I Hate To Admit I Am Lonely

None of us like to admit it – feeling lonely.

I mean, we’re social creatures, human beings. We are supposed to survive together.

We currently live in a time and place where we are more connected than ever. Yet, here I am about to admit to you, that actually … I am lonely.

Or rather, I feel lonely. Really freaking lonely. I feel like I’m drowning in loneliness. It’s a feeling that I am ashamed to admit to, but at the same time it’s the honest truth and my current reality.

What do I mean by feeling lonely? I mean, I have a husband, a family, and Facebook friend list that runs into the hundreds. I even have follower lists on social media that run into the thousands. How can I possibly be lonely when I am surrounded by people? How can I be lonely when I have the technology and connectedness to speak to people every day?

Here’s the thing – I FEEL lonely. And I have felt lonely for quite some time. I have felt a loneliness that suffocates me. It’s almost desperate (god, that sounds so pathetic to say out loud) how much I miss regular conversations, relationships, friendships and interactions. The loneliness gets so much sometimes that I just crash out altogether, I switch off, close down.

This loneliness is so damn isolating that I feel like everyone else in the world is connected and I am all on my own. How terribly sad is that?

And yet, it occurred to me today that maybe I am not the only one out there who feels this way. Maybe other people feel lonely and disconnected. Maybe there’s something to be said, to be shared.

So today I want to brave it, open my heart up, make myself feel vulnerable and maybe, just maybe…I’m not the only one.

Lonely

First of all, before we get started, let’s address the husband. I am by no means discounting the joy and pleasure being with Raj brings me. He makes me unbelievably happy and he is my best friend. I love sharing my life with him, and being married is the best thing ever. For the most part of my life he brings me all of the happiness I could possibly want.

However, I still feel lonely.

One human being cannot possible be responsible for providing all the social relationships we need as a human being. It’s not possible, and it is also not fair to expect that. I love Raj and I am so happy to be his wife, but that one relationship is not, and should not, be the only relationship in my life. It’s not healthy for our marriage to put that amount of pressure onto it.

What I don’t have is any enduring or close friendships. That is where I am struggling.

Gosh, I feel pretty sad to say I don’t really have any friends. And it’s kind of complicated to say. You see, I have friends (like I said, there’s a few hundred on my Facebook account) and if they see this they might get offended. But hopefully they’ll understand what I mean.

I have some friends, but I wouldn’t say they’re close friends. That is, I don’t have anyone I could call when I’m in a moment of crisis and need someone to talk to. I don’t have a friend to have a regular gossip and catch-up with. I don’t have a friend who looks out for me, and I for them. If I disappeared for a while, I don’t have any friends that would really notice. Jeez, if I’m going to be totally honest, I didn’t have a hen do for my wedding because I didn’t think anyone would come.

But you’re part of this big blogging community, you might say, surely you have friends there. Well, yes and no. I can go to some events or conferences and see people I know. We’ll be on friendly terms and catch-up. But I still feel like an outsider.

I recently came to a realisation that almost every blogger I know is part of a blogger WhatsApp group of some kind. Every blogger that is, except me. That kinda stings. A year ago I won a Community Star award for my work in the blogging community, and yet here I am feeling less and less like I belong in that same community I have served for years. For whatever reason, I don’t feel like I’m included.

Similarly, I’ve lived in Birmingham for two and half years now and I haven’t really made any friends. I have found it quite difficult to find new friends as an adult (although, this has been compounded by the fact my wedding took up the majority of my life and mental bandwidth for most of this time).

As for old school friends, well…there are a few unlucky scenarios that played out for me and some long stories attached to them (probably best saved for another time). I always had friends and best friends throughout school and university but for one reason or another we either grew apart, they left the country, or some pretty damn dramatic shiz went down (I’ve had some pretty bad luck with the kind of people I’ve attracted in the past).

Again, a lot of this has been compounded by the fact I have moved house, and cities, so often throughout my life (it’s plus 30 times now – I’ve lost count). That has made it hard to form enduring friendships. I don’t have a hometown (I lived in London, Hampshire and Midlands growing up), I don’t have a location where all of my family live (they live across the entire country), I don’t have any friends from school, and most of my uni friends dispersed around the world over the last decade. That traditional hometown/family/community thing just doesn’t exist for me. I live in a city have no close connections here.

Similarly, I work for myself at home. My work is digital. It can be totally conducted online via email and the internet. I never have to leave the house. And often (mostly due to some mental health problems) I don’t leave the house for days or a week at a time.

Then, there is me. As a personality. I’m not sure how likeable I am. I try pretty hard at friendships, I am thoughtful, loyal, protective, and supportive. But I guess I am also sensitive, I hurt easily (and withdraw into myself when I feel or sense hurt), and outspoken. I have a certain level of self-awareness and hours of reflection to understand how my life circumstances and my personality have compounded the loneliness problem.

Ultimately, for whatever reason, I feel like I don’t really have any friends. And as such, I spend the majority of my life on my own feeling pretty lonely.

Now, for the most part I have gotten used to it. I like my own company and can keep myself occupied with my blog/social media/content creation. I can be a solitary person if I want to be, and I’ve never let being on my own stop me from doing anything – I travelled several times independently from the age 20. I am one of those people who is perfectly happy to go eat dinner in a restaurant by myself. Nothing, not even loneliness, will stop me getting a delicious Thai meal!

But at times, the loneliness gets to me. It envelops me like a dark grey cloud. It weighs heavy on my chest. It makes me incredibly sad.

I yearn for that companionship that friendships bring – the conversations, the in-jokes, the unwavering support, the reassurance of somebody being in your corner cheering you on, the warmth of their thoughtfulness, the safety of their acceptance of your crazy moments, the shared adventures, coffees, and shopping trips. I yearn for the daily messages of support, silly memes, hopes for the future. I yearn for the shared whinge-fest when life gets too much. I yearn for memories of wine-fuelled silliness. I yearn for the future hopes of family and success.

Part of me feels ridiculous for even writing these words on my blog.

What if sharing this shows the world just how unlovable, unfriendly, or unworthy of friendship I am? I feel exposed and vulnerable making this public.

And yet … I just have this hunch that I may not be the only one. There may be others that feel lonely and isolated. Maybe by sharing my story it might help others know that they are not alone in feeling that way.

I feel like loneliness is a disease, it eats you up. It can take over your life.

And so, me being me, I want to fight that. I want to fight the loneliness. I want to fight that disease. I want to figure out a way to forge and sustain adult friendships. I want to seek out all of those things I yearn for in friendships.

The moral of this story is … or rather, what I would like you to take away from this is … try to be kind to one another, you never know what a crucial difference that could make to somebody’s entire life and wellbeing.

I feel like there is a huge stigma to admit you are lonely. So please, be kind. This was really hard for me to share.

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41 Comments

  1. 3 November 2017 / 3:58 pm

    You are NOT alone. I feel the same despite having a husband and kid. *hugs*

  2. Louise
    3 November 2017 / 4:06 pm

    I think that this was really brave of you to post – I saw the link come up on twitter as I feel exactly the same. I moved to London to be with my partner and at 37, it’s so bloody hard to make friends! And I don’t want to rely on him to be my source of entertainment as much as I love spending time with him! I would love a gang of pals to go to the pub with and have a drink after a hard day!

    • 4 November 2017 / 12:20 pm

      Thank you Louise. I’m sorry you feel the same.x.

  3. 3 November 2017 / 4:27 pm

    Oh Elizabeth. I could’ve written this myself – you’re definitely not alone. It’s so hard to make friendships as an adult and even easier for them to go by the wayside; working for yourself only makes it harder. You can join my gang any day! x

    • 4 November 2017 / 12:21 pm

      Thank you Hayley. I’m surprised you feel the same, shows how little we really know about each other in the blogosphere. Would love to join your gang!x

  4. Eleanor
    3 November 2017 / 5:25 pm

    You’re not alone. I moved from Newcastle, to Cotswolds, to Plymouth, to Sheffield where I am now. My friends are in all those places & more, & my family are in London, & Birmingham. I visit whenever I can but every time I get back on a train to Sheffield that loneliness swoops back in. I have no friends outside of work here, & no relationship either. I don’t know how to fix it but I understand <3

    • 4 November 2017 / 12:22 pm

      I’m sorry you’re going through the same Eleanor. If I figure it out I’ll let you know!x

  5. 3 November 2017 / 5:46 pm

    This is such a brave and honest post!! You’re definitely not alone, I feel the same way although I’ve only recently realised this. I’m single, live alone, have no ‘work’ friends or ‘group’ of friends. I’ve joined groups and classes to try and meet people but they aren’t friends and I have no one to call in a crisis either. I know how you feel and I’m sending you hugs xxxx

    • 4 November 2017 / 12:24 pm

      Thank you Andrea. Hugs to you too.x.

  6. Hayley F
    3 November 2017 / 7:59 pm

    I think a lot of people can relate to your post. I had a lot of close friendship at school but as an adult I can’t seem to form those deep bonds. Also I have a chronic illness that makes it even harder for me to socialise. Sending lots of hugs x

    • 6 November 2017 / 2:25 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that Hayley. It is so hard when illness holds you back so much as well.x

  7. 3 November 2017 / 9:42 pm

    Such a heartfelt blog and one that I totally understand. I too have moved around and don’t seem to have a central place I call home. I have a lovely husband and grown up children but in the middle of the night when my anxiety and depression is at it’s worst, I just don’t have that girl friend that I can call. I’m not sure how we can solve this issue. love and hugs x

    • 6 November 2017 / 3:23 pm

      Hugs to you too Susanna.x.

  8. Cynthia Turnbough
    4 November 2017 / 1:08 am

    I feel lonely on so many days, most days actually. It’s not that the friends aren’t there, they are. But sometimes, I just want to fall to the ground and good cry. As I was reading this, I found myself saying….that is me. So Elizabeth, you are absolutely not alone. I wish I knew a fix, but I don’t. But know…you are standing alone, we can fight this battle together! Hugs to you!

    • 6 November 2017 / 3:24 pm

      Thank you Cynthia. It’s good to know I’m not the only one.x.

  9. Cynthia Turnbough
    4 November 2017 / 1:09 am

    I meant in my previous comment that you are not standing alone. Goodness! 🙂

  10. 4 November 2017 / 8:05 am

    Well done for writing this Elizabeth. I sincerely hope you find a way to fight the loneliness, it’s a state of being that can sap so much joy from life. We’re social creatures, and good quality personal relationships are one of the keys tenets of living a happier, more fulfilling life.

    I’ve had to do it over the last few years and made good progress. It’s worth fighting for.

    • 6 November 2017 / 3:25 pm

      Thank you Gavin! It’s good to know you’ve had some success and made progress with it.x.

  11. tina johnstone
    4 November 2017 / 9:22 am

    Thank you for writing this post! I feel exactly the same and felt I couldn’t say anything for fear of sounding ridiculous. I too have move around and also have a husband and adult children. I still feel lonely and my social life is nill. I would love to have that special friend to “catch up with” etc. but dont know how to make real friends anymore. It helps to know I’m not alone. Xxx

    • 6 November 2017 / 3:26 pm

      I’m sorry you feel that way Tina. If I figure it out I’ll let you know.x.

  12. 4 November 2017 / 10:17 am

    Well done for writing this. It is a sad fact that in this modern social media world we have hundreds of connections but very few actual worthwhile friendships. It is hard to make friends as an adult it really is. I hope you find some comfort from.the support you get from this blog post. Xx

    • 6 November 2017 / 3:38 pm

      That is so true. I hope I can find successful ways to forge adult friendships.x.

  13. 4 November 2017 / 10:27 am

    You are SO not alone. Never have I read a post more akin to my own thoughts and situations before. This is exactly how I feel (apart from being married, I’m single). I don’t really have any ‘friends’ in the sense of anyone who I’m close to or could call in a crisis and it’s insanely hard.
    I’m also in Birmingham so it’s always lovely to read a blog from someone else living here.
    Jade x

    • 6 November 2017 / 3:39 pm

      Thank you Jade. It’s nice to know I’m not alone and mad. I’m sorry you’ve been feeling the same.x.

  14. 4 November 2017 / 12:50 pm

    I can see that this was hard to write, saying ‘I’m lonely’ as an adult is a hard. I once read that it’s adult the equivalent of saying ‘I don’t have anyone to play with’. It made me smile, but it’s true. Friendships are about being able to be silly, to play, to relax, be yourself, and deal with all the adult stuff life throws our way. You’re not alone.

    • 6 November 2017 / 3:43 pm

      You know, that’s so true. It really does feel like the adult version of saying I have no one to play with and that’s really hard. Thank you.x.

  15. Sophie
    4 November 2017 / 2:53 pm

    Ive seen so many posts like this in recent years and it makes me feel incredibly sad. I did feel similarly for a while, which is actually why i took a massive step back from social media. I realised i had been so active online that my offline life had suffered. It encouraged me to do some massive life evaluations like where my values lay, what made me happiest etc.
    I really believe the…

  16. 4 November 2017 / 2:59 pm

    ..internet is increasing these kinds of friendship/comnection issues. We strive for the perfect connections, decreased tolerance of differences or flaws. It has encouraged me to try to engage in my local community because i personally feel thats where society is going wrong, we need to support our neighbours, focus on building strength around us physically. Reach out, youre not alone.

    • 6 November 2017 / 3:46 pm

      Thank you Sophie! That is such a good point about our online lives taking over. It does seem like most people are more connected but disconnected than ever before.x

  17. 6 November 2017 / 3:58 pm

    The only downside of being full time freelance is the lack of co-workers to natter with. I do miss the laughter and silliness of coffee breaks. Every other part of my new job I love but not so much this bit. So I hear you! x

    • 9 November 2017 / 9:17 am

      So true, I never thought I’d miss working in a office but having co-workers to natter to throughout the day is actually quite nice.

  18. 7 November 2017 / 8:11 am

    Just read this and can totally relate. I could have written this myself it’s so similar to my situation. You’re definitely not alone. Hugs x

  19. Myra
    8 November 2017 / 2:12 pm

    Sorry you feel like this, but I can’t help feeling this is a problem for many people living and working in the digital age. When people worked together in factories, offices and shops they had colleagues and friends to go out with after work, and shared working experiences with in the real world rather than the digital world. They went to each others’ weddings and christenings and raised their children together. They had an intimacy that seems to have disappeared for today’s digital workers. This is a great loss. Sorry you’re having this experience, but maybe you could join a club/church/interest group where you might regain intimate friends. 😍

    • 9 November 2017 / 9:18 am

      Thank you Myra! You’re absolutely right, we are more connected through technology than ever yet so many of us feel isolated.

  20. 10 November 2017 / 6:05 pm

    I often feel like this too for the reasons you mentioned. I had a horrible time with “friends” after my car crash and recovery (which also involved mental health issues ) so that kind of left me a bit wary of people for a while. It’s hard to make new friendships because I have chronic pain and I can’t always do things or meet up. I think I’d very much enjoy meeting you for coffee/dinner/whatever and chatting, and I’m not just saying that. I think you’d have a lot to give as a friend <3

    • 13 November 2017 / 10:21 am

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve been through that as well. It’s so hard when you’re suffering from chronic illness as well. Thank you for your kind words, it really does mean a lot to me.x.

  21. Kayte
    18 November 2017 / 10:04 pm

    I relate to you.

    I’ve often wondered whether popular culture depicting ‘the gang of girls’ (Sex and the City I’m looking at you) has a lot to do with our feelings of ineptness when it comes to friendship. We think everyone else is having Hollywood-style friendships and there’s something wrong with us that we don’t.

    I too have a volatile friendship history, from university days when I was bullied and victimised in my shared house because I wasn’t a party girl, to slowlyfading away from other friends because I didn’t live in London. I’m now at a stage where I’d say I have 3 friends, but we only meet up a couple of times a year and don’t chat in between (and although I feel sad about that, I know it’s because I prefer my own company and don’t initiate chitchat).

    Branching out in my business I feel a longing I’ve never had before to have someone to talk about problems with, but like you I don’t feel have that someone. A big part of that is because I can’t let the facade slip – to be seen as anything other than strong and ‘together’ is a disaster for me. I want friends and family to see me a certain way, and that means no cracks.

    Do you know your Myers Briggs type? I find that so helpful in investigating why I react to things a certain way.

    • 21 November 2017 / 11:31 am

      That is such a good point as well – I wonder if the fact my brain has been filled with ideas of ‘friendships forever’ in popular culture that I have this assumption that those friendships regularly occur in real life. I just assume everybody else has a super awesome, forever friends. And maybe it’s more of an exception than a rule.

      I’m sorry to hear your friendship history was volatile, I’m starting think it’s actually quite a common thing.

      I think I’ve done the Myers Briggs a couple of times but it came out different each time, ha! Maybe I’ll try it again.

  22. 23 November 2017 / 8:52 am

    I could definitely relate to this post. I’m in my early 20s and have experienced loneliness quite a bit. I have a couple of good friends but we aren’t incredibly close and we aren’t part of the same friendship group.

    I’ve always had difficulty making new friends due to anxiety which means I often end up coming across as really quiet or unfriendly. I end up worrying about what people think of me or that they won’t want to be friends.

    I definitely feel like TV shows I watched when I was younger filled my mind with expectations of the kind of friendships I felt like I had to have. This resulted in me holding onto friendships to avoid loneliness which I definitely regret doing.

    Thank you so much for writing this post because sometimes I feel like I’m the only one that gets lonely. I can only imagine the bravery it took to be so honest and put this out there for people to read.

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