Letting People In

Pic via mylittlepony.neoseeker.com

Friendship is Magic! Pic via mylittlepony.neoseeker.com

Do you let people into your life?

I like people, but as an introvert, I need a lot of time to myself. Especially since I supervise staff at work and provide public service as well, I retreat when I get home. Except for family, I limit my time with other human beings to what feels comfortable!

I have boundaries, but I am always negotiating them. How often do I want to go out? How often do I have to? Is there anyone I want to spend more time with – or anyone I want to avoid?

The team at work only gets together once a year for a holiday party, and likewise the managers’ group, so work and personal recreation don’t overlap much. As a “boss,” I do think twice about having personal friendships with some staff and not others. I tread carefully.

As regular readers know, I have a volunteer job that requires weekly and monthly meetings, tasks, phone calls and emails. I suppose I think of it as a part-time job, in that there is work to do and outcomes expected. For the in-person parts, I like the people I work with (especially my mentor/trainer in the role!) and we all get along. So the only stress from the job is workload and deadline-related, which is quite different from people problems.

I go to the local Unitarian church and attend their social events intermittently, and we all know each other well there.

I attend a book club and enjoy everyone’s company. I have missed a couple of meetings when I didn’t get the book read, and missed seeing everyone.

I have dinner with my parents every week, and see them more often if we have family celebrations. My brother and sister live nearby and we see each other every couple of weeks. My nephew spends one night a week with us.

Link is far enough away that we only see each other twice a year now, and I frequently remind myself of how sporadically I kept in touch with my parents for the first few years after I moved away! But we have a good relationship and it will go the distance. Rom and I only get to see his family once a year, but they are excellent about keeping in touch.

After all that, Rom and I are still home by ourselves about 4 nights a week, or we go out, just the two of us.

I feel I’m very different from many people I know who hang out with a group of friends, talk daily, go out together, and vacation together. I don’t call and text and Facebook a bunch of BFFs either!

At this age, I see a shift happening. Raising kids, no one had time to make new friends. Now, encountering empty-nesters like myself, we have more time. I run into people in all areas of my life now who are actively looking to make friends and restructure their leisure time – as I am. It’s refreshing. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll have a swolemate!



  1. It sounds like you are genuine person who is well grounded. I think you will add to any new friendship. All the best in your endeavors. My guess is you are right, there are like minded folks who are looking for same.

  2. Fiona

    I think that list actually adds up to a great deal of people, events and social management. Even things like having a nephew over once a week are a really big commitment. That is taxing too because it is opening up your personal space.

    I’m an introvert, too but I think I’m in a phase of life that means I have to push myself to be more extroverted than I would be naturally. My job is intensely people-focused. We’re also in that ‘parent of elementary schooler’ phase when there’s lots of social contact with other parents at school, functions, kids in and out of the house a lot, sports coaching, clubs etc. And I’m married to an extroverted extrovert who does organise the group holidays and BBQs and is always in the middle of the dance floor at any event (now that I think about it, he was dancing a tambourine serenade in the centre of the dance floor at an event a week or two ago.)

    Every now and then I just need to escape (literally) to the mountains for some solitude!

    • Yes, I have been in that whirlwind of kid activities and having their friends over and checking with their parents about things and so on. Both sides of my family once had annual family reunions so we would all hang out together for a couple of weekends each year; sadly that has mostly wound down. Despite the chaos, I hope you enjoy all this while it lasts! It really does create an empty space when you aren’t doing it any more.

      Rom has interesting contrasts; he is an introvert but he chats non-stop!?

  3. Kris

    Swolemate? Had to google that one. B and I are more like sheetmates. She knits and I read in bed!

  4. I’m an introvert, but Donna is not – she is always making plans (many of which include me but some that don’t). WIthout her, I’d probably end up with a house full of dogs.

    I also don’t have any work friends that I social with outside of work stuff – I have dog run friends and political activist friends (some of whom I see just for fun) – mostly I have Donna.

  5. Your social interaction looks very full to me. And balanced. I don’t mix socially with people from work either. I tend to hybernate during term time due to people overload and catch up during school hols. I enjoy being along; the 3 weeks with just Mr S was fine. I couldn’t stand having a friend that needed daily interaction. Nor do I understand that need. I wouldn’t have time, anyway. So any friend who thought they’d be getting that from me quickly drops away. Mr S and I don’t holiday with friends – which I kinda wished we did when our kids were younger but if I don’t live in someone’s pocket, that sort of relationship is hardly likely to develop just for holidays.

    As to swolemates, you’ve taught me another neologism. You hip, with-it thang!

  6. I often wonder, especially after the (Mairna Keyes?) book I just finished, why I don’t have friends I see and call daily and sometimes wish I did! But then, I don’t too!! I’m definitely more extroverted that the BF, but I think I’m an extrovert as needed, not always… as in, I shape shift for social events, but I don’t NEED people all the time. Just the right amount of the time :p

    Interestingly, with Lucinda’s point – my parents still yearn to travel with us, me being 30!! They wouldn’t travel with friends, but occasionally travel to see friends. I’ve travelled a few days with one couple I was close with, but it was just a ‘stopover’ on both our journeys, rather than the whole thing which I think was probably better.

    I think you do a lot for a self confessed introvert! Bookclub, church, your side ‘job’, your nephew, it all adds up!

  7. I consider myself an introvert as well. It seems to me you have a lot of on your social calendar – and a good mix of various groups of people. I’m in a period where many of my friends and colleagues have little kids and going out has become rare. (Compared to a few years ago when there was an impromptu gathering of some kind almost every Friday.) The extra time is quite nice but I have found that making new friends is much different than it was when I was in school!

    • I agree; I found that in university and my first job, everyone was open to making friends, but not so much since. I think people get entrenched in their lives and protect their space!

  8. I think your social circle is way bigger than mine! ^__^; I’m an introvert & I like to be with people but I NEED that me-time to recharge.

  9. Ginger R.

    I don’t let people in. I think I have a problem trusting people after episodes of betrayals by 2 close “friends” – once at age 16 and again at age 25. I don’t have any close friends now. Sounds so sad. I have someone I call a “best friend” and she calls me her BFF. But we haven’t seen each other in over 20 years. (We were best friends as teenagers.) We recently reconnected through Facebook and by phone. (Think I’ll go see her next week.) I may meet former coworkers for lunch once or twice a year but our communication is sporadic. My 3 sisters are probably my best friends. We text every day – just to check in with each other. Sometimes just to say goodnight. I’m close to a few cousins – and we may chat on Faceboom or by phone but we rarely get together. We see each other at our annual family reunion and there are many of us girl cousins around the same age – so we try to get together at least one other time during the year. My hubby is my other BFF. I’m content with things the way they are – except… I really need to get out of the house more. My last outing was 17 days ago when I went to the dentist. Now that’s sad.

    • Yep, I think 17 days is too much! If I have no plans, the most I can stay at home is 2 full days, then I at least have to go out to a coffee shop just to see and hear other people around! I wasn’t going to “go there,” but I also have some negative friend experiences and I haven’t had a BFF or really close female friends since my 20s. I like doing things with groups, and seeing relatives and long-distance friends, as you do. I did find it hard to meet new friends when everyone’s kids were young because families were so busy, but now I see more “mature” folks with space and time available in their lives, so that may change.

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