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My Crappy Life part 1 - We have no friends.

(11 Posts)
ExConstance Wed 29-Jun-16 10:06:52

My crappy life part 1
There are all sorts of problem areas in my life and I’m going to ask MN to be my life coach and help me solve them – please feel free to join in for therapy!
We have no friends. Well this is not quite true but after 30 years of marriage we have recently noticed we seldom socialise and that maybe some of the old friends we have are too busy with other stuff to keep in touch with us. My old school friends live in another county. A lot of them have taken early retirement and are much better off than us, they are always away on activity holidays /walking/climbing tending to young grandchildren and it is virtually impossible to arrange to meet up. DH’s old school friends just ignore us, we have had supper parties, invited people round, always try to fix something up around Christmas and there is never any follow up.
I have a couple of old Uni friends that I do see from time to time but I have had a difficult time at work for the last year and am exhausted, I fear I may have offended one of them by not visiting as often as I should . I’m not shy in the usual sense but I would feel awkward trying to force new contacts into friendships, and at work I manage a difficult team and have been advised by my manager not to get too close to them. We used to socialise with our neighbours as we live in a small group of newish houses, but over the years they have all changed hands and none of our current neighbours are that friendly – pleasant enough but not that camaraderie that used to exist.
I think we are nice, normal people, not extreme in any way, middle aged graduates with reasonable careers, liberal in outlook and with lots of interests. We have both had depressing situations at work to cope with that have needed a lot of hard work and have left us exhausted and stressed for significant periods of time over the last couple of years, we are often in bed at 8pm on Mondays and Tuesdays. We have two DC’s the youngest is still at Uni and the eldest working in London. TBH I don’t see large groups of middle aged people out having fun if we go to a bar or a restaurant, mainly families and couples, maybe it is the same for everyone.
What on earth is the answer to this?

clarrylove Wed 29-Jun-16 11:10:07

Exhausted and stressed does not fit well into a happy, sociable life. Can you try and reduce both of those? We socialise a lot with friends but have more free time now than we have had before with trying to wind down our workloads in favour of more leisure time. What are you interests? Are there are options for socialising there?

RedMapleLeaf Wed 29-Jun-16 11:43:47

Sorry, I know that this isn't very coachy, but have you considered,
- MeetUp,
- an outdoors activity group such as walking or cycling,
- a sports team,
- the student union at a local uni (and hence have access to all of their AU and societies) or a dancing activity?
- book club.

ExConstance Wed 29-Jun-16 12:25:07

Yes, I suppose it is so noticeable now as most of our old friends are leading the life of Riley in retirement, an we have to soldier on for another few years. Still have a mortgage and DS2 at uni. I work in Social Care, so it just keeps getting worse, DH is the only person where he works to know anything about anything as the rest of them have been made redundant. We need a kick up the arse really and should have a one or two days/evenings set aside for fun. I sound like a real old person saying it is so hard to go out once you have got in from work and are shattered.

Atenco Wed 29-Jun-16 13:34:51

But what about the weekends?

mayhew Wed 29-Jun-16 15:14:15

If you improve your physical and mental state you will find it easier to build a social life. You will have more energy and confidence.I had a bad period 10 years ago and felt like this.

Things that helped
Better diet and less alcohol
Walking, I got a dog. But finding someone other than your partner to walk with is really good. I have got a couple of neighbours who often join me. If I hadn't got the dog I would have joined a walking group. A friend joined a birdwatching group.
Planning stuff to look forward to gives you energy . Small stuff, cinema, big stuff, travel. Gives you something to talk to other people about.
Pilates has also been good for my physical confidence. It's an older group where we are friendly.
Taking high dose Vit D has also helped our physical and mental well being.
I started a book group it was slow to warm up but I persevered and I have new friends through that as well.

Greenandmighty Wed 29-Jun-16 18:57:32

Hi ExConstance, I empathise. Work in similar area, also similar age, eldest DC at uni and youngest applying soon. My dh not British which I feel has been difficult in building social friendship groups. He speaks very good English having lived here 20 years. We have some friends made through my school contacts via kids. I've done similar - invite neighbours round at Christmas etc but not really developed. I have my own female friendship group but dh quiet and slow to make friends and invites noone round that he knows from work. We've now joined a walking group which is very sociable and are starting to get more involved there. But I also enjoy my own work friendships separate from family life to maintain a separate identity.

Greenandmighty Wed 29-Jun-16 19:00:02

PS I also feel knackered some evenings but am menopausal so that's life. Plus job can be demanding. I think some level of acceptance around that is vital if you are to remain sane!wink

redexpat Wed 29-Jun-16 19:46:25

Im going to recommend a book called How to do everything and be happy by peter jones. It was recommended by another mner and it really helped me get my life back on track.

On ghe matter of frie.dships I think you need a 2 pronged approach.
1. Make an effort to reach out to your old friends. I love nothing more than getting a long email or letter from someone I havent seen or heard of in ages. The one you think you have offended, I bet you havent, but you might have to work a bit to get back into her consciousness iyswim. But dont flog dead horses, so the ones you had over at xmas who dont reciprocate I wouldnt sweat about.

2. Make new friends. Could you hold a street bbq? Provide soft drinks, bread, salad, ketchup and invite people to bfing their own meat and booze? Other than that I think organised activities are the way to go. Is there anything that you/dh fancy trying? I think structured activities are good because they get you out and about, and although you might not get best friends for life it might lead you in another direction. I think gentle exercise outdoors would probably make a big difference to your overall sense of well being. Is there a walking group? Rock climbing? failing all else why not try a mn meetup?

HeddaGarbled Wed 29-Jun-16 21:44:40

You might have to postpone the friend making until retirement when you will have more time to invest in them and be available on weekdays, unless you can find a social group at weekends. Ramblers sometimes do Sunday morning walks.

ExConstance Thu 30-Jun-16 10:18:14

Ah yes, "My crappy life part 2" is about retirement, I really wonder whether we should do it sooner than planned, but Brexit has caused a few problems there, at least in the short term. Like I said a good kick up the arse is what I need and there are some good ideas here. It might be good to re connect with our neighbours too, it is 20 years this years since we moved in, we were first, in the Summer and the other houses were finished by the autumn, so maybe a drinks party before Christmas.
Our closest neighbours are very shy, but some of the others are more outgoing.

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