What People Won’t Tell You About Loneliness

The holidays can be a very lonely time. At school, students often act out. I learned throughout the years, that most teens aren’t going to tell you they’re sad. For adults, it can be the same issue. People don’t like to admit they’re upset. There’s the single mom or dad who has to send his or her child to a co-parent for the holidays, the single person without family or friends, or a couple where one has to work on the holidays. The list goes on and on. Communication is difficult even in the best of times, but it’s up to us to examine and pay close attention to what’s going on around us.

What if you’ll be all alone for Christmas? What if you’re feeling down and depressed because it’s a hard time of year? Years ago, when I got divorced my kids went with their dad for a week in December during Christmas. This shouldn’t have bothered me…I’m Jewish! But it did. Everyone seemed to have someone or something to do. I’d been exiled by my former friends due to my new single status and their judgmental stance on my decisions that I wasn’t even invited to the movies, for Chinese or even the Jewish Christmas Party, I’d been attending for years. I was not someone people really wanted around and I quietly kept to myself and cried most of the day. A huge part of the problem was that I missed my kids but if I’d had a way to stay busy, maybe the next few days would have been easier. It never occurred to me to say anything. I was embarrassed.

Sometimes you just have to be a little nosy. It’s not too difficult to ask, “What are you up to for the holidays?” And yes, I’m not saying invite the person to your house at seven in the morning for opening presents, but why not make room for one more at Christmas dinner? We call that a mitzvah in Hebrew and you can do a mitzvah no matter where you’re from or what religion you are.

If you’re going out for dinner and to the movies with your friends because you’re all single and your families aren’t local, why not invite someone else who’s alone? If you’re having a gift exchange at home with a bunch of couples and friends over and you’re ordering pizza, invite the couple who’s new to the area or the friend from work, who’s husband has to work the nightshift.

Don’t be upset with me, I know this is a time for families but loneliness can be very destructive. Friends, don’t be afraid to tell someone you’re alone for the holiday. Reach out, confide in someone, the word will get out, you don’t have to brave the day or night by yourself.