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Do you compartmentalize your friends?

I’ve been accused of compartmentalizing my friends by keeping them separate from each other. It’s not that I go out of my way to do that, but one best friend is 1300 miles away and the other one is 120 miles away. I have more friends and acquaintances who are actually local, but we are all so busy, I don’t think we could all hang out at the same time even if I wanted to.

When I was a teenager, I tried bringing my friends together for a birthday party and it all went to hell and a hand basket as people just didn’t show. It was very embarrassing.

However, as I’ve gotten older I don’t really care for large social gatherings. I rather have one-one-one meetings or small groups of about 2-4 people where I can really devote my time to them.

I feel like the people who care about hosting large groups of people care more about how they’re perceived in society versus having a meaningful connection to their friends. They just want to host a party exclusive enough they hope to end up in one of the local society magazines.

by Anonymousreply 17May 13, 2024 8:24 AM

Yes. I have professional friends and personal friends. The professional friends are people who work in the same field as me (although we don’t necessarily work at the same job).

Personal friends are who I confide in if I’m going through something. I prefer to keep the groups separated.

Having a network of professional friends has helped advance my career.

by Anonymousreply 1May 12, 2024 12:32 AM

OP, you sound like an introvert.

by Anonymousreply 2May 12, 2024 12:33 AM

When we were illegal, and I was growing up, I had school friends, church friends, work friends and GAY FRIENDS who never knew each other. I even had different nicknames in each group, so I knew who was a friend of someone else.

Compartmentalization was safety.

by Anonymousreply 3May 12, 2024 12:37 AM

[quote] it all went to hell and a hand basket

OP -- does that expression make any sense to you? No? The reason is because it's [italic]wrong[/italic]. It's supposed to be "hell [bold]in[/bold] a handbasket."

Please make a note of it.

by Anonymousreply 4May 12, 2024 12:43 AM

R4 I was typing in the car. My bad.

by Anonymousreply 5May 12, 2024 2:35 AM

What is a "friend"?

by Anonymousreply 6May 12, 2024 2:48 AM

I don't have many, so it's not much of a problem, but yes I do. I don't like my worlds to collide, if that makes sense.

by Anonymousreply 7May 12, 2024 3:50 AM

Helena Handbasket

by Anonymousreply 8May 12, 2024 3:53 AM

I get it OP.

That being said, it’s nice for your friends to meet each other occasionally. And then your friends can include you with their friends and you end up meeting more people and being invited more places. Especially as you get older.

If you are being “accused” of compartmentalization, I am guessing some of your friends have noticed it and it makes them feel weird. I know when I have a friend who refuses to include me in any plans with their other friends, I feel a little bit like they think something is wrong with me, etc. It can create tension. It’s nice to be included.

You don’t have to throw huge parties and invite everyone all the time, but it’s not a bad idea to override your impulses sometimes and invite a couple friends to something so they can meet each other. It creates more of a community around you instead of keeping everyone separated and in a cycle of 1-on-1s.

by Anonymousreply 9May 12, 2024 4:03 AM

Most people don't like their worlds colliding. Different friend groups meet different needs in your life. There is no need for those worlds to come together.

by Anonymousreply 10May 12, 2024 4:07 AM

Only one can be your best friend.

by Anonymousreply 11May 12, 2024 4:14 AM

I don't think I went out of my way to keep them separate; in fact, I would have been happy if they enjoyed each other. But they were just so naturally disparate that mixing them was consistently a disaster. My birthdays were sometimes awkward because two or more friends from different groups decided they had to take me out on the same day, and having us all go out together resulted in a short evening of tense silence and then afterwards hours on the phone with me about what assholes each of them thought the others were. The years everyone forgot my birthday were more of a relief than a disappointment.

by Anonymousreply 12May 12, 2024 8:37 AM

Outside of geographic separation, not really. The rest is down to interest and compatability when organizing an outing or something of the sort.

From very early on, I considered work acquaintances just that and not more. If I socialize with colleagues, there's little or no instersection of circles of people outside work.

Friends sort themselves out to a large extent. You meet someone and become acquainted over time with tehir freinds and they with yours. Some people make the jump and land with a foot firmly in both places; for other people it's a more tentative footing.

When I was younger I thought, as young people often do, that my circles of friends would grow in all directions and I would add friends of all sorts and to all circles and it would be one more or less ever growing mass. And then I would die and have a huge funeral in a huge hall, or somehing like that.

I did have a few big mash-up parties with people from disparate circles thrown together, and they came off well. Still, this inclination to mix them all up faded even as the number of friends and number of friend circles diminished.

It's admirable, though, those people who have, say, a fantastic and even famous New Year's Eve party every year, with hundreds of guests, and guests of guests -- such a big thing, such an institution that, an ocean away, you can meet someone who went to the same parties, maybe the same years as you, maybe years before or after. That's a real talent to pull off and the best of them seem to be a sort of family institution, or someone like a college professor who has a big annual party with collegeagues, family, past students, neighbors, and all sorts thrown together in a real mix but somehow it works and everyone loves to be invited again.

I'm in my 60s and now have a good many firends. The local ones are more or less one big sprawling group with a lot of subsets, but they tend to mix well. If you are doing something in the afternoon with one friend you might invite him to something you are doing that night with a group of friends he doesn't now or doesn't know well, and that always seems to come off happily. Other friends (and most of my oldest friends fit this bill) are at such distance that we see other only when our travels intersect or when we organize an activity to come together.

But compartmentalize? No. That's something I thought I both had to do and had to work against when I was young. Now it seems silly to invest any effort in that.

by Anonymousreply 13May 12, 2024 11:56 AM

R13 is exactly right. He has a lot of friends and he invites people to things and then meets people when he is invited. He sounds nice and laid back and the type of person you would want to include. That is a good thing.

Compartmentalizing friends is not a great idea. I did it when I was younger and it was out of insecurity. I’ve had toxic friends who compartmentalize to an extreme degree and you have to pretend you don’t have mutual friends because everyone is kept so separate. It becomes about the one friend having control over everyone instead of everyone just getting together and having a good time.

And this whole “different friends serve different purposes” idea is true to an extent, but it also sounds controlling and harsh.

The people I know with the most friends are the ones who are inclusive and easy to be around.

by Anonymousreply 14May 13, 2024 1:35 AM

I have straight friends and gay friends and I keep them separate.

by Anonymousreply 15May 13, 2024 1:38 AM

R14 But if I do compartmentalize friends, it’s not on purpose. Once in a while I will go out to dinner with a group of friends who all know each other, but I consider them more acquaintances.

My true friends are separated geographically and by time constraints.

by Anonymousreply 16May 13, 2024 2:20 AM

[quote]I have straight friends and gay friends and I keep them separate.

I can't be bothered. Where I live straight people have gay friends and gay relatives and are, in the great majority, fine with that. Likewise with gays as the small minority in a group, or straights as the small minority. If you're not in your 80s (and maybe then), it's normal for gay and straight people to be friends and friendly acquaintances. It's rare that I find myself in a group of people who are all gay; it's an enjoyable time but a steady diet of jumping back and forth between groups of all gay friends and groups of all straight friends is, for me, unnecessary and undesirable.

by Anonymousreply 17May 13, 2024 8:24 AM
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