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AIBU to think loneliness effects everyone?

(64 Posts)
Wellfuckmeinbothears Tue 12-Dec-17 13:57:02

I’ve seen lots of ads about loneliness effecting the elderly and they’re utterly tear jerking! I posted a couple of weeks ago(ish) about my elderly neighbour and we have now started a lovely friendship, I really value her company. But in all honesty, my lonely neighbour aside, I have NO friends! I have a wonderful family, an incredible husband but no friends. And the loneliness of that really upsets me at times. There are things I’d love to talk about that would be inappropriate to discuss with my family/husband (sometimes because it’s a moan about them!) and I would love to be able to make some friends. The adverts highlighting loneliness in the elderly are really welll thought out as I know (from my neighbour) that isolation and loneliness are a very real issue but I wonder if a lot of people are in the same position? Could there be some kind of scheme for all ages to join to make friends?

Would be really interested to hear other people’s thoughts smile

Wellfuckmeinbothears Tue 12-Dec-17 13:57:44

*lovely neighbour not lonely!

allthgoodusernamesaretaken Tue 12-Dec-17 14:01:09

Could there be some kind of scheme for all ages to join to make friends?

If someone has no friends due to relocating to a new area, it might work. Otherwise, you could be setting people up for further disappointment / heartache / rejection. For some people, it would be better to support them to develop their social skills, to enable them to make friends themselves

retirednow Tue 12-Dec-17 14:02:50

You sound so kind. Yes of course loneliness can affect people of all ages, including children and teenagers. There is a lot of publicity aimed at the elderly and I think other people often get forgotten. There are groups to join, voluntary work you can do to meet new people but it can be difficult especially if you don't work or are a bit shy. I feel sad about the number of people who have no one, no home, no money, no real support. Your neighbour is lucky, thousands are not.

Wellfuckmeinbothears Tue 12-Dec-17 14:09:25

@retirednow Oh thank you, I’m very lucky to have my neighbour, she has become a wonderful friend.

@allthegoodusernamesaretaken I hadn’t thought of it like that, thank you for posting as that does make sense and I can see what you’re saying.

IamalsoSpartacus Tue 12-Dec-17 14:14:43

I would love there to be something at Christmas for single people who aren't pensioners yet. I don't have a birth family and have no children of my own. Christmas can be a huge struggle because there's such an expectation that it's all about family reunions.

It's quite embarrassing to admit you've got no-one to buy for and you're going to be sat alone on Christmas day. I've been very lucky this year to be invited to join someone else's family Christmas. But it would be great to go to a singletons pub lunch or similar!

HuskyMcClusky Tue 12-Dec-17 14:19:08

YANBU and you sound very thoughtful. smile

I genuinely believe that loneliness is one of the biggest social problems in the world today. A lot of people who look busy and happy and surrounded by friends and family are actually really emotionally/spiritually lonely.

ComtesseDeSpair Tue 12-Dec-17 14:29:58

I don't think you're alone at all. Things like Meetup are huge - and you only have to look on apps like Strava to see just how many groups there are for various sporting hobbies which, theoretically, can be done alone but people clearly still crave company to do them in. Do you have any hobbies like that?

Also, I've done a lot of online dating in the past few years; what's struck me, and what I wasn't expecting at all, is that many of the men I've been on a date or two or three with but for whatever reason not gone any further with, have then asked if we can be friends - and genuinely meant it. I've made a couple of very good friends this way, and a small handful of casual "let's go for a drink / cycle / run / theatre trip" type friends. I wasn't expecting to meet so many young, active, successful, sociable people who are still up for widening their social network and genuinely want more friends - and I'll include myself in there: I have many lovely friends but still feel lonely at times.

IamalsoSpartacus Tue 12-Dec-17 14:35:32

I tried online dating and got a stalker. It has rather put me off from trying again.

BrizzleDrizzle Tue 12-Dec-17 14:45:27

* But in all honesty, my lonely neighbour aside, I have NO friends! I have a wonderful family, an incredible husband but no friends. And the loneliness of that really upsets me at times. *

It's all relative isn't it? You think people should consider people with husbands and no friends but then there are all the people who don't have a husband or family who are incredibly lonely. In reality, all matter equally of course but I can imagine people who are friendless and have no husband/wife being sad at what they don't have that you have.

RubMyRhubarb Tue 12-Dec-17 14:49:42

This time of year can provoke all kinds of emotions in people. For me it's just a non stop reminder of what I don't have, and likely never will have (I'm not talking about material shit)

The elderly are often glad of a bit of company any time of year, but especially around Christmas time. Doesn't take much to make someones day.

LeCroissant Tue 12-Dec-17 14:56:51

There are lots of schemes for people to make friends - meetup, various clubs and choirs, sports etc. - but it requires people to go and use them and then make the effort to get to know people, which is where I think the problem lies for many. I agree with allthegoodusernames that often what's needed is a boost to that person's self esteem or some help around social skills as without that they're going to struggle no matter how many schemes there are.

lucylouuu Tue 12-Dec-17 15:13:48

i have my DP, my pet and my mum and that's it! no friends. i'm in my 20s and it effects me massively

retirednow Tue 12-Dec-17 15:20:07

I have friends but we've all lost touch, mainly because I have moved away and didn't keep in touch. Colleagues are not really my friends, it is sad. My family live miles away but we always keep in touch. I think having a social outing for Christmas for singletons, anyone really is a fantastic idea. Lots of pubs seem to be doing a free lunch for pensioners but I'd like to see this extended to every corner of society. One of the best things I do to keep myself grounded and help me appreciate what I have is to volunteer for Shelter or one of the Cold Weather Shelters each winter.

MikeUniformMike Tue 12-Dec-17 15:20:22

Church is quite good for meeting people. You don't have to be very religious to go, you can go to find out more, have time to yourself, have a sing-song, and maybe a cup of tea.

MikeUniformMike Tue 12-Dec-17 15:23:38

lucylou, could you look into a hobby or activity? Something like a running or hiking club, knitting circle, book group, volunteering?

Embarrassed89 Tue 12-Dec-17 15:28:03

I'm in my early twenties and haven't made any new friends since the end of secondary school blush
Admittedly I have always been shy and introverted but I remember how hard I would push myself out of my comfort zone to come across friendly/approachable and I would initiate conversation when starting college/uni/work/etc but still didn't get anywhere. I don't know where I'm going wrong... I've met many who are just as shy if not shyer who don't make as much effort and yet they still attract lots of friends

Overtime, I've lost more and more confidence and I have a feeling people may judge my appearance so they aren't as interested in befriending me

SilverySurfer Tue 12-Dec-17 15:43:27

No, it does not Affect everyone. I have lived alone for many many years and have never once felt lonely. It is perfectly reasonable to assume that there are others who do the same. I'm elderly - don't waste your time shedding tears for me.

By saying it affects everyone you make people who are embarking on living alone feel fearful and they will have an erroneous expectation that they will feel loneliness when it is not necessarily the case.

Of course there are lonely people, of all ages, but that is no reason to lump everyone who lives alone in an homogeneous lonely lump,

FelicityKate Tue 12-Dec-17 15:54:35

Thanks SilverySurfer - I was drawn to this post because I am in the process of divorce and was feeling a little low this afternoon, worried about what I will do when my youngest Dds start school. That’s helped a lot; I know I will be fine alone but sometimes I need reminding 🙂

retirednow Tue 12-Dec-17 16:06:04

No, of course not everyone feels lonely but it can affect all members of our society, all ages and from all backgrounds. Sometimes we all need a bit of time to be on our own but it is always nice to have someone to talk to and share experiences with. You will be alright, just take care of yourself.

Allthetuppences Tue 12-Dec-17 16:07:03

I think post mid 20's loneliness is just getting on with life. YANBU.
Certainly anyone not working for any reason, including parenting, as the second people clock you're not working for whatever you're social value to others is less than zero. Bitter?, yes. But eye opening I guess.

DecisionTree Tue 12-Dec-17 16:13:08

Yes of course it affects all ages.
You can also be married yet lonely at the same time.

PaxUniversalis Tue 12-Dec-17 16:20:17

Snap. I'm nearly 50.

Although I am not technically 'lonely' - I am married to a lovely DH and I have a busy, social type of job - I do feel lonely quite a lot.

I have loads of interests (some are 'niche') and I feel there are a lot of things I could do and talk about with like-minded friends but I just don't have such friends.
I do have friends and acquaintances but we don't really share the same interests. Some of our interests overlap a little but that's about it.

I'm thinking of joining a Meetup group in London now (we don't live in London). There are no Meetups in the area where we live.

Does anyone have experience with London Meetup groups?

Overthehillsandfaraway8 Tue 12-Dec-17 16:32:25

I think far more people are chronically lonely than we think. I would say I am very lonely , despite having a family and husband. Constantly moving around the country and having a chequered work history haven't helped. I now have no friends in proximity, those i do have live elsewhere and whatsapp and email are a poor substitute for personal contact. I have become quite exhausted with the effort of joining groups etc which I have done for years. I have made friends doing this, but then we move or just drift apart. I am not close to my birth family either, it is really tough. It would be good to connect with those who are looking for friends, but unless we know where people live, it's difficult to organise.

StormTreader Tue 12-Dec-17 16:37:02

I'm very lonely, I'm late thirties with no partner or kids, and a few friends who live at opposite ends of the country.
It's a bit hard to be too sympathetic to people who dont come home every day to an empty house.

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