Let’s face it: one of the downsides of living alone is having no one to talk to on those occasions when you really DO want to talk.
Admittedly this is entirely selfish. I don’t want someone else there because I want to listen to someone else. No, I want to hog the microphone.
I can fully understand why this mightn’t be appealing to anyone else, to voluntarily spend time in my company while I launch into diatribes on whatever topic I see fit. Come to think of it, no one ever really volunteers to listen except for paid listeners like psychiatrists. We all get together with others to talk. No one ever greets a friend with “oh I haven’t listened to you in ages!” even when that might be factually true.
Here’s a list of possible dangers in not having someone to talk to when you need to:
- You unburden yourself inappropriately through desperation e.g. you tell your intimate relationship/ medical/ financial woes to the person next to you in the supermarket queue
- You tell ALL your friends what’s going on and update them daily — except it’s never the same friend twice so they all get fragments of the story and think you’re mad
- You tell ONE friend everything but they get totally sick of hearing about it all and start to avoid you.
I suspect (okay, I know) I’ve done all of these at one time or another in my life. I’m far more careful now about respecting the burden I place on friends by sharing with them. While I believe that sharing burdens and listening to one another’s trials and sufferings is part of being friends, I do believe it’s still a privilege to be able to do it and therefore I try not to abuse it.
Sometimes I just need someone to have a thorough moan to about why life sucks right now, and get it off my chest. I know when the urge creeps up on me to tell strangers why my life is hard, it’s time to find a long-suffering friend and ask for their forbearance while I unload. And to return the favour when the time comes.