One of the pitfalls of spending too much time alone is that you may begin talking to yourself. If you have pets then you might justify talking to yourself by claiming you’re actually just talking to them, letting them know they’re not alone and that you care for them, but what you may not realize, is that you’re losing your filter.
Here’s the problem, and it may not occur for a few years of isolation, but it can be a problem regardless of when it appears. On the odd occasion when you do go out, you may find yourself saying inappropriate things. Things that may make you seem a little bit crazy, especially if you’ve never spoken inappropriately before.
Example: Recently I visited a friend to celebrate her birthday. It was a pretty big one, the big 60. We were in the kitchen – my friend, her husband, and I – just standing around talking. I excused myself to the ladies room. When I returned to the kitchen, it was empty, except for me and the cat.
I waited around for a couple of minutes, refreshing my drink and having a snack. Then I walked outside onto the patio for a cigarette, and there they were! I said, “Oh, here you are! I thought maybe y’all were having a little birthday sex.”
And there it was, that dreaded look of shock on their faces. Their eyes got big and then they had that awkward little giggle, and then I said something else – quickly. “So what are you guys doing to celebrate the birthday girl?” Oops, not better. Oh my gawd. Then I followed up with, “Are y’all going out to dinner tonight? Have you tried that new place on Main Street yet? I hear it’s really good.” Whew, crisis averted. (Inner thought – note that you’re losing your filter – work on that.)
Why is that so shocking?
Mind you, these are not words that would normally pass through my lips. So while they may seem harmless to most people, anyone hearing me say that out loud would cringe. It’s not the words, it’s the person from whom they came.
It’s also the people to whom the words are delivered. Tidbits of personal life, nor an off-color joke, have ever slipped through their lips, at least not in my presence. These are very private people, and I just invaded their innermost sanctum.
You may lose your filter when you spend most of your time alone, talking to yourself. It’s not life-threatening, but it can certainly be embarrassing, and it’s definitely difficult to explain why you just blurted out whatever you were thinking without giving it a second thought.
And… it’s a bit uncomfortable knowing that your friends are now concerned for your sanity. Remember, we’re 60-ish, not 30-ish. A drastic change in verbal content at this stage of life can be perceived as problematic to say the least.
Remember that the next time a friend or loved one who lives alone or spends most of their time alone, starts talking and says something unexpected that shocks you.
They’re just losing their filter, not their mind.