She's Not Your Wingman
Do not abandon her at the buffet! Dragging your friend to a party might seem like a good idea—she'll get out of the house and meet people—but throwing your friend into a clutch of cheese-straw-wielding revelers by herself while you catch up with other guests is almost guaranteed to leave her feeling worse than before.

Help Her Find Her Place of Comfort
Remind your friend that doing things alone—going to a movie, eating out—is hard for a lot of people, especially the first time. You might take her to the coffee shop that gives you a sense of community when you're on your own and volunteer to help find a place in her neighborhood.

Invitation Is Welcome
If you're part of a couple, don't let that stop you from inviting your single friend to join the two of you for dinner or a Saturday outing to Ikea. One O editor says that in her post-divorce despair, some of her happiest, least fraught times were with her married friends who just asked her to show up, plop down on the sofa, drink a little wine and stay for dinner.

Take the quiz: Determine your own loneliness quotient