Being Social

My time away from Facebook continues to benefit my mental health and productivity, but there are some downsides that I want to address. I miss having social interaction with the people I’ve met and become friends with online. I want to maintain those relationships and even build new ones. I’m not exactly sure how to do that, but I have an experiment in mind that I hope you’ll help me with.

Serendipitously, a friend of mine recently brought my attention to a practice that he learned about from Gretchen Rubin (personally, I haven’t read any of her writing yet but I plan on it). Apparently, evidence shows that maintaining close relationships is mostly about knowing mundane and intimate details about each other’s lives. The practice she uses involves keeping open-ended threads and conversations going. Neither party is obligated to respond to all or any part of the thread, the main goal is storytelling about your life to the other person.

I’ve been told that I generally do a good job of this on Facebook because I’m so open about my life (for better or worse). I want to keep up that openness, which leads us to this blog post. I’m going to share some stuff about my last week (and life in general) and I’d love for those interested to either respond in the comments, send me an email that will start a personal chain between us (pjneiger@gmail.com), or perhaps send me an anonymous message that I can respond to here (pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH). It doesn’t matter to me if we are close friends, acquaintances, or strangers at this point. I want to see if this practice can deepen our relationship and allow for a healthier, more personal alternative to Facebook in our lives. Again, there is no obligation to respond directly to what I’ve shared, this is more of an opportunity to share about your life and allow us to have a forum to deepen our understanding of each other. All too often we make assumptions about people based on a few small bits of information.

So, without further ado, here is a bulleted list of random things going on in my life or that are on my mind.

  • My partner and I are currently house-shopping and it is the most stressful thing we’ve ever done together. We’ve spent years travelling by bicycle through rain and snow and summer heat, but that was a cake-walk compared to this for me.
  • I am currently in love with trail running. I ran a 9-mile run on Saturday and it was fucking fantastic. The people involved with trail running are so much nicer and laid back than road racers. I am already excited for the next one.
  • I have recently been given a raise at work and more responsibility. I love it, but I’m nervous about it too. My imposter syndrome has kind of been hitting me hard recently.
  • The worst part about working from home is the lack of social activity. I’m trying really hard to get out there and make friends, but doing that as someone in your 30’s without kids in a new city is tough. Anna and I have a couple friends who are awesome, but I still feel a bit lonely because I don’t have any friends of my own.
  • For the first time in a LONG time I’m actually excited about a book I’m writing. I’m not sure what form this world will take yet, but I’m stoked about it.
  • My D&D character (a Level 7 Paladin/Barbarian Dragonborn) had a really epic week this week. I was betrayed by an ally and almost died, I knew the betrayel was coming but I didn’t expect it so soon. I survived though, the traitor is dead, and I got to slaughter some barbarians that were entranced by the illusion of flying fish that my Triton clan member created.
  • One thing I really miss about California is having access to clothing-optional venues. There are beaches, festivals, and friend’s homes where it is okay to be nude. I don’t have that here and I didn’t realize how much I miss feeling that free. We have a few friends who we are comfortable sending and receiving nude and/or sexual snapchats, which is nice, but I’d like more.
  • I have become increasingly aware that my relationship with food and alcohol isn’t great. I have been scaling them both back to a healthier level but it is tough, I tend to turn to them in times of stress and I need a better way to cope.
  • This year has a lot of beautiful things lined up for Anna and I. We’ve got Austin for Kesha, 10-days in Iceland, and a week-long bike ride across Iowa. I’m so excited and I’m working hard to be at a level of fitness and confidence for all these events.
  • This last week I finished reading three books: “Principles” by Ray Dalio, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by JK Rowling (side note, did you know that the British title of the first book is ‘and the Philosopher’s Stone’, but they changed it for Americans… dumb) and I’m probably going to finish another 2-3 this week.
  • I decided to start talking to a life/career coach this last week and I’m really glad I did. She gave me some fantastic feedback and perspective that I think will help me reach more of my goals.
  • This next week I’ve got a Marketing Meeting for the Cape Fear Community Land Trust (I’m the new chair of the committee), a workout with my personal trainer, a massage scheduled (treat yo’self), D&D, and Anna and I plan on going to the 20th Birthday Party for one of the bottle shops in town. I am also going to start rucking again because of an event I have coming up next month. Oh, and there is a group called “F3” that I may join for a workout or two. All in all, a busy week. 🙂

Thanks for taking the time to read through this. I would really love to hear from you all if you feel inclined to try this experiment in increased friendship with me.


Wanna stay in touch? Got a question for me? Want to tell me why I’m wrong and are curious how I got everything so backward? Have an idea for a blog post? Drunk and wanna send me a snapchat? Wanna become penpals and send each other letters in the mail?

Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/user/show/5292148
Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”

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