Keeping friends

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Keeping friends Empty Keeping friends

Post by Guest on Thu Jan 22, 2015 2:05 pm

So, this guy I'm seeing is having a party in a few weeks, and sent out an invite to 80 of his friends, and told me I could invite people if I wanted to.

And I looked at my pool of half a dozen people I could call friends-ish, and my "work friends", and my extended family, and felt vaguely queasy.

I have had a bunch of friends in my life, but they all seem to be "contextual" friends. I had my school friends in HS, and my church friends in HS, and my college friends, and my work friends, and my church friends (as an adult), and always a small core of "online gaming friends" who stay with me because the internet is FOREVER. But with most friends, when I leave the "group", it's done.

Most people I know still have some childhood friends they they talk to, but with the exception of one contact at Arisia (and my "internet friends"), I haven't talked to anyone who I've known more than 2 years who isn't a relative of mine in probably... 11 months? Is this weird? How do people keep friendships alive, and build those lasting relationships with people?

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Keeping friends Empty Re: Keeping friends

Post by OneTrueGuest on Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:49 pm

It takes work.

I honestly have no idea exactly where to start with advice on this, so I think I'll address your contextual issue. There is actually a very simple way to grow friends out of a contextual situation: ask people out for coffee or lunch or whatever outside of the context. If you are hanging out with your church friends and there's one or two people you quite like then ask them out on a friend date. The important thing is to establish a relationship beyond the bounds of the context.

I think a lot of people feel it should be organic, which is a similar belief attributed to romantic relationships. But I have pretty much won the friend lottery, both in quality and quantity. And it did not happen by accident. I worked for it. I still work hard at it. I have to message people, make sure we get together at least once a month, and I know they are doing the same in their own lives. I follow through with that, "We should do coffee sometime". And you know what? It's hard. The scheduling is hard. The messaging is hard. It's work, it's like being a secretary arranging appointments for an entire office but it's just you.

Now you don't need to have quite so many friends as I do, which will make it a lot less work for you. But at the beginning, yeah, you need to put in the effort. You have to go outside your comfort zone. You have to Facebook someone and go, "I know we usually just hang out at church but I always have a blast talking with you so I was wondering how would you feel about going for coffee and just hanging sometime this week?"

Anyway, yeah, I'm not sure if this is the answer you want to hear. You don't have to leave a group and just have it be done. But you have to put in the work. And let me tell you, the work has been so worth it for me.

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Post by Guest on Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:01 pm

But what happens if you can't even get to the point of asking people to lunch or messaging them to do things? What if, when you try talk to people, they shut you down hard? What if your entire team at work goes to coffee together and has lunch together and does this outside of work together and deliberately excludes you? What if nobody will give you their number or will add you on Facebook? How do you get past that point and actually get to have friends?

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Post by Guest on Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:06 pm

Hm. I appreciate your response a lot, OTG, and I think what it kind of codifies for me is that... maybe I don't CARE that much about having friends. Like, I understand all of the points you're making, and I'm thinking, "Yeah, that makes sense! That's how it would work." But... I still just don't want to do it. Like, I like the people I see, but I don't feel comfortable taking them out of their work or church or neighbor context and interacting with them that way.

Also, I kind of heave a big sigh and the idea and think, "But I could totally spend that time BY MYSELF instead," and that sounds way more appealing.

I think I just have a lot of admiration for the people that keep their contexts alive after years and years. Like, they still have regular "let's get the HS crowd together" parties, or "All these folks who used to work on this team, let's do lunch!" But I don't really care enough to be the person that keeps track of everyone.

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Post by OneTrueGuest on Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:08 pm

Pagliacci - I don't know.  I really don't.  You can't force people to like you.  I was answering a question by someone who had groups of friends already but they didn't last and didn't grow outside of the contexts in which she knew them.

I cannot even begin to offer you advice, Pagliacci.  I am not equipped.  And I am sorry for that.  I actually do know the feeling of not belonging, of people wanting to hang out without you, and it's horrible.  I hope you are seeing a therapist and can talk about these things with him/her.  I don't know you, I don't know how much of what you are dealing with is chemical, and how much is situational, and I think it would be irresponsible of me to say you need to just meet different groups of people.  But quite frankly, that's all I can say.  Your work colleagues are dicks, and who wants such people as friends anyway? It's not worth it to be around such vile people.  You need to find other groups, put yourself out there.  But I know how difficult that is for you and I have no idea where to tell you to start with that.

I'm truly sorry I can't be of more help.

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Post by OneTrueGuest on Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:11 pm

Eliza - well there you go! Sounds good to me! Smile I think we need to just be true to ourselves and what we really want. You like the fantasy of those kinds of friends, but the reality doesn't turn your crank. And that's okay. Don't let anyone else tell you the right way to friend or to live. Heck, I constantly worry I don't know how to relationship right. But then I'm like, "Wait I'm happy, he's happy, surely that means that even though we don't text everyday and can sometimes only see each other once a week, that we are still relationshiping just fine." Smile


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Post by caliseivy on Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:56 pm

I think I feel the same was as Eliza on this. It's very difficult to keep up with people on a consistent basis, but I know much of it for me comes from how introverted I am. Without Facebook, email, and texting there's a lot of people I wouldn't be communicating with now because face-to-face tends to be exhausting for me and I never took to talking on the phone with people (unless necessary). Sometimes I feel bad about that and the fact that I don't really have any close friends, but it's only because I hear about people around me doing all these things and always hanging out with their good friends. Then I remember my anxieties and how stressful that would be and I'm over it.

I think there's different - styles? - of friendship. I know people who are always connected to their friends and doing things together or talking, and they have one or two friends that they have known for years. Then there are people like one of my sisters who rarely sees some of her friends but every once in awhile they'll chat or meetup and it's like there was never an absence. I think it's a matter of what the person defines as a friendship vs. just an acquaintance. I'm acquainted with people I know online but I also have some friends online who I may only talk or respond to once in a few weeks but I still consider us friends. I believe it's a connection that doesn't necessarily have to do with consistently seeing or talking to the person, but maybe how you talk to each other or what you talk about and how the communication makes you feel.
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Post by Guest on Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:01 am

I think that's exactly right, caliseivy. I don't necessarily feel a hole in my life. Though there are times when I regret not having stayed in touch with people, it tends to be fleeting and mild. But I see people with lots of friends, and they seem happy and active, and I wonder, "Why don't I have that? That looks fun!" But the reality is, I don't have time or energy for a lot of parties, and I DEFINITELY don't have the time to maintain a dozen or more individual relationships that require monthly work.

I think it's more that I'm feeling there's something strange or wrong about me that I don't have friends, not that I actually want them.

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Post by InkAndComb on Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:41 pm

ElizaJane, my brother is the same way. It's not that he dislikes people or maintenance, per say, but he gets caught up in his own projects and activities ,and honestly enjoys the company of himself.

I told him if he ever wants to get a bigger social group, there are always ways to do that, but I don't necessarily think his 'way of life' or small social circle are a BAD thing. Definitely not the American norm that is portrayed in media and on facebook, but that's ok too.

That feeling of something strange or wrong happens to me most when I compare things I'm ok with in my life, but differs, from other people. If you're ok with how things are, that's fine; doesn't matter if it's less mainstream, as long as you feel healthy and know where to go to seek support/fill your social needs Smile

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