I’ve been feeling pretty lonely. It’s been a season (a lifetime) of loneliness.
While everyone around me, it seems, is doing fine. They have friends. Or at least I think so. No one’s been telling me they’re lonely too.
After a lifetime of being ‘shy’ and withdrawn, I’ve realised I’m actually quite extroverted.
My shyness is merely learned behaviour from feeling lonely, excluded, and unsure about how to behave in social situations.
I crave people contact.
While my husband can quite happily turtle-shell himself with alone time for as much as a whole week, I go insane after 24 hours.
I talk his head off. Almost literally.
I text people, and I head out of the house. Shopping, visiting, even going for a walk. Anything to be out of my house. Which is crazy really, as I do love being home, and when I am home, I like it to be peaceful and quiet.
Anyway, all this to explain to you, dear reader, that I find it really hard to get enough social interaction.
I used to plan social catch-ups two or three weeks in advance. But small children and planning don’t work so well. Invariably someone would be sick. And my friends thought I was a nut-case (possibly with just cause but they weren't trying to fit things in around part-time work and extramural study!).
Now I’m back in classes, I only have about one 1-2hr slot each week in which to socialise during the day. Evenings don’t usually work so well for people with little kids, although we occasionally have friends over for dinner, when I can muster the enthusiasm to overcome the ever-present tiredness.
You will understand why I was excited when I had an unexpected Friday available for friends this week. It’s a self-directed study week and my mum can’t have Michael like she usually does on a Friday, which means NO STUDY! Oh-oh, and Wahoo all at the same time!
So I text my friends. Invited them to come for morning tea.
One has said she might be able to come.
I felt unwanted. I felt left out. I felt bummed.
I moaned to Boyo. “No one wants to come and see me!” I said.
Where did that come from?
Several someones actually do WANT to see me, but they’re busy. Clashing preschool hours, previous engagements, illness, out of town, you name it, they’ve got it happening.
And one someone said they would TRY to come (but they couldn't in the end, boo-hoo-hoo).
But it FEELS like NO ONE.
Have you ever noticed that feeling? Where you know that your feelings are not relaying fact to you, but, oh they are SO persuasive and a pity party feels like just the thing you want and deserve right now? Yup, that’s me at the moment.
I want to moan and whine. After five years of living in this place, I have probably only one relationship that is worth staying for (other than my amazing parents!). As someone highly relational, that’s significant for me. And it’s not exactly through lack of trying. People tell me it will be easier, better even, once we’ve finished studying. We’ll fit more into the ‘norm’ of 9-5 work. But it’s all very well for them to say that. They’re not the ones living it. They aren’t spending six and a half years of their lives studying while trying to balance the rest of life too.
It’s just frustrating.
I probably initiate over 90% of my friendship contact.
I know people get busy. I know they don’t necessarily need the people time as much as I do.
But it would be nice to have someone else phone, text, or invite me around from time to time. Even if I did have to say I can’t come because I’ve got class or an assignment, or a sick child!
Oh, that’s right. Someone did.
I had a friend text me this week to ask how I was. Out of the blue. Just a social text. Wow, I can’t tell you how nice that felt! I wonder if they have any idea? Perhaps I should let her know how much she encouraged me, just by letting me know she was wondering how my week was going?
And remind myself that feelings are subject to exaggeration. A LOT.