Is Loneliness a Fact of Life?

I’ve never been what you might call a social butterfly. In fact, as a kid, I was horribly shy. I spent most of my formative years trying to fade into the background, terrified of being called on or noticed in any way.

Once I reached adulthood (or something like it), I forced myself to come out of my shell. Now I can make small talk with the best of them. Can even, in fact, approach a stranger at a party without fear making my heart feel like it’s going to explode. But it doesn’t come naturally. And I’ve never gotten good at making friends.

So now I find myself 500 miles or so from everyone I’m close to. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got friends here. People I can get a beer with, or invite over for dinner. We have fun. And I love them dearly.

But I can’t seem to fully let my guard down. There’s no one here who I feel like I can just call, out of the blue, and say, “Hey, PMS is a bitch this month. Wanna go get ice cream and listen to me whine?”

Maybe that’s just part of growing up. My husband and my daughter have to come first now, and we have so little time to spend together, I’m reluctant to give any of those precious hours up. So I don’t work on my other relationships like I should.

But I know I need to.

A few weekends ago, I went to a little get-together that one of my friends was having. It was just a few of us girls, and we sat around, drinking wine and bullshitting about make-up, and men, and whatever else came to mind. It was fantastic.

But even then, I felt like I was on the outside, looking in. I didn’t feel like I was fully part of the group. I never do.

It’s not their fault. It’s mine. But I don’t know how to fix it. Is it too late to learn how to make friends?

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