I've been thinking about friends a lot lately.
When I was a kid I had no trouble making friends. I've always been someone who had a small group of close friends, rather than a big crowd of friends, and I've always been shy, but until recently, I felt pretty okay about it all. I spent nearly 10 years in Seattle. I moved there for grad school, and for those school years I lived in a big shared house, so I was surrounded by people. And grad school was such a perfect fit for me that everyone was "my people." Then after we graduated, most of us stayed nearby. These years also coincided with my most "volunteer-ing" years as well, so that was another big group of people.
Interestingly, after grad school, I remember feeling like my social life really suffered. But if I look back now, I have to laugh; I was so busy with friends and events. Twice a year I'd host a big brunch or barbecue.
When I moved to Portland 8 years ago, I made a HUGE effort to find friends. I joined groups, I organized hikes. I tried after a few years to get to know a few people better by hosting a dinner party. What a bust! A couple of people canceled the day before, one person forgot to come. In the end there were 5 of us; one was me, one was my sister and one was an ex-boyfriend. Ugh.
As recently as 2010, though, things weren't so bad. I had a boyfriend for half the year, and went to all those "scary social events." But over the course of 2011 and until today, I've just found myself pulling back. I don't have anyone outside my family here in Portland that I'd consider a close friend. And mostly I just don't mind. I'm never bored (I recently learned that's unusual!) and I have a hugely high tolerance for being alone. But some days it does make me sad. And I also worry about what happens when my family isn't around. My parents are getting older, my sister has less tolerance of rain than most happy Portlanders do, so she may eventually move away.
I also don't know what role OCD plays in all this. I had the OCD for most of my Seattle years, so it doesn't seem like it should be causing the problem, but who knows.
What about you? Do you have a lot of friends? Have you found it possible to make close friends into your 30s and beyond? Does your OCD affect your friendships?
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