On Wednesday night I went to dinner at a Chinese restaurant a couple of miles from my house. At a large round table nearby, nine young women ate dinner together. They were dressed casually and a few of them had their hair tied up in informal pony tails. They talked fast and colloquially and it was easy to hear them as they discussed bosses, husbands and babies. I didn't find out how they all knew each other.
The older ladies from the diner are could be the grandmothers of the young women at the Chinese place. The attire is different now and so are the volume and style of speech. But they're the same in an important way; they still gather as groups of women to talk and eat.
In my last post I talked about how I'm making social contacts now. I knew I'd have to do that to replace the social interactions I had during the day at work. I'm a low-end extrovert - I can spend hours on the computer or with a good book, but I do need conversation with other people.
The responses to that post remind me that we don't all need the same kind of social contact. Some of us are quite content to spend much of our time alone. Some wish they had more interactions with others. Some are content with the present balance they have.
When I was younger I thought I ought to be more sociable. That was probably a message I got from my mother, who could work a room with the best of them. I like getting together one on one with friends, or one on several - if I know everyone. Still, even after a couple of hours I'm ready to go home. My sister Alyx loves being around people and inherited my mother's talent for schmoozing. When I visit her, I sometimes have to retire to my room to get a break from the social activity going on at her house.
I know I need a social network. Usually, most of my friends don't know each other. If I were to have a gathering of a dozen friends, the only thing most of them would have in common is me. I suspect that's not unusual.
The odds are reasonable that a woman will outlive her spouse. If that happens to me, I want to have a lively community around me. It's not the main reason I'm actively seeking social connections now that I'm not working, but I have to admit it is a factor.
Thank goodness for blogging. We who read and comment on each other's thoughts recognize commonality and value it. This particular topic might not ever come up in other kinds of conversations at all.