As I’ve been speaking and writing on loneliness the past year or two I’m forced to take into account my own experiences with it. I think about college, graduate school, and moving to Boston, where I currently live. All those periods had a sense of not belonging.
There were times I experienced connections, though: in high school and when I lived in Seattle from 2006 to 2008. It was during those times that I had close friends with whom I often did activities and with whom I felt close. We shared some common bonds in regards to our interests (mainly music). Our senses of humor and personalities also were similar.
Today I struggle with finding connections with others. It causes me to feel a great deal of hypocrisy in what I do. I speak with others about finding a sense of connection—both how to do it and why it’s important. Yet I live more of a “do as I say, not as I do” mentality.
This isn’t intentional—it’s not as though I hate everyone and want them to go away. Nor is it because I’m incapable of making friends. And I do have them. But I’ve come to realize that my closest relationships are with my friends I’ve had for a long time. I also feel close to some family and enjoy spending time with them. But, the majority of my friendships are from a distance.
I feel bad about this and wonder if I should do more to deal with it. Yet on occasions when I reach out to others or vice versa, I sometimes think about all the other things I’d rather be doing. I contemplate the projects I’m working on, the writing I want to finish, or the ways to grow my business. This isn’t constant, but it is something that crosses my mind.
Also, I work jobs interacting with tourists and visitors to the city. The idea of interacting with more people after a long day at work seems, to this introvert, tiring. It’s all too often another obligation. And I hate that it has come to that.
I’ve struggled with this hypocrisy for months: I’m not even doing the things I suggest. But the fact of the matter is I’m okay with where I’m at. I don’t feel loneliness running rampant over my life. I don’t have that great gaping chasm in my soul for deep connection. I’m doing pretty well, but I wonder if this situation is tenable.
Perhaps what I really need is a regular activity to build connections with others. Seeing my roommate in Seattle every day and doing things with him on the weekend worked to bring us together. Seeing my friends at school when I was in my teens and then at shows on Friday and Saturday nights was helpful. Music bonded us together in one way or another.
But that thing I used to hold pretty dear I’ve aged out of. I don’t go to a lot of concerts anymore, only a handful per year. The activities I have are more solitary in nature: writing, reading, and speaking. It’s hard to make connections in that setting—perhaps a book club or writing group? I’m not that type of person: I read sporadically and usually for my own research. I write blog posts and articles (although I have a few book ideas up my sleeve).
So what am I missing? What regular activity can I partake in that brings me together with others? And how do I get myself to care about those things? Any ideas? I’m open.
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This blog is an exploration of the subjects of belonging and loneliness. I also look at mental health issues. I seek to provide content to my readers that is informative and helpful. If you don't want to miss anything, sign up for my email list.