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Advice Needed - how to improve social life

  • 07-06-2020 5:11pm
    Registered Users Posts: 10

    Hi, I need some advice on how I can get a social life and overcome my loneliness.

    I am a 26-year-old man from Galway and recently moved back home with my parents. I moved home because I was unhappy living with current housemates. I had been living in Galway City for the past 3 years, with two different sets of housemates. The first living arrangement ended because of Landlord selling the place, and the guy I was living with chose to move to back with his parents. This brought about my second place where I chose to move in with lads I did not know. Things were okay for a while, but I had to move out due to too much conflict. So now I am living at home again.

    The advice I am looking for is what should I do next? I do not want to love at home. I have lived in Galway my whole life. I went to school and college in the city (living at home for both) and got my first and current job in Galway City as well. Anyone who knows Galway will know that unlike cities such as Dublin and Cork, it is very, very small. And I don’t just mean in physical size or population. Everyone knows everyone. And I feel that is both a good and a bad thing. While I love Galway, it is quite hard to escape or do something without someone knowing you.

    Despite Galway’s vast social scene, I have never really been part of it, or at least not as much as I would have liked. I have always had some self-esteem issues and really struggled to make friends. I come from a house with some domestic issues and I was bullied a lot throughout all my school years, and then when college came around, I never really was able to break away and “find myself” (sorry in advance, I hate when people use that term). I hung around with people I loosely knew from school who happened to do my course, but they knew me as “that” lad from school, with low self-esteem and sort of a nobody. So throughout college, I hung around with them, but was always kind of an outsider, never really part of the group, let’s say.

    College years are gone now, and all of the contact I had with these friends is gone. They have moved on. Which is fair enough. Thing is, I am really lost now. As I said previously, I had tried to move in with new people to see how that would go, one time was unlucky with the landlord, the other was just not able to live with my housemates (a story in itself).

    Honestly, I am just really lonely, and am looking for some sort of a social life. I play GAA, but have always been sort of an outsider in my club (amazingly, every one of the lads I played with growing up has stopped). As GAA clubs go as well, it’s not very sociable, for some reason.

    I know one seemingly obvious solution is get out of Galway, but it’s not as simple as that. I am fortunate to have a well-paying job that I enjoy, with a good career ahead if I am to stay with the company. Unfortunately, the workplace is not very social, with nearly all my co-workers in their 40s or 50s with kids, and not much interest in socialising after work hours.

    I am considering moving abroad (when all the travel restrictions ease, of course) to Canada, UK or even NZ, but I would be going on my own, and I don’t know would that solve my problem. I love Ireland, and I still love Galway, and I think it would be hard for me to be away from my family. I would also be leaving my good job. I am also reluctant to move in with people I don’t know in Galway again, and I just think I am spinning my wheels if I do that.

    So if anyone reading this I can offer me some advice on what they think I should do, I would really appreciate it, as I am in a bit of rut now, not getting any younger and really don’t know what to do.


  • Registered Users Posts: 258 ✭✭Wanderer19

    Hi! Sorry you're having such a rough time. All I can suggest is that you join a few meet up groups, or do some volunteering, anything that will get you mixing with others. Walking groups tend to be a lot more sociable than team sports, (in my opinion).

    I would suggest you live in your own for a while if you can, but that can be quite lonely, so only you can decide what is best for you.

    Sorry I can't be more helpful.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,160 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    I agree with you that moving away isn't the answer, by the sound of things. I'm sorry to hear that you have had a rough time, at home and in school.

    You have a good job, with good prospects, so that's a great plus. You gave the club a go, fair dues. I would say keep at that. It's a good outlet, to be involved in sport, even if as you say, it's not very sociable.

    In relation to the living situation, would you consider getting a place on your own? I'm aware from what you have said that you might not like the idea of it, but it suits lots of people.

    Would you consider counselling to help with your lack of self-esteem? My heart goes out to you, seeing you describe yourself as a bit of a nobody. :(

    Most counselling services are available via Zoom/ Skype etc at present, (they will presumably be getting back to face to face sessions as more restrictions are lifted).

    This link should help you to pick someone that suits, I would urge you to give it a try.

    All the best.

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    I think you would do very well by going aboard. Cities in Canada particularly are full of young people from all walks of life and have well established GAA clubs which focus a lot more on social meetings than here, they are geared towards people trying to connect. The hostels are mostly set up to be helpful in making those first connections also , and everyone is sort of an outsider which is good in its own way. Also if you can get a good job in Galway you will get a good job aboard eventually also. You have already got some life experience out of home so you should do ok. It would do you good to make a fresh start. If it doesn't work out you may find you are more content back home when you come back.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10 D3nn!s

    In relation to the living situation, would you consider getting a place on your own? I'm aware from what you have said that you might not like the idea of it, but it suits lots of people.

    Would you consider counselling to help with your lack of self-esteem? My heart goes out to you, seeing you describe yourself as a bit of a nobody. :(

    I have considered living on my own, but I think that could get very lonely, especially these days, not to mention very expensive (still only able to rent).

    I have tried several counselors over the years, and even an actual psychologist. To be honest, I don't have a lot of respect for the counselors anymore, I think they talk a lot of fluff and are never able to provide a detailed plan of action. Whether they are just chancers or genuinely under-qualified for what they are offering, I am not sure, bit of both I think, but I feel this is a general problem in this country (but that is a separate discussion).

    The psychologist I found was a bit better. She had some plan to be fair, but again talked a lot of non-sense in my opinion. And was extremely expensive. But in fairness, she did have an end-date, and did not lead me down a never-ending road like every counselor I have ever been to has.

    I was considering going to a GP anyway to discuss it, and maybe they could put me in touch with someone. Everyone else I went to I found on my own. At least if they were referred by a GP, they might feel more accountable.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,160 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    Great, sounds like you have a plan of action.

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  • Administrators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 25,947 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Neyite

    Flat sharing is always a bit of a gamble - I've had some awful flatmates but then had others that were absolute diamonds and who became lifelong friends. So it's worth taking a chance again that way.

    The other thing is that in Galway there's lots to do - there's hobbies, activities and social groups you could try. Coming up to September consider an evening course in something you have an interest in or something you've always wanted to try. Guitar lessons? Photography? Kayaking? Woodwork? Scuba diving? Languages? It may not be something you'd keep up afterwards but it's a bit of fun and it gets you widening that circle of who you know. If you google part time courses in Galway you'll see there's plenty of variety, and it gives you one or two evenings a week where you go out of the house and meet people.

    If your job has other offices elsewhere in the country or abroad there could be opportunities for secondment or temporary placement somewhere different but with the security of the job to return to, so if you have a mentor at work it's worth exploring those kind of options. Those older colleagues can't uproot with kids and a mortgage to do something interesting but you could. They could also be very useful if you did want to work abroad in your industry because chances are, they've done all that and have made plenty of networking contacts along the way.

    Hope it all works out for you.