What is loneliness?

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I’ve been thinking about people and places I didn’t feel lonely. How relationships I’ve had that were toxic in the long term, I had an instant connection with, we understood each other and everything. But then overtime the tables turned and the worst of their darkside or my own got the best of the relationship. I thought about when I was 16 at church camp, I felt connected to everyone there. When I went back this year I felt alone again, that I wasn’t allowed to be real or honest of who I am or where I’ve been. I think of my boyfriend and how while I love him so much and he’s weird like me, he doesn’t really understand me. I have to use very direct and clear communication, he doesn’t “speak my language”. To a vast extent, I feel this is eternal. I’m making a futile attempt to make friends online (like a dating app, but for friends) and I’m already seeing the cold reality I already know of being ghosted, rejected, how you can’t tell peoples intentions. It’s such a maze. I don’t want to be depressed and lonely anymore, I’ve felt like that persistently. These toxic relationships at least I felt really heard and understood, but I’d rather no relationship that toxic ones. I’d rather be alone than with the wrong people. But I don’t know what the right people are. I’m tired.
 
Good topic! I am also interested in this and it has been a big part of my recovery journey.
do friends cure loneliness? Real friends, the kind that stick with you. I don’t know. What do you think of loneliness? What do you do to not feel lonely?
I think yes, friends do help reduce the discomfort of loneliness. I reach out to friends to not feel lonely. It was a long and slow process to make friends in my community. Friends that weren’t just my co-workers (can still be good) or ready-made in a church (can still be good). Co-workers and church are a good place to start but the ones that stick are often ones you meet while doing something you enjoy. So, for me, first step was doing things I might enjoy, cultivating my own joy. Then choosing to do that activity in a location or way that puts me in proximity with other people doing something the same or similar.

Oh but before all that I had to believe that my voice was worth hearing and my words had meaning. That took a couple years. Once I got my voice and words going and tapped into my desires then I could do an activity I enjoyed in the presence of other people doing that same activity and talk to them about… something! Usually that activity.

I think one of the hardest things was the rejection. I would psyche myself up for “friend interactions” but not always get the response or consent I was seeking. Then I had to have enough confidence to keep trying. That’s where the therapeutic relationship was really helpful. Because I could talk to her about the good the bad and the ugly. And she could validate all of it and be present while I worked out the kinks.

Sometimes I would make friends and then it would go south and I would realize I hadn’t seen the red flags because I was so eager to make friends. Or sometimes I would see problems where there weren’t any! All of that was confusing and my T helped me sort it out.

I still am learning and still trying to make friends but I have a small circle of people now who genuinely care and we both give and expect respect from each other. And there are lovely surprises that come from those kinds of relationships.
How relationships I’ve had that were toxic in the long term, I had an instant connection with, we understood each other and everything. But then overtime the tables turned
I resonate with this a lot. It’s something that I’m just barely understanding. That those instant connections can lead to some tricky and confusing and complicated roads. I’m learning how to cope when I feel that instant connection and how to peel back the layers of what’s underneath all that strong vivid emotion. And how that instant connection and intense feelings can contribute to the sense of loneliness. I’m curious about the connection between desire and loneliness, as well as anger and loneliness.
 
Good topic! I am also interested in this and it has been a big part of my recovery journey.

I think yes, friends do help reduce the discomfort of loneliness. I reach out to friends to not feel lonely. It was a long and slow process to make friends in my community. Friends that weren’t just my co-workers (can still be good) or ready-made in a church (can still be good). Co-workers and church are a good place to start but the ones that stick are often ones you meet while doing something you enjoy. So, for me, first step was doing things I might enjoy, cultivating my own joy. Then choosing to do that activity in a location or way that puts me in proximity with other people doing something the same or similar.

Oh but before all that I had to believe that my voice was worth hearing and my words had meaning. That took a couple years. Once I got my voice and words going and tapped into my desires then I could do an activity I enjoyed in the presence of other people doing that same activity and talk to them about… something! Usually that activity.

I think one of the hardest things was the rejection. I would psyche myself up for “friend interactions” but not always get the response or consent I was seeking. Then I had to have enough confidence to keep trying. That’s where the therapeutic relationship was really helpful. Because I could talk to her about the good the bad and the ugly. And she could validate all of it and be present while I worked out the kinks.

Sometimes I would make friends and then it would go south and I would realize I hadn’t seen the red flags because I was so eager to make friends. Or sometimes I would see problems where there weren’t any! All of that was confusing and my T helped me sort it out.

I still am learning and still trying to make friends but I have a small circle of people now who genuinely care and we both give and expect respect from each other. And there are lovely surprises that come from those kinds of relationships.

I resonate with this a lot. It’s something that I’m just barely understanding. That those instant connections can lead to some tricky and confusing and complicated roads. I’m learning how to cope when I feel that instant connection and how to peel back the layers of what’s underneath all that strong vivid emotion. And how that instant connection and intense feelings can contribute to the sense of loneliness. I’m curious about the connection between desire and loneliness, as well as anger and loneliness.
Yeah, idk I kinda feel stuck in it. Loneliness is a constant and I don’t know how to change it really. But sounds like you’ve worked on it a lot
 
Sorry! Lost track of this -and quite a few other threads- during my “November” slog. Just catching back up.

How do you identify what you’re missing out of all the things you listed?
It’s being less than I can be.

And the pain of absence & desire… without opportunity, luck, willingness, allowance, patience, or spirit/strength/energy (that “oomph” that sees the spark, and chases it, blows it into flame).

No opportunity = I’m either not around people, or new people, or AM but simply do not have the time necessary.

Friendships take a helluva lotta time. Established friendships only need the occasional infusion, but new friendships die without regular bordering on near constant investments of time/energy.

A great example of both of those was my first several years at Unjversity.

- On the one hand? All kinds of interesting/amazing people. But? I had a baby/toddler & was working. So whilst there were dozens -out of the hundreds I was in daily contact with- of people I’d have cheerfully grabbed a drink with, or gone snowboarding, or met at the library to study, or invited over, or, or, or, or? To find the 3 or 4 that might pass from “interesting person I know and enjoy spending time with” to an actual friend? I simply didn’t have the time to even start that process. I was only getting 3 hours a sleep a night for the first year and a half

- Conversely? I was “stuck” at home “alone” (kids dinner/bath/bed) from 7pm to 6am every night. Surrounded by people by day, crickets by night.

No Luck
Is when I’m around plenty of people, and have the time to invest in them, but either there is no one I’m interested in, or all the interesting people are too busy in their own lives. Both things happen, often enough. Some moves it’s interesting people around every corner stretching to the horizon. Others? It’s just like FFS. How many dull &/or obnoxious people did they manage to squeeze into this city/town/job/program?!?

No Willingness
Is 100% a me-thing. I have the time. And there are interesting people around. I’m just unwilling / disinclined to do anything about it.

No Patience
Is when I have the people, time, and willingness… but don’t have the patience for all of the “getting to know you” aspect of making friends. <<< This BORDERS on “desperation” which is an immediate turnoff to nearly everyone (no one likes the dog running around humping your leg). But even desperation-adjacent will rub people’s fur the wrong way. There’s just a little bit more wiggle room/ benefit of the doubt attached for bad days, too much coffee, coming down with somehing / any other justifyable reason for the current level of stupid I’m displaying.

Without patience? It’s virtually impossible to read people well enough to not push them away by demanding too much, too soon. Or the reverse, and be too aloof, withdrawn, unreachable. My own boundaries regarding people are a lot more flexible than most, so I need to be careful to remain in other people’s “happy place”. Usually no problem, unless my patience or judgment is off. Then? Big damn problem.

No Spirit/Strength/Energy
(that “oomph” that sees the spark, and chases it, and blows it into life; or cheerfully sits around a beloved fireplace).

Whether it’s StressCup stuff, or my judgement/instincts are off so I can’t even SEE who might could be interesting / everyone is kind of a homogenous blur, or I’m grieving, or isolating, or whatever. I may WANT friends (and have the oppurtunity, luck, willingness, etc.); hell, I may even already have them in droves, but? I’m not only NOT going to be able to call them up, much less go do anything… but if they showed up? I’d send them away.

There’s a certain kind of energy I need to both make and keep friends… outside of all other considerations. It’s combined from a lot of different factors, but is most noticeable by its absence. Especially when my desires and actions are in conflict.
 
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Sorry! Lost track of this -and quite a few other threads- during my “November” slog. Just catching back up.




No opportunity = I’m either not around people, or new people, or AM but simply do not have the time necessary.

Friendships take a helluva lotta time. Established friendships only need the occasional infusion, but new friendships die without regular bordering on near constant investments of time/energy.

A great example of both of those was my first several years at Unjversity.

- On the one hand? All kinds of interesting/amazing people. But? I had a baby/toddler & was working. So whilst there were dozens -out of the hundreds I was in daily contact with- of people I’d have cheerfully grabbed a drink with, or gone snowboarding, or met at the library to study, or invited over, or, or, or, or? To find the 3 or 4 that might pass from “interesting person I know and enjoy spending time with” to an actual friend? I simply didn’t have the time to even start that process. I was only getting 3 hours a sleep a night for the first year and a half

- Conversely? I was “stuck” at home “alone” (kids dinner/bath/bed) from 7pm to 6am every night. Surrounded by people by day, crickets by night.

No Luck
Is when I’m around plenty of people, and have the time to invest in them, but either there is no one I’m interested in, or all the interesting people are too busy in their own lives. Both things happen, often enough. Some moves it’s interesting people around every corner stretching to the horizon. Others? It’s just like FFS. How many dull &/or obnoxious people did they manage to squeeze into this city/town/job/program?!?

No Willingness
Is 100% a me-thing. I have the time. And there are interesting people around. I’m just unwilling / disinclined to do anything about it.

No Patience
Is when I have the people, time, and willingness… but don’t have the patience for all of the “getting to know you” aspect of making friends. <<< This BORDERS on “desperation” which is an immediate turnoff to nearly everyone (no one likes the dog running around humping your leg). But even desperation-adjacent will rub people’s fur the wrong way. There’s just a little bit more wiggle room/ benefit of the doubt attached for bad days, too much coffee, coming down with somehing / any other justifyable reason for the current level of stupid I’m displaying.

Without patience? It’s virtually impossible to read people well enough to not push them away by demanding too much, too soon. Or the reverse, and be too aloof, withdrawn, unreachable. My own boundaries regarding people are a lot more flexible than most, so I need to be careful to remain in other people’s “happy place”. Usually no problem, unless my patience or judgment is off. Then? Big damn problem.

No Spirit/Strength/Energy
(that “oomph” that sees the spark, and chases it, and blows it into life; or cheerfully sits around a beloved fireplace).

Whether it’s StressCup stuff, or my judgement/instincts are off so I can’t even SEE who might could be interesting / everyone is kind of a homogenous blur, or I’m grieving, or isolating, or whatever. I may WANT friends (and have the oppurtunity, luck, willingness, etc.); hell, I may even already have them in droves, but? I’m not only NOT going to be able to call them up, much less go do anything… but if they showed up? I’d send them away.

There’s a certain kind of energy I need to both make and keep friends… outside of all other considerations. It’s combined from a lot of different factors, but is most noticeable by its absence. Especially when my desires and actions are in conflict.
Yeah I totally get that, there’s like a million things that hinder friendship.
 
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