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I am 35 years old. I moved from my hometown to Louisville for a job last year. I am shy and introverted and it has been a struggle making new friends. I am not a club or hobby group kind of person, and the people at my work are very friendly but none socialize outside of work. But that isn’t why I’m writing. When I moved, I had a fairly large group of friends back in my hometown I told before I left that I would love to have them all come for a visit — I have the room to host. And even if they are traveling through, please message me, and I would happily meet them for a drink. I have been back to the hometown 11 times since I left to reconnect with many of them.
To date, I know of eight separate times people I know have been in town and have never contacted me. I find out either after the fact, or through some Facebook status that they are just heading out and “how great Louisville was.” The first couple of times it happened, I chalked it up to time constraints, or that they were tied up with family obligations or something. But it keeps happening! I don’t want to chastise them, or sound whiny contacting them and saying: “Why were you here and never called?” But it’s making me crazy thinking I’m sitting at home alone, while friends of mine are out having fun less than two miles away! Is there anything I can do about this? Or do I just have a bunch of insensitive, former friends?
—Lonely in Lou
Hey there Lonely in Lou,
In grad school, one of my professors liked to say there are three groups of people: “Those who leave, those who stay and those who comeback.” For the purposes of this column, we’re going to focus on the first two groups, and I’ll leave it to my prof and Hollywood to write stories about the third group — I’m looking at you “Sweet Home Alabama.” You’re a member of the first group, which is just under half of all Americans. Which means, a good many of your friends probably fall into the second group, and they’re likely lacking some perspective around your experience with establishing a new life elsewhere.
I’ve lived in Cincy, Denver and all over Southern California. The first move, to Orange County in my early 20s, was most certainly the hardest. Making friends as an adult is tough. I couldn’t just roll up on other women in the grocery store like, “Oh you like Apple Jacks? Me too. Wanna grab a drink?” And while I was out in the OC trying to figure out who I was, life was going on without me in Louisville. Friends were getting married and buying houses and having babies. The divergent paths we were headed down meant that I lost sight of some of those friendships (and some lost sight of me). Facebook helped me keep up with their lives, but Facebook also helped some people linger longer in my life than they should have. Facebook isn’t always your friend.
And I think Facebook is totally not being your friend right now, LiL. Facebook is being that gossipy pretend-friend who likes to spread unhappiness between you and the other people in your circle. I think it’s time to unfollow those folks who are passing through Louisville without so much as a “hello” to you. I had plenty of friends who never came to visit me while I was away. Some of it was finances, and some it was they just had other shit they wanted to do with their vacation budget and the measly 10 days a year the boss lets them take.
Now, it’s easy for me shrug it off and not take it personally, but it used to make me feel unloved and wonder if all my friendships had been fake. Most people invest themselves in only friendships that are convenient for them. Occasionally, you really luck up and become friends with someone who will go to every length to protect your bond with them. Those friendships served one phase of your life, but now it’s time to click the “Unfollow” button on those Facebook profiles, so you can focus on finding friends in town who want to hang out with you and enjoy your hospitality. You deserve people in your life who cherish you.
P.S., Hey readers, we’ve still got three sampler packs of organic, awesome lube to give away. Send in your questions or stories of lost love for a chance to win.