One day last week when I was working at a coffee shop and instead of typing I was sat staring out the window and I wondered just how many people in their 20's feel seriously lonely. And I know it's something that I've felt a lot over the past few years and no-one wants to talk about because it's a hard word to say, especially when you're young you don't think you should be feeling that way. But it creeps up on all of us and it's something I always want to talk about more online so it's not something that's so stigmatised.
MAKING FRIENDS ISN'T EASY
Once your past school and university making friends as an adult is incredibly hard and that can be made even more difficult if you don't have a traditional job setting where people are coming in and out of your life frequently. Because where really do you meet people? Do you meet them in bars or clubs? Or at the gym? It's a complete minefield. Of course, there is the online world and it's easy enough to connect to others that are like minded but creating solid long lasting is really hard. And I've always been a big believer that you don't need a huge group of friends to get through life and even just one or two can make a huge difference and just like most things quality > quantity is a great ethos to live by. If you've lost contact with your school friends for one reason or another or you live in a new city it can be incredibly challenging as you've got to start all over again which is so daunting. And when you see everybody in real life or online with this huge solid group of friends it can make you feel like there is something wrong with you. But not having a large circle of friends is actually pretty common I've found, especially in adult life.
As we get older and take on more responsibilities in our day to day life and have a whole host of other things going on it can become really difficult to nurture the relationships that you already have. And it doesn't mean that you're a bad person if you're really busy and don't always have time to catch up with your friends in person. Sending a text is sometimes all you need to let that person know that you're there and reassuring them that you're there whenever they might need you or you need them. When you're young and your friends are one of the most important things in the world to you it can be hard to understand why it might not always be like that but adult life is challenging and there is never enough time in the day for everything.
IT'S NOT A DIRTY WORD
Saying the word 'lonely' is almost like a dirty word, probably even worse than a swear word to many of us and saying it is incredibly hard. No-one likes to say that they're lonely and even just admitting it to yourself is hard enough let alone to other people. But the more we make it such an embarrassing thing for others the worse it feels because feeling lonely already means you feel isolated let alone worrying what other people might be thinking too. And it's so easy to presume that it's your own fault that you're lonely but it rarely is, there are so many things to take into consideration and it's very rarely because you're a terrible person.
SPENDING TIME BY YOURSELF CAN BE AWESOME
Even though I've definitely struggled with loneliness I've also learned to really love spending time by myself and appreciating my own company. Learning to love yourself on your own by yourself is something I've found really beneficial because it means that I don't seek the approval of other people anymore. At first, it was hard and I always worry that maybe I'm just a little odd that I enjoy spending time on my own so much but personally I think it can't be that much of a bad thing? Not only do I not seek and rely on the approval of others but it's also made me feel more secure in the relationships I do have. Spending the day by yourself by going into town, going shopping or even going for a walk can be really soothing to the soul because you only have to worry about yourself.
ONLINE POPULARITY DOESN'T MEAN YOU DON'T FEEL LONELY
So often when people have huge online popularity it can be really difficult to believe that they might feel lonely, because why would they when they have so many followers? But that's not the case at all, having people follow you doesn't mean they're constantly around supporting you. And I think often in many ways having a large following can be incredibly isolating because it can put a huge amount of pressure onto you to act a certain way and have a certain image. The lines of real life and online life are becoming even more blurred and it can be so difficult to differentiate between the two.
Can you relate to feeling lonely in your 20's?