Talk

Advanced search

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:
www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2019545/The-loneliness-epidemic-Attractive-successful--years-EMILY-WHITE-felt-profoundly-Why-honest-problem-blights-lives.html

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

I think its very normal. Lots of women live away from their families where they grew up. Lots of women spend at least some years either mainly at home with small children or holding down a job with small children at school / in daycare so cannot dedicate the time to a social life they might have done once and they meet less people / lose touch with old friends.

If you're a working mum you don't do all the after work drinks and stuff like you did when you didn't have to rush out for school collection but at the same time you don’t meet many other mums. If you are at home with a toddler your only social contact might be mums at toddler group or at the school during pick up time. I think this is truer now that families live away from each other and working partners do longer hours than people have ever done before. When I was at home with our first baby, DH was out of the house 14 hours a day with work and the commute!
And people you do meet are just people who share your life stage with you. Many of my school friend mums are lovely but they are not like best friends - they are friendly, chatty ladies who share the same life experiences as me right now but when we go our separate ways we might never see each other again (none of the old nursery mums are still in contact). Unless all your original friends settle down and have babies at the same time, those friendships can also fade when one friend has children and the other doesn't.

And of course for women who haven’t paired off and / or had children by their mid 30’s your old pool of friends starts to dry up. By that age, friends start to have their second babies and move out of the city or to a less expensive area. Parents of children are totally busy with their own lives and not up for social events, child free events or chats about the kind of stuff you used to share. I agree with the article though about it being taboo but it must be very common for women in that age bracket to feel that way.

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..

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now