Why Is Loneliness So Hard to Talk About?
By Cherie Burbach
In writing about relationships for over a decade now I’ve noticed a few things that continually stand out: people wanting more friends in their life, people wanting to understand what makes that friend of theirs tick, and people trying not to look too desperate for friends.
I think all of these things are related and pretty universal. People want friends but they are afraid to be too vocal about it. They have a hard time admitting that sometimes (or more than sometimes) they’re lonely. That’s a shame, because I think people who understand what’s missing in their life and have a desire to change it are brave and should be applauded. But we don’t usually do that as a society.
I have a lot of great friends in my life but at one point I went through a period of time when I was very lonely. My husband traveled for work, some of my closest friends moved, and suddenly I just found myself without the particular types of friendships I most desired. And that’s the key with loneliness. It isn’t necessarily about having lots of friends, it’s about having the close connection you crave.
I write about relationships and I’m pretty comfortable admitting things, so I told a family member that I was struggling with loneliness. And you know what she did? Snorted some snotty response about how she wished she had time for loneliness! She was too busy to be lonely!
I was busy, too. Being lonely doesn’t mean you don’t have enough to do. And that’s when it hit me, that there are people who experience loneliness and aren’t as comfortable talking about it as I am, and this is the type of response we (their closest friends and family) give them. Some snarky response that is meant to make them feel worse than they already do.
So when I wrote this book, I wanted it to be for people who might just want a few new friends (maybe the ones you have just aren’t giving you the types of connection you want right now) or those that need to meet a few people. Maybe they are feeling lonely right now. Maybe they just aren’t totally happy with the state of their relationships right now.
100 Simple Ways to Have More Friends is a handbook of sorts, with “meeting people” tips interspersed with “nurturing your friendship” type tips. It’s a book you can go back to occasionally or one you can read right through and try out the various suggestions as you absorb them. Friendships are fluid and even when you have long time friends that have been in your life forever, you might still need a few more who get you. It’s as simple as that.
In 1 Peter 5:7 we read “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” I want people to know they are never alone, even in the dark, lonely times. Even when the rest of the people in your life don’t get where you’re coming from. He is always there keeping us company and encouraging us. He puts the right people and situations in front of us to help us through.
The more friends you have, the more you’ll have the right people in your life to give you the support and connection you desire. Having more friends means you’ll consistently connect with new people and also keep the good friends you already have. If your friendships don’t seem to stick, you’ll be making friends and losing them quickly. The key to having more friends is increasing the number of people you meet on a regular basis and holding on to the great pals you already have.
This book contains one hundred suggestions on how to make new friends and also strengthen the friendships you already have. The tips are varied, with suggestions on how to meet new people interspersed with ideas for nurturing your new and existing friendships.
Cherie Burbach is a poet, mixed media artist, and freelance writer. She’s penned 17 books and has written for About.com, NBC/Universal, Match.com, Christianity Today, and more. Whether it’s writing articles or creating art, all of Cherie’s work centers on relationships and faith. She includes book pages, music sheets, and other fabulous random things in her art to create something that celebrates a hopeful message. Visit her website for more info, cherieburbach.com.