The Fox And Sour Grapes

Leaving Loneliness Behind

Our skills in relationships

“Being lonely requires some special skills, and you who are lonely have perfected these skills. There is the “sour grapes” skill. You remember Aesop’s fable about the fox who saw a bunch of ripe grapes hanging high on a vine. He jumped again and again, trying to reach the grapes, and each time he missed. Finally, he went away, saying to himself, ‘Those grapes are sour. I didn’t want them anyhow.’

Like the fox, whenever you see something that you might do which could make you less lonely- such as joining a club, taking up a hobby – visiting friends you can quickly and efficiently see that the grapes are sour – that the club is full of snobs, the hobby a waste of time, the friends are boring. Unlike the fox, you don’t even make a few jumps. You can know that something is not worth doing, so you don’t need to try.

One popular form of ‘sour grapes’ is the ‘aren’t those people ‘ridiculous’ skill.”


We can always have the time to do something that is important to us. We simply not do something less important. But every kind of work can be expanded, to fill all the time available, so when we are asked to do something which we wish not to do, we can say, very virtuously, ‘I’d loved to do that, but I haven’t got the time.’ This is a skill which lonely people polish to perfection.

Thus, if the skill that you use in relationships are aimed at scorning, limiting and avoiding relationships, you have cut yourself off from other people through a fear of other people.

Copyright Dorothy Rowe 1991: Breaking the Bonds: Understanding Depression, Finding Freedom. Fontana – an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. London. UK. PAGES 246,247,249

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