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On friendships and moving away

I've been thinking a lot about friendships and support networks lately.  One of the best decisions Tom and I made was to live together, and to buy the house that we did, which we've now spent almost three years trying to turn into a real home for the two of us (and Bodhi).  But I don't deny that it's not with some occasional regret that we made the decision to move halfway between both of our families and sets of friends.  It means that we're an hour away from our parents and an hour away from the best friends and friendships we had in those towns we lived in before. And although we've made new friends locally - through work, Tom through his surfing and me through blogging and other networks, there's not a week goes by when I don't miss having a handful close friends nearby.  The things I miss the most aren't the big things, like having big nights out, dinner parties, birthday parties and so on - but the little things, having someone to pop over for a cup of tea and a catchup, having friends drop in because they're passing, having a text from a friend on a Saturday afternoon to see if you're free.

It's put occasional tension on Tom and I's relationship because I've had to accept that he doesn't like doing the things I like to do, and I can't always recreate those lost opportunities with him, and so we both miss out on things.  For example, as much as I'd love him to, he hates running and doesn't want to go running with me. He doesn't like exercise classes or going to the gym, and though he tries to be accomodating and will come now and then, he doesn't really like traipsing around clothes shops with me.  He doesn't want to try karate, or watch all of The Good Wife or In Treatment series' from start to finish.  So my choices are to either do them alone (which often isn't much fun) or find something else that we can do together.

Tonight I am going to a yoga class on my own and I feel quite nervous - I'm generally not great at doing things alone for the first time as I get anxious about getting lost, not being able to find parking, that moment when you walk into a new class and you don't know anyone and feel like 'the newbie'.  I'd love to be starting this adventure with a friend but it's not to be, and that's fine.  It can be limiting sometimes even logistically - when we want to go on a weekend away we have to drive an hour to my parents' to drop Bodhi off as we don't know anyone locally who could look after him.  When Tom is away training for weeks at a time I dread that my car might break down or I might need help with something as we really have few people around I could ask.

I don't want this to feel like a 'woe is me' post, because I have some truly amazing friendships - I have close friends who live near enough for me to see them in the evenings and I have friends I can visit for weekends away.  Seeing my parents is always so special because we don't get to do it as often as we would like.  And I guess in some way it's making me better at doing things on my own and being more independent because I have to do this rather than miss out.

I do sometimes feel wistful about having a large group of friends like I have done in the past when I lived in Southampton.  I used to love a good girl's night in - cocktails, a good movie, snacks and pajamas.  These days on the odd occasion that I do have a girl's night in it is usually just myself and one other friend, ignoring the movie and having a good catchup! And that's just fine by me.  So when I came across the article on hosting the perfect Girls' Night In by Home Wet Bar, although I got excited at the thought of yummy cocktails, cheesecake and themed parties, I must admit that my thoughts did initially wander to the fact that it would probably only be me and one other person destroying that cheesecake (which isn't so bad....)

sarah knows how to host a girls' night in
A few of us at work have just come up with the idea of a film night which we're going to start soon. We've decided that we're going to put all of the films we're currently desperate to see into a hat and pull one out every couple of weeks and congregate at mine with snacks and slippers.  Tom and I have also just recently got a Netflix subscription and have been marathoning Orange Is The New Black as well as perusing the list of the 30 best films on Netflix.  This year I'm definitely making time for more sofa time, even if it's not always going to be a big group of friends gathered round the TV, at least I've got Tom and Bodhi as co-watchers! I'm looking forward to trying new classes and hopefully making new friends this year, as well as our work movie nights.  In the meantime I just need to remember that it's quality not quantity and that I'm lucky to have awesome friends to visit around the country and a lovely home with a wonderful fiancé.  You can't have it all!

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29 comments

  1. About three years ago me and hubs moved all the way from Europe to Canada and it really felt the way you describe it at first. It was so weird not knowing anyone or not having someone to go out with. We are now lucky enough to have made a lot of friends :) I think change is always hard

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  2. I know this feeling. I wish I could pop over to yours for a cup of tea and a chat :( I moved all the way from South Wales to live with Ben. I'm 7 hours away from home. We're an hour and a half from his family. Don't get me wrong, we've made wonderful friends in Norwich, but it's not quite the same as my best girls from back home, none of which live there anymore. I would personally love to live in Cardiff. My sister is there, one of the girlies from home is there, my best friend who's parents live round the corner from my mum and soon Alice all live there and I long for those moments I can drop in to a friend's house because I need to share a bottle of wine. I'd also be just an hour away from my mum. She has said she will look after Pip while we go on holiday in the summer as we don't know anyone around here that I'd feel we could ask. ben's parents won't have her.

    I spent a few days with my sister over Christmas, walking Pip in the big parks in Cardiff and my heart aches to be there. I'm not sure I ever will, as we're very settled here in terms of everything but being close to my mum. I worry about the day when we have children, that they'll hardly see their grandma.

    You've made me soppy so now I shall stop, but thank you for sharing.

    Jenny | sunny sweet pea xx

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  3. This has really struck a chord with me because I am moving away from home later this year for my job and it has only just hit me that I will probably be quite lonely. I used to worry about doing things by myself but in the last year I have really pushed myself to be as independent as I can. I think when you are restricted by something (illness for example), once that has been lifted, you strive to do what you were previously craving. So, I started going to Pilates and body conditioning classes by myself. And actually, it felt incredibly liberating. I always worried about being a newbie, and at uni especially I think I didn't branch out and experience enough societies etc because the majority of my peers were too apathetic and I was scared to go alone. I have a similar situation with my boyfriend too - he doesn't like all the things I do and equally I don't enjoy some of his stuff - but that's a relationship I suppose. You have so many other things in common, it shouldn't really matter. But of course it's exemplified when it's just the two of you so I completely understand your situation. The main point of this long ramble is to say please don't be afraid to try things by yourself. Everybody started off as a beginner and you will end up chatting to people and feeling more confident each time you go. I wish you the very best of luck and hope you enjoy yoga (I found it so hard when I tried it, but felt very relaxed at the end of it. It's like magic really). With love, Beeta xxx

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  4. I understand this post completely! I just posted something on my own blog about moving out and living on my own, and I mentioned how it can be lonely. I'm doing an MA that's research-based so I spend a lot of time on my own.
    Your post has been an inspiration for me to set up a girly night and see if I can get some of my university friends over!

    Anna | http://www.annathairs.com/blog

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  5. I really miss having a close network of friends too. I've moved around a lot, which has led to friendships dwindling, or me not being close geographically to my favourite people anymore and it makes me so sad. Your new movie nights sound fab! Perfect way to build up some close friendships :)

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  6. I am so there with you. Moving to Leeds was absolutely the right decision for me - I love this city, I love the friends I have here, my job, my cat, my flat and (last but not least!) living with Paul. There are more opportunities here, for both of us, than in my hometown or his and London is just so far out of our price range we could never live the fancy lifestyle we do now if we lived there.

    But... I miss my friends. I hate when they all do stuff without me and I can't go because a train ride takes too long or is too expensive. I miss being around people who've known me my whole life. I miss the easiness of that. Family is an issue, too - travelling for Christmas is a ballache - but I have never spent a lot of time with my family so it works out okay. With friends, I can definitely feel the strain of being far away from them and missing those everyday things that make up a friendship - everyone knows when you get a new job or a new boyfriend but not everyone knows the silly little things that you only learn from spending too much time together!

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  7. I feel exactly like this. Although I'm a tad younger and still live at home, I'm an only child and live nearly an hour away from the city where most of my friends live. So I never really get socialise or go out last minute so I get it. I've also never met anyone either who worries about parking and where to go to places like I do! Great post :-)

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  8. Reading this post I felt like I was reading about me! So similar and the exact same feelings. Having to start doing things alone or you'd never do them, wishing you were doing them with a friend. Going shopping with your boyfriend, it's sweet of them to come but it's just not the same is it?
    Thanks for writing this as it has made me see how many of us are going through this, and should just hang out with each other! lol
    Great post

    Hannah x

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  9. This post struck a cord with me. I moved to Glasgow a year and a half ago for work purposes and because I love the city itself. I do know people in Glasgow but it's not the same as my bff's in Dundee or my family in Aberdeen and living away from your support network can be really tough. But the chances of me moving back to Dundee is slim as it lacks job prospects and I still believe Glasgow is a better city (I just like a bigger group of pals hah!).

    I have made it a goal this year to be more sociable and initiate nights with people I do know. Me and Nicola (she commented a few above me) have already agreed to finally go to a veggie place together ad neither of us have people who could go with us, and I'm looking up sports or dance teams to join to meet new people and to pick up some old hobbies I really miss. I'm okay doing things myself but there is a limit even the most introverted of us can take.

    Morag xx

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  10. Excellent post - I have the same reservations about starting new things, and being the newbie in the room.

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  11. I am sorry to hear this. :( I agree; with friendships it's the little things like catching up over a cup of tea or an impromptu browse in the shops that make the difference. And it is sucky when boys don't want to do the same as is but yes, doing things on your own is good too. My friend (and now new flatmate) just hit on the exact same idea of a film club, slippers and snacks! :D

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  12. Doing things on your own is great. I've learnt that if I make plans to do my own things, often my boyfriend will join in because he doesn't feel pressured to do so. The more you join classes and clubs, you find out there's a ton of people in the same situation as you. Hope your yoga class went well, and your movie night in with work colleagues sounds like a great idea.

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  13. I know how you feel, I moved up to London for work just over a year ago and it can be challenging even friends in London tend to be half an hour away at least. Different to when I was in Portsmouth and my best friend was one street over! It gets better though - I met some great people by going to the gym on my own - when you're a regular you get chatting to some of the others which is nice. Good luck :)

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  14. I feel this, quite often. My closest friends, from uni and through blogging, all live at least 1.5hrs away, which is sad when I want to do something on the spur of the moment. It often doesn't happen and I guess I've tried to substitute that by trying to cling onto friendships locally where we really don't have anything in common anymore and struggle to find things to talk about, or I do things on my own, like go for coffee, to the shops, for a walk around a National Trust place or to the theatre or cinema. I find that most things are totally fine on your own, and i always make sure to take a book or my Kindle with me. Luckily I'm pretty happy to go to the gym on my own, I find classes much better for me than trying to self-motivate myself, although I have a good workout at themoment which i enjoy doing in the gym itself, too.
    Good luck with the yoga, I'm sure it will be great, I used to love yoga classes but they had to make way for somethign else. Too much to fit in!

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  15. Great post Rosie. I really must learn to appreciate having such great friends near by x

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  16. Ah I know this feeling!! I moved from the very East of London to the very West, and whilst I'm lucky to have great public transport, it means my friends are still 1hr+ away (bar a couple who live West). It makes me sad, but it also makes me really appreciate the time I do get with my oldest, bestest friends.

    If you're trawling Netflix, you should check out Lillehammer - brilliant series on there :)

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  17. This is such a lovely and honest post. During the final 2 years of uni I lived with my boyfriend in between our uni cities and commuted. It definitely made me a lot happier than where I was before, but things like a night out suddenly take a lot more planning!

    Sophie
    http://what-sophie-said.blogspot.co.uk/
    xxx

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  18. Am dying to know how you got on at the yoga class, Rosie. And isn't it funny that I, too, want to join one and would love to have come with you. xx

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  19. Your first yoga class!!! Am so proud of you :D

    Just remember that everyone was a beginner once and there is no competition to be found on the mat. I have never been to a yoga class where I havent felt welcome so I just know that you will have fun xxxx

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  20. I know this feeling too well, each day the thought crosses my mind of my friends back home in UK and wanting to have one of them pop over for a cuppa and a chat. Moving to Dubai was a massive decision and change in my life but I can still Skype friends and each have a cuppa…its not the same but it's as close as I can get and that's good enough for now. Hope you enjoyed yoga, I'm the same about starting new things, I'm starting a new class on sunday and already freaking out i'll get lost or wear wrong thing, or make a fool of myself. Afterwards you have a good giggle at how silly you were to have got worked up about it and look forward to the next one.
    Film club sounds fun! Steph x

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  21. Such an interesting post and topic to ponder, Rosie. From the other side of the spectrum, I've only recently taken a step back and realised how lucky I am to have returned from Uni and to have stepped back into some really great friendships that I (stupidly) neglected whilst at Uni and off doing career-y things. The thought of moving away from my hometown is something that excites and terrifies me as I'm hoping to move to Hong Kong in the next 4-5 years or so, but as much as I'm very much my own person, I can't bear the thought of being without these friends now. Hope the yoga class went okay Rosie - biting the bullet and jumping in at the deep end is such a refreshing move to make at times! x

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  22. I think almost everyone has to deal with being away from best friends, whether it's people you've grown up with or people you've formed extremely close bonds with at uni. It's just a fact of life that in your early twenties everyone you care about gets jobs and moves all over the country/world and it's just impossible for you all to be in the same place at once.

    I've moved around tons -6 times in the last two years!- and have never had a big group of close friends who've known me my entire life, (seriously, you are so lucky) so I can't relate to that. I guess you just have to appreciate what you did once have, and start a fresh. You can make new best friends wherever you go, yes it takes a hell of a lot of effort and time, but eventually the new people will become your closest friends :)

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  23. I totally get where you are coming from with this! The majority of my friends now live in Birmingham and Mark and I see them less and less nowadays. As we have to go to bed so early (hello 5 am start!) we don;t tend to do much in the week so I feel guilty about not doing anything at the weekend. I am trying to be more social though and we are hopefully starting to go to a regular pub quiz in the next few weeks!

    Maria xxx

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  24. I know know exactly how you feel. I moved here to be with Jim and whilst I love it sometimes I feel that I just don't have the friendship group I used to. Don't get me wrong I have some awesome friends here but all our events are planned way in advance. I don't feel like I have anyone I can pop to the pub with after work or go shopping with on a Saturday. It's a bit lonely sometimes, especially as jim goes to India for months at a time. This year its something I really need to work on! X

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  25. It's quite comforting to read this post and the comments (and I guess even more so for you, as the writer!) I am in the same situation and when I moved, I told myself that this is a chance for shy old me to get myself out there and make my own friends. I got sad when I realised that by settling here, I'll never live in my hometown again. Will my friendships there dwindle over time as we don't have that day-to-day chat anymore? But true friendships last, so I'll have to make sure I make the effort to see old and new friends!

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  26. A thought provoking post...hadn't realised that I was feeling similar, but instead of not being near friends, they are just all becoming pretty busy with having babies! Which means less time for catch ups that aren't interrupted by snot, poo and tears! Oh how life is changing! But I love your ideas and plans...good luck and have fun! :)

    Katie x
    http://www.missenchanting.co.uk/

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  27. I can imagine how hard it must be, when I'm off on location and don't get to see friends for weeks or months on end although I'm distracted by being super busy working and larking around with new crew friends, I always feel a little odd..like something is missing. I'm glad to hear you do have friends you've made in the area though and maybe you can think of some thrifty ways to save money so you can each visit your friends back home more or have them come to stay. Summer bbqs are all about getting together with pals you don't get to see often for me!
    Raffles Bizarre Blog

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  28. As much as it's hard, I think you're probably better off with you both being in the same boat. I moved to my boyfriend's home-town last month. I love living with him, and my new job, but it is hard being away from all my friends and family. His family and friends have been immensely welcoming, and I know I'm lucky to have that, but it isn't quite the same. I'm working on making my own friends here, so I can do things without him occasionally.
    Your film nights sound like a great idea!

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  29. Just discovered your blog and I love this blog post. I can relate to it so much. Now following x x

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Thank you in advance for your lovely comments, they mean the world to me! If you have a question or want to get in touch, tweet me at @rosieoutlook.