Socializing to prolong life

Numerous times I have read articles (can’t find a cite now) stating that, among other things, having lots of friends and socializing in groups is a strong factor in prolonging life and being healthy.

I know full well that I’m an exception to this rule, and wonder how many others are too. I am not antisocial, I enjoy conversations with intelligent people that are not boring and mundane, but I really hate mobs. To me, any gathering of more than six people constitutes a mob, as it becomes difficult to have one conversation. It just becomes a jabberfest.

I have had a few close friends over the years, but most have died off, and I have no desire whatsoever to cultivate new ones. I am perfectly happy to be with my wife, but she forever wants to drag me off to dinner parties and cocktail parties (ugh!) or cookouts or whatever, insisting it is not healthy for me to be alone so much. I enjoy hiking and climbing mountains with my acquaintances, but am also just as happy to go off alone for a day or more. To me being alone is not the same as being lonesome. In fact, don’t think have ever been lonesome or lonely.

I’ve always been this way. It may be a result of the fact that after my father left me with my mother, in the 15 years between the ages of three and 18 when went into the army, we lived in 32 different places. I was always the new kid on the block. Lived in every Borough of New York City, in the country and in cities in several eastern states, went to California at the age of 5 and lived in three places there, back east, and so on. I can’t say that this made me the way I am, but probably contributed. Who was it who wrote, “The boy is father to the man?”

So, what about people who lived a more normal life growing up? Any of you content in your own skins, happy without having a large circle of friends and somewhat dread having to attend social functions with a lot of people?

For me, I think it actually shortens my life. :smiley:

So you are an exception… why? How old are you?

It depends on your definition of “normal,” but I’m a bit like you. I don’t need a lot of friends, nor to be always hanging out with them. I consider myself lucky at my age to have one really good friend and a couple of others. I’ve known so many other men both younger and older than me, who have no friends at all anymore. Just the TV and the wife, sometimes not even the wife.

I used to like parties, but you couldn’t drag me to one now. I’d do any number of unpleasant things rather than go to a single cocktail party. Fortunately, my wife is much the same. We enjoy each other very much. We don’t travel in those circles where people are always getting together. I’m not antisocial. I’m just incredibly uncomfortable if forced to be around people I don’t know. In the past, I’ve been burned badly by people I let into my house. Even though I’m now several social strata above where I was when it happened, I am still wary of who I let into my house. It is a very rare occasion when we have people over.

Actually, I’m a busy guy. I have all kinds of stuff to do in this room where my computer resides, with my musical instruments and record library. There is so much for me to do that requires only that I pay attention to it, that I fear I’ll die before I get around to some of it. I’d rather be revising the database or playing drums or bass or reading this board than being with strangers. To answer your question, yes, I’m comfortable in my own skin. I have been both lonely and lonesome, and I’m a long way from either now.

Boyo Jim, I believe the OP is one of the most senior of our citizens on the board.

Every time there’s a blurb on TV about this, Mom tells me that she worries about me because I’m sort of asocial.

“OK, Mom. Who’s more social, you or Grandma?”
“Why, me definitely, she’s a damn hermit! She can go for weeks without leaving the house!” (True, but Mom forgets to mention that she gets visits from her sister, my cousins, neighbors, the cleaning lady, occasional nephews… and lives with Gramps, who can count as three people all by himself)
“And who’s in better health?” (Grandma, absolutely)
“Well, but —”
“No but. I don’t care what the statistics are for the general populace, I didn’t get my genes from them. I got them from Grandma, who is a 93yo bitch in perfect health, and from Abuelita, who died at 86 after having been in great health until 85. Neither of whom has ever been any kind of queen bee. So I intend to stay on my path to 93yo bitchiness, thanks for caring and stuff.”

I’m from an enormous family, and I enjoy seeing my siblings and such, but when the parties get bigger than that, I just get so tired. It’s the noise, I think. My husband and I live very quiet lives, and I am used to the calm.

I definitely dread large gatherings. For some people, it seems to be relaxing and freeing. For me, it’s generally hard work.

I thought getting a pet was supposed to keep me young & healthy, or playing Sudoku, or eating Cherrios?
But is going to large gatherings like festivals & ball games supposed to prolong my life? Traffic, parking, Compromising the 3-foot personal space zone Americans are said to expect? God knows what I’ve just stepped in - just keep walking (I’m already wary of being trampled - it’ll only be worse when I’m old and infirm). Navigating though fresh, invisible clouds of sneezed viruses and swathes of smeared bacteria & fungi? Can’t this wait until I’m dead and sent to Hell?

I don’t believe they mean quantity of people at one time. It’s more the idea that you have a circle of relatives and/or good friends that enrich your life.

Great. I needed yet another reason why my life is going to be tragically short.

There are people who are, to me, and absolute joy to be around, because I’m very, very comfortable with them. Unfortunately, all but one of them (nuclear family excluded) is either far away or dead. The latter apparently did not derive any longevity from socializing with me. Maybe I should feel guilty.

Outside of this group, I can’t see how anyone is likely to help prolong my life. I do know a number of people who have the ability to make it seem like it’s taking forever, though.

Coming next week: Having unmatched socks could cause heart disease.

Yes to the first two, no to the third. :slight_smile:

I grew up as something of an “Army brat,” though not nearly to the extent you did. Still, it was enough for me to learn how to repeatedly be the “new kid,” and I do think that’s why I’m content with having a small circle of friends. Actually, they probably only make a half circle. :wink: But large groups of people don’t bother me at all, and at the ripe old age of 35 I still enjoy going to festivals, baseball games, concerts, parties with people I don’t know, etc.

My mom is always on me about this, and I’m 31. She thinks I should have oodles of family. I really like having my small circle of friends, and most of them don’t even overlap. I don’t need a huge social network. And I like being alone. And I despise dinner parties - sit around and talk. Any party I have to go to where I can’t dance or at least play a game I try to get out of.

Being social is not at all the same as liking parties. I hate parties, or any group of more than about 5, but I am extremely social. I am a teacher, and rarely does a day go by in the summer where I don’t have coffee or lunch with one or two friends, or get together for a game of cards or a board game with a few friends or some students. I go to football games and make the rounds of teachers and students and parents, gossiping and chatting and it’s a great time. But I hate parties.

This question is very different, though, for people with family. All I have is a very introspective, self-contained husband, so I get lots of “me” time at home. I don’t think I would be as eager to go see other people if I had a passel of younguns. I’d be more likely to leave the house to be alone.