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Should I have more friends, or am I being too hard on myself?

(24 Posts)
Millymolly99 Wed 12-Mar-14 20:53:58

I'm 39, happily married, no children, I think I'm friendly and sociable, and I'm genuinely interested in people. But it's soooooo hard to make friends. I work in a large organisation, and have made two good friends from work, i see these women outside of work sometimes. My best friend moved overseas 10 years ago, but we text/email everyday. I've got two other friends who I probably see every month. Does this sound normal?? I always get the impression that everyone else had a huge social circle, and that makes me feel lacking. I make a point of seeing at least one friend each week, for lunch/coffee/ drink etc otherwise it's so easy to let the weeks pass by, and then you realise you haven't seen someone in ages.

I'm also involved in two clubs outside of work, where I've met lots of pleasant acquaintances, but that's as far as its got. However I often feel like an outsider; that everyone else has made 'firm friends' yet I seem to be stuck at the 'pleasantries' stage.

My husband has told me I'm over-thinking this, and that I'm being too hard on myself. I don't think my job helps; my two work friends now work in different departments, and my present role means I'm quite near a busy, open plan area, but not near enough to chat to these people without walking over to the other side of the floor. So I don't get any pass-the-time-of-day conversation. So I often go home feeling like a social pariah, and then if its a quiet week socially I end up feeling like such a failure. My husband once, quite reasonably, pointed out that even if I did have 10 more friends, when would I fit them in, which is a fair comment.

I suppose I just wish I felt a bit more 'in demand' - but perhaps I'm just being unrealistic and too harsh on myself? I've only started feeling like this since last summer, when I had an operation, and during my convalescence my 4 friends enquired after me, sent cards, etc etc, but that was it. I wasn't expecting to have a house full,of flowers from wellwishers (!) but it showed the stark contrast between friends and acquaintances.

IndiansInTheLobby Wed 12-Mar-14 20:56:23

I think it sounds like you have enough lovely friends.

CrazyOldCatLady Wed 12-Mar-14 21:02:38

You're way ahead of me. I have one friend who I see maybe 3 times a year and don't hear from in between. I could go an entire day in work without speaking to anyone. I only see my family when they want to see my kids and DH's family don't like me.

DH swears I'm perfectly likeable confused

spongetrifle Wed 12-Mar-14 21:03:40

I think that sounds quite enough, if you are happy with it. I probably have much fewer friends than 'normal' but it suits me fine as I'm quite busy with various projects/interests and I get overwhelmed when I have lots of social demands/invites as well. At the moment all of my 'friends' are people who I know through other interests - I don't see them for purely social reasons.

Millymolly99 Wed 12-Mar-14 21:10:45

Sponge you make an interesting point, because I also get overwhelmed if I get too many invites/demands, which probably sounds really contradictory given the nature of my original post! However when I've spent a day like today, watching everyone chat and laugh together at the far end of the main office, and then logged onto Facebook to see one girl with 84 'happy birthday' comments on her timeline, it makes me a bit paranoid.

DH asked if I wanted a party for my 40th birthday, and I panicked that I don't have enough friends to warrant a party!

Kikithecat Wed 12-Mar-14 22:21:18

I hink i have almost exactly the same type of friends as you op. With facebook posts etc it always looks like everyone else has millions of friends, but you only have to look at MN to see the number of people who have nobody. I think you and i are lucky.

talullah57 Wed 12-Mar-14 22:33:54

Speak to your manager and see if you can get your desk moved more into the hub of things. As you work for a large organisation, is there a lunch canteen. You could walk down to the hub of people and casually ask if anyone is going for lunch and can you join them. Also, large organisation, is there a gym or a club you could join at lunch time/after work? It's really tough I know.

MelanieCheeks Wed 12-Mar-14 22:41:15

What are friends for, and why do you feel you need a particular number of them?

Parentingfailure Wed 12-Mar-14 22:47:04

I am generally seen as popular and having loads of friends. I have 2 friends I could call on in an emergency, probably another 2 I could have lunch with and one long distance friend I see about twice a year. The rest are acquaintances.
You sound completely normal to me.

StrawberryGashes Wed 12-Mar-14 22:48:42

You're far more sociable than me, I think you have lots of friends and it's lovely that you make an effort to spend time with them. Lots of people are surrounded by aquantances which makes it seem like they have a huge list of close friends but theyre not necessarily all quality relationships like you have with your friends.

Parentingfailure Wed 12-Mar-14 22:49:09

Oh and I got 110 face book happy birthdays. These people aren't friends, face book is not real life.

Coelacanth Thu 13-Mar-14 07:31:09

I have a small number of friends whom I see regularly and who've helped me out in some really difficult times. Other's are 'friendly folk' who are more peripheral, like friends of friends and those at work who I really get on well with. I mix with lots of people in other contexts too.

But I'm an introvert and struggled with it for a long time until I realised being introverted does not equate to being 'less than'. I reckon the number of friends I've got is the number of friends I feel comfortable having IYSWIM. By my standards you've got a lot of friends who meet different needs.

Smilesandpiles Thu 13-Mar-14 07:58:03

You seem fine and have nothing to worry about.

Up until last week I would have said I had 3, now they've all in their own and un related way shown me their true colours and I'm not impressed at all.

So, here I am, starting again. Again. I'm not that bothered though, I've always been kind of a loner and I'm certainly not a people person.

Smilesandpiles Thu 13-Mar-14 07:59:28

(pressed send too soon)
It's all about what you feel comfortable with really. No point stressing yourself out about it, you'll only make yourself ill.

LastOneDancing Thu 13-Mar-14 08:13:54

I'm a confident introvert - I like people but find them exhausting.

Its taken a while to realise this, and to appreciate that I'm quite happy with my DH and 3 good friends.

Part of me still wishes I was one of these people who gives out that friendly, effortlessly popular vibe with a massive gang of mates but since giving up on making friends, I've probably found a few more...

Meh. I am what I am.

Oneaddoneisthree Thu 13-Mar-14 08:27:36

Well if it's bothering you then it's a problem I suppose. Is there any way you can try to develop some of the friendships with the acquaintances from the clubs, for example? Invite them for a drink afterwards? I know this is hard - I've had to move a lot due to work and I hate going into groups of new people but make myself do it on the off chance that I'll meet one person who will become a friend. And I have, many times, and not necessarily where I expected to.

Having said that I only have a handful of close friends, despite having around 400 facebook "friends". That's fine, as long as you are happy with the situation.

Millymolly99 Thu 13-Mar-14 09:26:12

Thanks so much for all the replies. I have this tendency to over-analyse myself, and conclude that I’m lacking.

Lastonedancing - I really identify with your comments about liking people, but find them exhausting. Which is probably why I wish I had a bigger circle of friends, but then get overwhelmed if I end up with too many invitations/demands. And yes, part of me also wishes I was one of those people who gave out that friendly, effortlessly popular vibe and had a massive gang of mates. But I have to accept I’m not a “natural”.

Note to self: try to relax about the situation and stop over-analysing!!!

villagegossip Thu 13-Mar-14 09:45:16

I'm the same - meant to be having a 40th party in the summer but don't know who to invite blush

Also getting married in June and about 90% of the guests are DP's friends sad

I have let friendships slide over the years and love my insular life with DP and our animals but do think I should have more friends sometimes.

Millymolly99 Thu 13-Mar-14 10:13:36

You’ve no idea how much better I feel today – hearing from similar people has been very reassuring. It’s the “am I normal” element of the situation that’s been troubling me, and if you all think my social circle sounds relatively normal, then that’s a huge relief. DH will be working all day on Saturday, and I was planning a trip to the gym in the morning, followed by a quiet afternoon with the cat, catching up on Midsomer Murders and/or Jonathan Creek. Then I suddenly panicked in case this was abnormal behaviour, and that if I were ‘successful’ I would be having a day out/lunch/shopping with a crowd of friends.

missmysexybody Thu 13-Mar-14 10:18:34

villagegossip - I had my 40th Birthday this year, my Husband asked if I wanted a party but I didn't have many people to invite : (

When we got married I had to invite a few people I didn't know well just to make up numbers as 80% of the guests were his.

OP, I used to force myself to make more friends because I believed other people seemed to have a huge circle/network. Then something in me clicked, Im happy being this way. That is it. No more making an effort for the sake of it. If you are happy having the 4 true friends for now then great. Its about what YOU really want. I believe people who are surrounded by others can have times when they feel a little lonely too.

Bolloctothat72 Thu 13-Mar-14 10:35:33

Ah millymolly, I think your quite normal really. I haven't got a lot of local friends as I have moved around a lot. I really enjoy just meeting for lunch or just a coffee it really helps my mood it's something I need , but I can't give my friends a lot of my time with being a single mum I can't get out at night really, but I know what you mean sometimes you see others with a large circle of friends and you feel almost envious, but then I think it's just nice to have just a few good close friends your very normal ;-) x

Millmolly99 Thu 13-Mar-14 12:16:22

I'm assuming this now gives me permission to enjoy a quiet Saturday afternoon with the cat - rather than feverishly ringing around to see if anyone is free? Is it normal to enjoy Jonathan Creek???

DonchianTrend Thu 13-Mar-14 13:53:39

I feel like this a lot if the time, I only really have a couple of good friends and I don't even see them all that often as we have totally different lives. I'm also quite socially anxious so since I became a SAHM five years ago my social circle has just shrunk!

I am quite a homebody though and I actually wouldn't want to be out a lot. I like doing my own thing. But at the same time I end up feeling like a freaky loner occasionally!

It confuses me when I see people talking about guys not having many friends as a red flag, but I suppose that's a bit different.

Mainly though I agree with the others, it's not all that rare to only have a few friends and appearances aren't always what they seem with FB and the like.

villagegossip Thu 13-Mar-14 15:55:59

Midsomer murders with the cat sounds fab to me grin I love curling up on the sofa with my dogs watching tv on my own.

My DM has a huge circle of friends and since she retired last year has even more time to spend with them - she's forever meeting someone for lunch or going away somewhere and can't understand why i'm not the same. Meh.

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