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Being the Last Cake Chosen on a Stall

By Alethea MacPhail

As is custom with my articles, as you will all well know, I always wrangle cake and quotes in to these somehow. And this is no different.

So, without further ado:

“When you're surrounded by all these people, it can be lonelier than when you are by yourself. You can be in a huge crowd, but if you don't feel like you can trust anyone or talk to anybody, you feel like you're really alone.”

My point here is best described by this quote. Loneliness isn’t so much a human with perfectly styled hair sitting in a posed position (usually by a window in a sepia tone) crying in to their designer cable knitted jumper sleeves, while a cliché quote is written over the picture in white text. To me, loneliness is sitting in a communal space, hearing close friends make plans without you involved in them. It’s having no-one sit next to you. It’s trying to make plans with friends, and having the age old excuses/silence given in response. It’s seeing couples together, and just wishing someone was close enough to you to ask you out for coffee sometime. It’s very much being on the outside looking in, and not knowing what to do about it.

When we’ve just started something (school is a good example here), there is no end of ice-breaker events to help to fight a lack of friends or people to talk to. But when we’ve reached the midway point of school, everyone has their groups and has settled in to a routine. However, things happen all the time that break up these groups – a conversation, harsh words, a situation or two, a falling out – and when this happens, there is suddenly much less support to fit back in to the social system of somewhere. It leaves people feeling very lost and unsure, and not to put too fine a point on it – alone.

We will all have experienced this at some point, or maybe you are experiencing this now. The saddest thing about this is the fact that a friend reaching out to help suddenly seems suspect, and the knee jerk reaction is to not trust the help at all, or snap at them.

All I can say is, please don’t do this. They do genuinely want to help, and while it is going to hurt that only one of your eight friends still talks to you, that one friend cares enough to still be in your life. And that is a marvellous thing indeed.

But, where is my habitual mention of cake? Well, with Populus we have no end of cake and conversation events to bring you back in to the social swing of things. There is no pressure to stay for a number of hours. Simply stay for as long as you feel able to, and come to our events as often as you are able. We promise we don’t bite :)

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