Monthly Archives: February 2015

Lonely and Disconnected

Question:

I arrived at college yesterday and am staying in a dorm. We all live in single rooms. Even though it’s my second day here and I have made a few friends from the same floor, I still feel so lonely and disconnected from everything. There’s about 20 people on my floor, and the majority of those people seem to have banded together, and I feel like I’ve been left on the fringes. For the friends that I have made, I feel like we’re not really quite gelling together that well. I know it’s only the second day, and it might just be that I’m feeling tired and I didn’t get much sleep last night, But I feel really hollow and like I don’t belong. It’s not like I feel homesick, just a bit alienated. The fact that a large proportion have bonded and always seem friendly and talkative to each other makes it worse. A few times already, the people on my floor have sat around the living area of our floor with only the really outgoing people talking to each other, and bantering back and forth. I feel like I’m a more small groups, one-on-one type of person, and when large crowds just sit and talk like that I feel like I can’t get a word in edgeways and I just sort of shut down. I never expected to feel like this, and for it to be this hard. I’m scared that it’s going to be like this for the rest of the year. Even for the 2 or 3 friends that I have sort of made, it still doesn’t feel completely right and I just can’t see me being close friends, or friends I want to hang out with all the time. I feel a bit lost, to be honest. Do you have any advice?

Phyllis replied:

OK, so you’ve been there about a day and a half.  If you had emailed me that you had made two really good friends, I would find that very, very exceptional.  My guess is that at LEAST half of those girls are feeling more like you do, even if they seem outgoing and happy.  When a whole bunch of people are thrown together, it takes time to sort them out, talking to them in line in the cafeteria, before a class, watching TV, or one-on-one. Give yourself time to know them individually, and see which ones you want to hang out with and get to know better.  But as soon as possible, join a club, an activity, a team–anything where a group is focusing on something other than trying hard to find friends. The number one best way to make good friends or find a place you “belong” is through a mutual interest or activity, where you are all focusing on doing something together,exploring something, attending something, reading something, competing at something…. Just sitting in a roomful of people “hoping to make friends” can be deadly, whereas being in a play together, or singing in a group, or volunteering for a campaign, or discussing a book are all opportunities to become friends who share the same interests or values or personality as you do.

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Couldn’t Stop Crying

Question:

I can’t even begin to thank you for everything the Alice series has done for me. Alice feels so real to me! Like she’s my friend! After reading the last book, I couldn’t stop crying. It felt like a part of my life was over. So I’m just gonna read the series again! Alice has pulled me through so much in my life. Especially during puberty. I couldn’t ask for a better role model and I thank you so so much for that!

Phyllis replied:

I so appreciate your email.  It’s strange about life…when we’re young, we can’t wait not to be children anymore and become grown-up, but there’s a certain sadness, whether we admit it or not, to leaving childhood and puberty behind, and facing all the choices adults have to make.  I’m so glad the series was helpful to you.  Thanks for writing to me.

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Hated Patrick So Much!

Question:

You probably have no idea how much of an impact the Alice series has had in my life. I love them so much to the point of having re-read them several times. I think it was your books that really introduced me into the world of storytelling and now I am an intern at an ebook company called Kobo Inc. My favourite part of this company is that we can download all the books we want from our store for free!

I started reading the Alice series when I was in elementary and am now in my 20s. I was a die-hard fan until Patrick broke her heart and then I just couldn’t continue because I was hurting too. To tell you the truth, I hated Patrick so much. Time flew by and I started my internship when to my amazement, my supervisor started talking about the Alice books. Of course, I started downloading them like crazy and was so excited when I saw the entire series right before my eyes.

I raced through the series to get to the final book. I honestly felt like I was on vacation. There was a part, however, that really bothered me. Patrick broke her heart a second time (which I understand can happen) but I just don’t understand how Alice can be so forgiving when she meets him at the airport. How can she just fall into his arms as if he had never broken her heart. I mean, she can’t live with the pain forever, but I think I would have brought up the issue if my boyfriend had done the same to me some time. I was also kind of upset because Patrick was never “punished” for hurting her, which he did twice. And twice, he came back to her as if nothing had happened.

These questions have been roaming around in my head and I would love to know what you think.

Thank you so much for these books. They are forever in my heart!

Phyllis replied:

You definitely have a point, and you and some other girls would not have been so forgiving.  Meeting at the airport, however, was a turning point for both of them.  Patrick was coming home, and Alice was leaving home–even though she was only heading for Oklahoma.  Yes, he had other lovers while he was in the Peace Corps, and Alice had other dates, and even a serious relationship while he was away.  It was hard for her to read his letter, but she needed the freedom to go out with other men–to get to know them, compare them with Patrick, build up some self-confidence.  When Patrick broke up with her the first time–he wanted to date two girls at once–that was so narcissistic, so adolescent that we can hardly count that. Haven’t we all been through that in middle school or high school–either doing the dumping ourselves or being dumped?

Alice really was too dependent on her father and her boyfriend.  Her dad realized it, so did Lester.  And so did Patrick.  I’m sorry he couldn’t be your “knight in shining armor,” but it wouldn’t be real if Patrick didn’t have faults too.  When Alice was able–married, with children–to take the supervisory job she deserved, and give herself the pleasure of being the one to do the traveling, incorporating both job and family and pleasure into her life–she has matured, and placed some of the responsibility on Patrick.

But it’s okay to be mad at him.  He’s grown from the silly adolescent who once placed lemon slices on her breasts while she slept on a picnic table, to a caring dad and husband who had a brilliant career and included his family in some of the perks. And this: in each case, Patrick was completely honest with Alice. Even when he was tempted after marriage, he confided in her. He may not be your idea of the man you wanted her to marry, but there were ways Sylvia was not the perfect step-mother.  Lester did not always do what we thought he would do, or marry the kind of girl we expected.  But these are the things that make them real people instead of story-book types.

Thanks for letting me know how you feel.  It’s wonderful that you have connected with Alice again!

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