I am an adult child of divorced parents. My family is dysfunctional and after visiting my family this summer I have felt depressed and not motivated to do more than I have to. My grandfather is dying and my dad got into a big fight with my grandmother. I am feeling guilty because I don’t know if I am going to go see my grandfather again this summer. My dad is a depressed mess. Both my parents have families that I am not a part of. I am the only child with my parents and have no siblings of my own but am in the middle of a family of step siblings that are all close and I feel alone and left out. I don’t have any friends and stay home with my kids all day. My husband and I moved to a new town last year and probably will move again in about a year. I feel isolated and just not connected to anybody except my husband and children. I am really lonely.
A: The antidote to feeling lonely is to stop being alone. I’m sorry that your family is so disappointing. But some people don’t get the families they deserve. If that’s the case, then it becomes important to make a family of dear friends. It doesn’t matter that you may move in another year. That’s a whole year away. Developing a couple of good friendships now will mitigate your loneliness and will also give you important practice for making friends at your next stop.
The good news is that you have kids. Kids make friends easily. The parents of your kids’ friends for a natural pool of people for you to explore. Go to your kids’ games, activities, and school parent nights. Ask your kids to introduce you to their friends. Say hello to the kids’ parents. Be open to the possibility that they would welcome getting to know you. Volunteer to be helpful at school functions. There’s nothing like working side by side with people to help break the ice. If you are a person of faith, do the same at your house of worship. Find a book club or another activity that you would genuinely enjoy. Go. Bring cookies.
Yes, it takes effort. Yes, you don’t feel like it. But you also don’t feel like being lonely. You and I both know that you won’t find friends sitting home alone. Please take a deep breath and make it a project to do at least three things a week to help yourself find the kind of friends you want and need.
Meanwhile, don’t miss opportunities to be in contact with your grandfather. Even if he can’t talk to you on the phone, he can listen to you tell him you love him and that he’s important to you. Send cards. Support your grandmother by calling her now and then. You may not be able to see them but you can let them know that they are in your heart and in your thoughts. Doing what you can now will help you be without regrets later.
I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Sep 2012
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). I Am Really Lonely. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/09/11/i-am-really-lonely/