Dr. Ms. Mix and Bitch,
I moved to the City two years ago and have only developed vague friendships. Early on, I met a very gregarious guy who has introduced me to his friends and friends he’s made since we’ve been together. All of my quasi-friendships are with people he’s met and brought into our lives. They are all nice people and we seem to get along, but I have yet to establish myself beyond being Great Guy’s Girlfriend with anyone.
This has caused tension within an otherwise great relationship. Boyfriend feels the pressure of making friends for me and I don’t hang out with anyone else unless he’s around, so I’m either with Boyfriend or by myself. I know it’s a two-way street and I have made (albeit, small) gestures to those I’ve hit it off with, but they don’t seem receptive. It’s always a battle to make play dates and I’ve pretty much given up.
I’m starting to feel super-isolated and concerned for my mental health. I shouldn’t depend on Boyfriend to fulfill every relationship aspect humans crave. My best female friend lives across the country and I haven’t seen her in a year. I miss girl friendships very much, but have no idea how to start one. Never in my life have I been approached by a friendly stranger and I couldn’t imagine doing it to someone. I am out-and-about the City all the time, but everyone remains a stranger. So, how do I begin? Part of me wants to meet people completely separate from the Boyfriend’s circle so I can really establish myself as an individual. Boyfriend hangs out with friends by himself a lot, so now I feel a competitive edge to finding a friendship. I know where to meet people, but I guess it simply boils down to: How?
Thanks for any advice,
I Got the Great Relationship, How About a Great Friendship?
Dear Great Girl,
It’s tough when you team up with a Golden Boy, ain’t it? Half the time you’re trying to enjoy your relationship and the other half just trying to keep up. So, here’s a suggestion:
Because he’s King of the Social Butterflies and that’s obviously not in your nature. Doesn’t mean you don’t try to branch out, but here’s the kicker darlin’…the more you try to “make friends” the more likely you won’t find them. Why? Because loneliness is the bug repellent of relationships my friend…it guarantees anything worthwhile will flee from the stink. The ultimate pickle of a situation, huh kid. So, what to do?
Take it from a gypsy that’s moved from town to town for years…the key is to get involved in a cause or class or some organized group activity that suits YOUR interests. Get involved – get outside yourself and your own head. And through the time you spend doing something you love, you will eventually find some kindred souls. But remember, it takes time…and takes effort from you. Social skills are an acquired ability, sweetie. In fact, they are a lost art form.
The bottom line for your boyfriend is probably him not wanting to feel emotionally responsible for you. He wants to know you’re enough of your own woman that he doesn’t need to worry about your mental health. And you know, that’s a fair point. The tricks are remembering these:
* Friendships are like good, plump, ripe fruit – the best grow organically and slowly over time.
* The best way to even ensure friendships can grow is to be the most interesting hang you can be,
* Friendships are like romantic relationships…ask them all about themselves and they’ll think YOUR fascinating.
Good luck Ms. Shyness. The world is waiting for you.
Sorry, no mix today, sweetums…