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Forcing friendships...

K

Keyboard Worrier

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My wife comes from a family of two girls... In the past couple of years her sister has become very serious with a guy and they now live together. I get the feeling that my wife and her sister expect me to sort of pair-off with this new guy when we visit them or they visit us. The thought of pairing off with this or anyone fills me with dread... I spend far too much time catastrophising about how terribly it would go. I just dread the thought of it being suggested and then me either relcutantly agreeing to it or awkwardly declining. I just don't like those sort of one-on-one situations.

I'm not sure why I'm posting about it here really. I think I might want some to reply and say I am not obliged to become best friends with this man. He is a nice person, but I don't have to spend time with him if I'm not comfortable with it.
 
Bod

Bod

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We all make choices in our lives some are good but some are bad, then we have other choices too do we give in and people please just to keep the peace or do we stand up for out selfs and say NO.
 
SoftRain

SoftRain

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I am not going to tell you that. I will suggest you try it one time if they ask.You dont have to become bestfriends but you can make your wife happy. if you dont like it refuse to go again.
 
K

Keyboard Worrier

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I know it won't kill me, but I have tried it more than once with the 'other halves' of different friends of my wife and generally find it really difficult and awkward. I just don't like one-on-one situations. Do I have to like them? I have always been this way... I am in a constant conflict in my mind of what I think I should be (to be normal) and what I want to do, to be happy. To be blunt, I don't really want any friends. I have had friends in the past that forced me to be more social and go to events that was normal to them, but made me fell massively uncomfortable.
 
Bod

Bod

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I only do what I want to do, and not what others want me to do but that is just me.
 
SoftRain

SoftRain

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I know it won't kill me, but I have tried it more than once with the 'other halves' of different friends of my wife and generally find it really difficult and awkward. I just don't like one-on-one situations. Do I have to like them? I have always been this way... I am in a constant conflict in my mind of what I think I should be (to be normal) and what I want to do, to be happy.
I have did the date night thing and didn't particularly like the other half. It was quite awkward because we didn't have alot in common but I went for my husband. I just didnt go again.....lol
 
K

Keyboard Worrier

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My wife pretty much understands me at this stage and generally keeps those double-date things at bay!! The anxiety that hangs over me all the time is that her sister, or parents or her new partner will try to set up one of these 'dates' as they don't realise my shyness and dislike of the situation. They are nice people and more socially outgoing than myself. I just imagine that they don't understand me. I can refuse these 'dates', but then I feel awkward, embarrassed and guilty about it. If I go along, I will feel dread, awkwardness and anxiety.
 
SoftRain

SoftRain

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My wife pretty much understands me at this stage and generally keeps those double-date things at bay!! The anxiety that hangs over me all the time is that her sister, or parents or her new partner will try to set up one of these 'dates' as they don't realise my shyness and dislike of the situation. They are nice people and more socially outgoing than myself. I just imagine that they don't understand me. I can refuse these 'dates', but then I feel awkward, embarrassed and guilty about it. If I go along, I will feel dread, awkwardness and anxiety.
I say don't go then. If it really bothers you to that extent I wouldn't partake.
 
jajingna

jajingna

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Sometimes people take it personally too if you just prefer to keep to yourself. They might not know that your social comfort zone is different from their own. Seems like extroverts and introverts can be at odds sometimes. One group (the extroverts) may think you should be more like they are, like they're the normal way to be. But that idea doesn't make any sense. Lots of people prefer quiet and being alone more often than not.
 
Shenon

Shenon

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I feel one truly has to 'come out' as an introvert. For years, when I didn't want to meet people or go places, I invented a more or less plausible reason for not partaking in activities. But it was exhausting. Now, I honestly explain to people that I don't really like people :D I wouldn't say that it's an easy thing to make others understand, but most of the time, they find it quirky enough and are even somewhat entertained at the thought. I also ask my partner to be honest about why I didn't join this or that event. We both find it easier to manage.

But of course, it's a little complicated when you have to meet a close family member. It seems you can't quite refuse meeting them once. But I don't think you have to meet them twice if you don't want to! And you definitely don't have to like them!
 
K

Keyboard Worrier

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Thanks @Shenon! I have often thought I should just be 100% honest, like you have written there. My wife and I are often just making up excuses for why I'm not at particular gatherings. I'm not sure what either of us are ashamed of really!!

I'm sure I will be around this new partner various times in the future, so I'm not 100% trying to avoid him. I don't mind being part of the smaller family group with my wife's parents/sister/brother-in-law, my wife and kids, but it's just the 'lads only' set-ups or bigger parties I cannot abide, as I'm sure you understand.
 
Shenon

Shenon

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Hi @Keyboard Worrier. Sorry for the late reply -- I was having a bout of social anxiety :D As you say, I think there is nothing to be ashamed of. We just live in a society that sees the concept of sociability as a single, well-defined virtue, rather than something that can take different forms and intensities. So the like of us are not always directly intelligible to others. But that doesn't make us wrong.

I hope you find a way to interact with your sister-in-law's boyfriend without it becoming overwhelming. I don't think you should be expected to 'pair up' with him at all. After all, if you don't share interests, it's likely that he himself won't be so keen on the arrangement!
 

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