I'm looking for friends, but I also have to take care of my dad.
January 4, 2011 8:25 PM   Subscribe

I'm in an odd situation in a new town. I need to make new friends, but I have to worry about taking care of my dad.

So, I’m looking for a bit of advice, I’m not usually one who gets into problems like this and usually, if I do, I can think myself out of it. This time, it’s a little tricky. I just moved to a smaller California town with my dad since he took up a new job here. The rest of my family is coming up later but had to stick behind to sell the house. Dad and I had always been close, so they asked me to come up to keep him company since I’m not in school and won’t be until this fall.

I’ve always been close to my dad, but it’s really starting to create its own problems. I take care of the house, the shopping and most errands when he’s at work, and when he’s home he almost always wants to leave the house to go hiking or to the beach. This really is making it hard for me to find anyone my age to hang out with. He’s a really sensitive guy and especially since we moved he’s been kind of depressed. I don’t feel I can tell him I want some time to just be alone or with other people, since I moved here basically to take care of him.

All my life I’ve looked a little older than I am. It’s just my facial structure I think. Hanging around with my father doesn’t help me look my age. Most people have assumed I’m either married to him, or much closer to his age when they meet just the two of us. Rarely do people think I’m his daughter. To help combat this I’ve been really trying hard to dress in a way that suggests I’m in my early 20’s and not my 40’s or 50’s, but this still doesn’t seem to make people pick up on my actual age too often.

The last town I lived in was even smaller than this, and so my social life there was also kind of lacking. I’m not a shy person, and when I’m around people my own age I tend to do all right. That is of course, if there is no alcohol around. Because of medications I take I really can’t drink all that much or even that often. Most often I just avoid it because I have a low tolerance level outside of medications and I don’t often like the taste. However, this doesn’t seem to be something a lot of people find to be a legitimate reason for not drinking, and I’ve lost “friends” in the past over that fact. I’m not sure at all of where to go in this town to meet people my own age.

I’ve been filling out resumes left and right to try to find a job, not only to make money, but in the hopes that that would get me away from the house and interacting with more people, but as of yet, I’ve heard nothing back yet. While I’m not overly religious anymore, I have attended church with my dad, and sadly, there are no young people attending services there.

So any advice? I’m not a shy person, or unattractive or difficult to talk to and being outdoors doesn’t bother me in the slightest. There are a lot of things I’m up for doing outside of drinking. I’m leaving for school in September and I’m sure I’ll make friends there, but for my own sake, I need to meet some people here soon. Things can get really rough when you don’t have people you can talk to face to face.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm wondering why the heck it has to be your responsibility to babysit your dad.

If he doesn't understand your need to meet people your own age you have bigger fish to fry than you think.

As to meeting people-bookstores with coffee bars make great hangout places to meet people, particularly since you don't drink. As to church, a different church may have younger folk in it. Seekersensitive and/or nondenominational might be places to try.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:38 PM on January 4, 2011

Is there something you're leaving out about your dad? It sounds very bizarre for an adult to move to take care of their working, seemingly competent father? I don't get it.
posted by xmutex at 8:51 PM on January 4, 2011

How about joining a team or taking a class? That way it's a routine that your dad can plan on, and you'll "have to go to class/practice," rather than choosing to spend time alone. Improv class? Ultimate frisbee? Joining a gym also might help.
posted by salvia at 9:28 PM on January 4, 2011 [4 favorites]

Seconding joining a gym. Find one that offers a variety of exercise classes. Or find some dance classes. One of the things that makes people seem older, or younger, than they are is the way they move. Agility, gracefulness, stamina can all be developed further.

Don't you go to the beach too? Go during the day while he's at work. Go for walks around the neighborhood, introduce yourself to people working in their yards, sitting on their porches, whatever.

While you're looking for work do some volunteering. It will get you out of the house, you'll meet people, and it might lead to a job.
posted by mareli at 7:35 AM on January 5, 2011

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