Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Am I the Only Lonely?
“Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?”
I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on friendship and relationship. We live in a very busy world. I know many, many women and I would call many of them friends—in that we are on friendly terms. I connect with most of the people I know via Facebook. I keep up with what’s happening in their lives (if they post) and I certainly post a lot about what’s going on in mine, as a way to keep in touch with friends and family all over the country. I see how busy and active my local “friends” are; there’s lots of posts about going out with the girls, meeting up for play dates, bible studies, workouts and errands with each other. On the rare occasions when I get together with some of these women, I hear them talking about their previous time spent together.
And then there’s me…why am I so lonely?
My husband recently came to me in concern and told me he felt I was bored. He’s noticed the change in my demeanor and my lack of activity outside the home. He was worried that I don’t feel fulfilled because I’m not working anymore. He noticed how I've begun to spend more time on Facebook. I told him, without hesitation, I’m not bored—I’m lonely. I am very fulfilled in my role as a homemaker. I LOVE being able to take care of him and the boys; working at the boys’ school; volunteering when needed at church or in the community; and my new part-time job. But I’m really, really lonely. Facebook is my only connection to people outside our home--some of my best friends live very far away. I have no real relationships with anyone outside of our family. And it’s not for lack of trying.
In the last two years I attended a morning women’s Bible study every Thursday for a year a half—never made a connection with anyone there. I became very active in serving in our church, through a Wednesday night dinner ministry, serving in a huge community outreach program called I Heart Ashland and then I Heart Rogue Valley. I attended an AMAZING six month training program and bonded with three fabulous women who live locally but I rarely see them now. I facilitate a parent support group once a month. There’s more—I could keep going. My point is, I’m trying to make friends. There are even women I call friend and I believe they would do the same but I don’t have much of a relationship with them. I don’t know why.
Are women my age just satisfied with the relationships they have in their life and don’t have time to add more? Am I confused about what friendship is? I would love to have someone--besides my husband--to talk to occasionally, to go out for coffee with and chat, to see a chick flick, to get together for play dates with the kids, to go workout with, to study the bible and pray with—not every day, not all those things at once and not with just one person. I would love to have a small group of close friends that I get together with individually or as a group a couple times a week. I would like real relationship with some Christian women.
I’ve prayed about this a lot. I’ve second-guessed the reasons for my isolation. Is it me? I know I have always been painfully shy but in the last 15 years I have come leaps and bounds. Though it’s still my natural tendency to be an introvert, I CAN meet people; I CAN make connections. I just can’t seem to hang on to any of them. I’ve wondered if my expectations are too high. I’ve wondered if I’m the only one who is feeling this lonely. Are there others out there who experience this? Is there any way to know? Not without just coming out and asking, which is the reason for this post.
I’ve agonized for months about writing a blog entry about loneliness. I didn’t know how to do it without sounding pitiful. This is not a cry for help. Woe is me—I’m so lonely—please be my friend. Absolutely not! This is a cry for understanding. What am I missing? How can I be better at being a friend? How can I maintain a relationship? I really want to know. I don’t want pity—who does? I want meaningful friendships. I want fulfilling relationships. Am I the only one who isn’t getting it? Is there anyone else who struggles with this or is this my own personal struggle? I’d really like to know.
It is extremely scary to finally put this post out there. These are private fears and struggles that delve to the very heart of my insecurities. I don’t have it in me to go to individuals and ask why I’m not included or why I don’t fit in—it could be as simple as people not remembering to include me in their established groups of friends, maybe it seems like I’m too busy/not interested or it could be as terrifying as finding out I’m really not well liked. In any case, I’d like to know how to fix it.
Feel free to comment below on general responses to relationship, loneliness and friends. If you have something you’d like to say to me privately, you can send me an e-mail or PM on Facebook. Again, let me reiterate, this is absolutely not a cry for pity or a way to solicit invitations—I want to understand what I’m missing and if I’m the only one who feels lonely like this. Any ideas on how to get out there and make friends would be helpful. Anyone who is struggling with the same feelings, I’d love to know it’s not just me and maybe do some brainstorming.