Twenty plus years ago I had a very close friend I’ll call Susan. Shortly after we met she invited me to lunch and I came right out and told her that while I knew a lot of people and had quite a few friends, I was really looking for a very close friend. Was she? In agreement, we then spent over five years talking, laughing, and sharing our lives. I felt closer to her than my own sisters. Then? She ghosted me. Of course, it wasn’t an immediate thing. I knew our circumstances had changes—that we had changed. The phone calls got shorter and fewer, and the times together dwindled. Sadly, it ended a slow death, and I never knew exactly why. I mourned that relationship for many years.
For over 30 years I have been self-employed and for the most part, worked alone. Although there are many advantages to being a self-employed writer, I’ve never had the luxury of meeting co-workers after work or sharing life’s ups and downs with fellow employees. And because I am childfree, I also never bonded with other moms over the joys and challenges of raising kids. But since the media recently exploded with news bits equating loneliness and isolation with such health risks as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making new friends is now a priority. Not only is it SMART to recognize that loneliness is a potential life hazard, it is also beneficial to come up with ways to reverse the trend. [Read more…]