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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?

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!

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 01-Dec-13 10:15:52

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.

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 01-Dec-13 13:20:40

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.

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