Exodus, Lament, and Rehabilitation

I’ve never had a huge network of friends. That’s not a woe is me statement: I like to have fewer, quality, long-term investment friends.  I enjoy meeting new people, but as a natural introvert who battles to appear extroverted to conform, for me it’s a long time before new people become non-energy-draining friends.  I find small-talk exhausting and stressful, though I’m getting better at handling it.

I’ve got a group of friends I love: spending time with them is akin to happiness therapy.  Duvet-encompassed happiness therapy.  I don’t have to fret that they don’t understand my odd sense of humour.  I need not worry that I’m going to say something tactless before my brain connects to my mouth, because though I doubtless will, they’ve known me a long time and they won’t mind.  I’m unconcerned they might believe me to have the IQ of a potato after witnessing me struggle to pull open a door, and requiring assistance to discern that it should, in fact, be pushed*.

I’m not one for peripheral ever-rotating fair-weather friendships.  It seems draining, superficial, and pointless.

Since I returned from New Zealand, a significant proportion of my friends have decided to move away from the UK.   Last year, JR moved to Paris to be with his lovely French husband.  Last month, Tall emigrated to Australia.  Last week, Activist accepted a fabulous job in New York: she leaves in May.  Fuzzy is talking about leaving for Australia in the next year.

I’ll never be short of places to stay in wonderful locations, and the kind of friends I have are the kind of adventurous people who explore life to the fullest.   Those are plusses, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I won’t even detail the sub-exodus of friends who’ve moved to the ‘burbs, mostly because that would be hypocritical.   But the fact remains that even the few of my friends remaining in the UK are upwards of an hour away.

Gone are the days when I could fire off an email at 3.30pm seeing who wanted a spontaneous post-work drink and a dose of happiness therapy.  We’re going to be posting birthday cards to each other rather than distributing them across a mojito-laden table at a bar.   There are no quick lunches in this new life.

Last night I went to karaoke with some newer friends (a big step for me – previously I’d only karaoke’d with people I’d known for upwards of ten years).  It was great fun, but owing to public transport mess it took me an hour and 40 minutes to get home.  Either I leave at so early a point in the evening as to render going out pointless, or I resign myself to being utterly exhausted the next day.

I’m not loving it, and I’ve been feeling down about it for a while.

Then, yesterday, JR sent a love-bomb to my inbox suggesting we go away for a yoga retreat or other similarly lush weekend, just the two of us so we can have some quality friend time.

I feel better already.

*genuine occurrence.


7 Responses to “Exodus, Lament, and Rehabilitation”

  1. 1 Mrs. G. February 13, 2011 at 7:02 am

    I am also an introvert who is frequently mistaken for an extrovert. I have four female friends who I can tell anything to (and I mean my most shitty behavior, no fear of being judged) and that is enough for me. What’s really cool is we’ve all changed so much since we first met and yet we still let each other evolve whether it’s comfortable change or not. I’m so happy you are soon to have JR time. xxoox

  2. 2 trash February 13, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    To my mind it always about quality not quantity. In true hypocritical form though I confess to envy when I see these women with millions of ‘friends’ with whom they regularly interact/correspond/visit.

  3. 3 Stacie February 14, 2011 at 1:38 am

    I’m also an introvert and have very few close friends. Lots of acquaintances, but not too many really close friends. That’s one thing I hate about moving to a new place – making friends. But I’ve realized there’s no rush, and I’m thankful for the friends I have now that are “forever friends”.

    • 4 nic February 14, 2011 at 8:24 am

      @ Mrs. G: The evolution point is a great one – it’s definitely something friends don’t get upset about. In fact, I wish a couple of my friends would evolve away from self-destructive behaviour, but I don’t judge them for what they do. I’ve definitely changed since I met some of my old friends, and they still love me.

      @ Trash: I feel envious of those women too, in a strange way. I think what I envy is their energy more than anything else.

      @ Stacie: Yes, moving makes it especially hard. When I moved to NZ I had to literally force myself out of the house in the hope of meeting like-minded folk, and particularly because initially I didn’t have a job it was tough not to speak to anyone but K-man for a few weeks. I met some really good people through blogging while I was there who are now what I’d count as good friends! The internet was an absolute saviour, in that context.

  4. 5 Modern Country Style February 15, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Reading your Mind’s Eye LAcuna post is EXACTLY like reading about ME! I’m just so exactly the same…but I’ve not met anyone else who does that.

    Your post made me laugh my head. Not literally, obviously, or no more Mind’s Eye for me, but I decided then and there to subscribe to your feeed.

    I’ve had the most lovely read of your blo and I love it. I have to warn you that you should be on stalker-alert. ;-)


  5. 6 Modern Country Style February 15, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Yeah….um….I meant ‘blog’, not ‘blo’ in the last paragraph! Could I try and pass that off as street-talk for blog….?

  6. 7 Bella Rum February 17, 2011 at 8:58 am

    “a natural introvert who battles to appear extroverted to conform”

    I think that describes me. I know I’m perceived as an extrovert because I do the “extrovert thing” but I’m drained at the end of an evening of socializing. I even feel a little dread before a social event. I used to enjoy it more and had many friends. Now I have fewer friends, but my relationships are more intimate and satisfying.

    Reading about your friends moving away does give me pause. I don’t have a deep supply of friends to rely on if many of my friends move away, and it takes a while to forge a deep friendship. There’s always that “getting to know you” period, and I just don’t have the “social energy” for it anymore.

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