Friday, 14 January 2011

Two hijacks, two confessions...

...but I'll come to those in a moment.

After Wednesday's intervals my calves felt sore, and whilst the masseur/trainee physio found nothing untoward my legs felt little better yesterday: right calf had a sore spot, quads felt slightly sore generally and on the cross trainer my legs just felt pretty unresponsive.

Thankfully there's virtually no pain at all today so I'll put it down to the exertion of the intervals and the massage.

While at the gym yesterday I also did the full core workout and that left me with a little soreness in the left lower abs yesterday evening but, again, that's now gone so I suspect it was a short term reaction to the exercises and no more.

However, feeling sore, tired (from several days with 6 hours sleep when I need 8 minimum), and worried from having received a call to say my car repair bill was going up from £700 - £1200 I had a bit of a binging episode last night. Not great, but I'll head onwards and upwards. That was the first confession by the way.

The other confession and the double hijack are linked, and are prompted by reading Jo's heart on sleeve post about losing friends (and the challenge that brings when she's feeling down); and the comment Alison made about the value of Internet friends when discussing running, exercise, fitness, injury etc on Jess's latest post.

So, I'm hijacking both for the theme of today's missive, and to kick that off I'll make a fairly personal confession:

I don't have any close friends.

Aside from Sue that is.

I don't even have many mates any more either. Just a few loose friends (so to speak) that I speak to briefly every 3 months or so each.

While at university I lost touch with my old school friends and within about 3 years of leaving university I'd lost touch with my friends from there too. In both cases it was pre-mobile phone let alone Internet, and whilst a handful are in very, very occasional contact through Facebook they aren't what could even be termed friendships now. Since then I've moved house five times and worked for eight different companies. For the past five and a half years I've worked from home meaning I spend most days alone and probably only see colleagues for an hour or so every couple of weeks. None of which is particularly conducive to forging close friendships.

I don't know whether that makes me a bit insular or complements a natural disposition. Certainly I'm not a hugely social animal. I used to enjoy going out but couldn't relax until after a couple of pints and since stopping drinking I go out with friends maybe twice a year - and sometimes feel awkward when I do. Also, my habits have changed, in part due to not drinking, so that I've largely lost touch with the mates I used to go to the rugby (and bar) with (as I no longer go to games).

I've got 3 brothers but don't speak to any very often and see them even less. They all live a fair distance away and are between 10 and 20 years older than me so when I was a kid they were pretty much grown up and left home. My parents are still alive and I speak to them 3-4 times a week and see them briefly about every 6 weeks.

All this means I rely on my immediate family for company and support. That's fine now but the future is a worry - were the kids to move away from Leeds or Sue to die before me I'd be very isolated.

I've digressed into self pity.

The point of all this was to confirm through my own experiences and situation that for many of us things like blogging are our means of letting off steam in the absence of a number of close friends we might otherwise turn to and that it can be an absolute godsend in terms of having contact with supportive people who share similar experiences, interests or challenges.

Having typed all that I'm not at all sure where its got me but I'm sure I'll feel better for it...and maybe that's the point?


~Jessica~ said...

I hope typing this did get you to a better place psychologically. I can really relate, both to the reactionary bingeing and the lack of friends. I have real issues with trusting people and tend to push them away...I'm a bit of a cat really, with the feline mentality of friendships on 'my terms.' But this always makes people perceive me as being snooty and 'up myself.' Really, I just want some space sometimes and that's okay!

I think accepting that your an insular bloke might be the first step towards making closer friends if that's what you really want, because pressurizing yourself to socialize when you're not in the mood tends to lead to less than fulfiling social 'appearances', as it were.

Anyway, you seem like a great guy online and I'm sure you are in real life too ~ have a little self-confidence and be a bit arrogant for a change. Go on. I dare you.

TOTKat said...

I know exactly what you mean about not having any close friends beyond your partner and worrying about potential isolation, it's a big fear for me too and I have no children either. Like ~Jessica~, I think people think I'm a bit aloof though to me, I'm just a bit rubbish at keeping close friends (most of the people I'd call friends live far away and/or have small children and I think I shouldn't impose on their family time). However, I do think we evolve relationships through changes in life/lifestyle and if/when we do want to make closer relationships with people that there are people who would be happy to be a part of that and we'll manage.

And yes, blogging is a great way of getting stuff out, unburdening, waffling on about things you think the people physically around you might be bored by :o)

BabyWilt said...

I think that IS the point, and you won't know where & you won't know when ;-) As for tomorrow & the next and the next .... well lets see what it brings shall we.

Running Rob said...

Oddly enough I don't have any problems with self confidence, certainly not in relation to social skills.

I think I'd generally be regarded as gregarious, sometimes ebullient, certainly friendly in any social occasion, but I'd be unlikely to feel comfortble beneath that - just in terms of preferring to be at home instead.

Beyond that I think its lack of opportunity in recent years along with the general difficulty of making friends as an adult.

Alison said...

As I've gotten older, and grown more into what I see to be my specific interests and concerns as Alison (rather than as generic student, etc), I've found it a lot harder to find people on a day-to-day level that I connect to. As my interest in running, activity, nutrition and veganism has developed, the people I used to spend time with have naturally fallen away a bit. For a start, I prefer to go to the gym in the evening now, rather than run. They are also not interested in talking to me about the things that we folk talk about here. They do try. But they are baffled by the physio; slightly incensed by the veganism; intimidated by the weight lifting..

There are of course some who stuck, despite this. I had coffee with a friend this afternoon and her response to my injury was "Oh Alison, hearing about your pelvis being put back in place makes me want to tell you to stop running and to feed you cheese!". She meant it entirely good humouredly, and I loved her for it. But there are few out there who have adapted well to the changes I've gone through over the last couple of years.

I guess this is why running clubs and gyms are good places: I've met a couple of good friends that way. And biting the bullet and meeting with people of t'internet? I think even for the most solitary person, having human contact beyond the family is good, and something worth investing in.

In that sense I agree with you(r comment) that a lot of it is opportunity: as Jess put it, finding like-minded people. It's scary to seek people out and ask them on "friend" dates, but I think that's the way it has to go!

Great post Rob. You've clearly hit a nerve with me :-)

Alison said...

Ach: that should have been "I prefer to go to the gym in the evening now, rather than the pub.

Running Rob said...

I did wonder about the running comment!

Maria said...

I was wondering about that Alison too- the pub makes more sense!
I think as you get older you work out what you like, and want to make the most of free time. I dont see anything wrong with keeping to yourself- of thats what you prefer then that is what you shoudl do. You are right about the blogging- none of my friends are interested in running at all- they sometimes ask (to be polite I think) but they think it is some kind of torture and think I am a bit weird I think. Same for being veggie. So I ramble on my blog instead! :)

Laura said...

I can really relate to all that. I'm the same really, lost touch with my old school friends, we're not really into the same things any more. I went to a private all girl school and when they meet up they all want to go to expensive restaurants and it's not really my thing, plus I can never justify spending that ammount on a crappy meal! I had a few close friends at uni but they've all moved away.. plus I'm just a bit awkward!! You're not on your own anyway.. I hope writing about it ended up helping anyway!