Sunday, December 11, 2011

Is is Possible to Survive Without Friends? Yes, I'm Living Proof.

So you may have stumbled upon my blog for a number of reasons. Perhaps you feel like you don't have as many friends as you'd like or non at all. Whatever the reason, don't despair. You're in good company.

In today's technologically connected world a staggering amount of people are becoming connected yet disconnected with social networks and real life friends. First, let me give you some background about myself and how I arrived here.

I'm 31 years old, from Minneapolis, MN and am an office worker. Growing up I was always shy. People called me "sensitive" which quickly became a word I hated but later in life came to terms with. I was always the wallflower. I hated to be called on in class. I had a few close knit friends that I hung out with. I realize now looking back that each of my friends initiated the friendship. I never initiated any of them. I went to college, actually many colleges, never to graduate, but I accrued many (I don't exaggerate here) school loans. However, I never made anymore friends than I had when I was young.

During college as often happens, I lost touch and had a falling out with most if not all of my friends I had from high school. Unfortunately for me, I hadn't made any new friends to replace them so I felt depressed. I changed schools and jobs so often in my early and mid 20s that I never really connected much with anyone I attended college with or worked with. I did, however, connect with several long term girlfriends which were my sanctuary from my life without friends.

In 2009, I got married to my lovely wife. She understood that I had no friends and perhaps was a bit worried that I would become too co-dependent. This has always been a worry for me, but I realize I'm not like others.

I have social anxiety but it's not severe, so I'm able to maintain conversations and enjoy the company of others. However, that's as far as I take it. I connect with people just enough but not too much as to start a friendship. I also have very little opportunities to meet and create new friendships now that I'm older.

With all that said, I'm happy. That might surprise some of you in similar situations, but I am. Sure, I have days where my lack of friendship does affect me. However, I know that with my personality I am my own best friend. I bounce ideas around in my head long before ever acting on them. I blog about many topics including this one which helps as an outlet. I have friends at work, but again that's as far as it goes.

It may seem selfish, but there's a certain amount of freedom that comes with the lack of friends. It can be lonely, but it also is invigorating at times. It's a wonderful feeling when you don't have to wonder what to do on a Friday or Saturday night. When you don't have drama in a group of friends. When every social encounter you have has a clear beginning and an end.

I am seeing a therapist about my inability to form lasting social relationships besides my wife, but I don't think there's really anything inherently wrong with me. I am a good person, I work hard, I enjoy my down time, I love my wife, I love my growing baby inside her already. Life is good. I think my biggest problem is accepting my situation sometimes but after accepting it I realize I like my life.

So if you share my lifestyle, welcome. I have heard it's much more common these days with how much technology we have and how disconnected socially we all are. It's nothing to be ashamed of. You didn't become friendless because you are less of a person. It's just who you are, it's in your DNA. My advice would be not to fight it, embrace it, and love and accept yourself for who you are.

1 comment:

  1. Hello--I'm in Minneapolis, too! I have the problem of being an extrovert and making acquaintances, but my therapist says that my natural personality is such that it turns a lot of people off before they get a chance to know me better, and that I can't really do anything about it. I had a circle of closer friends but they all got married and so they don't have any time to spend together anymore. So I'm trying to learn how to kill my desire for close relationships. I stumbled upon this article via Google and am looking forward to exploring your blog more. Thank you so much for posting this!