Embarrassed That I Am Lonely . . .

Have been in town since August 1, 2012, and have made progress exploring a hobby in art. Have an acquaintance who has epilepsy, whose parents are setting her up in a restaurant. She is married with no children. Am very happy for her. Her mother told me to stay away from face to face support groups in town, as everyone will know my business. She says she is willing to put my art up on her walls of her restaurant. In a nearby city, am speaking with gallery owners about them displaying my art, as we have many tourists from all over the world. Worried that I have many online friends (mostly here) and she is my only face to face acquaintance. Have a close friend in NYC who I speak with on the telephone several times a week. Feel empty. Had many friends when I lived in Florida 35 years, mostly due to the many support groups I belonged to. In ten years living in NYC, made only one friend, although I filled the gap with several support groups online and face to face. This is the first time I am navigating without face to face support groups. Does anybody have any ideas? My college age roommate has made no friends in the year he has lived here. My other college age roommate was born and raised here, and has many friends. How long should I give it? Attend a new church, but because my health problems have become worse (bitter cold winter?), can't be a 'super volunteer.' Working on becoming competent in bridal, pet portraits and inspirational (mostly angels) paintings.

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It takes awhile to make friends in a new city. I find volunteering helps to make friends. Just find a project you are interested in. Explain to the people there that you may not always be able to make it, due to your health. A lot of places, like a food pantry, clothing room, meals for the homeless, have teams of people working, so one less person occasionally is not such a big deal. The artwork sounds promising, too.

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Dear Skoneal57,
Thank you for your suggestions. Looking to getting into an assisted living facility where I hope they have some programs . . .
Yours truly,

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Don't ever be embarrassed that you are lonely. In the many years I've been on this earth I have two dear friends and neither live in the same town as I do so it makes it hard to see or talk to them very often. I work from home so I don't go out much so I understand how it feels to not have any friends to call and talk with about your day, etc. Over the years I've thrown my life into my work and just didn't talk to strangers, now I wish I would have been more outgoing. My biggest problem is that I don't know how to make friends. I will start talking to someone in line at the store for example and think I could be friends with that person but I would feel like an idiot asking for their phone number or to go to lunch, etc. so I just let the opportunity pass me by. The ironic thing is that I run a website for people with anxiety and panic disorder and have talked to thousands of people over the years giving advice and support, but when I am sad or lonely I have no one to talk to. If you figure out how to make new friends let me know so I can give it a try.

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Dear Amy,
I used to be a lot more outgoing, but learned painfully that it doesn't help. It used to, but not anymore. Has been my experience that I made many more friends in SUPPORT GROUPS than in volunteering. I don't know why. Have asked people to join me for coffee and that doesn't work. Presently living with college students 30 years my junior, and they are kind to me, but have nothing in common. Hoping that a structured environment like an assisted living facility might help, or an apartment complex with a resident social worker might be an idea. Even though I live in a small town, am amazed how much low income housing there is here! Friday I am looking at a room in a transitional housing project, but looked at pictures of it in the Internet, and have some second thoughts. Also, checked the address at www.spotcrime.com, and see that it is in a high crime area. Surprised because there is nothing around there (in the "boondocks") and have to depend on a courtesy van to get around. Make most of my friends on the Internet. Somehow still have need for "face to face" friends, but certainly helps. Have learned research shows US is the LONELIEST country in the WORLD! As a last resort, may move to Cuenca, Ecuador or the Philippines, where old fashioned values predominate (US is, BY FAR, the greatest street drug using nation, by capita and in absolute numbers!). Will let you know if I find any solutions (live in small town since August 1, 2012). Before, live in Brooklyn, NY, for 10 years in the Projects. Made only one friend in all of those 10 years, but membership in support groups helped take the edge off of loneliness. Concerned because isolation leads to loneliness, loneliness leads to depression, and depression leads to poor health, or worse, suicide. Some people seek a committed monogamous relationship if they can not find friends, or in the place of friends. In my opinion, because of the violence in the US, people have trust issues, stopping them from making friends. Hope this helps.

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