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
Hello Starbuck. I have had this debate in the past. Like you, though, I've always found it hard to make friends and to keep them. I'm a friendly person, as most people who know me will probably confirm. I like people. But I feel better when they're not around. People seem perplexed when I tell them that I like nothing better than to spend the whole weekend alone. I'm the same with relationships. I've tried them several times in the past, but they've always come to grief. I think a lot of it is to do with me being very possessive of my time. I have interests that even work interferes with. During the evenings and weekends, these take up my time. I don't like them being disturbed, so time away from them is time that, for me, seems wasted. Throughout my life, other people have either been indifferent to me at best and hostile at worst. So not having them in my life very much doesn't bother me unduly.
Apart from animals what are your interests? It sounds like they may be less common ones? I'm like both of you.. I would be content with a partner and animals especially if my Social energy was used up at work. Over the years I have had many jobs and tried doing classes ( I have kept 1 friend from those) or tried out Social / religious groups with occasional success but mainly not. Sometimes I do make friends but keeping them is another matter entirely though have kept a handful. I even started 2 groups to suit me but one kept going without me as I couldn't cope and the other changed direction to suit the others and I couldn't cope so they were a success but I wasn't. It is possible to find friends from interest groups but sounds like you have a full life already. Do you think you put too much pressure on your partner as the only social interaction you have? Do you think your hobbies are so outlandish no one else would enjoy them? I wonder why you are questioning yourself about this.. do you think you need to mix more? Only you know how much of yourself you could give to further social interactions outside work. Let us know what you decide.
Some good questions. I wouldn't say my interests are outlandish, rather more solitary. So for example, I like gaming, but hate online gaming where I have to interact with others. I also like researching renewable technologies and I have a keen interest in certain types of food and nutrition. I have joined some foodies groups previously, but found them overwhelming and almost like to had to fit in with the clique. My hobbies have reduced a lot to what they used to be, but even then they have always been solitary. So when I used to go out cycling, I preferred to be alone as cycling with others stressed me out as I couldn't predict their pace and how they would ride, same for when I am out riding my motorbike as well.
I have probably answered my own question above. When I have made my hobbies and interests more social, it ruins it for me and causes me stress.
I do think I put too much pressure on my partner, although he never complains. He gets frustrated with how hard it is to get me to go out and do things, which I feel for him and try to make an effort. It's just he is more spontaneous than me so is learning last minute plans are not good as well as springing things up on me. I insist he does his own thing, so I don't impact on his social life as well, but I do wonder if I hold him back.
It’s not that you don’t have interests and things you enjoy doing. And if you are either too stressed by trying to do them in a larger group or don’t mind/enjoy doing them by yourself that’s ok. In the groups you tried did you click with anyone so that you could just go with one or two people instead? It sounds like you have a good relationship with your partner and he is understanding and tries to work with you. Do you have shared interests? Maybe he would just enjoy something more if you were doing something together even if it was a couple of hours once a month just so there is some integration for you both in your social life. That way you are doing something regularly together away from your home but not every week and not for long or maybe he goes to whatever he does and once a month you go along too but maybe for a shorter time. I think our reserves to cope with change and spontaneity are lower when we are tired or when we’ve used up our resources doing something like work for example . Maybe when you are on leave together you could practice being spontaneous in some way or other. Go from a-b but change the route and explore or go with the weather it’s a nice day let’s do x or go from a-b but change the place you eat out.. I don’t know if this is too simplistic. Then when it comes to retirement you could maybe try one group activity or with the bikes and cycles you could go to meets or events rather than the rides. Not easy is it. But it’s all what you are comfortable with for now. For now going out with my dad for rides and lunch out and more when my sister is home ( I feel like I hold her back too from doing more exciting things) and occasional meets with one friend at a time is manageable but know I “should” be doing more.
Thanks Misfit61, some good suggestions there. I will discuss the idea of us doing an activity together away from home and see what ideas we come up with.
No it isn't easy and I think I am particularly burnt out at the moment and probably struggling more than usual.
No, I didn't find I did connect with anyone in groups, but then again that's not to say I never will.
Whilst we are working I don’t think we realise just how much effort it takes to do everything required from sleep the night before,preparation ,travel ,interaction including emails ,keeping up with directives and change and whatever the job entails being conscientious and hard working... people without autism etc get tired throughout the working week., even if we enjoy our job and the stimulation and interest of the work involved.. it takes up huge amounts of energy. It’s not easy either to find ways and put them into practice to ease off the burnout. Are you due any time off soon? Maybe you could have a long weekend ( which won’t be enough but might help) could you do flexitime? I hope you don’t have a job which you need to take home with you.
i have given up on partners or friends as i reckon, if it's never happened yet and i'm nearly fifty, it's not going to. Animals do nothing for me. I too am in a bit of a rut!
Yes life gets the better of us all and I am finding I am burnt out a lot lately.
I had a week off work a couple of weeks a go and felt better for it, but I feel back to square one after a week back at work. I am going to keep my options open on how I can improve this though as I don't intend to go through life burnt out forever.
Luckily, I have a few more days to take off, so I may book a few long weekends and try to relax.
We have also started to adopt some of your advice as well about sharing activities, even if just for a short while. Manage to squeeze one spontaneous pub visit in so far, so that's an improvement if nothing else.
I like to think it's never too late for things to happen. I think part of the problem is assessing how you have become stuck in that rut and how you would like to change it. I have now started to analyse how I have slipped into my comfort zone and how I can emerge without causing too much stress to myself.
Part of my problem is I am not sure what level of socialising I am ready for. I think starting new friendships will be a bit too much at the moment. I am looking at one of my old special interests which I have let slipped which is writing music as it used to mean going to music venues and open mic nights. Socialising and meeting new people all tied into my interest then, so I might look at this as a way if tackling my rut.
Good. I hope the ideas help even if just to find out what is and isn’t manageable for you which will change depending on how you feel at the time. I hope not to be burnt out indefinitely either but things keep happening so that I’m not moving forward as I would like.