Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

“I Want Someone In My Life I Can Call When I Go To Trader Joe’s”

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on February 29, 2012

Thais, bemoans the fact that “no one cares about me.” I raise my hand in opposition. “Well, yea, but I mean, I want someone in my life I can call when I go to Trader Joe’s. I want someone to be in my orbit.” I paused to understand her loneliness. I began to see the need to chat about little things, like finding the frozen food or the irritating person ahead of her in line, and that without someone who cares about those things, life can feel so empty, so deserted. As another patient said to me, “no one really cares if I had trouble finding a parking space and that makes me sad.” The sweetness in wanting to exchange life’s little annoyances is so touching, and the lack of a village in which to do that, is so exquisitely painful. Sometimes I wonder if social media, the constant postings on Facebook or Twitter, serves this need-creates this village. Most people need to be heard, not just about the life-changing events of death, divorce or a new job, but more often, for the small, everyday experiences of living life. Thais did not say anything that I had not pondered before, but I was impressed that she was in touch with what was missing in her life. She understood where the hole is, and as such, she knows what she is looking for in a relationship. In the past, Thais would say she wanted “better friends,” but the vagueness of this comment did not articulate what exactly she felt was missing in her life. As she matures, she sees how relationships, both male and female, help her cope with life’s challenges. She no longer “needs friends” in order to be in the “right group,” as she had felt in the past. Now, she needs friends to share her experiences. This is a sea change, and yet subtle at the same time. It is a sea change because she is looking for more depth in relationships. It is subtle because she wants what we all want: she wants to be heard.

5 Responses to ““I Want Someone In My Life I Can Call When I Go To Trader Joe’s””

  1. Shelly said

    It is wonderful that through your work together Thais has come to recognize what was missing from her life and what was making her feel lonely. ARe you able to give her some tips on how to find a meaningful and lasting relationship so that she has someone to share the mundane frustrations and successes of life with?

    • Shirah said

      Yes, we talk a great deal about forming meaningful relationships. The issue is that her past experiences, her childhood, seems to have made her suspicious of people, so she has a great deal of difficulty developing trust. As we all know, without trusts, friendships cannot happen. Thanks.

  2. Jon said

    This is another example, albeit pedestrian, of the existential mantra of existence precedes essence. We are—that is, we exist – before we become – that is, we create – the person that we are to be. Caring about others is part of how this mechanism works; it is part of how we instill meaning. Caring can be of the form deep love, or, as in this example, just sharing life’s simple travails and annoyances. We all need both – the sharing of love as well as the sharing of the simple trails and tribulations of daily life.

  3. Shirah said

    Yes, Jon, although I would argue that sharing the “simple trials and tribulations of daily life” is a form of love. Who else would care about these trivialities unless they loved us? Thanks.

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