Thursday Things

1. So, about that whole “softball to make friends thing.” Epic fail. Epic expensive fail 😦

I knew from the get-go that making friends on my softball team was going to be much harder than I originally anticipated when, at our get-to-know-your-teammates event last week, I discovered that 1) only one other person out of the 20 on our team knew no one else on the team, meaning 18 of the 20 of us had at least one wingman/woman to hang out with and 2) I somehow ended up on a drinking team with a softball problem.

Spending time with these people feels like I’ve crashed a frat party, which is just not my scene. It never has been my scene, and at this point in my life, I don’t see why binge drinking crappy beer should become my scene, since I’m, you know, not in college anymore.

Honestly, I really, truly don’t care if other people like drinking more than I do. I didn’t drink at all until this past January, and I still don’t drink much (I’m pretty much exclusively a cider gal with the occasional mixed drink thrown in. Beer and wine, though, are still icky to my taste buds), but I went out all the time with my friends in college. They drank, I hung out with them, and it was great. That’s also how things went when I played volleyball through this league last summer. My teammates had a beer after the game, I hung out with them, and it was great. I never felt like the odd woman out, I never felt like an antisocial loser, I never felt like I was judged for not wanting to get schwasted at 3:30 on a Sunday afternoon. With these people, though, it’s a whole different ball game. I do feel like a loser hanging out at what one of our captains dubbed the “old people’s table” with the people who got so crazy on Saturday that they felt they couldn’t manage to drink anything on Sunday while the rest of my team is playing flip cup. It’s one thing to sit around a table chatting with your team while they all drink, but it’s another thing to stand around watching everyone play drinking games while you don’t participate. If there’s a non-awkward way to go about doing that, I’m sure in the dark about it. This is the exact reason why you could easily find me at our local brewery on Wednesday nights in college but would never find me at a party on Saturday nights. I think there’s a huge difference between social drinking and party drinking, and I’ve found myself on a team that is SIGNIFICANTLY less interested in social drinking than party drinking.

I hate that I get the sense from people who do drink, particularly people who drink a lot, that there’s something wrong with me for not wanting to drink like they drink. That I must inherently be not fun, that I’m too uptight, that I’m not “cool” (come on, people. Are we still 16?), that I’m not worth spending time with or getting to know as a human being because I have hobbies and interests and passions other than putting as much fermented wheat into my body as possible in an evening (or afternoon, as the case may be). Maybe I’m biased, but personally I’ve found that both people who do and do not drink can be equally wonderful (or equally awful) people, and I wish I didn’t feel like my willingness to get or not get drunk was viewed as a litmus test for whether or not I’m worth befriending. I mean, I guess if literally the only way you know how to socialize is with a beer or two in your system and another beer in your hand, then maybe that is a fair litmus test for friendship…but maybe that’s also an indicator that you have an alcohol problem.

I don’t know what I’m going to do about softball. Two interactions with my team seems like too soon to write them all off as Future Alcoholics of America and people I could never possibly befriend. We don’t have a game on the 12th or 26th, and I’m not able to make the game on the 19th, so I won’t see any of these people again until June. I’m probably going to give it another game or two to see how things play out, but if it continues to be as bad as this past Sunday, I don’t know if I’ll make it through the whole season. Being lonely by yourself sucks, but being lonely in a group of people and fighting back tears on the bus home because you feel like such a loser sucks more.

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2. On a probably related note, I’ve been dealing with overwhelming nostalgia for the past couple of weeks, which is not helping this whole “woe is me I have no friends and am so lonely” mentality rut I’ve been in lately. Graduation was last weekend at my alma mater, and all the pictures and updates and such made me miss school, camp, and basically everything about my former life to the point where on Tuesday, for the first time since moving to Chicago, I legitimately considered moving back home. Maybe not back to my home home, but back to Michigan. Not that that would really solve the nostalgia, but man oh man do I miss my college friends, my camp friends, and my family. Or, you know. Just having a social circle in general.

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3. MAN am I whiny. I shouldn’t blog when I’m feeling down. Or should I, for the sake of not painting a false picture of a perfect life? Regardless, here’s some amusement from Pinterest, for putting up with me and my bad-attitude self:

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^^ one of my all time favorite jokes.

Surely, surely, SURELY I am not the only person over 21 and under 40 that thinks it’s possible to make friends with twentysomethings without playing drinking games. Reassure me, people.
Funniest thing you’ve seen on the Internet lately?

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26 thoughts on “Thursday Things

  1. Prepare yourself for the longest comment in history (consider it payback for all of the ones you leave one mine… mwahahahah). ANYWAYS. I don’t drink. I never have unless you count the few sips of a milkshake I had on my 21st birthday to say I did and shut my friends up. In the later years in high school, I struggled a lot with being friends with people who were entering the drinking phase. They thought I was judging them when in reality, I was the one being judged. Once I got to college, I was more comfortable around alcohol to some extent (except not once things got out of control, but that was past my bedtime) so people thought I was funny and didn’t totally alienate me. I would eat dessert and then go out so I was riding the sugar high and the ones who didn’t know me would assume I was under some influence. Little did they know it was sugar. But my actual friends don’t care and they have totally accepted me and my strange quirks. In Denmark, my roommates hated me because I didn’t drink and thought I was weird. I’ve had all types of situations with alcohol and I still don’t drink now that I’m 21. I am going out to the bars for the first time tonight… but now I can use the excuse of being the DD for the night and people are forever grateful. The point is, people who judge you for not drinking are in my opinion worse than those who judge people FOR drinking. They aren’t worth your time. There are plenty of people (like me!) who will accept you for who you are and what you value. I personally would rather remember the fun nights I have than wake up nauseous with no memory.

    • Oh girl, you and I both know I am the queen of comment novels. Haha.

      Thank you for this, though. It’d be nice if we could all just accept that people have different interests, preferences, etc., and just because one person isn’t into what another person is into doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with them. Good luck bar-ing tonight! I hope you enjoy it. It really can be a lot of fun if you’re with the right people, at least in my experience.

  2. So, I don’t see this group as a potential social circle for you. I mean, I drink occasionally, but not very frequently or very much. I have plenty of friends and acquaintances who go through points in their lives when they decide not to drink for various reasons and others who have never had the desire to put alcohol to their lips. There is truly nothing abnormal about not drinking alcohol, but there is something socially abnormal about finding drinking to be such a social necessity that one cannot fathom spending time with others in non inebriated settings. That’s when there are probably a few insecurity issues dwelling under the surface. And the lack of understanding or social compassion to someone new to a group is also not encouraging in terms or quality of potential friends. That’s my 2 cents on that. Have you explored meetup?

  3. So, I don’t see this group as a potential social circle for you. I mean, I drink occasionally, but not very frequently or very much. I have plenty of friends and acquaintances who go through points in their lives when they decide not to drink for various reasons and others who have never had the desire to put alcohol to their lips. There is truly nothing abnormal about not drinking alcohol, but there is something socially abnormal about finding drinking to be such a social necessity that one cannot fathom spending time with others in non inebriated settings. That’s when there are probably a few insecurity issues dwelling under the surface. And the lack of understanding or social compassion to someone new to a group is also not encouraging in terms or quality of potential friends. That’s my 2 cents on that. Have you explored meetup?

      • Haha no worries! I appreciate your two cents. (And it’s nice to hear from you again!) It’s nice to be reassured that I’m not weird for not drinking/not drinking much. I did a little poking around Meetup last night, and I’ve definitely thought about trying to find things that way, but I feel kind of intimidated by it, to be honest. Just showing up at something with a random group of people…but I guess that’s kind of the point. My schedule’s pretty packed this month, but I think I’m going to keep looking at it and suck up my fears and do something if I can find one that sounds good to me.

  4. I’m sorry to hear about your softball experience. I obviously don’t know any of your teammates but I’d like to hope that drinking isn’t the most important thing in their lives so maybe things will get better next time you play with them? Maybe everyone was just really excited to kick off the season? I do drink but I tend to pick my nights meaning in college and now I’ll go out with friends and while they order drinks, I stick to water. I’ve found it’s always best to be honest. Sometimes, I don’t want to drink because I’m really tired or I ran a long run and I know one beer will push me over the edge and make me super tired and crabby (truth) and I just tell my friends I’m not feeling it. Perhaps you can tell your team that you don’t feel like drinking on a Sunday afternoon (totally reasonable, I’d be worthless after) and ask if you could participate in flip cup using water instead of beer? That way you’re still playing and getting to know your teammates but you don’t feel forced to drink? Just a thought.

    Also, I saw you’re running with PAWS and doing CARA for the Chicago Marathon. My guess is you’ll meet a lot of really nice people in both those groups that are probably more interested in exploring the city than drinking. If nothing else, you already know you have running in common!

    • Yeah, I actually did play flip cup with water the first time (Flip cup was how we decided our team name. True life.). And I don’t know, maybe it was just me being insecure in a new situation, but I felt super weird doing that…which is dumb, because I shouldn’t feel weird for drinking water since I don’t like beer. We’ll see. Like I said, I don’t feel like it’s fair for me to write all these people off rightnow. I’d like to at least give them one more chance, so we’ll see what happens after that.

      I am running with PAWS (you saw this and haven’t donated to me yet?!?! Kidding, kidding 😉 ) and CARA, and I’m pretty hopeful that I’ll hit it off with at least one person in one of those groups. I mean, we’ll all be passionate about the same things, which has to help some, I would hope. At the very least I imagine none of them will tell me they just learned a couple of weeks ago what those 26.2 stickers on cars mean, which was one of the first things one of my teammates told me when he found out I’m a runner haha.

  5. That is a bummer about the team. I think there is a whole group of 20-somethings in Chicago that only know how to go out and act like this. It’s much more difficult to find the people who just want to go out to a bar, sit and have one or two drinks (or no alcoholic drinks at all1), and chat. Sometimes I feel like an alcoholic when I have two glasses of wine when everyone else just has one, but I just really like wine!
    Anyway, that got off topic. My point is that when you hang around unmarried 20-somethings this seems to be a risk. They haven’t really grown up and they aren’t still in college so their in this weird limbo state. For those of us who are “older than our years” it can be a difficult spot to be in when surrounded by the other group.
    Will you make friends with anyone in the group? I’m thinking no. And life is too short to spend it forcing something to happen that’s probably not going to happen. This team isn’t for you. Don’t make yourself miserable by sticking to something other than to say you stuck to it. I learned that lesson last year and quitting something that was making me miserable was the best decision I’d made in awhile.
    The other thing I’m still struggling with is specifically asking people to do things with me. I mean, I have plenty of friends but I still have a hard time actually saying to them “Hey, I’d like to do XYZ. Do you want to join me?” But, really, that’s the only way you get to know people. Group situations are hard to connect with people but one-on-one can be easier.
    And now that I’ve filled your comments with my 33-year-old thoughts I really hope I don’t sound like “Ooooh, I’m SOOOO much older and wiser.” Cause I’m not. I’ve just been in some sucky situations and also cried on the way home from things and don’t want to see it keep happening to you.
    I can also expound on why moving “home” doesn’t really work, either. At least it didn’t for me. But I think I’ve left enough verbal vomit for one comment 🙂

    • Oh, not at all! To be honest, I really like and appreciate the perspective that comes from having friends a little older than I am. One of the girls (women? Whatever. Females) in my dance classes is in her 30s, I’ve found that talking to her about whatever is going on in my life grounds me more than just ranting about it to my friends that are in the same position as me age wise. She’s experienced a lot more of life than I have because she’s had a lot more time to do so and I really appreciate what she has to say to me — and what you have to say to me! Because you’re right. It’s dumb to try to force something, especially when I really feel like I’m coming at life from a totally different angle than the people on my team. I’ve always been one of those “older than my years” type of people, which has always made it tough to relate to people who are just on a completely different maturity plane than I am…elementary school, middle school, high school, especially, but even college to a certain extent (particularly in those Intro to ____ classes where you’d get all sorts of characters). Which sucks sometimes, yeah, but it’s a big world out there, and I know there are people that I can get along with just fine without feeling uncomfortable. It just so happens that these people aren’t those people.

      I mean, I don’t think moving home would *really* solve any of my problems, other than my temporary homesickness. If anything, I think it’d stifle my growth as a person (which, in fact, is why I didn’t apply for a job back at my college that came up about a month ago, even though it was a job I really, really wanted and am really, really qualified for. Going back to my college at this point in my life would really be a terrible idea, I think). And that’s not good, either. I’ve grown a lot as a person by getting outta Dodge, and I’d hate to see that stop and/or reverse for the sake of being comfortable.

  6. I hear you on those rec teams. I did a kick ball league a couple years ago, and it was like you said, drinking team with a kickball problem. I wanted to socialize, but everyone already knew eachother, and I didn’t want to go out drinking in the middle of the week or drink in the park. My drinking days are pretty much done, minus a social event here or there. And i love me cider ales!

    My wife and I have had a bit of the same issue with finding a social circle. Whenever we make friends that we can hang with on the fly, they move away to another state. It is still hard, and now with a child, we have to try new parents as well, since what childless person wants to deal with that.

    Side note, my wife is from Michigan, and the first couple years were similar in the nostalgia. Drop me a line anytime to vent!

    • I think really finding a core group of friends becomes a lot tougher the older you get, particularly in a city like Chicago that has a tendency to err on the side of transient. I suppose I haven’t been here long enough to know for sure, but at the very least it certainly feels like a lot of people move here to start out, be young in the city, whatever, but eventually move somewhere else like you mentioned. Makes things tough!

  7. I SO agree with you! I love how you differentiate drinking from PARTY drinking – I never thought about that but it perfectly explains why I enjoy going to barbecues and wine bars but HATE sports bars!!!

    • Ha to be honest I didn’t even think about it until I wrote this post! I had talked to a couple “real life” friends about the whole situation and had a hard time trying to explain why I felt so uncomfortable around this team until I started writing about it and found the words to explain the situation. Thank goodness for blogging, eh?

  8. Oh my gosh. That Thrift Shop thing. Ha ha ha ha ha.

    That totally sucks about the team. I would feel the same way as you, as I rarely drink anything alcoholic, and don’t really look at that as something social to do. I bet if you keep looking, you can find people out here with interests more similar to yours 🙂

    • Right?! A+ on creativity right there to the person who wrote that. I was super impressed.

      And here’s hoping! If anything, I at least now feel more reassured that I’m not the only person in the world that doesn’t want to get hammered to have fun. Just gotta be persistent in my search to find other people like me, I suppose!

  9. That really sucks about your softball team 😦 I remember feeling that way at the start of college. All the girls on my floor were crazy partiers, and that is not my thing at all. Eventually, I found my people who I could social drink with and have a very occasional large party with. I miss them all the time now that my local social circle is small.

    Honestly, I would drop the team. It’s not worth hanging out with people who make you feel bad about your decisions!

    • Thanks, Amanda. I fortunately was able to avoid most of that in college (I always ended up living with pretty tame people, or people who “partied” in the “let’s turn crank up 90s boy band music and dance like fools” sort of sense haha), so this is new territory for me, but I feel ya on the small local social circle. That seems to be a theme among a lot of “grown ups” (i.e.: not students) I’ve talked to about this sort of thing!

      • It definitely is! It’s so different from HS and college where we were just around people our age all the time. Now we have jobs with people of all ages, and sometimes when I come home from work, I want to do nothing. I joined a group on Meetup, and the girls I’ve met seem nice. Some are pretty into partying, but others seem pretty tame. Maybe check out Meetup. You can find people based on common interests. It’s pretty cool!

  10. OMG I love this post. I used to drink a lot more than I do currently. Honestly, right now, I drink for the taste not to get DRUNK. I haven’t drank to get drunk in many years. Most of my friends do not understand this concept. They do not understand that I AM ABLE to enjoy myself without being sloshed. What’s the fun in that anyway? I really dislike not knowing what’s going on around me, or being wasted to the point that you make a fool of yourself. Many many people I know… do that. They love doing it. And although I never really drank as much as them (with the occassional OOPS here and there) for the past 1-2 years, this mentality has annoyed me SO much that I too can relate to how you’re feeling in terms of making friends without alcohol. It’s ridiculous that people think that they HAVE to drink in order to socialize. I honestly don’t understand. While I DO like to go to a bar to have a beer or two (it’s an acquired taste, once you have some craft beers – like STOUTS omg, you’ll fall in love. although wine… well I only like white), I don’t think this is the only way to spend a weekend. And I SURELY do not get wasted during the day anymore. I guess what I’m trying to say is you are totally normal to feel this way. I am different than you obviously from the mentalities but we are not too far off, I think we are closer to the same mentality than opposing ones so I understand. 🙂 How old ARE your teammates just out of curiosity? They sound… well, they definitely sound like they’re in college still, haha. And not just that- like FRESHMEN in college.

    • We’re all in our 20s. I don’t know for sure how old all of them are (only three of them have friended me on Facebook 😛 ), but I’d guess the majority of us are between 22 and 25, with a couple 26 and 27 year olds on the team. We are all a full year out of college, though, and a fair number are two full years out of college. Which is exactly what I said to my mom went I sent her a ranty e-mail about this…like, it’s one thing to be like that when you’re 18, but it’s another when you’re 25, you know? Or at least that’s how I tend to see it.

  11. I’m sorry to hear about your so-far bad experience with your softball team. I think it would be good to give them another shot, but after that if you still feel like the odd man out, I would throw in the towel.
    I definitely like to imbibe but am not so into the party scene anymore. I’d much rather chat with a friend over a beer in a relaxed atmosphere than chug cheap beer at a loud party. It’s possible that a lot of your teammates are uncomfortable socializing with new people and they are just using the alcohol as a crutch which stinks. Maybe at the actual softball game they will loosen up and you could get a better chance to interact.
    As far as the moving back home thing. I definitely feel more intense periods of homesickness and nostalgia and it can feel very isolating living here. But at the same time, I don’t really feel like I “fit in” in my hometown. It’s small and I don’t have many really good friends there (the friends I do have from high school, don’t live there either). Matt, on the other hand, has many close friends there and would love to live in our hometown. I realize there is about a 90% chance I will move back to Iowa someday and live either in or close to my hometown and that idea is still pretty frightening to me both because of the social aspect and the career stifling aspect (for my chosen field). I don’t really know where I was going with that…. I think the lesson is when you miss home it can be much more appealing in your mind that it would be in reality.

    • Feel ya on the not feeling like you fit in in your hometown thing. The fact that I’m out of college and not married/engaged makes me a bit of an anomaly, at least within the culture I grew up in, and I feel so much more like a normal person here than I ever do at home where I feel like the total odd man out for not having a husband to go home to (I mean really. I’M 22. I DON’T NEED TO BE MARRIED RIGHT NOW. Another rant for another day haha). One thing I really learned about myself in college is that I feel the most homesick when I’m the most lonely, and I definitely think the fact that I’ve been feeling lonelier than usual for the past few weeks contributes to my current homesickness. Ultimately, though, I know Chicago is so much better for me where I am in life right now than home would be, both from an opportunities standpoint and from a figuring out who I am as a person without being defined by the preconceived notions everyone I grew up around has about me since they’ve known me since I was three standpoint.

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