One of the most difficult experiences I find among normal people is being alone with themselves. When I am by myself I often tend to zone out in front of the television or the computer. Sometimes I feel as if I ought to be doing something, even cleaning the house, to fill the void. Yet I yearn for connection with others.
More men in particular are finding themselves alone, perhaps for the first time. Given the divorce rate many guys have lost partners and children with whom they thought they’d spend their lives. They enjoyed the domestication of home and family life and don’t know what to do with themselves when alone.
The fact is that we human were meant to live in community and most of us function better when we are interconnected. We need intimate friendships and relationships to balance our lives.
I often observe that women seem to have an easier time at this than men. I noticed that at a recent lunch with three women they chatted non-stop, interrupting, not finishing sentences or thoughts, sometimes barely listening to me. Yet that dynamic seemed to strengthen their relationships. I asked my sister about this and she affirmed that that is the way a lot of women bond.
I don’t know about other guys, but I connect best in full thoughts. I like to have beginnings, middles and ends to conversations. Quick-fire chatting confuses me and addles my brain. Being aware of this is important if I am going to make the connections I need to balance being alone with community. It means I need to seek out good conversation; it’s not going to necessarily find me!
Each of us has a slightly different dynamic in finding balance in relationship. Good coaching can help us appreciate our unique mode of relating, as well as common links to one another. When we discover this balance, being alone becomes a true blessing, an important counterpoint that helps us identify and appreciate real love and intimacy when we find it.
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