If you’d spoken to me a few years ago, I would’ve described myself as lonely, a loner, unfriendly and perhaps to some extent misunderstood. It wasn’t that I didn’t have friends, in fact I did and I have been privileged to have known them for well over twenty years in some cases (if you’re reading this, you know who you are).
But the problem wasn’t that they weren’t my friends any more, it was that I had changed and wasn’t seeing them as much. I was no longer a season ticket holder for Gillingham Football Club, I no longer went out drinking as often because I was focused on studying as a counsellor and a life coach – both of which took up time. It wasn’t that I no longer loved being around them, but I was changing and wanted to have friends who understood what I was going through as a CNBCer.
The feeling of loneliness carried on for some time, until I started actively looking for people like me. I set up a social group in a Meetup group and after a couple of false starts (remember to persevere), I met some brilliant people, who got me and I got them. In fact we’re still friends now (again, you know who you are, if you’re reading this you lovely people).
I joined a running club for ladies and while this had to give way for studying, it was a relatively easy way for me to meet new people, as there was a shared interest there and running has always been a love of mine.
After setting up After the Storm I reconnected with someone from school and, as it happens, now I’m more comfortable in my own skin, it’s easier to connect with them at a more deeper level, something that just wouldn’t have been possible at school, given my crippling shyness (again you know who you are, missus!).
And the studying has opened me up to new people that I wouldn’t have met in another context. I have met so many lovely people, who have a shared passion to help others, but that common passion wouldn’t have been identifiable in another context.
It can be hard to make friends as you get older – not because we lose the ability, but we don’t have the ready made social context that is school. School throws you together regardless of whether you get on or not. Sometimes this has good consequences and you meet mates for life, but there is no similar context as you grow into adulthood, so you have to be committed to finding those people out there that get you. But I’m proof that it can be done despite being longer in the tooth now.
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