How do hermits make friends?

How to increase your support network?

How to come out of hiding?

How to find people to trust, people to like, people to talk to?

How to find people who care?

How to find people willing to help?

I have all of these questions lately. It has become painfully clear to me that one of my largest issues and reasons I continually slip down the rabbit hole of despair is that I have no one to talk to. That’s why I started this blog actually, so many years ago, and it has helped, but it isn’t the same as seeing and hearing people in real life, in real time.

This point was hammered home to me repeatedly in classes in the psych ward stay – they gave us worksheets to fill out with 10 blanks to list all the people in our lives we trust, talk to, interact with on a daily basis, that know us and could help us.

Mine was blank. I sat there staring at a blank paper and holding back tears as everyone else listed “my mother, my dad, my sister, my brother, my friend Joe, my neighbor Mary, my friend, my friend, my friend…..”

My world is so small and my isolation is enormous.

I had people that I went out with, that we performed together, laughed and had fun together, but we never talked. My family is so painfully dysfunctional I had given up on sharing anything or remotely relying on them. Hubby’s family is emotionally repressed or explosive and not people I can open up to. All my high school and college friends drifted away from me and it hurt too much to keep trying to find friends. I gave up decades ago.

So I’ve only had my counselor. That’s it. One trusted confidante that I have to pay and schedule a 1 hour visit.

All those online dating sites – are there any for friendships? Seeking intelligent, open minded women ready for deep philosophical discussions involving the latest neuroscience and psychology too. Seeking honest, yet gentle and non-judging, opinions and guidance. Seeking warm shoulders to cry on occasionally. Seeking happy voices to share funny stories. Seeking women who don’t mind that I only have 1 pair of sandals each summer, that my nails are never painted, that my house is a mess, that my garden is dead and full of weeds, that my tired eyes show a persistent sadness if you look too closely, but my soul shows a persistent humor and style if you don’t scare it into hiding.

Otherwise, I am seriously looking for suggestions on how to get back into the world and create authentic connections and start letting people know the real me. maybe.

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25 thoughts on “How do hermits make friends?

  1. Sorry you find yourself in the same position I am in. I have been on WordPress on and off for 3 years and my original set of online friends even dissipated. Don’t know what I’d do without my therapist! Sorry honey, there should be a friends connector site!

    • Its tough to see those online friends come and go and wonder what happened, wish you could truly reach to out to the ones you grew to care about. At least we have wordpress!

  2. My friends were the actors on soap operas. My socialization was going to the grocery store. That went on for many years of my adult life.
    I have always loved singing and have been in chorus all through high-school, so I dared to join the county chorale in later years. At first I was so scared but stuck with it. Over time I relaxed more, and eventually made a few friends. Not the best ones. I kept at it and started a women’s group. We’ve met now every month for about 10 years, meeting at each other’s house, playing cards or doing crafts.
    It took a lot of trial and error, and to be honest terror even. But it has been worth it.
    Chorale meets once a week, and working on the music made it easier to get used to a group of people and take my time because the focal point was music. So maybe find something you like to do and attend regularly. After awhile it’s not so scary. I used to shake in my knees at concerts, they really wobbled. But it’s not so hard anymore. I learned that everybody is nervous too in front of a crowd.

    • That must have been tough to join the chorale group, good for you getting out there! I know exactly what you mean, I used to have a musical group that I played whiled they danced and it disintegrated for various reasons the past few years leaving me searching for a new group. We never talked much about our personal lives, the focal point was the music and the performance, I liked that. Meeting once a month sounds nice, something to look forward to, but not overdo it.

      • Eventually I found friends from that group and kept them, not something I could do in the past. Persistence…plus trial and error, and so worth it. It’s good to have a safe place to vent now and then, feel supported and uplifted; and hopefully give that back in return. I find it also tiring so am not that social that often.

  3. I totally understand that it’s not the same as a real live person to hang out with but I am here if you ever find yourself at a complete loss. Email isn’t the best contact ever, but I am already willing to be a name on your list. Virtual or otherwise. 🙂

    • Aww thanks Grainne, that means a lot. I still have that terrible worksheet in my folder, waiting to fill in the names, why can’t a support name be an email? I think I also try not to lean on you sweetie, I see everything on your own plate. But The point is so I have something to pull out and see I’m not alone, not to prove that I am, and to keep making up reasons to push people away. I’m still drafting those posts about my stay in the ward, but really it was something to see the other patients have their jaws drop wide open that I had no one on my list. They had all been brought there forcefully by someone who recognized they were not well, not asked to go themselves.

      • I understand this all too well. All of it. Xo

        My plate has room for you. We are cut from the same material somehow and you are already a part of my life in many ways. I just wouldn’t ever turn you away. That said, I get it. The list, the self realization, the loneliness and the small victories that can feel so huge. Xx much love from me.

  4. Support groups. Some p[laces have many, some have few. Support groups are there for people to talk. They’re there assuming that people attending are hurt in some way. Will someone there be a perfect match as a friend – maybe, maybe not, but they’re a good place to start. In different places I’ve lived, I’ve noticed that many groups are open not only to people who exactly fit the description of the group, but people who sorta-kinda fit, too. An MS group may be okay with people with lupus attending, for example. DBSA (depression-bipolar support alliance) usually encourages people with anxiety disorders, abuse histories, and the like. All-purpose groups like ones for spiritual growth or people who like to knit may not be as open to someone speaking about their pain, but may have more people attending from a greater range of backgrounds, which increases the chance of finding someone you click with. And who knows – if support groups don’t work perhaps you should put out a friendship add on a dating site, someone who wants a friend might just answer!

    • Thanks for this, I’ve been thinking about support groups recently. I think I may finally be ready to do this, to enter a room and say I have been abused. In the past I was too ashamed, too afraid. I guess that would be the perfect place to find someone who understands and is ready to listen or talk, that’s why they are there. And I don’t want someone to be my counselor 24/7, but someone to know the real me so if topics did come we could discuss, along with everything else. I know these people exist, people with great big hearts and senses of humor, because I found some here! Now I want to see if I find some more and keep expanding my little world.

  5. I feel the same way. I have people I associate with, but no real friends who I can talk to about the real things I’m struggling with. I thought this one new neighbor might be a good friend….it’s taken me over a year to get comfortable with even the notion of opening up to her. And then I found out she’s moving. I have one good friend on line. That’s it. My family is toxic. My in-laws are toxic and self absorbed and emotionally messed up. Sigh. And I’d love friendships to with women who were interesting to talk to, not all about hair and clothes or whatever. I wish I could be of more help, but I’m in the same damn place. Thinking of you.

    • Hmm, yes that sums it up, doesn’t it? they’re either toxic, fade out of our lives, or don’t have the depth to be real. So frustrating. There must be a way to surround ourselves with healthy supportive people that will stick around?

  6. I think the journey is different for everyone. For me, online was my start. My sister and I had been driven apart by NM. I had friendships, but they weren’t particularly healthy…so starting with the healthy journey: Yes, I started on line. 2002, “Fellowship of the Rings” was out, and I wanted to talk to other people who loved the movie as much as I did. I discovered a fan site, became involved. Had a few rough encounters but found some people I connected with. I’m still friends with a several of them. Some of them, I haven’t met yet, others I have. In fact, I’ve visited several of them. We keep in touch on an LOTR site, still, as well as FB and email, even snail mail or phone calls on occasion. One of my LOTR friends had a friend who lived near me; it took us a few years to connect; she and I now meet a few times a month. In 2007, I joined RWA (Romance Writers of America) and the local chapter, Desert Rose. I met a lot of women, a few of which I still interact with though I had to let go of my membership. I also consider my blog friends as friends; they’re more likely to come and go. ((roots2blossom))

    • That’s great you turned so many interests into true lasting friendships, and good for you putting yourself out there, despite what NM taught you. I do consider online and bloggers as friends, but I guess I hesitated to put them on my list, thinking that wasn’t the point of the support network exercise, but maybe I need to expand my thinking. In that case, I would definitely add you to my list Judy, for the past few years, as you are nearly first to respond and comment on each post, cheer me on, and provide gentle guidance too. So strange I can’t even name 1 thing right now that actually interests me to go and join that group or fan club, I guess I need more time for that to return. But I will not underestimate the power of using online tools to get real life support.

      • I was 49 when I discovered the online world. Before that, there was only church and work and school, and I didn’t feel like I fit anywhere.

        I’m truly honored and happy to be a part of your circle. I also realize that as wonderful as my online friends are, there’s a need for face-to-face with people.

  7. Know how you feel. I escaped into playing MMORPGs because online st least some people wouldn’t mind me. But they all left when I slid into mental illness too.

  8. Depends on where you are at. My teenage children pointed out I had no friends. I had no time or energy for friends. I was in survival mode and anything beyond that was too much. Then I reconnected with my sister. Finally understood about all the lies mother would tell each of us to divide us. Then I started with people at work. My daughter gave me dance lessons….didn’t find any friends there but I loved dancing and that gave me the courage to join Karate….which I love more. And I actually met some of the people I have met on line. Internet shrinks the world and helps me find like minded people. Not ideal but for me it works because sometimes the time I want to talk is like 2 in the morning. My Australian friends are up then. Hugs.

    • You have such a good point there, I’ve really had no energy for friends, not true friends that might need me back some time. So I settle for doing activities next to people, but not really connecting with the people I do them with. I guess I should stop discounting the internet relationships, perhaps they are more real than what many others call friends. Just thought of that. I do hope to reconnect with my brothers some day, down the road once we all have a chance to heal and the dust settles. I have such a longing for family.

      • Hugs. I understand the longing for family. I hope that changes for you in the future but I also understand that each person has to walk at their own pace. Take care.

  9. I have a very small circle of close and trusted confidants. Some I have known better than 30 years. A couple of my friends I met here, on line through blogging; they have become close friends and confidants. I had to learn to let my guard down and reach out.

  10. I’m sorry to hear about your isolation. It’s a problem I’ve experienced throughout most of my life, too, and the worst of it occurred when I was in a deep, dark depression that lasted a few years. My family is dysfunctional, too, so it’s never been an option to rely on them during difficult times. Thanks to the internet, I have discovered two wonderful soul mates, my boyfriend and a friend who lives in another country whom I’ve never met before, but I have way more in common with her than anyone I’ve met around here. I wish I had some wonderful suggestions to offer, but I haven’t found the solution myself. The few friendships I’ve made through college/work situations are mediocre. I relate super well with one of the girls, but she’s very unreliable and flaky. Then, one of them is really reliable, but I don’t feel much of a connection with her. It’s tough finding the right kind of people, especially if you don’t feel like the average kind of person.

    Of all options, I consider the internet one of the best for introverts and hermits. It takes patience and determination to keep reaching out to find someone you’re compatible with, though. And I realize online interaction sometimes feels like a poor substitute to a real, live friend, but there are times when some support is better than none. You may not find anyone in your area on this website, but I’ve enjoyed some of the online conversations I’ve had through this: http://www.interpals.net/

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