Hey! So this is my very first post I’m writing on Substack. I’m kinda toying with a new format here. In this week’s post you’ll find one of my regular pieces and then, at the end, a bunch of other stuff.
I hope you enjoy it, and I would love to get your feedback through a comment below (yes, you can now comment!), or an email if you prefer that instead -> firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve also uploaded all of my previous blog posts, and I’ve re-vamped a couple that talk about why I even started INF club and the hopes I have for it. I’d love for you to take a look:
-> welcome to INF club
-> about INF club
OK, all done? Great! Over to this week’s piece all about INF friendships. I’d love to know what you think in the comments below, especially if you can relate in anyway. Thanks, and enjoy.
INF friendships: the trials & tribulations
Written: October 5th, 2019
I nearly wrote this earlier today, after I was feeling pretty het up. Instead, I've had the day to let it sit with me, and (as is always a good idea) get out of my head and not let an 'emotional situation' ruin my whole day. (Though, I did stay in bed for much longer than usual, which is something I tend to do when avoiding unpleasant thoughts and emotions).
Here's what happened. 4 of us guys played golf recently, and we had a good time. One of them is a friend I've know since primary school, and the other two are more recent 'friends' (we've hung out just a couple of times), but cool guys nevertheless and guys I'm looking forward to hanging out with more. (In line with my ongoing intention to nurture the relationships in my life; see my article on self-care for some more context here).
I was in a good mood, and we'd been talking about doing something at the weekend all week. It happened to be one of the "new" guys' birthdays. There was talk all week about getting together and doing something, initially another round of golf and then other ideas were thrown around. But...nothing got sorted.
So, on Friday I took the bull by the horns and tried to get something sorted. After throwing around some ideas, I bumped into birthday boy at the gym, and we came up with a plan. We were going to this place called Flight Club (a funky bar with darts in East London) and then get some food/drinks afterwards.
I set up a WhatsApp group and asked folks to let me know that 4/5pm would be good. My primary school friend couldn't come, but another mutual friend that we all knew *could* come, and with 4 of us going that was the minimum group number for us to make a booking at Flight Club.
I sent a voicenote and some written messages after creating a new WhatsApp group. I got no answers back, though, and this was late on a Friday and the night before... the next day. Like, we were supposed to be doing something tomorrow and there were still no plans.
I was annoyed. And, after the first message I received on the group was one of the boys complaining about my creating a WhatsApp group to get this sorted, I sent a short, direct message to say I would wait for an answer, and I left the group.
There were a few things at play here:
- I stepped up, I organised and offered to book, and it felt like no one was bothering to help me make it happen.
- Even though I'm a go-with-a-flow-er, I like to have plans (especially ‘group plans’) set at least 24hours before they happen; I don't like being left waiting for what may/may not happen, and basically being on 'hold' - otherwise, it feels like a waste of a day
To top it off, I'll be honest, despite my in-the-moment excitement the thought of a day/evening of socialising for a few hours didn't seem so exciting; especially as I ended up hanging out with a friend on Friday night, and I had brunch and cinema planned on Sunday. Basically, I knew I'd be exhausted and introvert/HSP-hungover.
-> See also: This is what 5 hours of meetings does to me.
Plus, I was trying to be sensible with money at the moment (job-searching n’ all…). I'd eaten out on Friday night, and no doubt going into London and doing an activity and having food/drinks would set me back a bit £-wise.
So, basically, I made my excuses the next morning. I said that I had overlooked some family plans and told the guys I could no longer do anything. I was annoyed and - frankly - not in the mood for going out.
But, all of this really tapped in with a larger challenge I have had throughout my life.
Finding 'my people' and folks whose company I enjoy in the first place. Much of the time, I like 'hanging out' to involve deep, meaningful conversations.
But, actually, I really enjoyed the round of golf and pub with the four of us, and realised that just taking it easy, having some fun, and *not* having to have such deep conversations all the time was OK. In other words, these guys seemed like nice, decent guys and with similar personalities too (I get quite a sensitive vibe from them also).
And then, actually making plans. More often than not, it's been *me* that's had to step up and take the reins. Right now, I like to feel like the friendship is reciprocal, and has equal give-and-take, equal reaching-out going on. Is that too much to ask?
But, it turns out, I've found that us guys tend to suck at friendships, and reaching out, or making plans.
In fact, the only friend I have who I feel like I have such a reciprocal relationship with is Alex, my primary school friend. In the last couple of weeks, we've both messaged one another to ask if we'd like to hang out with the other. That's how it should be.
But I've struggled with friendships at school, and now as an adult. Don't get me wrong, I'm in the best place I've been. I have a handful of folks who I see 'now and then', as well as the accountability group I meet with every week, via video call.
But, so far as real-life goes, I'd like to continue to nurture these friendships - but to feel that, like I described above, they are balanced in their nature.
What it boils down to is this:
- Finding 'my people' hasn't always been easy
- Then 'making plans' has proven to also be tricky; due top folks not reaching out, not 'taking action' when I extend an invite; I also feel like, with WhatsApp and Facebook and in this age of 'digital communication', 'quality' has been compromised; for example, back in the day an invitation used to consist of a call or at least a personalised message. For a while, I was getting 'send to all' Facebook invitations. I'm not about that vibe.
- I'm not exactly sure where I'm going with this post. I wanted to offer a glimpse into the tricky nuances of my sensitive personality; both when it comes to making friends, and also my fluctuating mood - "ooh, yeah let's go out" one minute, but then "hmm, actually, I don't feel like socialising so much this weekend" the next.
So, where do I go from here? Well, this is what I've decided:
- I want to continue to make time for friendships; and, at least every other weekend (or twice a month), make time for plans with friends
- I will try to make plans from a measured/grounded place, and really be sure I'm wanting to & able to socialise (energy-wise) before I commit to making plans, or reach out to organise plans like I did
- I will still make time for mostly 1-on-1 or 'small group' socialising
- I will continue to be more honest & express myself to my friends, so that I honour my own feelings and probably deepen these friendships in the process
- I'll try not to over-think my friendships, and acknowledge that the people I bring into my life and choose to spend my time with are that exactly... my choice
- I will not over-extend myself; be the one who always makes plans, who always responds first on the WhatsApp group, and so forth
Sheesh, this friendship lark is hard, especially as an adult. Who else is with me, here?
Some other stuff…
📺 The most INF show I’ve watched ever.
So, following last week’s 5 hours of meetings piece, Brad tweeted me a recommendation for a show called Undone on Amazon Prime. Oh.my.goodness. I’ve not only watched the whole series, but I started re-watching it last night. It’s difficult to put into words, but I can only say this show resonated with me on freakin’ LEVELS.
🎙 A podcast I’m loving.
Come to think of it, it’s been a darn good week for discovering new things. My brother told me about this podcast and it’s SO good! I’m a huge fan of the US Office, and it turns out that Pam and Angela from the show are BFFs in real life and are going through each and every episode, starting from the very beginning, and re-living what it was like to film each episode, and offering special insights that one would only have from being on the show. Oh, it’s so good. Have a listen on Apple, Spotify, or other platforms. Just search ‘Office Ladies’.
🍂 How I’m feeling.
I’m shaking off a cold and thankfully coming out the other side, now. Getting used to the colder, greyer, darker weather has also been an adjustment. Hopefully, my trusty bedside Wake-Light will help, they’re pretty cool (PS. Mine’s a Lumie).
🕰️ Clocks changing.
Speaking of which, if you are reading this from UK/Europe, we’ll be gaining an hour when clocks go back in the early hours of Sunday. Btw, I hadn’t realised just how many countries in the world observe Daylight Saving Time, nor had I realised that clocks change at different times for different countries (for those in the US, it looks like your clocks will change next weekend) -> read this.
🏰 My hopes and dreams for INF club
I mentioned it at the start of this piece, but please have a read if you haven’t already. I’ve been thinking about what I would like INF club to be, and I’ve shared those thoughts here and here. But, what is that YOU want INF club to be? Let me know what you think by commenting or emailing me on the address at the top of the page. I’d really, really love to hear from you about this.
Or, if you’d like to check-in more casually…
❄️ Breaking the ice
Are you a cat-person or a dog-person, or both? I’m curious, let me know! :)
Thank you for reading this week’s piece, and my first on Substack.
I’ve also uploaded all of my previous posts from my old Proseful website, and you can find all of my articles, in order, over on this page.