Are you lonely?

For the most part I go about my day to day routine, and you would never know that I often feel lonely. I have a loving husband, close family, good friends and a job and co-workers that I enjoy, but there are important things that are missing.

My husband is content to spend his time with me, our kids, and occasionally his family and mine. He has a friend that he see every now and again, but they always meet elsewhere. His friend has never married, has no significant other, kids, and so on. They usually just hang out, have a beer, and catch up.

Our son is the exact same way. I can’t tell you the last time he got together with friends, had someone over, was invited to a party, saw a movie with a buddy, etc. I worry and try to encourage him to do more, but he’s 14 now. what am I supposed to do, arrange play dates?

Our daughter is 20 and very social, just like I used to be. I miss those times, at least some of them. My problem is that when someone hurts me, it sticks around a hell of a lot longer than kindness does. I find that the older I get, the less I reach out to others. That needs to change, but how?

I feel like there’s this battle inside of me between what is naturally comfortable to me (the status quo) and what it is that I really want (getting together with people other than family). I see people a few times a month, but still feel like I’m missing out on something more.

Introverted dopers, what do you do?

I’m actually blessed with lots of friends and activities to keep me busy, but I still feel incredibly lonely these days. I don’t have any good advice for you, but I hope you’re able to find what works for you.

Wait, wait… “wanting to be with people” is “extrovert” ok?

Being “shy” and being “afraid to be hurt by people” is not the same as being an “introvert.” Introverts are your husband and your son, who don’t need other people.

That out of the way, what I do when I feel the need to be sociable is join clubs that do social activities I happen to like, and take part in the social activities of associations I belong to.

Alone- yes.
Lonely- no.
Checking in to subscribe.
Very interesting OP.

Nothing…which is my problem, and also why I’m pretty damn lonely. I don’t even know where to begin on resolving it.

I try to sign up for meet-ups (http://www.meetup.com) and got involved in board games. But another problem of being introverted is that usually I am too darn tired to go anywhere.

The real part of loneliness, for me, is not able to find someone who I can talk to openly. In front of everyone else I have to maintain a stoic, ‘I got all ground covered’ type of guy or I start to be afraid that no one would ever trust me or give me responsibilities. And I’m a very emo man and lots of other guys think of that as a sign of great weakness or something. At least among the troupe I hang out with.

I feel lonely a lot but feel helpless against it, since I don’t like being around most people and I don’t want to get too close to people who I do like. Also, I feel the loneliest when I’m around people. So I try to stay busy and make my life as active as possible. I walk everywhere, do pottery, practice music, squeak out some writing, get in some reading, and then do some more walking. Anything to stop being so introspective.

Yeah; I’m seldom ever alone, but I AM frequently lonely.

I’ve been a stay-at-home dad/freelance artist since my son was born 5-odd years ago. I frequently find myself missing simple social things like a long converation over lunch, or shooting the breeze with a co-worker. I love my wife to bits, but we are very different people with very different interests, and our conversations tend to revolve around our son, our lives, work, and miscellaneous domestic bullshit. Generally, my conversations with my son revolve around Spongebob or Spiderman, and the bulk of my interaction with my clients is, “…when are you planning on paying me?!”

Last year when my son was in Pre-K, I struck up a friendship with one of the moms at his school. She was about my age and one of the only other people with an Obama sticker on her car. After dropping our kids off we’d have these great 20 minute talks in the parking lot about politics, culture, music, art, and “…I remember when”.

It was great. After the school year ended, I found myself really, *really *missing her. Other than some harmless flirting, there was never any sexual componant to our relationship (we’re both married with kids), but I found myself pining over her like a lost lover. Sad.

Loneliness is one of the biggest parts of the human condition. You aren’t going to meet many people- no matter what their life is like- who wills say they don’t feel pretty lonely underneath. Piles of great poetry has been written on the subject. The only thing feeling lonely means is that you feel human.

Now call up some friends and invite them to pizza!

I think I need to resolve what I do with the things that I feel inside. Obviously my husband isn’t too likely to start inviting friends over, so it’s up to me to shake things up and do that myself. I just wish we could hang out with other couples every now and again. He gets along great with his brother, but his brother’s wife doesn’t seem too up with getting together; it’s more like she’s counting the time until she can go home again and just being polite. I never could seem to get to know her beyond that surface politeness that she puts on. Also, they never invited us over after we had them come by several times for dinner/game night/BBQ type things.

After a while I gave up on that one. My SIL (husband’s sister) is unique. She has a great personality in a lot of ways, but is very quick to judge people and has issues with ‘snooty people’. Once she went on about one of her brothers and how he acted like he was better than everyone else. This is the guy who practically helped her raise her kids (she is a single mom of now adult kids) and is one of the nicest, most down to earth people I know; he’s the husband of the SIL who doesn’t seem to want to get together with my husband and me. She’s just not someone I want to be with for much longer than a couple of hours every now and again.

My family - forget it. My brothers are about as different from my husband as you can get. My sister is unmarried, no kids. She and I get together fairly often. The problem with her is that she’s very attached to our mom and is child-like in a lot of things that she does and says. It would take a whole 'nother thread to go into all of that and it’s not really the point right now.

My best friend’s husband is a combination of ADD, weed, extreme intelligence, and bigotry. He’s really into politics and gaming. He could not be more opposite of my husband; I go to their house whenever we get together. My husband would never want to hang out with them as a couple.

I guess I’m just getting more bothered about our lack of friends at this point in my life. This house is so quiet a lot of the time and I get lonely, even when I’m surrounded with people. I tend to dwell on people who hurt or judged me in the past, but that’s no way to be. I’ve been thinking about seeing a therapist to let go of some of these feelings once and for all and move on with the rest of my life. I’m not sure how to find one or what to say to them, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for the past few months.

Here’s my advice, for what it’s worth:

Look for people you really like, admire, and enjoy being around. Just because someone’s related to you doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best place to look for friendship or companionship.

Work on yourself, to make yourself the kind of person that other people like, admire, and enjoy being around.

Consider joining (either by yourself or with your husband, if he’s up for it) an organization, taking a class, or getting involved in some activity—charitable, athletic, cultural, musical, theatrical, craftsy, educational, religious, or whatever—that “forces” you to interact with other people. Some people are good at free-form socializing, but others find that structure helps with their social interaction. And pursuing an interest or making a contribution helps your life be about something, which both makes you feel better in and of itself, and helps you to be a more interesting, socially attractive, easy to relate to person.

Note: A church or other religious organization could be among the best or among the worst places to find what you need. Depending on the church, it could be a place where you find love, acceptance, friendship, and guidance on the things that you may need to work on in yourself to make you a better person. Or you could just find petty, stuck-up, judgmental, small-minded people.

Yes, quite. Mostly what Red Barchetta said, I guess.

I think this is a good idea. You can learn some ways to open yourself up to meeting new people and setting up activities for interacting with them. Dwelling on past hurts is not good.

You are an interesting person and I think you’d make a good friend, as far as being someone people would want to spend their time with.

Good luck. :slight_smile:

Yeah, I try to do stuff but I never stick with it. I have, you know, “work friends”, and my boyfriend, and now I have his friend who’s also my tenant who’s I guess my friend (although he hangs out with her all day because she works for him, so he rolls his eyes when I try to do stuff with her in the evening, argh) but it’s really fucking hard to make friends after college. I’m taking some classes, which is cool, but it’s not like we do anything outside the classes. (I actually joined this Spanish class because I’m part of the Spanish Meet-up, which I have never gone to, and the classes were advertised on the e-mail list.) It’s hard, and yes, I’m kind of lonely.

I suspect that we suffer from Hollywooditis about a lot of things. An easy example is how people think your eyes meet across a crowded room, you fall in love, and there are never any arguments or compromises or difficult decisions etc. because that’s how it happens in the movies. I’m exaggerating and oversimplifying the Hollywood product of course but in some ways it must filter into our psyches that this is normal, attainable, desirable, whatever. Maybe that leaves us feeling inadequate when what we’re seeing on film is far from the norm or the truth.

I know many people, and I’m friendly with many of them but it isn’t friendship. If it were, they’d call and see how I’m doing or suggest we get together, that sort of thing. I remember chatting with a co-worker once, and he seemed pretty cool. We’d talked daily and were friendly, so I suggested we do something together sometime. He looked like I’d hit him with a 2x4. The vibe was, “Hey, we’re at work, and I enjoy talking to you here but man, don’t encroach on my free time!”

Two things at least are required for relationships to grow: being connected and having time to connect. I remember thinking, with childlike wonder, how great the internet would be when I finally connected—because I could write one letter to update my friends and family, then send it to all of them and get tons of replies. That thought no sooner formed than I realized: ‘Yeah but people have to reply for it to work.’ Everybody’s busy. Busy with the job, busy with the family, busy with school, whatever. In the triage of things, friends come fourth or fifth, maybe. And some just don’t have an appetite for keeping in touch.

I’ve probably mentioned it somewhere in these boards before but there was an article I saw in an architectural magazine that lamented the disappearance of the front porch. Used to be people sat on their porch at night, chatted with neighbors walking by, knew what was going on, pitched in and helped those down on their luck. Now we live hundreds of miles away and don’t know our neighbors’ names. Ask and they may be suspicious of why you want to know. We build decks out back and don’t answer the front door because we’re scared. I recognize a lot of user names in here, like the OP’s, but if we lived next door we probably wouldn’t know much about each other.

I think the computer is testament to that. We don’t know how to connect to each other face-to-face, so we use a couple of machines and a wire to do it. Look at internet dating: I know a lot of people say, “I work lots of hours and I just don’t have time to find someone.” Uh, it’s probably the most important decision you’ll ever make in your life and besides, you’ll need to spend some time in a relationship to see if the person’s right for you, so…? Sidenote: I wonder how many people conclude that they met the right one because the computer said they did. Computers can’t be wrong, can they?

Some years ago, when I went through my divorce, I decided to give church a try. Partly, I wanted some wisdom to get me through the experience, and partly I wanted to make some friends. It helped, but the thing I noticed is that a lot of people seem to have tunnel vision. We’d meet for a service and it was “share the peace of God” but then everybody went off to their own homes, families, plans, etc. I guess they already had a full dance card.

As a single man, I will say that it’s easier to find a date than it is to find a friend. I think that’s in part because dating has some ritual, protocol, format, goal-orientation and so on surrounding it. If I try to befriend a man, maybe he’ll think I’m homosexual; if I try to befriend a woman, maybe she’ll think I’m interested in her.

I was in a couple of divorced/widowed recovery type groups where I noticed that a lot of people had sort of cocooned, chugging along with the family unit and being self-contained until the marriage fell apart or the spouse died. Kids grown, marriage over, friendships gone fallow…they had to start over. I see the same in my mom since my dad passed away. It only gets harder to make friends as you grow older.

There are some who say that our urban planning is working against us, making us increasingly disconnected. Here’s an excellent documentary if you can catch it:
http://www.subdivided.net/

I remember part of it saying that we live in big triangles now…one area for living, one for working, one for shopping. Some subdivisions don’t even have sidewalks, so socializing is a “drive-by wave” to the neighbors.

Sorry to be so disjointed but it is Sunday evening, after all.

Am I lovely? Why, thank you!
Oh, you asked if I was LONELY.

Yes.

Ah, look at all the lonely people…

I’m actually surprised it took a full 12 minutes for that to be posted.

I was. I’m sure I will be again. Right now I’m looking at the men around me who aren’t single, and I’m not sure if it would be worth it, (given the options I’ve had). I swear, having an SO that’s actually beneficial to a person’s, (who’s willing to change some of their own ways, and hopefully can try to have some positive influence as well), well-being seems very difficult to find no matter who you are. Most people just want to mind-f*ck you.

Hmmm … I was achingly lonely for a long time in middle/high school, and as a reaction I began to need other people less and less. At this point (now in college) I’d much rather read/go on a run/cook than make idle small talk, and I’ve never been happier. It frees up so much time to not need “playdates,” and I’m really not lonely at all. I think I’ve overcompensated, though, and have to force myself to be social in a social setting, like a party or something. Not that I get nervous or anything; I just have to will myself to care.