If you have just started reading my blog or you have missed the previous posts, go back and read Only the Lonely as this is part 2 and you may find it easier to follow if you read these in sequence.
My "Only the Lonely" post seemed to resonate with many people and sparked a lot of interest and debate. It soon became one of the most read and shared posts that I have published. Again, there is no judgement on my part, purely observation and interest [read as: please don't hunt me down and kill me if you recognise yourself in this post].
One comment, which I found quite interesting was that a friend thought I was writing about him for the first couple of lines, (until I got to the alcohol part, he is not exactly a drinker!). This comment made me feel the need to clarify that not all lonely people are Bar-flies. That being said, there are still a LOT of lonely people and it saddens me. The majority of these people have really good hearts but have just been unlucky in love or have spent too much time on their careers, only to look up and realise that life had moved on without them, and of course those that have just been too picky! I also add into this category, those that have had the nuclear family and it wasn't the bed of roses that society painted it to be and they have divorced and found someone new, even re-married, but loneliness continues to haunt them.
Loneliness makes people do
- One lady has surrounded herself with animals [you guessed it - cats]
- Another is dating a man who, peculiarly, has not touched her AT ALL during the term of their relationship [going on for about 9 months - WTF? Now before you think she's got a nice handwrtiting (code for ugly) I'd like to add in here that she is gorgeous, funny, warm, caring, giving and one of the most lovely people I know!]
- Yet another, a man, at the age of 50, is living with someone 30 years his junior (also a girl ravaged by loneliness and deep personal loss). While he admits they have nothing in common, he explains that there is an agreement of no commitment, which frees them both up to find other partners while they enjoy each other [friends with benefits] but most importantly of all, he says "she is just company right now......... "
Isn't that what everyone ultimately wants? Company? Someone to come home to at night, someone to talk to, someone to share with and offload about their day? Someone to go out with, even if their interests are extremely different due to class or age or experience? One friend with an extremely high-pressured job admits that all she wants is for someone to put their arms around her, hold her and tell her it's going to be ok, even if it isn't. Human beings want warmth, physical warmth because without it, loneliness creeps in. So in order to find that warmth, humans turn to pets, and unhealthy relationships that are doomed to fail, with battered feelings being the ultimate casualty of this "convenience", and all because we would rather have someone, than be lonely. A lonely and depressed friend once told me that he hated weekends because he wouldn't talk to anyone from Friday afternoon, when he left work, to Monday morning when the receptionist greeted him. Often the person has been lonely and depressed before and are well-aware of what it is like to come home to an empty house, nobody to talk to, nobody to share their day with, nobody to wrap their arms around them and of course the ultimate pain - the cooking of dinner-for-one. When you know the loneliness, the emptiness and the sadness, "someone, anyone is better than no-one" it seems. I believe this is a false sense of happiness. I believe in connecting with people on a deep level. Yes it's great to have friends, but partners need to feed your soul, not just be your plus one for the office Christmas party.
"You should join Facebook" was something I heard from friends for literally years. I wasn't interested. Why on earth would anyone care about what anyone else is doing? I talk to my friends. We email or have coffee. But then....... my sister in the US didn't have the cutest babies on the planet who I wanted to see more of, and my brother hadn't emigrated to Oz with my two beautiful nieces, so it became a no-brainer to at least "be friends with my family". To be quite honest the only reason I even go onto Facebook is because I can access it on my phone. If I had to log onto my PC to check, I probably wouldn't bother as much. I have really come to enjoy the interactions that I have with my Facebook buddies and I find it a great form of entertainment [admittedly I do have a bunch of nuts as friends, which does make it a lot more interesting!]
Recently however, the social media phenomenon has made me think about its impact on lonely people. Is Facebook fun and entertaining if everyone else looks like they're having more fun than you? Doesn't everyone post the most beautiful pictures of themselves and their family on their page? Let's be honest, if you get tagged in a photo, you're onto that photo faster than if you'd had bad prawn curry the night before and were heading for the WC. Nobody wants to be tagged in a bad-hair-day or a no-make-up day shot. Heaven forbid that anyone sees us as we actually are!
Is Facebook creating more unhappiness, envy and jealousy of others? You have to be a really big person to read about other people's achievements and family achievements and be happy for them when your life is in the toilet! Personally, if I stop posting things on FB, it's a dead giveaway that I'm not doing well. I like to use it as a fun mechanism, making people smile as they go about their days and I very seldom complain. If I do complain, I always try to find the message and end on a positive note (nobody wants to read your negative posts every day, I know I certainly don't).
On Friday I received more health-related bad news, ANOTHER disease to overcome and I was furious! All I could think was "I wonder what I'm going to get for Christmas?" remember that old joke about the deaf, blind and dumb girl? [I won't repeat it because I don't want to give the universe any ideas!!] Anyway, even though I'm battling a bit with this new news and the impact it will have on mine and my family's lives going forward, I have enjoyed the humour that FB has provided this weekend. But is it so with everyone? If you're feeling lonely and depressed and you see everyone doing fun, family things and laughing and loving and enjoying, how does that make you feel? [now I sound like a shrink! Lie down on the couch please....]
E.g. if you and your family stayed on the couch all weekend watching Youtube videos and didn't get out of your pajamas [not that this has EVER been me and my family, we NEVER do things like that, we are active and incredibly sporty ha ha *not*] and your friends all went to awesome concerts and restaurants and shared photos of precious family outings, does that make you feel inadequate? I've got a friend who shares her renovations each weekend. I'm on the couch and she's painting her 5th ceiling for the day *gulp*.
So this begs the question - are you the same as your Facebook avitar or do you only show the good things? Hmmm I wonder? Very few people post "real" posts when they're struggling. FB is like PR.
What happens if you post something and nobody comments? Do you feel rejected? Lonely? What about if you've only got acquaintances or family on FB or if you use it as a soap box with an agenda so that your mom can see what you're doing? Seriously, I know people like this, who then wonder why nobody comments on their posts!!
So where does that leave all my lonely friends? I'm reminded of hubby once telling me "you don't have to be alone to be lonely". Sometimes you are surrounded by people but there is no connection.
I'm seriously thinking of having a "singles night' (with only single people who make the grade, no whackos). A non-committal drinks evening at one of the local hang-outs. I have a lot of single friends who have never met my other single friends and, who knows, maybe there's a match somewhere!
If anyone is keen to do this (and bring along their lonely, yet eligable friends) let me know. Even if we get one couple together, there may be "two less lonely people in the world la la la la la la [thanks Cliff Richard - now I'm dating myself!!] and if not, at least we can have a good evening and I can put away my cupid bow and arrow for another 20 years and know I've done all that I can.
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