After Googling Loneliness, People Also Ask - Lauren Backes

How do I know if I am lonely?


If you keep your dorm door open because you made a quilt over break and are actually proud of it and you want someone to walk by and be like “oh dang that’s so cool did you make that” but after enough time passes and nobody walks by you start thinking about who would walk by anyway and why would anybody think this big dumb quilt is cool so you close the door and crawl in bed, you are probably lonely.


If you try to take back control over the strange relationship you have with your Jehovah’s Witness stalker by suggesting meeting at a coffee place but it’s two years later and you have moved your weekly meetings to your home and she’s finally frustrated you still haven’t read Gospels, you are probably lonely.


If you are crying in a stairwell because you are crying in a stairwell but the stairwell feels like an actual well filling up and you’re drowning and you know nobody is coming to save you, you are probably having a panic attack, and also probably lonely.


Why do I get so lonely?


A long time ago, somebody didn’t want to play with you. This was because you cried too much, and were too young, and a girl, and besides, you always told. Anyway, get your own friends.


Later, your own friends tell you the reason you got left out of things sometimes is because one of them preferred to talk about how much she didn’t like you, but it’s okay now (they say) because she was, like, sooo wrong.


You question all of you, every day.


What is the best cure for loneliness?


Read Ayn Rand. Decide other people are an inconvenience, really, when it comes right down to it.


Get a houseplant, and when that isn’t enough, get a cat. Do this on Valentine’s Day.


Is it OK to feel lonely?


Feeling lonely is perfectly normal. If somebody asks you how you are feeling, lonely is an acceptable answer. Lonely describes – as a description, it can be added or subtracted; easy. Loneliness, however, lives – it is a thing. So, a more troublesome answer to the question would be, loneliness has enveloped my life. Or, to expand: I have begun ruminating on remoteness as it relates to personhood. Does inaccessibility come from without or within?


What does loneliness do to your health?


Loneliness will take you out to dinner and sit you at the bar of a nice restaurant in the town you recently moved to. You will enjoy chatting with the woman sitting next to you, though you brought your book just in case you didn’t find company. When the bartender offers you a wine flight to match your new friend’s, you think, how nice and feel Very Adult and Included. At some point, the woman leaves but the flight continues. The bartender is friendly, generous. You don’t think you ordered another glass, but you’re not going to say no! He thinks he’ll join you for the next couple. When the last of the diners leave, you get your check, and notice there is only a charge for the food. You vaguely recall eating, some hours ago now. You don’t want to stop being nice. He wants you to go with him, but you don’t want to go. You can’t tell if his insistence is still amicable. You very much want to go home.


You are a block away from your house when you get pulled over. This neither makes it better nor worse. You cry, a lot. After processing, the officer lets you go home. Tomorrow is Easter.


It is a small town. A family friend one town over calls to check in, as she had seen it in the paper. You go out as little as possible.


You start weighing food, counting calories, running. You weigh yourself on Tuesdays. In six months, you will have lost 30 pounds. In a year, you will run a half marathon.


Your brain will be so occupied with how healthy you are, you won’t have space for friends, which is appropriate because you don’t deserve any.


What does loneliness do to a person?


Loneliness whispers you’re alone for a reason very quietly for a while, almost imperceptible. You hear it one day, and then – of course – you can hear it every day. You start wondering what the reason might be. You’re a pretty bad friend: never call anyone, hardly ever call anyone back. Could be that. You’re not that impressive. You’re a sad cliché. Nobody actually likes you, thinking about you is a chore, your existence is a burden. Could be any of those. Loneliness nods, repeats you’re alone for a reason.


Loneliness, over time, performs an autopsy of your particular human condition.


How do you fight loneliness?


When you see an announcement for a new sushi restaurant, go. Sit in a booth – the high sides will help you feel safer, less exposed. If, while waiting for the order that you stuttered through, Celine Dion comes over the speakers mightily lamenting the woes of being “All By Myself,” laugh at the over-the-top drama of it all. Call your friend – the one who you know will join you in the absurdity. She’s been in the well, too.

Lauren Backes likes to write and quilt. She quit her job in August because society is unraveling and she wants to spend her time creatively.

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