I’m so sorry it’s been so hard for you.
If you stay on CAF long enough, you will definitely begin to notice that although you may feel alone, you definitely are not. What I mean is that there are a lot of people who are feeling as lonely as you are, possibly. I bet dollars to donuts that there may even be some lonely foks even in some of these groups you are going to.
Too bad there wasn’t an easier way for all these lonely people to find each other and realize they weren’t the only ones feeling this way.
In 8th grade, I got voted “quietest”, and I really should have had that in high school, too, but I don’t think they knew I was there ;).
Although I didn’t talk much, I wanted so very much to connect with others my age. I just was just so terribly shy. I cried a lot from loneliness, truth be told. I’d be in a group yet feel so alone.
I know at that age, I wasn’t very good at taking the initative in conversations, feeling something like you’re feeling now that what people didn’t care about what I had to say. So, much of the time, though I desperately wanted to have friends, I often was just quiet, instead, probably fearing rejection. I had very low self confidence, and that doesn’t help when trying to make friends.
I’d say that if you can’t connect in these groups, to try other groups, even if they aren’t necessarily with the Church, just with something you have in common.
As I’ve gotten older (I’m 50, now), I’ve done a little better in that now I will initiate conversations.
What helped me a lot was in college I took a speech class, and the teacher said the number 2 fear was of death and nuclear holocaust, things of that nature, and that public speaking was the number one fear.
I was a social work major, and I noticed that he treated public speaking as a phobia! Now, I realize these teens aren’t giving a public speech over a microphone, but some are probably a little nervous in group situations. Some of them will probably eventually outgrow some of this, but in the meantime, the situation is what it is.
I remember when I was in school taking a French class, and I basically had an “A”, but if you didn’t participate, you’d lose a full letter grade. I feared rejection so badly then that I preferred to take a “B” rather than even risk it! I think I got this way as a result of being teased a lot in school.
Anyway, the speech class later in college helped me greatly. In fact, I took this class, because I knew in grad school, in a class I’d need to talk in front of the class for a presentation an entire hour! My previous attempts at talking were disastrous. Anyway, I took this class, and it helped change my life. I will probably never be a social butterfly, but after I took that class, I sang solo over a microphone at church, once. I was able to even do a little teaching.
However, I look back and remember how hard speaking was for me. I really appreciated it when others could take the lead, and I will tell you that at least in my particular case, the fact I didn’t initiate had nothing to do with interest or lack of. It had to do with my own insecurities at that stage.
At least some of the people in these groups could even be wrestling with their own issues, so I hope you won’t take it personally if that’s ever the case.
Again, looking back, it must have been quite brutal for anyone trying to befriend me, since I didn’t talk, really!
Do you have some interests that you could find a club with people sharing the same interests?
I have a lot of difficulty connecting and being on the same wavelength as other people. I remember my family assuring me it’d be easier in college, and socially, it was for some reason. When I got to college, I thought I died and went to heaven in the sense there were just so many people around that eventually I found friends from clubs I was in or my major.
Loneliness sounds like something so tame and lame, but it’s one of the most difficult things to deal with, in my opinion, because we weren’t designed to live like that. What we all have in common is that every one of the people in these groups wants to be respected, loved, and cared about.
Mother Teresa said she thought the worst poverty of all was that of feeling unloved. She put it up there even above physical hunger.
Even at my age, I still wrestle with loneliness. At different stages of your life, you will probably wrestle again and again with loneliness. Some of the loneliest people, believe it or not, ARE in relationships and married, even. So, just because one is in a relationship, it doesn’t necessarily protect us from loneliness.
I wish there were something I could do to help you, but I just hope this stage passes quickly and that you can find some real friends, soon. God bless you.