Author Topic: Friends  (Read 3548 times)

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Redneck Gravy

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Re: Friends
« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2014, 03:25:17 PM »
I have my very best friend from over 40 years ago (ouch am I really that old?) and another friend that is friends with both of us for about 35 years. The three of us travel together at least once a year and talk to each other at least weekly.   

I have a circle of friends I have worked with through the years that I see probably several times a year and a circle of friends I play sports with.  I also have an inner group from the sports group that I dine with on Saturday evenings.  The dining group has been going for almost two years but the outer circle for around 20 years.

Then I have three or four really good friends that I email, telephone several times a year.  And we get together at least once a year for catching up. 

Then there are acquaintances I see at the post office/grocery store and we visit briefly but I don't stay in contact with them regularly.





lowspark

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Re: Friends
« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2014, 03:46:54 PM »
Other than those special people, I seem to change friend groups every two to four years. Nearly every time, it's one of the people who was a linchpin to the group (the person who did a lot of the organizing of outings & may be the person who most of the people met originally) moved to another city, and the group of 8-12 people then sort of drifted off into different directions.

I think when this kind of thing happens, the question is, why didn't one or more of the remaining group step up and start organizing things? Why does it always have to be that one person and if that person bows out, the group falls apart?

Is it because people really just don't care that much about the others in the group so putting forth any effort to continue keeping it together isn't worth it? Or maybe everyone else thinks someone else will do it? But if so, is there regret when no one else does?

I'm one who does a lot of the organizing and sometimes I just get tired of it. I have a group of friends who has been getting together for years. Inevitably, the responsibility for making sure that the group continues to see each other regularly has fallen on the shoulders of two in the group. One of them is going through a personal hardship and has backed off. I am the other, and I have also backed off because I really felt it was someone else's turn.

Well, guess what. No one else took over. We have had two get-togethers in the last 8 months when we used to see each other every month, whether it was the whole group or some subset. Both of the recent gatherings were initiated by the other instigator.

I'm fortunate in that I have other friends and other regular events and my calendar is reasonably filled so although I miss the group, it's not as if I'm sitting at home pining. But I am mystified about the other members' reasons for not taking the initiative. Is it because they just don't care if we continue? Or is it because they "know" someone else will do it and when no one else does it, oh well! It's a little bit hurtful to me that none of them have made any effort.

jmarvellous

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Re: Friends
« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2014, 04:10:58 PM »
I'm guilty of not doing anything unless someone else steps up to organize, and I get why people don't like it.

I'll be honest: It's a self-confidence problem. I just don't feel like anyone will want to do the things I suggest, and I take it a bit too personally when they do pass. I also hate phoning and texting when the prospect of rejection hangs in the balance. I'm getting a LOT better at this stuff (finally, in my late 20s) but I doubt I'll ever be a wonderful social planner.

My friendships these days are mostly pretty limited. I like a lot of people at my school, for example, but I feel like there's very little that we have in common to sustain a friendship, and most of them are still at that "Let's get drunk -- that's how friends are made!" stage of life, more or less. And we barely have time as it is, with all our studying. I still consider them 'friends,' I guess.

In the last couple of years in my former town, I was finally starting to forge friendships. It was partly circumstantial -- I finally didn't have a night job -- and partly a matter of it just taking me a long time to find that person I actually click with. I have tried to keep in touch, but it's so hard! It was SO great to be able to call people up on a Friday night for drinks, whenever I wanted. I had really missed that.

We went out this weekend with one of my longest friends, and it was really bittersweet. We had a lot of fun, but we barely kept in touch at all over the past year, so most of the day was just catching up. She's likely not going to be in the region in a few months, so I'm worried it will die out, too. We've survived a couple of moves, so far, so maybe not. My other longest-term friend and I have never been super-close (though we've also never fought!), and I'm grasping at straws with her lately, too. Again, I need to make that effort, but it'd be nice if it were a two-sided thing!

I'm lucky in that I love hanging out with my husband, and most of my family members are good people to have as friends, too. I try to remember that when I start to feel lonely.

sammycat

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Re: Friends
« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2014, 07:44:59 PM »
Having a baby is what's actually finally lead me to a new social circle.   At the hospital "new mothers" get together I formed bonds with some ladies whom I actually have a lot in common with.  And now, a year on, we get together for girl's nights (kid free!), we text, we share our thoughts and feelings.  We've formed genuine friendships and it's awesome.  Honestly, it's been years since I've had friends this close.   I believe some of them will definitely become lifetime friends.    The baby thing is a red herring - what really connected us was actually sitting down in a group of people to introduce ourselves and talk, and from there identify who we got along with.  It's so rare to have that kind of opportunity in our busy lives to meet new people!  (Everybody always says hobbies, except often the focus is on the hobby and there isn't always time to get to know the person).

I had/have a very similar experience. A few weeks after the DS1 was born, the local baby clinic organised its bi-monthly morning tea days where new mothers could meet up. We meet at the clinic once a week for 8 weeks before continuing on afterwards. Until all the kids started school we continued to meet on that same day at each other's houses, plus did other this together. 17 1/2 years later a lot of us are still on contact. One is godmother to DS2 and we have seen each other through some real ups and downs. Most of us have moved over the course of he 17 years but thanks to Facebook we still keep in touch and try and meet up whenever possible, even if it's only once a year. Ironically, the kids themselves, ie. the ones who brought us together, haven't really seen each other in years and most wouldn't recognise each other nowadays, which is sad, although one boy/family has also moved to our area and they have the occasional chat at school.

DS1 has had one particular friend since preschool and they are now in grade 12. I hope their friendship continues far into the distant future.

I've made friends through the kids' school, and a hobby thing I took up ages ago, but as a lot of people have found, once that common link goes, the friendships tend to slide as well. While it's a bit sad, I'd rather have that happen than have it end in a big argument or some other negative way. At least this way, we can still be friendly, if not actual close friends again, whenever we do run into each other.

I've also got a handful of friends that I met at primary/intermediate school that I'm still friends with many decades later, even though I've moved countries. Facebook has certainly made either reconnecting or continuing that connection a lot easier.

These days though, I tend to find myself wanting to spend more time with my extended family, mainly my female cousins. Having a few of them die recently seems to have made me want to cement that connection even more than we already have, whilst we/I still can.

At a family party recently I really hit it off with one of my cousin's friends. It was the first time we'd met but I really found myself enjoying her company and conversation, and think she felt the same. I almost sent her a FB request, but thought that might be a bit weird so decided against it.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Friends
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2014, 01:13:20 PM »
I'm guilty of not doing anything unless someone else steps up to organize, and I get why people don't like it.

I'll be honest: It's a self-confidence problem. I just don't feel like anyone will want to do the things I suggest, and I take it a bit too personally when they do pass. I also hate phoning and texting when the prospect of rejection hangs in the balance. I'm getting a LOT better at this stuff (finally, in my late 20s) but I doubt I'll ever be a wonderful social planner.

 

This is totall me too. I realized, in the weeks leading up to my HS reunion, I didn't have a lot of memories of doing stuff with others than my small group of friends. Even though  I was friendly with more people, in my classes. But I was so afraid if I suggested getting together on the weekends or after school, they'd look at me and say "why would I want to hang out with YOU?" I know that's probalby not true, but my self confidence was low then, and even now, I still kind of feel that way about those I reconnected with.

Part of it is they all live close to each other, so they see each other more often, and can do so last mintue. I can't do that. I've tried a couple times, putting feelers out, but only one or two said sorry, can't do it, and the rest never responded. So I feel like that "loser" kid back in school no one wanted to play with :(

I know its silly, but I can't help how I feel. I'm going to try again as I'm off for a week in July, so I will have the free time to travel to them. Maybe someone will want to have lunch, or dinner. I'm hoping so.

I've also realized I need to be better at taking the initiative, and not taking "rejection" so personally.

Celany

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Re: Friends
« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2014, 09:55:42 AM »
Other than those special people, I seem to change friend groups every two to four years. Nearly every time, it's one of the people who was a linchpin to the group (the person who did a lot of the organizing of outings & may be the person who most of the people met originally) moved to another city, and the group of 8-12 people then sort of drifted off into different directions.

I think when this kind of thing happens, the question is, why didn't one or more of the remaining group step up and start organizing things? Why does it always have to be that one person and if that person bows out, the group falls apart?

Is it because people really just don't care that much about the others in the group so putting forth any effort to continue keeping it together isn't worth it? Or maybe everyone else thinks someone else will do it? But if so, is there regret when no one else does?

I think there's a lot of answers to that.

Like PPs said, for some people, it's a fear that other people will think "Why would I want to hang out with YOU?", especially if the person thinking of organizing something is really friends with the lynch pin person,  but in that tricky place between friends & acquaintances with the other people.

In all least one of the groups that I was in that dissolved, it really was that everybody really liked the lynch pin person, and felt friendly towards the others, but only actually made friends with maybe 1-2 other people in that group, so the group of like 15 people dissolved into a lot of smaller groups of hangouts, but nobody really felt the need to get everybody together.

I remember one weird group (an Ex-BFs groups of friends, and man did they have a lot of troubles) where they actually designated people to be the group planners. If someone who wasn't the group planner wanted to plan anything that wasn't a party (like a brunch, or drinks out, or a day trip to the beach), everybody would get superweird & ask "Did you talk to Marcie about this? Or Bob? Or Joe? Because they really don't like it when people plan things without them weighing first." (clearly, that group had way more problems than just planning).

And I think that sometimes people are just lazy/don't realize the energy needed to wrangle other people (or do realize it, but don't want to expend it themselves). If an invite is presented to them, they'll accept, but if they have to do it themselves, inertia will keep them just going home and accepting what they're offered, instead of generating something themselves. 
I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior. ~ Hippolyte Taine

Lynn2000

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Re: Friends
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2014, 12:02:20 PM »
Another thought with the planning thing--some people are just good at planning. They not only have the confidence to issue invitations, they also think through the logistics--where to eat that will accommodate everyone's diet, how Bob without a car is going to get there, what hours won't conflict with Alice's gym schedule, etc.. That's above and beyond the etiquette requirement, but it helps ensure that everyone will actually be there, because they don't have to do much work for it. Of course, all that is more work for the planner, and I can see how they would get tired of doing it.

But, sometimes that means planners have very high standards, and if someone else tries to step up and plan something, but isn't quite as good, the planner can get huffy about it, and that can be intimidating to people who might also lack some self-confidence as well. The planner can be seen as saying, "I don't want to plan, I want someone else to plan, but they have to plan it just like I would have." I'm not saying anyone here has done that, of course, but I've seen it happen in groups.

Regarding friends--I don't have that many friends. I almost exclusively meet them through work, and I've found that a lot of people are not good at maintaining long-distance friendships once they move away. I maybe have a couple friends still in town that I see a couple times a month. The others are all over the country/world, and sometimes we exchange emails, but it can be very sporadic.

The weird thing is, I'm actually better at keeping up with emails than I am at doing stuff in person, so when someone first moves away I try to be really good at keeping in touch with them, only to have them fade away eventually. On the other hand, I'm not interested in going away to visit people in their new home and it's hard for me to meet them somewhere without a lot of advance planning, so I'm sure I've disappointed people in that regard.

This thread is fortuitous, because I've been thinking about the concept of friendship lately, almost wondering if it really even exists. I feel like even my closest friend doesn't really know me that well, although frankly I'm peeved at her right now for being so distant to me after my recent surgery, so maybe once I get over that I will feel closer to her. I like to put numbers on things--I feel like there's nobody who knows me even 70%, and the highest would actually be my mom in the high 60s, with my closest friend more like 50-55%. Do other people feel like their friends know them better than that, or is that about typical?
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LifeOnPluto

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Re: Friends
« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2014, 11:46:00 PM »
I had a great social life in my 20s, but now (early 30s) I'm kind of "between friends".

One great friendship recently imploded (the Vegas Wedding friend). Another friend is travelling around the world for 12 months. Two more have had babies in the last year and are 99% occupied with baby-related stuff (completely understandable). Another friend has got a new boyfriend and is still in the honeymoon stage, spending nearly all her free time with him and trying out his hobbies (again, completely understandable and I'm happy for her).

I'm thinking of trying Meetup in my city as a way of meeting new people and hopefully making some friends. Has anyone had any success with this method?

Celany

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Re: Friends
« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2014, 03:55:34 PM »
I'm thinking of trying Meetup in my city as a way of meeting new people and hopefully making some friends. Has anyone had any success with this method?

I've met some really cool people on Meet Up. Had my schedule not been so crazy, there were several that I would have liked to start seeing on their own, outside of the meetups. But then work got bonkers & I didn't have time for my old friend, much less Meet Up & new friends, so it didn't happen.

I also think that sometimes forums (like this) can be a great way to make friends that live in the region. A woman who I was close friends with for several years was someone who I originally met on the Lush forums. We bonded at a meet up and we inseparable for several years, until she moved out of the city.
I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior. ~ Hippolyte Taine

Lynn2000

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Re: Friends
« Reply #24 on: September 19, 2014, 05:16:53 PM »
I'm glad this thread has popped up again! I think it's so interesting to read about different people's experiences. I feel like I'm not someone who really needs a lot of friends, which is good because I don't have many. I mean, sure, there are a number of people on my "Friends" list on Facebook and "friends" I send holiday cards to and so forth, but no one I really get together with or hang out with regularly.

I was idly thinking the other day, what if I was having a BWW and needed to find three bridesmaids--who would I pick? Honestly I don't even know. My message would be, "Hey, I know we haven't spoken in months/years, but I was wondering if you would be a bridesmaid in my wedding." I can think of maybe a couple people where it wouldn't be so weird, but the wedding prep would be more interaction than we've had in the last 6-12 months combined. For the third slot I would honestly probably go with a relative I like but don't really see often. More than three and I would be really hard-pressed for ideas that were at all reasonable.

I've just got my own interests that are solitary and that I can do at home. Of course I do get lonely sometimes, but I think everyone does, really, or rather, sometimes wishes for someone they don't have--like a friend to do X with them or an SO or a child they could do Y with.

There was another thread here about whether people considered other people on EHell their "friends" which I thought was also very interesting. I do think well of a lot of people here. But, I don't interact with individuals through PMs very often--my experience is more like participating in a group conversation where you're always addressing the group, rather than having a conversation with just one other person. It's hard for me to put someone in the "friend" category when we've never (or only rarely) had an individual interaction.
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Bijou

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Re: Friends
« Reply #25 on: September 19, 2014, 06:22:07 PM »
Maybe we're unusual, but excluding family members, we don't have a circle of friends.  My husband and I have two friends of long standing, whom we see once in a while but not often.  We  have acquaintances, but not anyone I would really classify as a friend.  I don't think it has to do with age because we have been like this for decades.  We belonged to a mutual interest group, but that is no longer in existence and the contact didn't continue beyond that, so we are just us. 
« Last Edit: September 19, 2014, 06:24:34 PM by Bijou »
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Allyson

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Re: Friends
« Reply #26 on: September 19, 2014, 07:20:10 PM »
I think that big friend circles are more common in early to mid twenties, but I don't think it's universal that it stops. I keep hearing that as people move into their thirties and forties that tends to change into more like people have a few friends they see less frequently. I don't think it's always true--my parents had a friend circle replete with all the usual friend circle drama, but they also had a shared activity--bridge. I know there were definitely times when my parents discussed things like who to invite because two people weren't speaking to each other!


CakeEater

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Re: Friends
« Reply #27 on: September 19, 2014, 09:59:06 PM »
I've always struggled with making and maintaining friendships.

I often think that I'd like more close friends - but I don't know when I'd see them. I really like having lots of 'me' time, and when we do have something on with people, it's kind-of an effort to make myself do it. I actually want activity partners mostly.

I have a wide circle of 'friendly acquaintances'. I have a lot of difficulty working out how to go from friendly acquaintance to friend. There's a couple of Mums who I chat with every day while we're waiting for school pickup. We get on well. I have no idea how to turn that into a friendship.

Same with church. We chat with people at church every week. I go to our church mothers' group, and have a nice time with those ladies. How do you go from friendly acquaintance status, to friend I'd ring up and invite over, or friend whose house I would just drop into?

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Friends
« Reply #28 on: September 20, 2014, 04:01:23 AM »
I've always struggled with making and maintaining friendships.

I often think that I'd like more close friends - but I don't know when I'd see them. I really like having lots of 'me' time, and when we do have something on with people, it's kind-of an effort to make myself do it. I actually want activity partners mostly.

I have a wide circle of 'friendly acquaintances'. I have a lot of difficulty working out how to go from friendly acquaintance to friend. There's a couple of Mums who I chat with every day while we're waiting for school pickup. We get on well. I have no idea how to turn that into a friendship.

Same with church. We chat with people at church every week. I go to our church mothers' group, and have a nice time with those ladies. How do you go from friendly acquaintance status, to friend I'd ring up and invite over, or friend whose house I would just drop into?

CakeEater, I'd try inviting them (or if it's a large group, 2-3 of the ones you're closest to) to do something outside of the church group. Even if it's just a coffee down the local shops. Or morning tea at your place or something. I'd keep it casual, so if they do say "no", there's no pressure.

greencat

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Re: Friends
« Reply #29 on: September 20, 2014, 01:12:36 PM »
I was home schooled during some years of my life when I should have been developing social skills.  As a consequence, I didn't really know how to make or keep friends.  People have always wanted to be friends with me for some reason, but I always had trouble staying connected unless the other person was making an enormous effort.  A string of boyfriends who were either jealous or really socially inept themselves didn't help - either having to outright decline invitations or having to cancel last minute ate away at any social capital I might have otherwise accrued.

I realized that socializing was a skill that like any other, you have to practice at and use frequently to be good at.

I started practicing conversations I was expecting to have so I didn't come off as being so socially awkward.  I started accepting any invitation sent my way - I've ended up helping a few people move house or repaint a bedroom, but mostly it has been to go out to eat or for drinks.  I started saying "That sounds like fun" and "I'd like to go next time" to get more invitations.  I eliminated some technological hassles to getting in touch with me (I separated myself from my FOO's family share plan so I could get text messages, and started being more active on social media.)  I started actively contacting people I'd met and inviting them to hang out.  I started putting more of an emphasis on punctuality.  Reading EHell was very useful because it gave me a better idea of what was actually normal than life with my parents (who have no friends and stay home all the time) had done - it helped me both at building normal friendships, and getting out of toxic friendships.

Yeah, it's tiring, and every once in awhile I have to shut down and stay home because I am pretty introverted, but it helps that right now my job involves very little face-to-face contact with others, so I get all the downtime to recharge that I need at work.  It also helps that I've connected with a lot of people that share my interests.  There are so many health benefits to having an active social life, it's worth the work.