Monday, April 19, 2004

In search of friends and hobbies

At lunch today a friend of mine related his experience with an acquaintance who didn’t seem to have any friends outside of his wife and family. More, this person seemed to be interested in reaching out to others, but social interaction is not this guy’s forte. Normally, I would respond to such a revelation with a good hearty, “So?” However, I found myself feeling sympathetic to the guy and wondering if there was any advice for people who are socially challenged and in their thirties. After typing the customary search on Google, among several results I found a letter from a young man (god, am I that old that I am allowed to use the term ‘young man?’) who related his difficulties with social anxiety and how he found it terribly difficult to make friends.

http://www.suite101.com/discussion.cfm/6789/70372#message_1

In part of the letter he revealed that he had found what he felt to be his ‘perfect female equivalent.’ He found her on-line, but then somehow lost her. While I felt some sympathy for this poor dude, I could remember how I made a mistake once several years ago by assuming that the perfect partner for me would be the male version of myself. God, now I know you’re laughing your ass off on the ground right now. This seems like a common mistake made by younger people and those who continue to be relationshiply-challenged for the rest of their lives. In seeking a partner, they look for a mirror-image of themselves or in the case of some complete narcissists they look for a parrot or a programmable robot.

I don’t know, but I think that many people have such difficulty finding the right people for friendships or partnerships in their younger years, because they simply don’t know themselves that well. I might add that I feel that many of the married people I know don’t make enough of an effort to expand outward and make sure that their worlds extend past their front door and work. If you have interests there are most-likely other people out there who share them with you. My ex’s mother was an avid knitter, and she was quite skilled at it. She tried becoming involved with knitting social circles, but then later declared that all the women involved were usually neurotic and uptight little busy bodies. I thought it was a little ironic that she was, in essence, describing herself. Maybe she should have taken up bowling… at least she could sneak a drink at the bar between games.

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