Kristen Bryant-Thinking In A Lala College Sweatshirt

For the Lonely Hearts

You’re in your bed, beginning to feel the weight of sleep slip from your body. Consciousness tiptoes back to you as you open your eyes to the new day. You roll over and check your phone, hoping maybe today will be different, but no luck: 0 messages. Morning bliss dissolves, but you shake it off, start your day, and do your best not to feel bad for yourself.

That’s how many of my mornings start. It feels embarrassing to admit my loneliness, but it’s important to acknowledge it because if I’m feeling it, chances are someone else out there is too. In our digital society, social media makes it all too easy to try to hide our problems from the public eye and only trumpet our victories. Vulnerability is absent; people let us see what they want us to see, and the filter we place on our public content creates false and unrealistic narratives about moving through life. Someone you follow may seem to be surrounded by friends and always out at some kind of event or activity, but they don’t show you the bad days and whatever struggle is going on behind the camera. When we digest social media without considering the filter, we can mentally damage ourselves. When I see stories of people going out with friends on the weekend I become hyperaware of the state of my current friendships and social activity, those being limited and long-distance in most cases. This is a rabbit-hole train of thought that one can easily get lost in, and I think it’s important to address and control this thought pattern.

When you’re feeling lonely, it’s a lot; a lot easier to quickly toss the blame onto your loved ones: “I can’t believe they haven’t reached out to me,” or “Why didn’t they ask me to hangout that night,” and “They must not really care about me since they haven’t checked in,” are all accusations that quickly come to mind. While upsetting, this line of reasoning takes less energy to tackle than acknowledging your own complacency and contributions to the problem. Communication is a two-way street, and if you’re feeling disconnected from your friend, chances are they may be feeling the same way! You can’t expect others to know or understand what state you’re in, so if you feel like you need some companionship, reach out. The fact that your friend hasn’t been in touch doesn’t mean they don’t care, they could be going through the same thing as you and be just as wanting of some conversation. That being said, it’s also important to remember that for some people, reaching out for that contact is a much more daunting task. If you’re someone who has no problem saying the first word and extending that hand, check-in on the friends you haven’t heard from in a while; I promise they’ll be grateful. And to my fellow lonely hearts: take control. Start that conversation with your old friend or take the leap and introduce yourself to that co-worker or classmate that you felt a connection with. It’s scary as hell, but you can’t always wait for friendships to fall into place, sometimes they take a little effort and a little boldness. Connection is out there and where it’s not, we need to create it. So strive for bold, for vulnerable, and extend that hand, because you never know who’s going to grasp it and hold on tight.