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Help me to like people, please?

(30 Posts)
LovesPeace Wed 24-Feb-16 11:42:51

Hi all
I know this is a strange one, but I'd like help to cure me of being a loner.
All through life I have made a few good friends, but it comes to a point where I just disengage from them (when I've moved away, or changed jobs, for example). I don't return contact.

I am quite happy with my own company (and I do still have friends, amazingly). I just largely can't be bothered with people, but this can't be healthy, right?

Any thoughts? Would counselling help me to be an extrovert team player rather than an introvert loner? Society does like the former, and considers the latter weird...

Mojito100 Wed 24-Feb-16 11:52:41

I'm an extrovert yet at the same time I don't keep in touch with friends once I move away. I don't see your views on yourself as a problem. I am accepting of who I am and if I see friends after years of no contact then it all just works and isn't an issue.

I love my own company too and must plan time out from people otherwise I become quite blunt at times.

Being an introvert is not a bad thing and in fact people do prefer that to someone as loud as me.

ravenmum Wed 24-Feb-16 12:56:08

If you're happy and everyone else is OK with it, what's the problem? Sounds like a good situation to me.

DoreenLethal Wed 24-Feb-16 13:02:41

Hello. I love being an introvert. Why not embrace it rather than fight it?

LoisWilkersonsLastNerve Wed 24-Feb-16 13:08:56

I'm an introvert but I'm not shy. This means I can make friends easily but find keeping them quite stressful. I only want a superficial 'someone to have the odd drink with' but when people want more, daily phone calls etc. I back off and see them less. Does that sound familiar? I'm trying to break the habit, from mn I've learnt people find this quite hurtful. Its not deliberate.

lorelei9 Wed 24-Feb-16 13:14:17

I am introverted
It's a pain work wise but with the right friends it's fine

I did try to fight it in the hope that I'd start to find daily interactions and other people less annoying

It didn't work

Now I spend the max amount of time I can on my own and have become more tolerant

More exposure to people just put me in a bad mood.

AgentCooper Wed 24-Feb-16 13:18:55

Oh, Loves...don't feel bad about yourself. My DH is the most introverted introvert I've ever met. He just feels really, really uncomfortable around people (except me, and for that I feel really blessed because he is a lovely, funny, gentle soul).

I'm the opposite (I don't much like small talk or crowds, but I can't work from home or spend a night alone in the house because I need interaction) so I've tried to understand what makes him tick. Someone will have already posted this by the time I finish typing, no doubt, but you should have a look at this book: Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking

I gave it to DH because I wanted him to see that being a loner doesn't make you weird or bad. He gets really stressed about feeling like he does, which is crap because he's lovely and everyone loves him anyway.

suspiciousofgoldfish Wed 24-Feb-16 13:29:32

I don't think being an introvert is weird at all. Don't know anyone who feels that way either. Someone wise (or just someone) once said "you should be able to count your closest friends on one hand". My DH is fairly introvert and 'low key', with a small but tight group of friends who would stick by him no matter what. I, on the other hand, have various groups of sprawling friendships and (sometimes superficial) acquaintances which can be exhausting to keep up with. In some ways I wish I was a bit more like him. There are all kinds of people in the world and I think you should embrace your character rather than try to change it. My DH would find it bizarre if I suddenly turned into the shy and retiring type, and I would get irritated if he one day became more popular than me.
(^That's a joke^. He's already more popular than me but he doesn't realise or care).

Mojito100 Wed 24-Feb-16 22:48:43

Those who get offended by not being contacted on a regular basis need to think about what is driving them to need this. It's not your responsibility to meet their needs. You only need to meet your own. Don't take on guilt from other people's perceptions or view point.

timelytess Wed 24-Feb-16 22:50:31

When you find out OP, please let me know.
A lady I knew told me that to be a friend you have to overlook the things people do to offend you. So that's about everything...

DraughtyWindow Wed 24-Feb-16 23:03:58

I don't think that's odd. I'm quite extrovert but I like my own company. I think that's a good thing to happy in your own skin without having to feel the need to interact with others. I've never been one for daily phone-calls. Do what makes you happy :-)

lorelei9 Thu 25-Feb-16 10:51:24

Mojito "Those who get offended by not being contacted on a regular basis need to think about what is driving them to need this"

that's interesting. I am like the DH of a pp, can count close friends on one hand - but they are close. I lose interest in people who don't contact me on a regular basis. My close friends are in touch by email or text or phone at least a couple of times a week.

I wouldn't get offended by anyone doing this but I wouldn't consider it a "close" friendship and because as an introvert I cba with any other type of friendship, I would lose interest quite quickly.

wideboy26 Thu 25-Feb-16 12:30:31

Interesting thread. I have never had close male friends since childhood - and I've long since lost touch with those boyhood mates. I tend to befriend the people I mix with at the time and then when my circumstances change, move into and acquire a new circle of friends. Except they are not friends, because I don't have contact with them outside the context in which the "friendship" arose. I had a great group of mates when I was in the scouts, a different group at school, I made a few new friends at Uni, then some new ones in my first job and more new ones in successive jobs. But they were all just people who I got along with because we found ourselves together in whatever the circumstances were and I have never kept up with any of them.

It did strike me as the years passed that whilst everybody had friends they went to football with or played golf with or went to the pub with, I had nobody. I find other people's company easy when the friendship isn't the focus. For example, at work you might work with a colleague, have lunch together, go back and do some more work, meet up for a chat at the watercooler, go back and do some more work and so on. But for me it would never progress to going to a concert or a film or a meal together. If we weren't meeting up anyway, I didn't feel the need to do so, to engineer a meet up.

My wife and I have just celebrated 40 years of marriage. She is my only friend, the only friend I feel I need. She is the only person I feel the need to make the effort to spend time with. We have four grown up sons who are all very bloke-ish and love their football, drink and circle of like-minded mates. I get on with them all wonderfully and I love them all dearly but with family the bond is always there so it doesn't matter that I don't drink like them or go to football with them.

This has all come into sharper focus since I retired 2 years ago. My wife doesn't want to retire yet and with the increase in state retirement age, won't be retiring for at least another 2 years. I have so far spent my retirement in almost solitary splendour and whereas I have always thought I could make friends easily as I moved in different circles, I now realise I am an introvert too. I never envisaged a retirement in which I didn't go out and join every activity available, but that is how I seem to like it. So, getting to the point of this rambling post, I am heartened to read that I don't need to feel guilty at enjoying my own company (when my wife is at work) and that being an introvert is OK. In 2 years I have not yet felt lonely or bored and I enjoy being in sole charge of what to do next and whether the house is quiet or noisy.

AgentCooper Thu 25-Feb-16 12:48:40

You sounds so much like my DH, wideboy grin

'Solitary splendour' is a great description of how he sees his alone time. I kind of wish his work would let him work from home every day and not just once a week (so does he) because he's so much happier and feels a lot more productive. Whereas I could never, ever work from home.

My wife and I have just celebrated 40 years of marriage. She is my only friend, the only friend I feel I need

This is very like me and DH as well (though we've only been married 4 years). We joke about it - 'we're both having a cup of tea because BEST FRIENDS SHOULD DO EVERYTHING TOGETHER!' grin I love it.

lorelei9 Thu 25-Feb-16 13:10:10

I work at home 2 days a week and it's not nearly enough

Wideboy, it's interesting to hear your experience. On another thread where some singletons talk about how much we like being single, we've had one poster ask about retirement - a question I do get asked in real life. I can't imagine that I'll want more company in retirement. I'm overloaded on company and having to chat to people at work makes me have less to give to my friends, which is a pity.

wideboy26 Thu 25-Feb-16 14:43:35

A few further thoughts. My wife has a small circle of friends and meets up with them from time to time for meals, tea and cake, walks, gym sessions or just plain old chat. I can see that when she is retired this will continue (rightly so) which means I shall be home alone at regular intervals and it occurs to me that I may become slightly resentful. I haven't explained that very well, but she'll have a social circle while I won't. I hope that won't make me too insular. Easy to remedy, I know, but if you don't feel the need to devote time to friendships, it's not so straightforward.

We are not getting any younger and my thoughts occasionally turn to what would happen if I were left on my own. She was abroad on business last week and I decorated a room in her absence. I worked really well with just Radio 4 for company, but by the middle of the week I was starting to miss human contact and the checkout lady at the supermarket must have thought I was super-chatty. I was OK on my own during the day because I'm used to that, but I did miss my wife's company in the evenings as that's when we normally catch up on each other's day and deal with all the things that need discussion. I do have the boys for company of course, but none lives close by - in fact 2 of them live in different continents.

I have observed my MIL spend her 30 years of widowhood in complete isolation. She has almost nothing to do with her neighbours, she has no friends and she doesn't participate in any clubs or societies. And yet she doesn't complain, is quite happy and doesn't hold any of the odd sort of views that hermit-like people are apt to form. She has her children, grandchildren and her sister for human contact although none live close by, so it isn't regular or frequent contact. When I was younger, I thought it was a terrible waste of her retirement when my parents (now long since passed on) were on this committee, that committee, were members of this club and that club and did voluntary work as well. But here am I, 2 years into my own retirement, doing exactly what MIL is doing. And it suits me fine! So again, you can see how this thread is making me feel better about myself and my lifestyle.

Another point is that even after 2 years, retirement is still a bit of a novelty, so perhaps I haven't yet forced myself to face up to what I want to do with this third age of my life. When that time comes, I may well enter into activities that bring me once again into contact with people in a way that creates the kind of "friendships" I described in my previous post.

I have actually found it very cathartic to write all this down and I hope it is not too rambling to be of interest. There's a lot more I could say, but I'll save that in case the thread fizzles out here.

NorksAreMessy Thu 25-Feb-16 14:46:01

introvert thread
There are a whole bunch of us over here. Come and join us (not a cult, promise smile )

lorelei9 Thu 25-Feb-16 15:24:08

wideboy - that's interesting, so on some level you are interested in having a bit of a social life if your wife isn't available?

Norks - so that's a good thread for me to post on if I'm just feeling a bit overloaded?

this week's social stuff - last night, Friday night, Sunday afternoon. Next week I have no social stuff on at all until Sunday when my mum wants to go for a meal which is fair enough.

goodenoughal Thu 25-Feb-16 17:14:41

There's a difference between being an introvert and not getting "attached" to friends, isn't there?

Not being especially bothered about keeping in touch with friends from previous bits of your life is fine if that feels ok but I suppose it also means you probably don't really develop intimate friendships, as few last more than a few years.

I'm sort of in this position and it makes me sad. I don't understand why I don't seem to get attached to my friends, even though I really like them and enjoy spending time with them when I do - and this is one of the things I've been exploring with a therapist. It feels like for some reason I don't allow myself to value attachments, possibly because early attachments weren't very reliable, for a variety of reasons.

I think I'm also probably an introvert - and I thing those things are related but not the same.

I suppose what you do about it, OP, depends on whether you're happy with how you are and how your friendships work. If you are, then it's nothing to worry about and you don't need to change. If you're not then maybe some counselling or therapy would help you get to the root of it.

NorksAreMessy Thu 25-Feb-16 22:28:01

Lorelei, come to the gentle side. We will mostly ignore you and let you ramble on peacefully to yourself smile

WhitePhantom Thu 25-Feb-16 23:05:56

Wideboy I'd just like to say that you write beautifully! It's a pleasure to read your posts smile

lorelei9 Thu 25-Feb-16 23:49:49

wideboy " And yet she doesn't complain, is quite happy and doesn't hold any of the odd sort of views that hermit-like people are apt to form."

are hermit like people really apt to form odd views - or is that just a myth? I think it's the latter.

lorelei9 Thu 25-Feb-16 23:50:14

Also, I think most of what anyone complains about is Other People. grin

NorksAreMessy Fri 26-Feb-16 08:04:25

L'enfer, c'est les autres

AgentCooper Fri 26-Feb-16 09:57:58

One thing my DH really struggles with (sorry to hijack, OP, but I hope any responses might be helpful to others) is work. He read Susan Cain's book and said it helped him to feel less bad about himself for being introverted but that feeling more comfortable in yourself doesn't change anything in the outside world. He says that the culture at his work (in finance - loads of pointless meetings and pre-meetings, presentations every fortnight, a feeling that you need to be a 'good talker') isn't going to change and suddenly start respecting people who work to an extremely high standard but feel their productivity is actually damaged by all the emphasis on face-time with others.

Does anyone have any advice on negotiating work as an introvert and even helping others understand and value your strengths? DH is one of the highest earners for the company year after year but just gets so stressed out with all the meetings (which they never used to do).

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