DEAR ABBY: I became estranged from my family after I came out as gay. I am OK with it and don't really care anymore. The problem is, besides having no family, I have no friends either. I always had difficulty making friends. I'm an introvert and was bullied at school, so I found it more comfortable just hanging out at home by myself.
I have come to accept the absence of friends as my reality. I try to do fun things by myself, like seeing movies and eating out at restaurants, but the holiday season is hard to bear. Most people look forward to it, but I dread this time of year. It only makes me more aware of how alone and lonely I am.
I am too embarrassed to go out by myself during the holidays because most people are out with family and friends. Can you suggest some things I could do for the holidays instead of staying home and watching TV by myself? -- HOLIDAY HURTING IN THE EAST
DEAR HOLIDAY HURTING: I may be able to solve two of your problems at the same time. Start calling some of the charitable organizations in your area and ask if they can use an extra pair of hands during the holiday season. Serving food at a homeless shelter or food pantry and delivering meals to shut-ins come to mind.
A sure cure for the blues is to reach out and do something for someone who needs a helping hand. If you try it, you may meet like-minded people and start some friendships.