Are You Fronting?

cwt edt

How many of us are ‘fronting?’

I just watched a discussion about social isolation and loneliness and realised that so many of us are probably really lonely. Even those of us who are surrounded by people physically.

How many of us via physical or mental illness, lack of confidence, age, obesity, poverty, or simply being different in some way feel completely isolated? Do you ever look at others and wonder why everyone else is having such a good time…and has it occurred to you that perhaps really they are not? It’s all an act!

Celebrities who seem to have it all… wealth, friends, fame…and yet…why then are they drinking and drugging themselves into a stupor?

I wonder how the numbers would be stacked if folks on social networks also stopped pretending about their lives (#blessed!) and admitted how isolated, disappointed, hungry (re:the women mostly), angry, lost, let down they really feel.
And I’m not talking about Facebook show-boaters who leave forlorn, cryptic ‘notice me everybody’ messages fishing for attention.

How many gamers, hackers, bloggers, website builders etc, revel in that lifestyle because, well, it fits in with the whole isolation thing.

How many people feel quite abandoned by family and friends? Has it been a while since you really talked to you brother or sister for instance…or they to you?

Perhaps that person you keep brushing off at work might be a little boring or awkward because they are lonely because everyone keeps brushing them off.

I think loneliness is more predominant in western culture because of the way we structure our lives, societies, behaviours and even buildings. In (some parts of) the West we kick our kids out at 18 because well…that’s the rule …isn’t it?

I would suggest that loneliness might be less in places like Africa or India with large extended families living together regardless of age and even with the addition of new family members via marriage and birth. I could be wrong of course.

 

So School Me!

Are you fronting? Putting on an act for others?
The big smile when you bump into the neighbour?
Are you the ‘Yes, everything is fine’ person, when it isn’t?
Would it be better if we could all just be honest? ‘No, I’m broke, my partner tolerates me, my job is crap and my life has turned out to be a disappointing heap of hell?’
Would that make us all more supportive of each other or would we get bored quickly and just see it (someone else’s stark reality) as whingeing?
Do you feel isolated and that no one really gets you?

Do you have any answers for people who might be feeling this way?

I could tick a few of those above could you?

 

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79 thoughts on “Are You Fronting?

  1. When you mention India…I kinda feel morally obligated to comment! 😉 But, to respond to your thought…I agree..Indian culture is much better equipped than the west, to deal with loneliness….I mean…how often do you have a random family get together where…say..some 15-16 uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces go to a club or someone’s residence for a Sunday lunch…and have so much fun…gossiping about everything under the sun from Gay rights to global warming to local politics…I tell you…if you are surrounded by people, chances of getting depressed are lesser…but, sadly…that way of life is disappearing from cosmopolitan Indian cities….you will hardly find any joint families(they have their own problems, mind you). My parents grew up in large families…we were nuclear! And that has brought in its wake the increasing suicide rates, visits to psychiatrists and elderly people leading a very lonely life in the twilight of their lives, in a society where the state is incapable of taking care of their medical needs….So, its not all sunshine…

    1. Well there you have it! You are my one man focus group and the results are not surprising. Give or take a few, we are pack animals and (most of us) thrive within a pack. Especially if the pack is supportive. The most vulnerable get protected. Babies always have family members to babysit, not strangers, older folk are looked out for by family members also, not strangers and dare I say it, girls can walk around with an extra layer of protection when she has an army of brothers and male cousins in her corner.

      1. Yes…i agree…totally….but that way of life is slowly disappearing…at least from the metropolises…I wish we would not imitate the west in that aspect!

  2. Wow-what a great post. And fronting as you’ve named it is something that I can sooo totally relate to. In Manhattan, you can meet a person and what I now call it is a Manhattan no connection. They appear to want to get together but then making plans is always difficult. Everyone is sooo on their own schedules sometimes, I just wonder. I completely agree with you about this being a condition especially in America and Western Europe where families are more split geographically and your extended family is so very geographically limited. I don’t know what the answer is and I know SoLOL that Social Media isn’t-the- answer. A screen is a screen-a breathing human is a breathing human AND THEREIN LIES THE DIFFERENCE. So I have no answer-it’s just something that I’ve been aware of now for a very long time and just deal with the best I can. Best!

    1. Oh so true! ‘Let’s do lunch…’ with a vague wave of the hand. We are so busy being busy we often get little of real importance done.
      I have been to other countries where I have wondered how they get ANYthing done when it takes literally half an hour to say ‘good morning.’
      But that was because I was still on western pace and western pace can be a lonely speed where few have the time to offer just half an hour of themselves for a simple cup of tea sometimes.

      1. You know, I feel the same way. Everything in New York is so on the fast track and truthfully-after traveling as you mentioned and getting in touch with my “Lol-more comfortable functioning self-truthfully-I prefer slow…” But you can forget about it here in Manhattan or maybe like any very urban city—I only see it getting worse. Expectations driven by technology really make it almost impossible to happen. So I guess I’ll be relocating or traveling more.SoLol Have a great day. PS. Check out the book In Praise of Slowness-I think that you’ll like it!! 🙂

  3. I used to operate in a false self- now I live a true self- baring my flaws and all- not everyone will want to know when we don’t feel chipper always or feel comfortable with it. Thankfully God has really showed me that He is the great comforter. I think of a great quote by Brene Brown- people will be impressed by your strengths but will never connect until you share your weaknesses. The whole Vulnerability is the highest form of courage! I get it finally.

    1. Oooogh nice! I’d never heard that quote before.

      I once watched a young lad perform a song at a gig. Everyone was at least politely quiet as he nervously started but only really connected when he totally froze half way through and had to start over again from nerves. Then you could hear a pin drop as the whole room rooted for him.

  4. I used to be very lonely all the time. ‘Fronting it.’ What changed is that I got to know myself. Don’t know if this was the same problem that others face. For sure though, if I am feeling lonely, whether I am with other people or not, I am not listening to myself. Maybe I’m odd? Maybe we all could do with some more just paying attention with what is going on inside, instead of looking outside of ourselves? I don’t have an answer for others unless what worked for me also works for them. I hardly ever feel lonely anymore, and when I am needing to connect with other people, I just pick up the phone, or write something on social media. My experience, for what it’s worth.

    1. I’m with you Mel. I’ve met folk who hate being with themselves and it must make things so hard having to have someone attached to you to function or be happy.

      Social media does work doesn’t it for all the knocks it gets!

  5. my feeling is none of us really want to read about our friends and families downside, at least not on a social forum. That said, yep, I for sure think a lot of folk FRONT. I also think people too many people follow others who FRONT because it seems the right thing to do – make sense?

  6. I’ve done the ‘fronting thing’ and did it for years, until I discovered I had bipolar and that was why I was doing it! I thought that if MY voice wasn’t heard, then I was boring, and if MY jokes weren’t the best, that meant that I was ‘grey’, and boring….

    Well, the more I learnt about mental illness, and the more I studied about people, the more I realised that anger is a front for fear and loneliness, and sadness could be real signs of depression and feelings of failure, when there is no failure!

    Social media sites like Facebook, I call ‘ego book’. It’s such a load of junk and lies it’s quite sad. Someone will take a pic of their family having lunch in the backyard, with a close up on the meat (as if anyone cares), when in fact, hubby is having an affair, wife hates him, and the kids never stop screaming, outside of the picture. The caption of course would be ‘What a lovely Sunday we had in our back yard with the sun shining’…..and that will make the mentally ill, OR the anger, fearful, depressed, you name it, immediately cry more, hate their lives more, because they’re sat on the couch, haven’t showered and are watching re runs of gogglebox!

    Oh crap, what a nightmare. I don’t ‘front’ anymore. When people ask me how I’m feeling, I am dead honest. Sometimes for fun, I say, ‘I just got out of hospital, you?’ because most of the time, let’s face it, they don’t REALLY want to know how you are feeling, they want some juicy gossip on you.

    I refused to kick my kids out of home too. The West has it so screwed up, that’s why most of the kids are so screwed up! I agree in the way Africa does it. Keep the kids at home, expand the homestead, stick together, let Mama look after Baba when parents want a night alone. Do this sensibly, instead of worrying yourselves sick, and getting exhausted over a child that won’t stop crying!

    I think the world is mad, and I’m doing art therapy. I don’t pretend to be on top of the world, but it sure as hell beats showing bullshit pictures on ego book, and telling the odd snoop how ‘fabulous’ I am! (If they want something to talk about, I’ll make it seriously exciting!) LOL

    Bottom line………..BE HONEST people! Feel like s..t? Say so! forget the ‘upper lip’ thing. That went out when…well I don’t know, but it went out. Just be honest, life is so much happier and easier that way, and stop trying to make others jealous of your horrible life with lies, because you could be the cause of someone’s suicide in trying to ‘front’. I’m serious.

    1. “because they’re sat on the couch, haven’t showered and are watching re runs of gogglebox!”
      – Lol! You kill me! What a picture! All the sadder because you are spot on of course about both the image and the effect the Facebook pretense has on depressed, sad or lonely folk.

      Yup I agree with the African homestead way. The other way primarily suits society and government, often more than it suits the young individual starting out in life.

      As ever you are unique as f***!

      1. You are so kind! Thanks. I did think about how when depressed negative feedback discourages one from taking another leap into trusting someone else. I hope I didn’t come off as a pompous ass there. I think you said it … it’s just me trying to share my own experience with others to perhaps give them courage to leap again and again and again. It’s a shame that youth is wasted on the young … if I only knew then what I know now!

  7. I don’t know. I have struggled with feelings of isolation and loneliness for most of my life.

    However, my life has changed significantly over the last few years and though I still get overwhelmed, anxious and have moments of feeling depressed, overall, I’m happy. And, no, I’m NOT fronting here.

    I’m sure some of my “happiness” is a result of better living through chemistry, as they say. But I am confident my happiness is also the result of what I do with my days rather than simply prescribed drugs. After more than 50 years, I am finally beginning to find myself and my calling and I’m using my creative energies in positive ways.

    As Tanya Davis says in her poem, there’s a difference between being lonely and alone. I suspect Pete gets this, but these days, I think I’m almost happiest when I’m alone and being creative.

    As far as sharing my issues with others: A very wise manager, who saw my potential, taught me that being direct and honest with people is the best way to earn their trust. I’ve learned to dismiss those who reject my truths and try to see the world through their eyes — it’s a form of compassion that helps me forgive them and move on.

    I’m honest with myself and recognize that we ALL, ALL, ALL struggle. But we also ALL have innate and unique gifts to share. So I find the right people to share them with or, at the very least, share them with myself through creative expression when I’m alone — less fear that way.

    I look for humor, beauty and connection in the world. I don’t waste my time with energy suckers, but rather gravitate toward energy givers — the people who support my endeavors and bring me joy.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Adrienne Morris too. There’s almost always someone who could use your help and by giving to them, you get out of your own brain’s labyrinth. Yes, compassion can only go so far, but with compassion comes understanding and with understanding comes peace (at least that’s my theory).

    Anyway, so sorry for the ramble, I just couldn’t help myself.

    1. “And, no, I’m NOT fronting here.”

      – Lol, it’s like you saw us all saying in unison ‘…Ah yes she’s fronting!’

      “I’m using my creative energies in positive ways.”

      – This has always been a massive remedy in my eyes too! 🙂

      “direct and honest with people is the best way to earn their trust. I’ve learned to dismiss those who reject my truths and try to see the world through their eyes”

      – Love this. Direct and honest is just cleaner, quicker, saner and ultimately I believe folk respect you for it even if it punctures the ego for a while. And if they don’t you have remained true to yourself.

      “I don’t waste my time with energy suckers, but rather gravitate toward energy givers — the people who support my endeavors and bring me joy.”

      – ‘Aaaall we need is music…sweet music! There’ll be music eeeeverywhere!’ Music to my ears! 😀

      ‘Anyway, so sorry for the ramble…’

      – I don’t see ramble. I see experienced intelligence.

  8. My partner and I have a running gag that goes “we are truly happy but we don’t want our neighbors to find out as they will kill us.” We are, indeed, truly happy and people pick up on that fact. I suspect this is a relative rarity, but have no real way to find out.

    1. Goodness me! I have always wanted to meet one of you earthlings!!! 😯

      Do you eat breakfast cereal and do things like brush your hair??!!! 😯

      In all seriousness it has been a question I often ask myself. Is there anyone who is actually just happy with their lot in life? I was thinking just the other day that a lot of us work so hard to get somewhere and if we fail we are miserable because of it.

      If we continue to fail we are eternally dissatisfied and become bitter. Just read online comment boards to feel the strength of that loser bitterness. Misogyny, racism, fatism, misanthropy…(Not my comments of course!)

      And yet, even those who are apparently ultra successful seem equally miserable because of the challenge of hanging in there and not being dethroned.

      This could be a singer like Madonna. Happy is not a word I’d use to describe her, this successful high achiever. Or it could be someone like Marissa Meyer, the woman currently in charge of Yahoo who is hanging in there by the skin of her teeth after only a few years of being placed there with much fanfare.

      I read a lot of blogs and rarely do I read, (if ever) something like, ‘Gee I’m just happy again today!’ Which is what influenced this post. So…the big question is, what is your secret? What is working for you that is not working for what seems like the majority of people?

  9. Most of the people I interact with, I am the one starting the conversation. So I am left with either feeling like I am chasing after friendship, if you can call it that, or others don’t want to interact with me (otherwise they would approach me). The other comments above are correct when they say people really do not want to hear how you are feeling. People want the front so we can all continue to pretend everything is fine.

    1. Ah, so true. They are showing a re-imagining of the OJ Simpson trial on TV currently and it made me recall Mother Kardashian saying how she missed all the signs from her friend Nicole Simpson that she was being pounded regularly by her husband.

      This is what happens when we are nodding without listening. Throwing out the usual verbal rubbish with no meaning or real concern attached. ‘Hows the family?’ etc.

  10. Really good question, this. And yes we all front. But in the past couple of days I’ve found myself ‘fronting’ in the opposite direction, so to speak… we’ve had a recent disaster (long, boring story involving a 6 y o, some matches and the fire brigade) and although it’s been a pain dealing with the consequences, I find the expectation from people who ask me how I’m doing is that I should be wallowing in misery. But talking about how crap it all is actually makes ME feel crappy and overwhelmed, whereas pointing out how much worse it could have been and describing the generosity of the friends strangers who have helped out makes me feel a lot better. ‘Fronting’ seems to be about meeting the social expectations of others. In my case, being positive seems to wrong-foot people. They glaze over the good bits and want to hear about the bad stuff. People, eh.

    1. Great comment! Yes it is isn’t it. Fronting is indeed about meeting other people’s expectations. I love that you ride roughshod over that!

      I hear people complain about online newspapers all the time, (for example) how they harm people with their lies and nosiness into folks’ privacy and their insistence on reporting about the negative side of life, (amongst many gripes). Yet day after day the same people tune in to keep complaining about it.

      Then through the years I heard of various start-up newspapers set up to challenge the status quo by only report good positive news and positive people doing positive things. Needless to say the readership of the ones I checked out blew no one away! As you say, it’s just human nature.

      Pop star: writes great music, has no apparent issues, is just really good at what they do, does a lot of charity, smiles a lot = little to no press.

      Popstar:’Here’s my new album…by the way I’m a drunk and a druggie.’ Press would be all over it. Public would be all over it.

      Hope all is well or getting well-er with 6 y o!

      1. Absolutely. Good news is not news. The 6 y o now knows what happens when you play with matches and we’re using the aftermath as an opportunity for the mother of all de-cluttering sessions…;)

      2. Lol…(ish!) Weirdly enough just wrote a post about de-cluttering, closed it and read your comment first. (Cue weird music).

        As for 6 yo. That’s good. She’s alive and well to learn from it the naughty little thing. 🙂

  11. I believe no one wants to look a fool. So it’s easier to “front”! I know I do it all the time. It’s a terrible habit that I need to stop.

    Admitting you have a problem is always the first step. However, knowing how to solve the problem in a matter of steps is another story. And that’s where the fronting comes in, awareness, needs action. However, sometimes some of us, and by us I mean, I, need to have a clear map, and those are hard to come by.

    So yes, I front.

    Maybe it’s time for something different.

    1. It’s definitely a matter of steps isn’t it? But also after the stark honesty, girding your loins for the possible backlash or disappointment when the cavalry doesn’t arrive due to disinterest or the people you reached out to being just too distracted and busy.
      I’d love to read the ‘journey’ (hate that word in this context- but I’ll use it!) should you choose to try it. 🙂

      1. Yes, I do have no electronics night, it’s every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. No TV, no phone, no pad, no computer, except for school assignments(they go to a school that requires it, so I have to give way to that). However, since both boys are in swimming and practice lasts until 730; most nights are simply, homework, dinner, practice, showers and bed. There’s no real time for them to watch or play.

      2. No, I meant that YOU asked the question of your reader, (me…and others) ‘Do you have a no electronics night?’ – but there are no comments enabled for your visitors to answer the question or leave general comments on your blog.

        I don’t know if you are aware of this and did this on purpose or not. So I was merely bringing your attention to it.

      3. Oh, no. I didn’t realize this. Thank you for pointing it out. And sorry for the long winded explanation you didn’t request. I will definitely check into it! Thanks!

  12. Though living in a isolated cabin in Northern Alaska 65 miles from the nearest store I can not say that I feel alone. When i want to reach out to my family I drive to town or go on my short wave radio and talk with my son. The few neighbors that live withing 10 miles or so stop by and would never stand for the comment, ‘everything is just fine’ they are open to the aches and pains common to us who choose to live this isolated life. Alone… never for besides family and friends God is watching over my every breath!

  13. Are you fronting? Putting on an act for others?
    Yes. I don’t want to though. It’s exhausting.

    The big smile when you bump into the neighbour?
    Of course! I always feel guilty if my depression and insecurities rattle other people’s cages.

    Are you the ‘Yes, everything is fine’ person, when it isn’t?
    Usually I am, but when things really do get too much then… well, then it’s like a dam bursting and everyone gets hit with the torrent. It’s not pretty.

    Would it be better if we could all just be honest? ‘No, I’m broke, my partner tolerates me, my job is crap and my life has turned out to be a disappointing heap of hell?’
    I think so. At least then we wouldn’t be pretending along with each other any more.

    Would that make us all more supportive of each other or would we get bored quickly and just see it (someone else’s stark reality) as whingeing?
    Unfortunately, compassion only goes so far. When people see that your problems aren’t going away because of a quick, little motivational speech they banged out off the top of their head… well, they get annoyed with you and move on. It’s almost as if they think you’re deliberately being depressed just to inconvenience and/or fundamentally unsettle them.

    Do you feel isolated and that no one really gets you?
    Most of the time, yes.

    Do you have any answers for people who might be feeling this way?
    Not even a sausage. I’m that impotent.

    I could tick a few of those above could you?
    A thousand times over, I’m afraid.

    1. ‘Unfortunately, compassion only goes so far. When people see that your problems aren’t going away because of a quick, little motivational speech they banged out off the top of their head… well, they get annoyed with you and move on…..’

      Looool! You have won the internet today for spot on-ness and articulatory articulateness-ness. Soooooooo true! ‘Like dah….just be happy! Go for a walk and smile and your heart will smile too!’ (Must be said in a blonde Californian voice). How pissed do they get when the speeches run out and you have simply REFUSED to be cured???!!! Lol!

      Anyway, the trouble with you Tony Single (and I know you won’t listen – but here’s MY mf speech!) is that you are not impotent at all but you are not recognizing it, (which is part of depression of course). Via your art, your intelligence, insight and delivery, ‘impotent’ is not a word anyone I know would use to describe you. There! ARE YOU CURED NOW OR WHAT??!!!! ‘Cos I gotta go do my toenails!

  14. For me I’ve found the old cliche about serving others instead of focusing on my problems helps as does going to a church where people actually expect others to be flawed and messy. This is a rare thing but worth looking for. Just knowing there are people who consider it part of who they are to help others on their walk in life can be very inspiring. Sometimes hiring a good therapist doesn’t hurt because a lot of times it’s just small tweaks that can be made to change your state of mind. I used to be the above person.

    1. Oh amen to that AM! It just makes sense. Your attention is immediately taken off you and lavished on someone else. You can even start to feel a little silly when you perceive that person’s issues to be greater than your own but they appear to be handling it better. It keeps you in check.

      1. Thank you. This line totally summed it up for me; “This young lady reminded me that the raw reality of weakness combined with Truth is the most persuasive when they are in unison. We deprive our message of a powerful impact when we pretend to be perfect.”

  15. Yes. Even more so once I had kids. I’m a stay at home mum – my choice because I feel it’s the right thing to do for my children – it can be very isolating. Even when I talk to other adults they tend to be mothers and it tends to be about the kids. Potty training is not a particularly interesting topic of conversation and it gets less interesting every time you have it.

    On top of that, I have anxiety and depression. There have been times in my life when just getting out of bed felt like too much effort, let alone being little miss chatty. Every day interactions are a supreme effort. I try to be open to all people – who knows they could be struggling just like me…but I don’t tell them that.

    1. It’s so true! Y’all could be traveling on the same road but no one mentions it!

      One thing I have found is that when I have an ailment and find other foot soldiers with the same thing I at once feel less isolated and just that little bit better.
      The trouble is like you I get bored really quickly wallowing in the issue as the sole conversation.

    1. I hear ya Tessa. The world is not kind to folks or things they don’t understand and sometimes it just quicker and easier to smile and move on.
      And of course not every one feels the need to share. One cannot always trust the audience.

  16. While that isn’t so much the case right now, I certainly have had times of isolation and loneliness in my life. What I have found is, tell someone about it and that person will likely be very uncomfortable. I do agree that, if we would get more real with each other and be willing to let others in more readily, a lot of isolation would end…but then, how many are afraid to be that vulnerable?

    1. I was only thinking the other day, in response to the UK gov’s attempt to deal with mental illness better, how many people who have been brave enough to admit their problems at work then suddenly found themselves sidelined at the water cooler or even let go.
      Folks just get uncomfortable with realness sometimes…until it happens to them.

    2. If the person you share your feelings with feels uncomfortable, then he or she is the wrong person to share them with. It’s amazing how when you start sharing with the right person, it becomes a supportive and helpful (even cathartic) experience for both of you — especially if that other person shares your feelings. I guess that’s what support groups are about.

      1. Ha! Love you guys! You take my tiny brain from here to there and back again. Yes it’s so true what you said Jodi.

        If someone gets the right help it is great. Unfortunately though, the reality is that because of their vulnerability, anyone who has these feelings are unlikely to keep trying until they find the right ear.
        One negative experience is usually all it takes for them to internalize and close up for good or until someone determined gets on their case.

  17. I’m getting better at being more genuine lately. Perhaps because I’ve lived through so many experiences and have come to terms with how important it is to show my human side even if others don’t know how.

    1. That’s a good way of putting it. Our ‘human side.’ When you read comments online (not particularly my own I’m pleased to say) you can see how being able to hide behind a computer is erasing folk’s humanity.

      And yes our experiences can mould us into YOU or the people I spoke about above.

      1. I meant IT’s a shame that we do this because of modernity Wonky, not YOU are the shame.
        Or in other words, I agreed with you.

        Plus I can’t keep my view to myself on a blog I write. That would be kinda impossible.

  18. I think most people don’t really care to hear about what’s going on. When they say, “how are you?” they expect the obligatory, “fine” even when it’s not. Aside from that…I hate the cryptic FB messages. Attention-seekers!

      1. I do wish there was balance for us humanoids, because to be fair I don’t think that (most) people just don’t care per se or don’t want to hear, it’s just that everyone has their own issues that they are dealing with and sometimes buried in our own lives we overlook someone who might need a kind word or just some hand holding.

        It’s a bit like the Live Aid thing in the 1980’s (to take a completely random example!) It was Michael Burke a UK news reporter who alerted us to what was going on in Ethiopia. We needed that wake up call. He sort of interrupted our daily lives and shouted ‘Hey! Look over here!’

        Sometimes folk need to do that for themselves to bring out the caring side of the kindest people if that makes sense.

      2. same feeling I get. My son showed me a meme of a guy on fire (fake) and it said, “how you doin?” and the guy on fire says,”good”. lol I think about that a lot!

  19. I feel lonely sometimes but not all the time. And I am alone and single. I think it would be far worse to feel lonely within a relationship. And there is a difference between being lonely and being alone. Hope you don’t mind me sharing this video here. It’s one of my faves. ❤
    Diana xo

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