Open the Gates and let the Wizard In
Dear Aunt Bossy,
I am at a place in my life where I don’t want to waste time on anyone or anything that isn’t fulfilling. I realize no one is perfect, but I am gullible when it comes to people sometimes and end up hanging out with people who do not share my values, are not very experienced or sophisticated, do not understand who they are, or have any real loyalty. In some cases, their lives have been limited in scope and independence, and my life has been the opposite, and they become resentful.
I still want to have a social life, but don’t want to be completely cut off in this small town, and don’t want to play down what has been an astounding ride so far just so others don’t feel inadequate. What do you suggest?
I can relate.
First thing: stop seeing these people and those who hang out with them. They will never understand you and will just become more resentful.
Second: make tons of new friends. With little effort, in the last year, I managed to find a treasure trove of people I barely knew, or did not know at all. It has been incredibly rewarding. I accepted all sorts of invitations that I might not have accepted when I had a set social life, and discovered terrific new people.
As a gregarious introvert, I have always been reluctant to commit to new social situations, but it really paid off with a much higher quality of friendships. It also helps that I have developed the strength to leave when I want to leave, so I never fear getting “stuck.” If you feel this way, be sure to drive your own car.
Third: Get involved in things that bring meaning to your life and other peoples’ lives. Beaufort is teeming with these opportunities, from the film festival to the Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, the USCB Center for the Arts, schools and churches. These are all a direct path to people who share your values.
Four: Hit the road. Taking short trips frequently has been a life saver for me. A change of scenery always helps put things in perspective. Get real about your dream destinations. Travel is less expensive than ever, and now is a great time to go, in spite of all the extra precautions because of covid.
These four simple steps will expand your life, your horizons, and your friendships.
One of the challenges in writing this column is that most human problems are perceived by the people who have them to be unique, but are based on the same thing: a lack of self-esteem and or self-knowledge that allows a person to form good and stable relationships, so most problems are fairly similar. It’s pretty repetitive when it comes to the solution.
It is vital that you spend time learning who you are, what you bring to this party, where you can improve, and what you have to throw out. Once you get started on this – a lifelong study by the way – you will develop more depth, feel even better about yourself, refuse to settle for superficial relationships, and discover new things and people.
If you are gregarious and nice, you will attract others, which may turn out to be something you have to monitor to avoid being held captive by people who won’t enhance your life. It sounds silly, but I am considering a round the world trip, and my major concern, since I would be travelling alone in a group, is that I would be hemmed in by someone who may be perfectly lovely, but is not someone with whom I would want to be joined at the hip. I also fear having to keep my distance from someone who is also travelling alone and is needy for a companion. The tour has its own plane, so I would have to be pretty forceful if those circumstances arise. Escape is not an option.
This can happen easily in a small town, as well. Just determine that you won’t waste time with people or things that don’t make your heart sing. You don’t have to be snobby or mean about it, and you don’t have to explain. Just do it.
Get tough with yourself and others, and life will become so easy.