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I’m just so lonely

Kate Middleton photo Kate Middleton · 15 Jul, 2020

I’m a bit of an introvert so I’ve never had LOADS of friends but I did ok. Me and my best friends always hung out together and we talked about almost anything. But since lockdown hit I don’t know what to do. They just want to chat online but I hate it and it really upsets me because it makes me miss them so much. So I just ignore their messages and then they get cross with me. I don’t know what to do. I’m just so lonely.

Leigh, 16, Chester

Hi Leigh, so sorry you are feeling so alone. That sucks. People were made to need other people, and we all struggle when we’re left feeling like we’re on our own. Sending you a big hug …

So - let’s tackle the ‘you’re an introvert you must be loving this’ thing first of all. I’m a MASSIVE introvert Leigh, and I have found this really tough on my friendship spaces too. You see, introverts may not have masses of mates - and having plenty of time with your own thoughts is also fine - but the friendships we do have REALLY matter - and we do them really properly. So we form really close friendships and we really share - those people become our bedrock, and we love them, and we need them. So it’s understandable to miss them - and why trying to make contact in an obviously not-as-good-as-seeing-you way can just make you feel rubbish. Introverts are also often less verbal, but love to hang out in smaller groups. So a massive zoom call just doesn’t do it for us - too much noise, buzz, everyone talking at once - and no chance to really connect.

The risk is that what we do is that all or nothing thing - just thinking “if I can’t do this the way that I want to it is all too hard so I’m gonna just not talk to them at all and catch them once this madness is all over.” Because that might work if this was a 2-3 week thing but this is gonna be a much longer term time where meeting up face to face might be tougher, or where there might be periods that isn’t possible. And the more we can find ways to stay in touch the better.

Think about things that DO work for you - ok so zoom aint it, but try other things. Non verbal stuff can be good so think about messaging - or even old fashioned post - exchanging letters or cards. Then to get around the issue of not liking the only things you can do when you can’t meet face to face, try scheduling it regularly - you won’t feel like it, but the rhythm will help - and that lessens the sadness when the chat is over because you know you’ve another one planned.

One last thing - another thing a lot of introverts have found hard in lockdown is EVERYONE IN THEIR SPACE! Because we’re all stuck in the house there’s very little personal space. And if you feel hemmed in and overloaded you’re not gonna feel like making the big effort it takes to do a phone call or something with someone. So why not head out somewhere, go for a walk, run or ride, then if you’ve got the credit on your phone ake the call there? The journey will give you some headspace and the quiet might make it easier to do the chat once you’re there.

Most of all remember this time will end. Its like stepping stones to cross a river - try to plan where the next one is, but remember you will get across and get back to dry land eventually.

Kate

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