Needing a break…

I moved to the city in which I currently live shortly before the pandemic. I didn’t really have time to get to know people or make friends, and for the most part, I was okay with that. However, as the pandemic waned, I began making friends…a lot of friends. This past weekend, I had a baby shower, a birthday party, and a dinner to attend all in one day. It was a lot. The problem is, when I become friends with someone, I try to be a good friend and this includes showing up for people. For this reason, I have always kept my friend networks pretty small as it is difficult to really “show up” for a lot of people. At the moment, I am tired and really want to withdraw a bit but don’t know how to do this in a way that communicates “I’m not depressed or asking for help, I just need a break from constant, extended social interactions.”

A friend of mine was shot. He’s not even 30. He is the kind of person that doesn’t get shot…articulate, well-educated, and hangs with good folks… I am not really the praying sort but at the moment I genuinely wish that I were. The most I can do is try to support the people closest to him.

Last week, Bill Cassidy, a senator from Louisana, said, “About a third of our population is African American; African Americans have a higher incidence of maternal mortality. So, if you correct our population for race, we’re not as much of an outlier as it’d otherwise appear. Now, I say that not to minimize the issue but to focus the issue as to where it would be. For whatever reason, people of color have a higher incidence of maternal mortality.” For a moment, I was gutted. For “whatever reason…” I remembered why I wanted to go to medical school. In my 30s, I no longer had the youthful hubris of believing that I could change the world but I did believe that I could improve the health outcomes for the people with whom I came in contact…

People in Buffalo, NY, and Uvalde, TX are morning the deaths of loved ones because our nation’s elected officials refuse to pass gun reform, despite the fact that a plurality of Americans support banning the kind of weapons that were used in both massacres.

Gentleman Avery is actively trying to prevent me from moving on. I generally don’t speak to my exes. I am on good terms with most of them and all of my breakups were amicable. When it’s over, it’s over. I am a good communicator, date men who communicate well, and when it is over, it is generally something we both understand. Gentleman Avery is a bit different. He engages me in a way that I have never experienced and I realize that in dating other men, I am constantly looking to replicate the interactions I have with him. Which is unfair to them…and myself. Despite being committed to moving on, I haven’t been able to move on from him and this is partially his fault. He doesn’t really want me to move on and continues to engage in behaviors that a therapist would probably call emotionally manipulative but that I believe are really just selfishness…

The next couple of weeks will be very busy for me as I wrap up part-time work at University B, try and stay on top of my full-time job, and provided support for the academic camp in the evenings. In a cowardly fashion, I plan to use this work busyness as an excuse to pull back socially and take a break.

6 thoughts on “Needing a break…

  1. AP…. Avery is all you are thinking and more. Unless you work with him and I don’t think you do, please block his number if you are unable to let his calls go to voicemail 😊. Emotional manipulation is definitely a thing.

    I am so sorry for your friend. I can definitely pray for him.

    I am a extrovert introvert. By that, I mean that after so long, I need to break. It is almost like my energy has been used up. I think that you can very honestly, send a gift and explain that now that the pandemic has let up and everything is open, you have a lot on your plate. Yes work is kinda’ a cope out since work is always going to be there.

    You can also do the raincheck method for a month in the future within the same conversation of “….I cannot make it” so no one feels truly bent out of shape. I have been doing those recently and I am finding that they truly work.

    I am happy to see you back and posting. However you always need to take time out for you. You cannot help anyone else on the plane until you have put on your own oxygen mask.


    • Thanks, Blissful. Honestly, he is no more at fault than I am. I have allowed this to go on because I get something from my interactions with him despite the fact that it isn’t what I want and I should move on. I think, generally, humans are hardwired to try and meet their own needs. In this instance, our needs are in conflict and it’s important that I look out for my needs and my wants in the same way he looks out for his.

      Thank you for the prayers.

      That is solid advice all the way around. Thank you so much for your supportive comments (and your email that gave me a nudge). I always feel better when I write but when I get really busy it is the first thing I stop doing. I need to fix that.


  2. Oh man there’s a lot here 😦 I agree that it sounds like you have to just break it off with this guy. If he won’t actually date you (and why not?!) then tell him you’re blocking his number and do it.

    I will definitely pray for your friend and his family. I’m so sorry.

    And finally, less intense but also occupying a lot of time — I think you can be honest with your new friends that you’re a little overwhelmed at the moment and need to take a bit of time to yourself. Or, on a day like that one, you could say to the second/third people that ask you “I’m sorry, I already committed to a baby shower” (or whatever) that day and I don’t think I can handle more than one party. I love you and have a great time!”IN other words, you don’t have to claim work, you can just be honest that you need some introvert time. If that goes over badly they’re probably not a great match long term friend wise.

    I’m sorry about all of this, it just sounds like you’re hitting a point where you need some rest, which seems natural. Take it! (and delete the guy’s number sigh. I’m sorry. I’ve been there and it is really rotten).


    • C…you always ask the pertinent questions… “and why not?!) Honestly, I think it’s how we met…but that is for another day or really an email lol In any instance, we have been doing this long enough that if that remains an issue for him, it’s something we are never going to get past and I need to move on. It is rotten…and I know what I need to do.

      The social stuff is a lot but honestly, if I weren’t working so much, I feel like I would be better equipped to deal with it. Blogger Avery (and likely you) predicted this eventual burnout and she was correct. If I can just hang on until the end of June when my role with University B is over and the evening camp gig is finished, I will be okay.


  3. This is a tough time for you! I don’t think that using work busyness to not engage in a social activities is an excuse. We all have a certain capacity for being busy and social, and you’ve reached yours. If next weekend you’re invited to an event and you need the day to rest, I think it’s fine to say, I have other plans and I’m so sorry I can’t come this time, I’ll look forward to coming next time. Your other plans can be resting alone after a long week.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your friend who was shot. I will be thinking of him and his family.

    The recent shootings, and the many, many shootings before that, feel like a heavy gray sky hanging over us all. There should have been stricter legislation regulating gun sales and ownership long before now. Also what the Louisiana senator said sounds like, black people have worse outcomes, and it doesn’t matter that we address that, what’s important is white people are doing fine, so therefore our state is doing fine. That people can say BS like that in public and not be voted out at the next election is maddening. It seems like the majority of the people in the United States are heading in the direction of more understanding of each other, more caring about each other and more acceptance of differences, while the Republican party is passing laws that drag us back by decades. I have hope that the years to come will see that kinder society, but I have trouble envisioning how it can happen peacefully. I do think, though, that each of us can improve the lives of the people we come in contact with, and that we can do that in almost any job we hold.

    I heard Elizabeth Warren speak a few years ago, and she was talking about a bill she wrote that would make hearing aids more affordable. She was excited about it, she said, because she felt like in the Senate, she votes on things and she can’t really get anything done because what can get done is dependent upon how the Senate as a whole votes. This particular bill was making its way through the House and Senate and she was feeling like she’d finally be making a difference for people. It was eye opening for me to hear that even a US Senator feels like she’s not making the difference she’d like to make. It made me realize we all have to do what we can to the best of our abilities and for the most part we will have a positive effect on a relatively small number of people. Yes, there are Stacey Abrams and Greta Thunbergs, but those of us who aren’t household names can also make important differences to a few people or a town or on a particular local issue.

    I have a slight fear I already wrote that Elizabeth Warren story in a previous comment. It made an impression of me so it’s often on my mind. So if I said it already, sorry about that!

    I agree that if you really want to move on from Gentleman Avery, you have to cut contact with him, whether it’s by blocking his calls and texts or whatever way you need to. There are a bunch of other people out there who would love to meet you, but as long as you’re thinking about him, you won’t be open to them. It stinks but it’s true.


    • Hey, Ellen! Ditto. I think work busyness is and isn’t an excuse because while there will always be work, I am working far more hours right now than I usually do which is why my social bandwidth is a little bit lower than it usually is. There was some great advice given here and I’m going to let friends know when I just need a break. I think I will always force myself to get more comfortable saying “no” in social situations.

      You had never shared that story hear and I really appreciate you sharing it with me. It might be confirmation bias, but I really appreciate the message that the small differences you make are important to the long-term health and well-being of our communities.

      “There are a bunch of other people out there who would love to meet you, but as long as you’re thinking about him, you won’t be open to them.” You are absolutely correct…and I know this, but knowing something and doing something about it are always two different things. Fortunately, writing about it here, and hearing it echoed by you, Blissful, and C means that I don’t get to pretend the problem doesn’t exist.


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