On loneliness

I’ve been feeling more lonely, more often, over the last few months. There, I admitted it.

I do enjoy my own company and usually *need* time on my own to stay sane.

But lately, it’s felt a lot more like ‘lonely’ than ‘alone’.

I have friends, but I no longer seem to have a best friend. She’s got her hands very full with two small children, a husband and a hectic life. She’s been drifting away from me for a few years now, if I’m honest. And it’s not for the lack of trying on my part – but after being turned down repeatedly when I suggest we meet up for coffee, or a drink, or even dinner if she can get away, I’ve kind of stopped asking. (She never calls me to suggest a get-together.) I miss her so much. She could always make me laugh until I wheezed. And she was always the person I could tell anything to.

So there’s a big gap in my life without her. I have other friends, but none who I feel I can call at 10pm when I’m having an anxiety attack. Which sucks, because I’ve been having a few of those recently, relating to a health issue.

How I wish that when I wake up in the middle of the night, and scary out-of-proportion thoughts flood my head, and my breath gets shallow and fast, and my heart thuds in my chest, that I had someone I could snuggle up to. Who would put a comforting arm around me and tell me that it will all be OK and that he’s there for me, and that I’m not crazy. And tell me to go back to sleep and it will all seem less awful in the morning.

Because it’s starting to feel like I’m never going to have that. That I’m weird and there’s something strange about me that just puts people off. Is it how I look? Should I lose weight? Do I walk funny? Do I smell bad?!! Or is it this unapproachable aura I apparently project, that makes me seem prickly or aloof and just not the kind of person you’d want to get to know. How is it that everyone else knows what to do to find The One?

I’m dreading getting older and having to deal with health issues on my own. Having to cope with the ageing and eventual loss of my wonderful parents without support. And not having a companion to hang out with and weather life’s ups and downs with.

Yes, I love being single. But no, I do not want to be single for the rest of my life.

Who exactly are you “so blessed” by?

It seems to be the in thing these days to pronounce that you are “so blessed” every time you have a great day, hang out with lovely friends, realise that your spouse/child/cat is really quite wonderful, etc. etc.

I see this all. the. time in my social media feeds. The funny thing is that other than my very charismastic Christian contacts, most people counting their blessings are not religious at all – some even verging on atheism.

So I wonder, who exactly do they think is blessing them? ‘The Universe’? Or is it just a cliche that everyone’s using?

To me, as ‘blessing’ is very much associated with religion – you’re typically blessed by God, Jesus, Mohammed, clerics, or any multitude of gods, depending on your religious leanings. I am genuinely curious about this… would love to hear from anyone who this applies to.

If you are not religious, do you say this and if so, who do you think is blessing you?

A pang of realisation

I had breakfast with an old friend today. He’s in town on vacation and we always see each other when we’re in the same city, and loosely keep in touch via Facebook and email.

He’s had a rough few months for a variety of reasons and I don’t know if it was that, or jetlag, or just time passing, but for the first time I noticed he’s looking older. He has lines around his eyes that weren’t there last year. His demeanour is more serious, and his sparkle; his sense of fun; wasn’t there today.

It hit me: he’s getting older and it’s starting to show. And then I wondered whether he was thinking the same about me.

That awkward feeling when…

… you think you might be starting to have feelings for someone who has always just been a friend.

This has happened to me so many times and has never ended well. But isn’t it inevitable, when you’re really good friends with someone? (I was going to say ‘with someone of the opposite sex’ but didn’t want to be prescriptive – although in my case, I am referring to guy friends.)

It’s quite exciting – suddenly being hyper-aware of someone you’ve until that point been very comfortable around. The person who’s always supportive, who you speak to often on the phone, who others say ‘Oooh he’s lovely’ and you respond with ‘Isn’t he? He’s like my big brother.’ The person your concerned relatives as you about, with thinly veiled hope that perhaps the scales will someday fall from both your eyes and a big fat white wedding will result.

But it’s also awful. Suddenly you’re awkward around your best buddy. You wonder if he can sense that something has changed for you. Then the despair that it’s one-sided… or the double-edged exciting possibility that maybe he feels it too – but what if taking things to a new level blow up in your face, and you end up losing a friend you adore.

Do you think a man and a woman, both single, can be ‘just friends’? And here I mean someone you’ve been friends with for years and years, not a new friend. Does attraction always come into play – from one side, or the other? Is it possible to have been friends with someone for a long time and suddenly see them differently? And can we really be truly platonic?

Coping on your own

A good friend has recently lost her husband after over 30 years of marriage. Before they were married, she lived at home. She has never lived on her own and now she has to adjust to it. That’s a HUGE adjustment. Not only is she dealing with her intense grief, and the trauma and sadness of her husband’s illness, but she is alone for the first time in her life.

Her sons are a huge support, and she has many family members and friends who are there for her. But they’re not there at 2am when she has an anxiety attack, or when she could really do with a hand with unpacking her groceries… or the thousands of other little things she’s so used to having her husband alongside her for.

My heart really goes out to her. Much as I love being single, it’s not something she has chosen and it’s inappropriate for me to trot out the reasons why being single is amazing. It’s going to be a hell of a change for her. She’s going to have to be strong and brave – and I think she’s going to discover who she really is for maybe the first time in her life.

Love and hugs to you, H.

xx A

 

The art of the great hug

I’ve been thinking recently that I am underhugged. I really don’t get as many hugs as a girl needs. And as one who loves a good hug, my hug-deprivation is even more noticeable at the moment.

Sure, I hug my family and friends whenever I see them, and that’s nice. But it’s not the kind of hug I mean. I don’t mean cuddling either (I’m also under-cuddled but that’s a whole other thing 🙂 ) – as in the type of hugs that lead to sex. Continue reading

Sometimes you need a reminder…

… to have fun.

So that wedding that I was a bit nervous about attending on my own turned out to be fantastic. Besides the beautiful setting, stunning bride and generally warm-fuzzy-love-filled atmosphere, I met some really lovely people. The bride had thoughtfully put me at a table with some very open, warm, funny people, and I had a blast. Yes, there were a couple of moments when I felt a bit like a spare part, but overall, I had a wonderful time. Continue reading

Why don’t people respond to invitations anymore?

Have you noticed how people are increasingly ignoring invitations?

I was invited to a New Year’s Eve party, hosted by a couple who I’ve been friends with for a while. They issued the invitation on Facebook and also on an online event/invitation site. Most of the people who were invited didn’t respond. There were a few people who said they ‘may be attending’ – one of which said something like ‘I don’t know what my New Year plans are yet – will get back to you.’

I can’t decide which denotes worse manners – the people who didn’t respond at all, or the ones who were hedging their bets and waiting for a better offer.

It seems that people don’t take online invitations very seriously – maybe they are seen as spam? In my experience, if I send an invitation on Facebook or email, at least 50% of the invitees will not reply. Even if it says ‘RSVP by [date]’.

Two of my friends who got married recently say that this poor behaviour applies to weddings too. You’d think that a beautifully designed, printed and mailed invitation would do the trick. Two weeks before her big day one of the brides was still waiting to hear from over 30 (!) invitees. (And it wasn’t a huge wedding – maybe 140 people total.)

In my book, if someone has invited you to something, it’s because they’ve thought carefully about who they would like to have there, and you’ve made the list as being special to them. They’re going to the trouble of organising something, so you should have the courtesy of letting them know if you can make it – soon after you receive the invitation.

It’s just good manners. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era.