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am I too reclusive?

(58 Posts)
MrsMiniver Sat 30-Nov-13 13:41:47

I'm in my mid 50s and after a life of drama relationships-wise, I'm very happy on my own with a teenage daughter, a close relationship with my family, a couple of good friends and a dog. Plus a part-time job that gives me plenty of contact with colleagues and a lovely home which is all my own. I dislike socialising, not because I have social anxiety or am shy, but because my preference is to either spend time alone (reading, pottering, walking) or to have at most a weekly drink or coffee with a friend that doesn't last more than a couple of hours. I prefer deep conversation about a particular subject rather than chit-chat which bores me senseless. I never phone people for a chat (apart from my mum who I speak to everyday) and keep visitors to an absolute minimum. Having said that I really enjoy talking to strangers, maybe because I don't feel trapped

I feel though as if I have to constantly justify my behaviour, both to myself and others, because being extraverted and sociable and having loads of friends seems to be considered essential in today's society. Can anyone relate to this?

Daykin Sat 30-Nov-13 13:45:38

I'm introverted. I love an occasional meet-up but I need my own space. DP works long hours and is often away but much as I love him couldn't have him hanging over me night after night whereas my eldest sister will often have a friend or our mum over if her DH is away for a night. Being introverted is very different from being isolated or friendless.

dingledongle Sat 30-Nov-13 13:50:34

I can relate completely to your post. I have a few close friends who
I meet with occasionally. I am a very social person in that I can talk with anyone about anything. However, I am quite happy in my own company, do not desire to go out with groups of people etc.

I would rather have a few close relationships than lots of shallow, surface friendships.

It would be boring to all be the same, so do not justify yourself. Many people are probably envious of your self sufficiency!

MrsMiniver Sat 30-Nov-13 13:57:46

I'm not alone in my love of being alone then smile

Roussette Sat 30-Nov-13 14:01:26

Mrs M... you sound totally comfortable with yourself and happy and I think it is a great asset to enjoy your own company. You do NOT have to justify in any way, shape or form. There is a social thing that happens here once a week but I just do not want to do it every week - too much like groundhog day and a repeat of the week before. I'm happy to go occasionally. I used to feel I had to justify why I didn't want to go but as time's gone on, I thought "why do I have to? I'm not letting anyone down by not going, I just don't want to go". So I've stopped the justification and politely say "no I'm not going this week."

You live your life like you want to - it sounds idyllic to me!

Lweji Sat 30-Nov-13 14:06:54

Similar here. I enjoy meeting and talking to people, but won't call for chit chats either, and quite enjoy having time on my own.

Being an extrovert is overrated, and I find it a bit sad if people can't stand to spend time alone, TBH.

HogiBear27 Sat 30-Nov-13 20:43:25

I'm very much in the same boat. I have a good laugh with the people I work with and some good friends but I am quite happy in my own company. I do sometimes miss having someone who would like to go and do things like Go ape (as I enjoy being outside) but in the grand scheme of things its not a major worry. I'm quite happy today because I have all my little bits done that needed doing and I'm meeting my friend and her daughter for lunch and Chritsmas fun tomorrow. I'm so excited that I will meet a reindeer!

Littlestrickle Sat 30-Nov-13 20:52:27

I could have written your post MrsMiniver - except I'm 10 years younger with no children. Don't feel you have to justify your behaviour - just make yourself happy. Life's too short to please others.

lookingfoxy Sat 30-Nov-13 20:55:32

Sounds a bit like my ideal life except I have a dp and 2 kids, im very content in my own company and enjoy a natter with strangers as there's no commitment iykwim.

Upcycled Sat 30-Nov-13 20:58:35

Exactly the same here. But sometimes is difficult to dodge the extroverts who wants company at every minute of a spare time or the lonely people who cries when all by themselves.

Busybusybust Sat 30-Nov-13 21:03:12

And me. I'm a widow in my 60s, grown up children. I still work full time, and have lots of friends, but I really like being on my own. My best friend just doesn't understand me at all!

I do phone friends for a chat, particularly best friend, and sister and children, but not very often. I hate parties, and crowded social situations in general

MrsMiniver Sat 30-Nov-13 21:19:53

So glad I posted, feel much happier in my own skin tonight smile and that means I'm on the sofa with the dog and will be going to bed soon with a good book. You all sound really content and I'll remember that when I'm thinking that I ought to get out more.

Chesntoots Sat 30-Nov-13 21:25:04

I'm glad its not just me. Sometimes I think there is something wrong with me.

People do comment sometimes and there are times when I get a bit lonely and just fancy company for a meal etc.

However, most of the time I'm very happy that I can do what I want, when I want. I love going on holiday on my own.

FiftyShadesofGreyMatter Sat 30-Nov-13 21:25:49

Me too. I think I'm a social introvert. Happy on my own a lot of the time, but enjoy occasional social outings.
Hate parties (I'm supposed to be going to a Christmas party, with people I like and I'm sure it'll be fun, but sadly I'm already looking for ways to get out of it).

MrsMiniver Sat 30-Nov-13 21:31:05

*Chestnoots" do you have a friend you can see occasionally? I do enjoy having a meal say once a month with someone. And holidays can be so rewarding if you don't have to consider anyone else.

HarryStottle Sat 30-Nov-13 21:37:55

I'm completely with you too OP.
Perhaps we could all form a society of people who are generally happy with their own company - we could have a get-together every, err, well not too often, once a year maximum.

Chesntoots Sat 30-Nov-13 21:44:18

I go out once or twice a month with a good male friend, which is nice.

I turned 40a couple of weeks ago and I'm now thinking "sod it - I'm going to start doing stuff on my own".

Very liberating knowing you are capable of living and doing things on your own! Love it!

sunbathe Sat 30-Nov-13 21:53:54

MrsM, your life sounds great.

OHforDUCKSchristmascake Sat 30-Nov-13 22:10:43

You sound exactly like my mum. And my mum is awesome.

Literally on one of the best people on earth.

Im 31 and your life sounds blissful.

daphnesglasses Sat 30-Nov-13 22:13:49

you sound great smile

You sound just like me, MrsMiniver. If I do see a friend once a month I have to go to her house as she has very bad arthritis in her knees and can't drive. If I'm there longer than an hour or two I get very twitchy to go home. I love the idea of going on holiday, and usually have a great time while I'm away, but I much prefer to be at home instead. I dislike it when people just knock on the door and invite themselves in for a tea 'because you're all alone, I thought you'd want some company'. TBH sometimes I don't answer the door. I work part-time, and the others in the office can't understand why I don't go out at the weekend.
I do have a 7yr old, but luckily for me he is just as much an introvert and home-lover as me, most weekends I offer him the choice of softplay, the animal park, aquarium, play park down the road, or to have one of his class mates over, and 9 times out of 10 he says 'I just want to stay at home'.
It's lovely and we're both very happy how it is.
You are definitely not alone in how you feel, and IMO it is far better than spending every day in the company of other (some quite boring) people.

lobsterkiller Sat 30-Nov-13 22:36:47

I am pretty introverted too. I love my walking, reading or just being in the home pottering about. I do have friends and I am sociable at work but in my own time I just love being in my own company or with my family.

Terrortree Sat 30-Nov-13 22:56:57

I really enjoy my own company and rarely get bored. I don't work anymore and not having to do the Christmas parties this year is one I relish. I have a small number of excellent friends but I live a long way from them so mostly I speak to contractors who are building my place but few others most days! Bliss!

However, others seem to pity me - and they aren't shy about telling me that they worry for me. But actually, I'm mighty fine with my life. I wouldn't describe myself as introverted or shy. I just am okay with being by myself.

expatinscotland Sat 30-Nov-13 22:59:04

It's your life, you live it how you see fit.

Dirtybadger Sun 01-Dec-13 01:54:49

I don't see any problem. I haven't had a coffee or drink with a friend for years. I suppose I don't have any. I am close to my sister and mum though and that's enough for me. Dogs and the DP (and even then I don't see much of him) are enough for me. I'm introverted and maybe suffer with social anxiety but to be honest I just prefer my own company and the company of animals. I work pt in healthcare so get some human interaction from patients and colleagues. It's enough for me.
Drinks once a week sounds highly social to me! I couldn't keep up with that.

MillyRules Sun 01-Dec-13 02:42:07

Im the same. Always have been. I love talking to people when im out shopping or working etc but my home is my sanctuary and im happiest at home with my DH and my kids. Ive never liked having people in my house for some reason. Don't get me wrong, I give anyone a warm welcome but always feel very tense so prefer not to. I will meet friends for coffee rather than have them over. I do find however that friendships sometimes don't last because friends want to be part of my world in a big way, which is lovely, but not me. My DH is the same so we are very anti social but happily so.

MrsMiniver Sun 01-Dec-13 09:53:02

Norks thanks for the link to the thread. What a great idea to start it and will enjoy reading. I've also read Quiet and have just ordered The Introvert's Way - Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World. I'm really heartened by the fact that you all seem to view the way I live my life in such a positive way and can relate. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

It's made a huge difference to the way I see myself and I won't be sheepish tomorrow when my colleagues ask me what I did over the weekend and I'll say I had a wonderful time pottering around at home! Maybe they'll be just a teeny bit envious...Have a lovely calm day everyone.

something2say Sun 01-Dec-13 09:55:13

I'm the same. I have a busy full time job where I interact on a very deep level with people, and when I get home I want to potter and do my own thing. I am learning the guitar and after everything has been done at night, that's all I want to do. I don't really enjoy chit chat as I'm not interested in much apart from music. I do have times when I go out, I decide tonight's the night and I turn right into central London rather than turning eft to the woods of surrey. But I like my own company and cannot have two nights out n the trot! I too love a night in reading, pottering, playing a bit of guitar. I am also old enough to know that I am no alone in liking this. One day I am going to be a witch in the woods and people will come to me there fr card readings etc xx I like being like this. X

MrsMiniver Sun 01-Dec-13 10:13:01

Music is a great joy for me also Something, singing, plinking away on the piano. I have a dusty guitar somewhere too....Enjoy your music-making!

Social introvert, I like that and will steal the phrase for future use.
I have a very full on job, teenage DC and a very extrovert DH, therefore I have to socialise much more than I would like to.
However, I am happiest by far reading, walking or listening to music. I have great friends who understand this and me wink who know I will not enjoy going out for drinks (I don't) or going to bloody candle/Tupperware/Ann Summers parties. I'm more a museum, concert kind of woman.
Once I stopped trying to please everyone around me, my social anxiety left for good and I'm fine, med free, happy and healthy for the first time in years.
Embrace your inner introvert, it's all good grin

ArgyMargy Sun 01-Dec-13 10:19:18

Mrs, you sound pretty sociable to me! The only thing you might think about longer term is what you do when you don't want to (or can't) work any more. I'm sure you'll find a good balance - as many people have said, you seem happy in your skin.

Lazyjaney Sun 01-Dec-13 10:35:08

I think an hour alone is far better than an hour spent with people you don't like or in mindless chichat. What you may want to consider is to join some clubs/societies etc with similar interests - can be very energizing.

MrsMiniver Sun 01-Dec-13 11:29:40

Katie I've been on meds for anxiety for years too, thinking that I had some underlying disorder, but since I've accepted who I am and have started to embrace my "inner introvert", the anxiety has diminished. I used to drink in order to cope with social situations but since I hardly go out anymore, my alcohol consumption has really gone down. And that's good too.

MillyRules Sun 01-Dec-13 12:29:40

Mrs I used to drink a lot more when I was younger. I had to because I was out partying and clubbing every night cause it was what you did. Once I met DH it all changed. He is very extrovert but anti social so we just enjoy our home and each other. I don't drink nowadays......too many bad headaches with alcohol. That was all many years ago now. Wish I had known its ok to be introvert in my youth though instead of feeling that there was something wrong with " me"!!

bluebirdwsm Sun 01-Dec-13 13:16:30

MrsMiniver, you sound like my double, although I am now 64. And you sound just fine to me, with a well balanced life and attitude. I've had it with relationships now and more than happy in my own company, seeing my sons and grandsons. I like pottering around my house, doing DIY and gardening, growing veg, reading, walking, being on the laptop and selected tv progs.

I was also worried by the fact I didn't seem to 'fit' with most people, used to smoke when I was in company [given up now] as I was anxious and hate small talk/gossip. [I like meaningful conversation and discussion on a 1 to1 basis usually]. But I gradually realised I'm ok and don't have to justify myself. Now comfortable with my life and living alone which suits me down to the ground. However I am lucky in that my health is ok, and I'm pretty fit.

Being different once made me feel dependent, constantly questioning myself and needy for approval in a world which is/was too busy for me... but now realise being an introvert means I can rely on myself and be very independent. It's who I am and I embrace it not fight it or try to change. It took a long period of learning about myself and adjustments though.

I see less people than you do, and am about to get a dog for walks and company then I will be made up. I have also read 'Quiet' and books about different personality types. There is definitely a place in the world for us, the thinkers who can use our own resources to feel fulfilled and not want constant babble and people in our space 24/7.

It's good there are no dramas and there is peace [apart from the ups and downs of life] in living like I do. I'm at the age where I couldn't care less what people think of me and that's liberating.

Yes Mrs M it's amazing how we no longer need meds to deal with life once we stop trying to be what others deem normal grin

MrsMiniver Sun 01-Dec-13 14:10:17

bluebird, yes we are very similar. I can't recommend having a dog enough; I got mine a little over a year ago (my first) and he's changed my life. Two walks a day and social interaction just how I like it, with a selection of dog walkers who I see often. One of them asked me today if I'd like to meet up for coffee and although I was flattered I did think to myself that I'd rather it didn't become a habit.

The key seems to be waking up to the fact that us introverts don't need to justify ourselves and that brings with it freedom from feeling different and/or anxious. I wish I'd learnt this years ago but it seems all the sweeter now that I'm finally starting to accept myself for who I am.

bigbrick Sun 01-Dec-13 14:18:28

I understand you - I like my own company & also the opinions of others rather than chats

akawisey Sun 01-Dec-13 19:31:32

Another introvert here MrsMiniver. Same age, too. Only this week I have been thinking exactly what you've said. I have a small but good group of friends who understand me and great work colleagues - but I really like my life the way it is.

I'd love a dog but can't have one because I'm not at home enough. So I have two soppy cats instead grin.

Really pleased you started this thread.

bluebirdwsm Sun 01-Dec-13 20:10:46

MrsMinver: I have picked up my pup [been planning this for a long time] and she is on my lap now! Such a good girl - so far. Not a peep in the car [for 35minutes], a wee outside, a little play and relaxed now.

Happy days to come I hope.....there are compensations being happy with just a small dog to talk to!

something2say Sun 01-Dec-13 21:38:05

That's so sweet blue bird!!! She sounds gorgeous, what sort of dog?

So what are your houses and pottering places like then people?

I have an upstairs flat with no garden, oh how I wish! But I have wooden furniture, a, glossing the wood, a few nice things. Two guitars. Lots of music. I like sitting on the floor playing my guitar. Have a beautiful soft grey British blue short hair cat who is gorg. Love beautiful heavy bath scents, open windows, trees in the woods nearby, lovely long walks in the sun and woods or the canal, take a bear and duster into the clearing, meet all the dog walkers. Deer in the woods.

X lovely x

something2say Sun 01-Dec-13 21:38:26

Beer and guitar!!!!! Hahahaha

PopiusTartius Sun 01-Dec-13 22:38:12

This thread is something of a revelation.
I somehow always thought I had to work harder at the social thing. But most of the tie it just does my head in! I have a few close friends. I love spending time with them. Other than that I love my family, my home. But small talk does me in.

Lazysuzanne Sun 01-Dec-13 23:00:43

I completely relate, I am if anything even more reclusive, I work alone at home.
I have a partner but we dont live together and I dont spend all that much time with him, I've lost touch with all my friends, no colleagues dont miss company at all.

I dont worry that there's anything wrong with me but I do wonder if I will become somehow cut of from mainstream culture and unwilling to engage with anyone.

Then again there's always internet forums to chat on!

beaglesaresweet Sun 01-Dec-13 23:13:02

hmm, working full time and having a group of close friends is hardly leading a reclusive life!
bluebird has the only real claim to being a happy recluse on this thread, as far as I can see - she does live alone. I couldn't deal with having people in my space most of the day, that's why I never worked full time (and it was hell when I did for short periods, as sometimes I just don't want to say a word, but you have to), so I work for myself, but on the other hand I don't like not talking to someone all day. It's tricky, because I want interaction, and when I like people I want to chat and talk quite in depth /spend time with them, but I like it in bursts, not too often or for too long.
This really creates issues, as people think I'm rude/not interested, when all I want is to have breaks - and also not to be in larger groups for long! Hard to explain to most people. and I have to say, it's only few people that I really like to have frequent meetings with, so some think I'm fussy or overly sensitive. I just can't waste my time though spending time with those I don't enjoy being with. They also have to like me, of course - it does narrow the options grin. I'm happiest when I have a comptible partner, but now I'm single it's quite tough, as other people do come into it much more and they are not all ready to adapt or understand - well, why should they if I'm new to them?

beaglesaresweet Sun 01-Dec-13 23:14:49

ah hello Lazy - you have as much claim as bluebird grin! living alone and not going to worl just doesn't compare with people who have dc. dh, colleagues, friends!

Lazysuzanne Sun 01-Dec-13 23:20:50

yes, I'd struggle to think of anyone who co-habited as reclusive, I also have no desire to get a pet for company!

I'm generally ok with company if it's not for more than a couple of hours but often find that I am humouring people rather actually enjoying spending time with them.
I absolutely cannot tolerate overnight guests.

beaglesaresweet Mon 02-Dec-13 00:59:20

Lazy, yes, a couple of hours is my ideal too, though if I like someone genuinely and we have things in common, I can do more. I could live with a partner but only if they were out for part of the day, as far as I get my own time for at least an hour or two in the eves. Is your P understabding? I find that most men resent that you don't want to see them all hours of an eve (when you aer in seroius or commited r-ship I mean). I still want a Partner, but it's hell to convince then that it's me, nothing personal.

Dirtybadger Mon 02-Dec-13 01:27:51

I work opposite shifts to my DP which works pretty well, as we cohabit. We have a dog so that's my excuse for not wanting to look for daytime work like him. He works 9-5 ish and I go to work about 4. We are usually both home at weekend plus an hour or so in evening at least. I can see what you mean about being resentful though. It's odd as although he (and others I'm sure) seems a bit offended by not wanting to be around all day, there's nothing specific planned- or talk about. So what's the problem? Maybe I'm missing something.

ItsaMissTerri Mon 02-Dec-13 01:33:57

Can completely relate to your post OP and having read the thread am thinking Hallelujah it's not just me that feels like this!! You don't have to justify yourself to

Lazysuzanne Mon 02-Dec-13 01:44:13

Beagle, I used to live with my partner, I coped by renting an office to work from and spending most of my time there and also going to bed late and getting up late when he did the opposite.

I used to feel very anxious and trapped at the thought of living together when we were older and retired and I had no bolt hole to escape to.

When the children left home I didnt feel the need to keep the family home thing going & I said I wanted to live separately.
We sold up, split the proceeds and bought separate places.
I would have ended the relationship if he hadnt agreed.

That was about 3 years ago I feel so very much calmer and happier, I probably spend about 4 hours a week with him now and we get on alot better.

I sound appalling I know, I'd just had enough of being a wife, life is so much easier, way less housework, he probably wishes he'd done a bit more cooking and cleaning.
Too late to shut the stable door now, your horse has boltedgrin

(He is pretty solitary too, but not quite as bad as me)

AnandaTimeIn Mon 02-Dec-13 03:02:51

This is a great thread.

I am also happy as larry staying home alone (SP, DS now 22 and at uni) pottering about, doing exactly what I feel like doing now.

Saw a great video on a Ted talk about introverts

MrsMiniver Mon 02-Dec-13 07:59:36

Thanks for the link Anada will watch later. Lazy your situation sounds great, I would never live with anyone again either and separate homes would be a must. Off to my part-time job, have got it down to three days a week and that's more than enough. Luckily I share my office with a sympathetic colleague. We have a quick chat then it's heads down for the rest of the day.

Lazy I agree, a true recluse would be single with no friends at all and I'm not quite at not being able to tolerate overnight guests, totally with you on that one.

Lazysuzanne Mon 02-Dec-13 10:43:16

My feeling is that absolute reclusiveness might be a bad thing, if I allowed myself to slide into it there might be some point of no return past which I'd be unable to reconnect with people should it become necessary.

For those reasons I suspect I'd benefit from a job where I had to interact with people face to face.

It's the prolonged intimacy of cohabiting that really gets to me.

bluebirdwsm Mon 02-Dec-13 11:55:39

something The pup is a female, looks like a miniature golden lab but with longer fur coming through. The mum was a blonde soppy Pug x Pomeranian and the dad was a copper Chihuahua x Pomeranian so she is a mongrel! Cobby body and shortish legs. I like small dogs but she isn't going to be stupidly small.

The night was good, just some 'mewing' to start with, a loo break at 4am. and she slept till 9.15am! Not a mess in the house so far! Amazing.

Sorry to go oneveryone....but getting a pup doesn't happen everyday....

MrsMiniver Mon 02-Dec-13 12:38:57

bluebird she sounds adorable, what a lovely mix! I too have a small dog that doesn't look ridiculous (Jack Russell cross). Sounds like the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Lazy I too am wary of becoming a total recluse and don't think it's in my nature. I need some connection with close family if nothing else.

bluebirdwsm Mon 02-Dec-13 13:56:22

Mrs Miniver I used to have a jack Russell x dachshund [ginger] and she was the loveliest dog ever, not a bad bone in her body.

So looks like you got lucky first time. This one is another good one, I took a long time waiting until I identified the 'right' one when I saw her.

I see my family of 2 sons, 2 daughters in law, and 3 grandsons regularly, I adore all of them. Without them I would be completely bereft [and not as happy as I am now for certain]. Friends have remarried, moved abroad or died, and one with her mind going I'm afraid......

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