I know you will think I’m pathetic, but I am in my early 30’s and the longer relationship I have ever had since I was 18 is just 3 months. I have lived at home with my parents most of my life, due to some emotional and physical issue, and now I’m on my own, and I have a job but while I am lonely, I just don’t know how to be single and looking for a romantic relationship. I was really heartbroken from my first relationship all those years ago and scared to try again. But the other day I realize I’d been home or an entire week and the only person I had talked to outside of my cubicle at work was the woman at the check out counter at the grocery store, and that was just to tell her I was paying credit, not cash. How sad is that?! Tonight is Friday and all my colleagues at work are home with family or doing something with friends or in a relationship and I’m just sitting here all by myself yet again. I am afraid the rest of my life is going to be like this. How do adults past a certain age make friends or find a soulmate? I’m clueless and I need help.
Tony’s Take: Sadly, this is one of the features of modern existence. In earlier times, although the work was hard, at night people got together and interrelated socially since there was little else one could do once the sun went down. No work could be accomplished. One of the nice things about this as well, was that the community took care to match up eligible singles.
We have attempted as a culture to substitute online dating services and social media such as Facebook, Instagram and other such things as an equivalent form of social contact but it lacks the personal touch that face to face activity generates and is often deceptive. That said, people are social beings. There are people who will want to be with you as much as you want to be with them. What you need to do is to decide what you enjoy and what motivates you and then join a group which enjoys or is motivated by the same things you are. This could be simple or complex. Simple might be taking a course for personal enrichment at a school or college, or even for college credit if you’ve never finished college, Complex is joining a support group that focuses on whatever issues are important to you and for which you want support (Read: Join a Dating Support Group and Get a Grip). Even if you don’t think you really need “help,” you will meet like minded people and start to create a community with them. Through this community, you will be introduced to other people as well. One of them might just be your soulmate.
Alison’s Take: Brady, you are not pathetic, you are simply socially a slow bloomer. We can steer you in the right direction, but you will still have to do the work…are you ready? I HOPE SO!
I am not sure I have much more to add than what Tony has said. I’m a huge fan of support groups for just about everything from finding a job, to finding love, to dealing with whatever issues are specific to you (E.g. disability, single parent, dieting, etc). I have been a member of some groups personally, and make lifelong connections and friends from some of them. While you may not meet the love of your life right off the bat at a class or group, the connections you make will invite you to parties or events, or introduce you to people they know, and in turn you will start to go out more and meet the types of people that interest you and suit you. This is the way adults make friends, especially shy adults who don’t socialize easily.
If there is one thing I know for sure, it is that as long as you sit isolated in your home you will not meet anyone, so you must extend yourself. Schedule activities into your calendar just as you would a doctor’s appointment or any other activity you would not likely just skip or cancel. Yes, it will be tempting to back out because you are not used to social interaction but don’t be afraid., Don’t back out, Once you have a couple of things in your calendar each week and you start getting used to the idea that you must get dressed up, go out extend yourself even if it feels awkward and you start to see that people feel just as you do, but they’re NICE, you will soon find that going out and socializing gets easier and more routine.
In addition to support groups or classes, as you gain social confidence, try a few new social activities–maybe speed dating or a progressive dinner, or a singles dance If you don’t like something, you can scratch it off your list permanently as “yecch I hated this!” but at least you will have tried it and you will know you gave it a chance. With time, you will be out of your rut and lonely no more!!!!