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Anti-social but also lonely

(30 Posts)
choco366 Sat 13-Dec-14 08:25:05

I'm not sure if i'm after advice or just empathy that others sometimes feel the same.

I'm both shy and introverted and most of the time am very happy with my own company. I've been single for about 10 years, have no children and spend a lot of time alone, particularly at weekends. But I sometimes suffer from depression and think that having so much time on my own doesn't help because i have a lot of time to get lost in my own thoughts. And sometimes i just feel lonely, particularly at this time of year when it seems like everyone is out having a good time.

I have only two friends, both of whom are married and have wide circles of friends (and one of whom lives 2 hours away) so I feel like the friendships are unbalanced. I think I want more from them than they from me e.g if I want to go on a night out I only have two people to ask whereas they both have a partner and a group of other people to socialise with, and with the friend that lives close by I am very conscious of not becoming too clingy / needy. I'm happy to go to gigs / cinema / coffee shops alone but I don't think this helps my mental state.

In recent months I've tried taking language classes and sports classes to widen my circle of friends but never move from chatting in class to anything more.

I think I really just want to know how other naturally antisocial people cope with loneliness.

Sylvana Sat 13-Dec-14 08:46:12

I sympathise OP. I find talking to others extremely hard as well - unless I know them really well. I am married with DC but I don't have any other friends, well, I have 2 friends but I only get to see them 1 or 2 times a year for coffee. Do you work ? Any opportunities to socialise with colleagues ? I have always found work the best place to make friends as you tend to get to know people really well.

pinkfrocks Sat 13-Dec-14 08:48:25

Oh, sorry you are sad and lonely flowers
It's a tough one.
I have friends but my closest ones are too far away to see at the drop of a hat.

Do you know what you really want? You say you are anti social but it's not clear if you want to be more outgoing but find it hard to be, or if you are happy being a bit of a loner, but at times it's a bit much!

Do you work? A lot of my friends were and are former colleagues, or met through mutual interests.

If you want to meet a wider pool of people so that you have the chance to make more friends then you need to keep doing what you have been- joining things. Maybe something sporty- would that suit you- like a tennis club, running group, ...? At some point you or them have to move things on to 'fancy a coffee' ( after the class) so it becomes a friendship.

what do you think?

whatisforteamum Sat 13-Dec-14 08:57:43

choco366 i know what you mean.I am married with 2 kids but dont have much time for friends and socializing.Most of the time i am more than happy on my own,baking,walking,shopping as i work in a busy hectic enviroment.
However this yr with ill parents and my marriage struggles i have felt very lonely.I too feel more down if i think about my parents dying so recently i have worked more hrs and this has kept me occupied.
Sometimes everyone feels lonely but it will pass.I have no real close friends but hope to change this in the New year smile

choco366 Sat 13-Dec-14 09:07:17

Pinkfrocks: I think I have been happy being a bit of a loner but I don't think it's good for me and there are times when I definitely don't want to be on my own. But have managed to create a lifestyle where I don't really seem to have other options.

I do work, in an office, and during the week have lots of chatty conversations but everyone I work with seems to already have their own established set of friends that they spend time with outside work. I've only worked there for about a year and was the last new person to start. Also people my age (late 30s) have families that take up most of their time.

Isawmommykissingsantaclaus14 Sat 13-Dec-14 09:13:29

I'm the same. I have my DH and my kids but no friends. I have plenty of people I pass the time of day with but no one I can call in an emergency. I don't know how to make friends and most of the time that is fine but sometimes the loneliness is overwhelming. You are not alone in feeling the way you do.

pinkfrocks Sat 13-Dec-14 09:16:19

What about social groups like Meet UP? These are run in most large towns and cities - you can browse what's going on - eg films, concerts, meal, etc- and sign up. Most people who go are single but it's not a dating group .

I know it's a bit of a 'gulp' moment to actually go along to something new, but you'd be fine once you were there!

What about volunteering? A good way to meet people if you can devote some time each week.

What about joining a choir?

Also- any thoughts on changing jobs? Might be a bit drastic but in the long term you are young enough to re-train, even go to uni and start over again- I know women who've done this in their 50s- and it could open up a whole new way of life for you.

Sylvana Sat 13-Dec-14 13:53:55

Pink, the Meet Up social group sounds like a great idea. Would you give that a try Choco?

MadeMan Sat 13-Dec-14 14:26:23

I'm anti-social at times because my job is sociable and I get to be around people all day at work. When I get home I'm glad for some peace and quiet to myself.

I suppose it all depends on whether your hobbies are sociable types of interests, or things you can get on with by yourself. Hard to go bowling or play football on your own, but if you like photography for instance, then you can do that alone.

orangemog Sat 13-Dec-14 16:06:13

Do you like animals Sylvana and if so have you considered a pet?

I live with my DP now, but I'm also an introvert (also used to be very shy but getting a job that involved customer service helped a lot with that aspect of my personality) and spent most of my adult life very happily alone with just the occasional social event when I felt like I needed company. Though I do have a couple of very close friends that I email regularly, just for someone to talk to.

What stopped me from ever getting lonely or depressed is my cats. I have two, and where after a couple of hours, even with friends and family whom I love, humans start grating on me, I can spend all day talking rubbish to my cats and getting furry cuddles :-)

I suppose it depends if you're a happy introvert (like me) or whether you feel like you want to be more outgoing or sociable. If you're only introverted because of your shyness or lack of confidence, then previous posters have given great advice for combating that. In my case, when I was younger, I used to feel like I had to try and be more sociable just because it was expected of me, before I learned to accept that this is just the way I am. I like my own company, and there's no shame in that :-)

Incidentally, My DP understands that I need 'me time' in order to be happy, and is fine going off to do his own thing. Ironically, he's a typical social butterfly!

orangemog Sat 13-Dec-14 16:12:02

Sorry, meant OP not Sylvana :-)

HellonHeels Sat 13-Dec-14 16:18:02

I agree with getting cats if you are a cat person. Never lonely with a furry face to talk to.

Meet up activities are great; I've joined a book group and walking and craft groups through meet ups and slowly made some friends (over a few years, I'm a slow mover!) I'm not shy but am quite reserved and introverted. The activity groups are good because they are structured activities and you have something solid to talk about if you're not very keen on idle chat or small talk.

You get a few hours' company and human interaction but it finishes before it all gets too much to cope with.

choco366 Sat 13-Dec-14 16:27:35

Thanks for all the responses. I've had a look at some of the meet up groups in my area and think they might be worth investigating. I've looked before and always been a bit doubtful but the positive endorsements above have encouraged me.

WitchesGlove Sun 14-Dec-14 02:28:54

I'm like this too, I can empathize.

And I really don't want to be so introverted, but I am wondering whether to just accept it, or keep trying to change. The irony is, it is only so bad because of teachers etc saying to me when I was young 'Why are you sooooo quiet?', which is ignorant and unhelpful. Might as well ask someone why they are black.

I really wish now I'd retorted 'Why are you so bloody loud? Jeez, can't hear myself think?' Or 'Well, at least I always listen!'.

There's no need for people to try and make you feel like shit about it.

I'm going to try and start doing more though, not necessarily to meet people, just because I want to keep busy. And if I do meet more people, and make friends, then so be it!

Sylvana Sun 14-Dec-14 03:43:08

Choco the walking group that Hellon mentioned is worth investigating too. My brother's wife died suddenly a few years ago. My brother was left bereft as they did everything together. He joined a walking group, he did a different walk every weekend with loads of different people. After the walk the group go to the pub for drinks, food and socialising. He made lots of new friends, they even go on walking holidays to Italy/Spain each year - perfect for single people. He ended up meeting a lovely lady in the group whose DH had also died suddenly smile

Sylvana Sun 14-Dec-14 05:30:10

Sorry, I didn't mean to put the smiley face after 'died suddenly' blush - that's looks terrible! I obviously meant he is now very happy with his new partner ...

beaglesaresweet Sun 14-Dec-14 15:41:17

choco, where in the UK are you? pm me if you like.

beaglesaresweet Sun 14-Dec-14 15:42:23

Sylvana, are these walking groups for older people mainly?

Sylvana Sun 14-Dec-14 22:23:46

Beagle, all ages and walks of life as far as I know but it probably attracts those in the 40 plus are bracket more. My brother and his wife always enjoyed the outdoors and because they had each other, they never bothered joining a group. But it proved to be my brothers salvation after his wife died.

beaglesaresweet Sun 14-Dec-14 23:49:33

thanks, Sylvana, 40s is hardly 'old'! Shame it's so cold now for me to start looking into these, but I will do next year.

dadwood Sun 14-Dec-14 23:57:24

What about MN local? Do people have good experiences of meeting up with other MNers when the want to meet people?

HellonHeels Mon 15-Dec-14 15:52:35

As well as Meet up there are Ramblers groups you might like. In the London area (the only one I know; there may well be other similar set ups in other large areas) there are groups specifically for under 30s and for people in 40s and 50s so you can go walking with younger people if you prefer rather than a mix of older and not-so-old.

HellonHeels Mon 15-Dec-14 15:56:28

oh, just remembered, I am going to join the local women's institute in the new year. I think they can be quite fun, active and radical - there's a monthly meeting with a speaker or an activity. The one I'm joining also has monthly book group and craft group.

WitchesGlove Wed 17-Dec-14 12:20:50

How are you, choco?

You can also PM me if you like.

Pandora37 Wed 17-Dec-14 15:54:45

I'm also single and childless with no friends, at least none that live near me. It's very hard because the friends that I do have have partners or are busy so I don't get to see them as often as I would like. I have lots of acquaintances but no-one I could actually class as a friend and I find it very hard to take things to the next level without feeling like I'm intruding. At the moment, I'm near my family, I work with people and I chat to one of my friends online fairly regularly so that helps but otherwise I'm on my own really. Which is kind of how I like it but the loneliness can be all-consuming sometimes. I don't know what the answer is but you're not alone in feeling this way.

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