I always tell people that I’m an ambivert, and they look at me incredulously. I talk too much sometimes and I have a tendency to lose my filter. I enjoy being around people. I (usually) like the energy that being around positive people brings me. However, I enjoy my downtime, too. My roommates and I have a good thing going where a closed door = do not disturb, and sometimes I can sit in my room for hours without needing to see anyone else. I’ll lay in bed all day and be perfectly content within the confines of my mind. I go to parties and I socialize, but I have an energy bar and once I hit a “peak” in the night, my energy depletes and I leave early or shut down. I dread small talk, but I’m (apparently) good at it. My roommate laughs when I’m in a situation where I need to small talk other people, because I sit in my room filled with anxiety, fully freaking out, and then walk out and engage as if it was normal and easy for me.
I am learning that for me (and like most things), my social life is all about balance. I like being alone just as much as I like being around people, it just needs to be balanced correctly.
Lately, my life has been balancing more towards the “introverted” side of myself, and it’s leaving me feeling very unsatisfied and lonely. I’m an older student returning to school for post-bacc classes, and I really don’t connect with the undergraduates I have class with. I go to work and have work friends, but hanging out with them outside of work is sometimes a hassle and sometimes a realization that work friends should be just that–work friends–as in we don’t really connect in things other than work. That’s an okay thing, but not helpful when I’m trying to form real relationships with people.
I realize I only have three really good friends here in SF. Priscilla, who is my roommate and best friend out here, and Kelsey and Kalyn who were my first real friends in the city, two people I could navigate this crazy and different world that we moved to. I moved here with an open mind and wide eyes and threw myself into activities and events when I felt lonely. I’d have my fair share of introvertism by staying in and Skyping/watching a movie with my LDR ex-bf. When I started to feel antsy, I’d join a group or call the girls and go out. It was a great balance.
I find myself feeling extra lonely these days. Kelsey has just moved to Oakland, and though commuting via public transportation is only an extra 7 minutes, it sometimes feels like another country crossing the bridge. Kalyn is traveling a lot for work and is very introverted, so she treasures her time alone. I live with Priscilla, so it’s easy to see her, but I fear smothering her because she’s my bestie and the only person who really knows me (and all of the faults that come with me) out here!
I struggle to find people who socialize like me. Once in awhile, I enjoy going out, I enjoy socializing and meeting people and drinking culture. But I find myself in groups with people who enjoy staying in–and that’s NOT a bad thing, but not what I need right now. Priscilla said to me the other day, “I’ve never had an ambiverted friend like you. I can do all the daytime activities but I can’t keep up with your extroverted side! It’s go-go-go!”
I don’t blame her–my introverted side has reached it’s peak and my extroverted side is begging me to socialize. But I don’t have many friends that socialize in that way. So I’ve been trying to put myself out there, but then another part of me doesn’t care. Or doesn’t feel like it. So I have a constant tug of “OMG I NEED TO GO OUT I’M GETTING STIR CRAZY!!!!” and “Eh, I’m fine. Don’t feel like getting ready right now. At least I have an option to make a new friend if I want to.”
Sometimes I feel like socializing for me has been such an obligation. I said this to Priscilla the other day–I made plans with a friend and she told me to just say no if I didn’t feel like it. I couldn’t. “I have an obligation,” I said to Priscilla. “I already told her I’d go.” But that also goes with my personality. I give too much of myself to others.
Just trying to find the balance. I feel alone but then I can’t complain because the effort isn’t fully there, ya know?
Anyway, at the end of the day, I’m lonely. And I know this is navigating new territory after being in a 3 year relationship and always having someone. Maybe I need to learn how to be alone. It would just be nice to not feel so alone sometimes. And maybe I just don’t click fully with the people I am meeting, so I’m not ‘fulfilled’. Who knows? Time to throw myself out there again.
For those of you in a big city or have moved to a big city by yourself — how did you make friends?