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I want to keep everything separate...


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I just came to this realisation and I just wanted people's opinions.

 

I've always been a bit of a loner (only child)... I've had relationships, friends, family but hate groups of people and even with groups of my own friends or family, if it's more than two people, I clam up.

 

I have no desire to introduce my friends to each other or to family and likewise I have no desire to introduce my girlfriend to my friends or even my family. The way I see it is I like them all for their own qualities and it would be like mixing apple pie with curry. I like both, but I see no need to mix them.

 

Is this me being selfish? An introvert? Socially inept? Social anxiety?

 

I'm the king of excuses when it comes to girlfriends asking to meet my friends but it really makes me feel uncomfortable.

 

I honestly can't work out whether it's done out of embarrassment, shame, being an introvert, being ignorant, being inconsiderate, fear... The feeling in my gut both does and doesn't fit into all of those categories!

 

Opinions?

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Sounds like introversion. Some people consider 'meeting friends and family' as some sort of milestone in the relationship which of course it isn't.

 

Don't get pushed into stuff you are uncomfortable with and a gf insisting she meet everyone is her trying to push a "commitment" thing along in her mind. "oooh i met his family i think he's going propose", yep some think that way.

An introvert? I'm the king of excuses when it comes to girlfriends asking to meet my friends but it really makes me feel uncomfortable.
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Be your own person beternal, not what conventional society wants you to be. Your family knows that you are more introverted and perhaps a private individual, so they will understand. Enjoy your time with your girlfriend,. and introduce when it's comfortable for the both of you.

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Do you mean you would introduce eventually when you are comfortable or are you talking about never at all?

 

Never at all won't work when it comes to girlfriends and intimate relationships. After a certain point, never being introduced to friends and family starts to make you seem like a shady character who has something to hide and it will simply cost you relationships as women will drop you and walk away from that.

 

Consider also that introducing is not the same as mixing apple pie with curry. More like placing curry and apple pie on the same table. Just because you introduce your gf to your friends and you all hang out once in a blue moon, doesn't mean she will start hanging out with your friends all the time or take that over. Don't confuse "introduce" with "mix".

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I see where you are coming from. I only introduced 2 woman to my parents. There alcoholics. I told them before meeting. Everyone has the same response oh I don't care blah blah. It's just easier to leave that be that's why I don't bother. Friend wise I only really see one. I tell whoever I'm with this. Eventually they have some get together and that's when if I'm with someone they meet. Friends meeting friends hasn't happened. Now that Facebook exists I guess they can see them?

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What DancingFool said. It depends on if you ever plan to introduce a gf to people or want to keep them separate forever.

 

I rarely introduced my parents to my friends growing up...mom always found a reason to hate every friend I brought around...told me they weren't my real friends and that they were using me...even friends that I've had now for 25 years...that I clearly have a reciprocal relationship with. It was self preservation to keep that all separate.

 

I mostly keep friends separate...but that's an introvert thing. I prefer one on one...so most of my friendship group has met a few times (like at parties/my wedding) but other than that...they don't really know each other. My husband knows everyone. My child knows everyone.

 

You have to do what's right for you...but if you never want to introduce a gf to anyone...that will limit the women who will stay with you long term.

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I am like you, OP. I keep many things separate. My boyfriend and I have mutual friends and I'll hang out with his friends but my friends, especially my life long friends that I see once in a grand while, I prefer to see those folks one on one.

 

I think it is an introvert thing, possibly. Just be honest.

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I'm with DancingFool, too. 'Never forever' isn't going to work out well for anyone.

 

Is there a time period or event that you imagine might be pivotal in shifting your rigidity on this?

 

I'm not suggesting that there should or shouldn't be; just curious how you see this playing out.

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Hmmmm.... many women are very sociable and family get togethers are important to them. If it's important to her, my advice would be to suck it up and do it. No need to introduce her to friends and family for the first six months though.

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Thanks to everyone so far - it's interesting to see the mix of views here.

 

I'll be honest, as a *choice* I wouldn't introduce anyone to anyone... friends to family, family to girlfriend etc etc ...but I know that social convention dictates it, so I would... eventually... reluctantly.

 

This is the problem. I agree with DancingFool and Dahl that yes, this action does look dodgy/sketchy and people might wonder what I'm hiding etc but to me it is purely a way of being.

 

Thinking about it more, in part I believe it's because everyone is different and my personality is very 'symbiotic'... I am a different person with everyone and that's in part because I tend to choose different people for different qualities. I have a cinema friend, an arty friend, a general conversation friend and there tends to be little crossover. The geeky *omg that was so cool* sorts of things I'd say to my cinema friend while watching Batman, I'd be uncomfortable sharing with my arty friend for example.

 

I know people might be saying that my girlfriend should be a person I should share *everything* with... but does it every actually work out that way? - All my girlfriends have been amazing at one thing - personality, sense of humour, style, passion, ambition, travel... but you always end up subduing those parts of your personality that aren't compatible. My parents for example... dad loved Sci-fi... mum hated it. They were perfect for each other in every way but dad would never *geek out* on mum! As I said, this is why I tend to compartmentalize friends/family etc

 

I read in another forum someone that had the same issue and someone told them *your friends are there for you, so if you mix them with other friends, they will forgive the actions of those other friends*... but for me it's not the worry about how they will interact, but how I am meant to be *everything to everybody* instead of my preferred *one thing to somebody*.

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Sounds like maybe you need to disentangle the issue of mixing friends with family and introducing gf. Just introducing.

 

I mean most people do not mix friends and family. Maybe if they are still living with the parents and it's kind of an open house and friends are welcome to come over and hang out. Obviously, they'll meet the parents, but not like everyone is going to actually be hanging out and socializing together. I mean it's normal for family and friends not to mix. So there is nothing wrong with that compartment.

 

As for the gf, introducing is just that. Usually it will be an occasion. Like if parents are visiting from out of town, you all might go out to dinner once. Or some holiday or event where you bring her around and introduce her. Introduction complete. Done deal. Generally, that kind of contact will absolutely be limited to one or two appropriate occasions here and there for most people and those occasions aren't overly involved. Very few families are so close and so in each other's business that your SO and family are constantly mixing and calling each other to go out. I'm pretty social and even I would feel weirded out by that and suffocated at some point.

 

Friends is kind of the same. At some point, you go out - drinks, dinner, some event and you bring gf along. She meets friend A. Another time on another occasion, she meets friend B. That's all that needs to happen. Outside of that, no reason to keep on socializing as a group. You can keep it separate.

 

As for different groups or different friends. Again, many people will have group A and B and C and those groups are different and don't intermingle and there is no reason to. Honestly, the only time all those groups might come into the same place would be a wedding. Even so, they come together for you and then they separate out again. Nobody is going to start demanding that EVERYONE starts to hang out together. That would be weird.

 

Basically.....you are kind of normal in keeping things in separate compartments.

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Have your told your girlfriend, your family and your friends that this is how you wish to function?

 

I understand the feeling of being different with different people. That is a very normal human thing. I don't think your desire for solo relationships is bad... but a lot of people assume making a social connection will end in making more. I would be fine with a friend who only wanted to have solo time (but I would like it if they told me that is what they wanted) but I would struggle with a partner only wanting solo time.

 

Why do you assume if you have a couple of people you are connected to in a room that all of a sudden you would have to be everything to everybody there?

 

Honestly? It sounds pretty crippling. Do you work with more than one person? Do you have a job that doesn't need networking? Are you ever going to meet your girlfriend's friends and family?

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For the record, I don't think that you *are* doing anything shady. Just trying to give advice that might help you to avoid unnecessary strife in the future.

 

I'm not a fan of homogeneity in my social circles, either.

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Most people know this is how I am... and new girlfriends seem to soon learn but I guess I can see their point. My last post in here was for a girl that wouldn't let me take her back to her place, even just escorting her home at night, and naturally everyone thought she was hiding something from me (quite possibly is!), even after four months of being together. I guess this is an example of how not being read or comfortable with situations can go both ways... lesson learned!

 

As for what I do (rosephase)... scientist. So I spend most of my time in an isolated lab and yes, I *should* network and yes, it has interfered with my career to an extent so I know it's something I should get over. It's always been me though... Only child, bit of a geek so not many friends, into science which is mostly in a lab alone, now working in a job with lots of travel so in a car/plane alone... I'm used to it, but not everyone can accept that I haven't quite learned to be social...

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Most people know this is how I am... and new girlfriends seem to soon learn but I guess I can see their point. My last post in here was for a girl that wouldn't let me take her back to her place, even just escorting her home at night, and naturally everyone thought she was hiding something from me (quite possibly is!), even after four months of being together. I guess this is an example of how not being read or comfortable with situations can go both ways... lesson learned!

 

As for what I do (rosephase)... scientist. So I spend most of my time in an isolated lab and yes, I *should* network and yes, it has interfered with my career to an extent so I know it's something I should get over. It's always been me though... Only child, bit of a geek so not many friends, into science which is mostly in a lab alone, now working in a job with lots of travel so in a car/plane alone... I'm used to it, but not everyone can accept that I haven't quite learned to be social...

 

Have you told your girlfriend this? There is nothing wrong with a slower learning curve and lower desire for social interaction. And it sounds like your doing pretty well! You have friends, you can find partners, you can deal with work and travel. It also sounds like you understand that this difficulty might be negatively impacting your life. That doesn't mean you have to suddenly be the life of the party and have all your friends around each other all the time. I have some dear friends who only like solo friendships. But it's probably worth while to put energy into feeling a little comfortable in small social circles. It's part of human life.

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