If I had a choice, I would have a busy social life. I would do all the fun activities that are part of it. It really bothers me that I don’t have this. On social media, I see updates from groups of friends who go to festivals together, young people at birthday parties and girlfriends on vacation together. When I see such posts, I feel lonely and jealous, and I hate it that I don’t have anyone.

Where do I make friends?

After finishing high school, I was unable to continue my studies because I suffer from hypersensitivity, which causes my energy level to be very low. I’ve tried going to school again, but due to poor communication and misunderstanding it didn’t work out well. The same thing happened at some of my jobs. Let me tell you, it didn’t help my self-confidence at all. Anyway, I now have a new job which seems to be a good fit. Because I left school early, I lost all contact with my classmates. When I was about 19 years old, I realized I had very few friends left. Ever since, I’ve been wondering where I could make new friends?

Preconceptions about loneliness

A lot of people think that loneliness is something that you cause yourself. They assume it’s a consequence of avoiding social contact. They are convinced that having a nice time is easy, and that all you need to do is to look for it and you will find it. But they are wrong. I would love to go to a birthday party, but without an invitation I can’t go. Sometimes people think you don’t want to connect with others. Or they will say that you don’t fit in because you’re a little different. Those comments are not helpful at all! Meanwhile, I’ve learned that feeling lonely is something that can happen to everyone.

Loneliness makes me feel gloomy

During my free time, I’m often at home. Sometimes, I join my mom when she meets up with her friends. But most of the time, I’m at home, just hanging out. I work out a little, dance or watch Netflix. I’m not a gamer; I don’t like it at all. The feeling of loneliness makes me feel gloomy, especially in the winter. Days are shorter, and I’m spending even more time inside than usual.

Summer holiday

During the summertime, I feel so much better. Usually, I visit Aruba with my mom. We love the island and its great vibe. Connecting with others is ten times easier. I’ve made some friends there and almost every year, I meet up with them. When I am around them, I can just be me. I don’t know why it’s so much easier to connect with others in Aruba. I definitely feel less lonely when I’m there.

A lot of trial and error

Of course, I’ve tried a lot of different things to meet new people. I tried to connect with people at work and I took some dance classes. I really love salsa dancing. Unfortunately, a lot of people I met there are older than me. Due to the age difference, I didn’t really make new friends. Despite that, I really liked it there. During the COVID-19 period, I discovered Stay Connected; this is a group of friends who meet each other online. We meet each other every Wednesday evening via Zoom. It’s a lot of fun. Soon, we will meet each other in person.

Talk about it!

My mom and I have a strong bond. The first time we talked about me feeling lonely, was a couple of years ago. Together we looked for solutions. I joined a Facebook group, but that didn’t work out so well. There wasn’t enough commitment, unfortunately. After a while, my mom discovered Stay Connected. I’m really grateful she did. Every week, I really look forward to those meetings. In truth, talking to other people about my loneliness is not something that comes easy to me. It’s hard to admit that. The girls at Stay Connected understand me because they are in a similar situation.