Author Topic: 43 years old and no friends - Advice Please  (Read 6529 times)

Sweetgirl

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43 years old and no friends - Advice Please
« on: July 19, 2010, 07:46:35 AM »
OK, I've been ill for a long time.  This illness left me with little energy for raising my boys and working.  So I sort of built walls around myself and have never really had any friends in adult life.  (My family was verbally abusive and always dismissed me, so I stopped speaking to them as they caused more stress than anything else)  I had some acquaintances at work, but we did not do anything outside of the office together.  So now my oldest is off on his own, and the youngest is 16 years of age. 

Now I find myself longing to start friendships and to try to have some fun regardless of what is going on with my illness.  In the past, I kept thinking I'll put myself out there when I get better, when I have more energy etc...  But now many years have passed and I am so used to this self imposed isolation that I don't even know how to make friends. 

 I am tired of being lonely.  I find when I am alone, I am always thinking about my illness, and that is not how I want to live the rest of my life.   Any advice would be appreciated.

mac

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Re: 43 years old and no friends - Advice Please
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2010, 08:12:43 AM »
Dear Sweetgirl,
I can identify with part of your dilemma of isolation.  I really do have many good friends but they are all busy with grandchildren or live a very long distance away.  For the last 40 years i have lived in a neighborhood in which, if you were not born here, you are a newcomer.  It is very hard to form good close friendships.  I have found tho, that I can be more busy than I like with volunteer work.  A lot of it does isolate me again but in the process I have made new acquaintances and some I can really call friends.  I look for those who are divorced or alone themselves to try to give them a call once in a while.  Usually even if they are not ill, they tend to isolate themselves or be depressed and a call now and then brightens their day.

Yes, this illness makes us less apt to socialize because we don't feel our best or are just in downright pain and know that isn't our best face but on good days we can go outside ourselves to do some something to help someone else...and Karma will take over...it will come back to feed you.

Hope it helps

gphx

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Re: 43 years old and no friends - Advice Please
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2010, 09:06:11 AM »
I don't have any local friends either. I moved here a few years ago and haven't bothered to make any. Explaining why I don't want to drink 20 beers or run 10 miles just gets a little tiresome after a while. One way around that is to go places mellow people hang out. A book club at the library, a crafting class, exercise groups for the disabled or otherwise challenged, etc.. In today's world the internet can be good too. I met my current girlfriend that way and we now do nothing together. But you have to advertise. Make a spicy signature line and add a photo icon. Show yourself off at any opportunity. Look at mac, she's $39.99 plus shipping and handling, what a deal! =)

Don't wait for other people to ask you, ask them!

What about starting a Sjogren's support group in your area? Make them come to you and tell them to bring food!
Dxed unspecific 'sicca syndrome' eyes and mouth. Neuro issues, muscle weakness. SS Seronegative but high inflammatory markers. Diabetes dx 2010. Glucose control improved neuromuscular issues. Enlarged thyroid under observation 2013. Yippee.

deeindiana

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Re: 43 years old and no friends - Advice Please
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2010, 09:27:14 AM »
I'm sorry that you feel so lonely and isolated. A lot of that comes with kids who are growing up and leaving the nest. I'm poised on that edge too. Plus, we are moving to a new state and I'm worried about making new friends (or that I'll feel well enough to care about making friends). Gee...it doesn't matter if we are 8 or 88, does it? We will worry about how to fit in!

Mac had a great idea about volunteering. Just be sure it is for something that you love rather than something that will depress your spirit. If you are a reader, your local library is a great place to volunteer and meet other literary geeks.  If you like animals, your animal shelter might need a helping hand.

Or if you don't like the idea of being on a schedule (I know how hard it is to match up your "feel good days" with a work or volunteer schedule) gphx's idea about finding comfortable places to mellow out among people can help you socialize without making a commitment. Coffee shops, outdoor concerts, crochet clubs, garden walks, art lectures, etc. Just be sure to reach out and strike up a conversation with the person next to you. After awhile, faces will become familiar -- and that can lead to friendships.

Good luck to you! I hope the new experiences energize you!
Deb

Diagnosed June 2010.
Rheumy at University of Michigan Med Center. Age 52
Severely dry mouth & throat with difficulty swallowing, fibro, allodynia of the scalp.
Medications: Atenolol, Dexilant, Zoloft, Zocor, Flaxseed oil, Vit D, Nasonex, Plaquenil
I am my own worst enemy...

wally

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Re: 43 years old and no friends - Advice Please
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2010, 09:49:50 AM »
I was in the same boat but got into a great women's bible study and suddenly made some really wonderful friends. That might be a good solution. Hugs to you from an online sister friend- Wally :)

bloodless

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Re: 43 years old and no friends - Advice Please
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2010, 10:33:56 AM »
I totally relate. Friends I had quit asking me to do things because the answer was usually no. When you can't get out it's hard to maintain friendships. It seems as though I live to make a living and that's it. When I get too sick to make a living then what? I did like the suggestions listed.
I miss the good old days. Things were more like they used to be back then.

Sjogrens, Lupus, Fibro, GERD

syng4hym

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Re: 43 years old and no friends - Advice Please
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2010, 10:50:34 AM »
Get an animal.  When I got my dog, it was the best thing I've ever done.  He's so much company and understands when you're not feeling well. 

Sweetgirl

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Re: 43 years old and no friends - Advice Please
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2010, 11:05:54 AM »
Thank you all for your kind responses!

Mac -
Quote
Yes, this illness makes us less apt to socialize because we don't feel our best or are just in downright pain and know that isn't our best face
You put it into words better than I could.  I have been thinking of volunteering, and may look into something that is low key and not a big commitment to begin with.  You were right, I worry that I will  commit to something and then not be able to deliver.  I think we sometimes forget that we do still have "gifts" or "value" left in us.

gphx -  You made me laugh!  :D  Thanks for that.  I noticed Mac's price too, and she is quite a bargin!!  There is a bead shop about 15 minutes from my home, maybe I should venture there and take one of the jewelry making classes they offer.  It's just a matter of having some confidence in myself that I'll be able to follow along.  (brain fog!)

deeindiana -
Quote
I'm worried about making new friends (or that I'll feel well enough to care about making friends). Gee...it doesn't matter if we are 8 or 88, does it? We will worry about how to fit in!
 
You hit the nail on the head!  For so long I have been super mom, able to clean the house and feel like I was on fire, patiently listen to my kids even when my ears were ringing, etc...  Now I feel like I will not have a purpose and have no direction.  How sad will it be when my youngest goes off to live his life and I will still be looking for mine!  I guess I need to get moving and put myself out there among the living. I will try very hard to put some of this great advice to work.  Best wishes to you on your upcoming move!

Wally - Thanks sister friend.  That is great advice.  I have been looking towards a higher power lately, and I am finding comfort in that, maybe I will be able to find some friends along that journey. 


Syng4hym - I have three Pugs!  Rescued two of them.  Yes they are a comfort, but I need someone to talk back once in awhile!  LOL


Thank you all. :) 





kwolfsheimer

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Re: 43 years old and no friends - Advice Please
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2010, 11:21:49 AM »
I totally identify with this thread.  Like Mac said, I find myself becoming more of a homebody and isolating myself.  I have to make myself go out and do things.  Getting out the door is the hardest part and I find that many of my friends have no idea how sick I really feel.  I cover it up with a smile. My kids are also getting older and my husband and I have realized that we have no hobbies outside of the kids. 

But it is so important to have friends and it does your mind of your illness.  I am a member of a woman's club that is part of the General Federated Woman's Clubs.  You can go on-line and look up GFWC and find one in your area.  They do so many great things-- charity work, activities...   and they love and need new members!!  You can be as involved as you want to be.

The jewelry crafting is a great idea. It gives your hand something to do while chatting.  I would also be on the look-out for neighborhood organizations or events.

inga

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Re: 43 years old and no friends - Advice Please
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2010, 11:32:53 AM »
I moved back to my present town 4 years ago after a 15 year absence.  I really didn't have any relationships left from when I lived here before.  The only familiar things were geographical.

No matter how little energy I had, and at times I was in the 'minus' energy range, I joined several community groups and hauled my sorry behind to the meetings.  Now and then people would tell me I looked ill, and, I explained I had an 'autoimmune disease and neuropathy', and every one cut me slack if I couldn't get things done and keep up with the others.

I made friends, GOT energy from this, developed some self esteem and a role in life.

I think no matter how sick you are, it is important to have 'non-sick' interests and groups.  Church, friends of the library, 'green' groups, literacy groups, foster grandparents, mentoring, humane societies, even stuffing envelopes for any worthy cause gives purpose.  At first, I tried not to take on 'committments' because I never knew how I would feel....but then I just assumed I would feel lousy and I learned to do things while feeling lousy....unless it was a migraine or vomitting.....and so, it goes....I either can't show up due to being horribly ill and I sit home feeling horribly ill (a total loss), or I show up and don't look so hot and leave feeling the same (no net loss or gain), or show up not feeling well and end up feeling better that I went (total gain).

My only advice, stay away from toxic groups with toxic leadership.  Keep your involvement light, and  your emotional investment modest.

No, not every one understands my disease or limitations.  Yes, I do accept this is how lousy I will feel the rest of my life, if I am lucky.....but, I do have friends now, and it is not my loss from this disease, but rather how I live with this disease that defines me.

gphx

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Re: 43 years old and no friends - Advice Please
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2010, 11:43:17 AM »
syng4hym, great job pointing out animals. Nothing beats unconditional love, ready whenever we need it. Research has even shown patients who have exposure to animals tend to be much healthier than those who don't! Also, many people find walking a dog or taking them to a park or shore is a good way to meet other people. Join a dog club. Animal people tend to be nice, happy folk.
Dxed unspecific 'sicca syndrome' eyes and mouth. Neuro issues, muscle weakness. SS Seronegative but high inflammatory markers. Diabetes dx 2010. Glucose control improved neuromuscular issues. Enlarged thyroid under observation 2013. Yippee.

Blue Kat

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Re: 43 years old and no friends - Advice Please
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2010, 02:22:00 PM »
Sweetgirl, I understand your problem since I'm sort of in the same boat in a way.  I'm admittedly a loner at heart and as a result don't make friends easily, but at the same time I would love to have fun now and then and frankly, there aren't a lot of fun things you can do by yourself.  My best friend died last year suddenly and my sister who is also a best friend, moved away just a few months before that, so I can't remember the last time I had fun.  I have "work friends" but away from work we don't socialize because we have different lives.  I keep telling myself I'm going to join the adult singles group at my church but so far I haven't because their meeting times weren't good for me, but this month I'm determined to do it! 

Epson

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Re: 43 years old and no friends - Advice Please
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2010, 03:06:33 PM »
Human companionship is way over rated, I agree with getting a dog.  I just got my second one from death row and enjoying every minute with him.

mac

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Re: 43 years old and no friends - Advice Please
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2010, 03:11:34 PM »
"I keep telling myself I'm going to join the adult singles group at my church but so far I haven't because their meeting times weren't good for me, but this month I'm determined to do it! "

Blue Kat, You go girl!  I am looking forward to hearing how your singles group meeting went!  It has to be hard losing your sister and your best friend in such close proximity and even being a loner at heart we all need to have friends in our lives, even if they are not 'best friends'.  I'm pulling for you to meet some like minded people at this group.

The ideas above are priceless, all great and fit any personality (my personal favorites would include a pet!)   I am sure there are many more still to come.  

Sweetgirl, remember that even tho we don't see each other face to face here, we are all held by a common bond and I hope I speak for most if not all, that we are your friends.  We care about you and your well being, physically, mentally, emotionally.  Let us know how you are doing.   ;)

Sweetgirl

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Re: 43 years old and no friends - Advice Please
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2010, 03:35:14 PM »

Blue Kat - I am so very sorry about your best friend passing on and your sister moving away.  That must be very hard to deal with.  Good for you making it a priority to get out and meet people at your church.  My hope is that we will both meet some nice people to laugh with now and again.  Best wishes to you.
   
Mac - Thank you for what you said in your last post.  It brought tears to my eyes.  ( :) - which is a bonus for the dry eyes!)
You are very kind. 

Thank you my friends.