Are you engaged with many activities, interests or circles of friends? What has been rewarding for you in socializing with other people?
F60: When I worked I did so part time, and I rather think that full time would have been very difficult for me unless I had a job which didn’t interact with people much at all. I taught and ended up doing music lessons one on one which helped as again I was in a small group. I also find working with children easier as they are not critical just taking you as you are. I did have some adult students who accepted me because we had the common interest of music.
Other groups I am in are an Art group which meets weekly and is very accepting of everyone – perhaps because Artists are expected ‘to do their own thing’. I also teach a womans’ group at church, am involved in the church music, and belong to a group for British immigrants. All of these are special interest groups. My other socializing involves going out with other couples my husband and I know well – one at a time – and getting together with family.
I have a number of women friends who I see at some of these groups, talk to on the phone occasionally, but only see once in a while outside of the groups in question if at all.
What comments would you like to make about your interaction with other people, in relationships, at work, in general? Have friendships ended and you don’t understand why? Have people made comments to you about their impression of you? Is social interaction tiring?
F60: Other people’s expectations are different, I recognize that and don’t put myself in a position where I have to compromise. It’s important to be yourself. If being yourself is not good enough for them, I don’t worry. Setting boundaries with other people is necessary. I get very tired if being with other people has a lot of sensory input.
My biggest weakness is that I may not follow through enough with people who do want to be my friend. That is probably because of fear of rejection, and also because I simply can’t be with them in most cases as much as they would like, because of various sensitivities and also some health problems which cause fatigue. Because most of the world is more social people don’t understand the need to be alone and see it as unfriendliness. I don’t find it easy to get through to them that it isn’t a reflection on them, that I simply can only cope with so much.