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weekend open thread – November 5-6, 2022 — Ask a Manager

November 6, 2022

I am a childfree people in my late-30s (female).

My case is that I’ve been living overseas for over 15 years. I actually moved cities a few years ago for a job and because almost all of my local and foreign friends in my old city were coupled up with kids. And living in East Asia means that the western scene is heavily dominated by men. It’s not fun having your coworker’s wife side-eye you because you hung out for after work drinks.

1. How often do you see your friends?
At busy times it can be a rotation of different people once or twice a week. I also meet up with my ex a few times a month.

2. How large is your circle?
This is difficult. I think I have a good number of people I’m friendly with, but a smaller number of people who I feel understand me (or try to understand me). I keep in touch with friends who are scattered around the world, but it would be nice to have some close, core friends.

3. Do you feel like you have a ‘standard’ group or set of friends you regularly reach out to for weekend plans, etc.?
Kind of, but at the same time, many of them are also American and other western women working here. Not everyone is committed to staying long-term, not even myself.

4. Are most of your friends also friends with each other?
No. A few are, but I wish I had more blending of the groups.

In my case, I never really had a core group of friends growing up. I’d befriend one other girl in class, we’d get super close, and then her parents would move. Or we have a different schedule and she hangs out with her new friends more.
This was compounded by my family being poor and me working a lot outside of school. So while I was friendly with a large number of people, I never really felt like I was apart of anyone’s inner circle.

And that’s continued throughout my life. I feel like I can be friendly with anyone. But, others find it difficult to understand me. I can’t go out a lot because I don’t have the money. I didn’t engage in the fun stuff as a teen or 20-something.
I’m also childfree and marriage has never been a goal, so it’s hard to get along with the women who make that their personality. Although I do have a ton of experience with small children and have given a lot of advice and lent a sympathetic ear to many a stressed mom.

The friends I do have here, are great in many ways. But there are times when I’ve felt blown off when inviting them out. “I saw this interesting restaurant” “Oh, well, let me know if it’s good” “Would you like to check it out with me?” “It’s a bit far…”

I don’t want to be going to random restaurants by myself just so I can curate a list of tasty places to take people to.
So, yeah, I can do a lot by myself and I do do a lot by myself. It’s less that there are no people and more that I don’t feel really connected with the people around me because I don’t feel like they are truly able to understand some of the limitations I have.

But I know that as I get older, I’ll need to have a way to continue to make new friends and not be some creepy older person in the corner of a room smiling at the 20-somethings.

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