A real live friend in person is ten millions times better than any *like*

While typing up my Mighty Wolf Triathlon recap on Sunday, I had a tidbit that I edited out because the post got to be a little long.  The tidbit didn’t really add much to the story of the triathlon, but there’s this feeling that creeps up on me every now and then.  For some reason, errr, for several reasons, that feeling has crept up with me again, and is lurking, and I can’t shake it off, and usually the best thing to do is to vent it off in a blog post.

While setting up my transition area at the Mighty Wolf Triathlon, I couldn’t help but notice how many racers were there racing with friends.  Where do they meet these friends to race with?  The few friends I have either live far away, or have zero interest in the finer things in life, like swimming, biking or running.  I signed up for this triathlon knowing that my husband would be at work all day, I knew I would be going solo.

No matter how far I drive, no matter what race I sign up for, no matter how many local twitter/DailyMile “friends” I make that never invite me out their gatherings, loneliness will happen.

This is why I run.

When my husband first lost his job two years ago to the crap economy, he had to take a job where he works ridiculous hours.  Literally, he goes in every day at 7:00 AM and does not know what time he will be home.  He goes in, gets a list of jobs to complete, and is done when the jobs are done.  Sometimes it’s by noon, most of the time it’s after 7:00 PM, and sometimes I’m in bed before he gets home.  This is his schedule Monday through Saturday.

His schedule is why I started doing long runs.  I didn’t have anything to do on Saturdays without him, so I ran.  My mileage increased  every weekend, it kept me occupied.  All because of his crappy schedule.

I’m glad this is the outlet I turned to in the situation, I could have developed a crack problem instead.  I’m good at running away from the feeling.  But sometimes, the loneliness just creeps up, bitch slaps me, and makes me wonder if I’m just unlikable to people in real life.  I wonder that for all of two seconds, but I know it can’t be true.

To be perfectly honest, I think society has gotten lazy with real live relationships because of things like FaceBook.  In my experience, my friends rely on FaceBook to catch up.  No one mails a birthday card anymore, it’s said on FaceBook.  No one stops over for tea anymore, it’s a virtual “Cheers” on FaceBook.  No one uses their phone for it’s sole purpose, making a phone call.  I’d delete the stupid thing, but then I would be alienating myself even further from my few friends, because let’s face it, that’s their only way of interaction anymore.

With that, I’m headed to the beach.  Alone.  Probably while my friends *like* my status.

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24 thoughts on “A real live friend in person is ten millions times better than any *like*

  1. Unfortunately the more time we spend on blogs, twitter, and facebook the less time we have for making real life connections. I have found this to be true for myself and is one of the many reasons I’ve reduced social networking time in my own life. Too much real stuff I was missing out on and that was making me sad.

    • The reason I spend so much time blogging/tweeting is because I have no one to call in Madison. Lose/lose I guess.
      I think it’s a lot different as you’re a mom too.
      I just gotta toughen up, being alone works best, I’m on my time,

  2. I understand where you’re coming from Steena. I live 1000+ miles away from most of my real life friends & have had a hell of a time making them here in FL. Yes, I have acquaintances that I’ve met through running groups & group fitness classes, but no friends of the sort that I’d call up & ask to hang out. It’s rough, but it has definitely helped me get to know myself better & figure out what motivates me. I’ve begun to rely less on friendships to get me through & more on the support of my husband – and even those “likes” on FB keep me going now. Would I like to have a BFF here in FL? You betcha. But for now I’m doing my best not to let it get me down & enjoy the contact I do have with people via FB/twitter/blogs.

    Unlike you & your husband though, my hubs works regular hours so I get to spend a lot of time with him – I think I would feel very isolated if I didn’t get to spend time with him in the evenings/weekends like I do. You’re a strong gal for getting through that!

    • Thank you so much. Honestly. I was starting to regret venting this, because, yes, I do spend time blogging/tweeting/etc, but 99% of the time I write my posts while I’m bored at work. The majority of my tweets happen when I’m bored at work. Outside of work my time is spent running, swimming, biking, walking my dog, etc.
      Thanks for the encouraging words.

  3. Nice post! Don’t regret writing it – it’s in you, get it out. One of the things I’ve noticed about social media is that it’s actually made me way more conscientious about my ‘real’ connections. I mainly hit FB when I’m bored or feeling lonely myself – it’s a way to reach out when I don’t have any good ideas about how to keep myself occupied. And it’s widened my net of people to communicate with – but you’re right – there is no subbing in a ‘like’ for a running buddy.

    I joined a running group through a local running store that meets twice a week. Starting out as a stranger, I made friends pretty quickly – and now know more people than I can imagine. We don’t necessarily hit the mall outside of runs, but seeing them twice a week is usually enough. Breakfast or beers after a run is pretty common depending on the time – and meeting up for other runs outside the group is common. You might consider a group. At our first run for Spring Half training – an 8-degree January day with bitter wind, our lead coach opened by saying ‘If you weren’t running with 1200 of your closest friends this morning, would you have gotten out of bed?’ Times I don’t feel like a run – knowing I’m supposed to meet friends there gets my laces tied.

    • Thanks for taking the ease off of my moment of regret. Very, very, very nice of you! I did try a group run last summer that didn’t go so well, but I’ve been toying with the idea of giving it another shot. Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. I can really relate to this! I often feel lonely at races because none of my local friends are into it like me. My family does often come out to support me at the finish but it is not quite the same as having friends there who share the same enthusiasm and interests as you. I was a part of a triathlon team for a couple years and I enjoyed knowing, gathering cheering with my fellow teammates when we were at the same races. But since I hardly ever make training sessions anymore and really haven’t gotten back into the swing of it after my knee injury, I didn’t rejoin the team this year. I think my sadness of not having teammates and friends at races now is part of the reason why I am lacking the motivation to race this summer. I think triathlon is a great atmosphere. Everyone is so helpful, kind, and supportive of fellow racers but it is not the same as having people there you know and connect with. People you can share your race stories with and laugh and cry with after the race is over.

    • That’s interesting that it sort of has the opposite effect on you, you race less because of it, where I race more because I have nothing else to do. Glad I’m not the only one though, thanks!

  5. I agree that we’re all getting lazy with relationships. Friendships take work. And if the only contact I get with a person is email forwards or a “like” on FB that’s not enough for a lasting friendship! I schedule time with my friends like I schedule my workouts and fun plans.

  6. We have very few friends that share similiar interests as well. Part of what makes up an endurance athlete is that mental ability to go at it alone and actually preferring to do so…be it running, biking, swimming or all three together.
    Yes it’s nice to have company in transition, but honestly..sometimes I find it a bit distracting. I’ve met so many nice and wonderful people at races that I would not have met if I had been with friends…
    You are an outgoing, funny, enjoyable person…stroll up to someone else who is in the same boat and make ’em laugh
    You’ll have a friend for life!
    Enjoy the beach, watch out for the seagulls I hear they like green 😉

  7. Girl, you said it, and you said it so well.
    I’m going through a very lonely period right now. For 17 years I had a constant companion in my “roommate” and now…
    My friends are awesome but it’s not the same as having someone there “in house.” I’ve found actually, that social media is sometimes my only connection to anyone else. I’ll go the entire weekend without speaking outloud to a real person.
    I check Twitter, FB and email like crazy just to see if I have a message – and am thrilled when I do. Ugh, that sounds so pathetic to seeit actually written out. But slowly, I’m feeling stronger and more comfortable getting out. And when I do have the opportunity to spend some time with IRL friends, it feels good to have a real conversation and just laugh again!
    If I ever make it to Wisconsin, I’ll for sure meet you up for a run! :0)

    • “I’ve found actually, that social media is sometimes my only connection to anyone else” YES THIS is exactly what I’m trying to say, thank you for that! You’re awesome pink girl!

  8. Oh, this is such an interesting post. I’ll be back to comment after I “like” your FB status. 🙂 I am a social media junkie, but that’s because I am at work 10+ hours a day, my kids are surly teenages (or just don’t want to hang out with Mom) and my husband’s workout time is after dinner. I have grown internet friendships into real friendships (i.e., meeting up face to face several times, and we do send each other “real” birthday and Christmas cards) and I WILL get to Madison one day and let you drink me under the table. I have renewed old friendships on FB and use it to keep up with friends in other cities, but I do still try to do things in person. When those meet-ups take place, we know what has been going on with each other from FB, Twitter, etc. On running, I prefer to run alone, and I don’t really care if my husband comes to a race. I am just starting to race with friends and while it’s fun before a race, we don’t really run together or want to hang out when we’re sweaty and tired afterwards. 🙂

  9. While it made me sad to read that you feel sad, I loved this post! It’s beautifully written, honest and true. I myself have felt this way from time-to-time when I see other people with their friends at races. While I love my online friends, nothing beats real life interaction.

  10. I am persistent about meeting my friends face to face, even if it’s only once a month. If I go through a week without being in a room with a friend, it’s a lousy week, and I enjoy FB and use it — esp. with friends far, far away — but it’s not at all the same. You need to give and get hugs. I sked phone dates with a few friends and gab for an hour or more. That helps.

  11. I agree, a Like doesn’t have the same value as a well meant comment or contact in person. Many people click like without reading your article…well that’s the ‘evolution’ of our time in maintaining our relationships through Facebook Twitter and blogs.
    Interesting article!

  12. It seems the people I am closest with these days are the ones that live so far away.
    I have no close friends to go and do things with and it sucks, but until I do have people to go visit and such Ill continue blogging/tweeting to occupy my time and fill the void 🙂
    Its hard when you are a single mom with 3 kids to find people that are willing to work around your schedule in order to hang out.

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