Dear Auntie Seraphic,
If you are a searching single, but you have no siblings and therefore no hope for nieces and nephews, and also only a few much-older cousins that live very far away, what is your advice for staving off the lonelies? I am only in my mid twenties, but nearly all of my friends around me are in serious relationships, engaged or married. There have been many days where I contact folks to go out and do something and it seems everyone is busy with their significant others and I end up sitting at home watching a movie.
I've been involved in the big Catholic group in my city, but it is currently of no help because nearly all of the friends I have made there are now couples, and the single folk are all quite young (like 5 or 6 years younger). It used to be fine last year, when I was also in a relationship, but now there is significantly less to do and less people to see. Sigh.
There is no 100% effective cure for loneliness. We are all going to be lonely sometimes. However, there is no point feeling lonely any more than we have to!
So what can you do? Well, first of all, don't feel that you shouldn't hang out with single folk who are younger than you. I always did and, come to think of it, still do. Don't make your age such an issue. If the 18, 19 and 20 year olds are fun and willing to hang out with you, hang out with them. As long as you want to be friends with them and they want to be friends with you, it's all good.
Second, look for Meet-ups in your town that involve events or hobbies in which you are honestly interested. If you can afford to, take a cab home. This way you don't run the risk of the "Going Home Alone on the Bus" feeling. (Oh, if you have your own car, even better.) Look also for Catholic events in your diocese, like Theology on Tap. And then there is always night school.
Incidentally I would love to go to night school, but I can't because I'm married and night time is the only time my husband and I can see each other. Go to night school NOW while you can. (I should write a post on this!)
Third, those friends with significant others will get rather curious about what everyone else is doing eventually, like about six months into the new stage of their relationship (except maybe for the engaged people, who will be too crazy with wedding plan insanity for thinking about anything else). Consider having a sit-down dinner party at your place for two or three couples once a month. Rotate the couples.
Couples do not necessarily want to drop their Single friends. Most of my friends in Scotland are Single. They invite B.A. and me to their dinner parties, and we invite them to our dinner parties. We hang out a lot, and the boys usually see the girls at least most of the way home, which eliminates at least some of the "Going Home Alone on the Bus" feeling.
Fourth, get emotionally involved with a Catholic blog or two. Internet discussions are not the same thing as chatting with friends in person or on the phone, but they can be very interesting and you are guaranteed to discover new people who share the same passions you do. From my own blog, I have made many friends and, in fact, met my husband, who was a reader. And some of my readers have met other readers; in fact, two Single American girls in Germany met up through my blog and became friends "in real life".
Fifth, ponder the fact that you are only in your mid-twenties. If you are American, chances and statistics are that you'll be married before you're forty. I realize that this does not help with "right now" but it might be helpful to realize that it is most likely you will not always be home alone watching the TV.
Sixth, there is no reason to live alone, unless you aren't really alone but living with your parents in their place. It can be very enjoyable to share a house with women graduate students. In my experience, they are both hardworking and willing to let off steam by going out on Friday nights. They are also up for cups of herbal tea and chats at random hours of the evening.
I hope this is helpful. Figuring out what to do between work and bedtime is indeed one of the big challenges of Single life. I remember well those loooong hours. Before I had blogging, and before I had to read and write for grad school from 7 AM to 10 PM, I used to work out at night, study languages and go down to the local artists'-and-writers' cafe to talk to artists and writers.
Grace and peace,
Incidentally, I still go out by myself. On Tuesday night I went by myself to a Polish poetry reading in Edinburgh's most leftist bookstore. In the window there was a T-shirt featuring Stalin. Underneath that T-shirt was a T-shirt reading "CCCP". Not a very respectable place for a nice Polish poet, I would think. It hurt me to hand over my Visa card to buy the poet's book. Weep, weep, weep. Anyway, if I can sit in a leftist bookstore wedged in beside a Polish lady and God is Not Great to listen to Polish poems, then I don't see why you girls can't go out alone to follow your own strange interests. Just bring emergency cab fare and a mobile phone if you're out after dark.
By the way, I had this to say about calling romances "relationships."