Dear Daisy: ‘I’m 26, And Lonely’

Dear Daisy: 'I'm 26, And Lonely'

Daisy

by Grazia |

Dear Daisy is our new agony aunt column, where Daisy Buchanan answers all of your big questions, from how to be more assertive to how to move on from sexual assault. Daisy's first job in journalism in her twenties was on the problems page at Bliss Magazine. This week she talks about loneliness in your 20s...

**Dear Daisy, **

**I'm really lonely and don't know what to do about it. I've recently moved to a new city, am single and live alone. I've been going to an evening class, looked into an online social meet up group, joined a gym and been trying online dating for a few years now to no avail. I've recently been watching all my friends getting engaged and married and hate the idea of spending the rest of my life alone. **

**In the past I didn't mind so much but I've got to the stage where I feel being single without any single friends is a real handicap. For example I have no one to go on holiday with, my bills are really high and saving for a house deposit will take me twice as long, never mind being dateless at all these weddings! Should I suck it up as a symptom of our generation or can you help me?! **

**R, 26 **

Hello lovely, I’m so sorry that you feel that way. Being lonely is bloody bleak. I think it must be especially hard right now because we constantly see posters and adverts telling us to make sure that old people aren’t lonely at Christmas - an important message, but one that’s going to make you feel even more left out if you’re lonely at a different point in your life.

This period of your life won’t last forever, and I’m certain you will meet great friends and potential partners who fill you with joy. But it’s so hard to look for people to make you whole when you’re unhappy. You’ll attract vampires - messed up people who want to feed off your unhappiness instead of enhancing your life. So right now, I think the trick is to find the joy in being on your own.

As you point out in your letter, the isolation is the worst part. You look around you and assume everyone else in your life is coupled up and happy - and because you’re in a new city, you’re not witnessing the day to day lives of your old friends. We all know social media offers a very selective edit of the truth, and that we’re only seeing people’s very best bits, but when we’re looking at a feed full of grins and rings, being rational doesn’t really do much to cheer us up.

I think you’re right about how isolation is a symptom of our generation, purely because we can do more than ever from our screen without leaving the house or speaking to another human. But this means we can be choosy about how we spend our time, and who we spend it with. Our parents and grandparents married and socialised with their colleagues and neighbours, because when it came to working out which partner was right for you, geography trumped compatibility. You live in a world where, romantically, anything can happen. It’s frustrating and thrilling, and it means that the connections are hard to come by, but when they happen they’re great.

Having company is no guarantee of happiness. Some of the loneliest people in the world are isolated in their relationships, friendships and with their families. Being with people doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily connected to them. It’s incredibly hard to make friends when you’re by yourself in a big city, but you do have the opportunity to get to know yourself, and learn to love yourself hard.

When we start to relish our own company, we’re half way to developing a superpower. Solo Saturday mornings might fill you with dread - until you realise that you have an exciting urban space all to yourself, and no-one is going to argue with you about which movie to see, or where to go for brunch. Pick up a cheap, last minute theatre ticket, and you’ll probably find yourself at the end of a row of tense, stressed friends who have been planning the outing over passive aggressive emails for six months, and now all hate each other.

You get to skip the big group bill fights about who had the steak and who had the salad, because you’re an independent lady who eats whatever the hell she likes without other people making it socially awkward. (On that note, your point about bills is a good one - it does suck when you don’t have someone to split things with. That said, you don’t have a partner, turning up the heat just so they can sit around in their underwear, or a housemate demanding you give them an extra £70 a month because they want to get Sky Sports, so I promise that being single means you’re making hidden savings you didn’t know about.)

It’s brilliant that you have been taking so many positive, empowering steps to meet new people and build your social group. Don’t worry if you haven’t made new friends yet - it’s as hard as dating, if not harder. The fact that you’ve been brave enough to try living in a new city and that you’re proactive about approaching people makes me think that it’s definitely going to happen for you. Don’t forget that you can afford to be choosy about your new mates - you’re clever, confident and brave. If you keep doing what you’re doing, I’m sure you’ll soon have a brilliant gang of people to go on holiday with. But it’s so much better to be home alone than to spend £800 on a fortnight in Marbella with some irritating idiots just so you have some poolside pictures to stick on Instagram.

Have courage - and remember that it’s always better to be alone than badly accompanied!

Lots of love,

Daisy

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