From Being Lonely to Being Rude

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Suzanne Gelb Image ‘Happy, But Lonely — Why Does This Happen?’ Q: Dear Dr. Gelb: I am working on personal growth and am making good progress at being in charge of my own happiness, rather than looking to others to make me happy. For example, today I went shopping, took myself to lunch, and had a lovely time. I went for a walk this evening and was feeling quite good, when all of a sudden I felt a loneliness and a longing for closeness to other people. I did reach out and called a friend, but mostly I felt a longing for being close and important to another person, and that is lacking in my life right now. I thought you might have some insight into what happened. Thank you. A: Dr. Gelb says . . . Dear Longing for Closeness: When a person experiences qualities of self-love, self-worth and self-respect, such as you appear to describe in your question, then it is not uncommon for those qualities to at times prompt a recognition for a desire for closeness or company. The nurturing qualities of self-love and self-respect can also provide the needed sustenance to support a person to not feel lonely, when for whatever reason they are alone. It is helpful to keep in mind, I believe, that each person is an entity unto themselves and as such we were designed to satisfy all our emotional and physical hungers. Trusted friends can also be a wonderful resource to replace feelings of loneliness with some good company. ‘Dinner Disruptions — What’s the Remedy?’ Q: Dear Dr. Gelb: I was having dinner at a restaurant and was seated in a booth next to a banquet table of an entire family. This family appeared to be affluent, well-educated and neatly groomed and dressed. However, the toddler in the family decided that he would entertain himself with a spoon and began to bang it on the table. The entire family thought this was funny, and of course it was annoying everyone close enough to hear it. I asked Management if they could correct the problem. They obviously ignored the request, and the noise continued. After about five minutes, I spoke loudly and posed the question, “Does this child have a parent?” Immediately the child stopped the pounding. Was I rude to open my mouth? Indigestion A: Dr. Gelb says . . . Dear Indigestion: As assertive as some restaurant managers may be, many are legitimately concerned about the embarrassment and retaliation that could result from an attempt to correct social etiquette. As to your abrupt statement to curb the noise, I believe that this could be considered rude. Some would say that a more appropriate action would be to speak to the child’s parents and let them know that the noise is bothersome, and then ask if there is anything they could do to correct it. ”Suzanne J. Gelb, Ph.D., J.D. authors this daily column, Dr. Gelb Says, which answers questions about daily living and behavior issues. Dr. Gelb is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Honolulu. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Services. Dr. Gelb is also a published author of a book on Overcoming Addictions and a book on Relationships.” ”This column is intended for entertainment use only and is not intended for the purpose of psychological diagnosis, treatment or personalized advice. For more about the column’s purpose, see” “An Online Intro to Dr. Gelb Says” ”Email your questions to More information on Dr. Gelb’s services and related resources available at”