I’ve done everything to avoid being lonely.
I pretended to be a psychic on Craigslist.
I’ve spent ten hours a day on dating sites.
I asked out girls in elevators, girls in laundromats, girls at ATM machines, waitresses, more waitresses, thousands of waitresses. Only one said yes. And then she didn’t show up.
I joined a cult. I went to theater productions.
When I was at HBO, I came up with an entire job description for myself so I had an excuse to talk to people. I convinced them to let me interview prostitutes and drug dealers at three in the morning on random nights.
I had to get enough courage to go up to random homeless people and within thirty seconds or less get them to tell me their life stories without killing me.
One piece of advice: it’s never good to talk to a couple that are carrying glass bottles and screaming at each other outside in the rain at three in the morning. They will turn their rage against you. I tested this out for you so you don’t have to do it. Thank me if you ever see me.
I used to be so shy my grandfather would have to ask other kids on the playground if they wanted to play with me. When I was in college, I don’t think I ever said a single word at a party. I would just look at people and wonder what it would be like to kiss them.
I never read “The Game” or any kind of pickup thing. I never met a girl at a bar or a party or anything like that.
The only pickup line I ever used was, “Didn’t I once see you in Canada?” and it didn’t work.
Then suddenly I stopped being lonely. It was too difficult for me to keep being lonely. So I started being curious.
When other people became interesting to me, the world struck me with how much treasure it had.
In order to ask questions I had to stop caring what people thought of me. The mask fell away and it didn’t even look like me.
The more curious I got, the less lonely I was. The more “question marks” I sincerely asked, the more everything became a party.
Last week I went on a silent retreat in order to work on a book.
There was a room where I could just sit and be quiet. Not meditate. Sometimes its good to be quiet and not think of things without calling it meditation. “Meditation” is overused.
I’d sit there and try not to be curious about anything. Only this time I wasn’t lonely. Maybe I was curious about me. I’m not sure.
And then the sun would come out without making a peep. It didn’t even whisper its arrival.
It didn’t care. It had no judgments.
And everything on the ground outside seemed to waken in awe of it. Me too.
What else can I say about loneliness? It’s like a velvet sadness.
I don’t know. It’s ok to not know.
Curiosity is at the heart of authenticity. It’s the end of loneliness.
Then you’re not only curious about the outside. You get curious about the inside. Shhh.
Then sh*t happens.
Reprinted with permission from The Altucher Confidental.