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Relationships

To the Women Feeling Lonely: Build Your Own Chair

To the Woman Who Feels Alone

 

You put on the smile like the nice girl who still lives inside of you was taught should always shine. You have the conversations and mind your manners. You show interest and smile, smile, smile. 

You try your best to be the girl who gets along, who is seen, who is invited to the table. 

Still, somehow, you’re always on the outskirts. You’re the one who has a seat at the table but just barely, squeezed on the end in the chair that doesn’t match. You’re the one who is invited as an afterthought or talked to out of obligation. You’re the one who asks about their weekend, but they never ask about yours. You’re the one who doesn’t have the big friend group, who watches the movies with the girls’ trips and wonders why that can’t be you. Your friendship bracelet is a solo venture–there’s never been anyone to give your second one to.

And you tell yourself it’s okay. You’re fine standing on your own. You’re okay being the “weird one,” or the one that no one likes. But inside, sometimes, you feel so isolated that it’s hard to feel okay with who you are.

For a while, you tried to figure it out. Why was it always you on the outskirts? Why didn’t they ever gravitate to you? Why were you the one they talked to but didn’t know? The one doing big things but when you turn around, no one even sees?

You tried to fix it. You tried to dress to fit in. You tried to censor the stories you told, tried to like the things they liked. You tried to be the one to give, give, give, hoping they’d see that. 

But to the woman who feels alone, who is an outsider, who is always on the fringes at school, at work, at the party, in life–I want to say: We see you. 

I say we because even though it doesn’t feel like it, there is a tribe of us. A plethora of girls who felt isolated and have now grown up to be women who feel the same. A group who were told to be nice to make friends–so we did the first part only to be disappointed that the second part never happened. 

We see you because even though we’re smiling and even though on social media, you think we’re popular, we feel distant, isolated, invisible most days. 

“How does that help?” you ask as you face another day sitting alone, being alone, having so many surface-level acquaintances but never friends. But I want to leave you with four thoughts.

  1. I know it’s hard, I do, but the thing is, even though you feel alone: You’re NOT alone. It’s like that lovely quote at the end of the movie P.S. I Love You where Holly’s mom reminds her that if everyone’s alone, then you’re all together in that. 
  2. There are so many people who appreciate you, who notice you, and who genuinely like you even if they don’t say it. Some people are just too embarrassed, too focused on themselves, or just too stubborn to admit it. You have an impact just by being you. Never forget that, even in the lonely moments.
  3. Sometimes the trauma of our past convinces us that our perception is true. I’m not saying you’re imagining it. But a question that helps is: “How do you know?” How do you know they don’t like you? Are you projecting your fears onto others? Have you just assumed your perception is true? It can be really hard, I know, to do some self-reflecting. It can be difficult to not assume the worst of others. But sometimes our past experiences tarnish present possibilities. Do some digging to see how your past is perhaps influencing your view of the present.
  4. If you consider all of that and still feel the same, I want to leave you with this: You are worthy. You are amazing. You matter. 

 

Even if others around you don’t seem to see or appreciate you. Even if you feel like you’re invisible. Even if you feel like you never have a seat at the table–you have a seat at the bigger table, the world’s table. As my favorite poet Walt Whitman says in a nod to Shakespeare, “That the powerful play goes on/And you may contribute a verse.” You have a role to play. You matter so much.

So own who you are. Don’t try to change to get a better seat or more applause. 

Validate your own worth, and stop worrying about what others think of you. 

Yes, it can be a lonely road sometimes. But do you know what? You are strong, you are smart, and you are capable of walking the road alone sometimes if you have to. You are capable of loving yourself so much that you don’t need to be given a seat at the table–you’ll make your own if you have to.

I truly believe that when you master these concepts, especially the last one, you’ll stop letting others put you in the corner. You’ll master your own path, your own worth. You’ll walk with your head held high, not to demand attention but to relish in the fact that you don’t need others to give worth to your existence or who you are.

And that, my friend, is when you’ll start to attract the people who were actually meant to be your friends. That’s when you’ll find that others like you gravitate to you and connect with you on a real level. That’s when you’ll find your own table. 

To the woman who feels alone–I know it’s hard. But keep your chin up. Keep moving forward. And know that the people who are meant for you, who get you, who appreciate you, will find you when you are owning exactly who you are.

 

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by Lindsay Detwiler

Lindsay Detwiler is a high school English teacher and a USA TODAY Bestselling author with HarperCollins/One More Chapter. Her debut thriller, The Widow Next Door, is an international bestseller. Her second novel, The One Who Got Away, released in February with One More Chapter/HarperCollins. Her latest novel, The Diary of a Serial Killer's Daughter, has been called "dark, unique, and a must-read in the thriller genre."

Lindsay is married to her junior high sweetheart. She prides herself on writing about genuine, raw emotions for the modern woman.


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