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!