Hi everyone,

I feel despair today. I'm feeling really lonely and don't know how to cope with those feelings. We had a workman in this morning so I interacted happily enough with him but then he left. My husband is too tired from renal failure to want to do anything other than sleep all afternoon and I really wanted to do something as all I've done is stay in the house or go shopping at the supermarket for ten days now and by nature I like to do a lot and be with people, and so I started to feel lonely. I felt low and thought maybe I would go to the M&S superstore anyway but there seemed little point as we don't need anything and have too much of everything as it is, then I thought I would go to a garden centre but don't need more plants as the garden is also too full to manage, then collapsed in distress and self-pity and drove home. All I wanted to do was to cry until I fell asleep, like I did during the breakdown when I was a child, but the idea of that felt exhausting too as in reality I was bored and lonely and not tired, so I've sat here doing nothing except looking on e-bay, facebook etc for another afternoon and now I feel what's the point in life. I haven't even managed to find the motivation to eat anything all day which I know won't have helped my mood. It just all feels pointless.

I need to make more friends. I have three really good friends 30 miles away where I used to live before I remarried and have a couple of other friends that I see now and then, and I spoke yesterday to my sister who lives the other end of the country and who I haven't spoken to for over a year as we never really got on, but apart from that I only know the workmen who come to the house and the postman. I often feel that no one would notice if I was dead although in fact that isn't true because my husband would be distraught and my children who both live a long way away would also be really sad to lose me. I know that I do matter to those people who know me and I am lucky about that, also that I'm lucky to have a nice house, garden and enough money. I just don't know how to cope with the day to day loneliness.

I've thought a lot about how to make new friends. Obviously I need to join things, classes, groups, voluntary work, something, but I can't find anything that feels remotely the sort of thing that I enjoy. I do like lots of things - music, art, intellectual things, alternative things, gardening - the sort of things you get in some areas of a cosmopolitan city - and I go to concerts and galleries sometimes with my three friends, but I can't find anything that I might want to do in the town where I live on a day to day basis. I feel as though I'm living on an alien planet although that can't be as true as it feels. There must be some people living in the town who are similar to me - although I am quite unusual and a bit eccentric - but I don't know where to find them.

I just feel better for writing and probably some of you will offer support and care which will be nice as I feel in need of both.

I hope you are all enjoying the sun, I'm enjoying seeing it from my computer.



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17 Replies

  • Hi Sue I totally understand how you feel. I don't even have a husband (sick or otherwise) at home I am totally alone. So if I didn't go out I wouldn't see anyone for days.

    I agree that you need to make more friends locally. But friends only come from meeting people who might become friends. The more you put yourself out and about the more you will find people you like and who like you. Don't be so choosy what you do. It really doesn't matter too much. You need to meet people. Even if its people you haven't got much in common with its still company and you can make small talk. That is much better than being on your own too much.

    I am feeling lonely today. I took the dog out and met a guy I knew on route. He was with another chap. We chatted for 20 minutes or so about this and that. I then got chatting with a few fellow dogwalkers and we said what a lovely day and aren't we lucky to live here. The dog went up to a couple of people and I chatted with them too!

    I then popped round the shop and got chatting once or twice with shoppers and the shop assistants. Not much I know but I feel much better for it. I won't see anyone now until Sunday morning.

    I moved to a small town from London 17 years ago. I felt very out of place for a while and people here always seemed so provincial but you do adjust. I got myself in a dart team and made friends from that.. But you don't find anybody staying indoors you have to get yourself out. No one is going to come beating at your door.

    I'm not saying its easy Suzie but its something you have to do if you want more company.

    Bev xx

  • Well if I lived a little closer, you'd most definitely be someone I'd choose as a friend! Reading Bev's post above, I've never owned a dog, but I sometimes go with a friend to walk hers. I'm amazed at how many people she stops and talks to on the way! Why don't you think about that? Bev is right about the getting out of the house - I'm the world's worst for staying in and moping (not that I'm suggesting you are!) We're due lots more sunshine, maybe tomorrow your hubby will feel more like getting out and about? X

  • Yes I know - about a dog - it would help. See my reply below that I was adding while you were writing your. Thanks for your thoughts though, it is supportive hearing them.

    You are right about me not being one to stay in and mope, by nature I have always gone out and about all over the place. When I feel low I go for a drive, go to a garden centre, shopping, several different locations in one day. I tend not to walk locally here because it is such a grey boring down and out town whereas I feel at home in a cosmopolitan city area with gardens to look at, interesting people to see and sometimes talk to, coffee bars to sit in and watch people go by. Here it just feels alien to me because it is grey everywhere. There are few gardens - ours is the only green one on our stretch of road - lots of single homeless people - the biggest number in the north west - boring chain coffee shops in a town centre which has a high number of long term unemployed people who are nice enough but the place is so uninteresting and depressing because it is very traditional and small town mentality and comparatively poor. There are Poundsaver shops everywhere whereas I am used to bookshops and delicatessant shops.

    I don't mean to sound such a snob, the people are incredibly friendly here, it's just that the lifestyle and values of the majority is very different to mine because they have had completely different experiences. I have been to a few classes and people chatter about tv programmes that I could not choose to watch because they bore me or I find them irritatingly patronising or loud - it is just about feeling a misfit here. I am sure there will be some people who are like me and who have a similar kind of background but because they are very much in the minority it is hard to know how to meet them. It does make me sound like a snob I know but it isn't about liking people or not, it's about what I have in common with them that leads to a similar lifestyle and sufficiently similar interest to have a rapport.

    I like books, art, music, theatre, and things that a lot of people would find really boring or highbrow as they seem too serious or intellectual whereas for me they are fabulous. I love listening to a Bach Cantata or listening to a discussion programme about a piece of poetry so it's unlikely that I will have much in common with people who think Downton Abbey too posh - I loved that, did you? It's just about finding where I fit but being unable to move to it. Two weeks ago I went with a Manchester friend to a concert of Halle soloists in a church in one of the Manchester suburbs and it was the most fabulous evening I've had for a long time. They happen but are few and far between because I can't always drive 30 miles each way to meet up with someone and on a day to day basis we need friends to be fairly local, within a few miles. Because of the way our houses are big and face different directions I don't even know who our neighbours are - I'd love to live in an ordinary semi on an ordinary road where kids walk past on the way to school and I could see some social life around, see people going to their garages and say hello. We visually see no one most days except people driving past on our busyish road and a few people who live further out of town walking in to go to the shops. A dog would make some difference and at least it would force me to go out.

    Perhaps I'm just being very negative and critical about everything, I do feel angry about things that have happened in my life so perhaps I am rejecting the town rather than just taking it as it is. Probably I am.

    Thanks anyway Suzie, for your support and lovely comments always


  • oh sue it breaks my heart to hear you feeling like this. it is so hard making new friends, thinking about it the only new friends ive made over the years have been people ive worked with.

    could you possibly volunteer somewhere? i LOVE the dog idea too.

    Even when i have a full time job in the week, ive often thought about working of a weekend somewhere too. for me it would be bar work as you get to speak to tonnes of people and you have fun with your work mates.

    im currently out of work and the days are very long and the nights even longer, i try to see my friends when i can though but everyone has such a busy life.

    and as the post above, if i lived near you, you are someone i would also choose as a friend!!

    Best wishes Sue


  • Hi Sue,

    Thanks for replying. I've just replied on your blog too! Yes I know, it was so easy making friends when the children were very little and also not so difficult at work although when I was working before therapy it was in jobs where I didn't fit or feel comfortable and also I was out of touch with my feelings so although I was friendly with people and they seemed to like me well enough I never felt I belonged or could even want one of them to be my friend - at that time I didn't know I had the right to want that and could do something about it - how sad is that! Now I have a few really good friends with whom I can be completely free and open, they are just not local.

    Yes, I did that, worked full time as a secretary and then worked in a restaurant at evenings and weekends - in London when I was in my 20s. It was great, I felt exhilarated and chatted with loads of people most of the time, though it's not the same as making friends to go around with and really share things with.

    Oh I am sorry you are out of work! You look so young and that must make it even harder - at least I have had my turn and know I have also had the children. What's your home situation - sorry if you have said before but as I explained in my answer on your blog I have problems with linking some bits of info together when I don't know the person - I tend to connect emotionally and that needs non-verbal info face to face.

    If you are out of work is there anything you can do to help that change in the long term, maybe go to college and then do a degree and do something completely different? You are too young to be stuck with what society offers you without fighting back!

    Yes, I have been looking at volunteer opportunities for the past couple of hours and have actually applied for something, but most of the things really would just make me feel more unhappy and angry that I'm having to settle for them when I'm so well qualified and experienced. Sometimes it's a vicious circle but I spent too much of my life doing things I hated, better nothing than that! As for the dog, my husband agrees we can get a dog once we move - we can't have one here because it would wreck our garden which is a plants person's delight and one of the selling points of our house which we need to sell because it's too big. Once we manage to sell and move back to Manchester I can get a dog, join various classes and things that are 'me' and if I am lucky work as a therapist as I am in the process of applying for re-registration. It's just that despite dropping the price of the house by £100,000 it won't sell and we can't afford to drop more or we will be unable to buy in Manchester. Like many people we have been caught by the recession.

    Thanks again, at least we can be friends on the website which is something.

    Take care,


  • Well ive just done my masters degree in london and now moved back home to manchester (ish!) ....im sure you remember me now :)

    I think im going to go back to my old job, just to get some money in and be able to do something productive with my day.

    Makes me anxious tho as the girl my ex was seeing soon after we split up works there still and i would hate to be working with her. to have my face rubbed in it everyday.

    Thats how i feel, angry that i have to settle despite my qualifications. but thats true better than nothing i suppose. i went to do my masters so i wouldnt end up in a job i was just 'ok' with. thats not how i see my life.

    thats great that your moving back to manchester and re applying. that would be great for you and i wish you all the luck with that!

    i really dont no anything about houses and all that but ive seen those programmes where people are having trouble selling them and they just change some things in their home that need doing to appeal to new buyers and they usually sell them really quick. Obviously I dont no what your property looks like inside etc but it might be worth while following some of these tips?

    Love Zoe xxx

  • Hi Zoe

    It isn't that I didn't remember YOU but that I didn't remember that Lush or Zoe were your names, it's the naming that I am bad at, not the feel of a person and their life, usually once I read some of that the rest comes pouring back. Yes of course I remember that you were doing your Masters in London and all the stuff with your ex and then your coming home - though I didn't remember it was Manchester as I go there every week at least once and long to be back there, but of course it was because that's how I was going to be telling you about therapists - I must be going senile!

    Oh I do feel for you having completed the Masters and still being without work. Both my children live abroad in China and Mexico just because despite having superb qualifications they could not get work. My daughter has a Double First from Cambridge plus a Masters plus a PhD and could not find anything that matched her abilities or interests, and my son had A First and Masters and was in a similar position. Now in Mexico City my daughter is fully funded for a post-Doctorate and with every chance of full time employment as a Uni lecturer and my son is being fully funded for a PhD be China. How different from the uk and much of Europe where things are so bad because of the recession.

    Would you consider doing something really different like doing a year of Voluntary Service Overseas or Teaching English as a Foreign Language or something completely different like seeing if you can get in as a Psychiatric nursing auxiliary, or something even more different like becoming a freelance worker or some kind. I know those things all sound a bit mad and extreme but they are not, they are just ways of getting a very different kind of experience that may not pay that well or lead to anything obvious but will develop you in new and different ways and put you in contact with new and different people. Often doing that brings about surprising opportunities and changes. My son went to China for a year as part of his Uni Students Union putting up a notice for people to teach English to children from 3-16 in China for a year with relatively little pay. He hadf never done anything like it before and was relatively shy but he went and has been there ever since and loves it - though it may not suit you and definitely would NOt suit me! He was offered much better paid teaching, then met and married a lovely Chinese girl, then found very well paid work teaching English culture in a University and is now going to be funded for his PhD by the Chinese grant system. He didn't expect any of that to follow, was just taking a year out as a breather... It's just a thought, it might be worth contacting the Union at the Uni you went to and talking with them about what you might do next in the not obvious ways.

    Thanks for thinking about me and our house sale - we've done all that stuff from tv, did it five years ago and have dropped the price drastically - no the problem is that houses like ours and in this town are seldom selling at any price because of the recession and so few people who could afford to buy them moving into the area of taking on a bigger mortgage and house that is expensive to run. But thanks for thinking of me.

    Talk again, I'm getting tired. Take care and do think about other ideas than going back to where you were, that's not any kind of progress and may be depressing. Try something completely different?


  • hi sue I hope you are feeling better. I know a lot about loneliness. I have one good friend but live on my own got divorced 25 years ago. I am missing my mum used to visit her a lot she died at Christmas.i have 2 children never see my daughter although she lives very near me. my son is good but he works and has a partner and a little girl my granddaughter skye. could you find a group that does music or art? I wish you lived near me I would be your friend and we could go to start together. they do music art photography drama textiles gardening etc.you also have your friends on here. I remember you answering some of my posts and you were really good. kind regards soniaxxx

  • Hi Sonia

    Thank you for your good wishes and also for your feedback on my replies, that's really kind of you.

    Oh I wished you lived near me too, it would be lovely to go with you to classes like that. When I lived in Manchester there were always classes that I wanted to do but here there is only hairdressing, beauty, animal husbandry, IT - few of the more cultural interests and for those that exist I am already at a higher level. I wanted to do O'level Spanish but they have closed the languages department completely.

    I find it so sad to be wasting so much time when I could be living a full life before I get too old. The recession is hitting hard and it's a very traditional northern town with not much else to offer than fishing, amateur dramatics, and helping out in charity shops or meals on wheels none of which would be me at all, I would hate doing them. I've had enough experience in life to know where I feel comfortable and find places where I don't fit simply repeats my childhood feeling a mis-fit. Being lonely is better than that!

    I'm sorry you feel lonely too. It's not really about whether one has a husband or children but loneliness is the gap between how much we want to spend time with people and how much we actually do.

    Thanks again and keep in touch on the website.


  • I don't know whether you found my comments useful Sue. You haven't said. The point I was making was that company is company. It doesn't have to be people with whom you have a shared interest though thats the ideal. I often go to the pub on Sunday afternoons if I am feeling lonely because I have a couple of drinking friends there - both male. I don't share many of their interests and one of them is very right wing. But we don't talk about politics or anything controversial. We usually have a game of domminos and just chit chat about people we know or football or whats going on locally. We laugh quite a lot. We get on on a superficial level which is fine. Its company Sue. If you can't be with the ones you love - love the ones you are with. After a couple of hours of this I feel much less lonely. Its much better than staying at home and staring at the same grey walls isn't it?

    I have found some good friends here even though its not London. But if I hadn't put myself out there I would be lonely too. You will find some more sophisticated folk there who are in the same boat as you. I have. Virtually all my friends aren't from the local area as I do find most of the locals very tedius.

    Bev xx

  • Hi again,

    Yes, I'm sorry I didn't respond. I would have found it frustrating as I found your comments caring but not very relevant to my situation which of course you couldn't know.

    The pubs in this town are rarely you nice drinking local where I might comfortably sit and join in with chat in time and play dominoes or cribbage - they are boozy 'doss holes' with very loud music and are frequented by mainly young girls with hardly any clothes on and older men 'on the pull' who get as plastered as they can and then pile out onto the streets late at night and even vomit in the streets on Friday and Saturday nights. If I was in Manchester I would go to the local in some areas, certainly for lunch and have done so, and enjoy being out and perhaps talking to someone, but not in our local pubs.

    I've lived here 15 years and tried half a dozen different kinds of classes and have found it worse than being alone because I feel more aware than ever of having such different interests and values. I enjoy and know about a lot of things and enjoy chatting about those as well as being with people who like different things but have similar basic values. I do know what you are saying but perhaps you have a very different personality than mine. I am not someone who likes to put myself out there, I like to do things I enjoy doing and follow interest I have and then meet people through those. It's a different kind of personality.

    It's not about not liking people - I really enjoy chatting with my hairdresser who I've been going to for 15 years, she's a lovely person and really friendly, but has too full a life already with her huge extended family to even want to make new friends - she has a job fitting in the people she knows already, and that is very typical of people who live here. The town is a very settled place with a small turnover, largely working class, not mixed - I've only ever seen one black face in the town and only half a dozen Chinese people who own the local chippies. I do not find the people tedious but they are mainly just relatively poor people with extremely well established networks of people they have known all their lives and their social lives mostly involve connecting with those people either in their homes, at parties, going into Liverpool with people met through work or at things like Slimming Clubs . The people I have met who have left the area years ago say they left because it offered nothing for them. It is a really great place for people who have lived their lives here and never known anything different by going away to Uni or similar as the location is good and they already know loads of people, but it is a difficult place to come to and find ways to make friends - unless with young children, that's quite different. People who move to the town come from surrounding areas where they have social networks and families, to manage a local superstore or similar; typically they buy on the modern estates surrounding the town and drive a Range Rover, their life values are the opposite to ours, they are of a very different age group and spend their time doing such different things that we would only meet at Slimming World or Macdonalds (which I also love as a takeaway, so I'm not suggesting there is anything wrong with them liking it). I can be fussy but what I am trying to say is that it is hard to find places to meet at all. I do go to the local gym sometimes but then depression or arthritis and fibromyalgia quickly flare up and I lose heart. There are only ever three people in the gym and no one talks there but it's healthy.

    I could NOT want to do things that make me feel completely out of place, I spent far too much of my earlier life doing that. I would rather sit here feeling lonely than that. It's just that the loneliness is such a painful feeling from having spent so much time alone as a child. By nature I am very sociable but I am not a group person and never will be. I made my friends because of being in a large group based around a course or workplace and finding there was one person who I particularly hit it off with and so retained the friendship, the problem here is finding such groups. I really would not want to join a fishing club because I might find I like one of the fishermen or women. That would feel tedious!

    It is a problem that even my most socially adept friends in Manchester say they would find really difficult at this stage of life, but it is great that you are the kind of person who has been able to do that. We're not all the same though.


  • Hi again Bev

    I'm sorry if I sounded a bit ungrateful and negative, it's just that I have re-read your reply and realised that it was your starting point that made me feel how differently we feel about life. I don't agree with you that company is company. I spent very many years being very sociable with lots of people but found life empty once I was on my own again, now I find life very meaningful and satisfying when I am with people but find I want to choose who to be with, the difficulty is finding more of the people I would choose. I agree that means getting out and about, but I am only likely to find people with similar values in places where people with similar values go. I suppose that's what I'm getting at, that I am investigating things like voluntary work because of sharing the helping values but at the same time would not want to do meals on wheels because I have joint problems which flare up with the kind of tasks, would not want to chatter away in a charity shop, that actually irritates me even while I'm shopping and I've always felt it's something I would not want to do. There are LOADS of things I would like to do, it's just difficult to find them here where I live, locally, and I'm very atypical of what pensioners locally are like. We have an Age Concern club within walking distance and I went to art classes there years ago and it wasn't painful, it just wasn't satisfying either, it simply felt like filling time which I find as painful as loneliness. Sorry I don't mean to be rejecting your help, it's just that we want different things from contact with people. Sue

  • Hi Sue sorry to hear that you feel so alone. I do understand how you feel. I also think Hypercat has a point. Most of the people I meet in my retired day to day life don't have a Masters in English, and I am sure they would find my life nerdy and boring. Here is what I did to help me feel less lonely. I love Photograpy so I joined a Camera Club and I meet up sometimes with people and we go shoot some stuff. I have also started to do Voluntary Work once a week. I don't think it matters if its not something I am that keen on. It makes me feel that I am making an effort to get out and also giving back something. I also invite people I like for a coffee and chat to my place. I live in a city and I go to the cinema and sit with a book and have a coffee. Sue don' t put your life on hold , you need to get out now, not in some future. People are people and if I meet people who don't have three languages I don't rule them out as friends, otherwise I would never make friends. Be more accepting of people, you just never know, the social interaction is important and does it matter if they are on the dole or driving a porsche, you don' t have to have lots in common to interact with people . I don't want to be hard but maybe less judgemental about people and you will make friends.

    I only have three close friends and plenty of acquaintances so I cannot afford to be waiting for a clone of myself to appear. I feel we can learn from anyone . I sense your anger and frustration at your position, try and make the most of what you have, just accept things as they are. I would prefer to live in a cottage by the sea, but I live in a third floor apartment t with my cat. I have tried to be positive and make the best of what I have. Sometimes I go out with an Urban Sketchers Group, and I meet a different kind of person too. Sue I feel Life is now so please do not put your life on hold waiting for a perfect future. As John Lennon said " Life happens when we are making plans"

    Hannah x

  • Hi Hannah

    I do know you are right - all of you -I just find it hard to cope with the feelings of grief and anger about having spent so much of my life feeling disconnected from people who are similar to me and with whom I get on. I do have some friends like that now and we have a lovely rapport, we are not the same, there are differences, but there is sufficient overlap in values and interests.

    I have also thought about the local camera club as I love photography, did a lot during an art degree and have just had some accepted for a local exhibition next month but somehow it all feels too difficult. I find it difficult joining in within a group, struggle to walk far because of arthritis, sciatica and fibromyalgia... probably they are excuses and I am avoiding altering things in my life. I've also thought about joining the local art club but put off doing so for similar reasons. I do know that I can be judgemental about people although strangely when I have an ability to offer something e.g. as a therapist I am accepting and really like and enjoy people from all walks of life. I'm also very much the sort of person to sit on the floor and have coffee with workmen, gardeners, removal men etc. I'm not a snob but I do seem to limit my ability to enjoy my own life by thinking and acting as if I am!

    How lovely that you are so positive and have told me about that in a way that has felt helpful. Now I have to put some action into finding the things I will join. We have a damp proof being installed this week and several rooms being re-plastered so things are everywhere and I will be feeling stressed, but perhaps I can spend the time doing some research again and making decisions about what I will get on and join.

    Thank you for being pushy, I do need pushing. When I went to the CMHT last week it was to try to find someone to push and support me rather like CBT. I am at the point in working through and letting go of my past where I need those kinds of things. Life is too short to waste, I know. It's interesting that you used the expression 'putting life on hold' as that is what I had to do for much of my life emotionally - put things on hold until I found someone (a therapist) who was safe enough to depend upon for a time. Now I am doing the same thing with the more practical side of my life. I am stuck in a state of self-pity and protest. I know I am not helpless and of course I can go out and join things, I have done in the past and need to again. You are right about anger and frustration - I have been refusing to settle for anything other than perfection. My father was a perfectionist and I thought I had shifted that aspect of my personality, but clearly not!

    Thanks for the support. I will come back on the website when I need another push or dose of care.


  • Hi Sue

    I am so glad that you did not think I was being hard and uncaring. You have so many lovely qualities and I am sure you will find your way. I had been very like this, I was moaning inwardly About being lonely and yet I was doing nothing to change my situation. I am delighted that I decided to take action, the strange is that changing one or two things a really impacted on my life. Now I feel less lonely. I do know. what you -mean about some classes. I went to a local thing for people who have suffered with Mental Illness and some of the people were very ill there. We were supposed to be doing Art'. The teacher was great even though most of the group were too disturbed to paint. One poor lady beside me did nothing but screech with laughter all the time. She was funny and I ended up laughing too. It was a bit like " one flew over the cuckoos nest" but some of the people are nice there. Now I don't think I would ever choose to meet them outside this group.

    I feel you are very strong but stuck, but I feel you have the wherewithal to get out of your situation. I send you a big hug. Take care of yourself and cut yourself some slack here. You are quite hard on yourself.

    Hannah. X

  • Hi, Thanks for your reply and yes STUCK is exactly what I am, but it's only really for a fairly limited period - of about five years!!! Before that I was really moving forwards through education, work, etc and life was developing. I crashed back to ground when things collapsed for various reasons which I've gone into ad infinitum elsewhere on this website! You are right, I am an extremely strong person because I felt as if I was not fully real until I was 40 but survived! That does make me incredibly strong as nothing can kill me emotionally, as long as I am physically alive then I will survive unless I don't choose to...

    Thanks for the hug, that's great. Yes you are right, I know I am hard on myself, I had a highly critical father and still find it hard to leave that attitude to myself and life behind...

    Thanks again Hannah,


  • I appreciate your comments Sue. On re reading my replies I could have phased them a lot better so I apologise for that. What I was trying to say is that, in my experience, people can become friends without necessarily having the same interests. It could be a shared sense of humour or having a kind heart etc. I find I have all different kinds of friends - some drinking friends, some dart friends, many casual friends and a few close ones. I also love having a debate with someone who has a different view on life to find out how their life experiences led them there. When you find out more about a person you often find common ground which you didn't expect - maybe common life experiences? People never fail to surprise and amuse me!

    Thats all I meant Sue. Hope I have claified it somewhat...

    I give you hugs as well. xxxxx

    Bev xx

    I also give you hugs