I don’t want to seem like the “bitch” girlfriend, but I feel like since I have no family and friends here he should consider that when he’s out. Am I going crazy? Has being without my family gotten to me so terribly that I’m becoming a monster and not wanting him to have a social life because I don’t have one? I want to go home so badly, but I don’t want to lose what we have. — Friendless in Georgia
Is there something in the water? Is this a generational thing? Is it a sign of the changing times? It seems like every other day I get a variation of this letter — a young woman missing her family and feeling resentful that the boyfriend has a social life/ doesn’t want to move/ doesn’t understand how lonely she is and how important it is for her to be close to family. Why is that? Why are so many young women unable or unwilling to make friends? Why are so many of them relying on their family and boyfriend to be their entire social life?
This is unhealthy. It’s unhealthy for you and it’s sure as shit unhealthy for your relationship. Have you even tried to create a social life for yourself? Have you ever invited a co-worker out for happy hour drinks? Have you signed up for a class and struck up a conversation with someone else? Have you volunteered anywhere? Have you joined a book club or a running group or a softball league? There are so many ways you can extend yourself to new friendships and fill some of the time between work and your relationship.
I don’t think you’re being a “bitch” or a “monster” for not extending yourself. I just think you’re being boring and lazy. It’s like you’ve given up before you’ve even tried. It’s like you have no interest in anything else besides your boyfriend and your family and the thought of taking any proactive steps to create a more layered life for yourself isn’t on your radar. If it were, the whole tone of your letter would be different. You’d be asking what you could do to create a fuller life or make friends. You’d be asking what you’re doing wrong and how you could take some responsibility of the situation (the situation here being your life). But you didn’t. You just wanted to know if you’re crazy for wishing your boyfriend had as non-existent of a life as you do.
Yes, that’s crazy. It’s crazy that instead of wanting MORE for yourself, you want LESS for him. It’s crazy that you’ve decided you can’t be happy without your family before truly trying to be happy. And staying somewhere for a couple years waiting around to be happy doesn’t count as trying. Happy doesn’t just happen to people. You have to pursue happiness. And by definition, pursuit takes effort. Relationships take effort. Personal growth takes effort. It takes pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and stretching out in that new space. It means embracing the temporary discomfort — the feelings of shyness and vulnerability and fear of rejection — that may arise when you put yourself in different surroundings and open yourself to new friendships.
It’s a risk, sure, but the reward you get is a richer life experience, a healthier relationship, and less boredom. Doesn’t that sound so much more fun than sitting around on a Friday night, twiddling your thumbs, waiting for your boyfriend to come home?
Regardless of whether or not your relationship works out (and I can promise you it won’t if you keep behaving like you are), I hope you do pursue some interests and friendships outside work and family. You’ll be a better person for it, and the people in your life with benefit as a result.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].
kerrycontrary August 16, 2012, 9:07 am
WWS x100. LW, Please, for the sake of your sanity, get a freaking hobby. Taking a ceramics class (I promise your community center or something has one), a dance class, join a running group, join a book club, or a bible study (if that’s your thing). No one wants to be with someone boring, and that is exactly what you are right now. You have no interests besides being someone’s a girlfriend! And other people like to be around interesting people, so make yourself interesting! If you don’t do anything outside of your relationship what do you even have to talk about with coworkers and strangers?
And yes, like Wendy said, it is totally crazy that instead of you wanting a more interesting life, you want your boyfriend to lead a more boring life. You should always want what’s best for your partner, and that includes him having friends.
Liz August 16, 2012, 11:08 am
COSIGN. The “get a hobby” advice may be cliche, but that is BECAUSE IT WORKS. Not only is joining a group of some kind beneficial for making friends, it gives you somewhere to be, a way to get out of the house, and something to focus all of your negative energy on. It also gives you something to be proud of and makes you a happier and more interesting, well rounded person. If I were the letter writer, I’d think of something, ANYTHING, that mildly interested me and go out and join a group that does that thing, or if it’s something like cooking or fashion, start a blog about it! You can go to blogger meetups and spend the time that your boyfriend is out of the house by cooking and taking pictures of it, uploading photos, and writing.
Alecia August 16, 2012, 9:14 am
I understand where the LW is coming from. I have a hard time putting myself out there with other people. But to Wendy’s point- it takes effort to maintain a relationship and you have done so with a boyfriend- how much different is it with friends? And besides, why would you want to be around your boyfriend all of the time- what will you share besides reruns and food? New experiences do make for growth in all areas of your life and I think you need that. Otherwise you’ll be a boring drone of a girlfriend who clings to a boyfriend like a security blanket.
iwannatalktosampson August 16, 2012, 9:19 am
You have created the life you live. This is not your boyfriends fault. One person cannot be your everything. It’s really unhealthy. You need many people in your life that can fill different roles at different times.
Go make friends. Go to yoga. Go to happy hour. You said you have a career so start there. Make friends at work. Make friends at the gym. Focus on yourself more. Stop being so dependent on him to fill your social life 100%. It’s clingy and not helpful to you. And you sound really whiny.
P.S. Wendy – I’m not sure if it’s a generational thing. I’m hoping not. But I have definitely noticed that many people act this way. Cling to their SO for ALL their needs. And then act like they have the best relationship and are the most in love because they can’t stand to be away from each other. Barf. Whenever I meet someone who does any of the following: can’t hang out unless it’s a couples date, has to ask their SO for permission to go to happy hour in case the SO doesn’t want to be left alone, or just plain won’t hang out unless their SO is working or otherwise busy – I immediately know this is not someone I want to be friends with. People that have no identities outside their relationship are the worst kinds of people.
kerrycontrary August 16, 2012, 9:24 am
What I don’t get is that there are clearly things you would want to do without your SO around. Like for me it’s shopping. I like to go shopping with my girlfriends because whenever my bf comes to the mall to me I feel rushed and like he’s no help picking stuff out. And I like to go see girly movies with my girlfriends. And happy hour after work because my girls are in the neighborhood while my boyfriend is 30 mins north of the city. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
iwannatalktosampson August 16, 2012, 9:29 am
Yes! Like today I’m getting lunch and a mani/pedi with a friend. At a nail place that serves wine, haha. How do you do stuff like that with a SO? Happy hour is just not the same with someone you live with. To me that’s a friend thing. If we wanted to do happy hour we would just do it at home where we can start unwinding while we catch up. I have really amazing friends where I live but I feel like I am constantly on the hunt for my new bff-paris hilton-style. Friends are so important. Ethan can’t fulfill all my needs. He just can’t. We’ve even figured out the exact amount of time we need to spend together to maximize our happiness – and it’s no more than one weekend day together. I mean obviously we have nights together but most Saturday’s we’ve gotten in the habit of him going to the left and me going to the right and I love it. I love Saturdays. I get to go to yoga and then hang out with friends. It’s rejuvinating.
HmC August 16, 2012, 11:18 am
A nail place that serves wine?! That is fucking brilliant.
TaraMonster August 16, 2012, 11:40 am
My nail place also serves martinis! My hair salon serves wine too. Getting pampered with a tiny buzz is just heaven.
This is why I love NYC. 🙂
GatorGirl August 16, 2012, 11:42 am
I need to leave this tiny town and move to a big city!! Booze and pampering- one stop shopping!
iwannatalktosampson August 16, 2012, 1:24 pm
It’s amazing. They have a mini bar there. It really takes the experience to a whole new level.
JK August 16, 2012, 9:24 am
It´s definitely a generation thing, we all know that 80s babies are just the worst generation ever. 😉
Katie August 16, 2012, 11:34 am
Too bad AP isn’t DW-ing today… She would have so much fun tagging on us 80’s babies.. Haha
Addie Pray August 16, 2012, 2:05 pm
This is me not dearwendying — not even dearwendying to make fun of you brats! Bwhahahahaha.
Ok, now spill it, who won the bet?
rachel August 16, 2012, 2:08 pm
Dude, we never even got around to MAKING bets you lasted such a short time.
Addie Pray August 16, 2012, 2:11 pm
Well Katie tricked me! I want a redo. And I want someone to believe in me that I can be productive at work, not over-eat in the cafeteria, and go back to yoga, one day. Tonight. It’s happening tonight.
rachel August 16, 2012, 2:14 pm
Lol. If you weren’t on DW you wouldn’t have SEEN Katie’s “trick”.
Go to yoga! I will exercise vicariously until I can get a gym membership.
Addie Pray August 16, 2012, 2:26 pm
bethany August 16, 2012, 2:17 pm
Yeah right!! We’ll see if that happens 🙂
katie August 16, 2012, 2:25 pm
well, if it was a trick (i had no idea), it was a freaking good one and it worked!
bethany August 16, 2012, 9:26 am
I 100% agree with your P.S.
lemongrass August 16, 2012, 11:11 am
You missed one- those people who write on each others walls about how much they love each other, boo. Why do you feel the need to share that with the whole world? Is it insecurity? Are they trying to show off? If so, they are doing it wrong.
JK August 16, 2012, 11:15 am
Esp. when they´re together at the time! Spare me, please!
TaraMonster August 16, 2012, 11:43 am
JUST TURN YOUR HEAD TO THE LEFT AND TELL HIM YOU LOVE HIM FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.
lemongrass August 16, 2012, 12:09 pm
Honestly, the only time I comment on my husband’s page is on pictures when I want to make fun of him. It’s much more effective to belittle him with an audience.
iwannatalktosampson August 16, 2012, 1:25 pm
Ugh you’re right. I have done a few social experiments with my friends and have noticed that there is a direct correlation between public displays of affection/love/whatever and how shitty their relationship is.
theattack August 16, 2012, 1:27 pm
I don’t know if the younger generation does it more frequently, but I know a lot of middle-aged people like that too. A LOT of them. And then there’s the trend of moms becoming dependent on their daughters for social interaction. I think KZ started that forum thread about it. It’s the exact same thing, just a different person. If I ever become a dependent homebody like that, it will probably be because I’ve never observed how an adult manages to keep friends during all of life’s craziness. I don’t even know how it’s possible to do that, and it absolutely terrifies me.
Skyblossom August 16, 2012, 1:51 pm
The women who become best friends with their daughters can’t seem to let go when their daughter needs to move on with her life and at the same time they are shutting their husband and sons out of their life.
theattack August 16, 2012, 2:02 pm
Agreed. This is why my dad feels like my mom hates him, and somehow she has a daily mental breakdown because I decided to move to a city an hour and a half away from her where I can have a career instead of asking my fiance to quit his awesome job and moving back to her small town to live with them. Most reasonable people would think a mother would be happy when their children grow up and make something of themselves, but mine only resents it because it gives me independence from her. She won’t even go grocery shopping without it. It’s so unhealthy and aggravating.
theattack August 16, 2012, 2:03 pm
GatorGirl August 16, 2012, 2:15 pm
You know what drives me nuts- couples who sit on the same side of the booth at restaurants when they are the only two people at the table! Like- I don’t need to hear you chew! Plus conversation is strange when you’re next to each other.
theattack August 16, 2012, 2:58 pm
Me too!! I just don’t get it.
lemongrass August 16, 2012, 3:15 pm
I don’t like anybody sitting next to me. I need elbow room.
LK7889 August 16, 2012, 9:19 am
It took me a long time before I realized that making (and keeping) friends is HARD work! Much like a romantic relationship, it takes time and effort to grow it into something beautiful. However, I never fully *understood* that until a year or so ago. I think that in our age of instant gratification that many young people believe that if they don’t click with someone instantly, that it’s not worth following through and trying to create a friendship. I think that many young women fall into this trap of thinking that if they don’t hit it off with someone on the friend level, it’s not “meant to be”. And it seems like the older we get, the harder it is to find someone that you “click” with. I think that is why so many friendless young women are writing in lately and why so many feel like they are bound to fail if they try to create those friends.
LW, you have to WORK to make friends. It might not be fun at first but you will thank yourself when you have someone to hang out with when your boyfriend is out with the boys.
Kristen August 16, 2012, 9:19 am
I completely agree with Wendy, and I would also add that you should talk to your boyfriend about being included in some of his activities. Make an effort to get to know his friends; you might really connect with someone and start hanging out separately. Or, you might fit in really well with the whole group and look forward to going out with them as your friends, not just his.
Outside of that, think about your interests and find a group to join. Volunteer at the animal shelter, take that glassblowing class you’ve always wanted to do, explore your new city and really make it your own.
Also, start planning a vacation back to Texas so you can visit your family. It will give you something to look forward to and hopefully give you the motivation you need to branch out in this new life you’re creating. Good luck!
JK August 16, 2012, 9:21 am
Really, LW? 2 years and you haven´t made a single friend in Georgia?
I´m really shy, and terrified of rejection, but I manage to make friends. Are you so unhappy that you scare people off? I mean noone is going to approach someone that goes around looking miserable all the time. A friendly smile can go a long way.
Wendy has some great suggestions about meeting people, I hear MeetUp is good as well. And maybe some of your BFs friends have GFs, and you could organize a get together with them one of the times that the guys hang out? Or double dates?
Or maybe Georgia just isnpt for you, and you have to be closer to your family. There´s nothing wrong with that, but you have to be honest with yourself (and your BF), and decide what you´ll do. Maybe turn your r/ship into a LDR? Maybe he´d move with you? Or yes, maybe you do have to break up.
cporoski August 16, 2012, 11:36 am
I understand that sometimes locations don’t vibe with people but seriously, people make friends in refugee camps, there has to be somebody in Georgia.
Lynn August 16, 2012, 9:23 am
WWS. Thank you. Even if it’s difficult to put yourself out there, if you frequent something enough… church, a class, etc., some friendly person is going to talk to you, and you’re likely going to make a friend. That’s kind of how it works.
You were the one who decided to move to Georgia – make the most of it.
bethany August 16, 2012, 9:24 am
WWS- Especially this: “Why are so many of them relying on their family and boyfriend to be their entire social life?”
Thank GOD none of my friends are like this. I can’t stand people like this. My husband is a huge part of my life, but he’s not my entire life!! I go out without him. I have friends that are MY friends, not his, and he does the same. We have a great life together, but we also know that if something were to happen to either one of us, we have a reason to carry on in life.
LW- You need to stop allowing your boyfriend to be your everything and make some friends of your own.
Katie August 16, 2012, 9:38 am
bethany August 16, 2012, 9:53 am
jlyfsh August 16, 2012, 9:24 am
Moving is scary and making new friends is scarier. But, if you let that fear make you want to keep your boyfriend from having friends it’s completely unfair. My husband is much easier at making friends than me. He had a group of guys he hung out with long before I met friends when we moved. So, I just told myself I had to try harder. I actually met a friend on Craigslist, crazy I know! But, she was looking for someone to go to the beach with. I took her up on the offer and made a nice, normal friend (sure craigslist has plenty of creepy people, you just have to be careful and smart about it, just like anything else!). I also joined Meetup and forced myself to go out with a group of people I had never met. And you know what, I’m having fun! I’ve met people I never would have otherwise. I was petrified that I would be too boring for them or that no one would like me. But, that didn’t happen. I’ve made new friends and it’s been really good for my relationship and for my self esteem. Now when my husband tells me he’s going bowling with friends I can let him know that I’m going to play trivia with mine.
I do miss my family a lot since we moved. But, I don’t let that stop me from being happy. They plan visits to come see me and I make sure I get home a few times a year as well. There is a happy medium in between your boyfriend not having any friend or you moving back to Texas. You just have to be willing to work at it.
SweetPeaG August 16, 2012, 9:54 am
That is awesome!
There was a day when none of my friends were around and I wanted to go to the beach. I went anyway. ALONE. And it kinda sucked. Everyone else was all laughing and splashing and having a grand ol’ time. I wish I had a Craig’s List friend to go to the beach with. Kudos to you for being brave 🙂 The LW should follow your example.
cporoski August 16, 2012, 11:43 am
I joined a book club when I moved to my new town. I met a girl and blatantly told her, “we should be friends.” I gave her my cell number and then we are now great friends. I sound like a 5 year old when I say that but it works.
Leah August 16, 2012, 9:29 am
You moved to Georgia to pursue your career, not this guy, right? So what would you be doing right now if you hadn’t started dating him? Did you think your sister was going to live there forever? That was clearly incorrect and you need to decide where to go from here. The problem with relying on your family as your built-in social network is they have no obligation to you to stay in the same place. I’ve never lived in the same city as my parents as an adult and I would love to be able to see them in person more often, but they’ve lived in three different cities during this time! My options are to follow them wherever they go or to put down roots someplace and make the effort to visit and talk frequently on the phone. And now that I’m engaged it’s not just me anymore! Any decisions about where we live have to be joint decisions and affect his ability to see his family, too. I fantasize about living closer to my family but my top priority is to do what’s best for us and the family that WE’RE planning to have, and for right now that means staying put.
Maybe this situation is harder than you expected it to be. Maybe you didn’t expect to have to be independent with no family in town, or you thought that that would be easier. But Wendy’s right. You’re the only person who can improve things for yourself. It’s not fair to expect your boyfriend to throw away his own social life just because you don’t have one, and you’re the only person who can create one for yourself. You could go running home to your family and throw away the relationship, resigning yourself to following around your parents like the Grateful Dead if they ever decide to move, or you can suck it up and learn how to be more independent. Independence doesn’t mean always being alone, but it does mean putting the work into creating and maintaining new relationships. Why don’t you start there?
MMcG August 16, 2012, 9:46 am
“You moved to Georgia to pursue your career, not this guy, right? So what would you be doing right now if you hadn’t started dating him?”
my thought exactly… there’s an undertone of resentment in this letter that makes no sense at all. if you read it without the critical detail of her moving for her career, you would assume she moved for him and now doesn’t like it, but that’s not the case. I wonder if the LW only applied for jobs in Georgia because her sister was there in the first place…
LW – please focus on yourself and do WWS. It’s like you’re the girl who gets the boyfriend first week of college and never tries to make any other friends or engage in anything else… you just went on autopilot and took the easy path.
Eve Harrison August 16, 2012, 10:28 am
It’s NOT easy, I would know. I had a new job last year and didn’t socialize out of pure nervousness and poor scheduling. Has the LW considered she might have some social anxiety? I don’t mean to slap a label on her but this is an issue I continue to experience and she might have the same limitation.
If this is true consider reading Joseph Luciani’s “The Power of Self Coaching”. Reading this book taught me how to rationalize my fears through self talks. It has a few quizzes to understand your weaknesses and where you are prone to lapse into negative thought, and Dr. Luciani gives realistic scenarios to help readers relate and understand their own anxiety and/or unhappiness.
I am still working on socializing but I have gotten better. 🙂 I have met more enjoyable people this summer more than I have my entire life through a summer job and internship. All that is left is the nerve wracking part; reaching out for drinks or a chat!
You can do it, LW! 😀
Leah August 16, 2012, 10:52 am
This is great advice! I did an exposure therapy group class about a year ago for generalized anxiety and talking to everyone there realized that I have social anxiety as well. I’m actually really great in a room full of strangers, which was the biggest trigger for everyone else, but have a hard time around acquaintances. Those are people that I can’t make stupid small talk with because I know them too well but at the same time don’t know well enough to have a comfortable rapport.
In the end, you kind of have to treat the social anxiety and the actual process of making friends as separate issues! And of course the lynchpin of exposure therapy is repeated exposures, putting yourself out there. It really does get easier with practice!
MMcG August 16, 2012, 11:32 am
I didn’t mean it was necessarily easy to make friends – I’m a happy introvert that would hide inside most days if I could – just that it’s a lot easier to avoid people and not put in any effort when you have a “safety” valve in a boyfriend that you think you should or need to spend every free moment of your time with. That’s what is really off about this LW – she doesn’t seem to realize that her desired relationship seems really co-dependent and sad if all she wants to do in life is be with SO and family and no one else. She doesn’t mention wanting or having friends at all – not even in Texas!?!
Katie August 16, 2012, 9:36 am
Preach, Wendy, preach!!
Haha. But ok, real question: I feel so guilty if I go out and have fun without my boyfriend. Like I feel bad that he is at home or working or whatever and I do try to plan things so that he can come too. Does that make me one of the terrible 80’s babies? Is this behavior similar to what this LW is doing?
Oh quick update on my life- the townhouse I rent is being foreclosed. Anna, remember when you were bitching about your terrible landlord and I was like oh my landlord might be in foreclosure but then everything was fine? It is not fine!! He lied to my face!! And he probably spent my security deposit on cocaine and hookers!! I’m very upset.
JK August 16, 2012, 9:44 am
Don´t worry, katie, I feel the same way when I´m out alone (and since I´ve had the girls it´s even worse!!!)
And your landlord should be shot.
LK7889 August 16, 2012, 9:47 am
I don’t think that makes you like the LW though because you are actually making plans and trying to get out of the house.
If I’m making plans, I try to include my SO because, otherwise, he’ll sit at home and spend too much time on the internet. None of his friends live nearby and the “friends” he has made at work either don’t have the time to hang out with him or don’t follow up when he tries to make plans. But I don’t include him every time because my friends would like some girl time every now and then. Of course, he seems to be fulfilled with the whole internet friend and forum business and if he wasn’t, it’s not like I can change that for him.
SweetPeaG August 16, 2012, 9:46 am
LW, you don’t really say how often your boyfriend is going out with his friends. If it is five times a week, to all hours of the night… well, you aren’t being outrageous for wanting him home more. However, I highly doubt that is the case. He is probably seeing his buddies once or twice a week. Which is normal and healthy.
I have all the empathy in the world for you, however. I am very attached to my friends and family. It would be so hard for me in a new place to be without them. I was raised very sheltered and was a very shy kid. It took me a long time to learn how to be social and comfortable with people. But, the more you try, the easier it is.
There are so many different things you can try to gain your own circle of friends. Wendy and all the readers have made some great suggestions. I probably don’t need to give you any more. But, the key is just to TRY. Have a goal to do one new thing each week. If you join a gym and take a class, give another woman a compliment (“Wow, I like your shirt”… something simple and stupid). Or better yet, join a book club. Something that encourages conversation. And don’t be afraid to tell people that you are new in town and don’t know a lot of people. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I think I’d respond pretty positively to a nice person reaching out for friendship.
Also, let your boyfriend in on what you’re feeling. Not in a way to guilt him. Don’t make it about the time he spends with his friends. Simply tell him you are lonely and want to make some friends of your own. Don’t hold in your sad feelings. I think he’ll be happy to listen and comfort you. And maybe he’ll be eager to set up some double dates for you guys to go on. That would be a great way to make friends.
All in all- this is a situation that you CAN help- keep that in mind when you are down in the dumps. This is not an illness you have no control over. This is not an argument with your boyfriend that there seems to be no way to compromise. This is a problem that you CAN fix. Good luck!
AmyRenee August 16, 2012, 4:35 pm
And if he is going out with his friends 5 nights a week and never invites you to hang out with them, then I hate to tell you but you aren’t his girlfriend, you are someone who is willing to sleep with him on his terms. I hope this isn’t the case, but please, LW, don’t be a doormat. Tell him you want to go out with him and his friends at least 1 weekend night, and make concrete plans to be with just him other nights. Then make your own plans to get out and do something on your own or with your own group of friends. If you are a homebody, invite a co-worker back to your place to drink wine and gossip or something. Its ok to feel lonely. Its not ok to mope around and do nothing about it.
Anthrocuse August 16, 2012, 9:56 am
A coworker/friend of mine decided that she needed to go out and meet new friends outside of work so she looked up a “meet up” group for people who were new to our city. They went out and did things together for other people who didn’t know too many people– trips to fairs, movies, etc. She ended up finding someone she could move in with because both needed a roommate. There are other people out there who want friends, I’m sure! If, for some reason, you are not into an organized activity or craft this is the internet age and you can find friends!! (good luck!)
ktfran August 16, 2012, 10:47 am
Meetups are the best. Seriously. I’ve made some really good friends through a couple different meetups. There is now a group of four of us – two married, two not – that even travel together. One moved to California because of her husband’s job. She is coming in town next weekend for a girls weekend.
With a meetup, you’re all looking for the same thing. A friend. So you don’t feel weird about exchanging numbers and going out on your own, without the meetup group.
call-me-hobo August 16, 2012, 9:58 am
LW, once upon a time, I WAS you.
I was depressed. My boyfriend was at a different college than me, and I was having trouble adjusting. I was so sad all the time, and I didn’t put myself out there like I should have. All I did was go to class and go to work- but my boyfriend was meeting new people, having fun, etc. I grew resentful.
But you know what? It was MY problem to deal with. I had to figure out why I was unhappy. Because at the end day, you are the only one responsible for your own happiness. No one can MAKE you happy. It’s not their job to.
What helped me was counseling. I had not come to grips with several traumatic things that had happened in my life, and that was the basis of my melancholy. I don’t know what yours could be, but if you can’t handle it yourself, there is no shame in seeking the help of a professional.
Now, my boyfriend and I are doing really well. We’ve graduated and we live close by, but we don’t spend every night together because I have plans that don’t involve him and he has plans that don’t involve me. The time apart for ourselves makes us strong!
Diana August 16, 2012, 10:00 am
Oh, man. Wendy, this is the perfect advice, and your wording is priceless. LW, one thing you might consider is getting a dog – not only would your life be fuller, you’d also have an easy icebreaker with which to broach new human contacts.
SpaceySteph August 17, 2012, 1:16 am
Eh I don’t know if I disagree with this. Dogs can bring you out of your shell, but they can also give you a shell to crawl back into. “Oh I can’t go to happy hour/movie/shopping date with you, I have to go home and let the dog out.”
rachel August 16, 2012, 10:06 am
LW, I know making friends can be really hard for some people. I’m not that great at it either. But it sounds like you’re not even trying. 2 years and you haven’t found someone you can go out and grab a drink with or invite over to watch a movie? You need to stop feeling sorry for yourself and just put yourself out there.
Does your boyfriend ever invite you out with his friends? Not that he should all the time, but I’ve always considered my boyfriends’ friends to be at least casual friends because we spent time together.
I just moved out of state, and I don’t really have friends here. I’m planning on being here for 2 years. I sure hope that by the end of 2 years, I have set up a life for myself here and make some friends that I will miss when I move. I can’t imagine 2 years of solitude.
*HmC* August 16, 2012, 10:14 am
LW, you don’t provide enough information about your actions or your relationship for anyone to tell you whether you’re being “crazy” or a “monster”. But I can say that feeling like your boyfriend should be less social due to your inability to be social is probably unhealthy for your relationship and more importantly, bad for you individually.
You don’t need a vast social circle to have your social needs met. Contact old friends. Pursue interests outside of your relationship, and when the opportunity for a friendship arises, take a chance. Making a new friend can be even harder sometimes than getting into a romantic relationship. People’s lives are busy and often they aren’t consciously looking for friends. So making a new friend requires a lot of patience. And as with romantic relationships, you don’t want to come on too strong or lean on someone too much until you’ve established a mutual rapport.
Bottom line, yes, asking your boyfriend to be less social due to your lack of friendships and nearby family is not healthy behavior and could easily lead to a co-dependent relationship. This is bad not only because you’ll be ruined should you guys break up, but because it’s no fun to get everything from one person. It’s not fair to either of you. No one should have to be your everything.
fancypants August 16, 2012, 11:21 am
I’d like to cosign what HmC said, and add to it. I was in a similar situation – I went to school out of state where I met my soon to be husband. He was originally from around here and has a lot of long standing friends and family nearby. I don’t and most of my college friends moved away. Did I sit there and mope? No! I reconnect with my old friends who’ve moved while he’s at band practice – just last night I poured myself a lemonade and had an hour long skype chat with a friend from high school in another state. Tomorrow night I’m meeting an old coworker for some drinks. I made brunch plans on Sunday with on of my fiance’s friends girlfriends.
And that’s another thing – why can’t you hang out with your boyfriend with his friends? I mean not all the time, and feel it out, but when I was lonely, Mr. Fancy would bring me along for drinks with the guys sometimes, and I struck up a rapport with some of them… who then started getting girlfriends. One of the girlfriends was another girl who was not from the area and didn’t have many friends… sound familiar? Guess who my brunch date for Sunday is? The more people in your life, the more likely it will be that you’ll meet some real friends and not have to rely on your boyfriend for so much.
HmC August 16, 2012, 11:39 am
Those are some good, clear plans for getting new friends. It really is an organic process that happens so gradually sometimes, you don’t even notice. I’ve been in my current town for 4 years now, and I can be shy with new people, but now that I think about it, I have a nice network of friends here now! Enough to have a little birthday party next month. And it just sort of happened. But I had to be actively involved in the process- calling people back, not canceling plans, asking about other people’s lives instead of always talking about myself.
Skyblossom August 16, 2012, 10:18 am
LW I’m stunned. How could you live there for three years and not make a single friend? The only way I can imagine that could happen is if you never speak to your neighbors, never speak to anyone at work and never speak to any of the friends of your boyfriend. If you speak to people and interact with people friendships happen. If you smile at people and talk with them and ask them about themselves friendships happen. If you’re interested in the people around you friendships happen.
One thing that I’ve noticed and my friends have noticed is that more and more people are walking around looking at their phone every chance they get. I’m beginning to see that even with people my own age. This summer when I would walk into the theater to pick-up my daughter from her class about half the parents would pull out phones and not interact with anyone. The other half would chat with those around them. I have met so many people this way and made good friends this way. You chat with those around you and you will hit it off with some of them and talk with them more next time you see them and that is the beginning of a friendship. If you don’t join in the conversation then you don’t make friends. I’ve made friends by meeting the parents of my children’s friends. I’ve made friends through volunteer work and through classes I’ve taken and through work. You meet people everywhere you go and if you interact with them some of them will become your friends. If you choose to not interact then you won’t make friends. When you are around people make the effort to talk to them. Don’t stand or sit around avoiding eye contact and don’t use your phone as a crutch and end up missing all of the people around you.
SweetPeaG August 16, 2012, 10:35 am
Great point! I am not a big fan of the smart phone obsession the country is in right now. I still have a dumb phone. I’ll send one or two texts a day (if that). The purpose of these smart phones is to make people more connected, right? I think in some ways, it is making us all LESS connected.
Put the phone away and interact!
iwannatalktosampson August 16, 2012, 10:38 am
One thing that I’ve noticed and my friends have noticed is that more and more people are walking around looking at their phone every chance they get.
YES! People don’t even make eye contact any more…it’s weird. Like when you’re passing someone on the street and they just look down. What is going on in the world??
lemongrass August 16, 2012, 11:23 am
One of the things I’m stoked about with being a mom, after having a kid, blah blah blah, is to meet other moms!!! There is kind of an awkward stage between wanting to party and having kids, I’m not sure if its a regional thing but there doesn’t seem to be many of those people around. My sister would tell me that she was jealous of me because I have friends in that stage but her’s haven’t grown up yet. I’m so going to those mommy and me classes to meet up!
Skyblossom August 16, 2012, 11:44 am
It’s really easy when you have kids because your kid can’t get very far without you so you drive and meet all of the other parents who are dropping off and picking up kids and you end up talking! If the class is only an hour you can chat with other parents or go to a nearby coffee shop. It’s not as good if there isn’t something close by but almost always there is an area for parents where you can talk.
Sasa August 16, 2012, 10:24 am
I used to have a similar problem in my early-mid twenties. I dreaded the weekends when my boyfriend was away because there were few people I could just call and make plans with. I did have a social life, but not a very full one. It got a lot better when, more than 2 years ago, my bf went on a long trip by himself for around 6 weeks or so. That really forced me to reach out to others. In the beginning, it was awkward and felt unnatural. I called some old friends I hadn’t seen in a while and went to events I wouldn’t otherwise have gone to (like when I was invited to a party where I knew no one). Sometimes I did indeed have to spend a Friday or Saturday evening alone, and I didn’t feel great about it. Maybe some of my old friends thought that I just wanted to reconnect because my bf was away. I just had to accept that and prove them wrong. But within just 6 or 7 weeks I already managed to get to know some new people and rekindle some old friendships.
A saying that really resonated with me was “If you want to have friends, be a friend”. I realized I had been kind of selfish about friendships – wanting to have friends, but not putting in enough effort to actually be a friend to others. It was because I was very self-conscious and shy and didn’t really believe anyone would want me as a friend. I was kind of sabotaging myself, I came across as arrogant and distanced when I was just insecure. That has changed completely. I’ve consciously tried to be a friend to others and it has worked wonders for me. Within the last 2 years I’ve built up a circle of friends. I’m sure you can do the same. But you have to be ready to make yourself vulnerable to others, and that can be scary at first.
A practical tip: Never ever turn down an invitation, unless you really really can’t go. If you can’t go, always make a suggestion for another meet-up.
A second one: Slowly build up a friendship as you would build up a romantic relationship. You have to “court” people a little.
Sue Jones August 16, 2012, 10:25 am
WWS. And it is so much easier to meet people with similar interests now that they have things called “meetups” that you find online. You basically show up, have a nice time and take a few numbers, and even if you don’t “click” right away with people in your (hiking, biking, knitting, cooking, bookgroup, community chorus) you keep showing up and eventually you start to have a life of your own and more to bring to the table to your relationship than being the whiny, clingy girlfriend. Don’t be that whiney clingy insecure girlfriend. Take classes, get out and do things away from him and your relationship will improve. And if you did not have hobbies before the relationship, time to start developing some so as to not be the boring EX girlfriend. And whatever you do, don’t get pregnant to fill your life at this stage. You are an unformed person so time to get a life outside the relationship.
Sue Jones August 16, 2012, 10:36 am
Full disclosure: at age 22 I fell in love and moved away from my friends for a man. I knew no one. And it was a small town so not as much going on as in a larger city. Very cliquish. He was my only friend. I became the whiney, clingy girlfriend. Eventually I decided to go back to school and so moved 90 minutes away to the big city where i immediately met people and got involved in stuff. My BF and i split up and I was very sad, but it really was all for the best as I developed myself as a person in my 20’s and trained for a more lucrative career. Was it scarey? Yes! Was I sad and lonely sometimes? Yes! But now I am living a very nice life with an interesting career, a sweet husband, a beautiful child, a nice house, etc. So been there and done that and glad I didn’t do something boneheaded like get pregnant too young and have his baby “to keep him”, because we would have split up anyway and even if we had not, I would be miserable (and poor) now and my child certainly would have suffered in that situation.
Mar1985 August 16, 2012, 10:26 am
I always think its really strange when it seems like girlfriends “aren’t invited” to when the guys all hang out. I get need the guy time on occasion but I’ve always hung out with boyfriends and their friends and it was never, “No you can’t come its guys night”(bachelor parties excluded). Unless the LW is just sincerely not interested in hanging out with a bunch of guys.I can’t tell from the letter if he does this often or if he just goes out with his buddies once in a blue moon and she gets lonely then. Do his friends maybe have significant others you can bond with?
Bossy Italian Wife August 16, 2012, 10:29 am
It’s not easy making friends as an adult, I’ll say that much. I am also a little puzzled as to why you aren’t socializing with his friends a bit more?? After three years, one would think that the two of you would have a more integrated life.
Wendy is totally correct–most times people seem more comfortable reverting back to their roots instead of taking a little time to buck up and make new friends and establish themselves somewhere else.
When my husband and I first met, I was out of high school, and I moved to his town. It wasn’t terribly far from where I used to live, but most of my other friends had moved on to other things and my social circle dissolved. My now-husband, then-boyfriend and I struggled a little to integrate our social circles, and his was certainly the bigger one; it took a few years, at best.
But through his friends who had girlfriends I was able to make friends and build lasting friendships. Yes, at times it felt like work. I also have joined a gym in my adulthood so that I could extend my social circle and that has worked out really well. I take a Zumba class, and it’s been great for both my self esteem and friendship building. You need to stop sitting at home and playing “poor me” and go particpate in your life. Explore your town.
You say you are worries abotu losing what you have with yoru boyfriend, so DO SOMETHING about it! You aren’t a bystander in your own life and there are plenty of awesome people out there in the world just waiting to be your friend.
One more point, and sorry to be long winded here… but, if at the end of the day your true goal is to move back home and be closer to your family, you need to be forthcoming about that with your boyfriend. I see nothing wrong with wanting to be close to your family, especially when you are married and have children, etc. I socialize with my family quite often as well as a large circle of friends… this is something my husband and I hold very dear–our time with our families. So if it’s really important to you, that is a decision you will have to make.
GatorGirl August 16, 2012, 10:48 am
While I agree with a lot of what you said Wendy- I feel for this LW. I moved just over a year ago 900 miles away from my family and my friends (yes I moved for my fiance- after 3+ years of long distance someone had to) and I have had a hell of a time making my own friends in this town. I’ve tried to be-friend some wives/girlfriends of my fiance’s guy friends with no luck, I’ve tried to befriend people I’ve met in social or work situations with no luck. I’ve even taken on a part time job with the hopes of meeting a few people I could be friends with. I’ve just had zero luck. (FWIW I think I’m a pretty cool girl so I don’t think I’m 100% to blame for the lack of friend-making) I do think there is some kind of “thing” going on in women in the 25 to 35 range that makes finding new female friends impossible. I have no idea what it is but it drives me bonkers.
Luckily I have an awesome fiance who is my best friend and the #1 person I want to do anything and everything with. He is also always including me in things with his friends and the guys have started to invite me out too now. I think the LW needs to keep working on her own friendships but should tell the BF how she’s feeling. Sorry for rambling- I’m not sure what my goal here is other than to say; LW I understand. (Also take Wendy’s advice and keep putting yourself out there AND make sure you keep a strong connection with your friends and family back in TX.)
LadyinPurpleNotRed August 16, 2012, 10:53 am
An important distinction between you and the LW is that she never states that she’s done anything to try to make friends or meet new people so obviously she’s not going to have luck. You’ve tried to make friends. And for the record you do seem like an awesome person…apparently people around you are majorly missing out!
Kristen August 16, 2012, 11:19 am
I second the awesome person thing.
GatorGirl August 16, 2012, 11:27 am
I guess I was giving her a “warmer” response because I know how incredibly frustrating it can be to try to make friends in your mid (okay late) 20’s. You have to put yourself out there and deal with a lot of crap-o-la people and face “rejection” which sucks. It was so much easier in high school/college to just have friends by default because you were in the same classes or on the same team!
SweetPeaG August 16, 2012, 11:38 am
I think your honesty here will be very appreciated. The best advice often comes from someone who has been there (or is there).
I also think it is okay for your significant other to be a primary friend. I have friends. But, my fiance is also my #1 person to spend time with. I guess it helps that we were friends for nearly a decade before we got together. I mean, we were buddies with zero romantic interest for a long time… down to him calling me “dude”. So, his friends are my friends. Us hanging out in a group is pretty natural. And often times the person we choose to make a life with is our best friend. So, I’m not really ashamed to say that he’s very often the person I turn to for friendship. Our lives are extremely integrated and I’m fine with that.
But, I think the difference between you and the LW is that you don’t seem to be dwelling on it. It doesn’t seem to be tearing you apart. It is frustrating to you, but it doesn’t bother you enough that you’re writing into Wendy about it or asking your fiance to stop having a life. I think trying (even if you end up failing), tends to make a person feel a little more empowered. If the LW does make an attempt to make some friends (like you have), even if she doesn’t make instant best buddies, there’s a chance she’ll feel a little better.
Sheryl August 16, 2012, 11:01 am
I think a few people mentioned this — but is your bf always going out without you? Or do you tag along? If he is ALWAYS going without you, that’s not right. But he shouldn’t ALWAYS need to bring you either. Go out occasionally with them!
Does your bf have friends in couples? If so, definitely take advantage there — next time you are all out, chat up one of the girls, and say ‘next boys night, let’s make a girls night drinking wine and getting pedicures’. Then you can also create ‘couples night’ as another variation of a night out.
Also, get a pet. Dogs are awesome ways to meet people (there are meet ups directly planned around having dogs). and if you are just not as into being social as your bf is, sitting home with an adorable dog doesn’t sound so bad. Cats give companionship, too, but they don’t facilitate the meeting people part as well as dogs do.
Side note: please make sure you actually want a dog or cat, they are a huge responsibility. See if any of your bf friends has a dog you can ‘dog sit’ for to see if you like it if you are new to the animal kingdom.
kerrycontrary August 16, 2012, 11:11 am
I was a little lonely in grad school because I didn’t fit in with a lot of people, so I got a dog! It has helped a lot! My weekends are jammed packed, but I’m fine on the nights during the week that I don’t see my boyfriend because I have to walk the dog and usually end up talking to neighbors for 30 mins because of the dog.
lemongrass August 16, 2012, 11:08 am
I moved to be with my husband 4 years ago. I had no friends here and tbh I have only made a few of them on my own. What about your boyfriend’s friend’s girlfriends? I went out with my husband when he went out and turns out the people he likes: I like too! Those women have become so close to me that I really consider them closer to me than the friends I had back home.
Other than that- do not bring your boyfriend down to your level, climb your way up to his!
Anna August 16, 2012, 11:15 am
This is one of the best responses I’ve seen in awhile. Bravo Wendy! I want to give you a standing ovation.
However…I can also see where the LW may be coming from. I’ve always had terrible social anxiety. The most terrifying sight to me is a crowded social scene full of strangers. It’s a huge challenge to talk to new people and make new friends. But it’s worth pushing for, trust me. I’ve forcibly put myself out there in my adult life in an effort to stay ahead of my fear of people, and it hasn’t been easy. One of the biggest challenges I’ve ever made myself complete was trying Zumba classes. When you have social anxiety, just standing in a room filled with strangers is terrifying…you want me to dance in front of them sober? Aughhh! I was freaking out the first day, but I ended up being really glad I went because I made new friends in the class and toned my body a lot. It was really worth it to overcome my fear and it enhanced my life in more ways than one.
Of course I don’t know for sure if the LW is similar to me, but if she is I hope that I can inspire her to put herself out there like Wendy suggested. If I can do it, anyone can.
Skyblossom August 16, 2012, 12:07 pm
We go to our local coffee shop most Saturdays and there is a place just a few doors down that has yoga, movement, balance and dance classes. We see lots of women come in and hang out together after yoga classes. I also see groups of women coming in to plan PTU events at their schools and lots of groups like ours where friends meet just because they love to talk. We bring our kids and our kids sit at one table and we sit at another and we’re all happy.
ele4phant August 16, 2012, 11:20 am
Eh, not to get nit-picky, but why do you assume this is a younger women? She says nothing about her age. Yes, she says she moved to pursue her career, but people get later and later starts, they change careers, or maybe she meant further, not start. If that’s the only clue to her age, I don’t think its enough to assume she’s young.
She could be your age, Wendy.
Brigitte August 16, 2012, 11:24 am
Having moved over-seas for a man (who’s now my husband), I know how lonely it can be and how difficult it is to make friends as an adult without the help of university classes. I was resentful at first when he went out with his friends without me, but I was quick to realize it was my own problem and something to fix. I joined an expat group or 3, took language classes, got a job, made friends with the girlfriends of his guy friends, and even (gasp!) went out shopping with my husband’s ex (she’s actually really nice- the man’s obviously got good taste in ladies!)
In short, yes, it does make you crazy to want him to not go out. I mean, you know that, right? Otherwise you wouldn’t be writing to Wendy, asking her to confirm it. It’s so damn difficult to make friends, good friends, and it’s hard when your significant other’s family just doesn’t feel like family, but these are the cards you have and you have to play them as best you can. Otherwise, throw them back and go fish for new ones. If you haven’t tried to join a club, the church choir, gone a few blind “friend dates”, or gone out for drinks with your cheesy colleagues, you have not tried hard enough. I’m friends now with people I know for a fact I never would have considered for friends if I’d never moved, and my life is richer for it. Don’t give up. You know you are stronger then this: you moved far from home and family, left your life behind to start a new life in another state, fell in love… not everyone would be able to do that. Don’t give up until you’ve tried.
Nina August 16, 2012, 11:38 am
I agree mostly with W advice, but …
A lot of the comments here are people who say they can relate to the LW, because they have social anxiety, or odd work hours, etc. But what about when you have none of those reasons?
I moved from my home city to a bigger city very far away from my ‘home’ when I was 16. I lived alone from then on, and I find in my new city it has been quite challenging to make new friends as an adult. I am not trying to promote myself, but I am attractive, independent, outgoing, chatty, friendly, and extremely open to making new friends-and still I have only a few people I would consider “friends”, and even then it’s a stretch. I don’t know the LW, all I can say is my own experience, but I think more often than not it’s hard to make friends as an adult. It seems the more people find out that you are a bit of a loner, they sort of shy away too…I”ve met tons of people, and every time I try to extend a hand (on the bus, at university/work, shopping, the gym, the list goes on…) I am always the one putting effort in, and things fizzle out due to the lack of response on the other side. Now, I don’t expect everyone to be my new best friend, but after years of this kind of ‘rejection’ (for lack of a better word) I’ve just come to accept it. Many, many people already have their social cirlces-not to sound to harsh, but they don’t “need” new friends. I have taken the opportunity to try and befriend the girlfriends in a boyfriend’s social group, with limited success. Girls are even trickier to befriend, I find (for reasons we all have seen, and I wont rant about).
After a pity period, I did decide that I would change my outlook about it and not be so pessimistic. I find the older I become, my peers are maturing little by little (something I had to do very young, and very fast-that has set me apart) and I do quite a bit alone. I definitely agree that the LW should get out more and meet new people, not even for the goal of making new friends but so she can harness some independence and enjoyment for herself, even if she is doing things alone. I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself that I was doing things alone, and just enjoy that I was out doing things I enjoyed doing instead of being couped up alone, resenting.
I hope she can find a new strategy, and some peace. I have been there, I understand how it feels, but when you get to the point of writing in for advice, it’s time to make some changes and approach things differently than you were before. Good luck!
bagge72 August 16, 2012, 10:58 am
I agree with Wendy, one of my best friends met his wife while at one of his cousins parties while she was in College. The dated for a while, and fell in love, and then decided to stay in MA, because the job oppurtunities are better, and pay more than where she is from, well fast foward two years into there marriage, and she was complaining how she has no friends here, and she wants to move back home, but the problem is that she actually never went out! All of his friends girlfriends/wives have invited her out numerous times, and so hasn’t his cousin, because they are still really good friends, but she always declined, and that made him stay in. The thing that is funny, is that on the few times this girl had gone out she is really really fun to hangout with, but for some reason she would have rather stayed in, and complain about not having any friends at all here, instead of going out and having fun with everyone else. Well things have gotten better, because the only family she actually had in her home state was her mother, and she has now moved to MA, and now we actually all went out this Friday, and have a couple of other times before that. So maybe it was more of her missing her mother than her actual friends.
stilgar666 August 16, 2012, 12:10 pm
I have been the male significant other in this situation, and it sucks.
bittergaymark August 16, 2012, 12:11 pm
Most pathetic letter ever. No, seriously. Grow the fuck up, LW. But since that will undoubtedly NEVER happen, MOA — and spare the guy the misery of a lifetime with you. Seriously… How hard is it to make friends? C’mon! In my experience, if people can’t seem to make ANY friends, there is usually an obvious reason for that — and it’s NOT that they are shy…
bittergaymark August 16, 2012, 12:47 pm
And seriously — if a MAN had written in here, rambling on and on about he wishes his girlfriend would ditch all her friends and devote herself to him 24/7 nobody would take pity on him and offer up the convenient excuse of emotional problems… You’d all (rightly!) say he was a controlling psychopath… Think about it!
Lili August 16, 2012, 2:07 pm
I’m so glad you’re back. AND, I’m totally coming out publicly to say I 100% agree with all you’ve written. Stop being pathetic ladies, its not attractive!
Sheryl August 16, 2012, 3:44 pm
This was my reaction when I just read the title, but in the letter she seems to realize actually dictating that he can’t go out is a little ridiculous, and its only because she is lonely, not because she actually dislikes him hanging out with other people.
I think in a gender reversed situation, i’d feel the same way. I’ve met clingy guys going out with more social butterfly women, who want them to hang out more (and yes, are kinda whiny any annoying) because they just don’t want to go out. Haven’t you ever seen “I love you, Man” — that’s what i’m imagining is the case here.
if either one ‘prevented’ the other from going out with friends, yes, that is at risk of being a controlling psychopath.
ktfran August 16, 2012, 12:22 pm
Read MWF Seeking BFF. (Married White Female Seeking Best Friend Forever). She chronicles her quest to find friends. She also has a blog about the subject.
Friendships are important. If you have trouble making friends, this book might help.
AmyRenee August 16, 2012, 4:44 pm
I was going to suggest this book too! I haven’t read it, but my sister has, and she has commented more than once that its hard to make friends when she is at this stage in her life – she doesn’t have kids yet, but she’s over the “go out and get drunk every weekend” stage.
TaraMonster August 16, 2012, 11:58 am
What about your boyfriend’s friends- don’t they have significant others, or at least women they’re seeing?
About 2 yrs ago I met someone who I consider one of my best friends now. She was dating one of my boyfriend’s friends. I knew he wasn’t serious about her and she wasn’t a permanent fixture in our group. If I wanted to be friends with her past a few couples dates, I’d have to flat out tell her. My exact phrasing was: “I like you. I’m keeping you.” And I did. I called her and asked her if she wanted to go to the beach. They broke up not long after, and we just continued our friendship. His loss was my gain!
I live near where I grew up, so I do have the majority of my close friends nearby. But a lot of them are going through life changing events- like buying homes an hour outside the city and having babies.
A lot of them are not able to jump on the subway for a spontaneous happy hour or breakfast and yoga in the middle of the week. Ya gotta put yourself out there. What happens if your relationship DOES end? You need a support system. I also have friends from sports league, and work, and I make sure to connect with people I find fun or interesting that I meet at parties or whatever. Meeting new people is one of the best things in life. Don’t sell yourself short. 🙂
buttoned August 16, 2012, 12:23 pm
LW, I’ve been there. I sort of am there. I wrote in the forum about being there. But, you gotta make some effort! Invite, say hello, smile, and keep trying. For me, I had to lower my expectations. I kept comparing myself to college strangers and friends around me who had this large gaggle of friends that they constantly hung around. But I realized that that’s not me, and I’m more of a few close friends and more fair-weather friends whom you call up to go out or do a certain thing. And I have that. I just have been comparing it to others way of friendship and it got me so DOWN.
Also, I had to limit time with my boyfriend. We just entered a LDR a couple weeks ago, but before, we went to the same college, and lived 10 mins apart. I made it a goal to limit seeing him once during the weekdays, and then hang out with him on the weekends, or on special occasions, or shared events. Otherwise, I would probably coop myself up with him every day and not hang out with other people, try to meet others, or do the many clubs I’m in.
I agree that your boyfriend should have you tag-along with his friends once in a while, unless you’re refusing or he just doesn’t want you around his friends, which could be a problem..
BriarRose August 16, 2012, 1:29 pm
Making friends is a little bit like dating. Obviously you’ve had success in that department, so apply that to other aspects of your personal life. Next time you meet a girl who seems cool, bite the bullet and ask her if you can get drinks sometime, hang out, whatever. Exchange numbers, then actually follow up with her. If you hang out a time or two and it’s not really jiving–ok, don’t hang out again. If she’s cool, hopefully a friendship will develop. Repeat several times until you have a few friends in your life, and be sure to nurture those friendships!
You have to make the effort. It’s scary/tough/daunting, but if you don’t try, nothing will happen. Friends won’t magically fall into your lap. And if you keep relying on your boyfriend for all companionship, what will you do if you break up? Who will you talk to about it?
And just so you know that it IS possible, I met a lady at the airport in May 2005 who was nice but seemed a little too high-strung for my taste…she asked me for my number, we hung out a few times, and she is, to this day, one of my closest and dearest friends. And I now totally get her awesome sense of humor that made her appear high strung to me that day over 7 years ago.
Roxy84 August 16, 2012, 4:12 pm
What is it with so many people being really concerned about being close to their family? It’s weird. I mean, I think it’s NICE that I live in the same city as my parents, so I can get free dinner on Sundays and get my mom to pick me up cheap liquor when she goes to Costco, but it’s also kind of a hassle to have to plan my Sundays around a 6pm dinner EVERY week, and be forced to buy my brother’s gf bday/xmas gifts. I lived in NY for a couple years, and while I missed my family, there’s certainly something to be said for the 3-5 day visits where everything is happy and no one makes you do the dishes…
MMcG August 16, 2012, 5:15 pm
I think everyone should experience time away from hometown/family… even if it’s just for a 6 week camp program in a neighboring state. Growing pains suck but like many activities its easier and tends not to be as painful the younger you are when you try it (like riding a bike, skiing, kissing, etc.) 😉
MMcG August 16, 2012, 5:20 pm
and the bonus is… if you choose to stay/be in your hometown you are actually making a conscious decision based on personal experience instead of just running home like your Linus missing your blankey. I grew much fonder of home living away, plus you have no idea how many regional differences there are in the country until you move around and what you think is normal isn’t!
step August 16, 2012, 9:00 pm
Thank you everyone for your comments and suggestions I really do appreciate it. I have definitely made a few friends that I grab a bite with every once in a while but some of them are not capable of hanging out every time I want to due to financial state, kids, work schedules etc., I also feel like if I meet new people I might find someone else that I have more in common with and leave my bfax. I don’t want to sound cocky at all but I do get approached a lot by men when I’m out and what if one day I can’t turn one down , I don’t want to break anyones heart so I guess by trying to prevent that I’m hurting myself ?
katie August 16, 2012, 9:12 pm
“what if one day I can’t turn one down”
ohh wow. thats not the way that relationships work. in a healthy relationship, you dont come to a point where you “cant turn one down”
jlyfsh August 16, 2012, 9:42 pm
yeah yikes here too. i mean sure i talk to men while i’m out with friends too. men that i’m only friends with and i will keep that way. you act like you have no control in the situation and the truth of the matter is you have all the control. honestly, with your attitude i can kind of see why you’re having a hard time making friends. you’re really worried that by putting yourself out there to make friends you’re going to meet someone new’? maybe your friend situation isn’t the issue at all.
and is bfax a real term? is it slang? am i that old?
LadyinPurpleNotRed August 16, 2012, 9:57 pm
1.I’m 22 and I’ve never heard of bfax either.
2. And seriously Step?! That’s one of the worst reasons I’ve heard not to put yourself out there to try to make friends. If that’s a serious worry of yours, like everyone else has said, you are not in the right relationship.
SpaceySteph August 17, 2012, 2:01 am
Re #1: Urban dictionary has nada. I think it’s not a thing.
jlyfsh August 17, 2012, 6:28 pm
ok i feel better, i was like, really? bfax what? haha
theattack August 16, 2012, 9:50 pm
No offense, step, but if you have such little real commitment to your boyfriend that you would leave him for someone else you met, maybe that’s not such a bad idea. In a healthy relationship, you can look and drool over other guys while you’re out, but ultimately you realize that what you have at home is better than whatever those guys have to offer.
McLovin August 16, 2012, 10:58 pm
There’s an enormous gap between being sociable, and being “available.” Everyday, all over the world, people in relationships interact with the opposite sex. It’s life. You really don’t sound like you’re at all happy with your relationship, which is fine. Just don’t use your boyfriends social life as an excuse because you don’t trust yourself around other men.
ele4phant August 17, 2012, 12:53 am
This is a fake, right?
If you meet someone that you “can’t turn down” maybe your boyfriend is not the right person for you. Why would you cling to someone who is wrong for you?
Conversely, maybe you have some issues you need to work out if you are so easily swayed from a great relationship.
Either way, the answer is not to isolate yourself from the rest of the world so you don’t have to deal with any unpleasantness that may result from being in a bad relationship or having deep seated issues.
theattack August 17, 2012, 2:04 am
I’m glad you pointed out that it could be personal issues instead of a bad relationship. I hadn’t thought of that.
SpaceySteph August 17, 2012, 1:50 am
I’m late to the party (overnight shift blues) but I feel the LW’s pain (although I don’t necessarily endorse the way she is handling it) so I want to chime in…
First of all, yes it’s hard to make friends. I moved after graduation to a new place (Texas, actually) and was 1000 miles from home and my awesome friend circle to be dropped in a new place all alone. Especially if you work in a job where most of the people are at a different point in their life than you, and so have different priorities, making friends can be hard. But there are other places to meet people your own age and circumstance- church, group exercise classes, a volunteer organization (a friend of mine volunteered at the science museum here- how cool is that?).
Also since you point out in your comment that people don’t want to spend the money to go out… throw a little get together at your place. You don’t have to spend money to have a good time. Buy a few bottles of wine ($25 max), rent a redbox ($1) and invite some girl friends.
Second of all, when I moved I had an LDR with my college boyfriend who was still in school. I was admittedly a little jealous and frustrated. He was back home with all the same friends and familiar places, and it felt like he really didn’t understand what I was going through. He couldn’t understand without experiencing it, and since he was far away, he couldn’t really help me either. But your boyfriend is established where you are. He knows people. If you haven’t, talk to him about how lonely you feel. Don’t make it about him and all his fun, but about yourself and your desire to meet more people. Ask to be included- occasionally, not all the time- when he goes out and for him to introduce you to his friends and their girlfriends and extended friend circle to see if something clicks. I can understand him not wanting you to crash a weekly guys night, but does he never ever want to hang with you and his friends at the same time? Because that’s not really a good sign.
And finally, the homesickness. I had a pair of coworkers who were dating. They broke up because one did not plan to stay here long term (she is from the northeast and came for the job but didn’t see it as a permanent post) and the other was born local and intended to grow old here. If you miss your family and never plan to make Georgia your permanent home, does your boyfriend know that? Is he amenable to moving back to Texas with you some day if that’s what you want? After 3 years in a relationship, its certainly time (if not well past time) to discuss your future plans. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 20? If those visions don’t match, then you are not the right match for each other. Being together does take compromises, no doubt about it, but if you cannot possibly be happy unless you live under an hour from home then you have yourself a dealbreaker. It will be difficult, and you may worry about being alone in Georgia, but becoming single might be the push you need to go out and find some better friends since you’ll have nothing else to cling to/hide behind.
step August 17, 2012, 6:22 pm
He definitely includes me more than not when hanging with his friends. It’s just those nights I’m not included that get to me and I can’t help that lonely feeling. I have registered for a church group and I plan on volunteering at the local animal shelter.. I love animals! We’ll see how that goes. I’m just worried that i get too involved in someth ing that that could break us up too, causing lack of time together. I know I think too much ugh!
Eagle Eye August 17, 2012, 6:45 pm
That is not true, getting involved in something is only a good thing. Its really a lie to say that busy people can’t make relationships work. If you have one and it is good, then you need to do what you need to do in order to make friends/ a life for yourself. If he is a good one, then your relationship will probably only strengthen because of it.