might be stuck in and you recommended two wonderful books. Tell us more ideas. Maybe, some people don’t want to touch that stuff. Maybe, they’re not readers.

Jillian Richardson: That’s totally understandable.

Taking a Much Needed Pause

Kenneth Page: I think it’s glorious. You’re starting right at the basis. For those people that maybe don’t want to do that, what are some other things that they could do to press the pause, feel what’s underneath, reexamine their lives, and use this pause to deepen their journey toward connection?

Jillian Richardson: Another activity that I would recommend is to do some journaling on who the current people are in your life that are in your circle. If you were to write down the names of your closest friends and the people who you spend the most time with in your life and reflect on, “What is it about this relationship that I really like? What is it about this relationship that I don’t necessarily like?”

I think it takes a pause like this for people to look at their relationships with a microscope and say, “Wow, the people I spend the most time with, I actually don’t even like that much.” If you’re one of those people, I am not saying this with judgment whatsoever, because I’m in conversations with people a lot around their experiences of loneliness. It is very common for people to just hold on to relationships and friendships because of history together.

That could look like, “Well, we went to college together,” or, “We grew up together,” or, “We have the same job, and so we just hang out after work,” whatever it is. To think about if you could either take some time to improve that relationship, to perhaps learn some skills yourself and this is probably a separate point, but to learn some skills yourself for communicating better with that person, having deeper conversations with them, being a better listener to them.

Questions to Guide You as You Find Your People

Jillian Richardson: Or if you want to be a little more brutal with yourself, or if this is true for you, and say, “Actually, this relationship is very draining to me. When I’m in a relationship with this person, I feel less energized versus more energized, most of the time, if not all of the time.” If that’s true for you, then to reflect on, “When this pause is over and I can reemerge into the world again, what does my ideal community look like? Who are the types of people I want to surround myself with? What type of friends do I want to be to them? How do I want them to support me?”

Because it’s a thing that people kind of just let happen to them a lot of the time. I know that was true for me, where it was just, “Okay, these are the people who are in my life. They’re here, we’re spending time together. Why would I try and find somebody different?” When in reality, these people can, I don’t that like the word, “up level,” but they can bring so much more joy and life into your existence.

Kenneth Page: So much to say about that. That’s so important and dense. It’s hard and real and important stuff. I was just thinking about a dear friend of mine who underwent surgery. After surgery, she was very, very vulnerable. She had this thing where she wouldn’t let people visit her who drained her. In her normal life, very resilient, very empowered. She handled that. But, in her post-surgery period, she had a revelation, which was some people drain her and that she actually had a right to honor that.

The Different Flavors of Disconnection

The Different Flavors of Disconnection
Photographer: Eric Muhr | Source: Unsplash

Kenneth Page: I love what you’re saying. That’s a rich, rich thing to think about. In which of those relationships can you fix that, can you change that? I believe it’s in Episode 64, I actually teach a concept called the Aha Process, which is a wonderful way to kind of deepen and heal relationships. Just one other thing I want to say is that this pause concept is so rich. If bubble baths are your thing, or meditation is your thing or doing YouTube yoga sessions, all of these things, now is the time for that.

And I love your idea of journaling, Jillian. I think that’s so important and so rich. You mentioned to me before we started this recording that you actually had a series of questions that you’d like to ask people. Would this be a good time for that?

Jillian Richardson: Yes. Totally. Actually, I have them pulled up on my computer.

Kenneth Page: Great.

Jillian Richardson: These are questions that, for a while, I was making social calendars for people in New York City, where they would fill out a questionnaire and I would custom-make a list of suggestions of events that they could attend to meet people in the city.

Kenneth Page: So great.

Jillian Richardson: It more than anything, it was just a really great way for me to get insight into all the different flavors of disconnection that exist in New York City.

Kenneth Page: So well said.

A Busted Myth Regarding Disconnection

Jillian Richardson: One side-point that I want to make before I read these questions is, the first two people who signed up for this service after I posted it were both people who were in committed romantic relationships, which at that time shocked me. Because one of my wounds is that I really craved a romantic relationship growing up. I really thought that if I have this person then everything will be great. And so to hear, “Wow, these people are in a really long-term relationship and they feel lonely. What does that say?”

It’s saying that you can feel disconnected no matter what it looks like from the outside looking in. You can struggle with finding friends even if you’re married or dating someone. That gave me a lot of really great context. It felt like a myth was busted for myself.

Kenneth Page: So important. So important. Also, so many married folks, you don’t get all your needs met, including deep and important needs that do need to be met. This is this thing that it’s not going to be a lover or a husband or a wife or a partner that’s going to meet all your needs, they’re a glorious, glorious, glorious place of fruition of intimacy, but we need our friends. If we have family we can connect to, we need our family. We need our pets. We need our relationship to nature. We are so multi-faceted and that’s just so important.

Jillian Richardson: Amen. With these people, I asked them these 10 questions.

Kenneth Page: 10 questions. Great.

Jillian Richardson: It’s 10. If you want, I can read a handful of them or all of them.

The Precious Questions About Connectedness

Kenneth Page: Whatever you think is best. I’m very excited to hear them.

Jillian Richardson: I’ll read a handful of them.

Kenneth Page: Sure.

Jillian Richardson: The questions, they’re about finding your friends, but also just finding the events and the gatherings where you might find your friends.

Kenneth Page: Great. Jillian, I’m just going to say one thing here for the listeners. I would love you to consider at this point, maybe getting a paper and a pen if you want. If you’re walking and you want to answer these questions out loud, you could do that. If you want to stop and get a paper and a pen. But to pause as long as you like after each one of her questions to really let yourself formulate your answer because these are really precious questions.

Jillian Richardson: Thank you. The first question, and I think this might be my favorite question, is when in your life have you truly felt like you belonged? What was it about that time that made you feel that way?

Kenneth Page: Oh my god, that’s so beautiful. I have chills hearing that question. I want to encourage people to take a minute pause and answer that.

Jillian Richardson: I run an online group that I ask that question to and I get to hear people’s answers. It’s a question a lot of people really struggle to answer. If that’s the case for you, that’s completely okay. It’s a great way to reflect on, “Wow, that time in my life when I went to summer camp when I was a teenager. What was it about that summer camp that made me feel so included?” You just get those wheels turning. That’s one question.

Find Your People Who Inspire You

Find Your People Who Inspire You
Photographer: Марьян Блан | @marjanblan | Source: Unsplash

Jillian Richardson: Some other kind of less meta-questions are what areas of your city inspire you that you want to spend more time in? Also, what skills do you want to develop?

Kenneth Page: These are wonderful questions.

Jillian Richardson: Thank you. How do you want to improve as a person in the next 12 months? These questions are really just to kind of make the tie between the people who are around you can help you with all of these things. If someone says, “I feel really disconnected from my body, and I’ve always wanted to feel comfortable going out dancing.” If a woman said that to me, I’d say, “Well, how about you find a group for only women who danced together?” Because that’s probably a good first step, and to be around women who are comfortable in their skin, so that you can see what’s possible for yourself.

Because going to a women’s only dance party is going to be far better for that person and more inspiring and uplifting for that person than just going to a nightclub or a bar and dancing. It’s about being around people who are shifting your perception of what is possible.

Kenneth Page: And that’s your point again about how important it is to surround yourself with people who inspire you, help you be the you that you want to be. That’s something you keep coming to and I so love.

Jillian Richardson: Thank you. I appreciate that. I think one more question that I’ll add because I think it ties into really beautifully of how you often talk about people’s gifts, Ken, and how those gifts can be really tied to things that people don’t necessarily like about themselves.

Kenneth Page: Yes.

Defining Your Personal Struggles

Jillian Richardson: A question I ask people is, what’s your biggest struggle right now? With the woman who might be uncomfortable in her skin, if that’s her biggest struggle, being in groups of women who are really sexually empowered and comfortable in their bodies will be such a huge benefit. A lot of people don’t necessarily connect what they’re struggling with, with their friendships, but they can be really complimentary.

Kenneth Page: I love this. I love this. You’re laying out a framework for what everybody could do. You’re talking about people taking a pause. Then, you’re talking about people answering questions that really help them think about when they have felt gratified, when they have felt a deep sense of connection, when they haven’t, with whom do they feel that sense of connection, all of these questions. And then, also, what do they long for? These are just such fabulous pause period questions for people to reflect on.

Now, I’d like to ask you kind of a next step question with two parts. The next step is, then what do you do to find that? Especially if you’re living in an urban area or if you’re living not in an urban area, including you’re far away or you’re older and you have a hard time getting around. That’s question number one. Like, what do you do to find these events? And number two, what do you do now while you’re sheltered at home, if you’re sheltered at home? Anybody who has a hard time getting out and getting connected, how can we use the online world? What can we do? Just anything you want to say about these next steps in creating this life that you teach we can have.

Find Your People Through Virtual Events

Jillian Richardson: I think in terms of online events and what’s possible, the easiest suggestion for me is that my newsletter, The Joy List, actually is only featuring virtual events right now. They are events hosted in the online space that anyone anywhere can attend.

Kenneth Page: Love that. Love that. Yes. Huge, huge, important.

Jillian Richardson: That makes it very easy.

Kenneth Page: Everybody should subscribe then.

Jillian Richardson: Yes. I think for the foreseeable months as most people are in social isolation and distancing themselves, we don’t know when this is going to end. I’ve made the commitment to include events that anyone can attend from anywhere for the foreseeable future.

Kenneth Page: I love that. That’s gold. Thank you so much. Yes.

Jillian Richardson: Of course. It has made me so happy to see how many community builders all around the world are taking this time to do partnerships that were never possible before. To reach more people than they ever could have reached before. Just to say, “The ecstatic dance that happens in San Francisco, suddenly, I can be there. I’m going to be there with 500 people, and we’re all dancing from home.” It’s different, but it’s really beautiful.

Kenneth Page: Wonderful.

Jillian Richardson: That’s one very easy way to do that. Outside of the virtual events, I also have some really quick tips for finding in-person events when all of this is over. A very simple one is on Eventbrite – which features ticketed events. There is a filter called community. When you’re searching for events, say, you’re looking for events on June 3rd in your town, you can also put on the filter of Community Events.

A Facilitated Connection

Jillian Richardson: I typically find that events that are tagged, either community or spirituality tend to be the best for facilitated connection. The reason that I talk about facilitated connection is because that’s what has helped me find friends at events. I’m an extroverted person. I’m great at starting conversations with people. And even for me, to walk into a big networking event or a big party and to just start talking to people feels very daunting. It doesn’t feel natural. The connection can feel kind of forced.

Instead, to have a facilitator there who says, “We’re going to get you partnered up with this person. You’re each going to ask each other this question for five minutes,” I just feel so deeply relieved. That’s why in my newsletter I only feature events that have facilitated connection. Because it’s taking the pressure off of people and giving them a way to have permission to go a little bit deeper with others.

Kenneth Page: I love that. I love that because I think so many people think, “God, what’s wrong with me? I need to be able to do this.” But just the difference between those two scenarios you described, it’s just a world of difference. I just think that’s a beautiful, beautiful key. That’s great.

Jillian Richardson: Thank you. The same thing also applies for Facebook. If you have Facebook, when you go to the “Events” tab on the left-hand side, there is a discovery feature where you just simply hit “Discover”, you choose the dates that you want to find events for. And a helpful element of this feature is you can see events that your friends have expressed that they’re going to, or they are interested in.

Kenneth Page: Nice.

The Medium to Be Utilized to Find Your People

The Medium to Be Utlized to Find Your People
Photographer: Cristofer Jeschke | Source: Unsplash

Jillian Richardson: For me in New York City, I might be like, “I don’t know what’s going on next Saturday.” Suddenly I’ll see, “Well, 10 people I know are going to this cuddle party, or this yoga class, or this movie screening and discussion.” For a lot of people, that helps kind of ease the fear of showing up, is to see that someone you know will be there already.

Kenneth Page: I love that. I love that. In all of my teaching, I tell people that the best, best way to meet a partner is at events where there are other people who share your values. Events that kind of touch you deeply, touch your deepest values, excite you the most because you’ll be shining there. And that’s true, you’ll be glowing. That glow is going to be true with making friends, with finding a partner.

And what you’re saying in a certain way is that the medium of meeting is hugely important. And you’re recommending media of meeting, ways of meeting, that are warm, safe, structured, connected, and joyful.

Jillian Richardson: Completely. Very well put. Thank you.

Kenneth Page: I love that. I love that. Could you say something Jillian to all the people that are listening and thinking, “Well, conceptually, this is really good but ouch, I don’t want to have to go out there. It’s so hard. It’s hard. It’s embarrassing. It’s awkward. I know I have to. I know I should.” Any words of encouragement or just suggestions or anything to help all of us who feel just a little bit held back around taking these brave steps?

Posting Your Interests Attracts the Right People in Your Tribe

Jillian Richardson: Completely. I think the first thing that’s really important for people to know if you’re feeling, ” I don’t want to be a burden to people,” or, “Everyone else already has enough friends, I don’t want to reach out,” is just to give some data. One number that I always love sharing is that the average American has one close friend and 75% of Americans are not satisfied with their friendships. Which means that most of us have one friend and most of us don’t even like that friend, which is a total bummer.

But at the same time it really emphasizes and highlights how if you’re asking people to spend time with you, chances are you are giving them a huge gift by doing that.

Kenneth Page: Yes.

Jillian Richardson: Even if you reach out to someone and say, “Hey, I’m going to this movie screening. I think it’d be really fun. I would love for you to join me. I’d love to spend some time with you”. Even if they can’t make it, I know nobody in the world who would read that message and think, “It’s so annoying that this person reached out to me and wants to spend time with me.” Everyone wants to be thought of. Everyone wants to be invited. Another tip that I give people a lot, which for me I will own, can be easier because I do this a lot, but I think it’s really, really helpful is, if you have social media and if you’re comfortable doing this, to just publicly say what type of person you’re interested in connecting with right now.

Find Your People and See How It Can Change Your Life

Jillian Richardson: This is also very helpful if you’re moving to a new place. Even if you’ve lived in your city for years, you can say, “Hey, friends in (insert your city here), I’m interested in meeting people who are interested in (insert your interests here). Who do you have for me?”

Kenneth Page: I love it.

Jillian Richardson: This is a really simple idea because people love to help. And on social media, just tagging someone in a post takes literally two seconds. Ken, if you said, “Hey, New York City. I’m interested in meeting people who are therapists, who work in the relationship space.” It’s very easy for me to go and tag a friend of mine in that post and it’s up to them if they want to connect with you or not.

Kenneth Page: I love it.

Jillian Richardson: Chances are you’re going to have a lot of people to suddenly connect with just because you were brave enough to post.

Kenneth Page: What happens to people who take these steps? How, kind of from the inside do their lives change when they increase the number of wonderful spaces they have and deeper connections? How do people’s lives change when they have that? When they do that?

Jillian Richardson: Great question. I would say, one, the most important thing to me of how people’s lives change is that, by consistently showing up in these spaces and by consistently looking for really wonderful people in your life, you are proving to yourself that you are worth love, and care, and connection.

Find Your People By Showing Up for Yourself

Find Your People By Showing up for Yourself
Photographer: alex bracken | Source: Unsplash

Jillian Richardson: It’s just like if you are showing up to exercise, or you’re showing up and making really beautiful meals for yourself. You’re signaling to your body that I am worth caring for, and I am safe, and I am supported. It’s improving your self-esteem.

By doing these things, your self-esteem will improve or at least this is what I’ve seen with myself and people who I work with. Also, you just have things to look forward to. When you have things to look forward to, the amount of joy in your life is increasing because you can look at your calendar and say, “Wow, this week I’m going to my women’s circle. I’m going to a really great yoga class followed by a discussion. I’m going to a sober dance party.” Whatever it is, you’re saying, “Wow, there’s a lot of really incredible stuff.”

And it’s going to be far easier for you to connect with people. Because when someone says, “What’s going on? What are you looking forward to?” Suddenly, you can become the person who’s saying, “There’s this great thing I’m going to and here’s why I love it. If you want to join me, that’d be great.” Speaking as someone who went from being in New York City not feeling connected, not knowing where to go to find really good, heartfelt connections to suddenly becoming the person who everyone is asking for recommendations, it just becomes so much simpler to have deeper connections with people because we’re going to spaces where deeper connections are literally facilitated. That’s the point of the space that we’re going to in the first place.

Connect With Jillian

Kenneth Page: Gorgeous, gorgeous. I just want to encourage everyone who’s listening, and you’re going to get to hear about how to do this in just a few moments, to join The Joy List, because it’s virtual, it’s everywhere. In addition to finding these events, Jillian’s work is going to spark you thinking in new ways and in new directions. “That’s pretty cool. I’d like to do something a little bit different, like such and such. Let me search out where that is.” Her list will just spark so many new ideas for you.

Kenneth Page: Jillian, in a minute I’m going to ask you to tell people how they could get in touch with you. Right now, could you tell them the website to go to so that they could subscribe to The Joy List?

Jillian Richardson: Yes. The website for The Joy List is

Kenneth Page: Beautiful. Remember folks, it’s not just NYC. Now, at this point, it’s everywhere in the world which is fabulous.

Jillian Richardson: Yes.

Kenneth Page: Jillian, your work touches me deeply because nobody’s talking about this. Deep, deep, deep within our beings, there’s such a hurt, there’s such a wounding, there’s such an emptiness that comes from a kind of endemic loneliness that we don’t even recognize. What your mission is about is healing that, recognizing it, changing it, and helping the world at the same time. Do you have any last thoughts that you want to share with this community?

Final Thoughts on Loneliness

Jillian Richardson: I think the last thing that I’ll leave people with is just, if you are lonely, you are not alone. There are tons of steps that you can take to feel more connected. Shame is not a helpful emotion. If you’re feeling shame around your loneliness, just know that your experience is really common and there’s probably a ton of people around you who are feeling exactly the same way but they’re just not brave enough to either look at it or to admit it.

Kenneth Page: Beautiful. Thank you, Jillian. Now, can you give us the full picture of how people can connect with you, learn from you, and what you offer?

Jillian Richardson: Yes. Thank you. The easiest thing to do is to buy my book. It’s called Unlonely Planet. You can find it on Amazon. If you’re looking to do some deeper work, I have one current offering and two where you can reach out to me and we can figure it out one-on-one. One is, I offer an online program called Four Weeks to Find Your People.

Kenneth Page: Love that.

Jillian Richardson: Thank you. If you go to The Joy List website, there’ll be a signup form for that. I also have my wait list open for my online course. If you’re someone who doing a program with a group right now feels kind of scary or you don’t want to commit to that, you can do the online program at your own pace.

Jillian Richardson: Lastly, I offer one-on-one coaching. If you reach out to me at which is my email address and mention that you found me through Deeper Dating, I will give you a special gift.

Jillian’s Social Handles

Kenneth Page: Beautiful, beautiful. Tell us about your social media handles.

Jillian Richardson: Yes, the social media handles, on Instagram, I am either @thatjillian, J-I-L-L-I-A-N. That’s also my handle on Twitter, it is @thatjillian. If you’re looking to follow The Joy List, we are The Joy List on Facebook and @joylistnyc on Instagram.

Kenneth Page: Beautiful, beautiful. Did I leave anything out?

Jillian Richardson: Did you leave anything out? I guess, if you want to learn just about me as a person, my personal website, no surprise, is

Kenneth Page: Fantastic, fantastic. Folks, I’m so excited by these messages. I just know, you know Anthony Robbins says, “Show me the five people you’re closest to and I’ll show you the quality of your life.” It’s just so true.

Jillian, your message is a message of nourishment and healing that the world desperately needs. It’s also a message of fun and joy which we all, especially these days, really need. Thank you so much for being on the show.

Jillian Richardson: Thank you, Ken.

Kenneth Page: Take care, everybody. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast. If this episode has meaning for anybody in your life, please share this with them because I think so many people will benefit from this. If you want, you can also go to and sign up for my mailing list and get a free gift and learn about all the work and the programs that I’m doing as well.

Kenneth Page: Jillian, what a joy. I’ve waited so long to have this interview with you.

Jillian Richardson: Thank you.

Kenneth Page: Thank you. Take care, everyone.