Wishing I knew how to feel lonely

Discussion in 'Welcome' started by gk25353, Sep 19, 2016.

  1. gk25353

    gk25353 New Member

    Title says it all, I guess. I'm a pretty (pretty much always) solitary person from the U.S., living in Japan right now, teaching. I have what I guess could be a mix between a gift and a curse - I just don't tend to get lonely. I spend pretty much all my time that's not work-related alone and when I do force myself to do something with other people it's an experience kind of like holding my breath - I can only do it for so long and afterwards I'm bound to have a headache.

    I'm in my late twenties now and since way back when I've been like this. I've had times when I really forced myself to be around others and managed to make what I would like to call close friends but those friendships now hang by a thread and I haven't made any new ones since. I've given up on relationships for the time being because even having that on my mind makes it impossible to talk with women given my total lack of experience to date. Moreover I can't say for certain I'm even really interested (not gay, just not interested).

    It gets hard though, especially when I've spent too much time avoiding people and my thoughts start to kind of go stale - too little outside input. Conversely, too much time forcing myself to be around others and I wind up consistently hating myself. Recently though, maybe just because of how impersonal and harsh Japanese culture can be, there have been a few times when I've felt that all-to-human need to be around other people. It doesn't last long but on those occasions somehow it becomes a little easier connect. It's honestly a pretty new feeling for me and it takes a lot to actually bring me there but it's been making me think that maybe it's less of a weakness and more of a strength - I just don't know how to bring it out really.

    Sorry if this was a bit long, no need to read it all, was half just to get my thoughts out; I'm just curious how and when some of you go through loneliness and what value you think there is to it. Feel free to share any of your own experiences.
  2. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    Loneliness is an individual perspective type of thing as opposed to a definable noun. If you do not feel lonely, how much time you spend with others does not matter, but the converse is also true- spending 18 hours a day around other peopel doesn't matter if you are still feeling lonely.

    The solution is simple- if you are happy and feeling okay then you are in fact okay. Do not let some societal expectation define how you believe you should react to a situation. If you feel lonely as you occasionally do then fine- reach out and spend time with others- if not then do not beleive yourself to be "wrong" because you think that society rules say you should feel a certain way and you do not. Live to meet your own needs, not societal expectations....
  3. Unknown_111

    Unknown_111 Forum Buddy Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    Welcome to the forum. You are lonely because of the cultural difference in the country you are residing in. Yes, the culture is different but are there any other Americans you know in the country and try to socialise with.

    We are a very open community who can help you by chatting to others in the forum. Do you have hobbies that you can do in your social time away from work. Have you tried to mixing with the local people?

    Please keep posting here and using the chat rooms for contact here. We can help YOU as much as we can. Take care please.
  4. Frances M

    Frances M Mountain Woman

    I don't think there is anything wrong with you at all, but that's coming from me, a self-proclaimed hermit. A long time ago, I realized that I preferred not to be around other people. I spend most of my time alone, with my bf or with my pets, that's really all I need in life. But even before my relationship, I spent 20 years alone with my 2 dogs. I saw a funny quote the other day "I love being a hermit, sure I get lonely, but that's what customer service agents are for." Sometimes I still feel the need for human interaction, I call myself a "driveway friend" meaning I'll say hello and talk to my nice neighbour from my driveway. There are not invitations for social situations and when I've had enough, or she has, we say goodbye, have a nice day. Or I come here to talk to people online. If you're pretty much content living a life of solitude, then you've found your happiness and I don't there is a need to question it.
    Thauoy and Ellicul-Nelle like this.
  5. gk25353

    gk25353 New Member

    Thanks for the replies, you guys have some really good insights. NYJmpMaster, that's really what I needed to hear - if you're not lonely there's not really a problem. I guess I have trouble defining what loneliness is - it's not pleasant for me to be alone too much but I've never called that feeling loneliness because even if I'm starting to go crazy from the isolation I don't really tend to seek people out, online or otherwise. This is the first chatroom I've been to in about a year.

    Unknown_111, Japan is indeed a very different culture but I try not to kid myself into thinking I'm any worse at getting along with Japanese people compared to with Americans....It is kind of disappointing in a way that I can't just blame the culture, but I've got to be honest - whatever time I spend with other Americans here tends to be at least as if not more awkward than time I spend with Japanese. Hobbies include reading, and honing my Japanese fluency.

    Frances M, I've also found that the hermit lifestyle requires at least some balance of personal interactions, however small. I might not need a super interactive life, but it would be nice if what interactions I had could be less of a chore I need to do to stay sane and more enjoyable.

    I guess it just stings to realize how terrible I am at connecting with other people - less nowadays because of any shame and more because each time I come out of an awkward situation or a conversation with an old friend that went nowhere the more I feel like I have no purpose to exist whatsoever. I can't think of anyone whose life I've particularly changed much outside of family (who I've hurt) and whatever I try to do at work to help students learn English seems to fall short. I'm a self-absorbed, uninterested person, a bad friend, and I'm also kind of crazy. Given my experiences with suicide attempts when I was in my teens, I know pretty much for certain I'm not going to ever directly try to end things but I've had really close calls with alcohol (.328 BAC coma), climbing, and other risks I've taken when I kind of dare the world to do it for me. I just feel like I'm endurant enough to not give up completely, but as things get harder there will eventually be some self-preservation switch that will click off and then it's just one slip of my attention or one cigarette pack too many and sayonara world. I don't see myself in any imminent danger of that, but there's just this feeling that I haven't got a whole lot to lose.
  6. Ellicul-Nelle

    Ellicul-Nelle New Member

    I love this! Although I'm very outgoing,add my pet peeve it's a public servant (ie:cashier,office manager) who is supposed to be the attitude of the establishment,won't crack a smile,or so much as grunt.....I also an perfectly content to live pretty well isolated. I hate company and even though I adore kids,I'm always glad when they leave! Am I awful? I'll spend an entire holiday alone,never opening my door.....
    If a person is happy why try to make him into what YOU want!?
    Frances M and Thauoy like this.
  7. Deety

    Deety Well-Known Member

    I would imagine your lack of loneliness is a benefit, why experience another type of pain you don't normally feel? I feel deeply lonely much of the time, I would prefer to be more self-sufficient.
    Frances M and gk25353 like this.
  8. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    @gk25353, perhaps you are an introvert. Extroverts are energized by being around other people; introverts are enervated by it. It seems that you do have social contact, you just have limits to how long it takes before it drains you. If you are not lonely and have enough social interaction that you enjoy, things sound good. :)
    gk25353 likes this.