Why Are We Lonely, It’s Too Easy to Let Things Slide
This week, I’m taking some time away from work and visiting with family and friends but I wanted to share something on the blog.
I had dinner the other night with two dear friends of mine. We all used to work in the same office, and became great friends. Over the years we all went our separate ways professionally, but I try to keep in touch with them both, poorly most of the time, to be honest.
Naturally, I was very excited to be able to get dinner with them both while I’m in town, but as we finished up making our plans, I realized that while I had seen both of them on trips back to Ohio over the past couple of years, they hadn’t seen each other in longer than that.
I live in another state. hundreds of miles away. It’s understandable that we would only be able to spend time together infrequently. They work within two blocks of each other every day.
Now, I’m not sharing this to shame them. I did plenty of good-natured shaming in person. But, I think this situation is illustrative of something we all experience in our own relationships. We mean to keep in touch. We mean to be social. We mean to get together and reach out to our friends. But something comes up, we forget, we blow it off, promising to send a note over the weekend, or try and get together after the holidays, etc. Then, something else comes up, and pretty soon it’s been six months, a year, more.
It’s sad, but we all do it. Instead of staying connected to the people we care about, we get busy, and our actions show that maybe these people aren’t so important to us. And then we see the chronic loneliness and mental health struggles and wonder why.
Today, sadly, I saw a social media post about the passing of someone’s old friend, and her regret at “trying to get together” without actually managing to do it, and now they’re gone. It touched me, it broke my heart to know that this happened. Again, I share this not to shame anyone, but because I’m also guilty. It reminded me of how many people I’ve been “meaning” to send a note to, or chat with. What promise do I have that I’ll be able to do that tomorrow, next week, or “after the holidays”?
None. Not a single day is promised to us.
Send that note. Make that call. Schedule that lunch or coffee. Your work, or that book, or that Twitter beef can wait.