I used to be a lot closer to my family than I am these days, and I don't have a lot of friends. It seems like family used to mean more years ago than it does now. I used to wonder if that was just my way of thinking as I've grown more distant from my own, but no. Last year someone from hubby's family was talking about the same thing on Facebook. It used to be that we'd go visit people. As kids we knew our cousins. We went to family reunion picnics every summer. We went to extended family graduations and weddings and whatnot. Is it once again social media changing our ways?
I've never been a social butterfly. Even when I would go to such events, I'd be sitting quietly, awkwardly, off to the side and only talking to the people who I went there with. Over time it got easier to just not attend these functions. Send a card because we don't really know each other anyway, and be done with it. But now it's gotten to be that way with my own family too. (I mean my brothers and sisters, not my husband and sons.) I see them less and less. Some of them still hang out more often because they have common interests, but there don't seem to be the 'no real occasion' get-togethers anymore. Granted, we all do have some crazy schedules, and my sister is farther out of state than ever before. For me, when I have time off I'm usually wanting to get things done around home and just relax. That does not help in keeping family bonds strong, I know.
I've never had a lot of friends. I've always just sort of gotten along with everyone, but never had the tight bunch that I'd hang out with. I've always had self confidence issues, so I'm not the type to get all dolled up and 'go out with the girls.' I'm not a bar or club or party person. I'm not a clothes and makeup, mani/pedi/hair person. I'm not very spontaneous. I guess I tend to be a boring person to try and hang out with. Still, I used to do it more than I do now.
I'm painfully shy and self-conscious. It might not seem like it, the way I natter away here online. But it's easy to 'talk' to people and have a million 'friends' online. I can do that safely from home, and not worry that I'm fat and my clothes are out of style, and still feel secure behind my personal walls. I'm the kind of person who warms up to others slowly and then needs almost constant contact to feel at ease with you. Some people can go years without talking to someone and pick up right where they left off. I am soooo not that person. I have no contact with anyone I went to school with. When I first got into Facebook, I thought it would be so fun to find all my own classmates and see what everyone's up to. Over the past few years I have had people from school send me friend requests. But I realized one day that if they haven't cared about me in the past 30 years, and we've had no contact, I don't need them in my life now. I ignore friend requests from them now. My high school days were the worst of my life. I don't need to be reminded of them by having those people push their fake friendship on me now.
I've had very few friends in my adult life, and it's probably my own fault that they all drift away because I've become such an anti-social homebody. Again, my crazy work schedule doesn't help because when I have days off during the week, my would-be friends are working. When they're off on the weekends, *I* am working. Working till 7pm doesn't help either. There are times though when I get soooo dang lonely for someone to just go shopping with, or go visit this or that place with. Hubby's usually willing to do things with me but sometimes it's just not the same. I think it would be more fun to kill time at the mall or visit little local shops with a girl friend than a husband.
And now with this distance in my family too, it makes the usual family get-togethers an awkward chore for me. I don't like it being that way, but that's how it's become. I've become all paranoid these days that my sisters-in-law don't like me, and that hubby is just tolerated for courtesy sake. I have no real proof of this. It just comes from the lack of contact. When the few awkward attempts I have made at reestablishing contact have been met with (in my opinion) little interest, it doesn't help matters. I've turned down two 'just because' invitations in the past year because family members are strangers to me now. It's like a weird vicious circle! I say there are no random get-togethers, and then I turn down two. If I want things to change, I need to help in that change. I know.
Most of the time I think I'm content with the safe haven of my anti-social ways. Then I hear crap about how people with friends live longer and have less health issues. People with tight family bonds, and a large circle of support live healthier and happier lives. So then I stress more about the fact that I'm *supposed* to have friends, than over the fact that I don't have them in the first place. What's a person to do?
And are people you only talk to online really friends?