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Old 06-29-2014, 03:03 PM   #1
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Social skills

As we move more into ER we find ourselves meeting new folks that we would be interested in having a friendship with.
We have invited couples to different events. Some accept the invitation and some do not. The ones that do not usually give a reason. If they say maybe next time or something more than just a reason they cannot we usually will invite them again.
If they just give a reason they cannot we assume they are not interested in a new friendship.
Are we reading these folks right?

This has never been a good skill of mine so any input is most appreciated.


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Old 06-29-2014, 03:15 PM   #2
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As we move more into ER we find ourselves meeting new folks that we would be interested in having a friendship with.
We have invited couples to different events. Some accept the invitation and some do not. The ones that do not usually give a reason. If they say maybe next time or something more than just a reason they cannot we usually will invite them again.
If they just give a reason they cannot we assume they are not interested in a new friendship.
Are we reading these folks right?

This has never been a good skill of mine so any input is most appreciated.
I don't know if you are reading them right or not.

Why not get to know new friends in a more casual setting before inviting them to an event? For example, meeting them at the park to go for a walk, or maybe meeting for lunch at someplace inexpensive.

Maybe you are scaring them off by moving too fast. Or, maybe they just have too many friends already and don't feel like they have the time for another friend.
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Old 06-29-2014, 03:25 PM   #3
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I guess it would depend on the "event". If it is to go to a Beach Boys or Jimmy Buffett concert that's different than an invitation to a Pentecostal Evangelical Holy Roller outdoor concert.

We have drinks and dinners with acquaintances. Sometimes we see folks in a local restaurant that we know, but have not been to an "event" together, so we just pull up our tables and have an event right there.

Anyways, I never let any refusal or denial bother me and if I would like to spend time with them, I always give them a chance.

And here's something else I have learned. Many folks are intimidated by well-known people so much so that they will avoid talking to them or sitting down next to them in a public setting. Yet those people are just regular folk with the same trials and tribulations as all of us. It's fun to ask them, "May I join you here?" or "Is anyone sitting next to you?" So far, they have all invariably said, "Please do."
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Old 06-29-2014, 03:40 PM   #4
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Thank you for the input. These are usually folks we know through a common group and have talked to frequently.
The invitations are usually to come over to dinner or to the lake or go out for dinner or lunch.


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Old 06-29-2014, 04:09 PM   #5
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We moved into an over 55 community about a year ago - only 14 units and when we moved in only 6 of them were occupied (we were the 7th.) Last fall one of the neighbors had a wine and cheese evening and it was a nice opportunity to meet the people we hadn't previously met.

Just this weekend, we hosted a similar "come for drinks" evening. By now 11 of the units are either occupied or settled upon but not yet occupied. We thought it would be a nice opportunity for the new folks to get introduced around and for us to try to keep up the momentum of neighborliness begun by the couple in the fall. All the "old timers" came as did the newcomers with the exception of one couple who did not call or tell us they were not coming. Their cars were at their unit all evening, so we assume that they were at home but just not interested in socializing. I don't have a problem if they're not interested but I thought it would have been courteous if they had called in advance and said so.
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Old 06-29-2014, 04:28 PM   #6
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Their cars were at their unit all evening, so we assume that they were at home but just not interested in socializing.
I wouldn't make that assumption based on one instance. There could be any number of reasons to stay home and not go out, from being slightly to a lot sick, to expecting a planned important phone call, to well, lots of things.
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Old 06-29-2014, 04:33 PM   #7
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........... Their cars were at their unit all evening, so we assume that they were at home but just not interested in socializing.............
Remind me to never move into a place like this
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Old 06-29-2014, 04:48 PM   #8
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My experience has been friendship happen as they happen. You can't force it but you also have to take advantage of the opportunities too.

We are leaving in a bit to go to a bbq at a neighbors house. Now when I met this guy a couple of years ago--no way, didn't think we would be friends, etc. But we kept meeting them at various social neighborhood gatherings and suddenly I found I had a lot in common with him! We actually are very good friends now and even more impressive, he is easily 10-15 years older than me.

My wife and I just had a big summer party---on the summer solstice. And we have a band, and always invite all the neighbors (where we live the houses are all on 2.5 acres but figure it is always safest to invite the neighbors!). And this year we met a new couple that just moved in this last year, they are about 5-10 years younger than us. We are going out for drinks next week. I enjoyed talking to them at the party and hope it goes well...but you can't force it. My gut is telling me it will go well as we seem to have a lot in common but you never know

Keep trying would be my advice. I have found that most people are content to just live their lives, they don't go seeking new friendships, they are open to it, but won't expend the energy to make it happen. So by default it seems all our new friendships are ones we generated by inviting the couple and then everyone found they enjoyed themselves (for the most part, though some couples we went out a few times and things didn't click--such is life right!).

good luck!
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Old 06-29-2014, 04:51 PM   #9
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Remind me to never move into a place like this
+1
I was thinking the same thing.

To the OP: it's great that you are making the effort. Don't take anything personally. Even if those people were doing absolutely nothing that evening, they may just be private people. They may not want to hobnob with the neighbours. Just let it go.
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Old 06-29-2014, 07:09 PM   #10
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Fisherman, Don't "read" anything into the people not accepting the first time. If you invite them again and they can't make it then don't ask again. You can't be friends with everyone.

Friar1610, How was the couple invited, word of mouth, telephone call, snail mail invitation? Was there an "RSVP"?
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Old 06-29-2014, 07:50 PM   #11
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+1

Some people simply like to have a private life. I am fairly close with a couple of neighbors, and it took a while to develop that friendship (8 years!). With some others, it did not click, and I do not ponder why.

Still, if someone says RSVP, the recipient of the invitation needs to reply, even to decline.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:41 PM   #12
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I wouldn't make that assumption based on one instance. There could be any number of reasons to stay home and not go out, from being slightly to a lot sick, to expecting a planned important phone call, to well, lots of things.
I understand your point. But a simple phone call is not that difficult.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:44 PM   #13
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Fisherman, Don't "read" anything into the people not accepting the first time. If you invite them again and they can't make it then don't ask again. You can't be friends with everyone.

Friar1610, How was the couple invited, word of mouth, telephone call, snail mail invitation? Was there an "RSVP"?
Invitation in their mailbox - hand delivered by me. When I saw the guy across the street after they moved in I walked over, welcomed him to the neighborhood and told him I had just dropped off an invitation to join us to meet their new neighbors. Phone number was on the invite. We did not specifically say RSVP.
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Old 06-29-2014, 10:05 PM   #14
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One thought is to make the early attempts at friendship-building be short events that have a finite start and finish time. I know that sometimes we dread dinner invitations just because it is a lot of time to commit to folks we don't know well. And I also am a fan of larger gatherings rather than just two couples eyeballing each other across a table.
We have a pretty large circle of friends, so prefer doing stuff with at least a group of six or so.
Good that you are reaching out to folks. We've made very good friends just within the past couple of years and I'm really happy we pursued those relationships.
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Old 06-30-2014, 08:18 AM   #15
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Making friends is hard work. And many people struggle with it. I wouldn't write anyone off just because they declined an invitation without suggesting a later meeting. Just keep trying until you have lost interest in the effort.


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Old 06-30-2014, 09:51 AM   #16
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Perhaps, (as someone who long ago learned that, in a new j*b, the first ones to approach you wanting to be your new 'best friends' are the ones you should avoid), I'm looking at this from the other end of a half empty glass.

Shortly after we moved into our current condo townhouse complex someone had the, never to be repeated, idea of a group get-together around the outside gazebo.

One guy, (note the comment in parentheses in the first sentence), latched onto us immediately, and a few days later just 'happened' to drop by with a bag of fresh donuts........the local 'user', (another resident later commented that this guy had "worn out his welcome everywhere else in the complex").

Perhaps the newbies have experienced something similar, which would make them gun shy.

(Also, for me personally, an unsolicited RSVP request, (in my opinion), places me under no moral obligation to respond.)
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:00 AM   #17
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Some folks don't desire to meet their neighbors. Nothing about you, it's just how they are.

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Old 06-30-2014, 10:28 AM   #18
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Some of the best friends happen over a period of years. I try to make it a point to always say hello to my neighbors when I see them, and after a while a network of acquaintances seems to develop. Pushing too hard at first can be too extreme for some. After all people are always being approached at work, in stores, by family, usually because the approaching person wants something from them. Even giving something to a new neighbor can be problematic, since they will see it as an obligation to give something back. But if you are genuinely friendly over time sometimes small beginnings can turn into big friendships. When I had small kids, it was easier to meet people, because kids don't seem to have any reservations about meeting other kids in the neighborhood. After a while they seem to know all the other kids, and you end up meeting their parents by default. At least that is how it was for me. But after the kids have grown, and if you are in a new place, it does take some effort.
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Old 06-30-2014, 12:16 PM   #19
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someone posted this awhile back
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Old 06-30-2014, 12:27 PM   #20
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Yes some people do just want to be left alone and if you don't have the social skills to recognize that, then not much I can say to help you recognize them. I almost know instantly upon meeting someone if they fall in this category.

We have a neighbor, that he and his wife fall in this category. We wave and say hello when we walk the dog and they return the wave and say good morning, and after 3 years I am sure that will be the full extent of our interactions. And that is totally fine. I don't feel I have to be buddies with everyone in the neighborhood. I still invite them to our party, and this year they did accept but cancelled at the last minute. Oh well, they missed a hell of a party but who knows, maybe they will come next year. I don't stay up nights worrying about it though

I am very outgoing and like to meet new people, and others are not. But even for me if I go to a party where I don't know anyone, it is tough, I push through that wall of hesitation and finally start talking to people, but it is hard to do. I can't imagine how difficult it is for an introvert to do that.

And in my opinion you have to respect that and understand that everyone is different. It is what makes life interesting after all. You can't get upset or stressed if someone doesn't accept your invite. They have their reasons and you just move on.
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