One of the areas I want to focus on this year is relationships with friends and family.
The majority of the people I am closest to live over the water in the UK. Most of my close friends here in Ireland have all gradually moved away over the past few years. I have two friends who live in Dublin, who I don’t really see that often due to work and general life stuff. I really miss having friends close by, someone who will randomly pop by a coffee and a chat.
I lost contact with a lot of people when the children were very young as I became very isolated, I lost all of my self-confidence My relationship became emotionally abusive which knocked my self-confidence even further. The more isolated I got, the less able I felt I could connect with other people. Since coming out of the relationship, this has been gradually improving but now I am left with no one really around me.
I want to achieve two things I would like to have more contact with my closest friends here in Ireland and in the UK including my sisters and cousins and I would like to make some new friends in my local area.
Making New Friends
I never used to have a problem meeting new people and I always found it quite easy to establish good friendships, but something has changed over the years, I now get very anxious and quiet around people I don’t know, especially if it is in a group situation. I know the more I do something the less intimidating it will be, but I just find it so daunting. Although I know if I don’t do anything about it, life is going to be pretty lonely. I think part of my problem is that I spend most of my time on my own or just with the kids, I am just not that used to being around other adults. So that is something I have to change I need to get myself around people more and hopefully the rest will come.
After giving it some thought, I came up with a few ideas on how I can get myself around people more. I am starting up running again, and there is the local Parkrun which runs on a Saturday morning and they also have a group within that, who meet up during the week, so I thought this would be a good idea, as firstly it is doing something I enjoy, there are also less chance of the awkward silences and I know that I have at least two things in common with the people who are in the group. An interest in running and we more than likely all live in the local area.
Another option is meetup.com which I have gone on a couple things through this, but they have been very far and few between so I haven’t really given myself a chance to get to know people through it. It is very difficult to find the energy and motivation on my kid-free weekends to go to these things but I know it is something I just need to do. Also, I find it is the thought of going to these things with people you don’t know that is usually more daunting than the actual doing.
I am also thinking about volunteering. I am hoping to return to the workforce this year, but my confidence is on the floor and there is an eight-year job gap in my CV. As well as helping me to meet people I think volunteering would help me to ease back into a work environment. It would help build my confidence, get my skills back up to scratch and I might even get a reference at the end of it.
Maintaining existing friendships and relationships
My best friend in the UK has just been over for a visit, and it is always great when we get together as we always just pick up from where we left off. She is someone I feel so comfortable with I can just be myself and talk about anything with no judgement. She suggested that we have a set day and time each week to call each other and have a chat. I think this is a brilliant idea. One thing I have learnt over the past year or so is that I need routine or I will do nothing. I have to commit myself to something to get it done. If I know I have to do something at a certain time and day I will do it, but if I know it can be done anytime that week chances are I will put it on the long finger and forget about it. I am going to pick one day of the week to make contact with a few of my friends and relatives. When the kids were small I was so busy that weeks and months just flew past without realising it. Now my kids are that little bit older, and it is now my friends and my sister who have the young children, so I am going to try and make the effort to get in contact with them, as I know how busy life can be with young children.
To break the above down into tasks I have set myself the following to do before the end of the month
- Attend a Parkrun.
- Commit to at least one meetup.
- Look into volunteering opportunities.
- Set a day to make contact with friends and relatives.