Views on loneliness

Want to talk about something? Life? Faith? This is the place.
Locked
User avatar
Julia W
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:08 pm
Location: Hampshire, England
Contact:

Views on loneliness

Post by Julia W » Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:34 pm

:minicandle:
I wonder if anyone has solutions for loneliness? I find it very difficult to make lasting friends. I get male friends ok, but find the friendships usually don't last very long so I have hardly any very long term good friendships. I find in the Church there are a lot of couples, who don't particularly seem to want to be ever so friendly with singles, while there aren't that many single people wanting friends.
I would love to have a boyfriend, but find there are few available attractive men in my preferred age range.

I don't feel desparately lonely usually, but work alone and live alone, and spend most of my time alone. I drink a lot of tea! :tea:
:minicandle: I've been to loads of different events of different types, and some I've kept going to for a while, but just don't seem to make friends much or not very close friends. Maybe I've not kept going to the same things for long enough.
Maybe some people are particularly prone to loneliness - I'm generally quite quiet and shy.
:minicandle:

User avatar
Jae
Auxilium
Posts: 1271
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:59 pm
Location: U.K.

Views on loneliness

Post by Jae » Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:04 pm

loneliness can be very painful Julia :hug: :hug:

And strange too .. I know from experience that being in a relationship that isn't ok can feel lonelier than not being in a relationship at all ... and we can feel excruciatingly lonely in a roomful of people .. or a church-full of people .. almost as if the other people are amplifying the sense of loneliness in some way.

This makes me think that it is coming from within though I am not sure why, but I have found that emotions are healthy flags asking us to attend to some inner thing.

Maybe this is something you can explore with someone like a spiritual accompanier? Looking to see where God is in loneliness can be very helpful.

I don't think that there is a definitive answer to loneliness in practical terms, I do think that we are a more isolated society than we were years ago .. it does sound like you spend a lot of time alone, which I do too, but I have to have some solitude in my life or I don't think I could function! I have found, especially recently, that balance is really important, so I try to get involved in things that I am interested in that will bring me into contact with other people .. somehow this seems to work best for me because my focus is not on making friends but on the thing I am interested in and friendships then grow out of that in a more natural and spontaneous way.

I'd be really interested in what others have to say too.
In the triumph of prayer
Twofold is the spell.
With the folding of hands
There's a spreading of wings
And the soul's lifted up to invisible lands
And ineffable peace .....

Evelyn Underhill <><

User avatar
Pam
Web Pastor
Posts: 2092
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:15 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Views on loneliness

Post by Pam » Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:11 am

Julia :hug:

There was a time in my life when I felt very lonely, for various reasons, and it may sound very odd but I suddenly realised I'd never learned how to enjoy my own company. I came from quite a large family where I hardly ever got any time on my own, so I'd got used to having a lot of busy-ness around me and things to do with other people whether I wanted to or not - in a large family you end up doing lots of things you don't really want to do because it's not possible for everyone to do their own thing!

I went through an actual process of learning to be my own friend - this probably does sound weird :redface: - but I did things like going off to a neighbouring town and having a coffee on my own, going and looking round places on my own, watching things on telly and enjoying not being interrupted by other people (which always happened when I was growing up!)

Of course this didn't actively help me to meet a new set of friends but it did gradually stop me feeling that there was something 'wrong' with being on my own.

As far as the meeting a suitable partner goes - I have friends who seem to have no trouble finding someone to go out with, other friends who have tried every form of dating under the sun - including internet dating - and still not met anyone, so I really don't know what the answer is to that one - I wish I did! :thinking:

User avatar
Ernest
Auxilium
Posts: 3662
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:24 pm
Location: North Kent, UK
Contact:

Views on loneliness

Post by Ernest » Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:16 am

Julia,

What you say resonates as what Jae said about feeling lonely in a room full of people. I think that many of us, including me can find it difficult at times to relate to other people, perhaps because of a shyness or due to past experiences of being hurt by people or relationships. Pam echoes something of that when she speaks about not realising that being her own friend was something that she needed to work on.

I'm happily married, have children and grandchildren and a circle of close friends, some of whom we see often, some not so often, since I retired I spend quite a lot of time alone, particularly as my wife is still working. I seize on these times alone for prayer, reading and writing and I always have a Cat beside me wanting attention.

I've been involved with Churches now since 2008 and I've also made many friends along the way, breaking the ice and having the confidence to speak to people doesn't come easily to me, but I suppose that through working life long in the Army before I retired, I gained sufficient self confidence or more likely self awareness to appreciate that I like other people need to be in community and relationships with others, because without that I feel incomplete. That's despite my wife, family and friends.

I make the effort to speak to people and never stop being surprised by how many relationships are built by making that first step. I joined the welcome team at our church, because of that. People actually thought that I was good at it - a natural someone said. I didn't enlighten them that is was a gift which I see as coming from God by asking him for some help in building relationships. He gives me the confidence to meet others. He gives me the ability to work in lay ministry among groups of people that I wouldn't necessarily have worked with before.

A year or so ago, I was asked to talk to a Women's Group about Army life, that was daunting, they were all ladies who were what I would call individually as powerful strong people, who as a group were formidable. But they displayed that gift of welcome to me and from the outset I had a flow of grace and confidence which put me at ease and to speak unscripted for over an hour and than to answer questions for another.

I think that my point is a bit like some of this comes from within, but a good bit of it is placing our trust in God's grace to give us the strength to cope with both isolation and being with people and building relationships with them.

I'm never sure about things like dating agencies, they are after all, commercial setups wanting your money for their services. It seems to me that what Jae does, joining in with things that interest her and taking it from there seems a more sensible and natural way of getting to know people and building relationships.
Where there is hope and love there is life!
God is Life!
God is Hope!
God is Love!
God Is!!

User avatar
Joyce
Posts: 2071
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:54 pm

Views on loneliness

Post by Joyce » Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:50 am

I agree with what Jae and Pam have said.Also with Ernest who has posted since I started this.
I don't know whether a reflection I'm having lately will help too but I'll tell it just in case. Some recent things have been making me ponder over a long-ago experience.
I once felt very lonely when I was in my teens. I'm not sure now how long it lasted, it could have been a few months. I'd always liked being alone when I'd had the chance to be, I could enjoy myself whether I had someone with me or not, so I was somewhat puzzled by these feelings. One evening the answer - I expect I'd been praying for it but I can't actually remember - dawned on me : I was missing the friends from whom I'd been cut off when we left school. We'd been together for five years in what are now called years seven to eleven. That was a third of our lives, our whole adolescence more or less. We’d spent most of that time looking forward to getting out of the place.
In those days, before Neighbourhood-Comprehensives, the girls in our form nearly all took two buses in order to get to school so we were scattered all over the city. We rarely if ever just bumped into one another outside school hours. Not ten percent of us had phones at home. Mobiles and the internet were still in the realm of science fiction. In term-time we did make arrangements with one another to meet at weekends or in the holidays to go to Cliff Richard, Carry On or Elvis Presley films, the library, swimming baths, Beatle concerts etc and occasionally to one another's houses for tea, or one another’s churches, but when we left school none of us got around to doing anything in particular about meeting up again. I don't suppose it occurred to us that it would be necessary : we were the first-ever form in our school to go through a grammar school regime so there was nobody older to tell us. Everybody else in our year had left several terms earlier (Leaving age for Secondary Modern pupils was at the end of the term in which one was fifteen) and they all lived within walking distance of the school and one another.
Some of us were starting work the following Monday,some of us couldn't make any decisions until the O level results came out a month later when the staff would post them to us, and all in all in the excitement of our new lives it got forgotten. As an adult looking back I can see that we might have seen our reasons for doing things together at school and in our free time as being mostly for the purpose intended without noticing it could be simply because we were friends and liked one another's company.
When this cause of my loneliness - pure and simple loss - struck me I accepted it, had a good cry for all the girls, naming them one by one, - and to my surprise even some of the boys :) - and then I was able to move on,make friends at work and my new church,get involved in other things,and generally realised that transitions are almost always painful but have to be gone through until life settles down again.
Somehow an expectation at the back of my mind of what friendship should be like must have been blocking my ability to make that transition.Once unblocked,it all got better and the loneliness melted away.During that period of loneliness I felt ashamed of it and never told anybody at work or at home about it. Seventeen-year-olds think oddly.
It wasn't long after I was over that stage that I also started hearing from classmates again, actually. I wonder now if they'd been feeling the same. Perhaps it was normal for that age-group in our situation in those days.
Over the years since then I've noticed that friendships do tend to flourish in context and sometimes when that context alters the level of friendship alters with it. There are only 24 hours in a day and many demands are made on our time.
I am sure the sort of thing I went through nearly fifty years ago can occur at any age when major change occurs,especially if it's unexpected or doesn't happen in the way one expects.I've seen proud new fathers,for example, turn into very unhappy men when their wives become so info-centric they don't know their husbands are even there.They miss the wife they had,the joy of expecting the planned-for baby and the anticipation of being a happy family man. Frasier Crane told his first phone-in caller, who'd had a broken engagement, she was in mourning for her life the way she thought it was going to be. He himself was badly disappointed at losing his intended freedom when his father was shot on duty,had to retire and move in with him. I think in real life that sort of grieving can be confused with loneliness,or perhaps when unrecognised be the cause of it.Isolation while in company can have a similar effect. Being with people where one is excluded from full participation,or where nobody else has the same views,values or intelligence is an example of this because it emphasises differences and makes one feel left out.
There are friendship fellowships for Christians in some towns, made up of single people who specifically want to socialise in groups with other believers. It might be worth your while findng out where the nearest one is if you don't belong to one already.Joining an interest group or a class only for the purpose of making friends there rather than for its own sake rarely works and is expensive.

edited to correct confusing punctuation typo.

User avatar
Beth
Posts: 313
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:32 pm
Location: Coastal UK

Views on loneliness

Post by Beth » Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:16 pm

I'll be brief because I'm a lonely person who can see the advantages of being lonely sometimes. For example, loneliness may help me become the person I want to be in the long term, and has proved quite a good "survival strategy" for me. Although it hasn't allowed me to breed. Darwin would not approve!

As I've often felt I've had little choice but be lonely, I haven't moaned too much about it. Pain has come through being actively excluded, but again, there's little I can do about that other than work on my own little manifesto and try and get through it. Like Pam, I've undertaken the process of getting to know myself. I'm nicer than I thought I was and now have more self control. Still probably not enough, but more!

A tool that helped me, and kickstarted my loneliness recovery was "One Page Miracle". This was a sheet of paper someone in my online smallgroup passed on to me and was divided into headings. Under each heading I was to write a goal. I did so. Probably my goalposts have changed since then. My longterm goals may not have been reached yet, while others have been surpassed. Time to write another "One Page Miracle" in that case! The point is I've generated fun and energy in trying to reach my goals.

I'm beginning to build up a support network of people (many of whom I don't actually know, and some of whom charge for their services) who can support my goals through their positive ethos. Instead of seeing this as being enslaved to their marketing, I chose to see it as being mentored by strong, powerful individuals who are more often than not in the same life stage I am and have begun and maintained successful businesses etc.. I've also made genuine "friends" online, many of whom are vastly different from me, and live perhaps on other continents, but who embolden me to try new things, such as writing songs, keeping a collaborative notebook of creative writing with others etc.

I'm certainly still lonely, and "alone". I can empathise easily with those who feel this way, and yet I'm a better person inside my own head. Okay, this reply isn't as short as I hoped it'd be. If you'd like a copy of "One Page Miracle", private message me and I'll send it to you. Or search online and it's bound to come up :)

I recommend filling it in with a friend if you can. There's no need to disclose your goals, but if someone else has an idea of which headings your attempting to make headway with they're much more likely to become your cheerleader in the long run, and feel they have a steak in your journey, as you will in theirs.

I try and have a look over my goals one a year, and knowing I can report my progress back to a group without "bragging" is really helpful. Obviously I don't tell them everything! A broad outline is good enough. I'm confident of their support.

Isobel
previously IMR
Posts: 643
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:17 pm

Views on loneliness

Post by Isobel » Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:47 pm

I like having some time to myself but can't say I've ever really been in a position of particular loneliness, although I am rather geographically isolated from many of my longterm friends and family. And after 6 years living in university halls of residence I found it very quiet and odd at first living in a whole house!
This may change as I am expecting a baby and I have heard that this can be quite an isolating time, especially as work has been quite a dominating force in my life so far, and it will be trickier to travel to see friends and family as I do at the moment. I plan to attend the two baby groups in my local town and hope that I will also meet people at antenatal classes.

User avatar
Julia W
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:08 pm
Location: Hampshire, England
Contact:

Views on loneliness

Post by Julia W » Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:42 pm

:Christmas:
Hello. Thank you all very much for your interesting and useful replies. Thank you for taking the time to write insightful and deep responses.
What you have written has given me much to think about. I will try the One Page Miracle. I also do have issues with grieving for past things/people. I am starting to try to go out to more things that I am genuinely interested in.
Thank you very much again
Best wishes, Julia
:choc:
:minicandle:

User avatar
Jae
Auxilium
Posts: 1271
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:59 pm
Location: U.K.

Views on loneliness

Post by Jae » Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:59 pm

aww thanks for the choccie Julia :thumbs:
In the triumph of prayer
Twofold is the spell.
With the folding of hands
There's a spreading of wings
And the soul's lifted up to invisible lands
And ineffable peace .....

Evelyn Underhill <><

Isobel
previously IMR
Posts: 643
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:17 pm

Views on loneliness

Post by Isobel » Sat Dec 14, 2013 9:14 am

I hope your plans go well :)

User avatar
Joe Parrish
Posts: 1100
Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 6:33 pm
Location: Antigua, New York City, and New York and New Jersey and Connecticut and Tennessee, USA
Contact:

Views on loneliness

Post by Joe Parrish » Sat Dec 14, 2013 3:51 pm

Julia W wrote::minicandle:
<>
I would love to have a boyfriend, but find there are few available attractive men in my preferred age range.

:minicandle:
Just had the Advent thought that young Mary probably was not looking for an older person, but somehow Joseph showed up at the right time... :)
Prayers and blessings for you, Julia. :)
Joe :)
Peace and blessings,
Joe

rolyn
Posts: 362
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:02 pm

Views on loneliness

Post by rolyn » Sat Dec 14, 2013 7:33 pm

Julia W wrote: I also do have issues with grieving for past things/people.
I think Joyce really hit the nail there with the confusing of those strange 'staring into the the distant ,(and sometimes not so distant), past' type feelings with loneliness .

From my own experience these feelings seem to be associated with a kind of lost idyll coupled with grief, and possibly even vague trauma . It's quite difficult for me to explain this without going into immense detail short to say I have , over time (with God's Help), learnt to accept these feelings and also regard them as not entirely unwanted or unpleasant .

Maybe this is easy for me to say as I have been fortunate enough not to have lived on my own so far . Having said that I have worked , and do work, on my own much of the time and often prefer it .

User avatar
Caroline
Site Admin
Posts: 1983
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 3:55 pm
Location: On the settee
Contact:

Views on loneliness

Post by Caroline » Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:43 pm

Julia W wrote: :choc:
:minicandle:
I just have to point out that that chocolate is going to melt! :wink:
Kindness is underrated.

User avatar
Jennifer
Posts: 1122
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 5:38 pm

Views on loneliness

Post by Jennifer » Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:58 pm

I think you've made a very good start Julia, and remember we are all friends here, supporting and caring for each other in i-church(and that does include you! :thumbs: ).

Locked