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Old 07-13-2011, 06:52 AM   #1
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Default Is it ok to not want close friends?

I've been with my husband for almost 16 years now (since we were 20) and we have 3 children (10. 8. and 6). Both our families live very close by (enough that we see and/or talk to them daily) and we have excellent relationships with them.

I had a couple friends that I saw every now and then, but in the past couple years it had begun to feel burdensome. They were always wanting to have "girls' night out" and "girls weekend", depsite being married and having children themselves (their children are younger than mine). One finally confronted me, saying I was brushing her off. I decided to nicely explain that I was happy having her friendship but I could only make time for phone conversations and some emails. I explained about my kids being older and us being very close to our families (we spend lots of time with them). She was still angry and now isn't speaking to me.

The truth is, I feel relieved. I'm completely content hanging out with my family. My husband and I are totally happy with each other - if we want to go out, we go out with each other. We have a great time together! We also love doing family things, like camping or going to my grandparents' home, or going up to my parents' second home in the mountains with them. When I have down time, I find that I prefer to be alone, with a good book, or my crafting supplies.

Am I wrong? I feel bad that I couldn't make her understand that I still like her, but our views of friendship are different. The other two girls that were in our "circle" are still all doing girls things with her, so I don't feel like I left her stranded and alone. Neither of them has called me out on it. Perhaps it's because I went to college with those two and they know me better and know how much I love my husband and how much I like to be alone. They don't ask me to do things anymore, but we are friendly through emails. I don't mind not being included in their nights and days out.

I'm thinking I must be an extreme introvert. Any one else like this?
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Old 07-13-2011, 08:40 AM   #2
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As long as you are happy, I see nothing wrong with it. My only caution would be to make sure your children have plenty of outside socialization.
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Old 07-13-2011, 09:28 AM   #3
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I don't think you're an extreme introvert at all! Or, if you are, then I am too. As I get older, I have 1 or 2 close friends that I love spending time with but they are the same as I am...low maintenance friends. We don't get together often but know that we would be there in a heartbeat if we were needed. I love being with my husband and my family and I love my time alone. I don't have a lot of "alone time" so I am very stingy with it and have finally reached the point where I am only going to spend time with those I want to see and NOT feel guilty about the others. If my friends can't understand and support my priorities, then they're not the friends for me!

I think the truth is that we are very social...with the people we want to be with.
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Old 07-13-2011, 10:12 AM   #4
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You seem to have set your priorities the way you want them and you shouldn't feel guilty. Friendships change over time and priorities change, people change and often go their separate ways as their interests change.

However, if you solely spend time with your spouse as your best friend, think of what might happen should the unfortunate happen and your spouse dies before you. Do you have a close circle of friends (or even one good friend who'd be there thick or thin in a tragedy) that you'd call on in a time of crisis or is it solely family members? And remember, should that unfortunate event happen, the dynamics of the relationship you have with your in-laws could change greatly leaving you feeling alienated from a whole group of people.

If you feel you have enough support around you that you don't need these friends, then feel free to cut them out of your life. If not, it might be worth the effort to keep in touch and do things on occasion. I think it is good for all adults to have some "me time" away from immediate and extended family but it sounds like they (or she) wants to get together more often than your schedule allows (or you desire). I'd aim to at least get together a couple of times a year to keep in touch, even if it is just out for a dinner date.

And in the reverse situation, are you the "go to" person for anybody besides a family member? Is there anyone you'd drop everything for and go help in the time of crisis?

True friendships do take a long time to build and they do need some maintenance and effort, just like a good marriage. You could be sacrificing a good thing and just don't realize it. Give it some hard thought and look at it from all angles. I'm sure whatever decision you come to will be the right one for you. I hope this helps.
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Old 07-13-2011, 10:21 AM   #5
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I hit the post button too quickly. I found a great article that hits both sides of this situation that might be of help. I know absolutely nothing about the host organization but felt the article made some valid points.

Maintaining Friendships After Marriage : TwoOfUs.org
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Old 07-13-2011, 01:09 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice. I read the article and gave it a lot of thought. I think that my friend and I have differing views on what friendship is and how important of a role it should play in one's life. My priorities are not the same as hers, probably because she isn't close to her family or her in-laws. Her husband also works long hours and has admitted he would rather go out with the guys than her (they have been happily married, though, for 17 years so I don't want to give the impression that they are unhappy together).

As for the concerns brought up that I would have no one to turn to in a bad situation, I have lots of extended family I'm close to (I know my grandparents' siblings even and see them several times a year) plus my husband and I have two couples that we love to do things with. We are also part of a wonderful, small church that feels like family.

Looking back at my history, I've always preferred many acquaintances but very very few close friends. I had a steady boyfriend (6 years) in high school that I spent all my time with.

I appreciate everyone's feedback. I feel more confident in my decision to put my family first and my friendships on the back burners.
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:43 PM   #7
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I had a very similar situation about six years back, when we lived close to our families. I'm very good friends with my siblings, I have three sisters for girl fun, and I really didn't need a lot of girlfriends other than my coworkers.

Then we moved away from family, and I found that I needed to find some good substitutes for those times when I couldn't visit. We had a really dynamic church, and we made some great friends there.

We moved...again...three years ago. I haven't made the connections at this church like I did at the other. I'm friendly with my neighbors, and play Bunko with the neighborhood ladies once a month, but I don't have a friend that I'd call up for coffee.

I spend a lot of time with my husband, too. My oldest college sons have a good group of friends who often come over to our house, and I enjoy spending time with all of them, too. When I need a fun day, I con one of my older sons to go out to lunch and shopping with me.

I know that I need to work on being a better friend. I'm not the best at returning emails and making calls and such. I do feel that moving away from family had sort of forced me to grow in the socializing department.
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:45 PM   #8
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Forgot to add this...

On a side note, my husband is interviewing for a new position, which would mean another move. Ugh! Not sure that I'm ready for that!

It's a position in Pittsburgh area...can you tell me some towns and neighborhoods that I should be looking at? Thanks!

By the way, I'm not a high maintenance friend. If you need a girlfriend to stamp with, I'm your gal!
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Old 07-13-2011, 04:13 PM   #9
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I think you are sooooooo BLESSED!! WOW--I LOVE how your life sounds--I will try not to be envious.
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:25 PM   #10
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Too funny...I live in Pittsburgh. In fact, I live just a mile from where I spent my whole life! So I am a true native. Sewickley and Edgeworth are very nice neighborhoods in an excellent school district (Quaker Valley). Our daughters go to Eden Christian Academy, which we LOVE LOVE LOVE, and many families live in Pine and Cranberry townships. Franklin Park is another nice area.
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:26 PM   #11
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Oops...I see you WERE asking me because you saw that I DO live in Pittsburgh. Hmm...now you see why I don't make a good friend...I'm not very observant!
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:42 PM   #12
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I'm not sure how to acknowledge this without coming across badly! I FEEL blessed but I certainly don't want you to feel envious. I've had some major struggles (severe depression in high school and college, a stillborn daughter 7 years ago, a low point in my marriage when our daughters were all born within 4 years, my dad having a stroke when he was 50).

About a year or two ago I decided to start living my priorities, which meant saying no quite frequently. It was an eye opener just how much people asked me things (both people who I do and do not know), once I began to REALLY think about what someone was asking of me. I purposely ran it through my priority filter before giving an answer. "No" came out of my mouth alot. But the things I said yes to, I was able to fully devote myself to. I found that I gained peace and contentment because I was doing the things and serving the people and spending my time according to what I truly believed in.

Of course, you can tell from my original post, I've made some people angry. And it has made me feel bad in that I lost a friendship I hadn't meant to. I guess when it comes down to it, though, I'll never regret the time I spend with my kids and husband and parents and brother and grandparents. I would, however, regret forcing myself to be in a friendship in a manner that I find unsettling, one that takes me away from the people I really love, just to keep said friend happy.
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:23 PM   #13
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Friendships change over the years, people change, too. Someone you needed and was a great friend when you are younger may not be such an important friend when you are older and in a different stage of life. And it is perfectly normal and okay to not care as much about the friendship in a different stage of your life.

You have friendships with your FAMILY members, they are helping you to fulfill that role in your life. I am pretty sure this friend does NOT understand that, and it is also why some of us on here are a little envious. Many of us have very little or NO family around and we HAVE to rely on our friends for company/companionship.

You have the luxury and/or a tremendous gift of a terrific family. That is wonderful and don't feel a bit guilty, cherish your life and enjoy your fabulous family. If this friend doesn't have that, she may not understand the way you feel. And it's okay, it is not your job to try to explain that to her if you don't want to. It is totally okay to let her go if you need to. Give yourself permission.
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Old 07-14-2011, 05:11 AM   #14
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After reading your second post of issues from your past, it certainly sounds like you've got it together and made a well informed decision. All the best to you and your family!
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Old 07-14-2011, 07:04 AM   #15
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I have always been what most would probably call a "loner." I am comfortable in my own skin and enjoy spending time at home and coming and going as I please. I am single (took a long time to be okay with that) and did have past relationships that didn't work out for a variety of reasons.

Each person is different and others can't try to make you into something you are not. I think it is great that your family is so close.
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:44 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cnsteele View Post
Oops...I see you WERE asking me because you saw that I DO live in Pittsburgh. Hmm...now you see why I don't make a good friend...I'm not very observant!
bwa ha ha! See, we're friends already!

Thanks for the info!
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:20 AM   #17
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I think you are fine not to want close friends. I am not close to my own family OR my in-laws. AND, I don't even have kids. Not even pets or plants. I have one card-maker friend that I go stamp with once a week. I love being alone and hate going out, being outside, or driving - I love just staying in my house. I think I'm even less social than you are. I don't have any high-maintenance (close) friends. I see one friend from high school once every two or three months.
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Old 07-21-2011, 12:43 PM   #18
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People and friendships change over time...I am in my second marriage. My first was very different from this one. In my first marriage, my spouse was not my best friend and we did not enjoy doing the same things. Therefore there was a lot of time for other friendships and we both led pretty independent lives...part of the reason we are now divorced
Now, I am very happily married to the love of my life. He is my best friend. I do have some friends on the outside but mostly I am VERY happy to go home in the evenings to him and to spend time with him and hang out with him. There is truly nothing better than being married to your best friend. A lot of my friends that have remained my friends through both marriages comment on the change in me and don't understand why I am not as readily available to them as I used to be...I think some of them even question whether or not my DH is controlling and won't "let" me go out. It is really NOTHING like that, I just really enjoy spending time with him and time at home...and, like you, if we want to go out, we go out together and have fun...

YOU GO GIRL! It sounds like you are truly happy in life! If you are happy, your husband is happy and your children are happy then I do not see a darn thing wrong with the life you are living!
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Old 07-22-2011, 01:06 PM   #19
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I don't have any close friends, really, but I've had plenty of opportunities. My thing is that I meet really nice people, but it seems it's more of a "one way" thing... they want to lean on my shoulder, vent to me, ask my opinion, but never seem to want to do the same in return... those relationships get "heavy" QUICK. I don't know that I was being "used" so much as just not having the same returned back... like these people I meet just don't "get" it. I don't take it personally, but anymore, I just don't want it... so I cut those relationships short before too much is invested on my end. I'm a good listener, and that can come back to haunt me ... I love to help and just be there (and these "friends" do compliment me for that), but when it's like that from too many people life starts to feel a little lopsided.

I don't really get the husband as "best friend" concept, maybe it means different than what I see as a best friend? I need that person (fitting my definition only of course) probably to be a woman so I can talk about woman things... things only a woman could relate to. Or .... someone that I can get first-hand advice on mom stuff, too. For me it's not about "girls night" and doing stuff... I could care less about that, and my husband and I have that covered. I just see my husband as in a whole different category.... like a best friend would be a whole different job description! I THINK I get what people mean when they say that, but I don't think it applies to how I see it.... if that makes sense.

Either way, I don't feel I have many close friends at all right now, but that's totally been my choice and I am happy with that. Maybe it will change at some point because at different times in my life I have had that.... too much work for me right now!!!!!! LOL... but true.....

Anyway, really cool thread!!!

Cindy
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Old 07-23-2011, 07:19 AM   #20
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I've loved reading everyone's responses. It's reassuring! In high school and college, I often wondered if something was wrong with me because of how much I liked being alone and how much I preferred being with my boyfriend (I dated a guy for 6 years, then met my husband at 20). It's only been in my 30's that I've become comfortable with who I am but the old insecurities came back when my friend decided I wasn't investing enough time in her anymore.

Thanks to your posts, though, I see that it's all ok. I've really enjoyed reading everyone's perspectives!
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:38 PM   #21
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Why do we feel we have to apologize for the way we live just because it's different than someone else. If you have your priorities right meaning family comes first and you are happy then go for it and enjoy it.
I have no close relatives who I would describe as friends. But I do have friends that I consider better than family. Some families are close and I envy that but it didn't happen for me. My friends, though, are here in a heartbeat if I need them.
I'm retired now after spending many busy years raising children, working fulltime, etc. Now I treasure my time to myself and am perfectly happy. Do I apologize to anyone?? Absolutely not!!
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Old 07-29-2011, 07:27 PM   #22
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I don't feel that I have any close friends - except for maybe one. Everything is on her schedule though so I feel it's sort of a one way street. I'm single. She's married with a son and her husband works 3 days on, 3 days off and then goes between nights and days every 9 weeks so when I ask her to do something I try to be aware of the schedule and suggest things accordingly. 99% of the time I ask her to do something the answer is no. On the rare occasions she says yes, then it's on her schedule. I hardly ever even call because most of the time she either doesn't answer or she has to call me back for some reason.

I usually say I have more acquaintances than friends. Generally I'm OK with that but sometimes it really upsets me and I have the "no one gives a cr@p about me" attitude but I get over it.

Most of my "friends" are married with kids and a lot of them don't live near me. For the ones that live close and have families I feel like they probably don't have extra time to spend with me so why bother asking when the answer is almost always going to be no. That way there's no disappointment.
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Old 07-30-2011, 06:18 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SophieLaFontaine View Post
I think you are fine not to want close friends. I am not close to my own family OR my in-laws. AND, I don't even have kids. Not even pets or plants. I have one card-maker friend that I go stamp with once a week. I love being alone and hate going out, being outside, or driving - I love just staying in my house. I think I'm even less social than you are. I don't have any high-maintenance (close) friends. I see one friend from high school once every two or three months.
I love being home the days I do not work. I can breathe, do what I need to do and craft.
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:35 AM   #24
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The thing is, I would not even consider this "friend" close if she got angry at your explanation!
I have a very close friend and we have been friends for over 30 years now BUT, we very much agree with and respect each others time with our families. When our children still lived at home, there would be times that we might not contact each other for a whole month, but each of us knew that we were still friends, true friends. Now that our children are grown with families of their own, we "still" respect each others "at home" time. Now with email, we do email each other about once a week, neither of us are ones to sit on the phone talking, but we each know that if needed, or a crises occurs, we are there for each other. We love to go to the garden centers together and we try to go out to lunch at least once a month, or just spend the day shopping, but from there, we "still" have our own homes to take care of and our husbands to spend time with.

My family considers this friend as part of our family and when I had some emergency medical issues, she was right there in the hospital with the rest of my family.

Very honestly, you sound like a very sensible woman and a very loving mother and wife.
When all is said and done, your choosing to spend time with your family will be remembered by your children and that is what is most important. My husband and I have several sets of couples that we "enjoy" spending some time with, but in all we still most enjoy spending the time with our kids and our grandkids.
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:02 AM   #25
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As a single parent living in a big city, I had 5 really close friends that I saw often. I met and married my 2nd husband and moved 90 minutes out of the city.
I am still really close with 1 of the 5 girlfriends.
Why? I refuse to do 1 sided relationships. The ONLY time I saw them was when I went to the city. I no longer talk to 2 of them and only "catch up" with the other 2 online. Its always the same, "when will you be in the city, would love to see you" If they would love to see me so bad why dont they drive out?
I love my husband to bits and he is my true best friend. We live in the country
in complete privacy(our closest neighbor is over a mile away and our home is surrounded in 200 yr old oak trees) We have a number of animals and I love to stay home. When I am in the city, it is for my son or to get supplies. We dont have time to "visit" old friends that cant be bothered to visit us.

I agree that even with a best friend as a husband, every woman needs another woman to vent,cry, laugh whatever.
I have 3 of those kind of friends.
1 lives almost 4 hrs away and drove to visit this past weekend
1 lives 2.5 hrs away and she was out our way in May.
1 lives close by and we see her and her husband often.

I had no problem letting the other friends go as I refuse to give 100% to a relationship when the other party gives 0%.
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:34 AM   #26
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I absolutely agree about one-sided friendships. For awhile I stamped a lot with a lady and had a good time. Then I realized I was the one doing the calling and arranging dates and I got tired of that. I emailed her and told her she needed to learn how to be a friend. I am now a widow but while married my in-laws lived two hours away. To them it was much more of a drive to see us than it was for us to visit them. I'd rather have fewer true friends than many wishy-washy ones.
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Old 08-29-2011, 05:17 PM   #27
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I love my family but I just don't like them very much. So I barely talk to them, my mom being the exception . I had 3 best friends which I've know over 30 years . We no longer speak to one because she could not understand that we did not always want to hang out. So it was constant guilt trips and bullying and what not with her. It got toxic, so we basically cut her out of our lives. The rest of us get together once in a while when we want to but don't feel the need to "Work on the friendship" . I have a job, I don't need another one. Three months can go by and not a word but when we need each other we are there. This to me defines friendship. Just be there when needed.

No one should ever feel the right to dictate to you how to use the short but precious time we have. You are blessed to have people you love spending time with by your choice and you are also blessed to enjoy your alone time. If some one can't handle how you share your time......Well then tough noogies.
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:04 PM   #28
NwP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by munhaven View Post
I don't feel that I have any close friends - except for maybe one. Everything is on her schedule though so I feel it's sort of a one way street. I'm single. She's married with a son and her husband works 3 days on, 3 days off and then goes between nights and days every 9 weeks so when I ask her to do something I try to be aware of the schedule and suggest things accordingly. 99% of the time I ask her to do something the answer is no. On the rare occasions she says yes, then it's on her schedule. I hardly ever even call because most of the time she either doesn't answer or she has to call me back for some reason.
I feel like a few of my friends could write the above paragraph about me. I get out occasionally but am mostly home with the kids while my husband works second shift and uses most of his free weekends to gather wood for the winter or check on his elderly parents or both.

Your friend might really dislike having such a tough schedule; I know there are times when I don't love having to jump through hoops to get away for a while.

I am not trying to say that how you feel isn't valid AT ALL, I'm just saying that it might be exactly that hard for her to get together with you.
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