If there is one trait I could repeatedly isolate in the men I was wildly attracted to in the past, it is that they did exactly as they wanted and felt no need to burden themselves with the idea that they should put themselves out in the name of being “nice.”
This, of course, can be taken to the extreme, but I was too far on the other end, apparently, and envied their ability to say no. My twenties and thirties were a time of exploration, yes, but mixed in there was a lot of guilt and obligation. A lot of feeling like I should accept every invitation that came my way (largely due to being single), and then a certain amount of anger that, when all was said and done, I exhausted myself with little in return.
In the last few months I’ve experienced some of that again, as, being new to town, I’ve extended myself for people I’m not particularly interested in, and in return, they have cancelled plans at the last minute, shown up late, or promptly disappeared when a significant other appeared on the scene.
So when people tell me that I can be friends with people I don’t have a lot in common with, I take it with a grain of salt. I haven’t found it all that rewarding. Yes, sometimes it’s nice to just be around people, but time is limited, and when you get older, you want to do what you want to do, and doing otherwise will not necessarily be reciprocated or rewarded.
I’ve read a lot about how, as people get older, they tend to shed the friends they don’t enjoy and hang on to the ones they do. A problem in my life is that most of the ones I really enjoyed have been lost over the years, either to a falling out or to marriage and family, and I was primarily left with the ones who drained me.
My schedule this week was filled with a bunch of obligations I wasn’t excited about and that prevented me from doing one or two things I was interested in. Despite the guilt, I did cancel one… one small step at a time.
“Wildly attracted to”. I haven’t felt that way in so long. Every seldom once in awhile I find myself attracted to a man, and I think: yes! See? You are capable of this feeling.
I was thinking back on my twenties and thirties, but once in a very blue moon I still get interested in someone. It’s tempered though.
“My twenties and thirties….A lot of feeling like I should accept every invitation that came my way (largely due to being single),”
At 50, I am trying to get away from feeling that it is my job to be with other people (to be social). I have an activity most evenings after work and on weekends. This is left over from trying to meet a husband.
It’s tiring. And my activities are not even usually with men, or with people I enjoy. Just saying “yes” a lot.
“and when you get older, you want to do what you want to do, “.
I am pleased that I bought a single ticket to something I wanted to see. I spent zero time trying to think of who to go with, to make it social. I had a good time!
I do a lot of “single tickets” and it is much easier!
“So when people tell me that I can be friends with people I don’t have a lot in common with, I take it with a grain of salt.” I think the key with this is finding people who you care about and who care about you or with whom the potential for that to happen is there. There don’t have to be interests in common for that to happen but there has to be some “spark” there, some feeling of affection and concern for the other person that underlies the relationship. It’s not a transactional dynamic, but one based on caring and affection for another person.
“I’ve extended myself for people I’m not particularly interested in.” I agree with you that this doesn’t make sense or seem a productive use of your time. Also if you’re not interested in them, they may sense that and in turn be less interested themselves, or the feeling may be mutual from the start just based on lack of mutual “chemistry.” Based on some of your past comments I wonder if the people you are interested in are the right people for you since you mention things often not going well with those people. Some people are drawn to those who aren’t “good” for them and in turn miss out on some great people who would have been good for them. I don’t know if that’s an issue for you.
I think it’s a mutual feeling from the start, to be honest, rather than them sensing a lack of interest on my part.
As far as some of the people I’m drawn to, it’s usually people with whom I share an intellectual connection, but lately that’s been with people who are living in more “happening” parts of the city, with dream careers, and lots of exciting colleagues as part of those careers. It’s hard to compete with that, although sometimes those people do not want to compete for the spotlight.
I would love to find someone as whipsmart and engaging who just happened to be living in my quieter area and who was in some low-key career. I don’t know how I would stumble across that person though. I have occasionally done so in the past but there were other impediments (like they were older and married already or whatever).
I recently told a friend that I wasn’t happy with her cancelling at the last minute. it’s happened before and I’ve let it go but the fourth time was one time too many. I am now the one in the wrong. she hasn’t actually said as much but apparently I am meant to be alright about it because she has a child.
How old is this child? Does the child have special needs? Is she married? I had a friend do similar- and I stopped talking to her for awhile. When we reconnected, I learned her daughter does have some specials needs. But the daughter is now 9, and my friend does have things more in control. But also her husband has not worked steadily in years and major financial issues, which she has confided in me leave her very depressed. Not saying your friend is right/ just she might not be in the place to be a friend to you.
So I would put friendship on back burner and just not make plans with her. Or keep it very last minute.
Often I feel the single and childless are expected to be endlessly flexible in meeting other people’s needs. Really, we should make the most of our status by doing as we please!
no special needs. she’s a single mum and I know it’s hard for her, but unless it’s an emergency I don’t see how you can expect someone to be ok about getting blown out at the last minute more than once. in one instance with less than half an hour’s notice – and that was me contacting her to tell her where I was. I doubt I’ll hear from her again now.
That is bullshit behaviour. 4 times is 3 times too many.