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Making new friends....

  • 25-08-2021 5:10pm
    Registered Users Posts: 886 ✭✭✭

    I considered going anonymous for this post but here goes.

    I am a gay man and have just turned 40. I spent the last 17 years with the most wonderful man, the last 8.5 of which we were married. Essentially I have spent almost my entire adult life with him. We were both fairly introverted and preferred being at home to being out socialising and out on the town. I am not what you would call a people person. I get on well with people at work but don't have any friends there. I find large social scenes difficult and I can get overwhelmed with crowds. Similarly my husband was also like this and as a result we have a very small circle of friends. This never really bothered me as I always had my husband to talk to, to confide in and to be my best friend.

    Now that it is 3 months since he suddenly passed away, as I come home every evening to an empty house I am feeling increasingly isolated and alone. I have great family I can rely on and for the very small circle of close friends I have certainly abused their hospitality and kindness. I have been very surprised and disappointed by some of our friends. I suppose they mean well saying things like, "lets do something at the weekend" or "lets meet up next week" etc. In my current frame of mind it is crushing when they don't follow through. Its just a hollow gesture in the moment to make themselves feel better. But I suppose people have their own lives and priorities.

    I have no idea how to make new friends. Most things in the LGBTQ world seem to be geared towards hook ups and dating which I dont have any interest in at the moment. How does one make friends at 40? I'm in Limerick so there isnt the same opportunities that there might be in Dublin.

    Has anyone else been in a similar position?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,163 ✭✭✭lottpaul

    First of all my sincere condolences on your loss. I don't have any practical suggestions I'm afraid but hopefully other may have some good ideas, I just wanted to express my sympathy and send you a big hug. You have suffered a dreadful loss at a young age and need all of the support and love that you can get.

    Once again my sympathies and good wishes for the future.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28 Luker

    I’ve sent you a private message but it failed twice so not sure if it went through.

  • Registered Users Posts: 886 ✭✭✭brownej

    thanks lottpaul for the sympathies and thanks Luker for the the PMs.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,489 ✭✭✭✭Tell me how

    I think you alluded to this yourself but most LGBTQ specific things might be more towards building romantic relationships. I'm not a member of that community so cannot say for sure and apologies if I'm being presumptuous.

    But as a man in his early 40's who has moved countries a couple of times I can empathise with being on your own and having to try to build new relationships. Simply put, I would say to just try to do things that you enjoy doing and when in these situations, engage with others who you meet there. Straight away you will have a topic through which to break the ice and likely a shared interest.

    While Covid put a halt on many social occasions, hopefully you can start planning on doing such things again very soon. I say this knowing what you said about crowds but not every event, location is heavily attended. I go to the theatre a lot and 90% of the things I go to, I go to alone but there is nearly always an opportunity to engage with someone there and quite often these events are in small and intimate venues. The same goes for music shows, sport or any other type of events though obviously crowds may be greater there. I've also used Meetup which is a platonic connections website for people of shared interests but the experience of using this is heavily influenced by the population in the area in which you live. I know you are in Limerick but you are within 90 minutes from Galway, Ennis, Cork where there might be events that are of interest to you. If you are interested in such things as theatre, many of the amateur groups would gladly welcome an additional pair of stage hands if not a performer if you really wanted to become part of something.

    Could you be proactive in suggesting things to your friends/family rather than waiting for them to come through as you put it? Anyone with kids generally has to put a lot of time in to planning something but it could just be lunch or early evening meal and if you were meeting 1 friend a week for a shard experience which you both enjoyed then it shouldn't feel like you are abusing their kindness or occupying too much of their time.

    Another thing I would say, which might sound dramatic, but is something to consider is if having a tenant or even something like infrequent AirBnb guests in your house might give you engagement with someone else rather than the increasing isolated feeling you are experiencing at home.

    I'm aware that some of what I've written might sound off-putting to someone who is socially uncomfortable but as I said, social occasions don't have to mean big, loud crowds and maybe exploring some of these tentatively might give you some optimisim. Finally, you are dealing with a traumatic experience at an age which no one would plan or expect to have to be dealing with such things so if you are not doing it already, can I suggest that you maybe consider therapy to help you come to terms with your loss and to discuss the challenges you experience in making new friends. Best of luck and condolences on your loss.

  • Registered Users Posts: 140 ✭✭TimeUp

    First of all I'm really sorry for your loss.

    I think this is great advise.

    As a member of the LGBTQ community myself, I think that while you are right in thinking that most social media and venues for gay people are geared towards sex, simply cause it's what most people look for, it's still relatively easy to find people who are looking for friends in those places too. You shouldn't need like you need to apologize for being there, be it Grindr or a gay bar, just be open about the fact that you are looking for friends and I'm sure you'll find people in the same situation, or willing to make new friends, even if it's not exactly what they are looking for. If gay social-media or gay oriented places sound scary, I'd suggest you find out about walking/hiking groups. I remember there was one in Waterford, and I'm sure there must be a few in Limerick.

    Hang in there!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,211 ✭✭✭LineOfBeauty

    I wish I could offer something more concrete and I know in the OP you say you're an introvert, but I've seen what LGBTQ+ clubs and societies can do for people and it's incredible. I realise that the vast majority of these clubs are based in Dublin but even maybe putting aside 1 weekend a month to attend would be something to look forward to and help to expand your friend circle. I get the most difficult step is actually taking leap and going the first day but it might really help. Wet N' Wild, Front Runners, Emerald Warriors, Dublin Devils, the badminton club ect. there's so many options out there.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,204 ✭✭✭AllForIt

    I have no idea how to make new friends. Most things in the LGBTQ world seem to be geared towards hook ups and dating which I dont have any interest in at the moment. How does one make friends at 40? I'm in Limerick so there isnt the same opportunities that there might be in Dublin

    Well yes, this is completely true. Although I did make a number long term friends on the London gay scene I didn't have the same experience on the much smaller Dublin scene and that's basically the only gay scene in Ireland. (edit: I knew lots of people to talk to alright but didn't make any long term friendships). I would only use the gay scene for what it's for and not in expectation of making friends although it's possible of course. It's hard to make friends on the gay scene especially if you're not young. You have to be a regular and popping in rarely you'll hardly make friends. And you'd have to stay on the scene to keep them.

    You say you are an introvert but I'm not sure if this means extremely introvert in that you don't really socialize at all whether that be a pub scene, a sports scene, or any type of scene. If so then suggesting participating in any of those things isn't going to work.

    It sounds to me you are looking more for a partner than a friend/s. I don't see how you can expect to make friends where you visit each other but don't engage in social activities due to your introvert-ness.

    I would suggest finding a proper dating app, i.e. not grindr, growlr, scruff etc, more professional where you detail exactly what kind of person you are where you could find someone similar to yourself. I've no idea about this area myself but I know they exist as I've read about gay people finding long term partners on them. Good luck.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,302 ✭✭✭Heebie

    Sorry for your loss.

    Alas, I am pretty clueless when it comes to meeting people... so I'm not likely to be much help there. I'll probably end up reading everything people say in this thread, though.

  • Registered Users Posts: 40,218 ✭✭✭✭Annasopra

    Maybe contact GOSHH Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender People – GOSHH

    They might know of social or support groups

    It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things.

    Terry Pratchet

  • Registered Users Posts: 886 ✭✭✭brownej

    Thanks for the replies.

    Rereading my original post I realise that I was sinking into a well of depression and was not thinking clearly about things. I have since gotten some help and am slowly coming around.

    I went on a wet and wild group hike a few weeks ago and they seemed like a good bunch so will probably try and go on one again (not being Dublin based is a bit of a disadvantage though).

    Thanks again for the suggestions and the good wishes.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 366 ✭✭Monkey09

    Hi brownej,

    I'm so sorry for your loss. It is so difficult to readjust to living your life without your husband.

    It must be difficult when friends don't follow up on their suggestions to do something. Very often, people don't really understand when they haven't been through it themselves.

    With regard to making new friends, why not give a try? It's a great way to meet new people and do something you enjoy at the same time.

    Very best wishes to you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1 Al_K

    Hi @brownej

    I totally get you and in the same boat. I moved here 14 years ago and met my husband. And we are happy together. My only thing I miss is a good close friend/friends. It’s very hard to make gay friends here. Mostly will be into romantic. Also being in the 40’s make it harder. As I’m within the same age range.

    I am still looking for good friends around limerick so if you open for a coffee meet let me know.