Even though I am a loner, I do try to make friends with people who have similar interests to mine, whose company I enjoy, and who don't make me feel like I'm stuck in the movie Mean Girls. For example, once I invited a girl my age to have a picnic in Grant Park. Even though it was a nice day out and the food was good, I still felt like hiding out in my apartment with the shades drawn and the door locked, just so I wouldn't have to listen to that girl talk about the fight she had with her boyfriend. She spent the entire time talking about him.
In college, I was friends with a guy who talked about his girlfriend every single time we saw each other. It didn't matter what conversation we were having; he always found a way to bring her into it.
Me: Do you want to go check out that new music store?
Him: Yeah, that sounds like fun. I think I'm going to buy a new CD for my girlfriend. I haven't bought a gift for her this week. (I'm seriously not making that line up.)
Me: This pizza tastes so good.
Him: You know who else likes pizza? My girlfriend.
Me: Don't you hate it when people are always talking about the same thing? (This was my not-so-subtle hint to him to shut up about his girlfriend.)
Him: I know. My girlfriend doesn't like it either.
I also tried to make friends with a young woman who I liked a lot, until she met her boyfriend. One year, she promised to take me out for dinner for my birthday, but then she didn't respond to my e-mail where I tried to confirm the outing. I spent that birthday eating dinner in front of the TV and waiting for her to call. I later found out that she didn't call because she wanted to keep the night open in case her boyfriend wanted to go out.
Even worse, every time we saw each other after that, she'd have more "good news" about how amazing her boyfriend was and how much in love they were. "Did I tell you about the flowers he sent me? I felt so loved." "We're going to buy his and her towels when we move in together." "He is so handsome. I think he should have been a model instead of a doctor."
I smiled and nodded and looked at their vacation pictures, but what I really wanted to say was, "Good thing the flowers didn't give you an allergic reaction." "In addition to the towels, are you also going to tattoo each other's names on your faces so that everyone knows that you're in a relationship?" "Does he carry a mirror around so that he can admire his good looks all the time?"
I admit, I was a little jealous that those people found happiness with people that they loved, while I was still alone. But it wasn't like I wasn't happy for them too, because I was. I just didn't need to hear about their boyfriends/girlfriends all the time.
Maybe it's harder for me to relate because I'm single. I don't know what it feels like to want to talk about one person all the time, or to want to spend all my time with that person. (If and when I do fall in love, I don't think I'll want to spend all my time with him. I'll need time to myself to work, write, and put banana peels on the ground in front of unsuspecting annoying people.)
I also can get focused on one topic. Most of my blog posts this summer have been about online dating, ever since I joined match.com. Not to mention a lot of my other blog posts are about my work, seeing as how work is the love of my life. I'll also admit that in the past, I talked about my various jobs with my friends a LOT. But now I've learned that it's important to write and talk about other things. I've learned that it's important to listen to what other people have to say, and to consider the fact that what I'm obsessed with might not be what they want to hear every single time together. I've learned that if I want to stay friends with someone, I have to show them that I really do value their company, that I don't take them for granted, that I'm sensitive to their feelings, and that they're not just a sounding board for my personal life.
Still, it made me a little sad that those "friendships" didn't work out. It made me blame myself a little; maybe the fact that I'm a loner or the fact that I'm a neurotic workaholic keeps me from connecting with people. It also made me value my own company more, because at least I don't make myself want to hide in my apartment with the door locked and the shades drawn.
What about you? Do you have friends who go on and on about their boyfriends, girlfriends, or spouses? If so, how do you deal with it? Do you ever get to a point where you can tell them that you don't mind hearing about their love lives occasionally, but you don't want to hear about them all the time?
Interview with… Alexis Paige - It’s still hot here in the UK, if you’re wondering how this wilting little author is getting on. (Although, I’m writing this on Sunday and the heatwave is ...
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