I’m normally funnier when I’m annoyed. I’m annoyed by things that make no sense.
According to a recent and as yet unpublished study, loneliness can spread like a disease. You can “infect” people around you with feelings of loneliness. It spreads like a cold. The article (in the Telegraph) said, “[It] seems to work because lonely people have less interactions with others and this in itself leads to the others feeling the same.”
Maybe I’m stupid, but I don’t see how this can work. In fact, this entire sentence is contradictory. How does less interaction lead to a spread
of this “infection”?
Without actually giving a definition of loneliness, they seem to equate loneliness with not having enough close friends, and in the study asked participants how many days a week they felt loneliness. Monday yes, Tuesday no. That’s how loneliness works, right?
First of all, a confession. I feel lonely almost on a daily basis, or at least I did in Mexico, but it wasn’t down to being alone. Don’t the loneliest moments happen when you’re surrounded by people? It’s the moments you are with family, friends, partners and fail to connect – either because your own sadness makes you too self-absorbed to connect on any level, or because you have views so bizarre or uncommon the only thing to do is grab a mic and become a stand-up comedian (guess which one I am…).
So – the connection between being alone and being lonely? Absolutely none, unless of course you’re alone because no one wants to be around you.
My view? I don’t have to feel lonely when I’m alone; that’s what iPods are for. When I’m alone, my headphones lilt the wise words of my favourite comedians into my ear. Maybe it’s sad that I can’t be alone without filling my head with imaginary friends. Perhaps the real reason I don’t feel lonely with comedians in my head is because I’m finally spending time with people who see the world as I do – and yes, I do have to reach far and wide to find such people, as they are hardly mainstream. I’m guessing you don’t need to look that far – but you do need to look.
Let me take a moment to suggest reasons for loneliness…alternatives to “infection”. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but I am…
When I was a kid I would tell my mum I was bored, because I didn’t know what to do. She used to reply that I was bored because I knew exactly what I wanted to do, but couldn’t do it. Maybe it’s the same with loneliness – it’s not that you don’t have social interactions, you just don’t have the ones you want.
(Maybe you miss someone)
Maybe you had plans for who you wanted to be, and you turned out differently. Maybe you’re lonely because you miss the life you planned for yourself, you miss the “you” you were going to be (maybe we all do, that guy was going to be great. Sorry.)
Maybe you don’t like yourself. That can really increase your loneliness – if you don’t like you, why should I? Maybe that’s what’s contagious. You spend more time with you than anyone, and if you’re clearly sick of you, that’s not a great advert for being your friend. I don’t know anyone who hates themselves and is entirely wrong about how awful they are. Often, the hating of oneself is the only thing that person and I agree on. Sorry.
Whatever caused it, one thing’s for sure – you’re not lonely because someone with no friends sneezed on you.
Finally, from a recovering loner to another, ask yourself the following, see if you can work out why you’re isolated:
What do others get out of being with me?
Would I be my friend?
If I felt like going to the pub or to a concert, would I call me?
When someone insults you, is your first reaction “No I’m not”, “No I don’t”, or do you spend any time wondering if they’ve got a point? Maybe
you’re not arrogant, stupid, or inconsiderate – but whether it’s true or not, obviously that’s how you come across.
The real question I’m asking is…is there any possibility that you’re lonely
because…you’re a douchebag?
I’m just asking.
(By the way, if you felt slightly offended when I asked that, it’s probably because you are)
If, like me, you’re lonely because you’re incapable of seeing the world as others do, if you’re incensed by things others don’t even notice or collapse laughing at things others find normal, become a comedian.
If you’re lonely, be funny. It’s the only way to survive.