If everything is temporary anyway, how do I keep caring?
March 11, 2014 11:17 AM Subscribe
I'm in my mid-thirties - professionally successful, non-sociopath, etc.. When I look behind me, though, my past is littered with the corpses of dead friendships. Two part question: 1. Is this normal? 2. If so, how do I maintain my optimism about current and future friendships? Details inside.
posted by missrachael to Human Relations (21 answers total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
There are some extenuating reasons for the demise of some of my friendships. I got divorced from my professor husband a couple of years ago, and we live in a college town, so he kept all of the university folk (and yep, that hurt - I did think some of them liked me for me, and he and I are perfectly cordial so it's not like they _had_ to choose between us, but that's another rant). I behaved pretty badly during the run-up to that divorce, so at least one other friendship is a casualty of that time.
Since then, though, I've had one newly established but very close friendship blow up in my face, and none of the rest of my friendships have made it past the "acquaintance/activity partner" phase. As someone I know once put it, I have no "first phone call" - the first person I would call outside of my family to tell them about a death, a birth, or whatever.
So.... is this normal for my mid-thirties? Do we all - given time, maturity, and mobility - end up with an address book full of dead numbers? Do we all have trouble finding kindred spirits when we're too busy running the Girl Scout cookie booth to spend afternoons sharing our secrets?
If so, how do I keep my chin up and get back out there? I'm shy and introverted, so I don't need a large group of friends, but the kinds of close friendships I crave are difficult to cultivate. The introversion means that this is all very exhausting for me, too, so sometimes I feel like it's not worth bothering; I just want to put on my Eleanor Rigby face and call it a day.