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Loneliness March 10, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Depression, Family, Life, Chatter & Politics.
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This post was originally going to me a long overdue edition of my “Make me a…” vintage series – I was going to tackle the 60’s mod trend, and have damn fun doing it. However, something got me thinking differently, and I decided to put down a lot of what was going on in my brain (don’t worry, it is never much!).

As most of you know, life is slightly up in the air at the moment. Ben and I are doing OK again and hopefully this will continue to be the case, but we are both still shaken by the near calamity of the other week’s events. At the same time Ben is very close to something that I can’t really talk about, but which would mean a lot of changes and upheavals in our lives. Uncertain and scary times like this, with the potential for all those safe and comforting routines to be completely destroyed, are when I feel the loneliest – a feeling that was compounded this weekend.

Every year for my birthday I insist on hoping that people will come and visit, uni friends and home friends and friends from around Leamington. Every year I am disappointed because I got my hopes up, and whilst some do visit it is never as much of a reunion as I have in my head. On top of this I live a way away from my family, to whom I am very close, and it costs so much money to be able to head home. So, as you can see, I build myself up about it.

The thing is, really, that I don’t have many close friends. I have 3 from uni, 3 from home, and a few around Leamington, something that has been changing in the past few months. And although that sounds like a decent amount, I will only see one uni friend on a semi-regular basis (I love you LAURA!). Home friends I only see when I visit my parents, and we have drifted so far away from each other that sometimes the distance feels unmanagable. I see friends around Leamington, but when I am fee,ling broken and lonely and down in the dumps I hide. I sit at home and curl up and eat and pretend the outside world doesn’t exist.

I often wonder if there is something about me that means I don’t make friends easily. Maybe I am not very good at being a good friend to people? The guys at work are always telling me that I am odd, and I suppose I am. I say what I feel and have never pretended to be anyone but me, and maybe that is too much for people to be friends with me. I would never normally feel this, but I am told so often I am odd nowadays that I am starting to wonder!

Maybe, just maybe, I am a little hormonal.

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Comments»

1. ElementalGrace - March 10, 2010

People at my old work used to tell me I was odd. I used to interpret that as I was interesting and they were as dull as dishwater. Of course, it’s all a matter of perspective.

I will say though, that despite you being a ‘new’ friend, I very much enjoy your company (and really wish I could have made it to your birthday weekend!)

Lauren Cooke - March 10, 2010

Very good point – maybe I am the only one brave enough to just be me and not hide anything just for the sake of pleasing others.

I very much enjoy your company both on and offline, and count you as a friend – which means perhaps I should stop getting wrapped up in who I feel should be my friend, and concentrate on those who clearly are!

xxx

2. Martha - March 10, 2010

I wanted to write and say I was really sorry not to be able to come to your Birthday weekend. I know that Roisin and Carys had such a good time. In truth, I’ve sort of been hiding a bit myself lately and refusing to engage much with anything or anyone, virtually or literally.

I know we’ve only met recently and relatively briefly but it was so good to meet you and to have a good girly night in such generous and like-minded company.

I’ve really enjoyed reading some of your blog and I have to say that from where I’m sat you writing and being yourself and being honest can only be a good thing.

I spend a quite considerable amount of time being drawn towards hiding away (duvet, quilt, hot water bottle) or running away (first train to the coast often appeals). Feeling a bit square peg, round hole if that makes sense. All the people I find I’m close to though are people who are honest about themselves and with me. That doesn’t always make it easy (but then I suppose the most rewarding things aren’t easy) but at least then you know that you’re being given the truth in whatever form not that people are hiding what they really think.

Sorry, rambling reply but I just felt like I had to type something… hmm, and you thought you were strange. It would be lovely if you’d like to meet up for coffee and a good ‘ol girl chat sometime. I can’t promise I wont be completely and honestly mad but then, you’ve spent an evening with me, you know that already!

xxx

3. Amber - March 10, 2010

0h Lauren, I so relate to this: I have very few close friends, and because most of my very close friends are people I met at university (and who moved back home or left the country as soon as we graduated), the ones I do have, I don’t see them very often. Friends from school, meanwhile, have mostly left the area too (Hey, maybe it’s ME?!), so they’re not around for things like birthdays either, and it does sometimes make me wonder if there’s something “wrong” with me. I think in my case I AM bad at being friends with people – I’m so wrapped up in work all the time that it’s hard to stay in touch with people, and I HATE using the phone, so most contact is via email, etc. Anyway, sorry, I’m making this all about me – I just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone. And don’t discount your online friends, either: we may never have met you, but we feel like we have :)

4. Stephie - March 10, 2010

As the saying goes ‘it’s quality not quantity that counts’ :) If you have a few close friendships it may be harder to get everyone together at the same time than if you have vast numbers of friends that are nothing really more than acquaintances. Which group sounds more special to you?! As for people at work, in my experience it’s always the non-creative people that call creative people odd – and I know which I’d rather be!

5. Selina - March 10, 2010

I am so often described by people who know me as ‘bubbly’ ‘outgoing’ ‘vivacious’, and yet sometimes I have such a hard time dealing with people that I’ll just hide for days or even weeks on ends – I’ll go to such great lengths to avoid human contact that I’ll ignore the phone when it rings. And this does make me a bad friend sometimes, because people won’t hear from me for so long. That does have repercussions, recently when I needed my friends to give me practical help I hardly heard from any of them and felt let down, but how much of that was my fault?

Judging by the comments here, there’s a few of us in the same boat!

Oh and I second Amber – you have a network of friends online who think you’re awesome! *hugs*

6. Carys Edwards - March 11, 2010

Ah, we so similar, you and me!

I have a rambling thought in my head, but I need to speak it rather than type it. Anyway – I have a similar thing in that I don’t make friends easily, and that’s mostly to do with trust. I have very few people in my life who I believe have got my back, and me theirs, and that matters to me. I often used to wonder if I was an “ok” person, and suffered emotionally as a result. It’s been a very strange five or so years for me – moving, marriage, family stuff, loneliness – yadda yadda – but what I feel now, more so than anything, is that there are people who will be there for me if I let them, and they have got my back. I know you already know this, but the number of friends you have doesn’t matter, it’s the quality of the ones that you do.

And in all seriousness, I have known you, Cie and Kate for such a small amount of time, but I feel nearly 100% sure it will be for a long time. I think you’re bloody wonderful, and it warms my soul to have someone like you in my life.

xxxxx

7. Caroline - March 11, 2010

I have to agree with Steph – I always interpret “odd” as “creative”.

I think the feelings of isolation you describe are very common to be honest. We all worry about being a good friend, about keeping in touch with people, about how many of our acquaintances will actually make the effort for us, when really we should be focusing on the friends who we do see, who we spend time with and who do make the effort for us. Whether that effort is making the trip over to see you on your birthday weekend, or the effort to leave regular comments on your blog. Real friends are the ones who impact on your life, whichever form that impact might make, and they’re the ones who are really worth having.

I’m not making much sense – I’m really tired today and my brain feels like mushy peas… but honest what I’m saying is really great! (And true.) :D

Anyway, to quote a classic Disney song:

“We’re your friends
We’re your friends
We’re your friends to the bitter end
(the bitter end)…”


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