Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/12/2018 (1002 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I’m a woman in her late 60s, living alone. I, too, find it hard to deal with holidays like Christmas.
The real reason people don’t visit with older folks is the younger ones are eternally drawn to their phones. It’s their way of communicating and if you are not like them, they don’t want to be around you.
Yes, I remember when people would welcome going out for coffee and a chat. But look around. When I am on public transit, at the gym or the mall, I see it. People do not talk to each other anymore.
They say that’s why the suicide rate has gone up dramatically, and more and more people suffer with depression and anxiety.
It’s really gotten bad in the last 20 years since technology escalated. How do we make it go back to the way it was? I really don’t know. — Suffering with the Holiday Blues Too, Elmwood
Dear Suffering: Bad news — it’s not going to go back to the way it was. Good news — you can get on board the friend-making train, and have fun with new chums who’ll enjoy chit-chatting as you do things you like together.
Your first step is to check out the Manitoba Association of Seniors Centres online. Click on their locations — about 25 in all — and find one near you.
When participating in a game or activity, take the initiative and invite people to stick around for a coffee and chat when you are done. That way you can expand your friendship circle.
Take the same approach at home, using baking as your introduction. Drop off little plates of treats to people near your house or apartment block. On a little card, print your email and phone number and write something like, "Hi neighbour. If you ever want some help or a fun chat, I’m here. Coffee’s always on!" Leave your first name, address and email.
Then sit down and make a big list of contacts, and work it! Call up all your old friends and relatives in the next week or two, wish them a happy new year and invite them over for a visit. Tell them you have an overabundance of baking to share and make the best coffee/drinks in town.
When they visit, after a chat, play a game of cards with upbeat music in the background. Show them what fun it can be at your house.
Got grandkids or greatnieces and nephews? Put them on the list and have board games to play with them. Ask their folks to drop them off, while they go shopping. Get the picture?
Now please brace yourself: there will be no more "pity me" attitude, as that makes people feel guilty, and likely to run away from you. Also, no more sad nostalgia for the way things used to be. Find somebody to help you brush up on your computer skills. Learn to Skype with faraway friends and relatives, so you can see each other and really connect on the screen as you talk.
Also, get involved with meetup.com. It’s designed to help people of all ages and interests get together as a group and share their favourite activities.
To elevate your spirits, pick a charity for 2019, and dig in. Really get involved with the core group of workers and you’ll meet some fine and friendly people with big hearts. That will bring you up, and make you feel good about yourself, and happier. Your smile will become a friend magnet.
Each year, the Free Press publishes more than 1,000 letters to Miss Lonelyhearts and her responses to the life and relationship questions that come her way.