I’ve had some upset in my home recently. As it finally shook out, I got very excited about a free desk I found on Craigslist. I wanted to take some control back in my life and home and getting a new desk felt right. The person who posted the ad said they would take down the ad when it was gone. So, I was thrilled to find it still on the side of the road when I arrived.
It was a heavy sucker and wouldn’t fit in my trunk, but I saw that it would just fit in my back seat if I pushed the front seats forward. With some effort I got all but the last inch into my back seat. It needed to be lifted on both sides at the same time to make it that last inch. I needed help. People passed by and simply glanced at my struggle, but no one seemed interested in helping a gal shove a desk in her backseat. Eventually, a man, who’s car I had double parked in, helped me with the last inch only after realizing he wasn’t going anywhere until I got the desk in.
The only problem was by the time I got home I’d realized the desk was too big for my space and now I couldn’t get it out of my car by myself. I asked a couple of friends to help, but they were all busy. I tried again a couple of days later. One friend’s grandmother was in the hospital, another had back issues, and I didn’t feel like imposing on my newer friendships. A significant family member had also stopped returning my calls after I’d set some boundaries with them. I was struggling with fear of rejection.
At swing dancing one night, I told one of the new guys I’d met dancing about my desk problem and he offered to help me move it over the weekend. I was giddy with excitement but doubtful that he’d follow through. He gave me his number and I texted him to hammer out the details of my white knight’s intentions. He tacked on lunch too! We disposed of the desk on a popular free box corner with grand success. During lunch, he expressed that he was pretty impressed that I had moved it at all by myself.
In the coming days, he checked in with me about the status of the desk and commented on its disappearance when he came to pick me up for a date. It was lovely to have someone around to talk to and check in with. I had missed not having regular people in my life to witness my life and discuss it.
I teach loneliness management so it’s only right that I should struggle with it every now and then too, right? Those who can’t, teach? It’s an on going struggle especially in light of drawing some boundaries with friends and family who were very present and available but not reciprocal relationships for me.
I had to draw another line with this seemingly lovely man who it turned out was not a safe person. It is so frustrating because an unsafe, unhealthy, unsupportive person is still a witness and sometimes that’s all I really want. But, I have to figure out how to be my own witness and how to have more social snacks that feed my wellbeing.
Social snacks are things, places and experiences that are guaranteed rejection free. They give you the experience of feeling engaged, part of a community, and in control. They bring you to a happier place in your mind where you can hang out for a while, gaining confidence and strength.
If you suffering from social rejection, take a break from exposing yourself to potentially more rejection experiences until you feel stronger. You wouldn't run on a sprained ankle. Take a load off and give your ego a break.
Social Snack Examples:
Photos and videos of loved ones and friends
Smells that remind of you of loving moments
Stuffed animals that remind you of pets
Going to a performance
Going to an art exhibit
[If you regularly struggle with loneliness seek professional help.]