Have you ever felt you had no friends? Maybe it was when you were a child. Maybe it was when you moved to a new town. Maybe it was yesterday. Regardless of when it happened, it’s one of the loneliest feelings a person can have.
I remember when my daughter was in kindergarten and she was learning to navigate the bigger world. The most memorable and heartbreaking moment for me was when her inexperienced kindergarten teacher told the class on the last week of school that they should each pick two people they wanted to sit next to. Then, they were supposed to stand up and say the names of the two people.
As anyone with children would have guessed, some people’s names were not going to be mentioned. There were only six girls in the class. If each one said two names some children would be excluded. So, that day, when my daughter came home and said, “I had the worst day at school today,” my heart just broke. Naturally, I wanted to throttle the teacher for coming up with such a ridiculous exercise.
Instead, I tried to show my daughter that mathematically she wasn’t the only person whose name hadn’t been called. When she told me that one girl’s name had been said by five of the girls (including her), I explained that others had to have been left out as well. She was so intent on listening for her name (as anyone would have been) that she never noticed whether other people were left out too. That day, she felt like she had no friends. It didn’t matter that I showed her the birthday party invitation she had for the next week, or reminded her of the many playdates she had scheduled with girls who she had, until that morning, considered to be her friends. That one school exercise made her feel alone.
Fortunately, because she was five, she rebounded in a day, and there were no lasting effects from that particular event. In fact, except for my bringing it up, she doesn’t even remember it happening. Have there been other times where she’s felt like she’s had no friends? Of course. Haven’t you had them? In fact, wouldn’t we all do each other a service if we admitted to each other that everyone feels this way every once in awhile?
There are many people who create the image that everything is perfect. They publically exude perfection: their family is perfect, their work-life is perfect, and their relationships are perfect. They may or may not intend to create this impression. But the result is the same. People who don’t feel like they have it all together believe there is something wrong with them. Why can’t I be like, so-and-so? She’s got it all figured out. Why don’t I?
The reality is, no one has it all figured out. Everyone feels like they have no friends, every once in awhile. So, if you ever feel like you are alone, you should know that you’re not alone, because that’s how we all feel, every once in awhile.
Nancy Klingeman is married to Henry and the mom of two teenage daughters. She is a writer, a lawyer, and an observer of life's daily pageantry.
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