Help, need to get out of my "slump"!
October 25, 2009 8:12 AM   Subscribe

Worried about my emotional well-being, and my future. Need some good Metafilter advice.... I am a 34 y/o female who is gainfully employed and generally self-sufficient (own my own home, car, take care of the house, etc.) but I am extremely lonely and feel more and more isolated everyday.

I grew up in a very dysfunctional (full of abuse) family, and likewise, my family ties are small, if not non-existent. My younger sister, who I was once close to, has not spoken to me for 2 years over a decision I made concerning two older brothers have never liked me (due to some issues that occurred when we were younger) and are both married now and rarely if ever interact with me. My parents are both alive, but aging and neither are in good health, my mom is the greatest support, but our relationship is somewhat difficult due to varying religious beliefs (this is not on my end, but on hers).

In a nutshell, I don't have a family really...when there is a holiday, there are no celebrations (also due to my mom's religious beliefs), when I meet a guy, there is no one to introduce him to, there are no regular interactions and no one desires to have them. Also, since my sister moved back in with my mom, and bcs of the strained relationship bt/n her and I, I am barely welcome there. This is, in and of itself, bad enough, but add to it, that I do not have friends.

Growing up in a dysfunctional family, it is hard to make, there were none from childhood. I did make a few friends after I moved away from home and started college, but many of those relationships died over the years due to losing contact after some time, and/or life changes (marriage, kids, etc.)...further, about 8 years ago, I became a Christian (after being under my parents Jehovah's Witness upbringing for my whole life) and after doing so, I lost a lot of friends then too. So again, there is no one to share with, fellowship with, interact with...I spend all holidays and birthdays alone. I long to have solid relationships, but I often get rejected when I try to make friends. I really thought I would make friends in church, but those relationship are not very deep. People are often cliquey even in church (which is so sad).

I realize that I am the "common denominator" in all of this and that perhaps the problem is me, and not others (I have done therapy and come to this semi-conclusion), yet, I really feel that I am a nice person and worth of knowing...still, here I am at 34 and feeling completely isolated and alone. I really don't know what to do bcs I feel if something does not change, I will never get out of this slump. Any advice, suggestions, encouragement from the mefi community? I realize a lot of ppl will likely advise me to "get out and meet ppl" but I assure you, I have tried that, it just rarely goes anywhere! Thanks for your time.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (29 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I think you need an external interest. Focus your attention outward, toward the world. Photography, knitting, skiing, whatever. Develop this interest, and seek out others with this common interest. It may snowflake out from there.
posted by meadowlark lime at 8:22 AM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hi, anon. I just want to say that for various points in my life, I have felt exactly as you do. Although I can be very outgoing, it's hard for me to trust people and create ties, so I often ended up feeling alone and isolated. What helped me is giving people a chance. I told myself one day to just go out and do whatever I'm invited to do, even if it seems like a pain or that it won't be my type of thing. In doing that, I made a really wonderful group of friends, and met my now boyfriend of three years. You say that the people you meet in church are cliquey. How long have you been going there? Sometimes it takes a while for relationships to deepen, and the best thing you can do is to keep getting involved and let things develop naturally over time. Also, I think it could help to spread your friendship opportunities out to as many places as possible. Keep trying at church, but also try at work, or find somewhere to volunteer.

You say that the problem is you, which could be true, but I doubt that it's because you're somehow "not friend material." Perhaps you're giving up on people too quickly, or expecting things to develop before they're ready...I think if you keep an open mind and take every opportunity to hang out with people, even if they don't really seem like your type, you might be surprised at what happens. If nothing else, you'll be spending more time with others, which will help you feel less isolated, even if it's not the meaningful type of friendship that you're looking for.

I'm sorry you're feeling so alone. I know how much that sucks. I just wanted to say that you WILL get out of this slump. It'll take time and effort, but will be worth it. Good luck!
posted by odayoday at 8:29 AM on October 25, 2009 [6 favorites]

as meadowlark lime says - friendships = shared interests

Develop some interests and join clubs around these interests and you'll meet friends around these hobbies. Now most of these will not be deep friendships but as you interact with more people chances are you'll meet some you'll be getting close to.

This will also help you when you are meeting people in different environments because you will have things to talk about that aren't your dysfunctional family, your faith or work (ok, you may not discuss either but then again you may so ignore as required) - the first two are reaally heavy topics that nobody wants to hear about when they meet you for the first few times and the last is just boring to most people....

As you develope lots of interests you'll also have lots of different things that give you joy so when one aspect of your life is not so fulfilling at any point in time there are things that will make you happy, distract you or else give you a reason to get up and go out of the house to do something. Think of it as sandcastles - if you only have one or two you are devestated if the waves take on down. If you have 10 or 15 you're a lot less upset if you lose one.
posted by koahiatamadl at 8:31 AM on October 25, 2009 [3 favorites]

I would urge you to try to reconnect and reconcile with your siblings. What happened with your brothers in childhood shouldn't be held in the same basket as adult transgressions. I don't know what happened, and it could very well be traumatic, but I would urge you to try reconnect with them in a way that is comfortable. You were all growing up in that crazy house together. Reach out to them and let them know you care about your relationship. Keep trying.

Life is short. Reconcile with your sister as well. Make apologies if they are due. Talk to her. If you once had a good relationship but it has been strained for the last two years, you can mend it.

I come from a dysfunctional family that was full of abuse and alcoholism. As bad as your family was, and is, there may be ways for you to create boundaries and still interact with them in a loving way if they are stable. Your anxiety is very understandable. I think you will always feel isolated and alone if you don't have a relationship with your family. New friends cannot replace this relationship. It would benefit you greatly to remedy this.

Keep up the relationship with your mother, continue seeking therapy if you can afford it, and make the effort to reach out to your siblings and their families. There is no reason why you can't create new traditions and celebrations that do not revolve around religion.

Date and go to church. Actively date. Sometimes when all else fails with our biological families, our partner's family becomes our new family.

Keep trying. Keep and open mind and an open heart.
posted by Fairchild at 8:50 AM on October 25, 2009

I ended up leaving the Church because of clique-y behavior. I realized that the people who really loved me weren't my "brothers and sisters in Christ" (who were really just fellow human beings, as flawed and oblivious as anyone else), but rather the friends who were actually there for me, most of whom happened to be nonreligious.

The problem with my expectations at church was that I thought church friendships would somehow be special and meaningful from the start, different from non-church friendships--our shared faith, our shared commitment to Christ would keep us in tune with each other's needs. In fact, I didn't have much in common with my "friends" at church. I should have been more intentional in seeking out activities I liked and trying to get to know people in those groups rather than simply expecting that anyone in roughly my age group in the church "should" be my friend.

I think that your church is probably one of the best, safest places for you to make friends--particularly because they may offer counseling services and/or support groups that could help you to work through some of the emotional issues that are causing you pain. But check your expectations: you need to treat church friendships the same as outside ones, and you need to know they'll take the same amount of work.
posted by Meg_Murry at 9:09 AM on October 25, 2009 [6 favorites]

It sounds like you are going through a really rough patch at the moment as far as your relationships are concerned. But it also sounds like things haven't always been this way - you say you had friends in the past but these relationships petered out as life circumstances changed. Well, that is quite natural and is something that happens to most people, but look on the bright side - you had friends before. That means there is nothing to prevent you from having friends again!

I think you really need to put yourself out there and try to meet people. Someone once told me that making friends is a numbers game and that really helped me. You have to get the numbers up in terms of the people you are meeting, and sooner of later some of those people will "stick" and you'll make friends. When I think about the ways I met the friends I have now, it was always by putting myself out there and going out and trying some new group activity. I tried volunteering for a food fair, going to vegetarian dinners organised through meetup, going on guided walks - just to name a few activities that brought me the friends I have now.

I won't presume to tell you what you can do to help mend your family relationships as only you can know whether that's worth trying. But I do know that there are people out there who would just love to be your friend if they could only meet you. Go out and try and then try again and keep trying. If you don't feel like going out - force yourself. If you aren't having fun you can always just go home. Do this and you will definitely get there.
posted by hazyjane at 9:14 AM on October 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

I am a 34 y/o female who is gainfully employed and generally self-sufficient (own my own home, car, take care of the house, etc.)

Here's the key. Being self-sufficient is fine, to a point, but a self-contained personality (which can be the result of a dysfunctional family) will not endear you to others. Your only need then is to prove to others that you have built this castle of self-sufficiency (to protect yourself) and you don't need other people. Try letting others in on your fears and imperfections, and soft-pedal your strengths. You may have to find your fears and imperfections first. Look behind those castle walls.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:14 AM on October 25, 2009 [3 favorites]

I realize a lot of ppl will likely advise me to "get out and meet ppl" but I assure you, I have tried that, it just rarely goes anywhere!

You have to give it time. If you're introverted and the sort of person who is better satisfied with fewer but closer friendships, those friendships take awhile to develop. Foster those kinds of friendships by taking up activities that will involve a lot of interaction with the same people.
posted by orange swan at 9:33 AM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you haven't already done this in therapy, you might look at your core beliefs and challenge whether they're useful. For example, it seems like you still give weight to things that happened in your childhood, and you believe that the lack of closeness in your family is a serious issue.

What would your life be like if you accepted that your childhood sucked, but it's over now? What if you thoroughly believed that now you're 100% in charge and can do anything you want?

What if you decided that while it would be nice to have a close family, it's also okay to have one that isn't close? How would that change how you feel about yourself and your life?

It might sound glib, but I changed my thinking this way in my late 20s, and it helped me turn my life around. While it was important to recognize how my childhood experiences shaped my view of the world, it was even more important to decide that those experiences were over and that I was in charge now.

This change in thinking helped me put my family at a healthy distance and focus on building my own life and creating a community of friends. It got me out of my head and helped me develop satisfying interests and become less needy and sensitive to rejection.

You might also look at how unconscious shame might be shaping your interaction with people. It's apparently common for people with abusive pasts to believe deep down that they're defective, and other people can pick up on this. Again, this is something you might have already covered in therapy, but I thought I'd mention it.
posted by PatoPata at 9:40 AM on October 25, 2009 [10 favorites]

I come from a very dysfunctional family too. One thing that's been very helpful to me is making friends who are a lot older than I am, it's been like getting aunts and uncles I wish I'd had when I was a kid. They're people who accept me as I am and occasionally offer advice, and support, and perspective. Are there any older people in your church who might need an occasional helping hand? I've taught older friends how to use computers, I've painted rooms for them (I'm not a painter, but they couldn't afford to pay one), I've helped them shop, and I've even gone on a couple of wonderful road trips with two different women in their 80s. I just got an email from one of them, even though she has eleven grown kids of her own, a bunch of foster kids too, and countless grandchildren, she still finds time to care about me.

Volunteering, as others have suggested, is a good way to meet people and it can also make you feel good. Try something physical, like Habitat, or check out Big Sisters.

Don't worry about not being able to introduce people to your family. A decent caring guy will understand if you say you have problems with your family.

Good luck.
posted by mareli at 9:45 AM on October 25, 2009 [3 favorites]

I'm sorry you're in this place right now, anon. Connecting with other people can feel like a fundamental need sometimes, right up there with food, water and air. So it's very hard when that need isn't being met.

When you grow up in an abusive family, you will have huge trust issues - just no way around it. That can make it difficult to establish, maintain or deepen relationships. Without trust there's no room for intimacy. That's why you're having trouble even though you've worked hard to put yourself out there -- wherever you go, there you are.

Since, as you say, you are the common denominator, fixing this is in your control. Go back to therapy, maybe see a different therapist than you used before if you didn't feel you were making progress. A combination of CBT and more traditional techniques might be good. This will help you learn how to trust other people, set boundaries, be vulnerable as appropriate and assertive as necessary. Over time you'll figure out why relationships are failing to take hold for you. And in the short-term it will give you at least one person you can connect with on a regular basis, which can really help blunt the feelings of isolation.

posted by pitseleh at 9:52 AM on October 25, 2009

dysfunctional families impact everyone's well being and mental health. You may want to look into codependency, if you haven't already discussed it in therapy. From what I've read, codependency is a natural fallout from living in a dysfunctional family, and a lot of the things you describe are applicable to codependents.

This book may help too:
posted by ghazal at 9:54 AM on October 25, 2009

I had a dysfunctional family which left me very messed up and isolated on top of underlying issues - I was unusually academic and what I'd always taken for eccentricity looks more likely to be ADD-related. The result is that I'm not good at that whole shallow friends-making with ordinary people thing - I stick out like a sore thumb and for most of my adult life relationships and dating were a nightmare.

So what worked?

(1) If you don't find any people like you at church, you're in the wrong church. When I was a believer I dumped a big young-people centred Evangelical church for a small unusual much more elderly congregation and quickly found myself in a relationship - you only need ONE other person just like you for that to work.

(2) Understand that if you're not meeting many people like you - you'll need to seek them out. Outside interests are one of the best ways. Taking classes in a minority language worked well for me

(3) If you have an undiagnosed underlying neurological issue - that can be causing the feelings of social isolation. Only when I realised the likely reason why I was 'weird' did it all click into place and I started to learn to accept myself - and crucially to stop trying to make myself fit into a 'normal' social pattern which I wasn't wired for. Before I knew this I might have described my situation as you did - that common denominator thing that was 'me' that meant my relationships didn't function normally looks likely to be ADD. For a friend in a similar situation it turned out to be Aspergers

(4) Perhaps the most important thing to understand is that you don't need lots of people, just a few friends, and that if you're unusual, they'll be unusual and so harder to find - so you'll need to do more figuring out what attracts people like you and actively seek them out. They wont just fall into your lap through work or a mainstream church - but they may be out there online on some specialist site, or lurking in some niche church, occupation or hobby.
posted by Flitcraft at 9:58 AM on October 25, 2009

I realize a lot of ppl will likely advise me to "get out and meet ppl" but I assure you, I have tried that, it just rarely goes anywhere!

Agreed. Don't "get out and meet people." Instead, get out and do new things, in classes, where there are other people also learning those new things. In the short term, this will give you regular face time with people who share a basic insecurity with you (none of you know how to do the thing you're all learning) and in the long term you will learn you're not actually different from these people, you're just as worthwhile, and perhaps you'll even make a friend or two.

Just do it for the specific purposes of learning something new that genuinely interests you (although it doesn't need to be an all-consuming passion, novelty is fine) and that you measure it by the things you learn and the fun you have, rather than how many people you meet or how many friends you make.
posted by davejay at 9:59 AM on October 25, 2009

If you walked away from a JW upbringing then congratulations, you are a survivor. You are most likely a superior intellect and don't yet understand the natural implications of this, because past church affiliations have conditioned you to accept people based on sincere or common belief and not on natural affinity. I would assume that like so many cult kids, your talents at creating public bonds weren't allowed to be developed. I would bet that your family is dysfunctional at its base for these religious reasons, although you didn't reveal this. My advice is to ignore all the advice that blames you.
posted by Brian B. at 9:59 AM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think that everyone here has shared some really important tips and advice. I'll go ahead and second them, with a little anecdotal evidence: I moved away from a city where I had a solid foundation with wonderful friends to a city that I didn't care for and had (sometimes still have) a tough time getting into and finding friends. Compound that with personal issues and a crazy schedule that prevents friendship-making opportunities in the typical ways, I was in a RUT. But what people said here is RIGHT ON: finding something you like to do and then discovering the people there (I have a great running club that has morphed into a real supportive community) is really important. Cliquey church? Maybe it's time to go shopping for a new one. Maybe try where you can find groups to do things with - hiking, book clubs, football games, etc. And I wouldn't stop reaching out to your mom, even with the religious differences and your sister there; you will dearly miss that relationship when it's gone. It might be good to meet at a neutral site like a coffee shop where you two don't have the baggage of family and home and religion as in your face. It sounds like you miss her and miss spending time with her.

Best of luck.
posted by cachondeo45 at 10:10 AM on October 25, 2009

I'll just offer my quick perspective about growing up in a dysfunctional family -- the way through that for me has been to reconnect with some of my family, not all of them. It wouldn't have happened if my sister hadn't reached out to me, though: it's just not something I would risk doing myself.

I still have trouble making friends. I will never talk to or see my father ever again. My two brothers aren't so bad after all. My sister is sometimes a pita but I like her anyway, same for my mother. I gave up going to church 20 years ago because I think it exacerbated my hostility and anger towards others. I'm making real efforts to make friendly to people where I work, and I'm gradually increasing the number of people I actually like, rather than just mix with. I'm learning French and plan to travel next year. (I'm married with children, but much of what you say resonates with me anyway.)

I realised that my siblings and my mother were as much vicitims of my father's abusiveness as I was, so the journey back to them has been worthwhile. You might find it worth connecting with some members of your family, but only you can choose which ones, or the level of involvement.
posted by BrokenEnglish at 10:40 AM on October 25, 2009

There is a lot of good advice here. I can't add much more to it other than to express my sympathy and solidarity.

As a former J.W. of roughly the same age, I can attest to how that upbringing had a profound impact on my own life. Brian B. hit on some of it. I wish you the best.
posted by sundri at 10:43 AM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

You say that you know that you are the "common denominator" but you don't say how that plays out in your here-and-now attempts to make friends.

It's very hard to see our own behavior. For example, you may feel that other people are not responding to your overtures, but you may not be able to see what they are seeing in you.

The thing that helped me the most re: making friends was GROUP therapy. In group therapy, people (are supposed to) relate to each other honestly. This can feel scary, as if you are recreating the scary relationships of your past. But what happens is that, as you feel some of those difficult feelings coming up in the group, you can actually (finally) work through them. You can see the kinds of stuff you project onto others which then comes back to bite you in the social life. You can also gain acceptance in a group, as you and the other members appreciate each other in a non-superficial way (because it's a place to be "real" -- which means out there and vulnerable), and you may then find that you relate to people outside the group in a less defensive way.

Group does work better, generally, when you are also in individual therapy, so you have a "safe place" to discuss what has happened in group and to have someone (the therapist) who is there just for you (which seems to be something you have lacked all your life).

Therefore I would recommend that you find a therapist who can see you individually and in group therapy, or who would see you and then recommend an appropriate therapy group. If money is an issue, there are many mental health clinics with excellent therapists that also run groups. If you're interested in this idea and don't know where to go, please say so (including your location) and I will work hard to find you the right place to go.

(although I'm not your therapist I am a psychologist with a certificate in postgraduate group work as well as many years of personal treatment, both in individual and group therapy, so this is where I"m coming from here)

good luck. Social isolation is horrible and can have terrible consequences, both emotional and physical. We are social beings. You are still young and can transcend your family!
posted by DMelanogaster at 10:44 AM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

join the choir!

Join the ushers.

Join the women's league

Join the network that supports parishioners in trouble

Join the board of the chruch

serve Christ and gain a community.

God Bless
posted by By The Grace of God at 10:59 AM on October 25, 2009

I was never abused, and I didn't grow up in a dysfunctional family, but I grew up in what I'd call a non-functional family. We just weren't close. Until a few years ago, I didn't really even believe in close families. I thought it was kind of an urban myth- that everyone just pretended to enjoy spending time with their family because it was expected of them.

There's a lot of good advice here, and I'll second almost all of it. Photography has worked really well for me- it's something I can do alone without insecurity - when I'm behind my camera I feel more like I have a "reason for being there," and less like some dork hanging around by himself. It doesn't have to be taking pictures, but any activity that gives you a reason to go places where people are is a good thing.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:22 AM on October 25, 2009

Yeah, volunteer!

You may find a professional group connected with your career is a good fit if you feel you don't fall into easy friendships in other circumstances.

Girl Scout leadership is a great contribution to the community and brings you into contact with people pre-filtered for being kind, friendly and helpful. You may find it rewarding to help kids through some of the difficulties you met.

Your expectations of your new church are undoubtedly being influenced by your childhood one, as Brian B. suggests. In this one, with maybe many less-committed members, you may need to demonstrate your staying power by getting actively involved in activities -- don't wait to be personally invited.
posted by Idcoytco at 12:01 PM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

All this advice is great, but I think you need more of a framework to guide you in your interactions. This is only my opinion, so I am totally off base, feel free to point out why.

It seems that you've gone through a lot of very trying times by yourself. You've learned some very hard lessons without support that some people take for granted. While you've become accustomed to dealing with your own life by yourself, and done a fine job at that, as you grow older, you find less and less in common with people because, frankly, their struggles have been different than yours. While the people you meet still might be able to identify with you on some basic level, their specific worries and concerns are hard to commiserate with.

Maybe you need to start helping people with their specific problems, to begin learning what their struggles were and are, and you'll start to create better relationships, or at least learn how to help them more. Perhaps you can help them by parceling out a little bit of what you've learned through the years. Focus on little things: e.g. how to get out this stain, how to best cook broccoli.

I also suggest mentoring/tutoring/counseling and volunteering. Try to meet people out of your age group. Those who are younger you can help because you've learned the hard way how to deal with growing up. Those who are older can provide the lessons they have learned. If there's a reason for your loneliness, it might be to teach others how to avoid it. Good luck.
posted by wayofthedodo at 1:04 PM on October 25, 2009 [3 favorites]

Find a good, female therapist you feel safe expressing what you just did to metafilter. Therapy isn't just for major depression, but for slumps. But find someone you really feel comfortable with.
posted by Rocket26 at 1:43 PM on October 25, 2009

I'm going to go the other way - for now stop trying to heal family relationships. Everyone in your family suffered in a dysfunctional home and each one has some damage to show for it. None of the them have the magic key to help you connect with them or with others. Repeating the pattern of asking for their acceptance and then feeling rejected is unhealthy for you. You got a raw deal in family relationships. For now, accept that and direct your energy elsewhere.

Try to find a congregation that is less cliquey. Churches, like other organizations, vary in how warmly they welcome new members. Find one that does and offer to serve on the new members committee. New members are often new to your community and looking for new friendships.

It's hard. I've relocated cities several times in my adult life and the loneliness can be pretty bad. The only way past it is to keep meeting new people until you build a circle of friends.
posted by 26.2 at 2:22 PM on October 25, 2009

Community theatre is a really great way to make friends. Being a part of the cast is ideal as the actors tend to bond really well. If you don't want to perform, perhaps break in by assistant stage managing. The great thing about theatre as a friend-maker is that often many people in the cast won't know others, so you're all on equal footing to start. And then working together in a naturally chatty, laughy art form can really build closeness.
It doesn't sound like there's much wrong with you- it sounds maybe like you tend to pull inwards when you've been hurt, perhaps? But otherwise you sound humble, self-aware, and smart. Just try to be 30% more friendly (such great great advice!) than you feel like in any social situation and keep on reaching out!
Oh, one more thing, you could try to arrange a Mefi meetup in your city- you might meet likeminded people there.
You sound nice. Good luck!
posted by twistofrhyme at 2:34 PM on October 25, 2009

Community theatre is a really great way to make friends.

I would like to second twistofrhyme's advice. The nice thing about community theatre is that because there is always so much backstage work that needs to be done and never enough people to do it, most groups tend to welcome crew volunteers eagerly (if the first group you approach is not like this--try another one). Also, community theatre tends to attract, well, oddballs and people who weren't the popular kids in high school, but are very kind and friendly once you get to know them (and they're usually outgoing, too, which means it won't take long). And since there are so many other misfits around, if you usually feel like you are a misfit, then you will fit right in!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:54 PM on October 25, 2009

I second Flitcraft on trying a new church group. In my experience, churches full of people my own age are really lonely. The ones with an older population can be more welcoming and more forgiving. That is a great place to find parental figures, too. Maybe there will be a committee you can join.

I spent a long time wondering why my relationships with other Christians weren't automatically panning out, and what fixed it was realizing that while we need to respect and love everybody, we don't have to like them or hang out with them all the time. I don't know if this will be the case for you, but for me it was freeing to realize that people had the right to not want to be my close friend, and I had the same right in regard to others. And I realized I could survive if someone didn't want to be my friend, which meant I was freed of dependence on them. Now I approach relationships ready for a friendship, but prepared to be content if it remains an acquaintance.

Another thing that I have seen a friend do is just make the gestures that she wants other people to make. Be nice, send a card, reconnect with the college friends, just because you want to, and not because you're hoping it will lead to a specific outcome involving sharing and support. Making little gestures can become part of a routine, and eventually you might find you have a network.

CS Lewis had a quote about how lovers face one another, but friends face in the same direction; they're looking out at the same thing. When I get excited about something and start engaging and don't need other people to validate me or the activity, eventually I find myself walking alongside a group of likeminded people. So, nthing everyone else on getting out and participating in an activity.
posted by ramenopres at 6:48 PM on October 25, 2009

Hurdygurdy and TwistofRhyme speak the truth. Backstage crew or technical work is a great way to meet fun people. I know from experience that all you need to do is contact a theater locally and say you are new in town or whatever and to add you to the mailing list and the list of people who are available to work backstage. If you are smart and learn fast (which it sounds like you are) you will probably become a go-to person in short order. Or audition and perform- being in the chorus of a musical may give you an great new outlet.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 7:13 PM on October 25, 2009

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