Author Topic: Increasing social connections/social capital  (Read 14054 times)

Astatine

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Increasing social connections/social capital
« on: January 29, 2018, 04:23:27 AM »
I recently read this post by pbkmaine and this post by TheGrimSqueaker about social connection and social capital.

I've also realised I'm happiest at the moment with more social interactions, despite my default tendencies to be a bit of an antisocial homebody.

I'm starting this thread to encourage myself to do something most days to improve my social connection with friends and acquaintances etc. Social media is fair game for keeping friendships and connections alive (please do not criticise or shame any forms of connection in this thread: any connection is valid, regardless of whether it is in person, by phone, texting, social media, messaging etc).

Feel free to join in too.


Today:

- I wished a dear friend happy birthday on FB. (we caught up yesterday in person when I gave her a gift so this was in addition to that)

- I sent a calendar invitation to a work friend for lunch later this week. Every time we run into each other we keep saying, we must have lunch together and never get round to it.

What I still want to do tonight:

- Yesterday I messaged a friend who I've dropped out of contact with for about 18 months and she responded while I was at work, so I want to reply to her tonight.

Carrie

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2018, 06:45:58 AM »
May I join you? I am definitely a homebody, and being frugal has made that tendency stronger. Plus I'm a sahm with a wah spouse... so there's often no reason to leave the house.

This week: call someone at the local charity to discuss upcoming class, I've been putting this off due to anxiety.
- arrange a coffee date (at my house) for next Monday for three other moms in the neighborhood.
- visit the local gallery to deliver some work; Make connections there and arrange a demonstration day for next month.

Astatine

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2018, 01:26:47 PM »
Welcome! Absolutely you can join in. :) The more the merrier! Good luck with your list.

I messaged my friend back last night. Huzzah!


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kaleidoscopicalkris

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2018, 01:35:34 PM »
I'm in! So far today, I have wished a friend happy birthday by text instead of by facebook, and we've had a really great conversation because of it!

Next up: Reach out to a friend to finalize plans for tomorrow night. Season tickets to any sort of event with a friend are a great way to maintain a regular get-together.

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2018, 06:43:08 PM »
I love this challenge!

I'm making a start by RSVPing yes to my local gardening group's vege swap this weekend. I will bring some seeds and veges and maybe make some new friends or at least friendly acquaintances...?

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2018, 06:46:20 PM »
I'd like to follow this, just to simply text someone daily that I haven't caught up with for a while
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Astatine

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2018, 06:49:02 PM »
Yay!!! Welcome everyone :)

I’m at work now, hopefully will do something when I’m home.


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JanetJackson

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2018, 07:09:25 PM »
I LOVE THIS.
TLDR: I'm way antisocial, but thrive in a community and used to have TONS of friends before I moved to a new city.  I'm up for this challenge!

I am a serious homebody, and my dog has been going through cancer treatments so I have been really optimizing my time with her.  I am also moving a few miles further outside of town in a few weeks, which I know will only isolate me further from people.  BUT this will be a studio garage apartment with NO ROOMATE, so I could absolutely host a friend or two on occasion.  Now just to get myself to interact with people.
I moved to this city about seven years ago, leaving many close friends behind.  I have yet to make any good connections here, but I am also not trying hard enough.
I would like to interact with one different person in my immediate area each day, in any way.  This could be going to a yoga class and putting my mat in a NEW SPOT (I'm a creature of habit), or sending someone a text, or even a Facebook comment.  ANYTHING.  Usually I come home, walk my dog, walk the neighbors dog, go to the gym and work out in the back left corner by myself, and then come home and cook dinner + lunch for the next day and listen to a podcast, foam roll, and go to sleep.  Some days, besides work, I can go a whole day without talking to anyone.  On my days off, that often happens.  People reach out and I usually ignore it.
Must.  Get.  Better.  At.  Being.  A.  Human.

I'm in! :)
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Astatine

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2018, 12:55:02 AM »
Welcome! Your goals sound great!

So, what I've done just now (now that I'm home from work) was like and comment on about 7 or 8 things on FB. Unfortunately the timeline algorithms are a bit crappy so I'm not sure I'm seeing all the people I give a shit about, but I did what I could.

Tonight's goals:

- message someone I used to work with and see how they're going this year

- comment on 5 journals on this forum (preferably ones that I already follow) because a) online community is also important and b) I have a bad habit of reading without replying because of anxiety or whatever.


How did you all go with today's goals (or whatever timeframe you've set for yourself)?

Astatine

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2018, 02:46:43 AM »
Tonight's goals:

- message someone I used to work with and see how they're going this year

- comment on 5 journals on this forum (preferably ones that I already follow) because a) online community is also important and b) I have a bad habit of reading without replying because of anxiety or whatever.


Done! Plus a random message exchange with friend F who apologised for not talking to DH when they ran into each other earlier today. (not sure why she messaged me not him, but I'm happy to have more contact with her)

limeandpepper

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2018, 04:36:20 AM »
I'm not very good at being social and keeping in touch so I'm going to use this thread as a reminder!

Astatine

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2018, 04:50:26 AM »
Yay l&p! Welcome :)


« Last Edit: January 31, 2018, 04:42:44 AM by Astatine »

Astatine

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2018, 04:42:20 AM »
Stuff I managed to do tonight:

- a while ago I messaged a friend on FB messenger and she got back to me today saying yes, we should catch up. (we've been saying this every so often for the past 6 months or so) I responded with an option of 2 weekends in Feb to catch up when I'm free. I'm realising I like having social stuff booked in the calendar in advance, so I'm suggesting concrete days when people say 'we should catch up'.

- responded to another response from someone I know. No catch up suggested but I'm sure we'll do coffee sometime in the next few months.

- I'm hosting a Tupperware party in a couple of weeks to get some BIFL storage containers for my pantry, plus with bonus socialising (Tupperware parties go through one of my social circles in waves - everyone's usually pretty good at saying feel free to come and not buy anything). I've made contact with the consultant and posted an update on my FB event page.

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2018, 05:46:07 AM »
I'm far more antisocial than I was when younger.  It's not that I don't like to be with friends, it's because I've gotten far more selective with the people I like to spend time with.  It has almost nothing to do with a persons income or wealth.  I can't stand most wealthy people.  Mustacian types, I love.  I like cycling and backpacking.  Two sports thst can be as cheap or as expensive as you make them.   The common denominator is the person.  The person makes the sport, not the fancy gear you use. 
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JanetJackson

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2018, 08:56:02 AM »
I LOVE THIS.
TLDR: I'm way antisocial, but thrive in a community and used to have TONS of friends before I moved to a new city.  I'm up for this challenge!

I am a serious homebody, and my dog has been going through cancer treatments so I have been really optimizing my time with her.  I am also moving a few miles further outside of town in a few weeks, which I know will only isolate me further from people.  BUT this will be a studio garage apartment with NO ROOMATE, so I could absolutely host a friend or two on occasion.  Now just to get myself to interact with people.
I moved to this city about seven years ago, leaving many close friends behind.  I have yet to make any good connections here, but I am also not trying hard enough.
I would like to interact with one different person in my immediate area each day, in any way.  This could be going to a yoga class and putting my mat in a NEW SPOT (I'm a creature of habit), or sending someone a text, or even a Facebook comment.  ANYTHING.  Usually I come home, walk my dog, walk the neighbors dog, go to the gym and work out in the back left corner by myself, and then come home and cook dinner + lunch for the next day and listen to a podcast, foam roll, and go to sleep.  Some days, besides work, I can go a whole day without talking to anyone.  On my days off, that often happens.  People reach out and I usually ignore it.
Must.  Get.  Better.  At.  Being.  A.  Human.

I'm in! :)

This week so far I made small conversation with someone at the gym, I smiled at the dude lifting in the rack next to me and made a face like "goshdang this weight is killing me" and he nodded like "me too!"- that totally counts as interaction.
I also spoke with a woman at work longer than I usually would have.
Today someone left me a note saying that we should go trail running (I used to do this fairly often, and I'm doing a running challenge right now anyways...so...)- I don't necessarily get along great with this person, but good enough, and maybe it'll be nice not to run alone?
Doing ok this week so far! 
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NoraLenderbee

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2018, 01:44:32 PM »
I'm in.

Carrie

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2018, 05:22:32 PM »
I made small talk at the dentist office today.
This afternoon I texted a stranger  (child brought home a phone # for a friend met on the school bus, so all I knew was they live in our neighborhood) to meet us at the neighborhood park. And they did! This is big for me, meeting a stranger and attempting conversation for over an hour.  I didn't even die. And I may have intimated that I'd invite the mom over for coffee soon.

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2018, 05:53:14 PM »
Sounds good! I think I'll make it a goal to text someone every time I'm "napping" with my daughter. I'm usually on my phone anyway. It was part of my new year's plans to start inviting people over more, but we've been wallowing in cold season and not wanting to get anyone else sick :(

Astatine

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2018, 06:23:53 PM »
JanetJackson: great job! Are you going to go on the run with the person who left you a note?

Carrie: way to go!!! I loved ‘I  didn’t even die’. Funny how our brains can be a tad prone to catastrophising. (I never ever do that. Nope. Never ;))

NoraLenderBee: Welcome! Do you have any particular goals you’d like to aim for? You can always start small and build from there :)


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Better Late

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2018, 07:22:32 PM »
I would like to join in. I am so much happier when I have planned social events-- but I need a prompt to initiate them. And the more you do it, the easier it is to do. Also, for some inexplicable reason my social anxiety level is very low right now so I need to capitalize on that!

I have next Friday off of work so will plan a lunch date with a friend I haven't seen in 9 months.

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2018, 08:35:12 PM »
I like this challenge :-)  I started adult life with pretty bad shyness/social anxiety, got a bit better in my 20s but still hardly made any friends. After moving to NYC in 2014 I started getting pretty good at meeting people and turning acquaintances into friends. But you can never have too much social capital and I still find myself feeling a bit lonely sometimes.

Today:
1. Made a little small talk with 3 different co-workers, even the one I don't like very much.
2. After work I was at a concert and saw someone across the room who I know a little bit - walked over before the music started and said hello, and we ended up talking for 15-20 minutes. I suggested an idea she seemed to really like regarding her volunteer gig (which is where I know her from).
3. Was texting with a friend about his job hunt and gave him a lead on a place that was hiring for an entry level position that he is qualified for.
4. Wished a friend happy birthday with a message telling her a little story about something that made me think of her this week.
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Frugal Lizard

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2018, 08:37:32 PM »


Carrie: way to go!!! I loved ‘I  didn’t even die’. Funny how our brains can be a tad prone to catastrophising. (I never ever do that. Nope. Never ;))

I loved that too
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martyconlonontherun

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2018, 01:02:14 AM »
My biggest issue is that the "we should hang out" = happy hour or dinner at a restaurant. It seems taboo just to go to someone's house to hang out or just to do something free like walking around.

Any suggestions?

Astatine

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #23 on: February 01, 2018, 03:03:50 AM »
Welcome everyone!

Regarding hanging out, depends on the person. I think if you want it to be at your house, you need some activity even if it's just come over for a cuppa (like a cup of tea or coffee) or for cake etc. Or if you want something free or cheap, maybe suggest meeting up for a picnic or to walk around a nice park or lake, or to see a free art exhibition, so there is a focus for the hanging out together. That works for my social circles and my location. YMMV of course.


One thing I've noticed with this challenge is that I'm removing a lot of self-imposed pressure/stress. I always feel like I should do more to build and maintain friendships and acquaintances and that I'm always failing. But if I set myself a few small achievable social activities (like messaging someone or arranging to meet someone), and then do them, then I can relax for the rest of the day because I've done enough.

Astatine

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #24 on: February 01, 2018, 03:12:03 AM »
Today I did:

- had lunch with a work friend. She was running late, so I ended up talking to someone else I know while I was waiting for her.

- message an animal rescue group to talk about one of their animals up for adoption (I thought I knew the animal and was curious - turns out I did know the animal)

- continued a FB messenger conversation with someone I know.

- had a few awkward-ish conversations in the lift at work.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #25 on: February 01, 2018, 04:18:41 AM »
Accepted an invitation out to a show for later in the month! Trying to consolidate some relationships with new friends :-)

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #26 on: February 01, 2018, 05:04:30 PM »
Hung out with two different friends today! And got invited to a ladies' night on Saturday :)

Carrie

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #27 on: February 01, 2018, 05:22:27 PM »
Someone fb messaged me to call them, and I did. I was annoyed that we couldn't discuss over text or messenger, but was rewarded by the lady dropping the f-bomb and warning me to steer clear of drama laden issue. It was funny, and a nice connection.

Dollar Slice

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #28 on: February 01, 2018, 05:28:52 PM »
Social capital fail for me today. I got a text from someone who I'd really like to be better friends with (he does the coolest stuff and has the most interesting friends) inviting me to go out tonight because he had an extra (free) ticket to something. But my back is really sore and it's raining and I was totally not in the mood to be social, so I told him I couldn't make it :-(  It was pretty last-minute so I'm sure he won't take it personally, but I wish I had been up for it.
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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #29 on: February 01, 2018, 07:03:48 PM »
Rebuilding old friendships and starting news ones is a priority for me so posting to follow along and maybe have some accountability/encouragement/new ideas.

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #30 on: February 01, 2018, 07:17:35 PM »
My social goals for this month:
1. compliment a person every day
2. ask a question about themselves every day
3. spend an hour every week writing cards or sending real emails to real friends (as opposed to social media)

About the first two goals, I actually do admire many people and would like to know more about their lives. But in person, I have a tendency to forget to express my admiration, and I also somehow hesitate to ask questions in person, when in truth most folks like to talk about themselves.

I'm also a terrible correspondent and need to fix that.

Astatine

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #31 on: February 02, 2018, 01:17:47 AM »
Yay, more people!!! <3 In the spirit of this thread I feel like I should reply to you individually. But in the spirit of my personal goals for 2018, fuck all the shoulds. So you get an all encompassing welcome!

Apart from the usual occasional chit chat with my team mates, today I:

- had lunch with one of my former managers who I really like. Thiis was unplanned, she just happened to get her lunch at the same time as me and wanted company (she's an extravert). But, I did make the effort to talk and not just be a passive audience to her talking.

- bought a gift for a friend for her surprise party tomorrow morning. (I try not to do gifts but a couple of my friends show by actions that gifts matter to them, so for special occasions I do gifts for those particular friends) I bought her a pot with 3 pretty succulent plants and some seeds for pretty looking flowers. She seems to retweet a lot of succulents and flowers etc on one of her twitter accounts so hopefully she will like them.

- bought vegan pasty to make [themed] food for tomorrow's surprise party. Several of us have decided we are all in on [theme] and I want to contribute (the theme could be triggering for some people so I'm not going to write about it here)

- writing this made me realise I would like to message the host of [themed] party letting her know what I'm planning to bring. Which I have now done and she responded straight away :)

- I have to go to a nurse clinic every 6 weeks for maintenance of an implanted medical device (portacath). Today, thanks to this thread, I made much more of an effort to talk to reception staff and the nurses than I usually do. I greeted one of the reception staff by name (yay me for remembering! my memory got a bit fried with medical treatment a few years back) when she said 'hi [Astatine]' and we made small talk about a new change to check-in procedures at reception. I also said hi to the other reception person (I don't know her name yet but she seems really nice too). And then one of the nurses, J, who knows me and DH by name said hi, and we talked to her about her recent holiday in quite a bit of detail. And then with the nurse who was doing the actual maintenance, I made the effort to ask her a bunch of questions about stuff she'd mentioned when we were all talking with nurse J, and it was all fascinating stuff! Yay me! And then I said goodby to both reception people.

This is pretty huge for me. I've usually felt uncomfortable in the medical setting (because I've had some fairly full on nasty treatment at this nurse clinic) and have just gone through the motions of small talk. But this time I decided to go with the flow and just chat and it was really nice. :)

Astatine

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #32 on: February 02, 2018, 01:29:24 AM »
Social capital fail for me today. I got a text from someone who I'd really like to be better friends with (he does the coolest stuff and has the most interesting friends) inviting me to go out tonight because he had an extra (free) ticket to something. But my back is really sore and it's raining and I was totally not in the mood to be social, so I told him I couldn't make it :-(  It was pretty last-minute so I'm sure he won't take it personally, but I wish I had been up for it.

Bummer.

I should also 'fess up to a social capital fail for the week. A work friend (the one I had lunch with this week) organised a location to view the supermoon/lunar eclipse from, reasonably near where I live. But I was sooooo tired (I'm low on spoons due to recovering from a bad illness a few months ago) and the event was going to start at 10.30pm. I was so ready to crash in bed by then, so I bailed. :/ And I love astrononmy too.

limeandpepper

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #33 on: February 02, 2018, 02:22:55 AM »
Wow you did a lot today Astatine, that's great! Don't beat yourself up for not being able to do all the stuff.

I've been chatting to my sister on FB this week and it's really nice. We talk a lot about investments actually haha!

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #34 on: February 02, 2018, 02:31:13 AM »
PTF. Just moved to a new city (3 months ago) and trying to make new friends here while also maintaining my 'old' friend circle. Will read up the thread and contribute with goals and encouragement to others later.

Astatine

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #35 on: February 02, 2018, 03:15:41 AM »
Tomorrow's goal: actually make the effort to chat to people at the surprise party tomorrow morning. Maybe I should set myself a goal of 2 people? Hmm. Goal of talking to 1 person (other than just chiming in a bit to a group discussion), stretch goal 2 people.

chasesfish

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #36 on: February 02, 2018, 07:56:37 PM »
I was writing something tonight about receiving my first job offer.  I realized I hadn't reached out to the person who went trudging through the rain with me on our college NY trip trying to figure out where to get a drug test.  Fun times.  He's off trying to change the world as the CEO of a biotech company and we haven't talked since he was on round 2 of funding.  Decided to send him a message
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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #37 on: February 03, 2018, 12:51:38 AM »
I'm a socially isolated person. and I've also felt anxiety when I go in any gathering. someone, please help me. I don't want to be that type of person. 

Astatine

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #38 on: February 03, 2018, 12:59:13 AM »
Welcome new people!

I exceeded my talking with people at surprise morning tea, including someone I'd only met once before. and now there is lots of follow-on chit chat on FB which is nice :)

I'm a socially isolated person. and I've also felt anxiety when I go in any gathering. someone, please help me. I don't want to be that type of person. 

Hello! Welcome :) IME it's possible to have friends and a social life with some chronic (and varying levels of) social anxiety.

But of course, everyone is different. Is there anything in particular that you find really difficult? Are you still able to Do The Thing despite the anxiety? Or do you avoid All the Things because of the anxiety?

If you feel comfortable enough to share some of your fears or anxieties, hopefully one or more of us can offer some support or advice. And/or it's possible you might find your fears are shared by one or more of us.


ozmickey

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #39 on: February 03, 2018, 01:45:10 AM »
I am in. My work has kept me busy in the last few years and I have let social interactions fall to the wayside. Last Monday I did go to a new-to-me book club in the city after work. It made a long day for me but the people were interesting and very friendly.

Carrie

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #40 on: February 03, 2018, 09:01:07 AM »
Yesterday the new lady I met at the park, whose son rides the bus with mine, invited my son over. So I walked him over there and visited in her house for half an hour, then left my kid there to play.  It was fine, but I still don't know that I know how to visit well. She texted later, and I mentioned we should get together again and she said "great!" So I think it's ok. They live 0.4 mi away, just around the corner. Within the past 7 months I've met three different women/families within easy walking distance. I think that means it's time to take the very scary plunge and host a dinner party.

I talked on the phone with a chatty older woman who shares a hobby with me - someone else gave her my number. I really don't want to pursue this because she was too much for me.

I also set up a demonstration at a local guild, and now I'm in charge of organizing a whole group. This will definitely get me out of my comfort zone, but it'll be good. The demonstration is open to the public so I'm gearing up for a big day of many interactions. This will be my test to see if I've got what it takes to teach a class in my craft.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2018, 09:06:53 AM by Carrie »

Astatine

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #41 on: February 03, 2018, 06:00:39 PM »
Welcome, ozmickey! And way to go Carrie!

Yesterday I said yes to going out to a fancy dinner with some friends at the beginning of next month. I almost said no, but then thought about it and said to myself, why not? I can easily afford it and I'd like to keep deepening my connection with this particular group of friends/acquaintances.

expatartist

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #42 on: February 04, 2018, 12:10:16 AM »
Great challenge! At the moment I'm spending a few weeks away from home, reconnecting with family and friends in the US, but am wanting to strengthen connections with acquaintances/friends while away. Tomorrow I'll write a friend at home about an art event she's throwing the night after I return.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #43 on: February 04, 2018, 01:09:29 AM »
I'm making a start by RSVPing yes to my local gardening group's vege swap this weekend. I will bring some seeds and veges and maybe make some new friends or at least friendly acquaintances...?

This event was this afternoon. It was kind of a bust socially - too many people milling around, and most people just spoke to the people they already knew. But I made an effort to make small talk with the people I stood near, it was interesting to attend for non-social reasons, and apparently they usually have far fewer people so I will attend again in future and see if it's a better setup for making connections.

Drole

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #44 on: February 04, 2018, 06:12:06 PM »
Making plans to get together with a friend-of-a-friend.  I probably wouldn't have followed up a couple of months ago, but I read something not long ago that stuck with me.  Something along the lines of, not waiting for the perfect friend to come along.  Not waiting for that person who might not exist.  And honestly, she just might be the perfect person.  Somedays I forget to jump in when I have the chance.  Gotta jump on those chances.

Astatine

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #45 on: February 04, 2018, 11:54:51 PM »
Welcome! Way to go!

(I have so lost track of who is new to the thread and who is checking in on progress. But, perfectionism can get in the way of my socialising so I will not let my imperfect knowledge be an impediment to greeting people. I have so many social hang ups. I am hoping that naming some of them in this thread will help me shed some of them)

HAH, sometimes I find early stages of meet and greet with new groups to be ugh, but then after a few repeated attempts, eventually there is a connection. So yay for wanting to try again! (worst case you get food and/or plants for your garden :)) You probably know all this, I'm a bit tipsy, writing out stuff for myself, hoping that my brain will absorb this lesson properly and have less freak outs when attempt #1 at socialising is a bit of a fizzer.

Making plans to get together with a friend-of-a-friend.  I probably wouldn't have followed up a couple of months ago, but I read something not long ago that stuck with me.  Something along the lines of, not waiting for the perfect friend to come along.  Not waiting for that person who might not exist.  And honestly, she just might be the perfect person.  Somedays I forget to jump in when I have the chance.  Gotta jump on those chances.

Oooh. Very interesting analysis. I've realised in recent weeks that part of me thinks that I should have one or two BFF (outside of my marriage). And I don't, not really. Cultural expectations around friendships are *hard* IME. I keep thinking that I'm doing something wrong in that I don't have a perfect person.

And maybe perfect person for a non-romantic friendship just hasn't come along for me yet or... maybe, that's a model that doesn't work for me, and what works for me is a bunch of friends and acquaintances each of whom bring something different to me in terms of friendship, and that it's ok not to have a 'perfect friend' who fulfils all 'friend needs outside of marriage'. I suspect I'm rambling a bit but this is something that I've sort of been thinking about for a while but not very coherently.

limeandpepper

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #46 on: February 05, 2018, 12:23:59 AM »
I've realised in recent weeks that part of me thinks that I should have one or two BFF (outside of my marriage).

I don't have any BFFs outside of my partner and I don't think he does either. We have friends but not best friends. I do feel a tingle of envy sometimes when I hear about other people and their BFFs... :/  But then I wonder if maybe I'm just not built to have a BFF anyway, and that perhaps the kind of friends I have, and our interactions, are actually the best suited to how I like my social life.

Villanelle

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #47 on: February 05, 2018, 01:01:09 AM »
I'm a socially isolated person. and I've also felt anxiety when I go in any gathering. someone, please help me. I don't want to be that type of person.

What works will be different for everyone, but I feel quite similarly and here are a few things that work for me.  (When I say they work for me, that doesn't men the anxiety and dread go away, but they are somewhat diminished and are usually but not always more manageable and I'm able to push through.)

Bring a friend.  For example, these two people I'm going to invite for coffee on Friday--I plan on asking a dear friend with whom I'm completely comfortable to join us.  (I'll be making the invite in my role as a leader of an organization and thankfully this friend is also a leader, so it makes sense.)  If she can't make it, I'll likely ask someone else.  This isn't ideal as this other person isn't someone with whom I'm nearly as comfortable, but she is at least past about 85% of my anxiety barrier, so would still offer some security for me.  Anyway, I find I'm far more comfortable if I have the security of having "my people" present for new interactions.

Also, have a purpose.  Generally, something like coffee is more challenging for me than, say, book club.  A book club means there is a clear thing to talk about so I can always default to that.  Just going for lunch of coffee lacks that purpose and makes me feel more anxious and awkward.  (The coffee I mention above lacks at least some of that purposelessness because it is welcome them to this country and our organization and offering to assist them in the transition and ask questions they may have.  No ideal, but better than most random "let's do coffee!" situations.) So if you are seeking new connections, perhaps look for hobby-driven groups and if you are extending invitations to new acquaintances, consider inviting them to a wine and paint night or a local festival, rather than just a "sit and talk" thing.

Finally, I have a stable of questions on which I can fall back if I'm freaking out.  If I'm really panicking inside, I can default to these.  They are pretty standard.  "Where are you from?" (Usually with some kind of follow up question based on their response.)  "Do you have any children or pets?"    That sort of thing.  This is a big anxiety easier for me because even when my brain is in the fog of panic that comes with my anxiety and I'm struggling to form coherent--much less interesting!--thoughts, I can get these out and it's often enough for me to regain some of my footing.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #48 on: February 05, 2018, 01:56:46 AM »
Joining this friend, as I am also a person who tends not to prioritize social interaction, while I just should. These are the things that are going on now:

I registered for a 2 day event this Saturday and Sunday with lectures about mushrooms, with my local mushroom club. I know a few people in that club, but I'm not sure that they will be there. But I'll make an effort to talk to new people. The event is sponsored for me (and a bunch of others) by the club, to keep me up to date.

As I will be away most of the coming weekend, DH thought he might visit our mountain cabin. He put out a invitation on a small facebook group with outdoor people if anyone wanted to join him. There will also be an event going on there, as the village is checkpoint for a dog sledge race. A Danish guy was interested in coming. I hope he will join, as DH could also use some more friends.

I invited a friend of mine and her boyfriend to join us for a long weekend at our mountain cabin later in February. Looks like they are planning to come. Then we can go CC skiing together and having social time in the cabin at night.

The women in my department at work are having a girls night out, in the city. We are going to have dinner and see a movie, paid for by yourself. Some of my colleagues are talking about having a three course meal, ordering a wine menu with the meal and me paying for a taxi to get home. What the F...! Last year I didn't join, because I find it too far (35 kms each way), parking is expensive in that city and because I didn't feel comfortable with the idea of joining.
This year I am going to join. Maybe there can be something positive to it. I told the organizer (my group leader) that I wanted to eat somewhere simple, not a three course meal and I wouldn't join them visiting bars and other places later. She said that she intended to book a simple restaurant and not visiting bars later, as it is on a Monday evening. I think I might take the train, to avoid parking challenges. The cost might be the same, driving or using train.

Last weekend DH went to an event in the city. It was some event for outdoorsy people, but we were not the main target audience. DH is not working at the moment and wanted to get some social interaction, so I agreed to go there. And we knew a friend of us would go. And DH "knew" some people from Instagram. The 2 lectures about outdoor stuff were nice to listen to. It was also nice to see our friend again, as she lives quite far away and we didn't see her for a year.

When we met BIL during Christmas, he mentioned that he might want to visit us around Easter, for a sea trout fishing vacation. He is welcome to come. Only challenge is that if he comes while we work, he doesn't have other means of transportation from our house than walking half an hour to the train station. BIL does not have a driver's license. DH would have to take off time to join him for fishing. On the other hand, sea trout fishing is best done in the dark, so DH could join him fishing at night. BIL is a sort of mole and could stay up all night. DH needs to sleep before going to work. I hope we can combine his plans with some of our national holidays in spring. That would be best for all.

Villanelle

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #49 on: February 05, 2018, 02:10:29 AM »
Making plans to get together with a friend-of-a-friend.  I probably wouldn't have followed up a couple of months ago, but I read something not long ago that stuck with me.  Something along the lines of, not waiting for the perfect friend to come along.  Not waiting for that person who might not exist.  And honestly, she just might be the perfect person.  Somedays I forget to jump in when I have the chance.  Gotta jump on those chances.

This is a lesson I've learned in the past decade and am still working toward fully accepting.  For a long time, I had my social circle. I had a strong circle of maybe 6 women, and I didn't really need any more than that.  Occasionally someone would drift out (maybe moving away) or someone would be added (like when I developed strong friendships with two coworkers), but I was happy and never really looking for more.

When we moved out of the country, it was starting from scratch.  It was simply awful for me, and very lonely for a very long time.  We've had two more international moves since then, and I've come to realize that having "Germany friends", as opposed to only cultivating relationships with people I think might be soulmate, friends-for-life types is okay.  It's not fake or dishonest.  I still have a tendency to want to write someone off the moment there's anything off-putting about them, so I have to fight that sometimes.