Desperate for connection in crowded yet isolating New York City, Leila Sherwood joined a support group for lonely people and found everything she was looking for - friendship, camaraderie, even a mate - and was accordingly asked to leave the group.
"I felt very abandoned," said Sherwood. "I get why it happened, though. They need to keep it a very safe space for lonely people, and I no longer qualified."
Sadly, not seeing her newfound friends on a weekly basis caused their friendships to dissipate. "We just didn't have much in common anymore," said Sherwood. "And the fact that they were part of this exclusive group I didn't belong to made things kind of awkward."
Unfortunately, Sherwood's romantic relationship with Lonely Group member Silas Barnes has also fallen on hard times. Sherwood says she can't help but resent the emotional intimacy he shares with the other group members, many of them female. "And it's frustrating, too, that he's never available to go out on Friday nights, when Lonely Group meets," said Sherwood. "We're trying to make it work, but honestly I don't know if I see a future."
Even so, Sherwood says that she wouldn't trade her Lonely Group experience for the world. "It taught me that true friendship and intimacy is possible," she said. "Even if not for me."