I have pulled up old threads on this subject and read what people had to say, I've looked at recommended articles and meet-up groups, I have googled other things on this subject...nothing really seems to hit home with me.
Here's my background for those that don't know:
I am 38 years old. I have 2 boys (14 and 20). Neither really spends time with their dad. The 20 year old hasn't since he was around 15 and my 14 year old would like to but his dad just doesn't really make time for him. We have been separated/divorced for around 6 years. I have not been in a serious relationship with anyone since then. I have dedicated my time and energy on myself, my kids, my family, and my friends. Also, I don't really think that any male has seriously approached me with the intentions of actually having a relationship. I am a retired elementary school teacher. I spend most of my time at my youngest son's sporting events, meetings, and activities. I have used my time to organize our home, clean, craft, and basically just address issues that were neglected for a long time in order to bring a sense of normalcy into our lives. I truly don't particularly have any hobbies but there are things that I enjoy. I guess you could say I like to dabble in everything but am not consumed with anything. I have limited funds since I am on a fixed income and living in CA is expensive. Having a Freshman in high school that plays multiple sports is also costly.
I have/have had some very, very close friends but lately it seems that we are not exactly fitting into each other's lives the way we used to. My sister, my Bestie since 5th grade, my 2 college girlfriends, along with a handful of other's that I would normally hang out with and go and do stuff with are either not available or it seems that the relationship has perhaps been lopsided and I am now noticing it. Everyone it seems is either married, in a relationship with someone, and have young children. I have always been very flexible when it comes to spending time with my friends. I don't mind going to their place or them coming to mine, spending time and doing things with their families when appropriate, getting to go out occasionally for some adult time the few times that they can. I have also learned to go to different events by myself knowing that when I get there, I will know people there (such as parties, weddings, games, etc). This is a huge deal for someone like me that has grown up with many insecurities and I know I tend to be very codependent with people in my life. However with this being said, I have noticed that I have missed out on many, many events that I really want to attend simply because I have no one to go with (Color Run, Concert, going to listen to some guys we grew up with and their band at a restaurant/bar.). The three examples are just from this past week! Now my very, very closest friends are the ones I listed above. My sister has issues with me but she won't actually tell me what they are. I think it may be jealousy/resentment for several reasons. In public she acts very nice towards me but other than that my calls/texts/messages get ignored, she blocks/unblocks me randomly for what seems to be no reason from her phone and FB, she will cancel and back out on plans with me for no apparent reason and usually at the last minute. This pretty much started when she began seeing her boyfriend who now lives with her. Seems like if he is around and she has someone to hang out with then she has no use for me. My Bestie recently started dating someone also. Actually, she is always dating someone but since they always are married she keeps it pretty secret from everyone and will sneak around during work hours to see them. This recent guy is her daughter's best friend's dad. She finds it very easy to hang out with him by using the excuse that's they are spending time together because the girl's want to hang out. She is painfully shy, extremely introverted, and socially awkward (those are her words). She will commit to do things with me and then back out. She has always only wanted to hang out at her place or her sister's. She has only been to my place once in all the years I have known her. I don't think it is fair that she never wants to make the sacrifice of doing something that she may not necessarily want to do in order to spend time with me or because I would like to do it while I am constantly doing what she wants because I understand that in any relationship it is a give and take. My college girls, they have small children and both work (teachers) so they don't really have free time to go out and do fun grown up stuff. We hang out by the pool bar-be-queing or at the park, etc...a lot. I do have friends that I occasionally hang out with but they aren't my everyday friends and once again they either have small children, husbands/boyfriends, and work. I have made several friend's through the kids' school activities through out the years but...once again they are married with kids and for the most part considerably older than I am and extremely conservative that there is no way I could even suggest going to a rap concert with any of them...lol. I would consider them my "parent" friends.
I have never had a traditional life. Had a kid at 17 so when my friends were out having fun, I was being mom, working, and putting myself through college. I retired at 37 so while everyone is at work, I am at home. Never really dated since my ex and I were together since the age of 15. My kids are older while my friends have young children or are just starting their families. I have a wide variety of friends but feel like maybe I don't really fit in. I play many roles, which makes me happy, but some of those things that define me are not being nurtured like I would like. It just seems like I am always in a different place in life than my peers which makes it hard to make connections.
The suggestions of volunteering (I do, but the things I am able to do don't allow for much interaction or consistency to meet new people), going out and just taking the initiative and doing stuff that I enjoy (I feel like a do when there is a situation that won't be completely awkward), using the internet/meet-up groups (not exactly my thing), networking (trust me, everyone I know is aware that I am single and also open to new friendships), well...none are really working.
I guess I'm just hoping that someone, anyone can help me figure this whole relationship thing out. I absolutely miss having a significant other in my life but right now I am looking for friendship with anyone. As much as I would love to love someone, I also could just use a friend that likes to hang out. This is not me saying I need a man in my life, it's me saying I need a friend. A good reliable friend that enjoys doing things along with just having mellow days at home. I understand that it could take several friends to fill voids in my life because not everyone enjoys concerts, or the same music, or dancing, or shopping, or the beach, or farmer's market's, or sporting events,etc...
Ugh!!! I guess I just need help
*I realize there isn't too much traffic around here anymore, but I am hoping that those of you that do read this will actually respond in some way. Thanks so much <3
Interested in craft beer and wine? Visit my blog http://downthehatch1.blogspot.com/
Saw this article, thought of you, and wanted to share
Ancient thinkers and current scientists agree:strong social ties are a key — arguably thekey — to happiness. You need close, long-term relationships; you need to be able to confide; you need to belong; you need to get and give support. Studies show that if you have five or more friends with whom to discuss an important matter you’re far more likely to describe yourself as “very happy.”
But making friends can be difficult. Here are some strategies to try:
1. Show up. Just as Woody Allen said that “Eighty percent of success is showing up,” a big part of friendship is showing up. Whenever you have the chance to see other people, take it. Go to the party. Stop by someone’s desk. Make the effort. I'm a big believer in the power of online tools like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to help sustain relationships, but nothing can replace a face-to-face meeting.
2. Join a group. Being part of a natural group, where you have common interests and are brought together automatically, is the easiest way to make friends: starting a new job, taking a class, having a baby, joining a congregation, or moving to a new neighborhood. If those aren’t an option, try to find a different group to join. Get a dog, for example. Or pursue a hobby more seriously.
3. Form a group. If you can’t find an existing group to join, start a group based around something that interests you. My children's literature reading groups – (yes, now I’ve helped start three of these groups) are among the top joys of my life. Movies, wine, cheese, pets, marathon-training, a language, a worthy cause…I know people in all these sorts of groups. You can start a Happiness Project group! (If you want the starter kit, to help launch a group, email me at gretchenrubin1 at gretchenrubin dot com.)
4. Say nice things about other people. It’s a kind way to behave; also, studies show that because of the psychological phenomenon of spontaneous trait transference, people unintentionally transfer to you the traits you ascribe to other people. If you say that Pat is hilarious, you’ll be linked to that quality.
5. Make an effort to smile. Big surprise, studies show that the amount of time you smile during a conversation has a direct effect on how friendly you’re perceived to be. In fact, people who can’t smile due to facial paralysis have trouble with relationships.
6. Make friends with friends-of-friends. “Triadic closure” is the term for the fact that people tend to befriend the friends of their friends. So friends-of-friends is an excellent place to start if you’re trying to expand your circle.
What other strategies have you used to help build friendship? And what challenges have you faced? The ones I hear the most are 1) lack of time and 2) new place with no network to draw upon. What about you?
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