So lonely its making me depressed?
April 14, 2018 8:27 PM   Subscribe

Why am I lonely when I have a great life?

I really do have a good life. I have a nice car, a nice apartment, a few cute pets, why is that not enough? I went to japan a month ago and came back worse. My job is very toxic, and I work alone with negative customers (we repo their car). Im currently in school to become an elementary teacher, so this is to get me by.

I like super close connections, with one or two people. I broke up with my boyfriend three months ago, but I dont really miss him. I just miss having a best friend to come home to and talk to. I literally talk to no one except my one hour class everyday. My schedule is busy 8am-7pm. I get home, feed my pets, and eat dinner, then its bed time or jam homework in.

I dont have family since my mother passed away three years ago. And my friends are slim. I read, do lots of arts and crafts, and love my tv shows. But none of it is enough. Some nights I feel like I'm suffocating and barely alive. If someone murdered me no one would find me for at least a month.
I'm trying to find a new job, but its really hard in the summer in a college town. And I dont have a ton of time for friends. Im on 100mg of zoloft already and go to a therapist.

I really am trying. I volunteer my one day off at the elementary school, that cheers me up for the day. Whatever time I have I study in the library so I'm around people, never at home alone. I read lots of self help books. I follow their suggestions, and I meditate. I eat healthy, and I run every morning before school. Im not shy, I do put myself out there, and always talk in class about the subject and include my thoughts.

I get a lot of attention from guys, but I tend to stay away from them because the friend zone is never where they enjoy being..
Any other suggestions? Its literally aching my heart, and I always want to cry. I feel so alone. I almost just want to go to my ex to not be alone. Its horrible.

Any advice would help. Thank you
posted by Deal to Human Relations (11 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Loneliness is hard, and I'm sorry you're dealing with this. We're wired for connection, and we need lots of it - friends, acquaintances, family, partners.

It sounds like you're on the right track going to school and volunteering. This is a difficult problem to solve without some time to throw at it .. but you say your friends are slim, which hopefully means that you do have some friends even if they aren't as many or as close as you would like. If they are local, schedule a friend date. If they aren't, set up a time for a phone call. Do you get time for lunch? Schedule lunch with a friend, or look for lunchtime events in your area. Before or after your class, chat with one of the other students. Learn their name (if you don't know it already) and something about them - where they are from, what drew them to education, etc. If someone says something interesting or thoughtful in class, let them know you heard them and liked what they said.

In the meantime, remember that you're taking action to get your life into a better place, and now is not forever.

Good luck.
posted by bunderful at 8:48 PM on April 14, 2018

There's a lot to unpack here but it seems clear to me that you need to recognize that having a "great life" as defined by having things like a good car and a nice apartment has nothing to do with your loneliness one way or the other. Loneliness is about a lack of human connection, and no amount of material success can substitute for that. It just can't. It's like trying to cure thirst by reading: reading is nice, but it's not water. Material success as useless against loneliness as a good book is against thirst.

Also, having a toxic job will make you feel lonelier because you will feel alienated from the people at your work. Feelings of alienation greatly exacerbate loneliness. If you can find a less miserable job, you will be a happier person and a less lonely one. Maybe that should become a priority for you.

There's more going on in this question but that's all I feel equipped to handle at the moment. I wish you luck.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:06 PM on April 14, 2018 [13 favorites]

You sound like a very nice, focused person who in my opinion is lonely because you're on a situation where anyone would feel lonely. Good for you to at least take action by seeing a therapist. I am some what of a loner myself. Though believe it or not I'm married. It's a wonder I ever met my wife. But I had many times of feeling loneliness when I was younger and just out of school. The great thing is that you're on an excellent path heading towards becoming a teacher. Your life and the people you're gonna meet in your life are out there and I believe you'll eventually gain more good friends as well as a love interest. I would encourage you to perhaps join some clubs or meet up groups. If you wanna date give online casting a shot. It's a great way to at least go on dates and have some fun with the potential of meeting someone. You are in a situation basically out of your control. But you're in the process of building a future. And you will do just that!
posted by ljs30 at 9:08 PM on April 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think changing your job to teaching is a good step - you will have more human contact and will maybe be able to make friends with your colleagues. I am a teacher and from experience teachers tend to be quite close with each other.

What about going to meetups in your town? My husband and I have just moved to a town where we have no friends and I am considering going to drinks meetups/book club meetups/dog walking/ hiking meetups. Even if you don't make best friends with anyone at least you will feel better having had some socialising.

Also, I agree with the above poster who notes that you seem to be focusing too much on the idea that a nice car and nice house = a good life. You can of course be miserable with the nicest car and best house! Try to accept that these things won't make you happy and instead get out there and try to cultivate acquaintances, for a start.
posted by thereader at 10:03 PM on April 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

You have a life without the stresses of need, and that is in many ways a good life. To be less lonely, maybe you can start a study group with classmates. After class talk to other students What do yo think of that assignment? How are you doing with the project? Check out; friendship is built by spending time together. There are often hiking or walking groups, or book groups. Sport teams and hobbies are a great way to spend time with people and develop friendships. Loneliness is a reality of life for an awful lot of people; hang in there.
posted by theora55 at 11:28 PM on April 14, 2018

This is a very cliched answer but if you can sing (even a little) you could see if you could join a choir. Making music together is powerful, uplifting and refreshing. And you will meet a range of people, one or two of whom might become friends.
On another note, becoming a teacher is a fantastic plan and I wish you all the luck in the world. It is tough to start with and will take up every bit of energy and time you have if you let it. But hang in there and it will get better and easier: seek out help from colleagues, we are a great bunch if a little addicted to therapeutic moaning
posted by Heloise9 at 2:11 AM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

For me, having a bad job infects and colours everything else on my life to the point where nothing else could compensates for it.

You are doing so great and seem so switched on, keep working on getting a different job, you may find a new avenue of friends there.

Could you perhaps join a running club? They are super friendly I've found.

Im thinking of you buddy, hang in there, you are not alone.
posted by smoke at 2:42 AM on April 15, 2018

Why am I lonely when I have a great life?

You are lonely because you do not have the level of close human contact that you need.
posted by lazuli at 7:39 AM on April 15, 2018 [6 favorites]

I'm sorry you are going through this. It's definitely not easy to make friends- it's not you, it's just a difficult feat to accomplish. You sound like you really have your shit together and are an awesome, stable person.

I think you need to pick up a weekly hobby that forces you to be social with others over a long time period. For me this has consisted in joining a choir. Weekly rehearsals, and then extra practices, concerts, and intensive weekends means I spend a lot of time with these people, working towards a goal we are all passionate about. if you are any good at singing, I would recommend it. If not, then join a sports team, book club, gym class, etc.

Just remember - - loneliness is a very heavy burden to bear, but it's NOT your fault you feel that way. The friends you seek are not as far away as they seem. All it takes is a moment and you may find your life has changed. The feelings you have are much larger than the obstacle you are facing.
posted by winterportage at 9:43 AM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have no idea where to find this but in this day and age there ought to be friendly chat room somewhere on the Internet where you can drop in (virtually) after work and be able to have some semblance of connection. Hopefully someone else can be more specific....
posted by metahawk at 7:20 PM on April 15, 2018

If someone murdered me no one would find me for at least a month.

FWIW, this was me when I was trapped living in my small hometown 2012-2016. Exactly that thought ran through my head while I lived there, because my job guaranteed I would not be able to experience positive-quality human connections through my work, and my hometown family history guaranteed I would not be able to experience supportive, non-sabotaging connections in my community.

My point is that sometimes you actually are just marooned in a poor social environment. I don't know if you have this kind of resourcing available from your life history, but I found moving out from my hometown to a larger town where 1-2 people from my happier life >10 years ago really helped. I have 3-4 people now to have coffees/walks/low-key get-togethers with, and it's improved the quality of my life by 300-400%!!! No lie. These days, I give it maximum two weeks that somebody notices if I've been murdered. Small things like that make me very happy about being alive these days.

If you don't have that kind of resourcing available, then I recommend steadily build up a few good low-key relationships like that. 1-2 coffee friends, and 1-2 walking/physical activity friends. Don't push for more than they can afford to give (they're hardworking and tired too!). Just gently seek out others who might be around your age, experiencing this similar life challenge, and build upon common interests you naturally enjoy. I have 3 women-friends now who I can relate some aspect of the loneliness/connection niche to (we all share being single, childless, and the same age-phase of life, therefore the same challenges in how to have meaningful, sustaining connections in our lives without using a boyfriend/husband, conventional families or kids). Not one single friend is responsible for reflecting my loneliness void exactly. It's like having a few beams of light from a few different angles shine on my loneliness and connection needs. I can still look for a relationship if I want, but I'm much less battered as I soar now while doing it.

Good luck and be gentle with yourself. We have a need for human connection, for people to laugh and share moments with, and reflect joy in our life experiences. I think living without it is a more common life crisis people are experiencing today than society is admitting yet.
posted by human ecologist at 5:35 PM on April 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

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