I used to really like this Anime show called Naruto. Me and my friend, Rhett, used to watch it, but I realized how frivolous it was and eventually grew out of it. Later, I went to my friend’s house and he started watching the show. I didn’t want to tell him that I didn’t like it anymore because I didn’t want him to feel bad. But, while watching those episodes, I felt lonely because I couldn't tell him what I thought. Through this experience, I realized how it can feel very lonely when you have to conceal a big part about yourself.
Learning disabilities can make kids feel lonely because they can diminish a kid’s social knowledge. In an article about learning disabilities, Greatschools said, “Sarah wants to join a group of kids who are playing, but at the same time she anticipates that they will not let her. She is emotionally prepared to be refused and rejected. So, if she sees them laughing as she approaches them, she may assume that they are laughing at her or at her desire to join them.” When Sarah anticipates that her classmates will reject her, her social skills decrease. This makes her lonely because she deprives herself of the chance to socialize with them. If she had better social knowledge, she might have not prepare for the worst or even think about it. The same article claimed, “Sometimes a lonely child’s words and actions communicate to others that they have a low self-concept and don’t expect to be accepted by the group or to be able to make friends.” If kids don’t think they can offer much, it makes them lonely. But if others sense that they don’t feel good about themselves, it would be hard to be friends with that kid. In the same way that learning disabilities make people lonely, being undocumented can isolate people.
Being an undocumented immigrant can isolate people because they feel like they have to hide a big part of themselves. African immigrant, Mambwe Sumbwe, said, “It was so hard for me because all my personal friends are blacks or children of black immigrants...Once they [brought up my immigration status], it was like ‘it was so shameful,’ like you did something wrong. If I can’t really share who I am, then we’re not truly friends.” One of the most important things about friendships is being open. It would be very lonely if you couldn't be open or share everything about yourself with friends. Another important thing about friends is being comfortable. It would be very uncomfortable if your friends made you feel shameful. According to Pew Research Center there about 11.3 undocumented people in the United States. That means that there are many people out there who might feel lonely and ashamed around their documented friends. We need to help people get rid of their shame. One way that we can take that shame away is to show them that we are supportive of them.
I realized that when you can’t share something about yourself with others, it can be very lonely, but my experience was very minor. It would be very sad if you couldn’t share your immigration status or learning disorder because you felt ashamed. People shouldn’t feel like they have to hide. We should be supportive of them and make them feel good about who they are.