Gransnet forums



(42 Posts)
nanna8 Wed 29-Mar-23 01:19:46

I have a fairly close friend who has many friends and acquaintances but she says she feels very lonely. I wondered whether it can be a state of mind rather than an actuality ? I have had times in my life when I felt like this, especially when we first emigrated and knew not a soul but I joined things and that helped an incredible lot. My friend has a few health issues and is getting on in years and her family live thousands of kms away over in West Australia so I wonder if this is her actual problem. They don’t seem to be very supportive of her.

crazyH Wed 29-Mar-23 01:43:32

nanna8 - are you in Australia? I ask, only because, I don’t think anyone except me, is awake in the UK 😂- I am the proverbial owl.
Regarding your friend, I think it’s a state of mind. They say you can be lonely in a crowd. And if she has health problems, she will be feeling worse. Joining various groups is the answer. I have my 3 children and their families living within a 10 mile radius. Yes, I am blessed, but I can go for days without seeing any of them.. They have young children and have busy lives. Today my daughter dropped in for a ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’.
I personally think your friend is missing her family. Wouldn’t it be best if she re-locates to somewhere near her family?
Try and maintain your friendship with her. I’m sure she will appreciate, your friendship and concern. Good luck !

nanna8 Wed 29-Mar-23 01:51:42

Thanks crazyH Yes I am in Aus. I often ring her and talk for ages because I get that feeling when you know she needs someone. She won’t move over there. I don’t know what happened but she is quite adamant. I,like you, have my daughters nearby but only see one of them a lot because they are busy busy busy. Like I was at their age !

BlueBelle Wed 29-Mar-23 05:27:59

Of course, yes, you can be lonely in a crowd it’s not the amount of people around you it’s the connections if you’re with 20 people but don’t connect with anyone then you are ‘alone’
I don’t think moving to be near her family is the answer if
they re not very supportive of her now that won’t make them any better and probably make her feel worse as she won’t have any excuses in her head as to why they re not doing more and moving in old age could be a nightmare and very disruptive and you say she has friends which she would lose it’s not the lack of people around her it s her inner self

I think she could be helped by some counselling, loneliness is a horrible state of mind to be in As you ring her to try and cheer her up I m guessing you aren’t nearby either older people often think counselling is only for younger folk but it can be so useful for all ages

Does she have a pet ? A small dog or cat could be a huge comfort

Ginny42 Wed 29-Mar-23 05:59:52

Have you introduced her to GN? There's almost always someone on here who will 'chat'. Being unwell and alone can be disheartening for even the brightest of souls.

I was telling a GN friend who has become a 'real life' friend yesterday, I use GN like reading a magazine but with online dialogue with some members. That way I don't feel so alone.

A pet is a good idea IF she really likes them. People tell me I should get a pet. Believe me, that's the last thing I need. I think you have to really love pets to have them in your home. I enjoy walking other people's dogs, but then they take them home!

Talking with a friend who will listen is therapy in itself, so she has a good friend in you. If you suspect she's becoming depressed you could encourage her to seek out some counselling. Would a GP be able to refer her?

mabon1 Fri 31-Mar-23 19:38:41

There is a huge difference between alone and lonely. I live alone but am never lonely. I walk about three miles every day and meet people some I know and others I don't but always say "hello" or "nice day"very often it is the beginning of a conversation.

Marydoll Fri 31-Mar-23 20:00:25

I think the depth and quality of friendship is important.

You can have lots of friends, but still feel lonely. I realised this recently, when I was ill in hospital.

icanhandthemback Sat 01-Apr-23 11:28:28

My Godmother felt like this when her husband died and her children were either living too far away or she wasn't emotionally close enough to feel she could rely upon. I believe in Australia you have retirement villages where you can choose to join in with the residents or not. My Godmother absolutely loves it. Although she is in her 80's she is absolutely full of life so it obviously isn't somewhere where you just go to vegetate whilst waiting for a wooden box to arrive!

nanna8 Sat 01-Apr-23 11:35:00

When my Dad came over to Australia he was 80. My mum had died and he had lived in the same London house since 1946 so we organised for him to live in a retirement village. He loved it, as you say, because they were kind of instant friendships. My idea of hell, though, can’t stand the places. We are all different.

Willow68 Sat 01-Apr-23 12:27:03

I think it’s not having a family unit. Being busy and having a lots of friends is great, it doesn’t fill the feeling of belonging to a family unit though. At the end of the day she actually is alone. It’s harder as we get older as getting out and about is not always an option, then what? My family are scattered around and I am always busy have friends and a husband, but deep down I have a lonely gap that only a family could fill. I think once I am old I will love to a senior citizens place, but for now I’ll carry on being busy as you have to play with the cards your dealt. It’s a shame your friend feels lonely, so many people do these days. A dog is a great idea if she likes dogs, they give so much love and loyalty x

OldHag Sat 01-Apr-23 12:31:41

Thankfully I never suffer from loneliness, YET!! However if my husband dies before me, I honestly feel that I will take my own life, as I am quite severely disabled, he is the love of my life, my carer, and my best friend. I do have family, but have a difficult relationship with my DC, and my grandkids are at the age where they have their own busy lives. I do have a couple of good friends, but both live too far away to be of any real comfort, one being the other end of the country and the other in America, whereas I am in the UK. So selfishly, I'm hoping that I'm not the one left behind.

Caleo Sat 01-Apr-23 12:50:05

The woman whose family are in Australia may feel lonely because not only is she old and bereft of her former status and purpose as mother of a family, but also because she guesses she may feel much the same if she went to live in the same town of household as her family, far away from where she now lives. In our occidental societies, old people tend to have have low status within families. She may feel even worse were she to live nearby.

The retirement village is a great thing for individuals whose personality is that of a joiner. If she has the social skills to join in then there may be a retirement village available that gives opportunity to find people like herself who are similarly bereft and she could find a new purpose in her life.

Can this lonely woman perhaps join an internet discussion group? Gransnet is not the only such and if she has a particular interest there will be a special interest group where she could find her own level and chums.

The woman's "friends" may be no better than people she meets often. As Bluebelle says you can be lonely in a crowd. I'd add you can be lonely in a one to one if you are not a compatible pairing. You yourself seem to be a real friend to her despite that oui

Caleo Sat 01-Apr-23 12:51:19

Please delete "despite that you"

Delila Sat 01-Apr-23 14:21:26

Surely any feeling is a state of mind? That doesn’t make loneliness any less an actual condition to experience as much as, say, happiness or anger, which may in fact be more transitory. I’d say it’s akin to depression, but not so accessible to treatment or change of circumstances, or even the kindness of others.

Something like Gransnet could be helpful🤔

Caleo Sat 01-Apr-23 14:31:03

Feelings are states of mind that are caused. Loneliness is caused by actual events such as bereavement, divorce, old age, moving house and so forth.
Because loneliness is caused it may be possible to alleviate loneliness. Doing something about loneliness is the benefit of this worthy topic. I'd never blame the victim.

effalump Sat 01-Apr-23 17:02:31

I'm a Billy No-mates, having lost my last, long-term friend a year ago but I'm fine with being alone. I'm never really lonely as I'm a potterer. I'm quite happy just pottering around.

Allsorts Sat 01-Apr-23 17:07:54

Loneliness is a killer. You can surround yourself with lots of people and keep busy, but if it’s that close link you’ve lost with a dear loved one, it’s hard. As you age it’s not just the physical changes that are hard to take it’s the loss of all those people that we shared our lives with and have died. I used to fill my life with so many things and have now accepted things are completely different, my expectations have changed.

Delila Sat 01-Apr-23 17:17:23

Yes, Allsorts, it’s very real. I remember reading Esther Rantzen saying she had plenty of people she could do things with, but nobody she could do nothing with.
I think that’s a good definition of loneliness.

nipsmum Sat 01-Apr-23 17:52:12

I could easily feel lonely and sorry for myself.but I don't. I have a dog who needs out several times daily. She keeps me active. I take her to the local park on the morning. I always see something or someone that cheere me up. I keep !myself busy, by cooking , baking , Knitting sewing (I bought myself a sewing machine a few years ago and I make quilts for charity).There are lots of things you can do if you put your mind to it. Sitting at home moaning is not good for anyone.

Anniebach Sat 01-Apr-23 18:09:43

Being lonely does not mean self pity creeps in. Not everyone can walk , do think on that .

Delila Sat 01-Apr-23 18:12:46

Perhaps, faced with that comment Nipsmum, someone suffering from loneliness might not find Gransnet so helpful after all!

Anniebach Sat 01-Apr-23 19:00:53

All everyone has to do is get off the sofa, stop wallowing in self pity and get to the local park.

Delila Sat 01-Apr-23 19:07:41

That should sort them out!

Caleo Sat 01-Apr-23 19:10:27

Nipsmum and Anniebach it's useless to tell any suffering man or woman to snap out if it by walking in the park!

Anniebach Sat 01-Apr-23 19:14:57

nipsmum think it’s the answer .