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Surprised me how insensitive people can be at an event in a 50+ community

Panina

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I am so fortunate. As many of you know I moved into a 50+ community recently and have made a few nice friends. It is a young community, many in our age range.

Tonight there was a function at the clubhouse. None of my new friends attended. We each bring a dish and we have a night out. We were one of the last ones to arrive even though we were on time.

It was open seating so you sit where you want. There were lots of tables that seat 8, a few with two open seats. Then there was one table with only two people sitting alone. They were definitely much older then the average and the oldest couple by far at the function. They thought my moms age at 86 was young.

We both decided to sit with them and they were so happy. They told me at the last function they sat alone too. We had great conversation and I felt good when I left. My other half said I did something very kind and he was happy we decided to sit with them.

If I was at one of the other tables and there were two seats open I would have gone over to them or any other couple or single sitting alone and invite them to sit at our table. Just surprised me no one did that.
 
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geekette

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I am so fortunate. As many of you know I moved into a 50+ community recently and have made a few nice friends. It is a young community, many in our age range.

Tonight there was a function at the clubhouse. None of my new friends attended. We each bring a dish and we have a night out. We were one of the last ones to arrive even though we were on time.

It was open seating so you sit where you want. There were lots of tables that seat 8, a few with two open seats. Then there was one table with only two people sitting alone. They were definitely much older then the average and the oldest couple by far at the function. They thought my moms age at 86 was young.

We both decided to sit with them and they were so happy. They told me at the last function they sat alone too. We had great conversation and I felt good when I left. My other half said I did something very kind and he was happy we decided to sit with them.

If I was at one of the other tables and there were two seats open I would have gone over to them or any other couple or single sitting alone and invite them to sit at our table. Just surprised me no one did that.
I'm with you. I am not leaving people seated alone. I have come to believe that most people are selfish. They don't care if someone else is left out, so long as they aren't left out. I fear that younger generations will be much worse this way with more lack of actual interpersonal communication, living for Likes.

Age is nothing. In fact, the older someone is, the more stories they have. The more wisdom. The easier to let small crap go.

Please get there early next time and seek them out. Sit with them if they are already seated or save a spot for them and wave them over to join.

It's really tough to be the odd man out. I do this at dance parties, ask the guy sitting alone to dance.
 

DaveNV

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Were people maybe waiting to see if their other friends showed up? In a situation like that, I'd expect people would sit with those they know well, rather than sitting with strangers. In the case of your older couple, they said they sat alone the previous time, too. Maybe they haven't encouraged others to be friends? What do you think would have happened if they had walked up to that table with two remaining seats and asked if they could sit there? Sometimes you have to extend the hand of friendship first. (Not justifying the behaviors, just trying to sort it out.)

Dave
 

klpca

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We went to a funeral for the father of a friend in November. Almost identical situation. We had been chatting with people we knew and when we went inside for the meal most of the tables were almost full except for one where just one couple was sitting. So we sat with them. No surprise, I can talk with anyone and we really enjoyed meeting these folks (also older than us by quite a bit) and we enjoyed hearing about how they knew our friend's father. I always feel that those empty tables call my name. If you have the gift of gab it's your duty to get the ball rolling in otherwise awkward situations. I never miss an opportunity to meet new people. I love hearing their stories.
 

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I never miss an opportunity to meet new people. I love hearing their stories.

We need to go to lunch sometime. :) Like Olympia Dukakis says in Steel Magnolias: "Well, you know what they say: if you don’t have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!" :)

Dave
 

b2bailey

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Were people maybe waiting to see if their other friends showed up? In a situation like that, I'd expect people would sit with those they know well, rather than sitting with strangers. In the case of your older couple, they said they sat alone the previous time, too. Maybe they haven't encouraged others to be friends? What do you think would have happened if they had walked up to that table with two remaining seats and asked if they could sit there? Sometimes you have to extend the hand of friendship first. (Not justifying the behaviors, just trying to sort it out.)

Dave
Reminds me of the time I was sitting alone at a table in a group setting. I was the newby. A person came over and asked if another seat was taken. When I said "no" -- they took the chair. True story.
 

rapmarks

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Were people maybe waiting to see if their other friends showed up? In a situation like that, I'd expect people would sit with those they know well, rather than sitting with strangers. In the case of your older couple, they said they sat alone the previous time, too. Maybe they haven't encouraged others to be friends? What do you think would have happened if they had walked up to that table with two remaining seats and asked if they could sit there? Sometimes you have to extend the hand of friendship first. (Not justifying the behaviors, just trying to sort it out.)

Dave
I remember when we were new to our community and went up to a function. We attempted to sit at a very large table with others and were told they needed all the seats. I learned not to go to a function without previous plans.
that is why I like the ladies league, you join a table already started, or on the monthly meeting days,you sit with the group you were assigned to,play with.
 
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geekette

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Were people maybe waiting to see if their other friends showed up? In a situation like that, I'd expect people would sit with those they know well, rather than sitting with strangers. In the case of your older couple, they said they sat alone the previous time, too. Maybe they haven't encouraged others to be friends? What do you think would have happened if they had walked up to that table with two remaining seats and asked if they could sit there? Sometimes you have to extend the hand of friendship first. (Not justifying the behaviors, just trying to sort it out.)

Dave
I fear the answer is that their friends have died. My mother is late 80s, her friends are gone. My grandmother lived to 98, her friends were gone long long before her.
 

geekette

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Reminds me of the time I was sitting alone at a table in a group setting. I was the newby. A person came over and asked if another seat was taken. When I said "no" -- they took the chair. True story.
This has happened to me.

There is an old Frasier episode where everyone is making a big deal of his going to dine alone, and he says, I'm not giving up this reservation, there is no problem to dine alone! He arrives at this fine restaurant and the staff loudly proclaims Table For One! All around him are couples, some sitting very close to each other in booths. Someone asks if this chair is taken. No, please... and they take the chair. Wait staff arrives to loudly remove setting for second seat...
 

geekette

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I remember when we were new to our community and went up to a function. We attempted to sit at a very large table with others and were told they needed all the seats. I learned not to go to a function without previous plans.
that is why I like the ladies league, you join a table already started, or on the monthly meeting days,nyoubsit with the group you were assigned to,play with.
Ugh, Saved Seats.
 

Sugarcubesea

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I am so fortunate. As many of you know I moved into a 50+ community recently and have made a few nice friends. It is a young community, many in our age range.

Tonight there was a function at the clubhouse. None of my new friends attended. We each bring a dish and we have a night out. We were one of the last ones to arrive even though we were on time.

It was open seating so you sit where you want. There were lots of tables that seat 8, a few with two open seats. Then there was one table with only two people sitting alone. They were definitely much older then the average and the oldest couple by far at the function. They thought my moms age at 86 was young.

We both decided to sit with them and they were so happy. They told me at the last function they sat alone too. We had great conversation and I felt good when I left. My other half said I did something very kind and he was happy we decided to sit with them.

If I was at one of the other tables and there were two seats open I would have gone over to them or any other couple or single sitting alone and invite them to sit at our table. Just surprised me no one did that.

This is why I adore you, you have such a kind heart and you made those two people feel special and most importantly offered them a chance to interact. I hope when we move to our retirement home that we have folks like you in our complex...
 

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I live in a CCRC. I often go out of my way to sit with singles or couples I have never met who are alone. Many turn out to be fascinating. Examples: bomber tail gunner (25 missions over Germany) in WWII; former Major League Baseball player; POW in WWII; retired Major Airline pilot; sports reporter for a major newspaper; ex politicians; doctors; authors; etc. I could go on and on. Almost all have stories to tell (after all they have been around a long time). Start a conversation and you never know where it will go...

George
 

Sugarcubesea

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We went to a funeral for the father of a friend in November. Almost identical situation. We had been chatting with people we knew and when we went inside for the meal most of the tables were almost full except for one where just one couple was sitting. So we sat with them. No surprise, I can talk with anyone and we really enjoyed meeting these folks (also older than us by quite a bit) and we enjoyed hearing about how they knew our friend's father. I always feel that those empty tables call my name. If you have the gift of gab it's your duty to get the ball rolling in otherwise awkward situations. I never miss an opportunity to meet new people. I love hearing their stories.

I'm right there with you, I never miss an opportunity to meet new people. We are Catholic, so during lent we try out different Fish Fry's at all of the local churches near where we live. We went to a Fish Fry last Friday and the line was wrapped around the building and I started chatting with the people in line... It was so nice to just meet new people and I so enjoyed chatting with them.
 

WinniWoman

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As I have worked in healthcare all my life- most of it in Home Care and involving mainly the elderly, so I am so sensitive to this. I actually get along better with older people anyway (my best friend is in her mid eighties and her husband is almost 90!) and I do have a lot of empathy for the elderly. I think many older folks appreciate having some attention paid to them because in our society the older you are the more you are ignored and discounted like you are a nobody.

Doesn't help that their friends and family are taking ill, going into nursing homes or dying off. Remember- THEY are US in the future! They were young once!
 

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Remember- THEY are US in the future! They were young once!
For some of us, YOU are US in the past! Actually, at 72, I guess I'm sort of in the middle around here.
 

WinniWoman

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I am going to say one more thing- and this is certainly not true for everywhere or everyone- but a lot of people are self centered and into the decadence of constant entertainment and pleasure which is why I assume many are attracted to these kinds of communities for those reasons alone. (Of course, not you panina. You, like me, truly want some meaningful social interaction and connections and some intelligent stimulation along with plain ol' fun here and there).

I look at a lot of the boaters here where we live that way, though I am sure many are certainly not of that kind. Everything is boating, boating, boating. Nothing wrong with boating but- well- we don't have a boat and are not getting one. So there. LOL! I guess that is what separates us as full timers who do not leave at the first drop of snow. Right off the bat, different type of personalty from the snowbirds, who are away right now, so time will tell.

I have a feeling we will probably connect more with the new owners in our phase of the development as we all have the same builder, who is different from all the past builds. There is an older man and his wife (who still works) who we met once and actually offered us to stay in their home and anything we needed- so very welcoming- so maybe we will connect with them more in the future. New neighbors next door will be young -30's or 40's- and IT workers at home all day. Across the street I am friendly with a woman who is having a house built there. We communicate on Facebook messenger and she and her husband stopped by here one day so we have met in person. They will be weekenders/vacationers and eventually snowbirds.

Anyway, just my two cents. But I have no experience being in a 55 and over community, as there are no age restrictions here, but still is a lot like one, just more subdued and in typical New England style- plain and simple.
 

elaine

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hmmm. that sounds very lonely for them. Maybe you could suggest that the next dinner be random assigned seating? We just did such a dinner at our retirement neighborhood last night. With each newcomer to the dinner standing up and telling a bit about themselves. It worked out great and we met a number of persons we might not have talked to otherwise.
 

Panina

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I am going to say one more thing- and this is certainly not true for everywhere or everyone- but a lot of people are self centered and into the decadence of constant entertainment and pleasure which is why I assume many are attracted to these kinds of communities for those reasons alone. (Of course, not you panina. You, like me, truly want some meaningful social interaction and connections and some intelligent stimulation along with plain ol' fun here and there).

I look at a lot of the boaters here where we live that way, though I am sure many are certainly not of that kind. Everything is boating, boating, boating. Nothing wrong with boating but- well- we don't have a boat and are not getting one. So there. LOL! I guess that is what separates us as full timers who do not leave at the first drop of snow. Right off the bat, different type of personalty from the snowbirds, who are away right now, so time will tell.

I have a feeling we will probably connect more with the new owners in our phase of the development as we all have the same builder, who is different from all the past builds. There is an older man and his wife (who still works) who we met once and actually offered us to stay in their home and anything we needed- so very welcoming- so maybe we will connect with them more in the future. New neighbors next door will be young -30's or 40's- and IT workers at home all day. Across the street I am friendly with a woman who is having a house built there. We communicate on Facebook messenger and she and her husband stopped by here one day so we have met in person. They will be weekenders/vacationers and eventually snowbirds.

Anyway, just my two cents. But I have no experience being in a 55 and over community, as there are no age restrictions here, but still is a lot like one, just more subdued and in typical New England style- plain and simple.
There is a big mix of different types of personalities in my community. Many are down to earth. Yesterday I said to my other half if I don’t connect with anyone else I am content already. I have met three awesome women that I have a connection with. You just know. I have met many others that amazingly know me and I sometimes don’t remember meeting them as I have met so many people just attending a few functions. Yesterday afternoon I went myself to a seminar “Total You Workshop” about taking better care emotional, physical, etc of yourself. There are many opportunities to do things with having to be part of a group.
 

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There is a big mix of different types of personalities in my community. Many are down to earth. Yesterday I said to my other half if I don’t connect with anyone else I am content already. I have met three awesome women that I have a connection with. You just know. I have met many others that amazingly know me and I sometimes don’t remember meeting them as I have met so many people just attending a few functions. Yesterday afternoon I went myself to a seminar “Total You Workshop” about taking better care emotional, physical, etc of yourself. There are many opportunities to do things with having to be part of a group.
Wonderful! I am not big on being A Joiner, but a drop in class like this, I would like.

It seems to me that you did find the right place for you.
 

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We were sitting at a full group table when another couple we knew slightly arrived for the dinner......without thinking we stood up and asked them to join us at an empty table near by. I think when you notice / realize a "group table" (which in my case accommodates 8-10) won't accommodate everyone, one or even two couples (people) should start an additional table (better to have groups of 6).
 

Quilter

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I'm going to see a different side to this. Panina said the couple was the oldest in the room. At 67 my husband and I are the oldest in the room at gatherings with some of our closest friends. Yes, we're probably the ones who are the first to leave after 9 but while we're there we try to show up and be part of the group. That means being present, offering yourself, connecting, validating others.

There are people who let others do all the mental load. Heard about The Mental Load? Here's a cute briefer: https://www.workingmother.com/this-comic-perfectly-explains-mental-load-working-mothers-bear#page-7

The mental load goes way beyond the interaction of a couple. It's giving a person grace when you see they need to change lanes, it's throwing your trash in the waste bin and not on the street, it's being helpful at an airport when you need to catch up to someone who has dropped a baby's shoe. It's going out of your way and comfort zone for the nurturing and good of others.

Some people give, give, give. Others take, take, take. TUG is a very giving community. At least the active participants are. Then there are the lurkers, always taking, never giving.

I have certain family members who I can see sitting at that table just waiting to be noticed and validated. If someone sat with them and found out their life story it could be interesting. I may be very wrong but I don't see them taking on the mental load and vulnerability to reach out to the lone couple at a table.

Maybe it's selfishness or maybe it's a lack of social skills. Personally, I've had to learn. I was very uncomfortable going into men's stores when I was young. I would go to find my Dad a gift and leave because I was too uncomfortable in the strange environment. Once I figured out I could repeatedly buy him a sweater I had the confidence of knowing what to ask for, buy it and leave.

Then came graduating and interviews. While I had vocational secretarial training in high school I wasn't confident that my skills were on par with being acceptable for a position. One of the first interviews concluded with the guy saying he didn't know if callers would be able to hear me on the other end of the phone. My first real job came when my sister quit her job at a local department store. Being too ignorant to understand waitlists, I assumed they would have an open position. It was in the Fall and fortunately extra staff was needed in the toy department so that's where I was placed under the watchful eye of a woman who had been there for eons. She was tough and scary but I was determined to meet her expectations and get along. It was rough at first but social skills grew as I worked with the other staff and customers. I ended up moving into departments closer to the main doors.

When I realized I could make a better salary as a bank teller that's what I tried next. My interviewing skills were better but it was a new skill and comfort zone. I was placed in the drive-up for training. They can turn the light on and off to slow down the traffic to your window. I eventually moved up towards the first window. Fast forward to moving to a bank in a large city (Washington, DC). I began there as a bank teller but I started looking for a better salary I decided to try that secretarial thing once more. I interviewed at a Savings and Loan and became the secretary to the leading officer in the Mortgage Department. Not the clerical pool.

Then on to legal secretary. After marriage we moved to Chicago. By the time I went to those interviews I was now asking law firms if they were offering positions I was looking for. My typing and shorthand skills were still middling but I had determination and a willingness to take on the attorneys who were known to be difficult. By then I knew I wanted to be a secretary to partners, not the associates. I had also developed good phone communication skills and enjoyed interactions with the clients.

Social skills is more than getting a job. It's life. You see it everywhere there are people. Some take on the load of being friendly, others don't. Are people naturally friendly? They can be naturally nice, but are they friendly? Being friendly means you want to be a friend. It's active. Do you want it enough to be vulnerable? Do you want to make the effort?

For the most part I'm nice and friendly. Active on both. There are times, though, that while I hope to be nice I'm human. Friendly? When I'm around my closest peeps it's so easy. Strangers are work. There's the list of questions that's much like an interview.

Now that Panina has taken on the mental load to reach out to this couple I would encourage them to reach back into the crowd. Even at 90 they have plenty to offer. One of my Words with Friends partners is 90+. She comes to church with her son and DIL every chance she can. Surely she's frail but she's present, she asks how you are and what you're doing, she validates the presence of you being in her life. She's had a long life and can understand your joys and sorrows.

Don't judge the others who didn't sit at their table. Obviously they have been doing some mental load to develop new friendships in their new community. Panina may be just the answer to bring the full room closer together.
 

WinniWoman

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There is a big mix of different types of personalities in my community. Many are down to earth. Yesterday I said to my other half if I don’t connect with anyone else I am content already. I have met three awesome women that I have a connection with. You just know. I have met many others that amazingly know me and I sometimes don’t remember meeting them as I have met so many people just attending a few functions. Yesterday afternoon I went myself to a seminar “Total You Workshop” about taking better care emotional, physical, etc of yourself. There are many opportunities to do things with having to be part of a group.

Absolutely! Hey, you can't be friends with EVERYONE! LOL! (though my mother used to be able to- but that's another story).

I was never a big joiner as I am pretty independent actually. Even in classes I dreaded having to do an assignment as part of a group as I felt I wanted to do things my way and the group held me back.

All the years growing up I had just a handful of "close" friends, though I did enjoy going to parties and so forth. I would be happy with just a couple here as well. And I already know someone who lives up north in Eaton who I met through a Facebook group so I will connect with her.

This is why I am being cautious not to be too quick with committing myself to organizations here. Otherwise it could feel like work and also there are lots of clicks and egos amongst volunteers and I can't deal with that.

I can already tell on our development's Facebook page that there are clicks. I will certainly attend social activities here, but I will also do things outside the community.

Hubby already joined the Sportsman's club and we decided we will join the Italian Cultural Club here in the Lakes Region and see how that goes. (hopefully no one has been to Italy recently. LOL!)

I plan to maybe take a course at some point- in what I do not know. Maybe I will do something at a museum or a lake organization. I am definitely going to take a few rides on the ships on the lake or the mail boat. And maybe once in a while go up to Pollard Brook for day use of the facilities.

Just as I was writing this my "friend" from across the street and her husband stopped by and spent some time with us which was fun. They were up here taking a look at how their house was coming along. This I very much enjoyed. They happen to have friends here who are older also- in their 80's- so I am sure at some point I will meet them. What is funny is that woman in her 80's takes care of "elderly" women in home care! Ha! Ha!
 
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