Not gonna lie. Sometimes it seems everyone else has lives overflowing with friends, while I sit at home caring for kids. At it's best, it's really an elementary-school-style pity party. Nobody likes me, everybody hates me... Sing with me! Guess I'll eat some worms. We won't even go into what these pity parties are at their worst.
Point is: Feeling lonely certainly isn't healthy for any journey, epic or not.
They come in cycles for me, and when they do, I need the simplest solution possible. Not a long list of how to s l o w l y build community. So, I'm gonna break it down nice and easy...
Find a friend.
Yep, there it is. The one sentence solution for all your loneliness woes and challenges.
Alright, that's not really fair. Some of us need a little more help than that. So, I'll add on to that a few ideas and ways to find those friends. Just because I believe our two heads brainstorming together can land on something really good.
A Few Ways to Find Friends
1 | Invite someone somewhere.I left this really vague. It can be someone you know well, someone you haven't seen in a while, or someone you hardly know at all. Just invite them. Where doesn't really matter. To your home for a game night, to the park for a playdate, to a cafe for coffee. Just meet face-to-face.
2 | Message someone on Facebook.You have lots of friends on Facebook, so start treating at least one of them like a real friend. Ask for advice in an area of their expertise, or check-in and ask about something going on in their life. If it's someone local, Facebook is also an easy way to connect and make plans for #1.
3 | E-mail someone.Does anyone do this anymore? I only have one friend I still e-mail regularly. And it's great. Periodic check-ins where we usually write a little deeper into our lives than the short updates thrown up on Facebook.
4 | Attend something.A church study group, a local gathering of writers, a class. Find something that's going on (check your paper or church bulletin), and show up. Invite someone to go with you, and sit by someone else that's alone and meet someone knew.
5 | Accept an invitation.When someone invites you--even if you don't know anyone else going--say yes and follow through. They did the hard work of thinking to invite you; thank them by showing up!
6 | Send a note.It's easy to look back in another time of life and say, "Man, it was good then when I had all those friends." So, why not tell one of those friends what those memories mean? Let them know you appreciated their friendship.
7 | Pray about it.Seriously. Not just one quick "Hey, Lord, I need some friends" then forget about it. Get on your knees, and talk to Him daily about it. Pray for a friend or a group or a mentor or whatever specific support you're lacking in this time of your journey. He will lead you to it.
I kept these ideas a little vague so that the focus is on the concept and not on the specifics. The concept is to reach out. Find a friend. Make an effort. Bridge that lonely gap to someone else likely feeling the same way. Find support by offering support. Journey together, and in this, defeat loneliness. Bring your loneliness before the Lord and ask Him to show you that you're really not alone.
Because you're really not alone.
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Answer in the comments:
What is one thing you can do this week to reach out to a friend?
Day 18 of 31 Lessons from an Epic Beginner