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It's a small world.
Every morning I get up at 6am, check Google Reader, daily web comics, LJ Friends, and email. Then I try to nap until 7:45am. I eat breakfast with skitten, dress, recheck Google Reader and gmail, and try to get out of the house by 9am. I rarely make it. I walk to work, about a mile, and get there by 9:20 or so. I work until noonish, then go out for lunch alone for about an hour. I work until 6pmish, and walk home. I have about 8 coworkers, and I compartmentalize work and non-work. Every other Friday skitten picks me up for lunch to break in my new paycheck.

In the evenings skitten and I sometimes watch movies or TV from netflix, sometimes she goes to a music jam, sometimes I read, always we peruse our online interests. skitten has made lots of friends online via various special interest groups and usually has about a dozen or more chat windows going. I read Google Reader, gmail, LJ, and a couple of other sites.

Once a week or so sheherazahde comes over for dinner, and occasionally the two of us will go out for dinner elsewhen.

Two friends I see face to face is a small world.

Recently I've felt like the posts I make to LJ, the comments I make to blogs, forums, etc, and emails I make to mailing lists have been unread, certainly not replied to or acknowledged.

It makes a small world even smaller.

I like personal interaction with friends; I like seeing people, talking face to face. Despite the staggeringly vast amount of stuff I read online, I don't feel like what I write can substitute for a good conversation. I crave personal interaction, I find this small world stifling, crippling, confining.

At the same time, I am introverted and find it hard to meet new friends, especially without some structure to contextualize it. When I went to college at RIT, there were times when I would barely leave my room, except to go to meals and to the gaming club meetings and games. I had bottles of urine in my wardrobe. Given the number of classes I missed, it's amazing I took away a B+ GPA. My first semester at UB, a few years later, was better -- at least I went to class and the bathroom -- but I wasn't involved in anything social. I showed up at the gaming club's first meeting, put my name down on the list, and left. leiacat, who did data entry for the club, was concerned my name was a prank.

My world grew starting in my second semester at UB. I got involved in the gaming club, met friends who regularly played cards, met leiacat (and thus convinced her I was real), got involved with the ham radio club, got involved with the Independents (disabled student association), got involved with Alpha Phi Omega, and basically had a situation where there were lots of people on campus I could call friend, several places I could go and be surrounded by people I knew, who were usually good for conversation or games (when they weren't discussing the most recent Vampire LARP), interesting projects to do (I got to take pictures of a friend as she tried to use a women's bathroom stall), and lots of intriguing personal dramas among friends and occasionally myself to be engaged by.

(This isn't to say that outside of college nothing was going on. I had friends in high school. Between RIT and UB I had a small, loyal number of friends I knew in Binghamton. kinnerc was a strong anchor that helped me get to UB after years of paying off debt, and continued to buoy me as we moved to Ithaca while I was going to UB. My involvement with USS Accord started ).

After UB, kinnerc and I were in Ithaca. sheherazahde moved to Ithaca into kenshardik's apartment, and so I was surrounded by both old friends and new. I was involved in the SCA, with the USS Accord, the Ithaca pagan community. But with various waxing and waning, over time things shrank. I stopped going to USS Accord meetings about the time kinnerc and I broke up; the Ithaca pagan community defunked; We started having dinner and rituals with Zahde and a number of IC students at our house during one summer while the SCA was on break, and in the fall that conflicted with SCA meetings, so I fell out of the SCA. Eventually the students graduated and left, and I stopped being interested in ritual. The dinners remain, with just myself, skitten, and Zahde. People left.

By late 2006 I was mainly involved with the Morris Dancers, the UU church, the folk song and country dance communities, and a small cadre of close friends (skitten, sheherazahde, kenshardik, kinnerc, perhaps a couple of others). I had time then -- I was unemployed. Then I got a job, and skitten had a stroke (both within 2 months). Dancing disappeared, I wasn't that interested in the church, and my world got smaller.

It has shrunk slowly since then. kinnerc moved out of town, then moved out of state. kenshardik got unsatisfied where his life was taking him, and made some radical changes for the better, but I rarely see him anymore. I've fallen out of the habit of going to jams (where I mostly read, anyway). It has shrunk to the point where it is now: Get up, read vast quantities of online information, work, do household stuff with skitten, periodically hang out with Zahde, sleep.

It's hard for me to feel like the outsider. I've tried to go back to the SCA, but there's been a large change over of people, and I feel like the newcomer. When I went to a recent major USS Accord event, I knew a small few, mostly out of town folks from a decade+ ago, and I hung out with them as much as possible. I've tried going to a local Free Software User Group's meetings, but again felt like the outsider, as people broke into small groups I wasn't in. skitten will occasionally take me to meetings of people she's found via her newly minted special interests, but I find I have little in common and nothing clicks. This is a small city and there don't seem to be that many clubs or groups I can join I'd fit in. Sharing a car limits my mobility as well. I've often felt that living in a big city would help, as both the press of people would be comforting and there would be more opportunities for socialization.

I love going to rbdarkly's gatherings because I'm with a crowd of friends. I love going to the Super Sekret gathering in October for the same reason. Going to Dance Flurry last year meant hanging out with Marnen&Millie&Zimmara and their friends. When we went to NEFFA, I got to hang out with Morris Dancers friends from Ithaca, Rochester, Boston, and all over, and we visted kinnerc and Will. I like going to Binghamton to hang out with Wolf, Queenie and their kids. These things are great; they satisfy a need I don't feel is met in my daily life.

I recently posted that we were going to MD/VA for a week and change to visit family (in Richmond) and friends (in the DC/Baltimore area). I asked who on LJ, living in that area, wanted to meet up with me There are at least a dozen mutual LJ friends I know are from there. I got zero replies. That stung. My world shrank, sharply. Skitten has lined up a whole list of people to see, most of whom I don't know. I currently have 4 -- our host, my mother, leiacat and bfudlmint. And I'm not even sure how into it the last two are. I'm working on two more.

My world is too fucking small. And I don't know what to do about it.

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(Deleted comment)
So yea, you are not alone.

Could'ya have phrased that a little better? ;-)

I wish you were still in Ithaca.

(Deleted comment)
but my dsarling cabbit we are *so going to see you dance flurry weekend you may ciount on it! *hug*

Making new friends is hard. You have to show up more than once to get over that 'outsider' feeling. People don't want to invest in you until they see that you are going to keep showing up.

But I understand. You and K are most of my social life too.

I'm not in Ithaca, and I'm not going to be any time soon. But I'm reachable at 310-918-8142, and would be quite happy to talk with you.



Dude -

We'd love to see you - the problem is we, especially I, have no life. ok?

I'm sorry but when I work 50+ hour weeks, it's a bit of a drain on my sanity, self & soul.

Our house is a mess and the imperial bedroom suite we let you stay in last time is minus a bed.

Kory's mom has been in and out of hospital. this distracts him. it doesn't help that his sister has MS and his brother in law is "in-country" either.

I'm spending my birthday sitting in a mini-van to go make thanksgiving for his family so THEY can have a semblance of something normal. It may also be the last time Kory SEES his mom.

The ONLY events I've had for a social life have literally been scheduled months in advance.

as I said before - I can't commit to seeing you - Kory keeps the schedule.

AND that presumes that my job won't decide to pull me in for even more OT. they've even been offering it on weekends because we're in the middle of a major effing hardware/software rollout.

also, I'm somewhat on call EVERY time a launch occurs - WHY? Because if Deity forbid something awful happens, _I_ have leap online, round up my staff and chase them in to HQ and then follow them in to deal with the data freeze & scavenge.

Have you checked NASA's schedule lately? we've got a shuttle up there. Do you know what that does to our loaner pool? Do you know how many people I've got out on travel?

and then we have the MSD commitments...

*whoof* Sorry - you not only pushed a button, you STOMPED on it.

obviouosly we'd love to see you both & do something for your birthday :(
Since we're going to be in the area, let's work on this- send me your cell phone number via email kaaren.kaaren@gmail.com

Yup. Way to frelling small. I bailed on the SCA while on Long Island due to nasty stupid politics and moved up state. Got a night job with real weekends and got to see people. Now I have a night job with bullshit weekends (tuesday / wednesday) and all I see now are Tracy at home and at work and Barb at work. And it all truly sucks! So I do understand. *hugs*

for what it's worth, i very much enjoyed the conversations we got into at the Sooper Sekrit Gathering; i hope you don't mind being considered a friend by a math-impaired crazy old lady ;-)

alas, i only have the use of the car between 4 and 8 AM, which makes it a bit awkward to get to Ithaca and back from central NJ. (otherwise i'd probably show up at rbdarkly's place at least occasionally.)

I didn't answer because, well, I'm not in MD/VA. Ah, well.
I read your posts. There's just not usually much for me to say.

Like you, my world is incredibly small. I have many acquaintances, but few friends, and I find that even though I desire more, I don't want to keep having to beg for babysitters, and I have enough difficulty taking care of what needs to be done around here without adding going out more to that list.

I am afraid that if I add to the list then the house will explode into a completely unmanageable mess and I'll never be able to just sit down again.

*lol* we so enjoy visiting withy you when we can :) hoping we'll see you during Neffa weekend again like last time :). I think I find the long distance friendships just as difficult as bu but I've decided that connection is more important than fretting about distances....

about local connections

you know I will support you to get your butt out of the door honey..
*hugsyou* There are options & you *can* do it *snuggles*

Yeah, I'm there too. I mostly see Ted. I don't share a lot of interests with my co-workers...I'm not much interested in reality shows, discussing anime is right out and we all avoid politics...so after we talk about the weather we're done. We have a couple of friends we visit with from time to time but that's about it. I don't know what to do about it either.

I do read all your posts but I know what you mean about that too. I kind of stopped posting for lack of feedback. It also seems like a lot of people went over to Facebook and it's a lonelier place now.

bah! I'm no big fabn of faceboopk- i fail to understand why it's a draw

In my defence (and there was no way for you to know this), my life has been self-destructing in slow motion for the last three months, and it's all I can do to think as far ahead as next week. Too, we've met in person all of once, I think. How the heck /did/ we connect originally, anyway?

I compartmentalize work and non-work.

Necessary? (I know it is for me, almost entirely; I keep hoping that's a result of my situation and others are better.)

Other than that, all I got is sympathy, in droves. And "find hobbies and then find groups to support them." Which is a) easier said than done and b) maybe not doable at all in Ithaca, I dunno.

You come with us to the Museum of Glass!!

I do know how you feel, my world is just as small. With two small children and all but one friend having no or grown up children, it makes things awkward. Which was why I was glad to move out here and get away from the obligation of doing something every weekend with people who didn't have kids. I find I prefer the restricted social circle, but that's just me.

See you Friday!

Re: You come with us to the Museum of Glass!!

yes ma'am ;)

I can really relate to this post. My world has become alot smaller over the last few years. I also feel sometimes that noone reads my posts and I miss terribly my friends from Ithaca..you, Zahde, Joseph, Kaaren, Doc, Zoe, Laurie and many others.

I'm sorry I don't get to see you much, Bu, but hopefully for Imbolc! ::hugs::


Everyone does this their own way, I think. I will meet people based on common interests. If I have something structured to talk to them about, then I'm usually able to break ice.

You and I are alike in that we need context for socialization and people. You also always seemed to adopt the interests of those around you (not saying that was a bad thing). You got into Morris Dancing because of Kaaren. You were a member of USS Accord and an Amateur Radio operator because of me. You got into the Free Software Assoc. a bit because of Arc. Etc. I don't think it was just the people in at least some of those cases. You did have some interests there.

Now, interests can change, and you can change. That's always been very frustrating for me (change. Not you changing. :-) ). You need to simply accept these changes and go with them.

To a large extent Boston was a reboot for me. Perhaps that's what you need, although that is far more difficult than it is to say. However, having said that, perhaps a reboot in place would work. While your interests are esoteric, in Ithaca they shouldn't be overly so.

Start in context. Go to the gaming club at Cornell. Go to the Free Software Assoc meetings. Go to USS Accord if the interest is still there. This gives you the context. Yes, people may break up into small groups, but those groups will be talking about things that have some interest with you. You can try to contribute something small. And Eva is right (always listen to Eva when it comes to people!), you need to keep coming back for a bit. These things are not instant.

Once an in-context link is made, there may be some people for whom an out-of-context link may be possible. This will always be a subset.

As an example, my in-context link with Tim & Sue 25 years ago was D&D. That evolved (it was the first of my relationships to do so) into a family.

Things can chain and evolve if you are open to them. More recently and oddly (and I think I am semi-safe in mentioning this here although its not something I blog about) is my D&D group. While I was looking for a gaming group, the initial vector turned out to be a hook-up that Andy & I had one afternoon. That one-time hook-up had Andy get me into his D&D group. Andy & I have never "played" again, but that was the initial context. Once in the group I met Rourkie & Ryan (among others). Some of these - Wyatt & Dan - I can take or leave. One - Rachel - I'd leave if I had a choice. Ryan has become a roomate (which surprised the hell out of me!). Rourkie has found Kyle. When the two of them were over last Sunday (and that was not planned. Rourkie posted on Facebook that he was feeling pigeonholed in his flat very much like what I think you're feeling) the context was music and Gay culture (Kyle wanted Rourkie to see Fame (1980) and then we had him see the 1st episode of Queer as Folk since we're trying to raise Roukie right as a good Gay boy!). We didn't mention D&D once all night. This small group is turning into a small family.

But this will always be a subset. My Traveller group - for that I am very much enjoying the game - hasn't quite developed in the same way. Also, for folks like you and me, I don't think there will always be a lot of people. We're not built like that. I think we relate better to smaller groups.

So, to recap:
1) Start going out to clubs where your interests predominate.
2) Concentrate on that context and making that work.
3) Be open to a small subset of that evolving into something different, but realize it will be a small subset.

Has this helped at all?

I read your posts. And I reply to them.

Do you do the same to me?

That is your answer.


Some useful comments above, and I've got a few thoughts, as well.

Try sitting in public and people-watching, instead of reading, at jams and sings and BFG and coffee shops. In fact, a $1.50 cup of coffee or tea is a good investment in people-watching opportunity. Strike up a conversation with folks who similarly seem to be looking around and open to connecting.

As for trying to connect while traveling, the "Hey all you people in such-and-such area..." posts may or may not accomplish anything, or may even be seen as impersonal. I sometimes post such things when I don't know who's in an area, but try to contact specific people individually when I do know they're there and I'd like to see them. "Hey, I know you're busy but I'd really love to see you when I'm in town if you have time" ought to work, keeping in mind that people legitimately don't always have time. Do let serendipity work, by noting on LiveJournal and/or Facebook when you'll be somewhere, but don't expect it to work. (I heard from and met up with a couple of random people when I was in London, but sat at the Philadelphia airport for several hours without visitors this time, on the way back.)

Another thought is to do some volunteer stuff and see who you meet with similar interests.

Good luck!

what ?I tend to do is to tag ppl's journal so i noticde if they are posting... i tend to skin gthrough them & if they catch my interest then /i'll make sure to make the effoprt to read them

I'm sorry I failed to respond last time....we'd like to see you when you're down this way.

sorry i didn't get a chance to call the last time i was in ithaca... it's far and few between on chapter visits now-a-days down there (although last year it was like 3 times in a month and a half).

i know what you mean about feeling like a small world as well. although i know lots of people, i only see a bunch of them often. adalger and squiggy1108 and the kids i see everyday, but other than that, not really many people. (i seriously think i saw more people when i lived in the middle of nowhere than i do now.)

i know sca has changed. i know apo has changed. it's really just that evolution process. you have an AOA, no? that should mean something to the new peeps in myrkfaelin! else, you could always help out with apo until i'm done chairing in april (oh yeah... i'm done chairing in april :), in case i hadn't told you yet.)

i'm still but an email or phone call or txt msg away, although i don't live very close. i miss ya, little! hopefully our paths will cross sometime soon.

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