On Friendships and Going Out Alone

I am used to having people whose love, care and concern I am certain of in my life. Lately, I have really struggled with finding satisfying friendships and I am finding that the lack of such close friends has a big effect on my day to day life. I hadn’t realised how much confidence I draw from the security of friends. The ones I have are great but they are too far away and though we try, it can be hard to keep up with time differences and all.

In this area, I am a mass of contradictions (in lots of other areas too but we’ll save that for another day). I crave intimacy, I love to be connected to people but then I also love my space. I don’t really enjoy superficial chatting about nothing. From my perspective, there’s a big distinction between acquaintances i.e. people I know and can hang out with and people that are friends.

I am beginning to think it is true that it becomes more difficult to make friends as you get older though I’m not exactly sure why it should be like this. Perhaps people have already formed their core group of friends or have a more difficult time letting new people into their lives.  Making friends seemed so easy in primary and secondary school; you could meet someone and be best friends with them by the end of the week. These days, I meet people and it is quite clear that we get on but there seems to be a limit to how close the friendship can get.  I sometimes find myself embarrassingly keen to be friends with someone but it’s not cool to be that eager.  I’m sure others have also felt like this about me so it probably goes both ways.

Another thing I have been noticing more frequently is how difficult it is to go out alone. It seems so socially unacceptable. I mean, I’m a complete person and last time I checked I was allowed to go anywhere I felt like. I haven’t come across any rules that mandate you to always be in the company of other people. Neither have I ever seen see any sign on a door that says ‘no unaccompanied persons allowed here’.  Sometimes, you don’t even have other people that you know to go with (people who travel a lot will relate to this). Yet people look at you as if you’ve got something growing out of your head for daring to go someplace on your own so much so that you can start to wonder whether  you don’t belong there. Is there something wrong with me for wanting to enjoy an evening of music at my pleasure? Must I have to round up a bunch of people to go with me for everything I might fancy doing? What if I want to explore activities that don’t necessarily interest my usual crowd?

For the most part, I enjoy the activities I pursue whether alone or in a group but I must say that it feels so much less awkward having other people around. I think this is a huge shame. People shouldn’t have to lock themselves away in a room, not enjoying what is on offer wherever they may be located  just because they don’t happen to have other people to drag along with them. Maybe we need a rent-a-friend service  for times like this*.

The more I encounter this attitude, the more I begin to understand why some people may prefer to stay in a not so great relationship than be alone. At least, you’ll always have someone to go with you to the cinema!

*It turns out such a service is already available in Japan and there are other websites that allow you to find people interested in doing an activity or attending an event with you.

*Some of the things it’s apparently not ok to do on your own: go dancing, go to a concert, go to a non-fast food restaurant and go to the cinema. Did I miss anything out?

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3 responses to “On Friendships and Going Out Alone

  1. ahh.
    I used to go to the cinema by myself quite a bit when I was a teenager cos going in a group meant that I really couldn’t concentrate on the dialogue.
    I don’t do it soo much anymore, due to time constraints, but I really enjoy it. (my friends thought I was weird)

    i think sometimes its harder to make friends when we are older because we are more set in our ways.
    As an adult, you know what you don#t like and you realise,
    I don’t ‘need’ anyone, I ‘want’ them.
    and adults come with baggage, which they envelopes you if you do not maintain a distance from it.

    As kids, we just don’t have that. We are a heck of a lot more open and willing to take certain risks.
    You know when you lend your friend your pocket money, it’s forgivable if they don’t pay it back. (you won’t die and it’s nto the end of the world)
    as an adult when you lend your friend your rent money, you will be homeless if they don’t pay it back. That’s freaking huge! and the scope of things like this prevents us from committing.

    I know how you feel about wanting to make friends and not wanting to seem eager.
    Look some people have been treated so appalingly that kindness from you will be viewed with suspiscion.

    I’ve learned (and I am still learning) as an adult, to have a balance. A lot of the time, it’s ‘softly, softly’ no matter how loudly I want to proclaim something or how excitable I get.

    I dunno if this is helping, I don’t know if this is what you want to hear. I dunno.

    I’m a dichotomy anyway, (shrugs shoulders) an ‘extroverted introvert’ lol. I like people and I don’t like them. I’m the chick who likes to be alone in the middle of a crowded room. I just try to find a balance sometimes in the most bizarre places.

    I implore you to find a balance. Seek activities which you can do by yourself and others which get you out there meeting many people.

    Seek other ‘types’ of people from your norm. ‘share activities and enjoy them first before thinking that it will lead to friendship.
    Also remember that just because you have something in common with someone, it doesn’t mean that you are supposed to be friends.

    Fill your diary with activities.
    Oh and yeah… pop round for a cup of tea and we can have a chin wag or sommat 😀

  2. Wow Soul, this link is amazing!! It’s close to what i had in mind when i referenced the rent a friend thing. You don’t even want to know how many pages i’ve bookmarked. I shall be keeping busy the next few months.

    Thanks for all the good advice, you seem to have understood exactly the spirit of my post.
    I relate to the extroverted introvert description and sometimes i feel like i’m pushing away people to be by myself for reasons i don’t quite get.

    I don’t think we’re in the same area but maybe someday i’ll be able to take you up on your offer :).

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