the summer of being non social

August 9, 2012 |  Category:   friends life

Have you ever woken up one day and realized that you hadn’t seen any friends in a long time? I can be one of those people who can easily stay inside the house for a few days without getting cabin fever. The girls can do this too. We’ve spent whole weekends inside just putzing around the house. Maybe we’re homebodies. Or hermits. Or maybe we’re just too absorbed in whatever we’re doing at the time…you know, like drawing complex mazes up mountain tops or really over working to death that design for a client (oh, you want 2 directions for that cover? Well here, let me give you 8). Thank god we live across the street from a playground and have friendly neighbors or we might never get out (just kidding). It’s funny when I think back to when the girls were babies because I was so much more diligent about getting out every single day, going to bookstores, taking walks with the stroller, going to playgrounds and playdates. I mean, they were babies; they probably didn’t care where they were, but I suppose those kinds of scheduled activities are more for the parents to maybe save your sanity and cobble together some semblance of anything that resembles a social life. But now, that sort of pressure to go out every single day is gone. We like being at home.


I realized today that this has been a really non-social summer so far since school’s been out. Other than hanging out with Anna twice, a few playdates for the girls, and one backyard party, I haven’t really seen many other friends at all other than some run ins with the neighbors or at camp drop off. No outdoor summer roof parties, no drinks on a breezy summer evening, no dinner at restaurants or a girls night out. Pretty sad. Or is it?
One of the positives of getting older is just being comfortable with who you’ve become. No pressure, no judgement. It’s not about being anti-social or boring or introverted. It’s about settling into yourself and acknowledging that it’s okay to want to spend time alone, even if it’s a lot of time alone (also, when you’re a parent, you’re never really alone, are you?). I don’t need to go out constantly to feel secure in my friendships. I know that they are there. It hasn’t always been this way and maybe this just comes with time or age. Or maybe we leave some of the bullshit dramas of some friendships behind as we get older. It’s a great feeling to be able to reach out to people when I’m ready to hang out with a friend and know that we can make it happen.

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  • Clio August 9, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    This is nice. As a younger person, it can feel like the pressure to go out all the time is huge, like we should be drinking and partying and spending time with our friends all day (and night) long to classify as ‘normal’. I like to go out, but I also like to stay in. I don’t rebel, or if I do it’s by acting older than I am, being more mature than my number, I was born old—there’s no two ways about it.

  • Melissa@Julia's Bookbag August 9, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    I’ve always been a homebody. Always. Even when I was 24. I love being at home. What I love most about having a kid is the ability to say Thank you so much for the invite, but we have to be home to put our kid to bed…..etc etc. I feel sometimes that my chronic wanting-to-stay-at-home is some kind of character deficit or that it could turn into a type of agoraphobia later in life….but really, I’m just a homebody. :)

  • Julienne August 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Thanks for this post. This is a rare perspective but one I identify with. I recently read Susan Cain’s book on introversion, Quiet, and it reaffirmed the value of silence. But even for acknowledged introverts, the invisible pressure to apologize for ‘not being social’ can sometimes be hard to overcome.

  • me August 9, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Oh so true! It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one that likes to be home, there’s so much I’d rather do at home, then pretend to enjoy things outside the home! Plus from all the driving back and forth during the weekdays, the weekends are a welcome relief from the outside world:)

  • meg August 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    i love this post. i think not feeling like you need to run away from your house & family every couple of days is a great indicator that you’re happy just where you are, with the people who are in your every day life. it’s a nice feeling to know that your family consists of people you really want to hang out with :) i’ve been realizing that since getting married… there’s nothing wrong with being happy just hanging out mostly as the two of us – it just means we don’t get tired of each other, and we really are best friends. of course, a coffee date & a solo yoga session every once in awhile are nice interruptions to our quiet routines :)

  • Aya August 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    After reading this, I realize I’ve had a really non-social, but lovely, summer. I think it’s alright. I chose it to be this way. I’m a homebody too.

  • Selkie August 9, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    I’ve noticed us ‘homebodies’ are often ‘creative types’. Yes. We need that time and space and energy, to grow.

  • The Savory and The Beautiful August 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Whoa Jenna you hit it right on the nose. Sometimes i feel guilty for being so comfortable being a loner. I’ve gotten more often than not the whole…”um hellooo are you alive in there?” bit. It’s not that I don’t love my friends, because i really do, they are amazing. But i just truly enjoy my own time. i’m comfortable with my own lonesome thoughts whether good or bad or even a strangely squeaky silent apartment.Anyhow your post sent a shock of relief through me, us loners, not so alone.

  • Vivienne August 9, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    We, too, are a family that enjoys being alone and at home. I am rarely bored by my own company and enjoy the peace of being in my own home. This summer has been extremely busy with a litany of family and friend activities and obligations. I was just commenting to my husband that I am craving an extended period of alone-time. I am glancing at our calendar and that is unfortunately not happening this summer. Enjoy yours!!!

  • Uncle Beefy August 9, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    M’dear, I know all too well how you feel. Granted, I’m not as much of a homebody this summer with various social events and obligations. But I am *totally* picking up what you’re throwing down. I have relationships that require more of me and expect a certain level of interaction. Others, the ones I cherish most, just ebb and flow like an easy tide.

  • julie August 9, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    I agree with you that solitude is not necessarily being anti-social or boring or introverted (although i am an introvert, whenever i do those quizzes!) :) I think downtime helps me to reflect and appreciate the people in my life.

  • Jen August 10, 2012 at 3:05 am

    I’ve been thinking about this and other iterations of this sentiment lately, too. Most of the friends that I have that kind of closeness with are from my childhood and I feel lucky to know these wonderful people who I can reach out to and we never make each other feel bad for falling off the map for a spell. The knowing they will be there is never a question.

    Even though you all live across the country, I feel lucky to have met you, Anna and Tamera now that I’m older and I’m aware that it is more rare as you get older to find it. I feel like it’s the same contented friendship feeling as my childhood friends. I don’t feel like I have a lot of mental space or time or desire anymore to fit in people who I don’t feel that connection with and it is a total relief to not feel that pressure from myself anymore.

    So excited to see you soon! xo

  • Nadia August 10, 2012 at 3:49 am

    Dear Jenna and dear readers, I apologize in advance but I will write my comment in french as I master this language and I express my self the best using it. In Sum I am a very extrovert person and I find my self in non choosen solitude but I am woing my best to cope with it and learn to appreciate. here is my french comment:

    “Merci pour ce post. je ne me reconnais pas là dedans car je suis une personne trés sociable et qui a besoin de rester connecté aux gens que j’apprécie. J’ai pris l’habitude d’être occupée tout le temps entre travail, projet, vie de famille, sortie entre filles , week end en amoureux ect…. je viens de déménager et je me retrouve dans un nouveau pays, dans la campagne et sans emploi. Cette situation est à l’opposé de tout ce que je suis! j’ai passé cet été seule chez moi, à faire un travail sur moi même et à essayer d’apprécier le confort d’une maison à la campagne et le jardinage.Mon mari quant à lui est très introverti et casanier autant vous dire qu’il s’adapte très bien à notre nouvelle vie. Tout ça pour vous dire que je suis entrain de vivre un processus d’auto conviction des vertus de la solitude , ma vie sociale se réduit à des appels téléphoniques et quelques mails échangés avec ma famille et mes amis … ce post est génial mais quand la saison solitaire nous tombe dessus, le processus mental d’acceptation est assez dur à gérer . Ce poste me permet de relativiser et de voir autrement mon quotidien .”

  • Jill Phillips August 10, 2012 at 4:26 am

    I had exactly the same realisation the other day! I love time alone, but it makes the time you spend with friends extra special :)

  • Katie August 10, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I can so relate to everything you’ve said. I’ve always enjoyed quiet time and can easily spend days happily at home without getting cabin fever, but I’ve only just recently come to realise that is ok! I used to feel guilty about my homebody tendencies and feel pressure to go out all the time, but I realise now I am perfectly entitled to my down time. I love going out and socialising but I’m much happier when I have a good balance of time to myself as well :)

  • Funaek August 10, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I love this post and can totally relate! I’m just a natural homebody/lazybones, and I always need at least a little alone time each week to recharge. And some weeks I need a lot of alone time! I used to freak out about it when I was younger or stress when people would ask me what fun plans I had for the weekend (what, running, reading, eating, and staring at my pug isn’t considered a typical fun weekend???) But I think you’re right, as you get older you get more comfortable with you and your preferences. And I find that I enjoy my “social” time all the more now because I go out when I want to go out, not because I feel like I have to.

  • Christina Z. August 10, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Thanks for making me feel normal. :) I often like to have just “me time” – what can I say, I enjoy my own company! I think creative types in general can get lost in their work and they feel they’re having a great time even if they’re all alone! When I was younger, I felt pressure to “go out and be social”. Now, as I get older (28), I’m finding it’s okay to be just who I am… and if that means a quite Friday night at home, then that’s just fine.

  • mickie August 10, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    love this.

  • Charlene K. August 11, 2012 at 5:31 am

    Thank you for this post! I love it due to the fact I can totally relate! Even as a 28 year old I feel comfortable staying home a weekend – just relaxing and enjoy time with my husband. Regards from Germany!

  • mette / ungt blod August 14, 2012 at 3:23 am

    Yay for knowing yourself! I have always struggled for people -friends- to understand that I just can’t pack my free time with activities. The default is that you are lazy or boring or something.

    I am dreaming of sharing a house with some of our friends and that is partly because I know that I won’t see many of them if they don’t live close by, I wouldn’t have the time or energy

  • Jessica H. August 16, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    I often find that it’s hard to balance alone time and social time. I’ll often be cooped up in my place for a month without seeing anyone, or my planner will be filled with back to back social activities all month. The Swedish have a saying, “Lagom är bäst,” which means “the right amount is best,” but it is very hard to find that balance.

  • Jackie August 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    It’s nice to know I’m not the only one :)