I’ve been an adult for a couple of years now. At least, I think I have. It’s hard to tell, since I don’t really have a definition of “adult” I fully agree with. However, I don’t live with my parents, I’ve had a job for a few years, I’m 22, I’m been out of high school for a while, etc.
Anyway. In the little time I’ve been an adult, I’ve learned a few things. The most terrifying has been the fact no one knows what the hell they’re doing, but there are others. The one that’s hit me the hardest, and that I’ve been thinking about these last few weeks, is how lonely it gets.
Now, time for a quick funny story:
I like to come up with titles for my posts that incorporate puns or at least reference something, to make them sound clever and more interesting. When I sat down to think of one for this post I remembered there was a TV show with a theme song about how adulthood isn’t really what you thought it’d be like. What was the show? It was perfect for my article about loneliness….
Ah, yes. Friends. Sigh.
About a year ago, I was chatting with the mother of a friend very close to me. She was commenting on how great it was that me and my friend were close, and told me the friendship was something to treasure and protect. Then she briefly mentioned how she hadn’t had any friends for years and years. She said it without a note of self-pity or melancholy, which for whatever reason made it worse. Sure, she said, there were coworkers and people from similar social circles, but not friends. Not friends friends.
Is that what adulthood is?
I left high school six years ago now. In all that time, I’ve only made two friends, two real friends since then. Then there have also been people who moved away and naturally became more distant, people moving on to other stages in life, people too busy with work or studies, and of course the people who either rejected me or became uncomfortable around me after I came out and started my transition.
If a stranger asked me how many friends I have, I’d probably say ‘about six.’ Of those six, I’ve only had more than one real conversation with, or spent time around, one person in the last four, five months. By that measure, I only have a single friend.
I love being introverted. I like how much I enjoy spending my time on my bike, at a park, listening to music, writing, even just walking. I find comfort in the bliss I feel from being alone at home, of spending a weekend cooking, exercising, reading, relaxing without speaking a single word out loud. It’s great.
Sometimes I wonder if I’d feel less alone if I were more extroverted and outgoing. If I could go up to strangers, be loud and fun, be the kind of person others instantly like.
I don’t know.
For the last few years I’ve worked on improving myself any way I can. I’ve tried to stop being so arrogant and mean and clingy, and everything else. I have worked hard at making myself a better person, and finding healthy ways to be happy. A big part of that is not depending solely on anyone else for happiness.
However, a person needs to have friends, don’t they?
Sure, your happiness doesn’t rely on them, but it’s boosted massively from occasionally spending time around them, speaking with them, knowing they’re there when you need them.
I spend most of my time at work. It’s at a call centre, and there isn’t much chance to get to know people if you’re focusing mostly on doing well, which I do. Even at my old job, I found it difficult to make connections. I’m quiet and reserved and though I love being around people and try to be friendly, people might confuse my quietness for aloofness and assume I want to be left alone.
How do you make friends outside of school, when you’re not outgoing and able to just charm complete strangers into friendship? I’ve tried finding communities to join, but it’s difficult when I don’t have much time to do anything.
By the time I’m thirty, am I going to be talking about how it’s been years since I last had friends, without a hint of sadness or longing in my voice? Will I be that resigned to a life of loneliness?
I try to make this blog positive and uplifting, but I feel anything but at the moment. The world feels so very, very massive, and so very, very cold and I feel alone. Utterly alone.
On a much more positive note, this Friday will be the last one of the month, which means book reviews! One of the books I’ll be covering is one of the most inspiring and beautiful things I’ve read in ages. I can’t wait to talk about it! I only hope I can do it justice.
I hope y’all are having a great week. See you this Friday for the book reviews!