Do you ever find yourself making plans then secretly dreading it when the time actually comes? You might not always admit it, but I reckon that’s happened to all of us. We feel this sort of pressure to be sociable, to be on top form all of the time. When the stone cold reality is that sometimes we would rather nothing more than some “me” time. As lazy as that may sound.
I know I’m only at the grand old age of 30, but I think as we get older we seem to develop less tolerance for plans (and people) we’re not 100% up for. We seem to gradually whither our social group down to the most important family and friends. Consequently accumulating a repository of excuses as to why you “can’t make it that day”.
Admittedly I sometimes have the opposite problem. I’m like a little social butterfly who is too sociable for my own good. Those of you that know me well would probably even say I’m more of a social budgie that doesn’t stay quiet very long. But regardless of the social butterfly or budgie debate, the simple fact is that I’m an extrovert at heart, so I get my energy from being with other people. Meeting people, connecting with people and sharing stories and experiences with them is what I love more than anything. That being said, I’m human. So sometimes even I can’t be bothered having to be sociable.
And what I’ve found is that when you first start to live abroad, you find yourself saying yes to all sorts of plans. At the end of the day, that’s what you moved away for, right? To meet new people, to experience new things. But what no one ever tells you is that even in a foreign country, you sometimes still get that feeling of wanting time to relax, without having to go here, there and everywhere. And let me assure you, socialising in a second language is just as tiring, if not more so, than normal.
But I’ve been in Madrid for close to 4 years now, and without realizing, I’ve slowly but surely carved out a social life with those friends here that matter the most. The ones that could quite easily be my friends and family from home. That doesn’t mean I don’t still meet new people and say yes to plans, of course I do. In fact if I’ve learnt anything recently, it’s that some of those new people and plans end up being some of the best ones. But I’m also realising that quality outweighs quantity.
Your social life doesn’t have to be tiring if you’ve got good people around you. The ones that look out for you, the ones that make you laugh, the ones that get you and know exactly what you mean. And if you’re really lucky, there’s even the ones that know when to give you some alone time.
It’s been a slow burner, but I’ve somehow done it, I’ve found my people.