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How do you cope with loneliness?

(19 Posts)
amb123 Fri 18-Nov-16 10:16:07

Hi there,

I'm interested in how gransnetters deal with loneliness.

I'm thinking of starting a service which connects grandparents and/or elderly people to other people with shared interests, with the idea that real connections can be made.

People who joined would be matched to other people with shared interests, and the idea would be that this service would facilitate calls between the two, making everyone feel more connected.

I know how important it is for me to have a feeling that there are other people in the world who are interested in me, and what I'm doing, and want to make sure that everyone feels this way.

What do you think - is this a service that would be valuable to you?

tanith Fri 18-Nov-16 10:26:34

If you are talking about an online service then no, I think there a gazillion ways for people to find others that share their interests online already. If by other means age UK and other organisations already offer such a service for free I believe.

Flossieturner Fri 18-Nov-16 11:23:03

I think I is a good idea provided it is on-line. These days we are quite reluctant to give phone numbers or addresses. I would love online Pen-pals.

minimo Fri 18-Nov-16 11:29:31

But isn't that what Gransnet does already? confused

Jane10 Fri 18-Nov-16 11:31:34

Yes Gransnet has beaten you to it!

henetha Fri 18-Nov-16 11:45:06

Anything which helps with loneliness is a great idea. Personally I would not be too keen on phone pals. I think we need to join something locally in order to make face- to-face friends. But for some people those calls would be ideal and help them to feel connected.
I joined a keep fit group and out of that made several lovely friends. Although the keep fit group ended (sadly our instructor died) we are still friends and go for walks, meet at each other's houses, go out to lunch. etc.

I like online pen pals too, - one-on-one emails which is slightly different from GN, but it is hard to find decent sites that don't involve romance or relationships.

Flossieturner Fri 18-Nov-16 13:46:51

I don't think it is like Gransnet. What the Op is suggesting seems like a more personal contact between two people.

ninathenana Fri 18-Nov-16 13:50:58

If it's of any interest Yours magazine has a whole page of people looking for pen pals and a separate section for those looking for romance.
All though the initial contact is snail mail I'm sure there are some who would welcome e-mails and phone conversations once you become friends.

Anya Fri 18-Nov-16 16:35:38

It's estimated that about 10% of over 65s can go days without talking to anyone. So there is indeed a lot of lonely people out there.

Some way of matching them up, even if just to meet over a pot of tea at a local café would be a step forward.

f77ms Fri 18-Nov-16 17:44:33

I think this is possibly a new business idea ? It would not interest me as I loathe phone chatting , much prefer face to face but I suppose if you were housebound it could work

Mumsy Fri 18-Nov-16 18:46:10

Theres loads of services out there already, it wouldnt be an easy thing to set up because you would have to vet people properly and have police checks done.
I for one wouldnt feel comfortable, the majority of lonely people are very vulnerable and wouldnt consider getting involved with complete strangers!

Falconbird Fri 18-Nov-16 19:57:58

I agree with Mumsy about the police check. Anyone working with vulnerable adults has to have one.

Nelliemoser Sat 19-Nov-16 17:28:44

I feel it would be nice to have someone around I could have a laugh with. Once a week at my knitting group helps but my OH takes life far too seriously to have "fun." No spontaneous sense of humour at all.

GN is a good alternative but you don't get that face to face contact.

Ginny42 Sun 20-Nov-16 06:53:46

I'm not very sure how such an idea could work amb123 and you have to be very, very careful about who you meet and where.

I do get how lonely being alone can be! It's also quite scary when you're not feeling well/the hot water system fails/there are field mice in the loft or someone tries to hack into your computer, as happened to me last week. In fact ALL of those things happened to me last week!

I have had to be very pro-active in making new friends since my divorce and semi-retirement came at the same time. At first I was devastated, but after a while I would sit with my diary on Sunday and make sure I had somewhere to go/do every day of the week, even if it was just to go to the shops, or get my hair/nails done so that I had conversation with someone each day. I had a policy at first of never turning down an invitation even if I made an excuse after an hour or so and left.

Sometimes I have been in places/events and thought, 'What on earth am I doing here?' I have been to lots of meetings with total strangers, which can be scary, but I always keep it very safe. One of these groups I found through Woman and Home supper clubs. I have made some good friends there and it's free to join.

I found Together Friends through a post on GN. It is just for ladies and I have met one or two very nice ladies to meet for coffee or a meal. There are theatre visits and walking groups. There is an annual fee of around £20.

I have been to meetings of some associations and decided 'not for me'.

I recently attended a meeting of a society who do fundraising for women and girls in the local community and internationally and am keen to get involved with that and also hope to make friends. They do wonderful work. There is an annual fee of more than £100.

I have joined a painting group which meets once a week. No tuition, but we help one another and there are some talented people there. I found a flyer in my hairdresser's for that and I now have a friend to meet for coffee and go to other things together.

I've been lucky in that I still do some work, although it involves a lot of travel and staying away from home so not worth starting courses or paying course fees.

Good luck with meeting people in your area and of course there's GN where we can support each other too.

So don't be alone sitting looking at four walls. It really is important to have contact with people especially in the winter months.

DaphneBroon Sun 20-Nov-16 09:18:59

ginny your proactive approach is so sensible and practical I am really envious!
I think it is also important to distinguish between "lonely" and " alone". The latter does not necessarily trigger the former, many people (me included) can be happy with their own company some of the tine, and it is also possible to feel lonely and isolated in a crowd. But getting out or having a friend round lifts one's spirits, a well timed phone call can make all the difference to a dark evening. I think it is important to remember that ringing a friend or family member can brighten their evening too. We shouldn't sit at home waiting for others to come to us and feeling neglected if they don't as you show.

Mumsy Sun 20-Nov-16 09:32:24

Sadly there are those who have no choice but to 'sit at home' due to ill health and cant get out so it is very difficult for them to have this outside contact. In my area the wrvs do a friendship service who is always vetted, where a regular visitor will call in for a chat and a cuppa.

Azie09 Sun 20-Nov-16 10:41:12

Ginny thank you for those ideas and tips. I moved and retired this year and am having a panic at the moment about meeting new people. I do have an OH but he tends to have his own interests. It's good to see your proactive method for getting out and about, it's cheered and inspired me. [Wink]

br0adwater Sun 20-Nov-16 11:06:56

Age UK has a befriending service.

Ginny42 Sun 20-Nov-16 11:42:07

I must emphasise that I'm not saying it's easy. I was coming from a very low point at first and it took a huge effort to get out and about, so I do understand how hard it is. I used to get home and cry. At first I was very angry with my ex for putting me in that situation of having to take huge chances making new friends. You quickly learn who is most like you and likes the things you enjoy.

If you simply can't physically go out, then that is very difficult and I'm sorry for anyone in that position. Perhaps call the WRVS and Age UK for starters.

Lean on GN friends too for support when you're feeling alone. There's always a GNetter who will listen and respond. There is even a thread for people awake in the night and feeling lonely too. We sometimes have to dig very deep and find the resolve to just do it.