I think I may need to detach from my main friend group, but I have no idea how to start over.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
When I moved to a new city about three years ago, I fell in with a large social group who all lived close to each other and did lots of things together. (I no longer live in the same neighborhood as most of them.) For a long time, this was great- I didn’t have to painstakingly build up a network, it already existed! I always had something to do on the weekend! I was thinking, I’ve found my community. I’d come from a very tight-knit and expansive group of friends in college, and this group scratched the same itch. Unfortunately, it also kept me from building up a broader friend network, because I didn’t ‘need’ to.
But now, in my mid-20s, I’ve increasingly realized that I don’t have so much in common with many of these people, I don’t share their values, and I don’t really like who I become when I spend a lot of time with them. There is a ton of gossip, negativity, and outright meanness in the air. Lots of people have some vendetta against someone else in the group, and they aren’t shy about discussing it. Most of the socializing revolves around drinking and smoking weed a lot (fine sometimes, but this is almost every time). Once at a party I told people I was trying a diet where I didn’t drink, and every single person laid on the pressure until I got a drink just to shut them up, which I hated myself for doing.
I rarely come away from a gathering thinking “wow, that was so fun, I’m so glad I went to that!” I might enjoy myself, but not to a super amazing extent. There are only a few people in the group who I’d really enjoy hanging out one-on-one with- honestly, maybe only two or three. And when I imagine the kind of person I want to date, I don’t imagine being excited to introduce them to these people, the way I would be with many of my friends from my hometown or college.
Now, the thing is, the group isn’t all bad, and I don’t HATE hanging out with them. Sometimes I do genuinely have fun with them. And, more significantly, this group represents 90% of the people I know in this city. I know right now that if I keep hanging out with them, I have plans lined up for Halloween. My Facebook calendar is full of invitations to parties from these people. That’s very seductive and hard to give up. But I really think I have to, in order to become the kind of adult I increasingly desire to be.
But how? How can I friend dump 40 people in the age of Facebook, and if I do, how on Earth do I start all over again? I enjoy socializing and I’m not shy, but I am the type who needs to limit the socializing to a couple times a week or I’ll exhaust myself. So I’m afraid that I’ll cut ties with these folks, pat myself on the back, and then become a total hermit with no friends whatsoever.
I know I just need to stop accepting invitations and not make it a big deal. (I’d still appreciate advice on this front, though.) I guess I’m more wondering, how do I not just cut ties, but build a life afterwards? When I’m lonely on a Saturday night, how do I bring myself ignore a friendly invitation to hang out, from people I don’t despise or anything? When I go out and try to make new friends, or date, how do I explain to new people the fact that I have almost no local friends despite having lived here for three years? How can I not beat myself up for wasting my early-mid 20s investing my time and energy in a group that was obviously bad for me? In short, what happens AFTER the friend-dumping?