Recently a friend moved out from the area I live in and I don’t spend as much time with him as I used to. It’s been really difficult to adjust as I’m used to us doing everything together. It got me thinking about being lonely and what can be done about it.
I’ve moved around a lot in my life and the hardest thing about it has been making new friends. I’d say I’m very outgoing and friendly but even so it’s been slow going trying to meet new people. It definitely gets much harder to make friends when you move outside of an educational establishment where you share a common bond with people. I’d say that for many people they reach a stage where they decide they have enough friends and don’t want any more.
One of the biggest social stigmas around going out alone is that people won’t talk to you because they think there must be something wrong with you if you are out by yourself. I go to restaurants. cinemas and concerts on my own when I don’t know anyone who would like to come with me. I would say that most of the time I go out alone people ignore me or avoid any kind of communication. What’s sad about this is that everyone must necessarily be alone at some stage. We are born alone and we will probably die alone. And of course, we can’t have company every second of the day.
A few years ago I was intrigued by the phenomenon of the Pick-Up artist. The idea is more well know in America but I’m sure that people have adopted the techniques here. One guy spoke about how he would often go out to a college bar on a Saturday night dressed in a fancy dress costume. He would arrive alone and would then wait around for his ‘friends’ to arrive. In the meantime he woud invariably attract attention from people who would ask him why he was dressed up as a pirate or cowboy or whatever.Pretty soon he would have a party of interested people around him. Of course, you can probably guess that his friends never showed up because it was all done for show and he had no party to go to because there wasn’t one.
I’m not sure what we can learn from this tale. Going to such lengths to meet people might be seen as desperate. But the sad thing is it shows the effort people will go to in order to find company and human interaction. I’m not sure if the guy would have attracted any attention at all if he had gone to the bar in normal clothing. And that’s a shame.
When you look at films and books, you can see a whole loneliness genre. The films of Wong Kar Wai are usually about lonely people (Fallen Angels and Chungking Express). The Japanese novelist Haruki Muraki has made a career of mining the depths of his characters’ feelings of isolation and alienation.
Yet, it’s almost impossible to tell people that you feel lonely, because people are expected to be constanty enjoying spending time with all their friends. Who knows, maybe one day this will all change.