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How do you stop being lonely?

(103 Posts)
lemonade Thu 13-Sep-18 11:26:22

Hello, I'm fairly new to this site so please go gentle. I've been divorced for over 15 years and although I see my daughter and my grandson once or twice a week, and meet up regularly with a few friends, I still am sometimes overwhelmed with loneliness. There are times I'm very content on my own but there are also days where I struggle not being able to share the minutiae of my day with someone. You try and be upbeat with friends and my family are just too busy for everyday stuff. What would you suggest?

BlueBelle Thu 13-Sep-18 12:10:47

Lemonade first welcome to Gransnet I don’t know if it’s any help at all but I could have written your post utterly and completely I ve been alone for 20 years have three children two of whom are overseas and one who lives nearby and is very good to me she connects each day with a text or phone call to make sure I m ok and will take me shopping or ask me up for a BBQ or takeaway now and then, and she’s a star, I have a good network of friends and do a fair bit of voluntary work (without which I couldn’t survive) but I am still on my own for huge chunks of time so totally understand where you are coming from
Eating alone is boring, watching TV no one to comment to or even argue with, going to bed alone (I don’t mean sex ...what’s that?) but no cuddles or warmth I manage really well and don’t ever grumble about being alone in fact I m not at all sure I could live with someone now that’s a two edged sword isn’t it but I do totally totally understand
Voluntary work makes me feel wanted, needed, a tiny tiny bit important and has been life saver for me

kathsue Thu 13-Sep-18 12:11:27

Have you thought of volunteering? or joining clubs. If you have regular times to be "doing something" then you'll appreciate the times you spend with your DD and DGS and on your own more. You might even make some more friends.

Teetime Thu 13-Sep-18 12:13:58

Hello lemonade and welcome. I'm sorry you are feeling like this but Gransnet is a good place to find someone almost at any time of the day or night for a chat. I have been here for a few years and have made some very good friends on and off line- keep chatting to us and joining in the conversations and you will soon get to know us. Hopefully there will be a meet up soon in your area. Where are you based?

kittylester Thu 13-Sep-18 12:14:30

Posting on gransnet is a good way to start.

lemonade Thu 13-Sep-18 12:25:19

Bluebelle, that's exactly it! I feel guilty grumbling that I'm lonely but also can't imagine sharing my space again either. I have been thinking of voluntary work so will explore that, Thanks for the suggestions and welcomes everyone else. Where can I find where the meet ups are? I can see chatting on Gransnet could be quite a good distraction. I like the idea it's there at any time of day or night.

lemonade Thu 13-Sep-18 12:27:06

It's a tricky one, kathsue. I'm not sure I need more friends necessarily. It's those humdrum, everyday chats or catching up on your day that I think I'm craving.

Anniebach Thu 13-Sep-18 12:28:13

Hello lemonade.

Due to circumstances I have become housebound, I live alone . My sole companions are here on Gransnet, i learn to much , turn here for advice and at times support. I have slept alone for over twenty years, my dogs sleep on my bed .

I said in a post how lonely it is not having anyone to say good morning to or not having someone say good morning to me. A poster now greets me with ‘good morning’ on the good morning thread 😀,

Keep going out meeting people and post here , you can talk about a tv programme on the tv and film thread, join in the games thresds if tv and radio is boring . There is so much to read, so many to talk to and to listen to.

See you on the threads x

seacliff Thu 13-Sep-18 12:36:23

Hello lemonade, you have made a good start in joining Gransnet. It is good to chat about anything that comes into your mind, even if it is online. You are still connecting with people.

I am not on my own, but still often feel lonely, and have no close family near. I have made myself join things (a choir and a ukulele group and U3A), and I also volunteer for an animal charity. These regular commitments make me feel part of life, and I meet all sorts of people, some really lovely.

I know it still means you are alone in the evenings, but you will have things from the day to occupy your mind, and the next day to look forward to. Give it a go.

Also if you go on forums and click on Local, you will see meetups happening around the country. You could start a new thread and see if there's anyone in your area. Put the name of the nearest town in the heading. Good luck.

lemonade Thu 13-Sep-18 12:51:21

May I ask what sort of organisations you volunteer at? And how you went about it?

ChaosIncorporated Thu 13-Sep-18 13:07:20

This may sound ridiculous to some you have pets?

I have been divorced for thirteen years and can honestly say the only times I have felt lonely in my home have been when I have dropped the dogs at kennels the day before going on holiday. Returning to an empty house with no welcome greeting has been the loneliest feeling, on each occasion.

Of course you need contact with people, but animals (particularly dogs) do fill a gap. Something to care for besides yourself, something that offers unconditional love, demands some sort of a routine....and is always pleased to see you.

I should probably admit to having always been fairly happy with my own company, as long as I have a good book, so just adding a dog in might not work for everyone!

luluaugust Thu 13-Sep-18 13:15:18

Welcome, I don't volunteer at present but have a friend who has been involved with the local hospice, first in their shop. Another friend is at the local National Trust property. Have also noticed people volunteering at the hospital, guiding people and answering questions. I guess its a question of an initial phone call to whatever you fancy. You can Google volunteering in your area too. Good luck.

seacliff Thu 13-Sep-18 13:36:53

It's Cat Protection I help with. I first went to a rehoming event locally, and ended up getting 2 more cats! I mentioned whilst chatting to them that I'd like to help them if possible. They asked me to their next meeting, at a volunteers house.

I then agreed to go to an event, with other volunteers, one weekend. We had a stall at a summer show, selling little gifts and tombola etc.. I was just helping a bit but soon got into it all. The others were friendly, and very nice people. People come up and chat about cats they've rehomed etc. We have social events occasionally. In the local group we are all unpaid, it's very rewarding.

After a year I got into fostering cats too. They supply the run for your garden, and food, cat litter and pay vets bills. Potential new owners are checked out by the Homing Officer, and then come and see the cats to decide if they want them.

I'd suggest just ringing your local branch or whichever charity appeals, and see what they suggest.

DanniRae Thu 13-Sep-18 14:12:43

Hi Lemonade - I was going to suggest getting a dog because they are such good company but I see someone has beaten me to it!
Anyway welcome to Gransnet and I hope you enjoy being on here as much as I do grin

BlueBelle Thu 13-Sep-18 14:15:40

I just voluteer in a local shop Lemonade it brings me up to speed with the general public and the general hub bub of day to day working life I have an area no one else wanted to do and I feel good and a little bit proud at the end of a shift to know I ve added something to the general running of the shop
I ve sent you a pm lemonade if you look in your inbox

JuneS Thu 13-Sep-18 18:55:20

I joined gransnet because like you I am lonely and also am virtually house bound. There are so many lovely and inspiring people on here who will very soon feel like friends. I agree that if you don't have a pet, having one is very wõrth considering. Cat or dog they are something to talk to, care for and love. You will also get so much affection back. Take care x

kathsue Thu 13-Sep-18 19:09:52

There's a website which will show you lots of volunteering opportunities in your area.

KatyK Thu 13-Sep-18 20:39:24

I volunteer at a primary school helping 6 and 7 year olds with their reading. It's lovely. You have to get CRB checked or whatever it's called now. The school paid for that. Sometimes I am asked to assist on school trips. I have been to theatres, adventure parks, lots of things I wouldn't have done. And it's all paid for!

Thebeeb Thu 13-Sep-18 21:24:32

I volunteer in a RVS hospital cafe (they also take trolleys around the wards). It’s interesting you meet lots of regular people staff and patients and a good feeling helping people. We also have a bit of a laugh too and catch up for a chat sometimes after the shift if we’ve been really busy.

Luckygirl Thu 13-Sep-18 21:34:27

Welcome lemonade - hope you will find lots of ideas on here!

Willow500 Thu 13-Sep-18 21:44:44

Hello Lemonade - welcome to GN. Sometimes you can feel lonely even in a roomful of people. There have been some good suggestions here and even just reading or posting on the threads can help too.

annep Thu 13-Sep-18 22:06:34

I have a friend who, like you has friends and family but her husband died a few years ago and her evenings are lonely. I think Gransnet fills that gap quite a bit. It does for me. I am married but my husband is sometimes very quiet and doesn't like chatting. And my closest friend died last year whom I would share everything with. A dog is a good idea too.
Welcome to gransnet. 😊

lemongrove Thu 13-Sep-18 22:12:52

welcome to GN Lemonade feel sure we will be mixed up at some point grin
there is no real answer for those moments when you eat alone or watch tv and miss comments to another person, but having a pet would help [they never disagree with you!]
Volunteering with almost any charity, joining WI and other clubs.

Sourcerer48 Fri 14-Sep-18 14:28:30

Hi Lemonade and welcome.
Here is a copy of an article I wrote about Aloneness versus Loneliness - hope it will help:
AgeUK states: Loneliness can be as harmful to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day! Combine that with actually smoking 15 cigarettes a day and you have a problem! However, just as giving up smoking or changing one’s diet could help improve health, there are positive ways in which loneliness can be dealt with so that it evolves into a more tolerable sense of aloneness.
Get an animal! If you are not able to have a dog or a cat, try a fish, gerbil or a bird. Animals play an important role because they need our care and attention, are a constant presence in our home and even though they’re unable to talk back they always provide a listening ear!
Join something! A local social or sports club could always do with new members and you’ll find yourself amongst friendly people. And what about going to church? Always a welcome to be found there
Get involved! In anything, your local charity shop or an organisation that needs people to fundraise, organise events or help with decision making on a committee. There is nothing quite like the satisfaction of knowing you are contributing towards the well-being of others less fortunate than yourself.
Read! Being lost in a book, involved in the plot and the characters is such a compliment to an author and a great way of forgetting yourself for hours on end.
Write! A great man once said, ‘Nothing is real until it’s written’ Writing to yourself or to loved ones who have gone, is a wonderfully cathartic way of putting jumbled thoughts out of a troubled mind onto paper (or a computer screen!)
Communicate! In this day and age of social media, email and the internet, people often forget the simple act of getting in touch; of picking up the phone for a chat. Perhaps that’s why AgeUK’s Silver Line has been such a success. They offer a free, confidential 24/7, telephone helpline offering information, friendship, and advice to older people in the United Kingdom. There’s another option to explore; either using their service or offering your own as a volunteer.
Share! When life and loneliness become too much to bear, there are people you can talk to. Samaritans, that amazing organisation, is available 24-hours a day to listen to whatever you need to share. Don’t think they are just for people contemplating suicide; they are there for anyone who needs an empathetic and non-judgemental listening ear.
Watch! Television is a great panacea for loneliness. It fills the house with noise and voices; it takes you out of yourself even for a few hours and provides an endless source of entertainment (mindless or otherwise!!)
Walk! If you are able; walking is wonderful, not only does it get you out in the fresh air, but done regularly, as with any exercise, walking produces endorphins in the brain which are a great antidote for the blues.
Listen! To music; dance as though no-one is watching (which hopefully they aren’t!) Music is so evocative of good times. It has an emotional and physical effect on the brain and produces dopamine the same as with exercise. Playing a CD or keeping the radio on low at night can help promote sleep and provide comfort with sound.
These are just some ideas of how to deal with the scourge of loneliness. Learning to acknowledge your feeling is half the battle. The thing is you are not alone. There are 7 million other people out there feeling as you do.
Reach out and take back control; be, if not happy, at least accepting of your aloneness and make the most of it.

mabon1 Fri 14-Sep-18 14:46:11

Get out and about, or get a dog. Join societies in which you have an interest, a choir, book club, historical society maybe, just get out there, your life will never be the same again.