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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sticky Single Social Situations

Every activity comes with a community, even something as solitary as blogging. Of course, my blog friends never invite me to go out for drinks after a long day of blogging. And this is just fine with me (although in the early days of Singlutionary, Onely & I discussed a Singlutionary-Onely camping meetup somewhere in the USA).

The social nature of a work community can be an important one. It can also be incredibly annoying. I love my co-workers and I think they're good people but they're not my best friends. I don't want to go out after work with them to drink and I don't want to hang out with them outside of work. I am happy for them and their lives but for the most part I'm not interested in celebrating their birthdays, graduations, baby shower, moving, etc.

If I'm going to carve out social time in my life, I would prefer it be with the good friends that I rarely get to see.

What is the best way to politely decline social invitations from co-workers? I appreciate their humor and commraderie at work but I'm not interested in extending that work-friendship into what would be a social obligation outside of work.

Let me put it this way: If I'm not being paid to be around them, I wouldn't choose to be.

That is so RUDE! I know. But it is true.

So how do I avoid these social traps, these persistent invitations?

The 1st rule is: Don't start. Don't say "yes" ever. Sometimes I accept the offer once because I think that then I'll have put in my time and I won't feel so bad about saying "no" next week and the week after that and the week after that. But it doesn't work that way. I say "yes" once and suddenly there is this outside-of-work-bond, an expectation that there will be more socializing to follow.

The 2nd rule is: Always be busy. It is harder single and childless people to beg off from after work social activities. It is rude to say "Oh, I'd love to go out with you tonight but I have this book that I am really into" but it is totally OK to say "I'd love to go out tonight but my partner is waiting for me". So, as a single person, you have to make up "important" things to do that someone else will hold you accountable for the next day -- like another job or homework or some kind of volunteer activity. Or you could just tell the truth. But honestly, if we're talking about people who would be understanding of my desire to read a book rather than shoot the shit with them for 4 hours, they might actually be outside-of-work-friend material.

The 3rd rule is: Be vague. If you say, "I'd love to but I run at 6am every Saturday morning" you might find yourself with an unwelcome running companion or being asked to join every running group under the sun. Maybe this is welcome to you -- if so, great! That means that your work community is a good match for you socially. Currently, mine is not. So here is a vague answer, "I'd love to but I have to get up super early tomorrow to get some stuff done before noon".

These are my well practiced tactics for avoiding the after-work hangout but what about the facebook invite? People invite you via facebook and they act like its a real invitation. The 1st line of resistance would be to not have a facebook or have a facebook that is so secret that only your most inner circle of 5 people can find you. Of course, that totally defeats the whole purpose of facebook which is to kill time by making yourself feel depressed about how sexy and successful all your former classmates are.

I like to pretend I didn't see the facebook invite. But what do I do when I get asked about it in person? What do I do when I really do like and appreciate the person but simply don't want to spend non-work time with them when time is at such a precious premium?

I don't know. Not attend? Attend for a few minutes and then leave? Get them a card and give it to them at work in lieu of attending said celebration.

I am sure that the celebration would be fun. But it just isn't high enough up on my list of how I'd like to spend my time.

Coupled folks can always use the other person as an excuse but singles have to get creative.

There are all kinds of important relationships and work relationships have sustained me many times through out my single life. But at this particular juncture, at this particular job, I'd like to leave them at work. No matter how much I appreciate them as humans.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

When Singlutionary is "Sick of Being Single!"

In my last post, I mentioned that, in part, my long hiatus from blogging was due to feeling "sick of being single": I felt like a hypocrite.

But Eleanore of The Spinsterlicious Life wrote a delightful comment which inspired me to write more about the very thing which prevented me from writing.

Being single is an adventure -- especially if you're someone who has never been single and suddenly finds yourself there or if you've lived a life where you've never felt comfortable with being single but suddenly realize that learning to be comfortable with being single is the most important thing you can do for yourself.

When I started this blog 3 years ago I was excited at the thought of learning how to be happy and single. I was fresh out of a pretty sketchy relationship with my former therapist. (Duh, bad idea, right?) I was still in and barely coming out of a deep-down-supper-shitty, bad-as-its-ever-been low point. I was upset with myself for making yet another bad decision when it came to a relationship (or relationship material) and upset at the universe for all the time and space I had wasted in my life wishing for some Knight in Badboy Armor to come trotting into my life only to rip my life out of my own hands and trample it under his sexy horse.

But after being single for 2 years, the gloss and struggle of singleness wore of. There was a honeymoon period that I had with myself and it was over.

But I loved the community I had found through Singlutionary. This blog fed my soul and my fellow bloggers were a rare light for me during a very difficult time. I felt sane and comprehended and like I was a part of something important when I wrote and read and commented and conversed in the singles blog-o-sphere. So I kept trying to keep this blog up.

But I was bored. I was bored with everything. After a traumatic experience, it takes a long time to feel stable again. And at first that stability is like this great and wondrous thing. It feels SO GOOD.

And then it gets boring. Suddenly, stability is taken for granted. I wondered what was next? What would I do with my life now that I had my life back in my own hands, mended of horse hooves and heartbreak?

I needed a new real life friend, some intellectual stimulation and a job that didn't suck.

And I wanted to be with someone in a sexual/love relationship because THAT seemed like the new adventure. And because I'd finally got enough confidence in myself and in the world to think that being in a relationship could be a positive thing -- as long as I did it Singlutionary style.

Well, the first relationship was a disaster of needyness. I was Singlutionary and the other member of this relationship was Needilutionary. It was over almost before it began, but not soon enough.

I was so glad to be single again after that 4 month 1st try.

But I hadn't had sex in over 2 years and I was on the prowl. But THAT story is the subject of another post.

The point of this post is that even if you're totally happy and comfortable with being single, sometimes you get bored. Sometimes you're bored because your job is boring or because your friends are all old farts or because you're an old fart and only like to watch old episodes of The Wonder Years on VHS and think about the olden days.

Sometimes you're horny because you haven't had sex in 2 years and you've just turned 30.

It is OK to crave a new adventure! Sometimes this adventure means going offline for a bit, or quitting writing for a bit. And sometimes this adventure means trying out that thing that we're all about doing just fine without -- a relationship.

What adventures are you craving? When do you know that you're entering into this new adventure not out a desperate need to get away from where-you-are but because you're ready to share where-you-are with the world?

Comment Away!


PS: The wordpress site isn't quite ready yet but getting a little closer every week. My new academic/work/social schedule permits me to check in, comment, read and post about once a week so it will be a matter of weeks before the transition to wordpress is complete.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Singlutionary Has Got Some New Moves

Hey. So, I'm back from outer space. I'm not sure what I learned there and I unfortunately wasn't able to master the native tongue of the alien people.

But I'm back. Several half relationships, several half jobs, a few whole jobs and maybe even some hand jobs later, I return to the blog-o-sphere.

I quit writing here not because I didn't love it but because my financial life needed attending, my physical self needed to be out of the house and off the computer and because, for a while, I just didn't know what to write about. I was at the same time sick of being single (what a hypocrite am I!) and unable to articulate how I felt about the few not-so-awful-but-not-really-great relationships or quazi relationships that I was going through or ending or starting (you never really know when a quazi relationship starts or ends, right?).

I had also exhausted a wealth of revelatory ideas about singleness and happiness. I knew that I was good at being single, that a lot of personal time and space suits me but I didn't know what else to say on the topic -- unless I started repeating old themes which was the most uninspiring proposition on earth. So I left for outer space.

So what are my new moves now that I'm back on the bandwagon? Just telling stories about my life and sharing insights about what other single bloggers are writing. And just being a positive source of entertainment for you -- be you single or coupled or something in between. I'm also beginning a project with my car, Tomatobot. I'm sure you can't wait to hear the stories that come out of me & Tomatobot's quality time together. Its like a slumber party with a giant diesel machine. The pillow fights are more like an oil spill.

I'm also moving my blog away from blogger and onto wordpress. I will miss my blogger community and it will take me a while to get all my blogroll and subscriptions back up to date but I look forward to easier blogging/commenting/subscribing.

I will post here again when the move takes place, but "singlutionary.com" will always take you to the Singlution.

It feels mighty fine & good to be back! And I look forward to settling in and catching up on my favorite blogs as well.