Thursday, February 07, 2008

My Social Network

I have gone to both my primary care and my therapist recently, and both have told me that I need to extend my social network. I was shocked! Why? Because I feel like I have a great social network but really they said it because I need more support so I can deal better with my depression, stress and anxiety, as well as just the divorce in general.

I have my family and while they haven't always been my best support, we have a lot of social gatherings and I can call just about anyone to do something. And, I do know they will always be my family. The things that they haven't supported me on were minor really and with merit so whatever. Though I think that my parents look at me as the stronger of the three of us (out of me and my two bros). So they think I can handle myself better.

Then I have Goofball but I don't like to burden him as a support exactly, just the social part and oh yes, sex! Anyway, he has his own things and responsibilities that he doesn't need to be burdened with supporting me. I do vent to him sometimes and I really enjoy our time together!

There are also my PIMs! I met them here and have "known" them for 6 years now. They have been my go to girls. They have been my support through so much. I trust them with my life, to be honest with me, to be there for me, everything. They live all over the country and even one outside of the U.S. I have met most of them in person but not all. We have annual trips to met up. I have been to 3 out of 5 so far. I have also had two of the girls come to my hometown for their work and I got to meet them then as well!

I have also made some friendships through blogging and even some that live close to me! I also have in "real-life" friendships. I have friends at work even.

However, I don't go out with folks on a regular basis, other than Goofball. I just don't make time for it. I'll admit it. I have that working mom's guilt over leaving my kids since I work 10-11 hours a day (that includes commute time). If I had a more "normal" custody arrangement, then I would at least have every other weekend to myself to form and build relationships. I wouldn't have that guilt over leaving the kids and going out. So then when I do have time off, I have no idea what to do with myself because I haven't formed lastly friendships.

And how the heck do I make friends as a grown up? I don't even know! Not many of the people I do know have children my kids' ages. They are younger or older so it makes it hard to do stuff as families. Or our town is so big it is hard to find a meeting place. And everyone seems so busy. Weekends are for laundry, house work, errands and just in general down time.

I also don't have a house that is great for entertaining. Don't get me wrong, its cute but doesn't have the floor plan for entertaining. Oh plus I need living room furniture.... ya know, that helps.

Sooooo anyway, I'm at a loss. What do I do? How do I make in "real life" friends? And once I make those friends, how do I keep them and do things with them and build a social network and support system???

Both the PCP and the therapist have challenged me to work on this so I have a few weeks to come up with a plan and even put some to action. Oh joy! Any ideas on how to get past my shyness and step out of my introverted self to make friends?


Karen said...

I think it's harder as an adult because we're not so carefree as we were when we were kids. Too much gets in the way. But I've found some really great new friends through the children's school. I don't know if you're able to do school pick-up but I just introduced myself to some of the other Mums. Over time, some bothered with me and some didn't. Also, at parties I'd stay for a few minutes and talk to the other Mums and sometimes ask if they were busy and wanted to go and have a coffee - some did, some didn't. It takes time but I think you have to be brave and make the first move but be equally ready to be turned down as to be accepted. Getting involved in the activities as a parent helper is also another route.

Syndi in PA said...

I've found that a good way to make friends is to join some sort of group activity. Last summer, I joined a local bike club. Recently, I started taking ballroom dance lessons. Both have really expanded my social network a lot.

markira said...

Yeah, if you figure out a good way to meet other adults when you're a hardcore introvert, let me know. I'm having similar difficulties. mk

TxGambit said...

Thanks for the comments and ideas.

Drop-off/pick up is not possible for me. But even if it was, the way the school is designed, people don't get out of their cars. It is drive up to drop/pick up.

I think I might look into a group of some sort but haven't had luck with that in the past.

I just need to make time and step out of my comfort zone.

Kathy said...

omg, I totally hear ya!!! I don't make friends with the sahms at my kid's school since I'm so busy rushing them out of the car so I can get to work relatively on time that I don't have time to chit chat and get coffee once school starts. Even with a partner, it's hard to get rid of the working mom's guilt and find time to do things for yourself, let alone find friends! I'm also pretty introverted since I have to talk so darn much at work and I really, truly enjoy quiet and alone time.

Hang in there. One or two true friends is much better than a superficial group to do things with and those one or two will come when you least expect it. I made a few friends training for a marathon--we're not like deep friend but these are some gals I can hang with for a few hours and chit chat with as we walk/jog and gripe about being 30-something (and 40 this year) and all that goes with that.