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Can we talk about loneliness?

(187 Posts)
Daydreaming Thu 28-Jul-11 11:02:25

This is not really a AIBU...

Just spotted an article that has really struck a chord with me, about loneliness:

I am 30 something and for the last few years I have felt quite lonely. I am sure I am not the only one. Like the writer of that article, I too had short episodes of feeling a bit lonely in my teens and 20s, but nothing like this. I have a professional job and I think I am reasonably interesting/attractive, but circumstances are such that I spend a lot of time feeling lonely.

I know that some of it is to do with the fact that I am not from the UK originally, so don't have any old school/uni friends here. I have loving parents, but they are not in the UK. I am a lone parent to a small child (not by choice). My DD is a great source of joy to me, but she is not a substitute for adult company.

I have two single female friends that I sometimes do things with. I also have two married friends, that I made through DD, but they are more playdate/family activity friends, rather than someone I could call on the weekend. And that's it.

A couple of weeks ago I had a weekend all to myself, without DD, and I was quite happy to read, etc. but I wished there was someone who could just pop over to have a cut of tea with me, etc.

Anyone else who can relate to this?

cookcleanerchaufferetc Thu 28-Jul-11 11:09:04

I agree. I would love to have a best friend who I could tell anything to. I have friends, but some of ex work colleagues, some are mums of kids friends etc.

globex Thu 28-Jul-11 11:11:31

Can definitely relate! I think I know enough people so I don't feel completely isolated - can always call someone up for coffee etc.. but actually I don't have any real friends - at all!!

cookcleanerchaufferetc Thu 28-Jul-11 11:13:33

I agree, I have lots of "aquaintences" but no one who I could share real personal stuff. It is isolating sometimes, and I do feel jealous of some of the mums at school who waltz into the playground to chat to their BFFS (!) whereas I go and make small talk. However, I am happy with my own company, which is just as well!

globex Thu 28-Jul-11 11:16:24

Do you think this is actually a fairly normal state of affairs?!

cookcleanerchaufferetc Thu 28-Jul-11 11:20:27

I am not an extrovert person. I am not naturally bubbly and full of smiles 24/7 like some people. I guess people are more drawn to those jolly full of life types who can talk about anything. I feel that there is a barrier sometimes, that when I talk to some people they are happy to do so until someone better comes along.

BTW, i am not someone who has a permanent rain cloud above their head! I am not Eeyore, but certainly not Tigger! More Kanga ...

Punkatheart Thu 28-Jul-11 11:27:16

Very interesting discussion. There is being alone and there is feeling lonely. I had a terrible attack of the latter yesterday. I went to a beautiful local park and it was full of families and couples. I suddenly had a feeling in my gut, of absolute loss and distress. I have a OH and I have a child but at that moment, I was bereft.

Feeling lonely in a crowd of people is somehow worse. I am very good at being alone but on days that you feel as if you not connecting, not relating - it can be heartbreaking.

So this will be our connection thread. No one is allowed to feel lonely. We give hugs and ears here. Well, not actual ears - that would be a little too Van Gogh - but we will listen.

Daydreaming Thu 28-Jul-11 11:29:22

Globex - to answer your question, I think in the past it was different, because people generally lived closer to their extended family and people they had grown up with.

Nowdays, more and more people live alone. I know that it is possible to feel lonely even when you are married/in a relationship, but obviously you are more likely to be lonely if you are single, live alone, and don't have your family/old friends nearby.

I think it it different when you are in your realy 20s, because everyone is in the same boat pretty much - everyone wants to make new friends, socialise, etc.

CustardCake Thu 28-Jul-11 11:29:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

messymammy Thu 28-Jul-11 11:31:58

I am lonely.
I'm never alone, dds are always with me, dp is around a fair bit and I see people I went to school and university with regularly...but I'm lonely.
Nobody calls me except for my mum or dp, I don't talk to anyone all day while dp is at work except for the kids and I'd really really like to have a friend who I could pop into for tea and a chat, but noone I know has any dc and they all work.

DoMeDon Thu 28-Jul-11 11:35:40

I think that loneliness needs to be cured from the inside. If you are happy in yourself, content with your life then that feeling dissipates. Hence the lonely in a crowd - it is a sense of not being included/feeling understood. That is a gift you can give yourself, be your own best friend and all that.

I am often alone but less lonely now.

Daydreaming Thu 28-Jul-11 11:41:59

Punkatheart - yes, exactly. I am also very good at being alone, quite happy to just potter around. But being lonely is that feeling of not having a close connection with other people, and yes, it can be a lot worse in a crowd.

CustardCake - totally agree with what you say about other "mum friends" you make through your children. I think for me it's even worse because as a lone parent I fall within that "no man's land": not part of a couple, so never invited to socialise with other couples on weekends; but also not free to always socialise with other people who are single (who are mainly younger than me anyway).

Daydreaming Thu 28-Jul-11 11:44:51

DoMeDon - I am working on that ! I try not to feel too sorry for myself.
Messymammy - I am the same - the only person who calls me is my mum.

nojustificationneeded Thu 28-Jul-11 11:53:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JanMorrow Thu 28-Jul-11 12:07:07

Y'all can all be my friend if you're around London, I'm like SUPER cool n shizzle.

I have lots of friends but at the same time can feel lonely, I think humans are desperate to feel nurtured and loved, by friends as well as family.

Insomnia11 Thu 28-Jul-11 12:17:30

I left lonely when I lived in a bigger town and worked in London, even though I was married and had lots of friends who we saw frequently. I think it was because there was no family nearby or friends who I could just walk round and have a cup of tea with, and I had no links to where I was actually living.

Now we have two DDs, live in a village, have lots of links with the school have family nearby and am friends with other parents who live in the village and I can't go out without seing someone I know at least to say hello to, I don't feel lonely. Anonymous urban/surburban life didn't suit me at all.

NewYorkBellini Thu 28-Jul-11 12:24:32

me too sad It really came home to me when i was thinking about who to leave ds with when i went into labour with dd and couldn't think of anyone i could ask apart from family (who don't live anywhere near)

I know some other mums here but unless i make the effort to invite them to my house i would never see them, the invite never seems to get reciprocated.

I'd like a best friend who i could call on to talk to about anything but i suppose i'm out of practice making friends. And can i really expect to have a bf at my age?

PinkSchmoo Thu 28-Jul-11 12:25:55

I long to be physically alone sometimes and have huge yearnings for the absolute stillness you only feel when there is noone else around. But I also feel intensely lonely at times and olisl

Kladdkaka Thu 28-Jul-11 12:26:58

I'm autistic. People don't like me because they judge me on my disability rather than my heart. I have my husband and my daughter, that's pretty much it. I've never had a friend, not even a school. I thought I had one last year but eventually she dumped me from a great height too. In a way I don't think I really know what lonely feels like because I don't have experience of not being lonely to compare it to.

Chandon Thu 28-Jul-11 12:30:01

I was quite lonely in the big city, and find life in a village much easier and MUCH more sociable.

If you're in an active sort of village, life can really take off.

I joined into local activities, and so I met people who live nearby, so it's easy to meet up informally IYSWIM.

I think knowing that sometimes you're lonely is the first step, then you can think what to do about it.

For me picking up tennis again was great, as I met some nice people in the tennis class, and we txt eachother when we fancy a game.

PinkSchmoo Thu 28-Jul-11 12:31:26

Bollocks, premature posting.

I also feel intensely isolated and lonely. I'm currently at home with 2 small children, and I find most of my mummy friends are not people I would be comfortable speaking really honestly with. I work for myself so no colleagues. A few intense years mean I've lost touch with former work mates. All my school friends have moved away. I wish I had someone I could really talk to but there is noone. I used to be self sufficient but I'm not anymore. Getting really sad writing this as it's just reinforcing how along I am.

MumblingRagDoll Thu 28-Jul-11 12:36:51

I have also felt this and the best advice I can give is to get involved in your community. Since I have become more active in loal charity I have made some real friends....I know what's happening and lots of people know me too. I have a sense of belonging that I never had before.

Punkatheart Thu 28-Jul-11 12:42:34

Yes community really helps but the problem is when the feeling is deep-rooted. PinkSchomoo, I thought you were talking to a poster called Bollocks then - silly me.

Oh and laughing - making rather stupid jokes...I do all that and more. So never judge flippant jolly people on the outside, like me.

Kladdkaka Thu 28-Jul-11 12:43:50

Here, because of my diagnosis, I have the right to a kontaktperson. This is where the kommun pay someone to be your friend for so many hours per week. How bloody patronising is that.

cuteboots Thu 28-Jul-11 12:44:15

I would say the only real friend I have is my mum. I find it really hard letting people get close to me and I deffo have trust issues as well..

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