So this is quite a hard topic to talk about and write about, but it’s something I think we should discuss more as a nation and individually.
Loneliness is a feeling and a state of being for some, and it can have a negative effect on your mental and physical health that can eventually have some quite serious short term and long term effects.
If I’m being truly honest, when I first moved from Preston to live with my parents whilst I went to university to study was when I first started experiencing loneliness. For me, it’s not a fixed state rather it comes in waves and flows and prior to meeting my partner A I was feeling isolated and I didn’t know anyone in the local community. Another wave of loneliness came when we moved 20 minutes away from my parents to live together in a nearby city as I didn’t know anyone.
Thing that have contributed to my loneliness at times included moving to a new location where I didn’t grow up and didn’t know anyone, whereas my partner was a local so he did have friends in the local area. Other things included working out of the local area, my friends being spread out across the country and eventually becoming pregnant. For me, pregnancy was one of the most isolating times at the beginning as I did not know anyone that had a child yet and this was a pretty daunting experience.
However knowing myself and knowing the only way this was going to change I set things in motion to get less lonely.
Find ways of meeting new people
This seems like a straightforward and simple plan right? Well think of it like dating, except without having to do anything physical. All of the other rules apply and this is probably why making new friends is so hard! I mean even as friends we don’t want to look too eager, waiting for the other person to text back, seem interesting and obviously posting your new friendship all over the internet so people (strangers) know you have friends.
Similar to dating, where do you start? Of course the internet makes a lot of sense in this technological age. I joined a website called “Meetup” and slowly but surely I started to get out more. My mum, my friends and some of my mums friends have use this website and they all love it.
When you join meet up you look for groups of similar internets in your local area. For me I joined a few groups but the most successful for a group for girls in their 20s and 30s. The group organiser schedules different activities and I’ve attended various things such as afternoon tea, book club, curry nights, going to the cinema and coffee and cake mornings. A big shout out to Sammi who I know reads my blogs who organises a lot of the meet up events and also is a friend now. From this I’ve met people and pushed myself to attend different activities I probably wouldn’t have before.
Reaching out to friends
I am THAT person who reads a message and doesn’t reply straight away. I will often see a message and then put my phone down, or go onto a different app on my phone. It means there is often a delay in communication and this doesn’t help. I’ve tried to make more attempts to reach out to friends and make plans to see each other on a more regular basis.
Talking to work friends outside of work
This may seem like a crazy one… why would I want to talk to Steve from accounts on a weekend? Well maybe not him, but maybe your work best friend could become your best friend in real life?! It is scary doing this, putting yourself out there and asking work friends to hang outside of work. Sometimes the you, the you that sings the wrong words to songs and talks in her sleep… that you hide so well at work may be exposed. It just may be worth it.
Say YES to events.
I’m guilty of this all of the time. I’ll turn down invites/events so that I can hang out by myself in my PJS and eat a takeaway. All well and good, but the enjoyment of this wears off when you actually would like to go out but the opportunity no longer presents itself.
I’m trying to say YES more to things I would normally not attend or only go to for a short period of time. I’m still much prefer to sit in my owl PJS, stained dressing gown and slob.
So if you too have ever suffered loneliness or know someone who does, I hope you find this post useful. Let me know if you have any tips for getting over/preventing loneliness and share this post with others.
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