Many people for a plethora of reasons find themselves alone in this world. I was struck when I read about a woman who recently went to an event. It wasn’t a large gathering, but there were around 300 like-minded people there. And what did she write following the event? “I saw a lot of people with friends, family supporting each other. What I got out of it is I am ALONE. All alone.”
I know how she feels and how a lot of others feel. I’ve learned that it’s ok to be alone, ok in that it’s manageable. But alone in a crowd just amplifies the loneliness.
A little over a year ago there was an event here where I live. It was a free event and people from all over the city were going to the main arena downtown for a night of remembrance and celebration – over 12,000 people were in attendance. I wanted to go, but with no one to go with, no one to sit with and share the experience with I – would have been miserable. Nothing exacerbates loneliness more than being surrounded by strangers. Having something in common doesn’t automatically create community.
I like to play poker, it challenges my concentration and ability to figure out what cards others are holding in their hands. I have friends who play poker, but I never made a new friend by playing poker. Not because I’m a mean or nasty player but because when I play I’m concentrating on the game, not on creating relationships.
When people go to an event of pretty much any size, they aren’t going there so much to build relationships but to be a part of the event. To say they’ve been there. To share it with someone special to them.
This gal was hoping to make a connection with some people at the event, but unfortunately that’s not why the others were there, and she left heartbroken and lonelier than when she arrived.
Relationships generally start small, like with a small group of people. You might be meeting with a friend who has a couple of other friends and before you know it, you have new friends. I met my very best friend through my Realtor. She sold me my first home here in town, she had clients of hers over to her home for some good Louisiana cooking and a friendship was born. In fact I taught my BFF how to play poker and we even went to play in the World Series of Poker together a while back.
Other friends I’ve made I’ve met at various places but for the most part they involved some effort on my part. Most of my friends are married and have kids, their lives are busy. Most of the time I need to take the initiative to get together because like I said – they are busy and life keeps them occupied.
Try volunteering in your community, you’re going to meet some very nice people there. Join a church or other community organization. Meet for lunch with someone you’ve recently met to get better acquainted.
If you’re alone, building relationships is totally on you. No one will do it for you. Look for opportunities. Think small. Small groups. Small events. Small is where people connect – not in arenas. You may have to be the one to take the initiative in introducing yourself. For those of us who are basically shy it’s hard to do, but it’s a barrier we have to push through. If you’re feeling depressed that makes it all the harder, but I’m here to tell you that you can do it. It’s can be tough and it can be work, but it’s worth it.