I need ideas...anyone wanna put on thinking cap?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DammitJanet, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I need to find something to DO with myself so I can meet people to attempt to form friendships in real life. I dont go to church and am not really interested in starting. I live in a fairly small town that doesnt offer much in the way of social situations. I dont have much money to spend either. I dont want to go volunteering at any school because I am sick to death of kids...lol.

    I have never been good at making friends. I dont think I have had one that lived near me since I left high school. My whole existence has revolved around my family...except for the years when I was working and I thought I had made friends but when I had to quit...they all went away.

    As it stands now the only things I do are go to the doctors, go to the grocery store and rarely go out to eat. We go up to visit Jamie about 3 times a year or so but that isnt really getting out. My therapist wishes I could move into housing for the disabled and elderly but that isnt going to happen either. Maybe I need to go into a nursing home so I would have activities...lol.

    My only interests are music, reading, computers and gee...I cant think of anything else! Im boring! I dont party, I cant drink because of the medications so I hate going to some party where folks are gonna get drunk...you really notice how stupid people act when you are the only sober one!

    I do go to concerts several times a year when I can find one locally that I would like and can afford. But that too is solitary.

    What on earth do people do to find friends? (And dont say get out and talk to neighbors...remember they want to kill us!)
  2. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    You say you enjoy reading (me too!!!!!!!). Do you have a local library? Does the library have a sitting area where you can relax to read? Perhaps if you went one or twice a week to check out a new novel and sat for a while to enjoy beginning your new book, you'd find others also doing the same thing. If you notice someone reading a title that you've enjoyed or an author you like or has a title that intrigues you, spark up a conversation! Maybe there is a local book club that meets that you haven't heard of. Perhaps you could talk to librarian and ask about posting a sign for a book group starting up. It really isn't like it's work to start a book group. Merely pick a day/time for interested persons to meet at library, everyone discuss book types they like, make a list and pick straws to decide which book you will all start with and then set new meeting date to discuss the book, perhaps at a local coffee shop where conversation can be had more freely and temptation to linger and chat would be available too. Who knows. Even if it started with only one or two people joining, it could grow later, or you could end up with one or two new friends!!! Making friends for me is very hard too. I should take my own advice on this one!
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thats a good idea. I will try to find my way to the local library...
  4. 4sumrzn

    4sumrzn New Member

    OK...I'll jump in on this one. You say you live in a small town....do you have a YMCA, City Civic Center, Recreational Park District or even an American Legion close enough??? Many of the first 3 "type" places offer activities of all kinds for fairly cheap or free. Some have card clubs, music hours, craft times, all kinds of things. Some book stores have live bands that play for the evening to relax, have a coffee & read....I've seen quite a few people hanging out there (as I walked by:surprise:.....not quite my thing). Just an idea to check in to.....never know what might "strike your fancy" & get you in the mood to give it a try! Now, the 4th "type" of place I mentioned......you can for sure meet plenty of people, but the "setting" might not be what you are looking for. Just some ideas.
  5. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Janet....Here is a solution....you can visit all of your board member friends! :sheepish: Just hop in that 1989 Seville and travel the US.

    OK. Well, Truthfully I have no good advice. I have the worst time making friends. Mostly because about 80% of the population bother me. I am sure that is some diagnosis in it's own right Sad.

    I guess I have little advice, except - be bold! Go where no man has gone before! And I hope to see you soon in my neck of the woods.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    We have something on a county level called the home extension something or other. Women who meet and learn something once each month. I am thinking about that, though I am on the young age for the group.

    Good Luck!!
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    We have pamplets put out every quarter by our Parks & Rec dept. They list county activities coming up, some are free or at least reasonably priced. The types of activities vary (bridge club, movie, holiday event, dance classes, etc) as well as the duration- from one day or evening to weekly for 3 months. Sometimes they have a short trip where they bus participants out of town to do some special for the day. There are usually things for various age groups listed. If you have something like that available, it might give you some ideas to flip through it, even if you didn't want to do an activity thru that dept. It looked like a good way to meet people with common interests though.

    Then again, in your case, have you thought about self-defense or karate classes? (Just kidding!)
  8. 'Chelle

    'Chelle Active Member

    Check your local newspaper & local store's bulletin boards. Local clubs/groups often advertise their meetings if they're open for members. Quilting groups, knitting groups, book groups, singing groups, I've seen lots and you may find one that interests you enough to join.
  9. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    Do you have a university close by? Many offer "communiversity" classes that are quite inexpensive. Anything from cooking, to computer skills, to learning about the history of your area, to music and crafts.
    While I had a mountain dulcimer for several years previous, I didn't actually start playing until I took a communiversity class on it. That led to finding out there are two dulcimer clubs in our area, both have over 100 members each. That led to going to festivals. And joining internet chat rooms about the instrument. And playing for schools and in church. And eventually meeting my husband! And now performing and teaching together. And sometimes even getting paid for it!!!
    If you were near us, I'd loan you an instrument!!
  10. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Janet, starting in small steps is good. I would look into the community college non credit course. They are very inexpensive and you learn something new. There are writing courses, or real estate or computer skills. You don't have to go into a career but you broaden your world and meet others.
    If there is a YMCA, they may have water exercise for those with bad joints. You meet all sorts of folks there.

    I don't blame you about not volunteering at schools. After difficult child, the last thing I want to do is deal with another hyperactive kid. I'm involved in the Library this year. There are volunteer groups for "Make A Wish" or reading to seniors. I'm not suggesting volunteering is the only way but it's free and you meet others.
    What about book clubs? This is the season for all sorts of festivals. Why not go to some of them and just enjoy people watching. It will get you out of the house.
  11. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Janet, Local community colleges will allow you to audit some classes for free. Maybe you can take some computer, art, or literature courses. Often people at CC's are of a variety of ages.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks for the ideas. I am going to look into them all.

    I dont think our rec dept offers anything in my age range but I could be wrong. Last time I looked it was either kids or seniors and I dont qualify for either...lol.

    We are so small that we dont have a Y or anything like that. If it wasnt so far, I would join the USO and work airports when the troops come in.
  13. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I didn't read the other responses, so forgive me if I'm repeating. Have you considered reading to seniors that have sight issues? Or perhaps helping seniors by writing out letters that they dictate to you? How about volunteering to do intake at a local food pantry? You are a generous person and would do well in a situation where you have something to give.
  14. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    How about you move next door to me? (the house is up for sale) We'll be best buds. And our grandkids can play together.:bigsmile:

    I'm in the same boat. Although school is helping. Still, I don't see them outside of school so that probably doesn't count, huh?

    I used to say once my kids were raised I wanted to volunteer at the NICU as a baby holder. You know, you get to cuddle the babies when their parents can't be there. (do they still do this by the way?) Now that might be fun for you if they have something like that. Newborns don't talk back. lol

  15. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    What about joining some of the local chapters of VFW, American Legion, Elks club etc... ladies Auxillary?

    While you are at the library, maybe you could find a local book club you'd be interested in joining.

    You could always start some kind of group that you are interested but isn't offered. You could start by having a meeting at the library and see what kind of responses you get.
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    A couple of ideas here.

    First one I'm taking from a post of yours the other day, when you mentioned seeing a car with marines stickers on it turning into the same gas station as you, and you announced to the driver, "I'm a Marine Mom too!"
    Why not start a fairly informal Marine Moms support network? There are so many things you could do, include share concerns with each other for each other's kids, support one another when dealing with what you're dealing with right now, maybe you could include writing letters to other Marines who maybe don't get enough correspondence (maybe not enough family?) or just general letters of support. And if people who don't agree with the war get 'thingie' about it, this is about supporting the people serving over there, which is a very different thing to any political points of view. This - very different. They need support. You need support. And sometimes people are a bit too nervous to reach out, when they need to.

    Second, and there's no reason you can't do both - here is a variation on the "read to sight-impaired seniors" option. Why not LISTEN to them instead? Take down their stories for them? Everyone has a story, and some of the stories held in trust in the memories of our seniors will be so soon lost forever if we don't record them. If you don't feel you're a good enough typist/writer, then get someone else to transcribe. But what is desperately needed - someone with a tape recorder and patience, to interview people, to draw them out and get them to talk about stuff they probably think nobody is interested in.

    A few years ago there was a travelling exhibition from the Australian War Memorial, the exhibition focussing on prisoners of war. Because husband's father had been a German POW in WWII, we had some artefacts to lend the exhibition. I was asked to speak about them, to tell people the story behind these treasures (a hand crocheted cap, made from unravelled blankets; and his coat, given to him by Red Cross after he finally got out). After that I was approached by the exhibition people to MC a Q & A session with some POWs who were to tell their story. One man in particular was very shy about getting up and speaking, he didn't feel he could do it. Plus he didn't feel anybody would be interested. Turned out, he'd been in Changi and then on the Burma Railway - and he thought people wouldn't be interested?!?? So I got him started. At first he kept glossing over bits he said "were not important" such as how they were transported to Changi from where they were captured, and what their daily life was like in the camp. Then he seemed to forget there was an auditorium full of people, and I was able to hand him the microphone and sit back. He was off and talking, as if he'd never had the chance before. People were spellbound and we went half an hour over time, because nobody dared move or even breathe, it seemed.
    The best thing of all - I think he finally felt valued instead of ashamed, he realised he had something people really wanted from him and I think he also felt much better for having shared a lot of stuff he'd buried all these years. Even his wife, who was in the audience, said she'd never heard most of what he told us that day.
    When he left you could see the load gone from his shoulders.

    With your understanding of the military, maybe you could focus on those memories in particular. Or perhaps just ANY memories from the past, from your local history as well as another person's history.

    There is a bloke in our area who makes a living from doing this - he interviews someone then writes it all up into a book for them. He's called the Memory Man. Maybe when difficult child 3's schooling is less on my shoulders I might give him some competition. But if for no other reason, a lot of families would love to know these stories from their parents and grandparents.

    And of course, each person you interview is a new friend, because now you know everything about them. And their families will talk to you, and so on. It snowballs.

    Sometimes we worry what to say when w meet new people. And sometimes we forget that the best thing to do most of the time is listen, instead.

  17. Janet,

    I don't know the size of your town, but many areas do have volunteer networks. My Mom, who has pretty serious mobility problems, works at a "Ronald McDonald" type lodge for family members of hospitalized individuals. The family members stay in the lodge free of charge in order to visit their loved ones. She is the "front desk" clerk there and just loves it. She has made many new friends there. When we had her 80th birthday party last year, half of the people there were her new friends from the lodge!

    When our difficult child was in the hospital for several months, there were volunteers there who came to read to him or to play board games with him. They were a real Godsend because they gave husband and myself a few minutes to take care of other business and spend some time with easy child. Most of the volunteers only came for a couple of hours a week.

    I think book clubs are wonderful! There are several groups that organize book clubs in our area, but we live in a big city. Our former next door neighbor who was well into her 80's sponsored one, and she loved it. If there aren't any in your area, maybe you could start one!

    Good luck in your quest....
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We dont have many groups here because I think most folks here think that a support group means you are needy. We tried to start a chapter of Chadd one time and it was a no go. I also went to a support group for caretakers of alzheimers patients and found myself completely alone with the social worker who was over it...lol.

    I, too, was thinking about a group for parents of kids in the military. Because we are such a small area I was thinking of making it for all the services. I have no idea if it would go over well or not....I could post it in the paper and put flyers up at the local recruiting station. The book club also sounds interesting. Plus I may call the hospital and see if they have any support groups for people with mental illnesses. I would love to attend one for bipolar and borderline patients...could be interesting! Maybe I will talk to my therapist about starting one there if none exists.
  19. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Does your school district have a community education department? Ours has a wide selection of classes, and the ones designed for seniors (defined as over 50) are free, and you don't have to be a senior to attend. My mom and I took a country line-dancing class last year.
  20. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Most libraries have a book club. I LOVE them.

    The other one that I like is volunteering at a rest home. You meet some amazing people.