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Monday, April 26, 2010

Feeling Lonely

I’m lonely. I've been feeling this way for a while and figured since I have this (non)blog now, maybe I should write about it and I might feel better.

Every day I’m surrounded by people – my husband, children, and parents – family I love, and by colleagues, neighbours, and other parents but I still feel lonely.  I know what I am missing, and it's friendship. True friendship with other girls. Girlfriends. Of course I consider my husband my best friend. I can talk to him about anything and he loves me unconditionally. But it’s not the same as talking and sharing with another woman. I’m not saying I don’t have any friends at all… I do, and I really care about those friends. But I don’t see them often enough. We all get into the busyness of our lives and we don’t really make time for each other. I am trying to make more time for girlfriends.

Just recently I got together twice with a friend for coffee and I really enjoyed the time with her. We talked for hours and it was great seeing her again. She is someone I used to work with. We would take walks together and vent with each other on our lunch breaks. I had a few personal issues going on in my life at that time and I confided in her a lot. I have always trusted and highly respected her. She is so confident, outgoing and friendly. I was (and still am) also very jealous of her. She has lots of friends. Girlfriends that she can count on, that she’s been friends with for years, that she makes time for. And she is making even more real friendships via this blogosphere. She is just a genuinely great person and I think people are naturally drawn to her.

It doesn’t come so easily for me. I consider myself friendly and outgoing, but a bit more reserved. I don’t often make the first move, and I’m somewhat cautious when approached by someone new. I feel I have a bit of a guard up and I realize that I probably come across as stuck-up or snobby when I’m actually just a bit shy.

I didn’t grow up in the city where I live. We moved here approximately 8 or 9 years ago. I have made some friends, and we have made “couple friends”, but we rarely see them anymore. We keep saying, “we need to invite so-and-so over for dinner soon!”, but we procrastinate and the days turn to weeks. I’m hoping now that summer is almost here that we will have more opportunities to get together with friends, but with our son in competitive baseball we will be at games every weekend. It’s not an excuse. Friendship is important to me so I must make time for it. I also start to feel a bit insecure when I think of how many of my friendships have faded. Are they just busy with their lives, or am I unimportant to them? Should I bother trying to rekindle the friendship, or do they even notice that it has faded? I hate feeling this way about myself. I like to think that I am a good friend and worth taking time out for. But am I?

I don’t have a best (girl)friend. I haven’t since I was about 19. My then-best friend and I started to drift apart because our lives took different turns and honestly I didn’t agree with a lot of the choices she was making. It was too difficult to continue a friendship with someone who I suddenly had so little in common with. I moved away a few short years after that. I guess I’m just missing a connection. I’ve read many bloggers talk about the friends they’ve met and connections they’ve made through blogging. Does it feel like the real thing? Do they still have plenty of IRL friends? I’m curious.

Ok, enough with the woe is me talk. What I really wanted to say is just that I feel lonely and I’m hoping to fix that. I'd like to know if I am in the minority here. Do other moms have lots of friends, or do they pretty much live like hermits? :-)  Do you have any suggestions for making new friends? Or do you ever feel lonely, even in a house full of people who love you?


  1. First of all, you are a very sweet, sweet person. Thank you! Second of all, you know that I'm here for you in that way right? Yes, life is busy and the weeks go by fast and it can be hard to find time, but whenever you need, I'm here! I cherish your friendship, you are one of those "easy-to-talk-people", and I'm greateful you are in my life.

    Friendship can be a funny thing I think when we become wives amd mothers and that life takes over. Our friendships are as important as they always were, but how we manage them, give life to them changes. It's not healthy to put off our girlfriends, they are critical to our well being, but sometimes it's easier to do that because life is crazy.

    The online world can be a fantastic support place. You meet great people, but these people can't always be there for you in the moments when you really need them. It's more fleeting because of the nature of it. I'm amazed by the relationships that I've developed, they are tremendous, but I really try to remember the importance of my IRL friends, because they are here, now, just a phone call away. (hint! hint!)

  2. Ok, I am really, REALLY trying not to cry. I'm at the office for Pete's sake! :-)
    Thanks Christine. Your words really mean a lot to me.

  3. Shannon - you may be lonely (which I hope I can help to alleviate in the tiniest bit) but you are not alone. I am the same way. I don't have many friends - although it's by choice as I don't really have the time to maintain superficial relationships - and most of my dearest friends don't live by me so I can sometimes go days without any meaningful exchange between another mom or girlfriend and me. It's hard but I've learned to find comfort online, through my blog and fellow bloggers who seem to understand just what I'm going through even before I know it myself. It's a great community and I think it's mostly because of our pseudo-anonymity which provides us a venue for absolute honesty, and it is there that we can form a true connection.

    With moms I see here, we often share cute and positive details about our kids but tend to keep the struggles behind closed doors, which is sad. I'm not sure why there's this mask, but rather than trying to crack that surface, I just connect with my newfound online mates.

    It's true - it's not the same thing. We can't ever get a Sex and the City type connection out of this (I don't think anyway) but it's enough for me.

  4. Thanks so much, Justine! I also share cute stories and chit-chat with other moms, but it's not enough. And like you, I don't have time for nor am I interested in superficial relationships so I don't try to remove the masks. But then again, maybe I'm missing out on something more because I haven't taken that step to crack the surface and truly open up to some of them. It's the fear of being rejected that stops me. It’s a scary thing!

    I'm glad you have been able to find companionship in the blog world and are content with that. Who knows - maybe I'll decide to start growing my own blog a bit more and make some connections of my own! Thanks again for stopping by... I love your blog, by the way. I've been reading it for about a month now and I really enjoy it! :-)

  5. I'm not a mom but I do know this feeling all too well. In fact, it's exactly what I am blogging about. I moved to Chicago from NYC to be with my husband a few years again, and waited patiently for my new BFF to fall from the sky into my lap. Turns out it doesn't work that way, so now I'm actively searching... and chronicling the quest on my blog.

    Just today I talked specifically about why we are so often scared to announce that we're lonely or in the market for new friends (not you though! Kudos. I wish we all had your bravery....)

    So just wanted to say that YES, i've been there too. And I'm learning the tricks as I go (so far: follow up, join, show up again....)

  6. Thanks for you comment, Rachel! I will definitely visit your blog to read about your search for a BFF! I will take all the advice I can get! :-)

  7. Hi Shannon,
    Great to see you here! I just clicked over from Christine's post.

    I can really relate to your post. As you know I too moved here from out of town and with no family around, I make a really concentrated effort to make and stay in touch with friends. I left my BFF's back home and have made some great friends here but it takes a lot of effort on my part. I invite people over to my place a lot and last year I started a supper club. I rounded up some of my friends and other moms from the neighborhood and we meet for supper the first Monday of every month.

    But despite my best efforts, I still end up feeling lonely sometimes - I think we all do. I could write pages on this subject but I'll stop there.

    Congratulations on the new blog! And hey, want to come for coffee sometime?

    Sherri M at cps dot ca

  8. I'm in the same position as you are. I have a few friends...but not enough. I'm not an outgoing person, so I shy away from events where you meet a lot of people. I am able to meet people at church, though, and I've gotten up the nerve to ask a lady for dessert. It's something small, but I hope that friendship with her and others will grow.

  9. Sherri! You are awesome! And you just confirmed what I was thinking... I am lazy when it comes to making and keeping friends. I need to try harder! It's so great that you have started a supper club - hopefully there are some really great women in that group who you can turn to for more than a chat over supper - that's what I'm looking for. But anything would be a good start for me. I'm realizing that I really need to put myself out there and just go for it if I'm going to make (and keep) good friends!

  10. Hi Ronnica, thanks for your comment! I am also uncomfortable in large groups, and tend to stick to one person that I am comfortable with, rather than branching out and getting to know new people. Good for you for asking that lady to go for dessert! It does take nerve, but sometimes all it takes is that first outing that grows into a lasting friendship. I'm realizing that I need to put myself out there more often, too. Good luck! :-)

  11. I just read your 'about me' section, where you talk about not having any real passions. I can relate in so many ways! I'm adding your blog to my bloglines, and I'll be back.

    BTW, I also worked at CPS. You may have had my old job ;)

  12. Wow, thanks Vicky! I really appreciate it. I might try to expand on my "no passions" feeling some day.

    Ah, CPS! Ok, yes I think I did have your old job! ;-)

  13. Hi Shannon!

    since I've met you in real life I know how fun and sweet you are ;) but with families and jobs and only so many hours in the day there is only so much time we have (let alone time for ourselves right?) I find it hard to get out at night with the kids not being the easiest to leave at bedtime, so I feel I miss out on a lot of that girl time.

    But I try really hard, because when I do it's wonderful.

    I hope this blog opens up doors and friendships for you like mine has for me- it's an easier way to start many conversations!

    happy blogging!!
    ps: are you on Twitter? there are often get togethers where most of the people are in the same boat, no one knows each other, but it's a great way to meet ;)

  14. Hi Rebecca! No, I'm not on Twitter - don't think I'll get into it because I'm already spending too much time reading/writing/commenting on blogs! ;-)

    Yes, it's definitely difficult to make and keep friends. And group get-togethers where nobody knows anyone totally freak me out! I'm too shy and too chicken to go to those! But I'm definitely going to make more efforts to get together with friends more often. It's a start anyway! Thanks for stopping by! :-)

  15. I almost could have written this myself. I often feel very isolated. I'm a VERY social person.. but as a SAHM, my world revolves around kids, husband, meals, housework, laundry...
    I have some girlfriends.
    I do not have a best friend. There is not one single person in this whole entire world that I can tell EVERYTHING to. Because, lets face it... even though my husband is my best friend... sometimes it's HIM I want to talk/vent/dish about. So then what do I do? I just really wish I had someone that I could tell anything and everything.