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Guest Post: Is it better to walk alone or persevere with boring friendships?

October 21, 2010 | By | 11 Replies Continue Reading

by Hadyn Thomas

The most important thing to me is my friendships. It is true that I do not have very many friends. I have found this to be the best way. Having many friends always seemed like a crazy idea to me. How can you be expected to give time to yourself and many friends without burning yourself out?

My theory has a major flaw in it, which I am only just discovering. What happens when you discover that the few friends you have are people with whom you no longer have anything in common?

This year (2010) has been a rather strange one for me. I have noticed my desires, wants, and wishes are shifting and changing. They no longer match what they have been for so many years before. This shifting is starting to cause cracks to appear in my friendships and creating a void between them and me. Have you ever experienced this and how did you get through it?

The most striking thing that has happened is how I feel and view my friends. As cruel as this may appear, I am finding my friendships unfulfilling, uninspiring, unchallenging and boring. They are terribly stale. Is this normal and just something that comes and goes?

Turkish Boredom

After spending the last two weeks in Turkey with three friends, it has seriously brought my feelings about my friendships to the centre of my thoughts. Very often, I was bored rigid with their company.

They were happy to sit, read, eat, drink, sleep and read some more. I was craving stimulating conversation and exploring the area of Turkey we were staying in. How was I supposed to compete with Stephen King, James Herbert and J.R.R. Tolkien? Trust me, I tried but in the end, I was fed up with trying to start conversations. It was clear that out of the four of us I was the odd one. I desired conversation and interaction and they preferred solitude and to disappear into three different worlds of fiction. For me, the real world is far more interesting.

 

The best time of the holiday for me was when I was alone and exploring the parts of Avsallar that are not frequented by Europeans. I discovered a very private and quiet Turkish village up in the mountains. I would love to have shared that with a friend – I was apparently on holiday with three people who hold the title of friend but the shops, drinking, pool and books were far more appealing than exploration, or my company. Am I reading into this all wrong or is it actually I that is the problem?


Facebook Coma

When I returned to England, I discovered that my mental state did not change. When I logged onto Facebook I felt suddenly depressed just reading over what I missed over the two weeks I was away. It was clear that all I had missed was how drunk most “friends” had managed to get, what they had eaten, who they had had sex with, who had trashed who and what was happening on X Factor. I swear I felt a coma setting in. It was clear I had missed nothing. Can you relate or are we on very different pages?

The only “friends” on Facebook that lifted my spirits were those who spoke of real issues, which added up to a couple of people.

I have sat back and wondered if I have just grown into a bit of a snob but I think that is unfair because I cannot help what I find dull and boring. I simply cannot get all excited about getting drunk, eating like a pig or what is happening on X Factor. I certainly get nothing out of reading about sexual conquests. Does this make me a snob? I so hope you answer no to that question.

 

Perhaps I am sad but I am more interested in what is happening to my friends on a far more personal level and yes, politics, world affairs, debates and current events do excite me a great deal more. When a friend wrote me about her son and another about his challenges in moving I was thrilled because that is what I crave in my friendships.


Gay Socialising is Boring

Gay socialising is also another major problem for me. For many years, it has been convenient to use my social phobia and Britain-phobia against me as an excuse that I do not wish to go out. I think we need to drop the bull and face the truth here.

My friends prefer to go to gay pubs and then to gay nightclubs. When I was younger, I did find both these activities fun but now I find both excessively dull and unexciting. I receive no pleasure from standing around talking with a load of drunken gay people in a dark building with cacophonous “music” screaming out and trying to deafen me.

It does seem tragic to me to see men over thirty trying to be twenty-five and below, or worse trying to bed men that age. I have no desire to be that age again. I would much prefer to go to a restaurant and partake in some interesting conversation over a nice meal and a glass of wine. It is sad that the only way to see and socialise with my friends is to do stuff I take no pleasure in. Am I simply a boring or insane person for being like this?

Homophobia

Gay society and people just do not interest me in the way they used to, which has led me to be called homophobic quite often (that words gets thrown around nearly as much as racist) but I cannot help the way I feel. It often feels that to be part of gay society you have to watch X Factor, get excited about Madonna and Kylie, drink a lot, hang out in boring bars and nightclubs, tragically try to hold onto youth and if at all possible have sex with very young men. This lifestyle does not appeal to me. Yes, this is a generalisation and I am sure plenty of gay men share my view – the problem is I simply do not know any.

Death of Friendship

I never enjoy ending a friendship because I love the person or we would not be friends in the first place. My problem is that I am beating myself up over the real motives behind my change of feelings. Why do I no longer find such trivial stuff that interesting and why do I crave more meaningful and “real” issues? Why do I instantly switch off and grow bored when I read or hear about sexual encounters, X Factor or how much drink a person has consumed in a very short space of time? Why do I look upon these people as tragic and sad and think they need to grow up and get a life?

Is there a solution to this? Is it simply a case of I am changing and drifting away from my present friends or is there something else going on that I have overlooked? Is this something that has already happened to you? If so, how did you deal with it? Must I really take the drastic step of ending the friendships that no longer give me anything?

The other fear is that I will simply end up being a lonely person because I will never find friends to whom I can relate. Clearly, the risk with this thought is that I settle for second or third best and remain unfulfilled, unchallenged, uninspired and very unhappy, which cannot be good.

Whatever the solution or whatever happens it is clear that I am changing and my desires have shifted. I will never be able to get excited about sexual conquests, X Factor, Kylie, Madonna or how much drink a person has damaged their body with. Going out to gay bars and nightclubs will never excite me or interest me and I will always appear homophobic because of my alternative views.

I guess I have to make some tough decisions or just accept the change and differences and see if I can make it all work. If you have been through this or are going through this I would be so happy to hear what you have to say and how you dealt with it.

 

Hadyn Thomas: I am presently at university studying towards a history degree. In my personal life, I am dealing with mental illness, which led me to start writing my own blog. Expressing my thoughts and feelings about the world and discovering what others think is helping me. I am at a crossroad in my life regarding friendships, relationships and sexuality.

 

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Category: KEEPING FRIENDS

Comments (11)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m in my 50s and going through something similar. I don’t see any of my “friends” anymore because we don’t have anything in common anymore. They bore me. I have more fun by myself, but sometimes I want to do something in particular that I wish I had someone to do it with, but I don’t know anyone who might be interested so I end up not going myself. I’ve had people tell me I should join groups, but I’m not really a group kind of person.

    I don’t know, maybe we all just go through these shifts at different stages in our lives. Maybe it’s natural. Mine seems to be taking a long time though and I don’t really know what to do about it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am going through the painful (but necessary) process of the recent break up with a best friend. We ran into each other yesterday on the bus, and she ignored me like she did not even know me.
    Through this time, I’ve been doing what I can to make new friends, and catch up with old friends from school.
    I cannot related much to high school friends, it seems like they are all doing the same thing, its boring and I don’t find that I get much fulfillment from it.
    Its taken me a while, but I have started to enjoy my own company a lot more! the only thing worse than being alone imo, is being around people and feeling alone… because at least by yourself you can dream out loud! I have created life adventures for myself…
    I have been meeting new people… it is not as bad as I thought it would be!
    The other cool thing is I started working out more, my personal obsession is with understanding nutrition, yet facebook friends get more excited over pigging out and food pictures. It is what it is.
    I’m a 32 year old girl now, but back then… my english teacher in school… once said in class something that will always stick with me, that in ones own imagination,lies unlimited potential to do and become anything, and I realize that in working toward my personal goals, I’m not lonely, I’m involved. When I need breaks, I go out, and party hard! Then I don’t hang out with anyone for a while. I tell them I’m busy. Someday I will have a best friend, till then, I can focus on family, and enjoying who I meet in that moment for that moment alone.
    Sorry to go on a rant.. haha.. point is, it will be okay! This is a journey, and things DO get better (even if the getting to better part sucks)

    Happy New Years! Its gonna be a great one!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I will just echo what some have already stated. You are growing up and discovering who you are inside. I am struggling with this also, which is why I found this site. Please continue to grow, discover and embrace your desires and yourself. People come in and out of our lives constantly…some stay some don’t…but they all teach us something along the way. Your current friends are teaching you about yourself, which is priceless! I wish you the best in your journey.

  4. jacuzzigirl78 says:

    Wow, I relate to so much of this particular thread. Personally, I’d rather have fewer great friends then a ton of crappy ones. I never understood the idea of not being selective in who you do/do not have in your life.

    I too have realized (after a few huge wake up calls over the last year) that I need to “pull the weeds out of my Zen garden.”

    The idea of going to Turkey just to read books/getting sloshed/hooking up with women is a tad odd to me. I can relate to the idea of doing some reading though (as it can be relaxing) but the things your “friends” were doing can be easily accomplished at home. What I have done in situations like this is to discuss the stuff you’d like to see and learn about while you are on vacation (touristy/non touristy stuff alike). If they are not contributing to this discussion, they should not go with you on vacation. I am not saying that you need to have a rigid schedule of stuff but some sort of “wish list” and try your best to get to everything that you can on a pleasant pace.

    I am glad to hear that you didn’t wait around for them to get on board. It us unfortunate that this lesson came at a price (literally and figuratively) but at least you know now.

    Just keep pushing forward with getting what you want out of life and people will either fade out or keep up. There is a grieving process with ending friendships (female to female) and I have found a great book to help me called “What did I do wrong?” with Liz Pryor. You might find some good nuggets of helpful info.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I thought the same – that I could have written a very similar post. I’m a single woman in her 40s and since high school, I’ve often felt out of step with other girls and women. I’ve always had lots of interests and take up new ones all the time, but I find many women really are just interested in shopping, celebrity gossip, reality TV, and finding a man (if they have a man, their focus is usually all on their kids). And that’s it. And I just can’t bring myself to care much about those things (a little can be fun).

    One other thing: As a non-drinker it always amazes me how central alcohol is the social life of many adults. I find that many literally cannot feel at ease in a social setting without drinking, and they need everyone else to drink as well. Not necessarily to get drunk, but they seem to need the ritual. So I wonder how many friendships are really just based on this shared ritual rather than genuine mutual interest.

  6. Anurag Srivastava says:

    “A friend is one who believes in you when you have ceased to believe in yourself.” plz add me as friend on Facebook. I need friends.

    Add me on Facebook

  7. Hayden, I could have written two-thirds of this post myself. You’ve taken the words right from my mouth. As a heterosexual I can’t claim to fully understand how you must feel but I do know what it feels like to be put in a box, to break free of that box and then find out you’re all alone.

    As a married woman in her forties with an only child (and fully grown at that), I have been struggling with keeping and making friends for years. I have always said that I seem to be missing the “Mother” gene. While I consider myself a good mother, it’s not all I am, nor is it all I want to be. Yet, I find so many women center their whole lives around their children, so much so that they either don’t want to have friends or if they do want to be friends with me, all they do is talk about their children. I can’t relate to them on any other level. I have always been interested in current events, culture, history, music, film and travel and I can’t find other women my age who care about these things or know enough to carry on a a conversation.

    I have also outgrown many friends who I eventually found quite boring for the reasons mentioned above. Like you I worried about making new friends and being alone. But I also felt disingenuous about forcing myself to care about someone I just didn’t care about anymore. I needed to be true to myself. Eventually, new friends started showing up.

    I think it’s natural to have ebb and flows in friendships and for you to outgrow friendships. Life is a journey and if you are growing and continuing to change that’s a good thing. To me, that means you’re still living.

    Btw, I didn’t realise you’re studying history. That’s so exciting. I only wish we lived closer to each other. We would have a blast cruising museums and historical sites together.

  8. Gert says:

    It sounds to me like you have grown up. When I was a child I did childish things, as an adolescent, I did adolescent things, now I am an adult and I crave adult things-mature conversation, lingering over beautiful scenery, etc If your friends don’t grow up at the same rate you do, then you find new friends.

  9. Suzan says:

    It sounds like you and I would be the best of friends!!! I know exactly what you mean!!! I feel glad to know that I am not alone.

    Suzan

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’ve come to realize that the idea of being “best friends” from grade school on up (or some equivalent) is just not how it works for a lot of people. People change as they grow older. Someone with whom you seemed to have everything in common takes a different track & your reason to have that closeness disappears.

    Yes, some of us maintain friendships for many years, but those friendships are able to change & evolve as we change. Otherwise the friendship dies. I’ve always found this to be very sad, & used to agonize over it. But i’ve come to recognize that it is just how things work.

  11. Anonymous says:

    It looks to me like you’re going into a new life stage, where you’re ready to shed many of your old friends — one door closing — and waiting in that long hallway before another door opens.

    You don’t say how old you are, but I went through something like you seem to be going through in my mid-twenties. All my fun friends of the early 20s in New York were spinning out of control — in rehab, having nonmarital babies from a one-night stand, one in a mental institution, just plain getting into all kinds of trouble, and still embracing a heavy partying, sleeparound life, while I was trying to make a serious relationship work, and trying to get financially stable.

    I went through a time where it didn’t feel like I had anything in common with old friends, and new ones were slow to appear on the horizon. I eventually met them when I changed careers. If you’re still in university — there ought to be a lot of potential friends around, but personally, I have only a few lasting friends from college, and many more from jobs.

    I think what you’re going through is very natural. I’m surprised that your gay friends don’t have more to talk about! In the US, we’ve got Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in the news every day, Hillary Clinton going on YouTube telling gay teenagers to hang-on, it’ll get better, in response to some horrific bullying/sucide/hate crimes. And I haven’t even got to “A List” …

    I’ve made online friends by getting involved in intelligent discussions about issues I feel strongly about. And some have tiurned into “live” friends as well. Hang in there!

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