One is the loneliest number


Even though I have a large family and many friends I often feel terribly lonely. I am trying to figure out why that is, so that I can fix it. I really don’t like feeling lonely. So far I’ve come up with two culprits.

One, I’m hypersensitive. Two days ago I commented on an old mission friend’s facebook post. He linked an article that’s title hinted at planned parenthood and Jason Chaffetz. This friend lives in Virginia and he said something like, “Jason Chaffetz is dishonest.” I didn’t take time to read the article because I really didn’t care, but being the social girl that I am, I still commented, “I actually know Jason personally, and I think he is pretty honest. Planned parenthood should be de-funded as all other non-essentials (let capitalism do its thing), and all politicians are crooks.” That may not be exactly what I said, but it is pretty darn close.

So, this friend was really upset I hadn’t read the article. After being questioned, I admitted to not reading it. He then went off!  I don’t understand why it bothered him so much, but it obviously did as he then personally attacked me. He berated me for being an idiot. He questioned, “how dare I comment without being well-informed?” I told him that I didn’t think it was a requirement to read every article in order to have an opinion, and I also didn’t appreciate his cruelty. I also gave him a few suggestions on how he could have been more validating to me. He and many of his friends then called me a looney-toon repeatedly over the next four hours. Not one person on his thread even tried to understand what I was trying to say in my own defense. I unfriended him, yet I still stewed about it in the confines of my own head for a significant amount of time. Eventually I turned off the repeated notifications I was getting, and washed my hands clean of it. I concluded that I really didn’t communicate effectively, and that I needed to be more careful next time. I also decided that anyone who was willing to act that way towards me was never really a true friend. I also talked myself off the ledge by reminding myself that one little facebook thread really didn’t matter. Nonetheless I felt alone. Very alone. I felt totally invalid, small, and stupid. I know I’m sensitive, and I therapized myself to let it go.

I also sent my husband an e-mail telling him that I was officially grateful I married him instead of this other missionary who I used to think was a great guy. At one point I thought I might like to date that other guy. Boy, that would have been a disaster.

Two, the world is cruel. Yesterday I was over life. I went to volunteer at the school for two hours, and then had to run to library to borrow a book for class. The copy I ordered has taken over a month to be delivered, and I couldn’t wait on it to get started for class on Monday. All the while I was lugging around a 30-pound baby that cries, whines, and poops at all given intervals. I decided to treat myself to a burger at one of my favorite local joints. I’d go home, lay the baby down for his nap, and get a few minutes to myself before digging in to my housework and homework. By catching a break in the middle of the day, I hoped to well up some energy to wrestle the baby on the soccer sidelines for four hours followed by the evening homework marathon.

As I pulled around the backside of the building in the drive-thru line there was a truck in the parking lot that was apparently trying to also approach the ordering position. I was pretty sure he was there first so I pulled out of the line to allow him room to get in. I pulled up alongside the parked cars in order to just follow him in. Meanwhile, the line was really backed up and we waited forever. At one point an orange car came around just as I had done, and seeing the situation drove all the way around the parking lot to line herself up behind the truck. As the truck pulled in she followed within 6 inches of his bumper to not allow me in. I rolled my window down. She rolled hers down, and screamed that she was there first. She knew she was lying. I knew she was lying. Why else would she have followed the truck so closely? How else would she have known to roll her window down in response to me rolling mine down? I was over it and baby Max was tired. There was now another car following behind her, and assuredly its driver would also claim preference. I asked her to pull up so I could just leave. She now uncharacteristically felt bad, and told me to go in front of her. I told her it was fine, and explained I couldn’t wait any longer. Then I left.

I was already exhausted and in a bad mood, so being denied a little essential happiness in the form of food therapy brought me to tears. I wondered why in life it is so common for other people to not give me the courtesy that I try so hard to give others. All I could determine is “the world is cruel”.

Then last night, I stumbled on this Ted talk. It convinced me that even after years and years of therapy, I still need to do a better job with my emotional well-being.

I plan to combat my loneliness by implementing Guy Winch’s inspired suggestions:

I will take action when I am lonely.
I will change my response to failure.
I will protect my self-esteem.
I will battle negative thinking.

I guess if I am focusing on these things for myself, I really won’t have to time to worry about the jerks in Virginia or the other ones in the drive-thrus.



  1. Alice- THANK YOU for this article! As I was reading I was feeling your pain. The problem with us sensitive folks is that the rest of the world is desensitized, leaving us feeling like crap! Do you agree? Hold your head up high and don’t waste your time on those who don’t matter. You are so very loved and even though you may feel like you are alone in this, you are definitely not. Love ya!

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