Rebuilding a social life

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Rebuilding a social life

Post by DoubtfulGuest on Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:48 pm

I'm in a spot right now where my major "life stuff" (work, etc.) is pretty much under control, but I'm feeling lonely and lacking in close non-family relationships. All of my close friends in the area have moved, either for jobs or grad school. I have some acquaintances (more like not-super-close friends who I like spending time with), but I have to continually ask them if they want to do _____ activity, and they often can't due to their work schedules. I know I need to meet new people. I honestly don't always enjoy meeting new people-I always want to skip to the part where we're already friends, but, obviously, that's unrealistic. This is a fairly common situation for single people my age (I'm in my early 30s), when people we used to know often drift away for various reasons and we start to find it more difficult to meet new people (whereas I feel like it used to just..."happen").

I am on Meetup, but due to my work schedule I can't attend every event that sounds interesting. I can usually do maybe one a week, and I'm having a hard time finding reoccurring events I can attend (and sometimes when I do have time, I need a break from people and feel perfectly fine staying home. My job involves a lot of uncomfortable interaction and I sometimes feel drained at the end of a shift). I'll keep going to events, but I've been mildly disappointed so far. I'm considering either going back to the place I used to volunteer or picking a new place to volunteer (but I have not had great success meeting people through volunteering, as valuable as it is otherwise). I'm starting a weekly community college class next month, but, again, I'm not sure whether I'll actually meet people through it.

Not all advice is going to apply to my specific situation and locale, but I'm just curious about others who have been in similar situations and how they've successfully managed it.


Last edited by DoubtfulGuest on Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:51 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Left out a word; grammatical error)
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Re: Rebuilding a social life

Post by Enail on Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:13 pm

I have similar problems to you, I'm not a fan of meeting new people and only like a pretty small percentage of people, so there's a lot of push that I don't really enjoy to get to making friends, and I often don't have the social energy to make that push. I'm not sure there's any way around that part (other than seeing if you can shift your job situation to something a little less interaction-filled, which is a pretty big thing on its own), if you don't have the social energy, you don't have it, so there's not much you can do other than try to be as efficient as possible in energy use and do your best to balance your social and anti-social needs.

For me, I usually find that it works best if I can find something to do on the regular that I'm doing for a reason other than meeting people. Otherwise I tend to get discouraged when after the first few times I haven't found anyone I connect with, whereas if I have another reason I'll keep going long enough to more gradually get to know people.

Another thing for me is that I tend to very quickly identify people I click with, so if I don't meet anyone I actively hit it off with right away, I give up. But I've found when I have more time to get to know people, sometimes the ones who I actually become closest to in the long-term are people I don't have as much surface-level connection with. So patience and openness and not trying too hard to sort the world into potential friends and not-friends and lock in the potential friends do help for me.

The thing I've had the best luck with is for-fun classes (as opposed to ones that people are likely to be taking for work or some such). That tends to be where I find more people who are roughly friend-compatible. There's a big disadvantage to them in that classes have an endpoint, which usually isn't long enough for me to do friend-making at my natural pace, but a few times I've created or had someone create a work-around of suggesting the group keep meeting up to work on/discuss whatever, and that's the kind of situation I've more often landed up making friends from. I try to be as forward about friending as possible, but there's a big element of serendipity whether there's anyone there I might become friends with there and whether we mutually connect.
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Re: Rebuilding a social life

Post by DoubtfulGuest on Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:14 am

Enail wrote:I have similar problems to you, I'm not a fan of meeting new people and only like a pretty small percentage of people, so there's a lot of push that I don't really enjoy to get to making friends, and I often don't have the social energy to make that push. I'm not sure there's any way around that part (other than seeing if you can shift your job situation to something a little less interaction-filled, which is a pretty big thing on its own), if you don't have the social energy, you don't have it, so there's not much you can do other than try to be as efficient as possible in energy use and do your best to balance your social and anti-social needs.

For me, I usually find that it works best if I can find something to do on the regular that I'm doing for a reason other than meeting people. Otherwise I tend to get discouraged when after the first few times I haven't found anyone I connect with, whereas if I have another reason I'll keep going long enough to more gradually get to know people.

Another thing for me is that I tend to very quickly identify people I click with, so if I don't meet anyone I actively hit it off with right away, I give up. But I've found when I have more time to get to know people, sometimes the ones who I actually become closest to in the long-term are people I don't have as much surface-level connection with. So patience and openness and not trying too hard to sort the world into potential friends and not-friends and lock in the potential friends do help for me.

Ah, I relate so much to this-sometimes I think "aw, jeez, I really don't enjoy meeting new people, and yet it's something I'm supposed to enjoy...what's wrong with me...". Always nice to be reminded I'm not the only one-generally speaking, whenever you feel like you're the only one of something, that's very rarely true (unless you're the last member of a specific species of Galapagos tortoise or something...which is unlikely).

I've also done well in the past connecting with people through school-the one I'm taking will be a for-fun class (either creative writing or watercolor painting). I'm a creative type who benefits from structure, so it'll be good for me regardless of how much I connect with people there.
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Re: Rebuilding a social life

Post by Werel on Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:24 pm

Depending on how you do with internet friend-making, I also wouldn't rule out participating in online communities for where you live, if they exist, and seeing if you click with anyone enough to try the transition to IRL. I've met a handful of cool people that way*, and it permits some more flexibility in scheduling than Meetups. Plus, for me anyway, internet socializing with strangers eats up less social energy than IRL socializing with strangers.

And yep, as a person who relocates a lot, I totally sympathize with the "ughhh I have to go make some friends, what a pain in the ass" feeling. Wanting friends is a very different thing than wanting to do the work involved. I hope some compelling potential friends cross your path soon!

*Full disclosure: Most of them were when I'd just moved to a new city and looked for a weed hookup on large forums like SA or reddit, but a couple of them made the transition from drug dealer to enjoyable friendquaintance. Laughing
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Re: Rebuilding a social life

Post by DoubtfulGuest on Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:01 pm

Yeah, I live in a small city (but not far from a few larger cities), with a reasonably active subreddit. I'll check it more often. It takes up less energy to interact with people digitally, for sure (though I tend to scrutinize and over-edit anything I write). I'm also not the best at remembering names unless they're written down somewhere (I retain written information much more than anything verbal), and digital communication is nice for that alone.
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