Loneliness is one of those things you aren’t supposed to feel. Some people insist they are alone, not lonely. Yet recently I have realised that I am lonely. I spend far too much time in my own company and not necessarily through choice and I think it is wearing me down.

When I was in my twenties and thirties I quite enjoyed spending time alone. Eating dinner, watching TV, reading books and pottering around my flat didn’t bother me the way it bothers some people. Perhaps at the back of my mind was the idea that it was all leading to something: a big romance, a family, something like that. Unfortunately it turned out that it leading to just more of the same. I now feel like Robert De Niro’s character in The Intern prior to his internship: un-needed, superfluous and getting old. At least he was alone because he was a widower. I have no such excuse.

I think I am reasonably good at making friends and am quite interested in other people. Yet I have over time become a bit curmudgeonly and also a bit fussy about how I spend my time; I get restless in the wrong company or if I feel we are just killing time. Then I want to be at home reading or doing something, anything useful.

There is also the small matter of my nasty right-wing views which turn many people off but which I find impossible to keep to myself. Still, friendship probably requires vaguely compatible views so perhaps nothing is really lost by scaring away those who think very differently to me. The friends I do have are scattered around the world and I rarely see them: Peru, Spain, Japan and Germany. Maybe I should get out more and make some new friends. Or move back to Spain. Or just find a nice lady to marry.


3 thoughts on “Loneliness”

  1. This was a very honest post that I could relate to a lot. I’m an introvert by nature, which means overly stimulating social gatherings can wear me down/irritate me quickly. But I need people in my life some of the time, and the problem is that if you stop bothering with people they will stop bothering with you and it’s terrifyingly easy to end up as the lonely old mad git who everyone in the neighbourhood gives a wide berth to. Although I’m an expat who doesn’t live anywhere near other expats, as I’m married with 3 kids, it’s easy for me to fool myself into thinking I’m being sociable stuck at home when I’m really not. Sometimes months can go by where I don’t interact with another non-Japanese person in the flesh, and I’m not sure that’s healthy in the long run. So I tend to hang onto the few fellow expat friends I have in Tokyo, even though they’re all raging liberals.

  2. Yes, I completely agree. And I especially feel worn down among westerners since so many of them seem a bit too self-confident, as well as totally signed up to the liberal consensus. Even so, I have recently come to the conclusion that I write people off far too quickly and while there really are some genuinely unbearable people out there, most of them are in reality no worse than me.

    Are you married to a Japanese woman? What work do you do in Tokyo? I imagine you speak very good Japanese whereas I still only know about 20 words, despite having been here off and on for 13 years. What made you come to Japan in the first place? I would be interested in your views of the Japanese themselves because I think I might see them through rose-tinted glasses. I only ever seem to meet nice ones who I only know very superficially.

  3. Thanks for your reply and sorry I’ve only just noticed it 17 days later! I would love to answer your questions, but in a more private setting. Do you have an email account I could reply to?

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