Expansion of Relationships vol. 1: Call your Siblings!

I’m an introvert that deals with people all day. I work as a consultant and my job is to talk to people and try to solve their problems. The problem I have is that I get little alone/quiet time to myself, for myself, or at least it feels that way. I start the day at 6 or 6:30am by taking my dog for a walk or going to the gym, then I get ready for work and head out the door usually by 7:30am so that I can get to the office and settle in before everyone starts. We have an open office environment, which I love. I really think it fosters collaboration and allows us to get to know each other better. But it also makes it hard to get moments of silence. My meetings for the day start at 8:45am and often go most of the day with no more than an hour or two break. I talk to people all day!

I head home at 5/5:30pm. My 15-20 min walks to and from work are alone time but my habit is to use those to listen to my favorite podcasts. Then when I get home it’s usually time for another walk with the dog and, if my husband is teaching students that evening, an hour or so to wrap up final work items and make sure the pup doesn’t cause a rumpus with strangers in the house. Then I spend time with my husband. Which leads me to the end of the day where I feel like I’ve rarely spent a moment purely for myself.

I love these aspects of my life. My job is very interesting and rewarding. I love my puppy and that she gets me outside and exercising. I love spending dinner and evenings with my husband. However, I don’t love that all of these things lead me feeling drained and unwilling to reach out and try to maintain other relationships. It’s so hard to bring myself to try to hang out with friends in town or to call out-of-town family and friends when I feel occupied every moment in my day.

My family and friends are extremely important to me. I don’t want to be one of those people who loses relationships with their siblings and friends. I want true and living relationships with them, not just the kind of friendships where you reminisce about old times whenever you get together. That feels good for a while but it soon begins to feel tired and not worthwhile. The reason humans crave relationships is to share in their present experiences. But I’ve been struggling to maintain that level of relationship with both friends and family.

I’m still trying to figure out how to do that with my friends, but at least with my family I’ve taken steps in the right direction. Three of my siblings live in three different states so I really only see them a few times a year at most. I used to struggle to remember the last time I talked to them and often found myself waiting for them to call me first, and since we all have busy schedules this was not very often. Two of them have children so my relationships with my nephews and nieces was slipping too. Far too often, that left me with a nasty pit of guilt in my stomach. So in January, I turned a new leaf. I realized that one of the biggest hurdles I had was that calls to my family were not part of any routine I had. With the help of a task reminder app (I would totally lose track if I didn’t use that), I’ve started a habit of calling my parents every weekend and calling each of my siblings at least once every two weeks. That doesn’t sound that often, but with 4 siblings, it feels manageable for me.

My older sibs and me, circa 1989

I’ve been doing a pretty good job of calling each sibling every other week as well as talking to my mom and dad at least once a week and each week it feels easier and easier to do. It seems intuitive but it’s so much easier to pick up the phone and call them when I know the first hour doesn’t have to be spent trying to remember all the updates I might have missed since the last time we talked. Already, I feel more connected to them. I still have a way to go, but it’s a start. Now I just need to figure out how we can get on Skype more often for some quality face to face time, but I’ll take it one step at a time 🙂 .

What I’ve accomplished this week:
* Went to the gym/HIIT workout – twice
* Did yoga at home – once
* Walked my dog – 7 days (woohoo!)
* Practiced piano – 1 times
* Practiced voice – 3 times (I had choir practice twice and a performance but hey, it counts!)
* Called my older brother & FaceTimed with my baby brother
* Did strength exercises – twice
* At salad for lunch 3 out of 5 days
* Reading
** At page 294 in Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (this book is slow going!)
** At page 243 in A Brief History of Thought by Luc Ferry

Things I’m enjoying this week:
* The pilot episode for Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime
* Radical Candor a podcast about being a good “boss”

1 Comment

  1. You are an amazing writing. As an extrovert I can still relate to the daily demands that keep you away from maintaining connection with those you care about. I found this blog very encouraging!