Friday, 14 August 2009


I've been having very mixed up thoughts on community recently. I wonder if I'm just odd or if many people have very ambivalent feelings about community and this is why people are finding it so hard to form communities these days. I find myself keen to make friends and get involved, but then suddenly it's all too much and I have to withdraw. I have a great need for space and not to feel 'invaded' and this can really conflict with my longing to belong and feel part of a community.
Recently, while thinking all this through, I had a bit of a revelation about wanting 'community', not 'communal', but I think this is only part of the story. I think I have much stricter boundaries than many people and often I've found people I don't know well making me feel under siege because they don't or can't understand my need not to be overwhelmed. Obviously we're all different, but I find many social things much harder than many people seem to, and really need to retreat to my own space or can get very depressed. I guess to find true community or even true friendship, there has to be give and take, but people's differing needs for limits and boundaries also need to be respected and therein can lie the problem.
Can anyone relate to what I'm rambling about here, or am I just going bonkers?


Jax said...

Is part of the problem that we are very limited with the number of ppl we want to form community with, so it's quite easy to end up getting too close/ spending too much time with a limited number of ppl?

Does that make any sense?

Lucie said...

I know what you mean. I find myself getting very sociable and seeing lots of friends then all of a sudden just wanting to move to a whole new area where I don't know anyone and just staying at home with my family and not making any new friends.

Carolyn said...

I'm right there with you Liz. And Lucie, you echoed my own thoughts so exactly, it was frightening!!!
I wonder why we all feel such extremes?

bethnoir said...

no, you're not bonkers, I agree with you and the other comments. I like society, but I know I need breaks to chill out and not have to 'perform'. I can't totally relax except with very close family, so I think it is quite an effort being with other people, be they are good friends or relative strangers.

Anonymous said...

My goodness yes, I can identify with this! Lucie I did just that. I had a circle of close friends and when DH said we were relocating I revelled in the fact that I could start afresh. I left the suffocation I felt where we used to live and kept myself to myself in our new town. On the whole it works for me. I love to be by myself doing the things that I enjoy most and even though I suffer severe bouts of depression I rarely find myself craving for company. If anything I start suffering with anxiety and depression more when I do venture out into the community. I always have this overwhelming need to retreat the minute I've instigated relations or got myself involved in some event at school or something.
Over the years realtives and a health Visitor(!) have always tried to make me believe this was a problem, a fault in my personality but over the last four years I've learnt enough about myself to know that it's just another way in which people differ from one another, the same way we have different colour hair or skin.
I also suspect that a lot more people experience this sort of thing than admit it!

Jacqui said...

Interesting - I often wonder if thats why i have made the choices I have - becoming a teenage mother - being a working mother when every one else was at home - going to university later in life, having a baby in my 40s, being a sahm when everyone else is going to work. Maybe i just dont want to become too involved with my peer group - hmmm. food for reflection.

Laura said...

i can totally relate to this and the other comments.
i love hanging out with friends and family but then usually need to withdraw for a whikle. worse when its people i don't know that well. i often go to a group or something then end up avoiding it for ages.
i thou8ght i was weird, looks like we're all normal! lol