When I feel all alone…….


This past week one of my best friend’s called, his girlfriend and he had just broke up, they’d been together for a few years.

We went out for beers on Monday to talk.

“We had just gotten into this routine where we’d be sitting in the apartment not talking….watching a show, or whatever….we lived together but we just weren’t connecting…..I still love her so much but we just weren’t doing anything to build-up our relationship” he said

He was clearly heart broken.

He was living with his girlfriend….but because of their lack of disconnect he might as well have been living alone.

In one of yesterday’s posts, feeling lonely came up in the comments.

Loneliness is a very real concept that millions of us struggle with on a regular basis; not just feeling lonely after a breakup, it could be after the death of a loved one, or we could have a lot of friends & family but don’t feel like any of them are really listening to us….and we feel lonely.

Two different people mentioned yesterday how much it bothered them that they can go through seasons of time where they get very little feedback via social networks from friends and family.

In extreme cases loneliness can be one of the factors in severe depression that leads to suicide.

Some people mistake loneliness as being something that people who sit at home all by themselves in dark houses struggle with…..that’s an incorrect view.

High-schoolers who are surrounded by 1500 other students Mon through Friday can struggle with loneliness.

Loneliness isn’t caused by being isolated (it can involve isolation) but rather it is related to not feeling connected.

I could be sitting in a crowded coffee house and still feel all alone.

1 in 4 people struggle with depression. Thus, if you are sitting in a crowded restaurant with 99 other customers; statistically 25 people in that room are struggling with depression.

I am married with four children. In my life it is imperative that I provide an atmosphere of connection; I want my wife and children to feel a sense of warmth and acceptance. I don’t want them to feel lonely.

Creating and building positive relationships is hard work……some days I feel like it is a full time job all by itself.

And so……..much of my life is about building memories with my family; taking the initiative to get us doing things together.


And so……..much of my life is about building memories with my family
This photo is from a few years ago and taken in Ann Arbor, Michigan. My daughters love going to Ann Arbor and searching for fairy doors (little doors sprinkled throughout the downtown which are entrances for the magical fairies)

Are you in a relationship? Have you gotten into a monotonous routine?

Of course, not every marriage and dating relationship that has sunk into monotony ends in a break-up….some people live their whole life in a same old-same old relationship.

Some people never struggle with feeling all alone.

And for those people, wouldn’t it be nice if they took a few minutes out of their day to reach out to a friend they haven’t called in awhile? Maybe that friend is having a rough week and could really use a phone call or a conversation over coffee.

For you who are feeling alone…..my heart goes out to you.

Working as a counselor I was faced with very real situations where loneliness led to some drastic choices.

Like most subjects I have more observations & questions….than I do answers.

What little advice I do have is to break-up your daily routine.

Are you in a relationship? Then get out of the house. Go do something together that the two of you wouldn’t usually do.

Are you single? How do you cope when you feel lonely?

Did you struggle with feeling alone in the past? How did you overcome it?

I have gone through seasons of life where I have felt alone. Usually it was connected to me wondering what the point of my life was…questions like, “where am I going in my life?” and “is this what I really want to be doing?” plagued me day after day.

Now-a-days, I have more good days than bad……and that is a positive move forward.

The reality of the situation is that many of the elements I mentioned in this post…are things I have struggled with or had to deal with in my own life…….feeling lonely is a very real concept.

Time for a cup of coffee now!


p.s. I’ve recently started reading a newer blog by a woman dealing with the suicide of her husband…interesting reading <http://sixwordsblog.wordpress.com/>

Categories: Culture & Society, relationships

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31 replies

  1. I also experienced a recent break-up with my boyfriend but its not that hard tho. at first yes, I cried for a week I can’t focus on my work, then, that’s where friends came in,to lift you up, always asking you to go out. to enjoy and told you that you deserve better. The only thing that’s holding you is acceptance. That’s what I realized after 2 weeks. I can’t keep myself like this,, being miserable just because of a break-up. I still have a life, a family and friends that are willing to love me. Why end your life ? Life is too beautiful and if your just positive, you can go on with your life leaving your past behind and always think for a better future. I know its still hard to love again but better to give time to yourself. Like now I’m into traveling just to enjoy myself. Meet new people in different places. And after that your gonna say to yourself “I am a better person than before. 🙂

  2. This was a very good read for me over my cup of coffee this morning. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I posted ” Sometimes I feel invisible” on FB recently. it was just one of those days when I Felt REALLY alone with my internal struggles.

    I have 126 friends there. Most are actually related to me in one way or another. I also have a few REAL friends on my list. The friends, all liked and commented. Them and a cousin-in-law who lives 36 miles away . He is the same one who said on my wedding day ” Welcome to the family, GOD help you” We talked on the phone yesterday and it made us both LOL… Then he started saying. What are you CRAAAAZY, run, run!” I am sure he was wiggling in his chair, and gulping back tears by that point. His sarcasm relates to to the family as a whole., not particularly my choice as a mate. butttttt…. My husband according to my ex IS a showman. But even showmen have another side unseen by most. He pretty reclusive which is really hard for me. As long as he has an audience ( and only when he chooses to have an audience) he’s gregarious, and charming, artistic and wonderful! He even holds my hand walking into a grocery store. It’s important to him what people think. At home, it’s a totally different story. He crawls into a shell. Usually, hides in a FB game or with his nose in a book. And it doesn’t matter whether things are GREAT or NOT! He needs to shut down. I mean we all do to some extent BUTTTTTTT. I married the showman. The one who enjoyed getting out, karaoke, cookouts and reunions. The one that sent rose buds and when he couldn’t afford rosebuds would go out in the garden and fill and entire room with periwinkles…. Sorry for going on. YES, sometimes I feel lonely! 🙂

    • Hotsouther,

      part of the reason I’m on an extended (indefinite) sabbatical from counseling, is that I kept running into the same dilemma; too many of my client’s weren’t in need of a counselor, they were in need of community/i.e. deeper friendships and I couldn’t give it to them.

      For 5 years I lived next to an Italian American family who were first generation Americans. It never ceased to amaze me that every night of the week their house was full of people; cousins, uncles, aunts, adult children….

      the level of community that family brought over here to the States was amazing….I was always jealous! Thankfully, they graciously included us whenever we wanted to hang out…

      We Americans live such individualistic lives.

    • chuck ( my ex) too was ITalian. LOVED his mom. It was almost a year before she even knew that we were living together. LOL Because he would get up early, run home, take the garbage out. Eat the dinner she cooked for him the night before etc. Smiles. But YES I loved her too, she was a GREAT motherinlaw. And Sunday afternoons were spent at her house with the rest of the brood. I know what you mean about about being jealous of these types or family.

  4. “Creating and building positive relationships is hard work……some days I feel like it is a full time job all by itself.”

    I think you nailed it with this statement. As with any work, we have to choose to show up and be active; some days will be great, others mediocre, and some still will be flat-out bad. If we remain consistent in our pursuit of creating community, though, it’s incredibly rewarding. Thanks for sharing!

    If you’re interested in my experience with community and life-changes, I did a guest post for a friend’s blog titled,”To Google or Not to Google.” It came to mind with portions of your post: http://turnerbethany.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/google-or-not-google/

  5. you must be reading my diary… oh wait… i don’t have one. hmm… well somehow you are really plugged into my world. i spoke yesterday of the lack of being social via social media but part of why that’s so true for me is that i live in california where all my friends live in colorado – this is why facebook seemed an important way to keep touch – at least at one point i was important enough to keep in touch with that way but now not so much. now it’s totally out of sight out of mind or so it feels. it was also difficult to see virtually everyone in my age group or even younger getting married, having kids, etc., and im 31, still single, which of course isn’t bad, but it felt really in my face and my clock has already been ticking so watching all that isn’t helpful. couple that with the fact my job isolates me too. i love what i do but being the only reporter for a small town requires keeping folks at a distance for professional reasons. i love this place but it’s rumor mill is faster than the internet at times i swear it. i can’t afford to become “friends” if you will with too many folks because generally i work with so many on a professional basis i’d quickly lose my ability to be objective or others would begin to make accusations that i couldn’t remain objective due to my so called friendships. i would also hate to become the bud of gossip – which you also blogged about. i definitely don’t need that to happen. anyway, you’re so right on about loneliness. it turns out i am alone out here but that’s only a portion of why i feel alone. fortunately, i have enough self-worth not to fall down too far into that hole that extreme measures are even considered. i just know i have to loosen my grip on my friendships back home and find my own happiness on my own terms and that’s where i’m at and what im working on. thanks for sharing!

    • Jen,

      perspective is an interesting thing…..

      There are so many writers out there who would love to be in your shoes and be able to do what they love, to be young like yourself and shuttle off to Cali to write……but many people probably don’t realize the sacrifices you have made to pursue your career in journalism.

      A number of my friends and acquaintances are constantly me they wish they had my life…..but they too don’t realize the sacrifices I have made to pursue the course I have taken.

      good thoughts, thanks

  6. Thanks for linking to my blog. I appreciate the support. This is another really thought-provoking post. Last night I was lonely, and I was out with my mom and then back here with my sister and niece. It was not about not having other people nearby, it was about missing my husband. What helped, strangely, was leaning into the sadness. Letting it surround me for a while. I read something recently about leaning into the joyous moments in our lives, and sometimes — not always, but sometimes — I think that it can be a good thing to lean into a sad emotion too. To really feel it, and allow that it’s okay to feel it.

  7. I think everyone goes through these spells. Open communication is a must. I always tell my BF right away when I’m feeling distant. Then we do something to change it. Afterwords, our relationship is even better.

  8. Very well put, thanks.
    I am one of those who has felt that way many times, and I’m the guy who serves the coffee in that crowded coffee house (we’ve owned and operated one for 10 years now). And yes, it can and does lead to depression and thoughts of suicide.
    It’s not easy to get help for these things, but its necessary. Nobody should let pride get in the way like I did.

  9. I hope your friend gets better soon, I have been there years ago and know how hard those times are. So good to be married to a fantastic woman…

  10. “And for those people, wouldn’t it be nice if they took a few minutes out of their day to reach out to a friend they haven’t called in awhile? ” As soon as I read this, I stopped, looked up an email address of an old friend and sent her an email. YES. It seems that the world is overrun with depression and loneliness lately. WHY? As far as the relationship issues, yes, yes and yes. It is hard to even “want” to hear what the other person has to say after many years of hearing what seems to sound like the same thing over and over and over. I’m sure it goes both ways. Thanks for the post!

  11. Great thoughts, Kenneth. I struggled with clinical depression for several years. Now I try my best to help others who do, and make sure I try to bring joy into everyone’s life I meet. Just a smile, a hug, a warm word, something unexpected. It doesn’t take much time, and it could save a life. It did mine. Now I am free, love life, love people, and share God’s joy wherever I go. Love your blogs.

  12. Hey there CM=CultureMonk…very interesting post…makes me think for a while…reassess…written therapy..thank you! Thank you for stopping my post…appreciate it! 🙂

  13. What I will say – as if you read what I write – I should be banned from relationship advice – lonliness is an emotion shrugged off by a smile. Inside, there is a void, a deep crevice of depression weighing me down. I constantly feel like I have to think on how to live, or how to be and how you will react to me, etc. Fitting in with the world is arguably the hardest thing to do when you feel alone in a room full of people. I am not sure if it weighs heavier that acceptance has never been my ideal way of existing or if judgement is the stronger evil that I let rule in my daily routine.
    I find it easier to say nothing. To sit and exist – as a married couple- we are guilty of your friends plight – just sitting, not saying anything – perhaps we’re both content, perhaps not.
    What saves me, since I once tried the other option, is the fact that one person said to me, many years ago – you are like a Joan of Arc in the world. You speak out, you argue and you fight for a cause – I am some one else’s rock in a storm and I can take your day and weave a fabric of smile in it. While that gives me great pleasure – why do I spend so many days feeling alone in this chaotic world? shouldn’t happiness just be as easy as breathing?

    • Sasha,

      good thoughts….

      I constantly feel like I have to think on how to live, or how to be and how you will react to me, etc

      You have expressed what a lot of people feel and go through on a daily basis…working as a counselor this was a subject that clients brought up all the time; they would spend a lot of time assessing and reassessing what many people never seem to think about.

      loneliness is a difficult issue and doesn’t get resolved as easily as we might treat a toothache 😦

      (I do try and read every comment….I can’t respond to everyone but all the comments are a great help in guiding my thoughts and direction. thank you)

  14. A powerful analysis and sound advice. I hope lots of people get to read this. It will be a great encouragement to many.

  15. That was a very interesting read. I thought I was the only one who felt lonely at times, despite having a husband and 2 kids. I thought there was something wrong with me. And all along I just wanted a deeper connection, more committed friends. I like to talk about things in depth – everyone seems too busy to do that. People’s attention span seems to be getting shorter. What a strange world we live in.

  16. I think that one of the major problems at the root of this, if not the major problem, is that society has gotten too large. Everyone knows a ton of people, but they don’t really know or connect with anyone. I currently live in a city with over a million people in it, I am surrounded by strangers every time I leave the house and it’s hard to get anyone to stand still long enough to make any kind of connection. It’s a bit unnerving really.
    I’ve lived with loneliness for a long time, I didn’t have a real connection with another living thing until I was fifteen, before then I was alone. I learned how to live within my own mind and be my own friend. I learned to connect with nature too, honestly I feel the least lonely when I’m walking through a forest alone than when I’m on a crowded city street or in a classroom. I struggle to connect with people, mostly because most people seem to enjoy superficial relationships, they just want someone to agree with them and to drag to the mall, and that’s not enough for me. I would rather be alone than to be friends with people who only pretend to care for me.
    A very powerful post on a subject not discussed enough.

    • Jessica,

      I remember meeting with a client who was boasting to me of his 1900 Facebook friends and 10,000 Twitter ‘followers’….

      yet there he was sitting with me; struggling with loneliness & feeling isolated.

  17. So well said. Sometimes I feel most lonely when I’m in a crowd of dozens of people. Some people think that sounds crazy but it’s true.

  18. I am catching up on blog posts from the week and I have run into the theme of “lonliness” vs “being alone” a couple of times. I am glad that you point out the difference. We can be alone in a crowded room, or we can be hanging with our ‘best friends’ (me, myself and I) when we spend time taking care of ourselves.

  19. Thank you for stopping by my little blog and liking a post there..it means a lot to a new blogger 🙂 I’ve been reading some of your posts…awesome stuff! This one especially spoke to me…I think all of us feel lonely at one time or another. One thing that has helped me was learning how to create a relationship with my ‘self’ – I used to fear being alone and feeling lonely – and I used to not feel connected to my inner being at all – but more and more nowadays, through mindfulness and other things, I am gaining a connection with my inner person, and when I do feel alone I am not so scared anymore…

    • chere,

      great thoughts….

      when I worked as a counselor much of my time was spent helping individuals find their ‘self’, i.e. who they are as an individual…

      there is a certain level of peace that comes when we know who we are 🙂

  20. This opens up out eyes. I remember dealing with a sort of depression & loneliness about a year ago. Self esteem issues can also lead to a feeling of loneliness too.

  21. Kenneth, they say that there are no coincidences, so finding your article, the morning after breaking up with a friend of nearly three years, seems providential. We ” just weren’t connecting…..” I still love, admire and respect this person, but feel I could better cope outside my expectations for a relationship. I know that, perhaps, I shouldn’t have had the expectations that I had, but like your friend, since we weren’t connecting with each other I decided that I preferred to be alone.

    It wasn’t that I hadn’t tried, but she is a very creative person, has a busy life, many friends, a stressful job. It just seemed that there wasn’t room for me.

    This is my rant for the day. Just wanted to say how much I appreciated your words of wisdom, and how very much I needed them right now.


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