November 11, 2007 11:25 AM   Subscribe

How many of you feel lonely and how are you coping with loneliness... I just have my girlfriend and no close friends/family members... Are there others in a situation similar to me...if yes pl. respond. As i get older, feel very much concerned, what will happen if i fall sick etc....Anyone with similar concerns, pl. respond how you to plan to cope....
posted by tom123 to Health & Fitness (17 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: sidestepping askme guidelines with sock puppet - please contact the admins if this is in error. -- jessamyn

If you've got a girlfriend, pal, you're not as lonely as I am.
posted by box at 11:29 AM on November 11, 2007 [5 favorites]

it's never too late to make friends.

try reading this book. I haven't read it myself but others seem to be quite impressed.
posted by randomstriker at 11:34 AM on November 11, 2007

You should not cope with loneliness.

The best way to get rid of loneliness is through self-improvement. What don't you like about yourself? What do you wish you had done already? Do you drink too much? Then stop. Have you been meaning to take yoga or learn chinese? Sign up for a class.

I have found that when I stop putting off the internal change I know I need to make, my loneliness fades and the right people begin to appear in my life.

What do you know you should be doing about you and your life that you've been putting off? Do those things and you will not be lonely for long.
posted by milarepa at 11:43 AM on November 11, 2007

With all respect to randomstriker, that's a book about networking, albeit a slightly less soulless one than most books on the subject, and I don't recommend it. You can be just as lonely with a huge network of semi-friends than you can on your own. Also, I agree with milarepa! Don't seek out people, seek out things to do, and the people will follow...
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 11:51 AM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

milarepa's advice is excellent.

One thing I started about 2 years ago was throwing dinner parties. My self improvement was learning how to prepare full meals. I then sent out invites to numerous people (some who were close and some relative strangers) and invited them to a dinner party. In order to make it more interesting to the relative strangers, I applied a rule: part of your commitment to come had to be that you had to bring someone who was a stranger to me. As a result, I ended up with 10 guests at each party, 5 who I'd never met before. It works very well--not only will you make new friends, your friends (and their friends) will as well.

The only real drawbacks to this plan are that feeding 10 people a 4 course meal is expensive. Cleaning up the mess is a pain. As a result, when I now throw the parties, I charge a flat fee (usually $15 or $20) which goes to cover the food and wine. At first I felt like an ass and a cheapskate for doing this but numerous guests have told me that it was one of the best nights out they had in years and no one ever complained about the cost.

So, now when I throw the gigs, I try to make new dishes every time so not only am I a better cook than I'd ever have been without the dinners, but the whole thing's become a kind of neat circle: meet new people AND self improvement and the word of mouth about the food gets more people eager to come. Last party I threw had 30 guests, half of whom I'd never met.
posted by dobbs at 11:53 AM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

In addition to the suggestions above, get a dog. Not only because they provide companionship, but because they make you part of an instant community. I never felt like I lived in a real neighborhood until I got a dog and started meeting people while walking around, going to the dog park, etc. It's a great way to make friends, as well as to just become more friendly with your neighbors.
posted by walla at 11:56 AM on November 11, 2007

You should go take some cooking classes or anything of that nature that might lead to new friends. If your really worried about not having friends the only solution is to get some... But I think your anxiety about the future is unneccesary. Slow down a bit, take a deep breath, and focus on the here and now exclusively. I find this helps me immensely.
posted by pwally at 12:02 PM on November 11, 2007

You're never alone in feeling alone.

But as lonely as I've felt at times, I'm always pleasantly surprised to find that if you reach out a little--as you are in this thread--you'll usually find that the rest of the world is out there, and does care.

Try doing that in your everyday life. Each day, just ask one or two people what their favorite color is. Or their lucky number. Something reasonably innocuous that is unthreatening to both ask and answer. You may not make lifelong friends through those openings, but you'll probably get answers, may get the occasional smile, and just might help you feel more connected with the people around you in a small way that will help you feel like you have some traction in life.
posted by Inkslinger at 12:03 PM on November 11, 2007

randomstriker, I found Never Eat Alone to be terrible. It's like the guy has a palsy for socializing. I have trouble imagining living the way he describes, networking with as many others as possible every moment of the day.

I really liked Intimacy and Solitude, though.

Loneliness did used to be a great trial for me, but less so, these days. As Inkslinger says, friendly social interaction is not that difficult to initiate. Once I realized that, I started to see that actually, for the most part, I like being alone.
posted by Coventry at 12:13 PM on November 11, 2007

tom123 posted "what will happen if i fall sick etc....Anyone with similar concerns, pl. respond how you to plan to cope...."

Co-worker I've mentored/cultivated. And various friends who will reciprocate favors I've done them.
posted by orthogonality at 12:18 PM on November 11, 2007

The best way to get rid of loneliness is through self-improvement. What don't you like about yourself? What do you wish you had done already? Do you drink too much? Then stop. Have you been meaning to take yoga or learn chinese? Sign up for a class.

You can be a good person and still be lonely - way to make the OP feel better about himself!

I'm in a similar situation - I live with my partner and have very little contact with anyone else - so if my partner doesn't give me all the attention I need - then yeah, I get lonely too.

Get on facebook, find old friends and start chatting - even online socialisation is better than nothing.

Do you work? As in go to a place of work - are there co-workers you could try to make closer friends with? Its a place to start that doesn't require any major changes to your life/schedule
posted by missmagenta at 12:31 PM on November 11, 2007

You can be a good person and still be lonely - way to make the OP feel better about himself!

I didn't say that the OP was a bad person and I am sorry if I made you or him feel that way.

I was just trying to express the fact that we are all works in progress and that we all have things that we wish did better or would stop doing -- I know I do. It doesn't make us "bad." I personally find avoiding these things causes loneliness and anxiety. I find, in my life, that once I start addressing the things I've been avoiding the right people start popping into my life or at the very least feel less lonely. Hopefully that's clear. If not, I should probably just stop talking.
posted by milarepa at 12:41 PM on November 11, 2007

If you've got a girlfriend you're less lonely than a lot of people.

As far as what happens if you end up sick or injured enough to need major medical attention, get decent health insurance and start saving up for retirement and emergencies.

It's nice to socialize and meet more people, and hopefully if it comes down to it people will be helpful instead of deciding you are "too much work" to be friends with in the event of a serious illness. At the very least, skills at making new friends will be helpful to you if you do end up spending time in some sort of care facility.
posted by yohko at 12:56 PM on November 11, 2007

Common interests make friendships happen. The main trick of it is that you're not there "just to meet people", you're there because the thing you're doing interests you, and so are other people. Try joining clubs. Take up a sport, a game, a hobby, a night class - something that you can go along to one or two times a week. Go to a gym: exercise is boring, and people tend to talk. What do you do for work? Assuming you work with other people, and at least one of those people is reasonably friendly to you, talk to them. Ask if they've seen any good movies lately. Ask if they've read any good books. Ask if they watch the football, or whatever. Talk about those things (not all at once, or you'll come across as weird!). Make a point of having a short conversation with a person about something of minor interest, each day.

In some of your previous questions you've asked about doing an MBA, mentioned religious interests, vegan eating, and spending time with kids or foster care organizations: all of these offer plenty of opportunity to meet people.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 12:57 PM on November 11, 2007

Take up hobbies that require you to be with people/co-operate with others.
That way you learn something new and build up a new network of people to relate to. Some of these may become friends, others won't but you've got a starting point.In addition you have a ready topic for conversation in other social situations...don't go overboard on the last point though or you'll alienate people instead :)
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:07 PM on November 11, 2007

I just have my girlfriend
posted by tellurian at 1:40 PM on November 11, 2007

what will happen if i fall sick etc

make sure you have enough money that you can pay people to take care of you.

i don't have anyone except an SO either, and while i know she would take care of me, you can't put all your eggs in one basket so to speak.

as for lonliness, i don't have any solutions.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 1:45 PM on November 11, 2007

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