There’s a song by the band Fall Out Boy called ‘Alone Together’. There something about the lyrics that just speak to me – especially: 🎶 I don’t know where you’re going – but do you got room for one more troubled soul…Let’s be alone together 🎶
There are so many times in my life – after a tough meeting or an extra long day – that I just want to be alone. But, I don’t want to be ALONE alone… What I really want to is to sit in the same room as another person and completely ignore them while feeling their energy and just knowing they’re there.
It reminds me a lot of when I was in my all-consuming grief right after Madelyn died. There were many times (like almost all of them) that I wanted to be LEFT alone but I didn’t actually want to BE alone.
- I would sit on the outskirts of the kitchen at family gatherings while everyone was bustling around making a meal
- I would lounge on the sofa staring (sometimes at my phone, or the tv, or just the wall) while others were having a merry time directly in front of me
- I would drive to the parking lot of the building where all my friends were having a party and I would just sit there, in the car, until the last person left
I’m not saying it was right – or even that it made any sense. There was just something about needing to know that others were close – but not so close that I would actually have to interact with anyone.
As I’m sure you know (and have experienced) the holidays tend to bring back many of those initial grief habits… I always thought I was just a little bit weird for wanting to be almost around other people in my loneliest times. I mean, if you’re feeling lonely go do things and be around other people – right?!?!
Well, that might be the case, but it also might not be based on the new study: Alone in a Crowd: Is Social Contact Associated with Less Psychological Pain of Loneliness in Everyday Life?
Yes, being in a group may help with minor loneliness issues and is overall better for one’s psyche. If you are in acute loneliness the same group may be overwhelming. It can often feel like more of a burden to interact with others and if you don’t want to be there the likelihood of a bad attitude (leading to bad interactions) is exponentially increased.
Similar to the story of the ‘Grief Ghetto’ from Confessions of a Griever – your heart knows what it needs more than anyone else. Do what feels right to your soul (while still pushing yourself…just a bit) – but if you “know” being alone (even if that is together with someone else) is what you need than don’t feel bad about doing just that!