R&U: Loneliness

So loneliness is something I struggle with a lot.

I’m an only child, so I spent much of my childhood alone. For me it wasn’t so much the ‘making friends’ part that was the hardest (though that was difficult), it was more the ‘getting invited places’ part. I’m a very quiet person, and pretty laid-back, so I tend to wait for someone else to make the first move on plans. I’m constantly afraid of overstepping boundaries, which is kind of funny (in an unfunny way) because I keep most everyone at arm’s length anyway –so my overstepping boundaries is their coming within a foot of me. Which isn’t a good way to make plans or live, I know, but it’s the way my brain works so it’s what I’m working with.

As for the now, I live alone. I don’t go out much, partially because I’m broke and partially because I can’t handle the loud noises and crowds that college town bars and restaurants tend to entail.

One thing that helps me feel less alone is to have the presence of another in the room, or in the house (or in my case, the apartment). For the reasons I mentioned above, I don’t always have ready access to other physical human beings to invite over for a nice, quiet, companionable sit, so I improvise. I fill the space with noise.

Usually it’s music, different genres depending on what mood I’m in.

Recently, though, I’ve been listening to the radio.

There are plenty of apps you can download for your phone, and most radio stations allow you to stream through their website. You don’t get control over the music, and you have to sit through ads, but sometimes I like to hear them.

Having that other voice, and knowing there are people around the world listening to that voice at the same time as you, is really comforting to me. It feels like there’s someone in my room, talking to me. Not with me, so I don’t feel the pressure to respond; just talking to me.

If you struggle with loneliness, or you just need a break from physical humans but don’t want to be fully alone, I recommend picking a favorite radio station to listen to. It helps, especially if you can find one without commercials you find grating or annoying.

 

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