I have recently been thinking about my social interaction with people and other than the people I work with, I only have my partner for social interaction.
Up to a point I am fine with this and still seek being on my own away from my partner, which he understands and is happy to accommodate. However, I have been wondering if this is a completely healthy way of going about life. I'm not lonely and if anything find I will do anything to find isolation following work, as I am normally feel overwhelmed at the end of a shift.
What I am debating in my head is whether I am in a bit of a rut and have accepted this isolation and therefore it doesn't affect me? At the moment, I am happy being with just my partner and looking after my animals. My partner has been a little concerned in the past, but I think like me has accepted that this is the way I am and shouldn't force social interactions on me. I hear from others though that social interaction makes us happy and stops us feeling isolated and depressed. If I didn't have my partner and animals, then I may be able to relate to this better.
I find friendships hard work and difficult to keep. One side of me said I will be putting unnecessary stress on myself by trying to find new friends (especially with similar interests to me!), the other side of me is thinking about the fact that I have become to reliant on my partner and animals for social stimulus and should instead step outside of my comfort zone.
Has anyone else had this debate and come to some sort of logical conclusion of what is best or has experienced the outcome for themselves? Fr
Hi Starbuck. "social interaction makes us happy and stops us feeling isolated and depressed" is probably a very valid statement for 'normal' people, but not necessarily for us. For me it depends very much on who it is - specifically, interacting with my wife and children is lovely, I love doing it and it makes me happy, I could literally spend all day doing it without breaks. But interacting with anyone else - not interested. Interacting with people at work or at a club, I get nothing from that, in fact it makes me stressed because I don't understand how to do it properly, not in an effective way like everyone else seems to manage effortlessly. I'm happy just interacting with my wife and children, and I'm of the belief that we should do what makes us happy. I have no desire to copy what everyone else is doing to make me feel like I 'fit in', because that's not how it works for me. We follow a different set of rules. And since there's no rule stating I have to interact with people, and I get no benefit from doing it anyway, I don't push myself. There's lots of self-help out there which says how we should push our boundaries to grow, and to interact with new people to find new opportunities. That's probably true, but I have no need to push my boundaries. It's taken me a long time to feel comfortable with who I am, so I would place the importance on understanding yourself. Then you would be able to make the choice about whether to open yourself up to new experiences and people if that's what you want to do, and if you think you would get benefit from it. But there's no law saying you have to.
I do remember being single before I met my wife, and I felt very lonely. But I only wanted a girlfriend, just one person who I could share everything with - I never attempted to get new friends to fill that void because I knew that wouldn't have helped, it wasn't what I was looking for, it was a partner-shaped void. Once that was filled, I had no requirement or need to make new friends. It's not because I've 'accepted my isolation', it's because I've accepted that people don't make me tick. I don't have that need. There are other activities I would rather be doing that I really enjoy compared to whatever activities you need to do to make and keep friends. And it's not that I don't try because it's easier for me to lie to myself and say I don't have that need, which would allow me to avoid doing it, it's because I genuinely don't have a need to interact with other people. I could live in an empty village in my house with my wife and children, and it would not bother me in the slightest.
I think understanding yourself and being honest with yourself is the most important mindset you can use to work out if you're in a rut or not. And also the knowledge that it's okay not to want social activity in your life, not everyone does, and it doesn't make you any less of a person. Do what you feel happy with.
Hope this has been of some help.
Very eloquently written!
I've had very little social interaction in my life and the few girlfriends I have had didn't last 2 weeks :( only people I really have friends with are online and a distance away from me
Very valid point and something I have not considered really. I guess I have been working so hard to 'fit-in' that I often sidetrack my own needs.
Your above point perhaps resonates more with me presently as work has been very busy recently and has meant that I have been travelling more and meeting more new people. The result is I am completely burnout and non-functioning after work and at some periods during work. This has meant I have isolated myself more from the people I normally talk to and socialise with, such as family and even my partner. My partner has mentioned that I am making myself ill and he is really worried about me.
If anything this has demonstrated to me that I can't push myself constantly outside of my comfort zone in the hope of improving my social situation. All it has manifested in is my well-being decreasing, my special interests subsiding and any social interactions I already have diminishing - so in effect it has caused the complete opposite.
Like you have stated, I am happy just spending time with my partner and on certain occasions family (although that is in small doses). I don't feel lonely or like I am missing out on anything - it is more the pressure to be a certain way rather than what I think I need. I get a lot of pressure from work to attend social events and the like, but always turn them down. It does mean that I am excluded from the working group at work and as such, I feel I have to work harder to get people to want to work with me to get stuff done.
My previous jobs have always involved me working on my own which I much preferred, so it has all been a bit of a learning curve.
Thank you for the insight. I will stop rambling now :)
Thank you seekeraftertruth. That has helped and has made me realise I need to stop being so hard on myself about these things.