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Becoming a recluse?


Kseudonym

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So I'm in my first year at uni. I've managed to make friends to some degree I guess - but not anyone I would talk to about deep style things. A lot of people know various amounts about my crazy (as an acting student, it comes up in class so often it wasn't really feasible to hide it) and there is even a guy who knows pretty much everything, but I still feel like other people have made much better friends here than I have.

I also have my best, closest friend accross London, which is good, don't think I would be able to cope with the situation I'm in if I couldn't see and talk to her often.

So the issue is all my friends - actually, everyone I know - is into clubbing and getting smashed, this really seems to be their only leisure activity. I will go out to pubs with them, but I hate clubs, so I spend a lot of evenings in by myself. I don't actually mind that - in fact, I always feel like I need a certain amount of time to relax by myself for my own mental health, I would have a meltdown if I had to be sociable all day every day. But I find myself exaggerating to my friends how much time I spend with other people, because I feel like they'd consider me a freak if they knew how much time I spend alone.

There are a lot of weeks here when I feel like I don't even really *have* a social life - the time I spend in class, rehearsals and meeting for group projects adds up to all the socialisation I can stomach, and/or the only social activities that are an option for me to do with my friends is clubbing etc, which I don't want to do.

So, I guess the issue is kind of is it okay for the major things in my life to be my theatre course, my theatre work outside the course, and keeping myself sane (as in, counselling, getting enough sleep, spending time alone)? I just feel like I should be desperately unhappy with living like this, and sometimes I think I am, but I'm pretty sure it's only or primarily because of how much of a freak I must be, not that I'm actually unhappy with how I'm sending my time.

I also feel a little bit like I should be forcing myself to be more sociable because if I don't do it enough I'll forget how? And schmoozing is an important career skill for my industry.

But yeah, I kind of feel like right now I would quite like maybe one close close friend on campus - preferably in some kind of romantic context - but other than that I am pretty much good. And that's wrong. Or something.

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I know how you feel. I feel like my social life is lacking and I'm in college as well. One group of friends I used to have were and are really into going to raves and doing E and tons of drugs. They are basically always smoking pot, tobacco and taking tons of adderall. I don't really hang out with them anymore because I get massively paranoid when I get high and they are just kind of assholes to me.

Anyway, I know what it's like to feel like you need more of a social life. If I ever have to talk about my social life with someone I don't know well I will probably lie/exaggerate. I feel like I'm really weird for not hanging out with people more. I think that being in college or just being our age in general means that you should have a large group of friends and go get drunk/party often. At least that's what I think a lot of people believe. I feel like as long as I have peace of mind though that's all that matters. Because when I have that, the expectations/opinions of others won't mean shit. Then I could just be carefree and happy. I'm definitely still working on it though...

I think there are probably cool people at your college who don't get wasted and go to clubs all the time. I don't know how big your college is. But you could try looking for those types of people.

It's definitely okay to not be as social as everyone else seems to be. At least for now that's who you are and whatever other people say or think you should be is just bullshit.

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Guest Recluse

The good news is that you don't forget how to be sociable. It's a part of your skullstuffs to be sociable, your ancestors traveled in packs. There's also nothing wrong with spending time alone, solitude is frowned on in our over-connected world, but there's really something to be said for being by yourself. People have begun to look down on those of us who prefer to be alone, but without solitude, 'Walden' never would have been written, would it? The bad news is that when you withdraw completely from society, it's hard, really hard to get back into it again.

Anyway, just .2 cents from an actual recluse. It's not so bad, but make sure you have a guide rope back out, or you'll risk ending up like me. (You don't want that.)

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There are a lot of weeks here when I feel like I don't even really *have* a social life - the time I spend in class, rehearsals and meeting for group projects adds up to all the socialisation I can stomach, and/or the only social activities that are an option for me to do with my friends is clubbing etc, which I don't want to do.

So, I guess the issue is kind of is it okay for the major things in my life to be my theatre course, my theatre work outside the course, and keeping myself sane (as in, counselling, getting enough sleep, spending time alone)? I just feel like I should be desperately unhappy with living like this, and sometimes I think I am, but I'm pretty sure it's only or primarily because of how much of a freak I must be, not that I'm actually unhappy with how I'm sending my time.

It sounds like your theatre work requires a fair bit of socialization due to the nature of theatre. I would be more concerned if you were studying biology and spent most of your time alone in a lab or something. Plus you have your best friend that you see / talk to, so you're not in recluse land. Would it be possible to go for a coffee after class or rehearsal with some of your fellow students? I'm not sure I would be comfortable with partying all the time, either.

I know I definitely need a lot of down time on my own, and I know some of my friends think it's a bit odd, but those that know about my MI (a limited number) are okay with it. I am single and older, and in the part of the rural southern U.S. where I live, the extremely conservative local population would probably burn people like me at the stake if they thought they could get away with it.

The main thing is to not be too hard on yourself and show yourself some kindness.

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The fact that you *have* friends means that you're not a recluse by any means. The fact that you enjoy spending time with them also says this. It is perfectly fine to enjoy your own company in lieu of going out and getting smashed -- I'd rather spend *my* nights alone than do the same, and I'm in college too.

Keep in mind that there is a very distinct difference between a loner - someone who prefers their own company to varying degrees over others - and an outcast - someone who would *like* to be a member of the community but has been rejected from it. Not everyone understands loners but there's nothing wrong with being one, so long as you're sociable when the occasion calls for it.

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Kseud, in your theatre classes and outside theater work you are meeting a lot of people. There is nothing more wonderously social than a room full of young theater majors. Maybe that activity is enough socializing for you right now. You are busy - but it does involve people with your same interests. I would be more concerned if your major was math or a science and you spent a lot of time alone or in a lab. I don't think anything is wrong with the amount you are socializing. You will be fine.

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