Loneliness and making changes

I live in a big city full of people that seem to mostly keep to themselves. It can be kind of lonely sometimes. Particularly in the middle of winter when it gets dark early.

I have my family, of course, and my downstairs neighbors are close friends, but sometimes I just wish that we had a community gathering place of some kind. A place where we could go hang out with other people in our community on those evenings when things just seem a little dull and boring. Obviously, many people go to bars for this sort of thing, but if I’m not drinking, I’m not sure I want to hang out in a bar. Also, if you’re shy like me, it takes becoming a “regular” before you really get to know anyone. And, as a mom – even if I did drink – becoming a regular at a bar doesn’t really work for me. It has to be a place where the whole family can go, but that isn’t just oriented towards kids alone.

During nice weather, cafes can sometimes be a social gathering place, and for a while, I was a “regular” at my local cafe. I met some lovely people who often gathered there, but cafes are not generally open and bustling in the evening here. The ones that are are likely to be populated with speed freaks. Not exactly what I’m looking for.

When I was drinking wine every night, the fact that we spent most evenings at home doing the same thing just with each other didn’t really matter much because the wine amused me enough (except, of course, when it made me feel even more lonely!). Now that I don’t fill up my evenings with wine, I’m realizing that I sometimes feel isolated in our little nuclear family in the middle of this big city. Where people often don’t know their neighbors and generally don’t make eye contact on the street for fear the other person may be unpredictable. Even with acquaintances, it is totally normal to say “hi, how are you?” as you keep walking past them on the sidewalk and don’t wait for an answer. Seems shallow and rude, but that’s what we do. The other day, I actually stopped and had a brief conversation with someone I used to be roommates with in college (but who was never more than just an acquaintance). He has lived in my neighborhood for the last 20 years, and once in a while, we run into each other. He seemed genuinely surprised and pleased that I stopped. Our conversation was light, but it left me with a warm happiness at the connection.

Then there’s the fact that, at my life stage, people tend to stay in their nuclear families and not just drop-in on each other like we did when we were single and in our 20s. I really miss the way that, in my late teens and 20s, people would tend to gather together in predictable places. Meet up at a certain friend’s house or a particular cafe or bar and make plans to do something as a group. I wonder sometimes if it would be different if we lived in a smaller town rather than a big city. I have my close friends, and they are always happy to make plans when I reach out to them. It just takes more effort. And it seems really difficult to make new friends at my age. We have our friends and tend not to put a lot of effort into making a new friendship with someone we meet and like now. Since I’m an overly sensitive person that has to really work on not feeling insecure about whether people like me (even though most people seem to), I can go down a dark hole sometimes if I think too much about this.

I think when I was drinking alcohol, I could just ignore this sad state of affairs, but now I can’t! I need more social activity in my life! More time with existing friends, more new friendships, just more. I’m glad I’m waking up to this, and I don’t expect to solve it overnight. But I want to put it out there into the universe that this is something I intend to work on.


Ms. NL

30 thoughts on “Loneliness and making changes

  1. I was chatting to my friend at work about this. She’s in her late 20s, has a boyfriend and lots of friends around the UK but she has recently moved to a new town and wants to make a few new friends in the area. Just to catch up with from time to time. She’s actually joined a internet type group specifically geared to making friends. It’s been really successful for her. She was saying how tricky it is without something like that. Ik thinking about joining theatre groups or something similar. Not necessarily to make friends but to have another focus now I can’t sit and drink all evening!! Can’t sing for toffee though so it would have to be plays (or maybe just stage and lighting) 🤣🤣 xxx

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  2. not sure how many months or weeks in you have but…the first 30 days i stayed busy purging and rearranging at home, going to the gym, and journaling, the next 30 days i tried AA meetings- a lot of people enjoy them so maybe a suggestion. They passed a few weeks but i didn’t really connect ( too cliquish for me) . After that i mainly focused on improving our community service events for a while then at 6 months switched over to my blog project and finding more meaning in my life through various options. As of one year i am now starting new project ( losing the weight i gained) and walking outdoors s much as possible ( i have over 50 miles in this month) . I think though it might be an age thing – i am 53 and not really needing as much socializing as i did in my 20/30/40’s. That being said, once the weather gets less cold i do plan to get back into the social art scene again. This is just a brief hibernation. Not sure where you are but here we have something called “meet up” groups they can be found online and search for local ones with a variety of interests..good luck!

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    1. Thanks, Lovie. I think I’m at Day 69 today. We definitely have meet up groups here. I checked some out today, but the sober ones don’t seem terribly active. I’d love to find an active sober one. I have friends to hang out with if I want. I think it’s really more of wanting some kind of grown-up gathering place that isn’t a bar. Maybe I’ll have to start a non-alcohol focused social club or something. 😁I definitely need some new projects!

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      1. well, the ones i bra state towards are mixed , not focused on sobriety or anything…hiking groups, eating out/dinner nights, hobby stuff , and some stuff ( altho i am not interested in it) related to doing family with kids things together like roller-skate nights & such.. no one really talks about alcohol:)

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  3. I can so relate and agree with everything you said. I am struggling with this as well. I liked Wendy’s suggestion about volunteering. I’ll be working on this with you! Xx

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  4. I too have been thinking about this lately. I also am looking at Meetup and going to join something that peeks my interest. Volunteering is a great suggestion as mentioned too. Fostering animals is also excellent too.

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    1. Would love to hear how the meetup goes if you do it! I have to look into those further. I’d love to foster animals, but I’m afraid my two cats might pee on everything I own if I did. ☹️

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  5. Hi I agree with Wendy about volunteering. You meet people, great. You are doing something worthwhile, even better. It makes you feel purposeful and significant, brilliant. I recently moved to a small village and it is tough making new friends in a new location. The great thing about the internet is that it can help start real relationships with people outside of your immediate location. Jim x

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    1. Thanks, Jim. Here I was thinking that a small town would be easier than a big city, but perhaps it is the same all over. Although, I imagine you’ll make friends with everyone in your village soon! Yes, I agree that volunteering does seem like a great idea. 😊

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  6. I get this! What about trying an evening class is some type- like art or fitness or cooking; whatever you enjoy? Meeting people with similar interests.. this is on my to do list, just haven’t figured it out besides the yoga class I’m attending 2 days per week, which is helping to form some new friendships.

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    1. Thanks! I’m planning on going back to yoga for sure. I’d also love to get back into hiking, and I’m sure I can find a group for that. I’m having some hip pain that is preventing me right now, but hopefully soon! Definitely on my list!

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  7. I totally get this especially associating it to waking up from living in the fog. You will need to lean forward and take that first step. I’ve learned this. As an introvert and empath I can say be brave and have faith. The universe will indeed take notice and step closer to you😊. I like Lisa Marie suggestions. I made some friends at yoga and last year built up enough courage to ask a couple of the guys if they ever wanted to go hiking to give me a call. I’m now in the Thursday morning breakfast club with them.

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    1. Thanks for your helpful comment! I know I have to overcome my inertia habit, shyness and insecurity and just get out there more. I started making some plans yesterday. So many interesting things once you start looking! 😊

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  8. I think that’s the cost of living in urban environments, there are so many people it’s overwhelming. I live six months in California, very urban, and six months in Hawaii, rural Hawaii and notice a huge difference, I’m the same person. People kind of have to shut down the sensory overload of how many people are in an urban environment, it’s a loss of life quality for sure, if I didn’t go back and forth I would think it was me, but due to a unique situation, I get to see that it’s the cost of city living. Perhaps we can create a digital blogger cafe somehow? 🏙️

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    1. You are so lucky! I would love to be able to go back and forth. I think you are right. The other day, I was carrying a big bag of groceries and tripped as I was crossing a big, busy intersection. I was sprawled out, and people just kept walking past me and not even looking. Not normal human behavior. Something that would only happen in a large urban environment, I think. Thanks for your comment! Great idea. 🙂


      1. At least we are better than rats, who eat the extra rats when they are crowded, but it seems like we should either find out how to be nice in cities or leave cities because half of the world lives in cities now, so it’s a huge problem to feel constantly lonely because people are in a sense ignoring that you exist to themselves be able to deal with kind of an invasion of space caused by sharing such small spaces constantly. The downside to the island is the reason we have to go back and forth, not many high paying jobs. 🏝️

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