Monday, November 01, 2010

Relationships, ufff!

Those of you who know me might expect this to me a moan/tirade about men or the lack there of, about dating or the lack there of.  IT'S NOT! (well, a little might creep in but it's not my initial focus)
When I think of difficult relationships I do tend to think of those with the opposite sex.  As a single, heterosexual female I find relationships with men trying/difficult/frustrating on a regular basis.  You're into someone but they are into you or vice versa.  You're both into each other but there are X number of reasons it won't, can't or shouldn't work.  There's an ocean between you, one of you is already in a relationship, there are kids/ex's, etc, etc.

The relationships I've turned my attention to lately are those I have with my friends.  I think of myself as personable. After much traveling I'm outgoing and approachable, though I often do the approaching.  Awkward? It used to be but I feel like I can tell in a minute or two if someone is happy to stand and chat or is ready for me to leave them alone (That being said, I still have trouble approaching a handsome man in a bar).  I'm happy to pick up the baton of conversation and carry it.  For those of you snickering because I talk a lot, shut up! It beats perpetually being alone. I've made some good friends because I wasn't too shy to strike up the first conversation. I'm back to that method here in Jakarta as I attempt, sometimes successfully, sometimes in futility to meet new people. *

I'm finding my female relationships to be just as trying lately. My social circle has shrunk to the size of a child's inner tube.  I have two great close girlfriends here.  They see the world in similar but slightly different ways that means we get along well but help each other see another side.  The problem is that they work more than I do and it's getting tougher and tougher to see them even once a week.  Another friend has decided to attempt to monopolize my time and interest. I have to give excuses for going out without her even though I have a life and other friends. I shouldn't have to invite everyone everywhere I go.  The problem is that's about it. Three friends I see regularly.  I'm the vacuum, I've started internet friend dating.  I've planned a meet up of expats looking for new people. If one of them in a cute, interesting guy, all the better, but the plan is to meet some new friends. I've met two girls who have been here three months or less and are feeling very isolated.  They are great but live a ways away. Another girl I met on Saturday just arrived on Thursday.  All thought they were the only one feeling alone, struggling to meet people.  I reassured them that I, as well as others I'd met, was feeling the same way. Jakarta breeds isolation and depression.  A male friend and I were discussing this last week.  One must really fight to be out and find new people to make up for the atrophy of a group.

I go out, I make plans, I strive to meet new people. . . but there's more to it than that.  Just like in a romantic relationship, it must be a good match.  I want a give-take relationship with my friends, someone who I'm compatible with. We can enjoy some of the same things, and usually follow the same line of logic.  Why is it that after spending our whole lives in and out of relationships, they are still so difficult?  Why is it that so many people still suck at them?

Is there ever a point that relationships get easier?  I find myself with many friends but few close friends.  How many people would really go to bat for me if the chips were down? Wanna see how many more cliches I can get into one paragraph?  Honestly, there are few people I stay in contact with, some fault on my end, some on other ends.  I know distance is a big factor, being in different timezones and the like.  It occurred to me, if I were to get married in, say, six months or a year (hahahahahaha, lemme wipe that tear from my eye, woooo) who would make the trip to see it?  Who would I even ask figuring most wouldn't make the trip? Who am I even in touch with enough to feel it wasn't utterly ridiculous to invite them? Of course, I'd have to figure out where I was getting married first . . .but it's still an interesting theoretical exercise.

How do some relationships end up strangled by need or necessity and others simply fall by the wayside?  Why do some survive half the world's span and others can even survive cross town? Why are there people you can immediately click with and others that the connection is strained and limps along at best?  Why do I have lots of questions and no answers?  Perhaps, when I'm 85, I can impart a bit of wisdom to my grandchildren (should I have any wisdom or grandchildren).  Though, smirking, I realize they'll heed the advice about as well as I did of my grandmother or mother. Maybe that's why we continually struggle in relationships. . . because the only way to know is to do it, live it, try it.  Not to mention, it's never the same twice.

* I have also learned to be great company for myself.  I believe we are raised in community and most people never practice or learn the art of being alone.  Not hiding, not feeling self conscious but choosing your own company and being happy to hear your own heartbeat and own voice. It does take practice but it's worth it.  People who haven't learned what I mean think I'm nuts, especially the Spaniards and sometimes the Indonesians. I get the "look at that crazy girl alone! She must be waiting for someone" look a lot. I just don't care anymore.  I'm with the most interesting chick in the bar, ME!

Post Script: I realize this was a long wordy entry. No great pictures, slightly rambling.  If you made it this far, thanks.  Let me know what your opinions are relationships are.  Do you remember our first meeting?  Did I start a conversation with you?


  1. Hey hey, wow I hope I never make it into any annoying friend paragraphs ;) Interestingly enough, I was just contacted by a boy on expat blog and was going to invite him out on Saturday...potentially something nice to look at but no pics so far?

    On Saturday we'll meet lots of people and sort the wheat from the chaff!


  2. Hey! While on a much smaller scale, I totally relate to your post. I'm only 3000 miles away from my friends & fam, on the same continent, and still have only received visits from 4, 5 if you include my ex that moved out here to be w/me...the other 4= my mom, sister, 2 of my besties from Beantown. In 10yrs, my father has never once even entertained the idea of visiting, as for everyone else, well, you know how it goes.

    The most frustrating part I find, is that when you finally make it home for some quality time w/the peeps that "matter"- it takes an act of congress to get them to commit or go out of their way for you for even 2hrs. Don't worry, I just paid for and traveled..why shouldn't I spend my vaca time trying to catch up w/people?!?! I've lucked out in that I do have a few besties back east that still go out of their way for me time and again...but it is a very strange dynamic to witness and observe once you're aware of the majority.

    On the flip side, and not that I've known you for very long, I would TOTALLY fly to Indonesia for a kick'n vaca (or wedding) - whichever :) And of course if you ever make it down to PDX or wherever I end up, you always have a place to stay etc. And I mean that in the ever welcoming euro/foreigner way, not the American save face way! :) Sorry for the ramble...I guess I'm feeling a bit more punchy than I thought.

  3. Hey girl,
    I am considering taking a position with EF to teach English there in Jakarta. I was wondering if we could maybe email as I really would like to talk to some one there doing it, in it. I have a skype name beth.bach too if you are available to talk on the phone. I really am up in the air about what to do. Reading your blog honestly makes it sounds really tough and a bit lonely going as a single girl.

    My email is I hope to hear from you!

    Thanks Beth