Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
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Thursday
Nov182010

I Have No Friends

I'd like to say that I've been hiding from people since I got pregnant and gained nearly fifty pounds.  I'd like to say that, but that would be a lie.  Not that I'm against lying, I do it all day.  So do you.

"Cute hair cut!"

"Love the dress."

I've been hiding from people my entire life.  I just don't enjoy parties, shindigs, get togethers, soirees, bridal showers, baby showers, work parties, birthday parties, square dances, sceances...  Maybe it stems from my youth, feeling like the unworthy interloper at all those Mormon gatherings. 

There the gals are, nattering away about church camp or Sister Johnson's, like, totally cute son or what our future husbands were doing RIGHT NOW which always led to the inevitable conversation about what our future children were doing in the pre-existence (Mormon speak for heaven) RIGHT THIS SECOND! 

From church gatherings to frat parties in college and then, when we all started playing grown-up:  dinner parties.  Normal people enjoy dinner parties, right?  I dodge them like Jen Aniston side-stepping  quality movie roles.  The communication at the various gatherings always feels so forced and awkward and there's usually someone there who is a pain in the ass because they're super religious or actually waited in line so Sarah Palin would sign their copy of "Going Rogue" or they're a Jay Leno fan and then my conscience requires me to think horrible things in their direction. 

Usually, in an effort be sociable, I go completely overboard.  Talking loud, laughing even louder, machine gun firing questions at folks in an effort to avoid any and all lulls in conversation.  Of course I say something I immediately regret and spend the next two days replaying the conversation in my head and mentally punching myself in my big whore mouth for being such a goddamned jackass.

Often I sit silently by as co-workers make big plans for after work.  Or I read Facebook updates of friends who spent "amazing" weekends on mini getaways with friends.  Jealous?  Yeah.  But not of their plans, I'm jealous that they want to hang out and I don't.

Who are you people that enjoy this socializing?  Particularly around the holidays.  I mean, there are really people who like to gather for dinner and drinks and talk about stuff instead of staying home, inhaling a bag of Doritos and shouting at the television?

This is why I have no friends, I guess.

It was a conscious choice.  I had friends.  They're lovely people.  But they're the type of folks that like get togethers and perform in a stellar fashion at said get togethers.  So I don't really see those friends anymore.  I try to "like" a lot of their shit on Facebook, though. 

Remember in the nineties how you had those voicemail friends?  The ones you didn't really hang out with anymore but played an intense game of phone tag with even though one or both of you knew you'd outgrown each other?  Now you have Facebook friends you don't hang out with, you just thumbs up an occasional comment or photo and there you are. 

I feel bad a lot that I'm such a social idiot.  I worry that I'm setting a bad example for Violet.  I saw this family on Hoarders once.  They never left the house and it was all the mom's fault but the kids had no clue how weird they were.  Or maybe Violet will grow up and be highly sociable and view me as her wacky shut-in mother.  WHERE ARE MY DORITOS?  GIT MAMA A BEER FROM THE FRIDGE, VIOLET!  I'D DO IT BUT MY PROGRAM'S STARTING.

Still,  I'd rather feel bad at home with my food and TV then beat myself up while hiding in the bathroom at the dinner party I broke down and attended.

I'm going to die old and alone, aren't I?  I'm going to sit on a rocker on the porch and scream at little kids to get the hell off  my lawn.  I'll hide their errant baseballs and footballs in my basement and shake my fist at them every now and again, just for kicks.

Reader Comments (33)

I hear you. I'm incredibly antisocial. But I really wish I wasn't. I don't know what'll happen when I have kids, I don't want to set them a bad example either. I definitely got it from my mother, and don't really want to pass on the awkward gene. Ignore facebook though. It makes people's lives look much more thrilling than they actually are.

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRose

I'm the same way. I have approx two real friends, loads of acquaintances, and online friends. Mostly, it's just me and my husband. It's a time thing. Given the option between going out with girls or hanging by myself, I choose me. Plus women are intimidating.

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjeneria

You should hang out with Dooce, you guys can be ex-Mormon and awesome together. From her writing I'd imagine she would love to eat Doritos and yell at the TV!

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCait

I'm with you all the way on this one. I never know what to do, or what to say, or who to say it to. So, I just sit there and try to quietly become the wall and then when I leave I know that they talk about that snooty bitch that just sat there and didn't say anything. For the most part, if we are wanting to go out somewhere it's just me and the hubby or maybe just our family. We only have like one day a week and a couple hours a night to be a family and I feel bad spending that time away from the kids. It's an endless vicious cycle: I feel bad for doing nothing and then I feel guilty for doing something. You are not alone.

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCharley

Hear, hear. I have 2 very close friends and lots of people who I tried to keep in touch with but I'm too freaking lazy! I almost always choose "home" rather than go out and have to play catch up. I always thought it was a bit of a waste...spend 4 hours catching up just to do it all over again in a month. It all seems so superficial to me. I feel super guilty about it too...don't know why. It just seems like I "should" be more into it. Arhg.

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristine

Sooooo with. I like people. Honest. Just can't deal with them. Which is why I prefer dogs to people.

What's funny is I have a motor mouth in public because I'm all kinds of socially anxious and folks give a hearty GUFFAW when they find that out.

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Domestic Goddess

When left to my own devices, I'm just like you. I don't want to put forth the effort except with VERY FEW (one or two) people, and even then it's a crapshoot in my homebody favor.

I try though. I want to want to go to parties and even when i actually get myself to these things I can't enjoy myself at ALL. And i end up looking like an epic jackass and single-handedly ruining friendships, even with friends who consider themselves anti-social. Which they are not. At all.

So. Yeah.

I'd say we could be friends, but let's face it. We'd be nice and friendly probably but in the end we'd "like" each other's shit on facebook, maybe we'd bitch a little about stupid mormons and exchange funny but self-depricating stories about our ex-mo selves and insistently mo/otherwise religious families and acquaintances, but in the awkward end we'd go home, you'd eat your doritos and i'd have whatever and we'd watch some show on our respective tvs (maybe the same show) feeling like we have no time for anything even though we've plenty of time for at least *some* more--we'd just rather not. we'd rather blog and socialise on fb.

I'm still not okay with that, but I hope to get there soon.

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Uh, yeah, ditto. I too am somewhat socially inept. It's nice to know I'm not alone, except for the fact that, we all happen to choose to be alone! Hermits unite! But do it in your own house... :).

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJust Jill

I really want close girlfriends. I want the kind of friends I could be stupid with and say silly things in front of and express my radical opinions to, and they would just accept that about me and love me just the same. I used to have friendships like that. But i moved around too much and don't see those friends much anymore, and I don't seem to be able to find that closeness with any women I meet.

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChrissy

This whole post is why I read blogs- It makes me feel like I have friends without driving home in the dark with a screaming baby in the back seat. (not that my friends would send me home with a screaming baby, just that I have one who likes to scream in the car). Unfortunately for me too, the screaming in the car is not the real reason I don't go places. I hate going places, hate meeting people, hate new houses and the directions to get there. I don't really know what to do about this. I also would like to set a friend making and keeping example for my son (my parents moved me ten times growing up and consequently I absolutely hate meeting new people. It's boring and I am tired of it. I can know someone for seven years and then one day never see them again and not care. I hate that I am leaving this comment for you. Only leaving it out of the fact this subject has been on my mind a lot lately and I am totally clueless. Also, totally love your blog. You're like my best imaginary friend like, ever.

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwysket

at least you are honest with yourself.

My favorite place in the world is my bed or my couch, but I pretend I like the social world.

My best friends are the ones in my computer.

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJudi

I'm glad you wrote this Monica, because I've been stuck inside my own head, wagging my own finger at myself, demanding that I be more social, and hand out with more women and fewer men. I seem to get along with men really well, but don't click with women as easily.

Wysket, it's so interesting that you mentioned you can know someone for 7 years and then be OK if they totally disappear from your life- I do that, too. I'm a child of an Air Force pilot, and am entirely OK with people leaving... and with me leaving... it was happening all the time when I was a kid! Families were moving all the time and my dad was flying off into the Wild Blue Yonder- Now that I think about it, it was kind of 'not acceptable' to miss people..

Wow- thanks for the therapy session...

November 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

It's like your writing my thoughts, only better. Now that I try not to drink much I can't function in social situations, I kind of freak out and have to leave, then cry to myself on the drive home. In high school I didn't have this problem. Screw Facebook too, always depresses me.

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRhiannon

I have to admit that I am one of the social ones. I like dinner parties, getting together for drinks or lunch or whatever. However, I will say that as I get older I am much better about not hanging out with people I don't like just for the sake of having something to do. The days of me tolerating a circle of friends, who in fact would stand in line for Sarah Palin's autograph, just to be nice are gone. I'm finished spending time with people who I don't like or don't care about or where the conversation is forced...gone, done, cut out of my life.

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

Oh Monica - this is entirely familiar with me. I've been running around this world for at least 25 of my 35 years with the nagging feeling that SOMETHING is WRONG with me. For not enjoying hanging out with people... for not being social enough or feeling socially awkward on the inside... for even being with friends, with people I like, and still wishing I were instead home alone, just me and the TV and a snack.

Then, a few months ago, by chance I read this article: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201008/revenge-the-introvert

I kid you not, I cried with relief as I read it.

Then I bought Laurie Helgoe's book, "Introvert Power" - what a life changer for me.

I will gladly be your friend, darling, if you promise to never call me!!

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra

I have grown into being this way. I used to be extremely outgoing and sociable. And now. I just kinda feel like I am done with that. And I like being alone, at home now. I can entertain myself for days. Some weekends I don't leave the house! Nothing wrong with that. Probably explains why I am single though!

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSM

Socializing becomes fatiguing when you're essentially acting all the time ie you feel that being yourself won't be accepted, or you're not even sure how to just 'be' without putting on a front. That is different from social anxiety, where you are scared of making a fool of yourself/falling over/having a panic attack because you lack confidence to speak to people. I have the former, resulting in a "I just can't be bothered" feeling. Yeah it sucks, sounds like you may have it too. Social anxiety is different - makes people shy. The "I just can't be bothereds" can be quite extroverted... hermits. Weird huh.

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmelia

Yep. For me it's probably to the point I need medication. But then I'd have to talk to somebody to get the prescription.

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCassie

Some blogs have a "like" button. Why don't you have a "like" button? You need a "like" button. :-) Makes it all that much easier for us lurkers and anti-socials :)

Granted, I do enjoy SOME get togethers but not much. Typically they end up at my house since my husband will invite people over. This means I get to clean the whole dang place so no one sees what kind of crap hole we allow ourselves and our children to live in, break out the good china since very few of our normal plates match anymore, cook up appetizers, meal, side dishes and desert, make sure both my kids are wearing clothes and are not covered in paint, glue, glitter or any bodily fluids, greet, joke around, entertain, still get the kids bathed and in bed, serve the meal, pick up and clean up, attempt to entertain yet again, eventually yawn so much that everyone leaves, and listen to my husband rant on and on about what a great night it was and how we should invite X & Y next week, then B&C the week after, then D & E the week after that, and so on. Cuz it's so easy to do and we just have so much fun with it ... yeah.

So when we're invited to someone else's house and they get to cook, clean and entertain, oh Lordy do I go. I will not suffer alone! (though I do tend to spend an inordinate amount of time either chasing around both boys as they attempt to wreak havoc in opposite direction, or leaving the boys at home and then obsessing the whole time over the fact that I'm not with them, because really, I kinda like havoc, just havoc at our house. Havoc at our house if pretty damn hilarious.).

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

Don't be fooled. Monica can tear up a room and I remember on more than one she has played host at her place for the gathering.

Sorry Monica you are not the only one that is insecure about social situations.. Everyone feels this way,.

Can't say that the angry writing isn't entertaining though.

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJon

I'm pretty sure I know exactly which episode of Hoarders you're talking about. All I could think was those kids are doomed.
Being a shut in isn't the end of the world. You have a hubby and a kid n' a half. At least you have that and your doritos, whatever makes a person happy.

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTinaBean

I tend to hang out with family on the weekend. It feels weird now to think I would choose friends over family. However, I should have friends...maybe...-_-

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaiken

dinner party. yuck.
wine and cheese or what have you got... good.

that's the kind of friend you need. maybe.

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergina

I have almost no friends because I have substituted my family for friends. And my partner is exactly the same. I have 3 siblings and between them and their partners, and my partner and his siblings and their partners, frankly.....we just don't need friends. And then one day, one of my very very few friends who is an only child (and who now, come to think of it, I haven't spoken to for about 6 months) said (in a nice way) 'the problem with you lot is that you've all got each other so you've never had to nurture friendships' I was quite offended not because i knew it was the truth (it is) but because I thought i'd done a fairly good job of hiding my almost friendless status when clearly, I hadn't.

Fast forward to yesterday...my partner and I were in an awesome custom made furniture shop and there was this table....thiis fabulously long, handmade table made from recycled Australian hardwood. No shit.... this table was 8 metres long and could seat over 20 people. We fell in love with this table...i started talking about fabulous long summer lunches which ran in to dinners, laughing and eating and drinking at that table. Till my partner pointed out that excluding our families we don't have enough friends between us to fill the stools at the kitchen bench. We professed to do something about it, because i want that table so bad. But we won't. We don't need friends and we don't want friends, we're happy just the way we are...... which means I will never be able to buy that table.

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Seriously, I am obsessed with your blog. Just found it a few days ago since then I check in 53 million times a day to see if you've updated. :)
You have so much to add to a social setting (I can tell) but like to keep to yourself! I, on the other hand, am a party animal with nothing much to add to a group. :) I should learn from you and take a back seat - Ha!
I bet there are so many people who would love to hang out with you. Think of it as that you're playing hard-to-get with your social life. :) It makes you that much more appealing!

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMickey

PS. "If you friend them, they will haunt."

True.

November 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGina

I"m the same, but as your kids get older, it's harder to be this way. I have a very social daughter. I've suffered (lol, sounds dramatic, but it felt horrific at the time) through so many kid related things, but then I really met some like minded people along the way. My daughter is ten now, and her best friend's mom is one of my most favorite people, and she loves the parties, etc. She gets that I don't, and she understands. I have more friends now, because of my daughter. But they are friends that I don't have to work hard to be with, because we are all older, and just accepting. Our kids like each other, that's all it is. It's nice. I don't entertain, but I'll bake for anything, or take my kid to anything, and with a comfortable few, we trick or treat together with our kids, that sort of thing. It's a nice balance. Kids do that for you. :-)

And then I go home and watch my recorded tv, and pour myself a big glass of wine. And everyone is happy.

November 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkds

One good thing....Girlfriends don't let girlfriends get old. I remember making a certain pact with my friend that we would NEVER go the way of most of the blue permed heads in the pews at church and IF anything, we would go New England style white bob.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqC6ntaW5Jc

November 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergina

I am like this and thought I was "weird" for so long. Nope! We are just INTROVERTS living where the maj are extroverts. Amazing how it took me many years to finally discover this. This is a great site/blog for introverts http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-introverts-corner
Once you realize this and just embrace that this is your personality and it's OK-it is very freeing.

November 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

You just haven't found your people. When you find a small group of friends that fits, all the awkwardness goes away.

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSassy Molassy

You're not a lone loner. I have very few friends in the town in which I live. I love seeing live music, but if there's any lull and I'm forced to be social I down several drinks, turn bright red, feel painfully embarrassed, and unable to hold a conversation. It probably doesn't help that I often go to these shows alone since my significant other is always working. I have many friends at this one bar, but I get really socially anxious and unless I have someone begging me to come out, I'll talk myself out of it. Anything more formal than a live music venue or a dive bar, forget it! Maybe a none pretentious art opening...maybe.
P.S. I recently drove through your home state from Dillon, Montana down Hwy 18 to 87 South, I think. Utah is so incredibly beautiful. We landed in Phoenix, AZ. Hitting the road again Friday headed back to Nashville.
P.S.S. I handled SLC rush hour traffic like a champ!!!

November 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

You clearly need to move somewhere with more entertaining people with whom you might actually enjoy hanging out. You could move to, say, Knoxville :-)

November 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkatie allison granju

You think horrible things about people who like Jay Leno??? Wow...that blasted some holes in my sail.

November 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHanni

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