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Old 11-04-2012, 05:40 PM
 
1,245 posts, read 1,573,878 times
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OP - You've had some excellent responses on this thread. If the Meetup group works for you, you might even start your own for biking or some other interest someday.
I really did get some good responses to this thread!
I haven't worked up the courage for the meetup group yet. They had one event planned last month that looked like a good jumping in point but that got cancelled and so I still haven't made that leap.


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One thing I'd suggest is to start with what you know and are comfortable with. Since you said in a later post here that you aren't a churchy person but thought it could be a way to meet people - personally, I'd skip that. Most of the people there are going to be churchy people and you'll be several steps away from finding out which of them has anything in common with you/shared interests. On the other hand, since you enjoy bicycling - get out and do that more. You can explore your neighborhood, find bike paths and parks, stop by the local bike-pro shop (if there is one). That gets you out on your own with the possibility of interaction - even just a casual nod at another passing cyclist. Plus, the fresh air and exercise are good for you and can be a mood lifter/confidence builder.
I agree that cycling makes me feel better but it's not really social enough riding on my own. I did find a cycling group in my area but they seem to mainly ride in the spring and summer.
I agree about the church thing. At the moment that would just be too much for me.



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Another venture out that is low-impact compared to a bar or other more intense social/group venues, is spending time at a public library or museum. People go to those places alone all the time so you won't stand out - and there's far less social interaction (especially sustained interaction) so you can sort of ease into how it feels to be out on your own but surrounded by other people. There's plenty of seating and no one will rush you to leave or think it's odd that you're sitting there reading or browsing. I love going to our library - it gives me a sense of belonging and community even if I don't speak with anyone.
This is a good suggestion! I think I would do well in that environment. In fact this is something that I was planning on looking into soon.

Quote:
As for speaking with strangers - another easy way for brief snippets of conversations is to make a habit of going to the grocery store - maybe even 2-3 times a week. Again, you're doing something alone that most people do alone, you can browse and walk the aisles, try a smile/nod to a passer by, offer to get something off a higher shelf for someone on tip-toes, choose a longer line and/or right behind an older woman (sorry for the stereotype but they might be more likely to initiate small talk).
That's what I've been doing this past month with good results. It's been evolving slowly and I find myself more and more comfortable being around people. Although not comfortable enough to do the bar or church thing yet.

Quote:
If you do consider volunteering, I'd actually recommend something not directly in service to the needy. Something behind the scenes or less interactive/service oriented might be an easier transition. That way, most of the people you'd be working with would be employees and potential social connections.
That makes sense. I haven't really found many volunteering opportunities in my small town.

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Speaking of work - are you employed and have you tried or had any luck developing connections with people there?
I work from home.
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:30 PM
 
12,274 posts, read 11,943,133 times
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Originally Posted by VX5650 View Post
Then there is a church that looks interesting and I tell myself that I'll go but when the time comes I can't seem to do it.
Be careful around churches. Some of the most psychologically messed-up, phony girls I ever met were "good Christian church girls".
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:21 AM
 
Location: The Island of Misfit Toys
2,766 posts, read 2,382,720 times
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Originally Posted by VX5650 View Post
Hello and thanks for the response. To be honest, I don't know what I am looking for. On the one hand I really like my alone time, on the other hand I have this gnawing feeling that I need to connect with other people. It's an odd feeling that causes me a good bit of depression.
This past month I have been practicing talking to strangers in public. Making small talk. It's been going very well and I find that many people are actually quite friendly and are willing to converse if you get the ball rolling but small talk is not what I'm craving. Truth is, I don't know what I'm craving.
I know that I don't want to have a romantic relationship at the moment.
I guess I would like to be a part of something but I'm not good at that because my personality is so strange and too individualistic. People don't always understand my sense of humor or my ideas about things.
I do agree that it doesn't pay to force yourself into stuff or to beat yourself up over things. So, as you said, I have been letting things evolve and rather than put myself into awkward situations I have been ramping-up talking to strangers as well as people I know on a day to day basis and trying to be a better conversationalist. It's hard!
I know the feeling and still struggle with what that undefined craving. It's a catch-22. You don't want any unproductive or negative relations but, at the same time, you feel you are missing out and squandering something by being alone. I saw the well known Buddhist monk Ajahn Brahm once encapsulate the feeling in a video lecture as a struggle between what he called "Alone Suffering" and "Couple Suffering." When you're alone, you feel a nagging kind of suffering because you are missing out on exchanges and feedback with other people and when you are a couple or have friends, you feel an annoying kind of suffering at the hands of others, like you are too connected to people and you then think, "If I could only be alone." But no matter which you have, solitude or connection, you are still suffering.

I think i have been able to alleviate the alone suffering by taking up an instrument - keyboards - to give myself an immediate positive feedback for myself from something other than other people. It makes being alone feel very productive in a positive way and is a very self reinforcing relationship. The more alone you are practicing with your instrument, the better you get. The better you get, the better you feel about the alone time and the better you feel about yourself and your solitude.

Here is video by another Buddhist practitioner that I think adds even more perspective to the dilemma:


Buddhism on Loneliness & Connection - YouTube
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:27 PM
 
1,245 posts, read 1,573,878 times
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Originally Posted by Shankapotomus View Post
I know the feeling and still struggle with what that undefined craving. It's a catch-22. You don't want any unproductive or negative relations but, at the same time, you feel you are missing out and squandering something by being alone. I saw the well known Buddhist monk Ajahn Brahm once encapsulate the feeling in a video lecture as a struggle between what he called "Alone Suffering" and "Couple Suffering." When you're alone, you feel a nagging kind of suffering because you are missing out on exchanges and feedback with other people and when you are a couple or have friends, you feel an annoying kind of suffering at the hands of others, like you are too connected to people and you then think, "If I could only be alone." But no matter which you have, solitude or connection, you are still suffering.

I think i have been able to alleviate the alone suffering by taking up an instrument - keyboards - to give myself an immediate positive feedback for myself from something other than other people. It makes being alone feel very productive in a positive way and is a very self reinforcing relationship. The more alone you are practicing with your instrument, the better you get. The better you get, the better you feel about the alone time and the better you feel about yourself and your solitude.

Here is video by another Buddhist practitioner that I think adds even more perspective to the dilemma:


Buddhism on Loneliness & Connection - YouTube

I can totally relate to what you and the lady in the video are saying. It is a catch 22. I can't see myself being happy in either extreme.
That is very good that you found that hobby that can take your mind off the whole mess. I'm going to try something like that as well but I don't really desire to learn an instrument and I don't really have any hobbies at the moment. I think that for now I am just going to try to stay as busy as I can and fill up my time the best I can even if it's just busy-work. It seems that when things get slow in my life that is when I start suffering with this problem the most.
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