Friendships?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by TrueBlueFlyer, Feb 8, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. TrueBlueFlyer
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    TrueBlueFlyer Silver Member

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    I think I'm going to end up sounding like an anti-social prick, but whatever... I'll put this rant out there, maybe you guys will help me make friends.

    I have the impression of living under a rock. The only time I get out is when I travel... and even then its like an emotional roller coaster... everything is peachy when I'm going places but then when the trip is over I experience a major crash and crave more travel, which is hard with limited funds. But even when I travel I rely solely on myself and don't really make friends along the way. Don't get me wrong, I know a lot of people, but in the end I have a feeling that nobody likes me very much and those friendships never go anywhere.

    No offense to those whom I befriended on this site and its predecessor, but this goes further back than just my flying hobby. I came to a very ugly realization in my formal hobby as an automotive enthusiast that despite people being nice to me to my face at events, they really despised me. It only took one stupid argument for me to feel like I've been stabbed in the back by just about everybody I thought was a friend... it was so bad that I have completely lost interest in that community ever since. I still do automotive stuff like tinkering with my cars and going racing, but its something I do privately now and use as an excuse for flying to travel to racetracks around the country (and the world).

    But for the sake of not making this a sob story, rambling pointlessly like a crappy novel... let me seek advice from you guys. How do you stay social? With family, neighbors, coworkers, etc.? I had bad experiences at work when I became too friendly and it really bit me on the ass so ever since I remain professional and don't let those relationships escalate beyond work. Similarly, I don't drink or smoke so going to local pubs is not my thing. I spend way too much of my free time online, so I really am living under a rock.

    So tell me... criticism welcome! [while I'm bracing to hear the harsh reality]
     
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  2. techgirl
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    techgirl Milepoint Guide

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    No criticism... but a question. Do you have Aspergers?

    Before anyone jumps on me... I'm not at all trying to be antagonistic. *I* have Aspergers. I got "diagnosed" when I was in grad school in my mid to late 20s - and it was really only because I got dragged to a behavioral psychologist when they were trying to diagnose my younger brother (who does NOT have Aspergers). I ignored this until about three years ago thinking "oh, this could not possibly apply to me... misdiagnosis". I told NO ONE (it would have at one time killed my career and certainly was something I thought made me highly abnormal). And then I learned more about Temple Grandin and since have read enough to realize... oh, this is me. It explained a lot about how I interacted with others. How I crashed and and felt burnt out in social interactions (whether casual or intense). Why I got obsessive with certain hobbies or interests. Why some things completely exhausted me.

    So I ask again... because you sound perfectly normal to me. But you also sound (in those five paragraphs above) like you might have a lot of things that would make the short list of characteristics of people who are Aspies. And in that world, nothing you say above sounds at all problematic to me.

    I'm sure someone else will have a different perspective... but that's the first thing I thought of.
     
  3. Flyer_Esq
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    Flyer_Esq Silver Member

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    I can't comment on the Aspergers thing, but I can assure you that creating & keeping up with friendships can be challenging. I'd rather have a few good, close friends than lots of acquaintances, because it is very hard to keep up with friendships with a busy work schedule, family, etc.

    I meet most of my friends through current friends, my line of work (including work association type events) and through community activities (volunteering, city softball league, etc.). Since you aren't much for bars and it sounds like you don't have a large group of friends who will introduce you to others, I would suggest volunteer work, the gym (I've met some great people at the gym), taking classes at your community center, adult sports leagues, etc. All great places to meet people.

    Just my two cents.
     
  4. Gargoyle
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    Good thread, thanks for stepping up and opening up.

    I find I've always liked talking to people when traveling. New Yorkers used to get upset, because I start conversations with strangers in the subway. However, those tend to be brief encounters, not long term relationships- we chat, then move on. I don't feel I have very good social skills, and I don't mind- I like sitting in my little bubble watching the world.

    I do find it is much easier to have interesting conversations when sitting in F than it is in Y. I think that's a combination of things- a more protected, comfortable personal space is one. Your space is defined better, whereas in Y people are already in your space so it's already a bit on edge. Also, in Y, I feel like others are eavesdropping, in F I feel the discussion is just contained to the participants. In F it's easier to retreat back into your space, so there is less resistance to opening it up.

    I post that because I wonder, does that analogy continue into the rest of our lives? It's easier to open up, converse, when our personal space, our bubble, is more under our control, and we feel a bit more protected, safe? Different people in different cultures have different sized "bubbles"- note how Americans stand further apart to talk (and maybe as a result talk louder) than Europeans; how some cultures touch each other during conversations, others get very on edge about that. Your bubble size might just not mesh with the bubble size of the people you've been meeting.
     
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  5. karenkay
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    karenkay Gold Member

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    hi, TrueBlue, i don't think we've met, so i can't comment on whether or not you're an unlikeable guy in person--you're certainly likeable in print. my one suggestion, seriously, would be that if you can afford it you spend a few sessions in a counselor's office--psychologist, preferably, where it's a safe space to explore what's really going on. when you said it took you 'one stupid argument' to feel you'd been stabbed in the back by everybody you thought was a friend...my first thought was that probably had more to do with your perception of what happened than what actually did.

    if it was in fact what actually happened, then perhaps you didn't choose your friends carefully the first time.

    regardless, those of us who travel a lot are great at superficial relationships, but the deeper ones require a bit more work.

    good luck, and keep us posted. :)
     
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  6. Jaimito Cartero
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    Jaimito Cartero Silver Member

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    About 10 years ago I started traveling heavily. I think much of it had to do with a failing marriage, and a strong dislike of work. In fact, the older I get, the less I like to work. I might have been able to get away with it, but taking 6 months off a year in your mid 30's can lead to some interesting life choice changes. Since I'm now in my mid 40's, I'm shooting for 8 months off year. :)

    Even now, I'm not sure how much of my traveling had to do with traveling itself, and how much was escaping from stress at work. I do know that once I'm some place, and able to relax things are so much better.

    I don't like the 20-30 hour journeys on the plane I'm on though. Seems strange as some people like to fly so much. Me, I just want to get some place quick. If I could pay the same money, and be at some distant locale in 1 minute, I'd certainly do it.

    As for making friends, I've made a handful of real friends in the last ten years. I've made lots of acquaintances, which is good, because that's how friends start out as.
     
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  7. Cholula
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    Welcome to The Club™ bro'!! :)

    I figured that out about 20 years ago after my gazillionth mile on an airplane in some distant country.

    It was then that I decided to figure out a way to make retirement happen and I've never looked back since.

    Sorry to sidetrack this thread but I can really identify with that statement.
     
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  8. Gargoyle
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    Except you're working harder now than you did when you were getting paid. Between watching dogs pee, flying to LAS and HNL, and booting your computer, you're putting in 24/7.

    And, thanks to the internets tubes, I've actually seen Cholula's face a number of times, so I can attest that he is real. In a way these forums can serve well for setting the groundwork for friendships- we find people we gravitate to, and get to know them without knowing if they are fat or ugly or wear funny clothes or smell bad (sorry, Cholula), so by the time we meet face to face we've gotten past those superficial things. We already have a foundation and a connection when we finally meet face to face.
     
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  9. Punki
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    Punki Silver Member

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    Gargoyle writes:

    Listen, buddy, my boyfriend Cholula does not smell bad. Got it? [​IMG]

    Actually there is a lot of truth in what you say--in some ways it is easier to develop closer relationships with folks in print.

    For instance, it seems like we started talking about the original PIP (which started November 4, 1999) on FT sometime in the fall of 1998. Somewhere during that year we decided that a bunch of us would book the top deck of a 747 LAX/HNL--we called it the PIP Express.

    Part of me thought the entire idea was insane and I wondered what the heck we were doing flying to Hawaii with a bunch of people we didn't even know. Funny thing was that by the time we met we actually turned out to know each other pretty darned well and many of us still remain good personal friends, all dating back to that original internet experience. Of course, some have fallen away and a few, for mysterioius reasons of their own, have become downright hostile. Go figure. The good, however, so far outweighs the bad that it is hardly worth notice.

    That original experience taught me, however, to trust internet relationships and that has dramatically enhanced my life. Now when I meet someone whom I really like, even if it is in an airport halfway round the world, I am perfectly comfortable exchanging internet addresses and developing a real relationship with them. It makes life so much richer.
     
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  10. RedTape
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    RedTape Silver Member

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    TrueBlue, your description is pretty close to how I feel in many respects, so it isn't just you. I have few close friends, but many more distant ones (not the the mileage sense, but in the closeness sense). I'm not incredibly social with my family, and have stopped socializing with people at work for the most part. Finding people with similar interests is a challenge, and even if that's successful, I also find that I require more energy than I should to develop those friendships into something more meaningful. I even go through spurts of being an absolute hermit on the weekends. I'm sorry I don't have any advice that I practice, but finding yourself among like minded individuals is the best way to start, whether that's at a class, club, or someplace you volunteer. You're not the only one with the same rant/frustrations.
    Good luck to you.
     
  11. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    As a wise person once said, or should have said, :) the problem with equality is that we only want it with those above us and not with those below.

    I wonder if you have wasted time chasing or hanging around "beautiful" people, popular people, who have no need or space or time in their life for you? They are not bad people; their cup is just full. Hanging around them prevents you from building your own life and confidence. You know, it's not like the pilots and reservation agents hate you; that flight is just full, and it is not their fault that it got full before you arrived. It is your job to find another one, so just do it.

    My one suggestion is to begin by focusing on others who may need a little more joy or care, and provide it to them. Now, that's a wide category and could mean anything: a lonely parent whose children don't keep in touch, a person in poor health who just can't leave house, children who may need tutoring, an immigrant who needs to learn the local ways. Volunteer at some local organizations and offer your skills and time. If nothing else, you can offer to help people with computers, airline tickets, and their cars. :)

    Basically, find your SOP that is not working and change it. Don't worry about being liked. If someone's reaction makes you aware of some flaws in yourself, be grateful to them and get rid of those. Other than that, even Mahatma Gandhi wasn't liked by everyone. That's why there are 5 Billion people on Earth.

    The basic yearning of travel, besides status and lounge access, :) is to meet and know people who are different from you - from other cultures, religions, countries, and climates. For an even wider appreciation of life, take up gardening and adopt a cat (or a dog) - both have come to mean as much to me as my dearest family and friends. You don't have to own them, though, volunteering at a public garden or animal shelter will serve the same purpose.
     
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  12. techgirl
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    Very good advice! Something that worked for me when I moved three years ago was to look for other people who were in a similar position to me - had moved recently or gone through other life changes that may have upended their social circle (move, divorce, financial change, etc.) I've found those folks to be eager to also build their friendships - the hard part has been culling those who have been too needy or toxic!

    I've also made some friends in established social groups - but still feel like the "new kid" in those. I do better with one-on-one friendships than I do running with a clique. Fortunately many of my one-on-one friends get along with each other so its not impossible to get a group together to do things if I want. But more than three or four other people completely overwhelms me... I prefer smaller groups as a result.
     
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  13. Maybe you should start? In all seriousness, alcohol is a social lubricant, and asking people for a light to a smoke is a very easy intro into conversations.

    Not all bars are nasty college-y places. Find some more upscale places and have a few drinks.
     
  14. techgirl
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    Smoking would be a great way... first you can meet friends at the bars and later bond together over long sessions of chemotherapy! [​IMG]
     
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  15. SS255
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    TrueBlueFlyer, I think that you are wise to maintain a professional distance to co-workers. I am convinced that nothing good ever comes of office friendships. It's best to keep your personal and professional lives completely distinct from each other. On the other hand, building allies among co-workers is a good strategic plan.

    I am pseudo-social, in that I do enjoy socializing, but I also crave plenty of "alone time." I don't get that at work -- at all -- so after work and on weekends it's really hard to pin me down to commit to social events. I tend to go out socially maybe once a week, except when I attend frequent flyer gatherings, in which case I get no "alone time" whatsoever. [​IMG] I would characterize myself as an introvert. Maybe you are, too. I don't think there is anything wrong with being an introvert, as long as you are careful not to build up too high of a wall around yourself.
     
  16. PtsHawg
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    PtsHawg Silver Member

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    I tend to agree with this. I would say I don't always make friends easily, but if I didn't drink I don't think I'd have nearly as many friends today--as sad as that may sound to some people. Not that you have to turn into big lush or anything, but if you're uptight about letting your guard down (a prerequestite sometimes to getting people to warm up to you) a drink or two helps.
     
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  17. al613
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    al613 Silver Member

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    Even better... Drugs make friends "for life" :)))
     
  18. wingspan
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    wingspan Silver Member

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    I know I'm a very lucky man as I have a handful of very, very good friends. Although we're dispersed across large distances in the world, we're not that far. One day I hope to bridge some gaps in geography - and I will work hard to do so - because I know that as we get older these friendships will be more important.

    BUT if you can get to about 40 and have even just 3 friends that you really trust and really love, then you've done very well.
     
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  19. Datfas

    Datfas Silver Member

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    Techgirl, I got a laugh out of that last one! Trueblue I don't think anything is wrong, I have lived in a different city for a couple of years and have not been a social butterfly. I have very few friends and a lot of acquaintances. I don't get into sports and don't find many topics that other people share with me. I will say that you don't have to drink or smoke to each the bar, maybe a dart game or pool with some close friends will work.
     
  20. msv
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    msv Gold Member

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    Normally I'm pretty shy but I'm taking two trips to Europe and sharing a room with people I've met on FT but have not yet met in person. After going to a several "Do's" I have found a great group of people that share the love of travel and I'm sure I'll have a great time.[​IMG] My life-long friends don't do anything spontaneous and what I think is great about FT are the people that enjoy saying "I'm free tomorrow - let's fly and and scratch a new country or two off the bucket list". I do agree that it's a big let-down after a great trip (especially when the MasterCard bill is waiting for you at home). I prefer to plot the next trip when I'm feeling [​IMG]
     
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  21. PanAm
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    I've had similar feelings to an extent. You get screwed over a few times and learn to pull back and be very guarded. Even though I haven't had any issues with friends in awhile, two of my closest friends are apparently being stabbed in the back by people they thought were among their inner circle of trusted friends. At the same time, my family relationships (other than my wife & daughter) are very strained...my brother & I will probably never speak again, my parents and I just aren't close anymore (I'm mid-30s).

    I've always been one to prefer a smaller group of closer friends than a huge social circle. But even though I'm a little shy at first I really do enjoy meeting people and like to be around people - not sure if that makes sense. I especially like traveling about and interacting with people in new places and fellow travelers.

    I think part of the problem, is I'm so overworked and stressed...I just don't have the time or energy. Then I get bored and depressed, which means less energy. I think my wife feels similarly.

    Even though some friends will let you down, part of me still believe one has to keep trying - not all of them will be that way. Maybe it's 1 in 10 that turns out to be a real friend through thick and thin. But get the right one and it's worth it.

    I get the same way with having such a letdown coming back from a trip! Or really, after any really big exciting event (post-Christmastime was horrible when i was a kid!) Thinking about the next trip usually starts to cure it. But sitting on that return flight - especially a long TATL or a TPAC with too much time to think - really sucks.
     
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  22. samh004
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    samh004 Gold Member

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    I drink, but then I do have Aspergers, and find the alcohol pulls me out of my shell so-to-speak. Though I have been known to go overboard on the drinking, so it’s hard to find a balance there. And to explain because I see this sounds wrong already, I meet people and drink to open up and get to know them. Without alcohol I’d probably not go to Do’s as it’d be harder for me.

    But of course you need to get out first, and research to make sure there’ll be alcohol where you’re going… and lets face it, if you’re meeting anyone from these sites, there’ll be alcohol :p
     
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  23. Wurm
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    Wurm Silver Member

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    TrueBlueFlyer, thanks for starting the thread and for being so open. I see some of myself in your story, but with twists unique to myself.

    I'm probably older than you, and at this point one of my major problems in trying to socialize is that most work acquaintances and non-work people are wrapped up in their family lives. Some have gone out of their way to invite me to their homes or to group dinners, but always being the third or fifth wheel is no fun, for them or for me. Another problem is that I really dislike excessive alcohol use (or at least the aftermath) in social settings, so going to bars has little allure for me (to paraphrase the Soup Nazi , "No DOs for YOU"!

    I think the answer that has worked for me is to not to try to measure up to someone else's expectations of what my life should be. Have no "spiritual" side? So what, who say you have to? Have highbrow artistic/musical tastes? Why compromise? A disastrous engagement in my 20s, which ended in the relationships version of global thermobuclear war, convinced me that a marriage / monogamous relationship was not meant for me.

    Am I a happy person today? Yes. Do I regret choices I made in the past? Some (especially those that were "road never taken" types of choices"), but the choices I did make have given me very interesting life adventures. The one thing I never want to do is to lay down in the "velvet coffin" - that is, lead a life that provides creature comforts and outward happiness but is in fact just an inexorable slide into physical death. TrueBlue, I hope you find that self-acceptance.
     
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  24. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    I wouldn't worry so much about what other people think.
    To thine own self be true, said Polonius. If other people
    despise you, big deal; it's only if you despise yourself that
    you have anything to worry about. You should enjoy having
    people be nice to you when they're nice to you, but don't
    sweat it when they aren't.

    Are you repelled by insincerity and two-facedness? You're
    not alone, but you have to accept that these are not only
    common behaviors but almost mandatory strategies for
    survival in this imperfect world.
     
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  25. Tkey
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    You and I are exactly alike. I maybe go out once a week, but it's because I get sooooo much social interaction at work with new people every day. When I'm at home, I want to be left alone. I have a small group of very good friends that I've known for a long time. They are my family and I wouldn't change a thing.
     
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