Loneliness when Never Alone

I’ve clung to company lately – my carpool buddy C, my co-workers, even the many students I work with, and of course Husband. I cling to nearby friends and acquaintances, always trying to squeeze one more coffee date or meet-up in even when I’m exhausted and unhappy. I have long operated under the assumption that people even me out, make me less crazy, and make me happy. In large part, they do make me happy: I’m definitely extroverted and I started a whole blog about how the wonderful people in my life gave me recipes.

I’ve noticed, though, that when I don’t take time for myself, a measured version of time for myself that has room for reflection, I stay lonely and hungry for companionship. When I do take time for myself, and really relax without just zoning out with television, I often come to a place where I actually look forward to seeing other people, rather than needing them to come and fill my worried and anxious mind.

This evening, I could have stayed with a social gathering with Husband, who was enjoying himself a lot, but I was so tired and stressed and just done that I excused myself – I honestly did need to go home and pack for an upcoming trip. But more than that, I needed to cook a wholesome meal, make a cup of chamomile tea, take a hot bath, and listen to an episode of Gastropod podcast about the history of chocolate while I tidied the house and filled my suitcase. I also needed to write this blog post.

I’m realizing that just like there is high quality and low quality olive oil, there is high quality and low quality companionship. This doesn’t refer to the quality of the companions; it refers to the motives and mindsets that bring the two people together. I spend lots of high quality time with Husband, but too often he gets time with me that is low quality too because I think I’d prefer to be accompanied than to take a break and experience aloneness. I am never perfect, but I do know that after a restful night like this one, I am less of a jerk and more likely to be the wife and friend that I want to be for those I care about.

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11 comments on “Loneliness when Never Alone

  1. “This doesn’t refer to the quality of the companions; it refers to the motives and mindsets that bring the two people together.” That is such a profound statement, I had never reflected upon such dynamics between two people.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. jr cline says:

    I need my alone time. Without it I do not thrive.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Mac Logan says:

    The space between how things are and how things could be is a challenging gap. You’re a thoughtful, sometimes aching participant in a complex, very human, situation.

    You’re not a jerk. The vulnerability and awareness you’ve shared takes courage and need. Constructive strength to you. [Big Hug]

    Liked by 2 people

  4. shiftinbeauty says:

    Very good point about high and low quality time! Something for me to reflect on. Self care is so important. It sounds selfish, but it’s not bc you end up transmitting care and love to others.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. lanlake says:

    Nice post. Interesting read, I often need to be alone to ‘recharge’ and feel in control again, but there’s nothing quite like a good conversation with a close friend to feel connected again. The high quality and low quality companionship is very true. I find that 5 hours with a group of strangers is nothing compared to a 1 hour coffee with someone you really care about.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. A really thought provoking read…and a great deal of sense😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. suth2 says:

    This certainly struck a chord with me. I so need my alone time to regenerate my batteries.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Alone time is so very important. Please make time for self quietly listening and its amazing what you will hear. Its during our alone time that we grow. We have learned it, sometimes the hard way by overdoing and crashing. Our role model is Jesus and how he always made time to break away from the crowd to spend time with the Father.

    Like

  9. Lisa Uncharted says:

    I often reflect on the balance between alonetime and time in company and I think no matter who you are you need a balance of the two. The balance is as individual as the person but a balance is required nonethe less and sometimes the hardest thing is finding that balance. I think you also hit the nail on the head concerning the quality of time as ‘quality time’ is a big thing for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Valeriya says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.. It’s so close to what I am contemplating these days…

    Liked by 1 person

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