Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Only the Lonely

This was going to be a rant about women never getting a day off, but I decided against it in favor of a different issue concerning women. Aren't you glad?

I've found a disturbing truth out about my job. I honestly hadn't suspected that anything was amiss and even though I'd seen a symptom or two, the realization that there is a silent epidemic among women surprised me.

No, it's not breast cancer, it's loneliness.

Part of my job, a big part, is to develop relationships with the members. In this way we can support and encourage them. I'm good at this. I'm a people person (just ask anyone). But what do you say to women who say, "I don't have any friends"?

It's not that they are blurting this tid bit out mid-workout. It just sorta comes out. I'll ask what they did over the weekend and they say nothing. They'll talk about their work, but no social life. Sooner or later they admit that they don't have any friends, that they spend their time away from work running errands or watching TV.

I am simply flabbergasted.

These are intelligent, friendly, people. They come from all walks of life and all age groups. They have no friends. The thought sends a shiver down my spine and it makes me wonder if I'm some sort of an odd-ball.

Okay, yes thank you, I know I'm an odd-ball, but do you understand what I'm saying? These women HAVE NO FRIENDS. None. Nada. They don't lean on one another for support. They don't go to lunch. They don't catch up on the phone or spend time IMing their buddy. It boggles the mind. It really does.

I find myself growing ever more thankful for my circle of friends. I am blessed indeed. But I've always been a mother hen. I want to fix these women. In fact, I almost burst out the other day with, "I'll be your friend", but frankly, these women at my work are still dating my representative and they don't know the real me.

Let's not scare them shall we Annie? Step away from the lady. No, you will not write her a little card of encouragement. You will not invite her to lunch. Step away. Keep your hands to yourself. Put your sad eyes away. Focus.

It's a big lonely world out there folks and I wonder, do we make it better by being in it? Or are we simply running through our day, oblivious to the lonely souls around us?


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

What a sad commentary on our society! I'm grateful for lifelong friends, church friends, and, more recently, writer friends. They add a layer of richness to my life.

When I'm tempted to burrow too deep into my writer cave, one of my friends comes in and drags me out. Friday night, we're having a gals' night out.

Susan :)

tootie said...

Like you, I have a great circle of friends. It is sad to realize that many people are lacking that in their lives.

But I think you're right - it's important to recognize that people around us might not be so lucky to have friends and maybe we can lend a hand every now and then.

Patti said...

no friends?! it's gotta be tough.

Kiva said...

No friends? Are these the people who see the glass half empty? I cannot imagine someone who doesn't have one friend, be it person, animal, or imaginary bunny. How truly sad.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Great topic.

Sadly I've seen this first hand, even experienced it myself. There was a time when I realized that, besides family, I had no friends. Ok, sure I had friends, but no one to hang out with or to call when I needed someone. Then my husband and I moved far from any family and I soon realized that I was in desperate need of a support system and I had to make friends.

It was scary at first but now I'm so very happy to have people I can call on when I need to. It can be hard to trust others to be there when you really need them, trust them to understand your quirks, to find friends who won't judge your husband or your lifestyle. It is hard to believe that you won't be inconveniencing someone else, or coming off as needy. It can be hard to make friends, but it really is worth it.

Barrie said...

Oh, that is so sad. In answer to your questions at the end of the post--it's both for me. Sorry. I do try to be friendly and helpful and make the world at least a slightly better place. But reality often steps in. And my reality is that I'm way overextended with kids and school and sports and spouse and friends and writing and and and.. Life is too busy, and I don't know how to fix it.