On Loneliness, Friendships & Anxiety

The below is a bit of a brain dump but has been sitting around in my thoughts for awhile and I wanted to share. I always want to be honest about my anxiety and especially with coming back to blogging I made a promise to write for me, and this is what I needed to write. Thanks for reading.

I fully admit that I enjoy being alone and am a major homebody, but I am also lonely. I want to go out with friends, but sometimes I’d rather stay home. Then I stay home too much and decline invites, but I wind up with FOMO when I see pictures of everyone getting together on social media.

I fully admit that I enjoy being alone and am a major homebody, but I am also lonely. I want to go out with friends, but sometimes I’d rather stay home. Then I stay home too much and decline invites, but I wind up with FOMO when I see pictures of everyone getting together on social media.

It’s a never ending cycle and I can’t win.

Anxiety & Friendships | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

But I kind of feel like it’s always been this way… I had a group of friends in junior high/high school but felt like an outsider at times. Same in college (although I am still amazing friends with two girls and I adore our friendship). But I was never one of those people who had a core group of friends that they traveled throughout the years with.

Dave has a group of friends dating back to high school. He’s almost 40! Yes, they don’t all stay in touch as much as they used to, but they’re there. Our kids are now friends with each other. I don’t have that.

I know a lot of it is my fault because I’m a homebody and I’m somewhat of a private person. I need to put myself out there more to go and hang out with people I meet and make friends.

Anxiety also gets in the way a lot. I have social anxiety (among other types) and will hype myself up and what-if myself to the brink before a social engagement and nine times out of 10 that will cause me to back out of plans. When I do push through and go I obviously have a great time and don’t regret it but often the effort it takes to get to the point of going is so exhausting that I simply can’t. Or the buildup is too much and it literally makes my chest hurt and I stay home.

Right now I have a lot of acquaintances but I want friends. People who will text me just because they saw something that reminded me of them. Or who will drop by with a coffee if I’m feeling sad, or just come sit and hang out with wine and a TV show.

I’m also tired of being the instigator. Not in a negative way, but I feel like I am always the one to reach out for a play date for Sadie or to try and go out/get together. There is one friend I’m making who is really good at reaching out but I feel like she is in the minority. Is it me? Is it them? I just don’t know and it makes me sad a lot of the time.

It also doesn’t help that we moved to a neighborhood where we didn’t know anyone and we also both work full time. There is a definite difference in how being a SAHM vs a working mom affects relationships/friendships. And it’s hard.

I’m not sure what the right answer here is, or if there is any, but thanks for listening (reading.)

Comments

  1. I’m the exact same as you. I don’t have any friends from high school. I did have a core group in college and I’m still friends with most of them but none of them live here. It’s hard to make friends as an adult! I go to a book group and I mostly feel like an outsider when we meet. Mostly everyone else has much younger kids than me and it makes me feel awkward. I have social anxiety too. Too bad we don’t live near each other!

  2. I totally get the weird balancing act of maintaining your solitude while not getting overwhelmed with loneliness. I have this bad habit of getting really lonely and then setting up a bunch of coffees/lunch dates to counteract it, and then getting really overloaded by all the socializing and retreating back into myself for a long period… at which time I get super lonely again. Repeat. If I could only figure out how to plan ahead. One coffee date every two weeks, maybe. That seems like a good amount to stave off the loneliness without driving myself crazy! I don’t know if this works for you, but I also have a much more difficult time socializing if it’s a big group. So my husband and I will set up a night out with one other couple, that’s it. And it feeds my need to be social without being overwhelming (plus, I have my husband there with me as a buffer).

    • I definitely understand that cycle! And I’m ok in big groups if I know people OR if I have my husband with me most of the time, its the solo stuff that gets me. But planning smaller couple dates may help too – thanks for the advice. 🙂

  3. I don’t deal with anxiety and I don’t have a kid, but I feel you on the whole thing of being a homebody (and introvert thriving on me-time), but also wanting to have a core group of (local!) friends.
    I have a ton of good friends I would probably hang out more with IF they only lived anywhere close to me.
    Making new friends takes so much time and effort that I often can’t muster up.
    San recently posted…December Link LoveMy Profile

    • Yes same! I have a great group of friends from post-college but now we’re scattered around and some of us have kids so its harder to get together.

  4. Same same same. (Minus the kids thing, but still same.) I had friends in Chicago, but we didn’t hang out much, rarely texted just because… Right now I have one person that I text daily, send silly things just because it reminds me of them… but… yeah, all of that is sort of a whole different thing. Any friends I actually feel like I have are all online. Which is fine. But sometimes I want someone local I can go check out restaurants or bars — or just have someone else there when I need an opinion about clothing. Maybe after I get settled after grad school.
    Rini recently posted…2019: Let’s do this.My Profile

  5. I relate to this a LOT. I got lucky and developed that ‘core’ group of friends later in life, but we still all live an hour (or more) away from each other, so we can’t see each other that much. But for the longest time – up through college – I could never find that solid group friendship thing and I always felt like I was doing something wrong. I also feel like even with my group (and all of my other one-off friendships), I’m the instigator. If I don’t text, I could go for weeks and weeks without hearing from anyone.

    Also, the anxiety has been really bad for me in recent years. My physical reactions to anxiety are stomach-related, so even if I try to push myself through it, I still end up feeling sick. I’ve been cancelling a lot lately, and I feel like every time I have a bad experience (trying to go somewhere, feeling sick, and backing out at the last second) it just adds fuel to my anxiety for the next time. As much as it sucks, it’s actually comforting in a weird way to know that I’m not the only one who’s anxiety does this to them. <3
    Cait recently posted…Belated 2019 Goal SettingMy Profile

    • I’m sorry your anxiety manifests in such a physical way – that must be so hard. <3 Just know I understand and am here for you!

  6. You KNOW I understand you so much on this. I am very lucky in that I joined a book club in my mid-20s and these ladies ended up becoming my closest confidantes and soulmates. But I also never had that close group in high school and certainly not in college, so I started adulthood with my mom as my only friend (lol, how sad) and maybe some coworkers but we never hung out outside of work. It took me a year and a half to summon the courage to join the book club!

    “When I do push through and go I obviously have a great time and don’t regret it but often the effort it takes to get to the point of going is so exhausting that I simply can’t.” I related to this line SO much. YES. There is so much mental effort involved in every social outing, and it’s so exhausting. And then I need a few days to come down from all the anxiety I experienced before said event! It’s so much.

    Anyway, I feel you girl, and this is one of the things they never told you about adulthood, it seems.
    Stephany recently posted…What I’m Reading (1.23.19)My Profile

    • AMEN. We should be each other’s social anxiety cheerleaders lol. You text me when you’re anxious about going out and I’ll RAH RAH you into it, and then the same for me 😉

  7. Oh gosh… I could have written this exact post! I had a group of friends in junior high and high school but always felt like the tag-a-long-er of the group, like the outlier. In college, I made some friends but lost touch with most over the years since college. I now have a group of friends from grad school but we’re all scattered everywhere so it’s so hard to get together and when we do, we just talk mainly about work, which is nice to have a group who understands! I have a couple friends from the gym but life happens and we drift apart now and then. I’d love to have that core group of friends who get together on the weekends with our kiddos and just hangout and drink wine while the kiddos play!

    I’d love to join a book club or something, but I have no idea how to go about finding one to join and even if I did, my social anxiety would make it SO HARD to go!

    It’s just so nice to see that I’m not alone in my social anxiety/awkwardness and wanting that core group! Too bad we don’t live close!

    • I’m glad my post resonated with you (although not glad that you have the same feelings!) I feel the same about a book club unless it was with people I already knew I doubt I’d go. I have thought about a digital book club but it’s not really the same. And although we don’t live close that’s no reason we can’t be friends! Drop me a line anytime. <3

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