Unsinkable Jean Brown

Last blog I mused about having friends.  See here.  We’re all keen to have friends, but what if there are no friends to be had?  And there are many reasons why we might be friendless, alone.

Google has plenty to say about this.  As did our friend, Jean Brown.

An internet search shows,

  • having no friends may be discouraging, but it doesn’t mean you’re fundamentally broken! Our worth isn’t solely determined by our number of friends. Plenty of jerks have large social circles. Plenty of good people have been lonely.
  • a lack of friends is almost never because our core personality is at fault. It can be due to many things: we’re not knowledgeable about the skills for making friends; we’re shy, socially anxious, or unconfident to pursue friendships; we don’t mind being alone, and so don’t have as much motivation to go out and meet people as someone who constantly craves company; our current situation (eg, we just moved to a new city, our old friends moved away, I work a lot of hours, live in the middle of nowhere); etc.  See https://www.succeedsocially.com/nofriendsworries.
  • you don’t need a good social life to have friends. There’s a lot you can do on your own, which will give you things to talk about and lead you into company with people with similar inclinations.
  • the term ‘loner’ may have taken on some negative connotations, but it doesn’t mean being one is a bad thing, by any means.  See https://bestlifeonline.com/loner-signs/.

Get the drift?

My wife, a rest home staffer, was planning a Scottish ‘event’.  As part of her preparation she wrote to a Scottish newspaper, asking for some useful contacts for the event.  There was only one reply, from a Jean Brown.

Jean Brown, now deceased, became my wife’s lifelong pen pal!  She was a spinster from a small Scottish town, who, we learnt as time went on, had no one she could call a friend.  But she proved to be inspirational as an irrepressible loner.  She used to describe, with joy and delight, nature documentaries she watched on TV – as if she’d been personally there (in the river with the hippos), often declaring, “Aren’t we so lucky to be able to see these things, without having to go there?”  She would go on all-day outings to museums, libraries, parks, beach promenades; studying flowers and birds and maps … and describe them to us in immaculate miniature hand-writing, any mistakes lovingly corrected with tiny bits of paper and rewritten over.  And would send us clippings from newspapers and museum brochures and TV guides, and explain to us why these clippings were important to her.

Jean Brown became, for us, the quintessence of a contented friendless person, and taught us just how overrated having friends can be!

If you feel like a loner sometime, take a leaf out of Jean Brown’s playbook.

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