I’m a very fortunate person. Many people in my life have been there for more than 20 years…some for 50! I love my friends and always look forward to seeing them. Here’s my dilemma: my friends have very full lives. They have great, responsible jobs and families and interesting hobbies; that’s what makes them interesting people to be around. The flip side is that I have to make plans to see them weeks in advance. There is also the distance factor; many of them live more than one-half hour away; some more than an hour (when we make plans we meet somewhere in between).
I really don’t have any “proximate” friends, especially now that I have moved. Nobody to just spontaneously say, “Hey…you want to go get a cup of coffee?” This has been the case for most of my grown-up life. So I have learned to go for walks alone, go shopping alone. I certainly don’t want to let it keep me housebound. But here’s the chicken-or-the-egg aspect: Do people not invite me to do things because they think I am self-sufficient? That I WANT to be alone? Did I create this persona? Sometimes I wonder if I didn’t cause this in some way (certainly it is too painful to think that nobody wants to be around me…I try NOT to go there).
I have to admit, it bothers me that I don’t have any “hangout” friends anymore, like I had in my twenties. We were single and went out to clubs every weekend…until the boyfriends came into the picture and “grown-up” life took over.
But it isn’t necessarily an age thing. My brother and sister-in-law are middle-aged and they have “hangout” friends; people they see just about every weekend. There’s no need to make plans; it is just assumed they are going to see each other. One of the people I would call one of my closest friends (the closest thing I have to a sister) has “hangout” friends, who happen to be family; they are her cousins. Every weekend they are at her house. If I were to call, she would invite me over too, but I’m not part of the “group.”
I know I’m not alone in this. I remember an episode of the 1990′s TV show, “Wings.” The couple in the show wanted to find another couple to do things with: they were looking for “hangout” friends. They met a couple they thought could fit the bill. They did a few things together, but then all of a sudden the other couple started making excuses, and they wondered what happened. It came out that their new friends felt they were too “desperate” and “clingy” and didn’t want to be around them.
So what’s the answer? If you are self-sufficient and try to enjoy your own company, people don’t think you want to see them or don’t need them. Yet you don’t want to have people invite you to do things out of pity or duty.
Just wondering…how many of you out there have “hangout” friends, and how did you meet them?