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I need...a life

I have been with my BF for many years now, and he proposed.
Great, right?
Only I can't seem to get some friends and a life. He encourages me to go out and meet people, but I find myself assuming I'll be disappointed before I even start to befriend someone. This worked ok for a while, but now I get lonely and wish I had more of an outlet than my BF.
I want to make sure I get married as a complete person, with social contacts and all.
Any tips for getting over this? I also don't know how to suddenly make myself available to people that have tried to be friendly before, since I'm afraid of the rejection.


Tue. May 30, 2:42pm

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It sounds like I wrote this posting myself!!! I feel exactly the same way! I'm getting married in September, and I haven't made great friends in my new city (been here for 2 years, not that new).

I'm trying really hard to find some activities for myself. I recently signed up for a book club that I saw posted on Craigslist in my city. Also, my fiance plays in a floor hockey league, and I'm really bored of sitting around watching them play and then feeling like an outsider at the bar (and I do not want to play floor hockey). So, for the upcoming season, I found a dance/exercise class near the gym where they play hockey, so I'll go to my dance class and hopefully meet some new people, and then I can always meet up with the boy at the bar afterwards if I want to. I also invited a neighbor whom I don't know well, but who is also kind of new to the area, to sign up for the dance class with me. I don't know yet if she will, but if she does, maybe I'll make a new friend!

It takes a lot to get out there, and I'm not nearly there. This is just what I've done so far.

I'm in Chicago - are you also in Chicago by chance?

jilli10582

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 3:00 PM

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What do you like to do?

Is there something you like to do? Do you like to sew, crochet, swim? How about yoga -- why not try a yoga class at the local Y. You can talk or not talk and get comfortable around people first.

Also, have you thought about volunteering like at a woman's shelter or a food pantry. You can be around folks and other people and serve their needs. This way you can help out, and find others with similar interests first before you try to make friends.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 3:10 PM

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I'm going to be blunt- You do not sound like you want to get married-- please don't do it until you know it's what you really want. From experience I can tell you that you won’t know what you want until you know who you are.

Spend some time alone! That is the only way you'll be able find yourself. If you and your boyfriend are in love and truly ready to get married- then he will have no problem letting you discover who you are (without him). It may be obvious- but a relationship is made of two people, each with their own backgrounds and unique experiences- A relationship is not two people becoming one (despite what popular culture leads people to believe).

I think it's wonderful that you are recognizing what you are missing, in this case it's friends outside of your relationship. It sounds like your boyfriend is incredibly supportive if he is encouraging you to find some friends, but I suspect that you don't have a clue where to start looking. I suggest thinking about what you really enjoy. Make a list if it helps, write down your interests, passions, dreams, hobbies, anything that makes you who you are. After you have begun looking at who you are you can start looking for ways to enrich yourself. Find a few things you would like to focus on and try to become involved with a group. If you like cooking, take a cooking class- or look for cooking clubs- do this for anything you enjoy like walking, hiking, sewing, anything that makes you happy. Try volunteering as a big sister or at a science or art museum. You will become more acquainted with yourself and meet people in the process. Just remember that friends will not be made immediately- you have to work on it. As you begin to know yourself you will find it easier to make friends- not to mention you'll be amazed that your relationship will also improve.

Trust me! You will be so much happier and big life changing decisions like the marriage one will be a piece of cake because you will know what is right for you. Good luck, and please don't give up no matter what happens.

(side note- I could be totally off base, but hear me out one more time. you mentioned you'd been with him several years now. Before getting married ask yourself why did he ask you? Is it because he wants to spend the rest of his life with such an amazing woman? Or is it because it's about time to move onto the next step of the relationship? I am assuming that you are still fairly young, early twenties/late teens and he was your high school boyfriend. You did not go away to college because you wanted to stay close to each other. Over the years you have grown a lot together, you couldn't imagine not having him apart of your life. There have been a few times that you have given up something that intrested you because it didn't fit into your lifestyle with him- although you didn't mind it. You had many friends in the begining of your relationship, but they have become a thing of the past and you no longer have any contact with them. If any of this resinates with you, please take a close look at your life and make sure it's what you really want. If it is- there is nothing wrong with that- at least you'll know.)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 3:26 PM

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ok, 3:26pm poster :)

Thank you for the insights- but my BF and I are into our thirties.
I do know myself, but the problem is because I have gained a ton of weight in the past 3-4 years, I have felt anti-social. My BF has supported me through these times, both good and bad.
I do have friends I keep in regular contact with, very good friends, but I live in NYC, don't have a car, and they live an hour or more away. I am very ready to marry him, I just don't want to make him responsible for my every outlet and need. Right now if there's an event or movie, I ask him to go. If he's not available, I usually don't go alone.
But recently I've started doing that and love the me time, but I need people to share it with. I just get downright lonely when I realize how I can't just pick up a phone and drop my a girlfriend's house, or make spontaneous plans with a buddy.
We've made the decision to marry based on common goals, a shared love, and a joint vision for the future, but I need to have friends that live nearby. Now that I've lost a significant amt. of that weight, I feel more naked and exposed, and vulnerable to rejection from people.
Thank you guys so much for your suggestions. And thanks for being concerned, 3:26! :)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 3:51 PM

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I thought I was the only one!

OP thank you for your post. It sounds so much like me in many ways. My BF and I moved to a new city a little over a year ago, and I often feel the same way. It is so much harder to meet with people when living in another area of the city means an hour drive! I've really been trying to expand and get out and do things on my own, but it's not always easy. Also I dislike doing things alone which can be frustrating when I want to go somewhere that he's just not interested in. Sometimes I've felt like it's a personal failure on my part to not have more of a "life of my own", and that I was the only person who struggled with that.
And thanks to everyone who made suggestions. I like the idea of volunteering, and I just recently started doing to group workouts at my gym rather than zoning on a cardio machine by myself. I guess the next step is to actually speak to someone in my group class. :) Thank you though, I do feel more inspired to try a little harder at getting out there.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 4:03 PM

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I'm in basically the opposite postition - I just broke up with my boyfriend of 2.5 years, and I realized in those years I hadn't made any new friends outside of him. I had just moved to nyc when we started dating, and I knew a couple of people who were living here when I moved, but there has been no one - absolutely no one - new.

I was pretty worried that I was going to be very lonely and depressed, so I jumped in to city life both feet first (for the first time since moving here almost 3 years ago!). I started taking salsa classes, I'm on a soccer team, and my new pottery class starts next week. I also reached out to my roommates, who were basically just acquaintences, but now we do lots of things together, including volunteering at the local senior center, and I'm getting to know their friends, too, which widens my social circle considerably. You just need one new friend, and then you can be friends with all of their friends, too.

I guess I'm just saying what everyone else has said: just go! I have some self-confidence issues (which sounds like you, too), and for me, getting there is the hardest part. Once I'm there, I have a blast.

If you want to come to my salsa class, let me know! :) (No need to bring the boy - there are most often more guys than girls.)

ps - Have you looked in to zipcar? That could solve the hour-drive problem cheaply... www.zipcar.com

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 4:12 PM

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3:26 poster here

no offense intended OP!!!! I guess I'm just jaded, I work with victims of domestic abuse and I sometimes forget there are healthy relationships out there.

Maybe my post will benefit someone else if not you... Thanks!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 4:39 PM

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I've been in NYC for 6 years now and have no friends where I feel that there aren't strings attached (like if I stopped buying them lunch or giving them professional freebies, they'd disappear). I've tried the volunteer thing (freaks, I tell you -- and I mean my fellow volunteers!), I've tried mutual interest groups off meetup.com, I've tried craigslist, I've tried yoga classes, I've tried meeting neighbors...zip zero nada unless you include a compulsive liar that I accidentally befriended for 6 months.

You can look up my public log and leave me a note if you feel so inclined. I'm KatieMc80. And I think you're doing a really smart thing by making sure you have a social life beyond what your fiance provides....been there.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 4:47 PM

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OP, you are totally right that no one person can be 100% of what you need from other people! Meeting people and making friends takes work and time. Join a team, or a book club maybe?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 5:02 PM

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I wish I had an answer for you and for everyone else including myself. I was crying about not having many friends last night. I have to really close friends, one just lives many miles away. The other hasn't talked to me since she got married a little over a month ago. My husband is awesome and he is my best friend, but sometimes it hurts when he is going out with his great friends.
All I can say is your not alone. Keep active and an open mind and hopefully you can meet some more people. Do any of your bf's friends have girlfriends or wives? Maybe start there? Good luck!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 5:29 PM

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Wow - do I ever know where you're coming from! I grew up in an isolated rural area (I went to a 1 room country school where I was the only kid in my grade) and then we moved to the 'city' where the 'sophisticated' kids made my life hell. I always felt like a complete freak and never knew what to say or how to dress. I usually made a few fairly close friends, but it was always hard and took a long time. Most recently I moved to a large west coast city and for the 1st time in my life I have a large cozy circle of friends.

What happened? I got into a career I loved, got much more active, delved into my side interests and met a great book club on Craig's list that has become much more than a book club. I also have friends through my other interests that I met in class or through other friends. Essentially I am finally comfortable with myself and I think that helps others feel comfortable around me. It didn't happen overnight - I had to recognize opportunities to make friends and reach out to others which can be scary. But the more you do it, the more natual it will become. Just keep trying because there are lots of people out there in that lonely world looking for a great friend!



Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 6:01 PM

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I had the opposite experience -- I grew up in LA with lots of things to do and then moved when my parents were disabled to the Mid-west to a farm. The kids in the rural community did not read, they were overweight -- which is strange to me and is borne out in research -- people in rural communities walk less, eat more junque food, and are heavier on average than people living in cities, and their main activities were driving around the town square all of 1 mile for hours. I could not believe the lack of activities and interests.

Many got pregnant or depended on others in high school and through their first jobs on their significant others -- ALL but one are divorced and want friends. The one who is not divorced is in various community organizations and doing volunteer work.

Not all people have the right attitudes about volunteering and many need to recognize the DIFFERENCE between a real volunteer and someone who is there by a court order or a psychiatrist/psychologists recommendation and/or is there to "be seen". Many folks who volunteer need to be there for one of the previous reasons. I went to a private school and many people do not have their hearts in the right place, but having worked in the non-profit world for years and in the corporate world -- the personality types are the sam and with experience you can detect each type - the hanger on, the leech, the liar, the one who want to bee seen, and the one who wants the power.

But, when you find a real opportunity and separate the wheat from the chaff there are good folks -- but like many things you need to be consistent, hang in there, and don't give up after a couple of months. Not everything works for everyone.

But, without a life of your own and being completely dependent you could be setting yourself up for further isolation and other types of dependency issues later on. Half of my sorority sisters are divorced and more than 3/4 of the folks I knew in high school are divorced. And every one of the 350 folks have noted how important it is to have a life and activities outside of your primary relationship.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 6:23 PM

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Thanks to all of you for your suggestions, and maybe most of all, your empathy. I do just need to put myself out there, but it is a little scary. With PeerTrainer's help, I've lost 30 lbs. to get me feeling surer of myself when I do meet new people. (although I'm not at my goal just yet!) Loneliness has not only been oppressive for me, but for my empathetic BF. He often cancelled plans with friends, etc. for my neediness.
I love the salsa class and zipcar suggestions- and the meetup.com one too. I tried that a while back but chickened out.
Thank you all for being part of a wonderful community, so I never really feel alone.
Hugs!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 10:08 PM

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Salsa

Unsolicited, perhaps, but I'm going to post it anyway as extra motivation. (I'm the 4:12 pm poster.)

Here's my salsa class website:

http://www.eddietorres.com/

I know, Eddie looks a little odd, but he is amazing, and his wife teaches the Tuesday/Thurday beginner classes (totally beginner - just show up to whatever one, she starts every class with the basic step). She is also great.

Hope to meet you there! :)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 10:45 PM

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making friends is just really hard

I am in the same situation, and a lot of my friends are too since we all scattered after grad school. Being in a new city is just really hard. When you don't have school, you don't have a new crop of fresh classmates to bond with, instead you have to shoehorn your way into pre-existing social networks. I think you (and I) just have to give it time. I made some friends early on that I soon realized I didn't even really LIKE -- I just wanted some friends! Better to make real friends, slowly, and keep in touch with the old ones as best you can.
And I did all those dumb classes too, didn't work so great. But I did love tennis class. A sport would achieve 3 things for you -- make friends (esp a team sport, or a running club), get you healthy, and give you confidence. Why not try something that you think you could NEVER do? Wouldn't it shake up your world if you actually did? :)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 11:47 PM

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MANY of us use weight to insulate ourselves from the world. When I go shopping, I like to wear a coat as I feel more secure with something wrapped around me. Makes me feel protected. Thankfully I live in a moderate climate so most of the year I can do this. Weight can serve the same purpose. Feeling exposed after losing a significant amount of weight (congrats by the way) is normal too. I had a hard time making friends all my life. When I became a mom I found other like-minded, stay at home moms and have formed friendships with them. What I will do when my kids are grown (in about 5 years) is something I think about every now and then. I plan on taking lessons and doing things I wasn't able to do as a child, or since my kids have been around. I plan on finding and pursuing those things that I like to do and I am confident the friendships will come as well. Perhaps you need to do the same--find those interests you enjoy and the friends will come as well. The thing about making friends while you are doing the things you love, also means they will be like-minded and you have a better possibility of making a very good friend.
Good luck. I can empathize with your loneliness, I feel it too sometimes. Trust in a higher power to send positive people into your life.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006, 1:18 AM

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Ok all you people who need more friends - here's one more suggestion. I'm not promoting any religion, but get involved with a church - any church or synagogue(sorry, I don't know how to spell it) or mosque or spiritual association that you want or can relate to. My core friendships I started in my 20s (and I'm 45 now) are still from church. We had values to connect around and church is all about promoting long term close relationships, ones that can last a lifetime. You don't need to completely agree with every bit of the church dogma to participate, I don't think most people really do, they go to connect with people who share their values. Try several till you meet people you like.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006, 5:05 AM

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To KatieMC80

I've been there all too! soccer teams, craiglist, volunteering (freak thing is so true), chocolate and wine tastings (double freaks), dance classes etc... Many times, I find, all this kind of activities attract singles and when you try befriending them, the girls want to do a lot of singles stuff like bar hopping etc.
A lot of times, I also find myself a commitment-phobic - it's hard to make a real friendship without letting your guards down - I'm so afraid of betrayal and getting hurt. You also have to expose all not-so-pretty sides of you (our best friends are our best friends because they've seen us thru thick and thin growing up) - not an easy thing to do especially in status-concious NYC, where everyone leads at least 2 lives (public and private)...



Wednesday, May 31, 2006, 12:43 PM

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To the Salsa person

Come join my Salseras group!

fleur83

Wednesday, May 31, 2006, 1:43 PM

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To 12:43pm poster....

A-ha, that's where I'm screwing up! I forgot to develop a public persona, and am thus only leading one life. What was I thinking.

You've also reminded me of my attempt to learn the Mambo -- a cute guy who thought the man was supposed to throw the woman off balance at every opportunity, one mildly retarded woman, a smelly old man with octopus hands, and a very respectable-looking black man who had to whisper mid-step that he "only eats white meat". NEVER AGAIN.

I've decided that my best bet these days is to just not use my iPod so much when I'm out walking around, to be more approachable. However, I now need to keep a bunch of quarters handy for the panhandlers, lol.

KatieMc80

Wednesday, May 31, 2006, 9:27 PM

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i've never pursued this avenue myself, but have talked with many people who have-if you go to the "craigslist.com" site, they have a section in their classifieds for "strictly platonic" and it offers people a chance to make friends or join in social groups in your particular area. good luck!

Friday, June 02, 2006, 10:58 AM

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I don't know which city you are in, but on the NY list 'strictly platonic' almost always suggests some kind of dating thing: movie going could be platonic, but it could it lead to you know what thing...

If you'd read the above posts carefully, most ppl here have done the CL route.

Friday, June 02, 2006, 12:20 PM

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