Monday, November 9, 2015

Feeling lonely in the most populated places

It amazes me that in a city this large with so many people, that one can feel lonely. When I moved here in March, I knew a bunch of people who lived in the city.  What people who don't live here think is that this city is easy to navigate quickly.  What I hadn't realized was that my friends who live up in Harlem can be as far away as a 90 minute subway ride each direction.  People, from what I've observed so far here, have a tendency to focus on hanging out with the friends that they have in their neighborhood.

When I lived in Oneonta, I was lucky to have a great group of people in my office.  I considered them coworkers and friends.  I also seemed to have a pretty consistent flow of visitors from other places staying with me.  Advising a fraternity, establishing a glbt networking group, and being part of a really fantastic running group also helped me a lot.  I know I had lonely moments there, but it feels like I have many more here.

For the past 8 months, I've had a friend crashing with me.  He is now gone.  I'm glad for that.  His company was starting to really grate on me.  He left the day my friend Patrick came to visit.  Patrick's visit was a welcome one.  It made me realize how much I miss my friends from other places.  That feeling was particularly enhanced when he left on Sunday afternoon.

It's now been a week.  I have my fiancĂ©, David, whom I love.  He works nights frequently though.  I find that I haven't quite done my due diligence in connecting with people here.  I also haven't been very good at meeting new friends in Brooklyn.

Some of this has to do with energy levels.  In the past few months, I haven't had a lot of energy aside from work.  I know that working out initially tires me out, then ends up giving me more energy during the day.  I just have to get to the gym and get through the tiring part to find the energy again.  I also need to be eating better for that.

On the other hand is an unusual fear of rejection for me lately.  I'm a man who runs head first into a crowd of people and will talk to anyone.  I love meeting people and getting to know them.  Something about my move here is different lately.  I don't know what has triggered this.  I do know I can get through it.  I noticed in my friend, Patrick, a lack of fear in meeting people and talking to them.  I know it's still in me.  I just think it is taking a break.

I read an article about the difficulties of meeting people as an adult a few years ago.  I think it has a lot of truth.  Not only is it age related, but the easiest way to meet people seems to be by spending money in a bar.  Neither drinking a lot or spending a lot seems very attractive to me here.  I've tried meet-up here, but unlike other places, every time I meet with a group it seems like a different group of people.  That has to do, some of it, with the sheer size of this city.

I have this crazy idea lately, too, that I want people to reach out to me instead of the other way around.  Sometimes I want someone else to do the work, checking in and making plans.  Does it always have to be me working hard to connect with people?

I'm truly blessed to have some amazing friends around the world.  We check in with each other all the time.  I also know from experience that it takes about 9 months to start to connect with people in a new place.  I've done it before.  I'll do it again.  This funk is just short term.  I write this not to freak out people I am close to, but rather to articulate something that I believe I am not alone in feeling.


  1. Eric, I hear from a lot of people NYC can be challenging. Perhaps, you'll feel better when you have a change of scenery :-P

  2. Hi Eric! Reaching out to tell you that you are a FABULOUS writer! I love your straight forward thinking. xo PS, Miss you here in Ra Cha Cha... xo