Friday, 24 January 2014

When It's Important To Be Lonely


I think one of the hardest and most important things I've ever had to come to terms with in life, is understanding and accepting the fact that it is impossible to please everyone.

After years of beating myself up about it, trying to change who am I, what I do and how I behave,  I can honestly say that it was until about three months ago, at the age of 21, that I realised that I had once and for all, came to peace with it.

And I can pinpoint the exact point that it happened.

*

Coming back to Uni this year, it was painfully evident that everything was so, so different.

After a summer of working hard, creating, exploring and adventuring, coming back to Uni was an uncomfortable aspect in itself - I felt so ready to get out of there and take on the world. But there had been a greater shift, between me and the people who I thought were my friends, and without even really noticing, I was suddenly nothing like them any more. They had all remained pretty similar during this time, but I was just... not.

I could see exactly what they thought. I was that 'girl that goes weird' in the friendship group, suddenly stops going on nights out and looks like a total recluse. And after I didn't return to the cheerleading squad, things got worse.

My friendship group dropped dramatically. And the hardest part about that was actually realising that we'd never really been friends in the first place. They weren't exactly going to 'miss me'. We'd only ever just been similar-seeming girls with a common interest.

Without cheer, I realised that I genuinely had nothing to say to them anymore.That was all they ever talked about all the time, and without that... there was literally nothing for me to say. But, in vain, I tried.

I didn't want to lose all of my friends at Uni, I didn't want them to resent having to live with me or be around me, so I found myself making a fool out of myself to try and be involved. I tried to be as pleasant as I could, laughed a little too hard at all their jokes, pretend to agree with things just so I fit in again, and it was all so false and strained. It was an exhausting effort to try and keep up this charade of normality.

Then, one evening we'd decided to go for a night out in the student union. Going out clubbing in the student club had zero appeal to me anymore; 3 years of the same place, same people, same outfits, same conversations and same music had just worn me down - but I went because I didn't want to be alone.

Halfway through the night - I'd been stood awkwardly on the outside of the group all night, forcing a smile, sipping my empty drink so it wasn't too obvious that I had nothing to say - I'd gone to the loo. I'd entered the cubicle and a couple of minutes later some of my friends bustled drunkenly into the cubicle next door, totally oblivious to the fact I was in the one next to it. I could hear from their stumbling and giggles that they were totally smashed, whereas I was struggling to get drunk myself.

I wasn't about to declare my presence so stayed in silence, but they were so drunk they were practically shouting. Then I heard my name.

'Oh my god Katie is so anti-social, why does she even bother.'

'I know, I actually cringe when I see her trying to make conversation, I pity her.'

I felt sick. 

I'd been trying so hard to make an effort so that the differences between us weren't so painstakingly obvious, and not only had they seen right through it, they were mocking me for trying. I know they were drunk and probably didn't mean to be so nasty, and would probably be mortified to know that I'd heard them, but that was it.

That was the moment I just.... got it.

My whole life I've had a knack for accumulating people who actively dislike me, and I've spent so long trying to analyse what I do wrong, why I am so apparently dislikeable as a person. I've got so worked up about it and truly hated myself sometimes, convincing myself that I'll never have any friends and I'm destined to be alone forever.

But really... I'm not alone. Not even slightly.

There's Harry, Hollie, Sophie, there's Pete, Flossie, Oliver and the TWC, and there's new people I've met through blogging like Charli - The most incredible, talented, and wonderful people that I've ever met. My best friends in the whole world. 

And yet, because they do not all travel in the same social circles, some don't even know each other, because I don't have a big communal group of friends, I am assuming I am alone? 

That was an insult to them as friends.

I'd spent so many years focusing on the bigger picture, putting so much effort into trying to get everyone to like me, I had almost been overlooking the greatest friends a person could ever wish to have.

And I got it.

It's a fundamental and difficult thing that cannot necessarily be learned, but one of the most important parts of growing up and finding your own happiness, is understanding that there is nothing you can do that will please everybody.

No matter what happens, there will always be some people who just won't understand or like you or what you do. This isn't having 'haters' - this is called life.

And focusing all your efforts trying to please the bigger picture is just such a waste of effort. It's just not worth it.

So I guess I'll never be someone with a huge group of friends that goes on 'girl's holidays' to Malia, or has 20 other girls I can swap outfits with when we're getting ready, but what I do have is some of the most incredible and beautifully unique people that I am lucky enough to be able to surround myself with, with no effort, no pretense, no falsity. People that just get it and are on the complete same wavelength, that our friendship is the most natural thing in the world.

And if ever comes a time where in a new scenario I find that I don't really find anyone I get on with, I can put my hand up and say I'd much rather be alone. I will fly the flag for team loner and say that sometimes it's better to be by yourself, than to be surrounded by people that make it difficult to be yourself.

Because people think that being alone is what makes you lonely, when really, being around the wrong people is the loneliest thing of all.

                    





38 comments :

  1. This is so true! You have to appreciate what you have in the present rather than what you could have. Some people just aren't worth it! You have a great blog and you are very inspiring to lots of young women (and men) out there. x

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    1. Wow thank you so much, that's such a lovely thing to say! Thanks for reading :) x

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  2. I can really relate to this post, I feel like I can't wait till I can get away from university and just be myself without being judged! That picture at the top is really nice too, might remind myself of it more often! xo

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    1. Haha I made it using one of the photo apps featured in my post on Scarphelia ETC ;) I agree with you though, I thought coming to Uni would let me be myself more but it's ended up like another stagnant place I can't wait to get out of. Can't wait to graduate, travel the world and start afresh :) Thanks for reading! x

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  3. I swear this post is about my life. I read it and felt like you were talking about me! Scary. Beautifully written and definitely true! I've spent more time on my own than I probably should have; but I'd much rather my own company, than the company of false friends. Don't let others get you down. You're a very inspirational woman.

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    1. wow this is one of the loveliest comments I've ever received, I wrote it on a note and popped it into my happiness jar haha :) I'm so glad you enjoyed and found it relatable, I think a lot of people are in the same position, more than perhaps we all realise. Keep your head up lovely :) x

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  4. This 100% echoes feelings I have had on too many occasions. I reached a point in my last year at uni actually when I realised that hold on a second, I don't have to do anything I don't want to or don't enjoy purely because it's what everyone else does and I don't want them to start talking about me. So I stopped going on nights out too and the realisation that I had a choice was so liberating and I starting doing things that made me feel good about myself instead. Time spent alone is so valuable anyway, and time spent around the right people is the only time you need to think about investing away from that solitude in my opinion. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Katie. By the looks of it, you really aren't alone at all in that your story will resonate with so many other people, as it has done with me. Keep doing what you're doing as long as you're being true to yourself. Those who matter won't mind. With love, Bee x
    PS. I was going to link to your pay-per-minute cafe review in a post over the weekend, but think I will also have to link to this one! Please continue to produce as wonderful and inspiring writing as I have enjoyed this week :)
    http://fillmylittleworld.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. This was so lovely to read, thank you so so much, oh my. Definitely make sure you link me that post when it goes live! You are right, the freedom and spare time has allowed me to do so many lovely and selfish (In a good way!) things :) x

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  5. So, so true. I've always been one to prefer to spend time alone than with people I don't really like. And you do feel like a bit of an outsider for it. But now I realise it's just about being true to yourself and being confident in who you are.

    I'm not sure if you're an introvert or not, but I recently read a book called Quiet by Susan Cain. I read it and realised that a lot of this kind of thing comes down to my being introverted. So I'd really recommend it! (Or, I live in London too so I can always lend you my copy!) x

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    1. I totally agree, there are so many greater ways of spending your time than trying to force a friendship, and although it can seem a little selfish in some ways, at the end of the day it's your happiness that is most important :)

      I don't think I'd class myself as an introvert, in reality I'm very loud and quite dramatic haha, but that's only really around people I'm comfortable with or total strangers. When I feel out of place with people I literally run and hide away, that's why it's such a strange thing, and something I am now no longer going to tolerate!

      I'll definitely check out the recommendation, thank you :)

      x

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  6. I loved this and it made me a bit teary! I can so relate because I think a lot of girls have had that lightbulb moment where you feel like you're fighting a losing battle trying to fit in. Your writing is incredible, loved it.

    Lovefayexoxo.blogspot.co.uk

    Faye xoxo

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    1. Thank you so much - honestly the feedback from this has been so inspiring I'm thinking of writing a follow up post! If we're all lonely and seeking like-minded souls, then really none of us are :) That's the beauty of blogging!

      Katie xo

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  7. This is wonderful, it's great when people speak out about things like this. So many people go through this,feeling the same and thinking they're alone in it. Knowing other people have had similar issues helps so much. I've been through this myself, and still, probably a year or 2 on, I wonder what on earth is wrong with me. Am I that much of a recluse to not have a group of girls behind me that I can tell everything to, and have a perfect relstionship with. I think tv and film are a little to blame for making everyone feel like this is the norm. But it's just not for me, I tried it, and lost myself trying to fit in with the group. This is such an inspiring post, and it feels amazing to hear that it's not just something that's wrong with me. Thank you xxx

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    1. You have no idea how glad I am that other people can relate to this, so thank you so much for commenting - it genuinely brings such a smile to my face to know that I'm not completely in this alone, as I hope that other people will feel too by reading this!

      I definitely feel like I'm far too cynical and somewhat pessimistic to ever survive in a big group of girls... and that's not necessarily a bad thing. The path to inner happiness is finding what works for you :)

      Katie xo

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  8. This post really hate home with me, as I'm going through a very similar thing at the moment. Whilst I live at home, university I still find myself feeling like a total outsider. A few months ago I felt like I finally fit in after months of trying, but in the last few weeks I feel like I've went back to square one. I'm not one of the girls, I don't really feel like I can contribute much into conversations and all of this time I've been focussing on what I've done wrong, why everyone seems to hate me, ignore whatever I say, not really have any interest into anything I say/do. But like you said, it's them - you just can't always please everyone and thats something I need to realise more. While spending most of my time feels anti-social and lonely at the best of times, it feels like it's my best option and I somehow feel happier because of it, sort of like I've set myself free. And without having the restraints of feeling the need to have to impress people feels pretty damn good.

    Thank you for this! I start my second semester of University on Monday and whilst I was dreading the whole situation, I feel much better about it now! : )

    xxxx

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  9. This post made me so happy. I used to worry about making everyone happy and making sure people liked me, I would get so jealous of others having big groups of friends and planning holidays or nights out. Then it just hit me that I have amazing real friends that actually do give a shit about me and like to hang out with me. I just worried so much about not being part of a big group of friends and felt like I was missing out... I was miserable all of the time but now after actually opening my eyes to what I do have I feel really lucky. I'm glad there are other people who feel the same way!!
    Amy x
    Everything and Amy

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  10. "This isn't having 'haters' - this is called life." This should be carved in stone! In a good way :)

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  11. I can really relate to your post.
    I used to get so upset about not having a huge friendship group and that "II'll never be someone with a huge group of friends that goes on 'girl's holidays' to Malia."
    But now I'm older (I'm 22) I just don't care, trying to please people is just hard work. I found that just being myself and enjoying my own company has inadvertently enabled me to meet more friends.
    Hanging around with the wrong people really does make a person lonely. Getting rid of toxic friends is one of the best things one can do!

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  12. This is such a great post! I remember going back for my last year of uni and having no idea how I'd been friends with my housemates for 3 years! So I moved out and have never been happier!
    Well done for bringing this to light, I absolutely love this post!

    Elle

    www.theelleword.co.uk

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  13. This is such an inspiring post! I can relate so much to what you have written and am currently at uni myself still trying to find my way! This post has really inspired me and made me change my outlook! Thank you so much for writing about such a sensitive topic! Absolutely love you blog! xx

    www.beautystreetstyle.blogpost.co.uk

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  14. This is so true! I'm in the same situation right now, but i don't know where to find friends :S (i don't go to school, or having a job)

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  15. Just come across your blog today on Bloglovin and really loved reading this post, your blog is lovely! I think there's a lot more people who are in the same position at some point and I think often you end up putting so much of your time and effort with people who you have drifted from and you end up neglecting the one's you should be with! Don't think I'll ever make that mistake again!

    Laura x
    www.elleai.me

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  16. just discovered your blog and i am in love with it. i am a blogger / singer too and i love people that can express themselves as creatively as you can :) looking forward to reading more!


    Can i ask how you create the text that you use over your photos? :)
    Mollie xoxo
    molliebylett.blogspot.co.uk

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  17. I have fallen in love with your blog. You have one of the most inspirational blogs I have ever read. I can relate to this post so well. I am also 21 and have just left uni. I have spent the past few weeks riding my bike and blogging and I worried that this meant that I was alone. Then I realised how happy I was and how happy I am with the best friends that I have. The people that I don't talk to now aren't nasty people, they're just very different to me. You need to surround yourself with people that bring out the best in you...the people that bring out you!
    Thank you so much for writing this post. It has really motivated me!
    xxx

    www.lillielar.blogspot.co.uk/

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