I am lonely.
Oh, I have a lot of friends. Though most of them live two hours away, minimum, there’s always Skype and Facebook call. I’m part of a young adults group in town, and a mom’s group (even though I’m not a mom). I work with awesome people. I live in a small town and bump into people I know on a relatively frequent basis. The librarians know my name.
And yet, some days I still feel a crushing sense of isolation, because it feels like all the responsibility for social interaction is on me. I have to call up a friend for a coffee date. I send the message to organize the Skype. I drive myself to MomTime and walk to the library to see the librarians who know my name. And that young adults group? I started it with a couple friends because I didn’t have enough social interaction.
I would love, LOVE for people to reach out to me. I fantasize about getting invited to people’s houses or answering the phone to a friend who simply wants to chat.
Yes, it’s a lie that I have to do ALL the work. Last month I was spontaneously invited to a Bible study. My friend asked if I wanted to sew with her. I got some long newsy letters in the mail. And yet, it feels like I give 110% to only get 25% back. It’s exhausting. I wish I could share the weight.
Are my expectations too high? Maybe a little. I need to stop overextending myself. (110% is not healthy.) But all the same, is it too much for me to ask people to call now and then just to chat, to see how I’m doing? Or to say, “Hey, let’s go for a walk sometime”? Or to have a friend invite me over just to hang out and do nothing? If this is too much to ask, what kind of society are we living in?
Do I just not have many friends? Or is this what being an adult in modern-day Canada is like? If so, it sucks and we need to bring more of our childhood play dates back.
Now, this isn’t a plea for pity, though if you know me and genuinely want to hang out, YES PLEASE, sign me up. But I want to point out that even though many things in this world can be made better by changing our attitude or perspective, loneliness is not one of them. Curing loneliness takes multiple people. We all need to play our part. So go call a friend or invite them on a walk. And not just one time. Your lives will be better for it. I’m sure I’m not the only one who daydreams about receiving a friend’s invitation.