• Life

Loneliness and Blogging


Loneliness is something I think we have all felt at some point, and though  London is crammed with over 8 million residents yet, it is one of the places that I have found it hardest to meet new people.

When I first relocated to the capital, my best friend and boyfriend moved down at the same time, then gradually over the next few years more and more of our friends flocked south in the hope of finding a job. So though not lonely, and luckier than many moving to a new city, I lingered in the safety of my established group, instead of stepping out of my comfort zone to meet the fellow residents of my new home. This was wonderful to begin with, but I soon grew envious of my friends and their seemingly endless new social circles.

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I started working in Topshop, Selfridges as soon as I moved down; the people I met there were a great introduction to London life, they happily recommended cool places for me to check out as a newbie and were also amazing sources for style inspiration, but despite their friendliness they all had their own lives which I did not fit in with on a social level.

I enjoyed the buzz of retail, but going from a manager back to minimum wage was not where I wanted to be in my career, the hours were dreadful for maintaining the little social life I had. So I moved on feeling educated in London lifestyle but without the group of cool city friends that I had anticipated.

My current job working for a charity is a wonderful environment, however the gentlemen I work with are a little older than me, have families and lives outside of London so don’t really want to hang out either. Don’t get me wrong I am not sitting in alone on a Friday night crying into a glass of wine but over the past four years I feel like I have become increasingly reliant on my boyfriend and friends from university to be my event managers.

While obviously I love my friends, I am used to being self reliant and increasingly began to feel that I was simply tagging along, providing very little in our relationship leaving me insecure and, at times, lonely.

I had gotten to a stage where finding my own group of friends was similar to that awkward occurrence when you have met someone several times but have no clue what their name is. I had been in London for almost 4 years and felt like it was too late in the game to start trying to introduce myself.

If you had said to me a few years ago that the best way of finding people to connect with was through the Internet I probably would have snorted and sarcastically said “yeah if you want to get murdered”. Jokes aside, you obviously have to be extremely careful when making friends online. I started out by reading blogs and commenting on posts that I could relate to or particularly enjoyed, encouraged by the positivity and variety of writers I had stumbled across I then took the leap into writing my own.

After collecting evidence (in the form of comments) that people were actually reading my blog, I felt confident enough to start getting involved in Twitter chats. The first one I participated in I could barely keep up with, but as with most things I just needed to persevere. Eventually I got the hang of it and began talking to people from all over the world. These chats have now become part of my weekly routine and I look forward to catching up with my Internet friends.

Not only has blogging opened up a world of cyber buddies and opportunities, but real live ones, too. I have mentioned before how anxious I get before social events, this is especially true when meeting a bunch of strangers as new blogger. Though I still need to take deep breaths, go armed with Imodium and am internally freaking out, recently I have felt a small shift in my attitude and actually look forward to events. This is mainly due to the people I have met along the way, with each opportunity I force myself to go into I have begun to recognise faces and now have some awesome blogging buddies.

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Last week I attended two events, the first one was with Joe Bloggers, a network who bring together brands and bloggers. I have been to a couple of events with these guys and they are a great way of breaking into the blogging social circle. This event was an evening of prosecco, pizza and Monopoly with L&G Investments.

The purpose of the evening was to get us to think about investments by playing the property based board game, and quickly reminded me how terrible I am at both finances, and games. I was definitely the loser on my table, however, I did do a great job of eating pizza and drinking prosecco.

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The next event was  the Spring Blogger Meet set up by Jasmine and Maryam, this was not a sponsored event and was a laid back way for bloggers to hang out and get to know one another. After a stroll around Hyde Park in the sun we headed to the Mitre pub for a couple of drinks and a relaxed lunch.

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In between sipping on my pint and talking nonsense I had the realisation of how comfortable I felt. Suffering from anxiety, comfort is not something that comes easy to me. This little glimmer made reflect on how I had transformed over the last few months: I used to be a nervous wreck even when I joined in with an online chat in case I didn’t belong and now I was happily hanging out with a bunch of girls that I had only met a couple of times, or not at all.

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I didn’t start sharing my life on the Internet to get freebies or to be invited to events, I wanted to create a space where I could express myself and hopefully make connections. Finding people with such common ground has been the best unexpected benefit in blogging, I never anticipated that putting my words on the Internet could blur so heavily into my everyday life while also building my confidence.

I think that loneliness is something that we have all suffered from at one point or another but is a topic that is rarely talked about due to it being seen as weakness. Feeling lonely is also one of those awful emotional cycles, with it comes self doubt, leading to further isolation.

I got so frustrated being in this place of negativity and self hatred, that I went into blogging with a Dr Pepper “what’s the worst that can happen” attitude (after about 100 edits and waiting a month) I published my first post publicly. From that instant I felt relief because even if no one read it at least I had tried.

Sharing so much of myself has taken me way past my comfort zone, but I believe that without fear and pushing past our limits (wherever the may be) we never know what we can truly amount to. 

This is not a post intended to caress my own ego or to encourage everyone to go out and start a blog, I am trying to say that for me breaking that cycle of solitude, whether with a successful action or failure, was better than staying in the dark isolation that I had become accustomed to, which is summed up much more eloquently by Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Ultimately I think that we are all looking to connect, whether that be online, in the real world, by putting ourselves out their to be judged or by reaching out to others.

What do you guys think? How do you tackle loneliness?

31 comments

  1. adales8 says:

    It sounds quite cheesy but one of the best things I’ve gotten out of blogging is friends. My MA drama program only consisted of 10 people most of whom no longer live in London, so other than that the only person I really knew in the entire country was Sam, and by extension his friends. And that’s great and his friends are lovely people. But it felt sad and pathetic that I didn’t have friends of my own and I would get really down about it. That’s the times I most think, “hey, let’s move to America, Sam! And you can see- I do have friends!”

    1. Emma says:

      It is amazing that blogging can bring with it so many friendships. It is so difficult feeling so reliant on a partner, even if they are super supportive. x

  2. MaryamSofia says:

    Loved this post Emma! So relatable. Blogging really opens up a whole new world. And I’m so glad you liked the meetup and felt relaxed! 🙂 xx

    1. Emma says:

      Thank you.

      I loved the meet up, it was so much fun and what a fab bunch of girls, can’t wait to see you all again.

  3. themayfairy says:

    London can be a real bitch for this! I would definitely recommend blogging as a great tool for friend making and integrating into a new city to everyone, though. I’ve met so many amazing people because I blog and hopefully we’re all getting the level where we can use the ‘friend’ tag?! When I moved to London I did French language courses, which was great as I met some wonderful people I still hang with now. I tried not to rely on the NZ expat community too much, as they tend to move home after a couple of years and you’re left back at square one 🙁

    1. Emma says:

      I think courses are also an amazing way to meet people as you are all there for a similar purpose, I think I am going to sign up for a few things this year and expand my circle even further. x

  4. promptsbydee says:

    Emma, this is perfect! I’ve felt the same for a long time and I’ve even gone as far as calling myself a social outcast. It’s not that I don’t want to go out, but I always felt like the third wheel because I didn’t drink or always like going to clubs. I’m more a girl (if I did go out) that liked sitting in bars and chatting. I do feel loneliness and I can thank blogging for plucking me up and making me try more events. It’s a relief that others (even though I don’t want them to have this) feel the same way I do! We definitely need to chat more and thank you for your pictures making me more stylish that I am! hahaha! xx

    1. Emma says:

      You are perfectly stylish my pictures just prove it!! I know what you mean about feeling like a social outcast but I think I have started to come to the renationalisation that I just hadn’t found the right people to socialise with. It was great to meet you and we should absolutely chat more.

  5. This was a great post to read and almost hard to believe. Even though I’ve only met you once, you oozed with confidence and would of never of thought you felt the same as me!

    I too find it so difficult to step outside my comfort zone and meet new people. Don’t get me wrong, I have a wonderful selection of close friends but meeting new people who actually share the same interests or humor and who actually want to build a friendship, is difficult!

    Like you, even when I do meet new people who are sweet and accommodating, they all seem to have their own lives/group of friends/partners etc so why would they need anymore friends in their life?

    Loneliness is a tough subject to talk about and more so I think as you get older.

    To combat loneliness, I always plan ahead to ensure I have plans on weekends so I’m not left alone with my head. And even though sometimes I may spend time by myself, I end up enjoying those rare quiet times now.

    Great post! Kudos!

    1. Emma says:

      I definitely did not feel confident that day I obviously have a better game face than I think! Stepping into new social situations when you are plagued by self doubt is so difficult but is becoming increasingly rewarding because I get to meet so many lovely people like yourself. I also love to have a full diary as it makes those times alone a choice. x

  6. Last year I had my heart terribly broken and felt extremely lonely being the only single friend. I felt like a moaning Myrtle running to friends crying. They all would just tell me the same thing, that break ups happen and you just need to move on. I had already started my blog a few years before this, but after this breakup I’ve used my blog to try and keep my mind occupied on something else. I too never thought I would meet such amazing and inspiring people through my blog, people that I (hopefully) will be friends with for life, or at least a very long time 🙂

    It was so lovely to meet you last week. If you ever do find yourself feeling a wee bit lonesome again, you have my card with my number. I’m always up for do anything! 😀

    captaincharghley.blogspot.com

    1. Emma says:

      Isn’t it strange how positives can come out of something so awful? I am glad that your blog has helped you overcome heartbreak and that I got to meet you. Thank you for such kind words, looking forward to seeing you again soon x

  7. Rachel Louise says:

    I’m currently studying my MA at the University I studied at for my undergrad, so most of my university friends have left now. I’ve found that volunteering and work friends have been my best cure for missing old friends. Currently living with my boyfriend and we’ve also struck up friendships with the local shop owners near where we live, just from being in and out of their shops every day.

    My advice would be to use all your resources- the internet, work friends, old friends, new social situations… and when you do approach somebody new, remember that they’re only human and if it all goes horribly wrong you don’t have to see them again 🙂

    1. Emma says:

      You are totally right it is important to reach out to other people, sometimes it is difficult to remember that people are just the same as me and not scary beings who are out to judge.

  8. Milly Y says:

    I’m so glad you’ve managed to find friends through blogging – it’s such a lovely aspect and something I never imagined I’d be doing when I published my first blog post! I agree with you that London can be a lonely place – I met a lot of my first friends here through mutual friends via Twitter, and actually most of my friends in general I’ve probably met through the internet. I do find blogging events make me nervous, but I think once you start going to them, you end up chatting away to anyone and everyone (especially after pints/Prosecco!). It was awesome to meet you at Monopoly night – I’m sure our paths will cross again soon! 🙂

    1. Emma says:

      I can’t believe how many doors blogging has opened up and how many great people I have met in such a short space of time. I really hope that we do get to hang out again soon, I had so much fun at the Joe Bloggers HQ

  9. Rosy says:

    I Relate to this so much, I’ve recently moved to a new city and im struggling to make friends too, sadly I don’t live near a lot a blog events but I do love the social side of blogging.
    Great post – love your blog

    Rosy | sparklesoflight76.blogspot.co.uk

    1. Emma says:

      Thanks so much Rosy, I hope that you find a way of making some new friends in your city soon, I know its not easy and has taken me 4 years to even try! In the meantime you always have the online blogging community to have a good chat with. x

  10. I’m so with you on this. It’s lovely to meet new people and all be in the same boat of ‘I’ve never met you before but let’s just deal with that.’ Hence why I just jumped into the seat next to you on the tube on the way to the meet-up! All of my friends seem to be moving abroad so I’m loving meeting you and all the other bloggers I’ve met recently to know I’m not the only one in London. Crate drinks soon please!
    Cx

    1. Emma says:

      I was so happy that you sat next me on the tube it meant that I didn’t make too much of a tit of myself earlier in the week! We should absolutely go for Crate drinks soon, I was along there again last night because I am obsessed!

  11. I love this post Emma, it’s so good to hear that you have made a lot of good friends through the blogging community – it’s a lovely community and as a new blogger, I find that it’s much easier to meet like-minded people online than in real life haha.. There’s a site called “meet up” where you can connect with people i.e. going out to eat with other foodies, writers meet ups, local art, yoga, or meditation classes xx

    1. Emma says:

      99% of the blogging community are amazing and like you I have found it way easier to meet simlar people on-line rather than in real life. I have signed up for meetup but haven’t actually gone to anything yet I will need to put it into use this year. x

  12. chelsea says:

    I get this. Life after uni leaves you in a lonely place especially when you and your friends move away and start work. Blogging has been an absolute godsend for meeting new people. Great post Emma 🙂

    Chelsea x
    Chelseapotter.co.uk

    1. Emma says:

      Thank you. I am so glad you have found that Blogging is a great way for meeting people too. it is such a nice little community.

  13. Hayley says:

    What a lovely post. Totally understand too as I relocated to london from Manchester 🙂

    Hayley xxx
    I thought you may like to enter my give-away to win a fantastic nail varnish set from Ciate London
    http://mydebeauvoirdiaries.com/?p=4297

  14. I completely resonate with this – I think as you grow up you realise how much harder it is to meet people who you connect with, when you aren’t in education every day! I’m glad the blogging community has worked out for you and you’re meeting new people 🙂 Sophie
    http://www.fashionnomads.com

    1. Emma says:

      I can’t believe how many doors blogging has opened and how much it has gotten me out the house I honestly thought I was just going to have to get used to my own company for a while.

  15. Steph says:

    I really like this post, I’ve found it difficult as my friends have started building their social circles within their boyfriends’ friendship group. I’ve just started blogging because I enjoy writing and reading other peoples blogs. I hope it connects me to other like minded people and a wider community as you have all described, that would be really great

    Steph x

    inspirationsandme.blogspot.co.uk

    1. Emma says:

      Steph if you put yourself out there I am sure that the blogging community will embrace you, they really are a friendly bunch and if you are ever looking for a London buddy I am always looking for new people to hang out with and things to do x

  16. […] so I was thankful to have Maryam accompanying me, though we had only met once before at the Spring Blogger Meet (which she co-organised with Jasmine) it is always nice to know that there is one friendly face in […]

  17. […] that past year I have been fortunate enough to meet lots of amazing bloggers, which has helped ease my anxiety when attending events. So, when Scarlett emailed me about her […]

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