Loneliness and making new friends

Is it possible to feel so completely and totally lonely in a houseful of people?  I would say yes it is.  That is probably totally self indulgent but I truly think it is possible to be lonely even when you are surrounded by people.

I think sometimes we feel lonely for a life that we once had, or that we thought we had.  Whatever it is sometimes in life we can be completely surrounded by people and still feel lonely.  And I think in this era of social media that lonely feeling is worse than ever before.  We live in a time when we are more connected than ever before and many of us have hundreds of “friends” on Facebook but that real tangible friendship that can help cure lonliness is even further out of our grasp.

The hardest part about feeling lonely is knowing why you are lonely and then setting about fixing that.  The older we get the harder it is to make new friends and sometimes through no fault of our own, our circle of friends gets smaller and this comes with its own set of challenges.  In addition to this our lives get busier and so whilst we want to make new friends we find there is no time. 
I consider myself to be a good friend and I am extremely loyal so once you become my friend that’s pretty much it unless you chuck me as a friend.  I have noticed particularly this week I don’t have a lot of tangible friends.  By this I mean I have a number of friends that I consider close friends but they don’t live in the same state as me but I know that if I needed them they are only a phone call away.  But as far as tangible friends to go for a walk with or have a coffee or to just sit with I don’t have many and one of those is currently out of the country. 
This got me to thinking about how do I make new friends?  I have youngish children but I have always avoided the playground pick up mainly because I have always found it to be just as cliquey as it was when I went to school.  I am sure this isn’t the case but I always feel like everyone there always has someone to talk to and I feel like I am intruding on their already established friendship by saying hi.  I also didn’t grow up in the area we live in, this I have found particularly challenging.  
It seems that many people who live here grew up here, went to school here and as such their kids are going to school with their friends kids.  This makes it hard to make new friends when some of the mums in the playground have no need to make new friends because they have their childhood friends so with our really busy lives it is hard enough to make room for our old friends let alone developing new friends.  
In addition to this having some issues around self esteem, anxiety and depression it is very hard to put yourself out there to meet new people.  Because let’s face it new people or potential new friends don’t want to hear about those real problems so we pretend, we pretend that life is ok and that we are doing ok.  The problem with this is that when the time comes to lean on. The new friends it is really hard to do it for fear that they run a mile so you don’t open up, you keep them at arms length and in reality you keep them as acquaintances rather than developing a real friendship.  
There are no easy answers to feeling lonely or making new friends.  It is hard to put yourself out there it puts most people in a vulnerable situation and takes us out of our comfort zones and let’s face it who likes that.  
So I guess I’m asking how do you make new friendships?  What suggestions do you have? 

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