I watched the news this morning run an episode on loneliness. As I watched I realized that they could have been interviewing me. In an age of social connections, we are at an all-time high of being lonely. We live lives online and only show the perfect and happy side but all the while we are slowly dying inside. It is a slow decay, a torturously slow process that approaches moment by moment sneaking up on us so that one day we look back and we are engulfed.
I am by nature an introvert. I do not seek out crowds and parties; they drain me. However, I have learned over the years to be an extrovert because that is what people expect and like. No one wants an introvert to hang out with, they want the laughing and joking life of the party. That is not me. Not really. I can do it and I can fake out the best of them but I don't like it. I need solace, books, quiet, and family close to me...at home...with no other people around to be happy. That is who I am.
Who the world sees me as is a happy, laughing, joking, silly, life of the party girl who likes being in crowds and thrives off of the lime light.
It is exhausting.
Not many people know that I am an introvert. Fewer still believe me.
"I am what people see me to be
It's not who I am but what they see"
I wrote that in high school because even then people wanted an out going girl to hang out with instead of the shy, quiet girl I was.
What effect does this have on a person you ask? It makes us lonely. Friendships are hard when you can't be yourself. It is also hard to hold onto friendships when you can't connect they way you want or you don't actually want to be around people. Not because you don't like them but because it is draining to be 'on' all the time.
Friendships require putting yourself out there...staying out there...
That is so hard.
So, I am lonely in a world full of people. I have friends but I don't see them. I can blame it on schedules, time, etc. but the truth is I am just plain lonely and scared.
I don't know how to foster friendships like everyone else. I see people doing things together, laughing and having fun and I want that. I just don't know how to go about it. Or how to keep doing it. Especially when I just want to be at home!
Life is hard sometimes. I want friends and relationships but I just don't know how to make and keep those deep connections without giving myself up.
In a world of social media how can we be so lonely?