I saw this article and just HAD to share it. I completely agree with this author. But I think that it’s hard to connect with people when it’s something that is so rarely done. It’s hard to have a genuine and vulnerable conversation with people these days. There are times in your life when you want an actual physical person there to witness events. As great as it is to have a text or phone call or facebook message, there’s no true substitute for face to face interaction.
Eugenio MarongiuIt’s a weekday evening and you’re feeling restless. You’re texting friends and you’re watching Netflix and you’re on your laptop and you’re scrolling through Tumblr or Facebook or Instagram or Twitter. Your attention is in ten different directions, yet there’s a tug, a tiny voice in the back of your mind. It asks: what…
Like many people, I often find myself annoyed when I’m added to groups on social media without my consent. Usually it’s a subject matter I’m not particularly interested in and serves no real purpose to my daily life. Not too long ago I saw a post from one of the groups that I had been inadvertently added to. The group was specifically for single women and someone apparently thought that I could benefit in some way from the content. Let me make a quick side note. There are some people who flaunt their singleness like a badge of honor telling any and everyone how happy they are to not be “tied down” to another person. Good for them but it’s not my thing. But I digress. In the group one of the administrators had posed a question asking how the members in the group were doing in their current state of singleness. The typical responses were extremely positive with respondents saying that they were having the best times of their life and that they were working on themselves and actively pursuing their spiritual path. However, one post from a member stood out in stark contrast to the others. This lady kept it 100 and basically said that the single life (for her) sucked and that it was lonely. Almost immediately the replies from other members started coming in. They chastised her for being lonely and said that she needed more prayer, and church attendance because something was wrong with her. The pettiness came out full force with accusations of bringing the group down and “focusing on the negative.” It was sad that the supposed purpose of the group was to be supportive of single women but quickly became a group of bullies after someone honestly shared how they were feeling. I don’t know what the moral of this story is but I’ll just say that if you join a support group just first make sure they are actually supportive. Or, develop a support system of real people who won’t jump down your throat when you’re honest about your feelings.
This is the third installment of (apparently) my annual blog post on the other side of loneliness. The basic idea is that we can be profoundly lonely at some of the best times of our lives. I wrote the first blog after one of my most stressful academic days. I had to do a presentation for the faculty of my school. This presentation included a video clip of me conducting therapy with a couple and rationalizing all my therapeutic interventions witty explanations on what I was trying to accomplish. This was also accompanied by a declaration of my therapeutic orientation and background information. Needless to say, it was the culmination of two years of clinical work and class work and was necessary in order to graduate. I did the presentation and passed with flying colors with some really positive feedback from faculty. It was a great moment. Hence my assertion that sometimes our happiest moments can be our loneliest because we don’t have anyone to share it with. I still think it’s true two years later. Some people say that you can’t miss something you’ve never had. While I disagree, I also think that you miss something in a different way when you have had it at some point and had to give it up. By this same token, having someone there for one occasion will make you appreciative but it could also make you lonelier when it happens again without the presence of said person. I think that loneliness is felt more acutely when you’ve known what it’s like to have someone there. It’s not necessarily a bad thing because you learn how to truly appreciate the times that were the exception to the “rule.”
I think that many times we settle for the company of people who aren’t good for us because we don’t want to be alone. Humans are social creatures and we get used to having other people around us. Singles are told that they are just half a person walking around until they find their “better half.” But what happens when you are the “better half” of a friendship or a relationship? What happens when you wake up one morning and discover that you’ve sold yourself short in the friendship/relationship? Do you decide to put some distance between you and the other person? Or do you decide to push through and continue on? Many times people don’t give up relationships or friendships because they’ve grown accustomed to the dysfunction that they bring to their lives. We all have a little crazy in us right? But the point is that at the end of the day, you don’t want to be weighed down by people who are only in your life because you’re lonely. Sometimes being alone isn’t a bad thing if it’s for a reason. The quality over quantity perspective should always apply to friendships and relationships. After all, it’s better to have a few real friends than thousands of fake ones.