What’s Your Style of Socializing?

by Katy on April 27, 2014 · 25 comments

I have a tendency to be a bit of a hermit. I enjoy my home, and I’m quite content to putter around the house and never seem to run out of tasks calling my name. (“Katy, Katy, is there a reason why the kitchen floor is crusted with waffle batter?”) However, I do have a few friends that I enjoy getting together with, partially because we’re alike enough to not mind that our dates usually revolve around such exciting activities as walking errands and other death defying envy inducing awe inspiring daily tasks.

I’d been feeling like I hadn’t seen my friend Sasha in awhile, so I texted her on Wednesday asking if she’d be interested in going to Costco with me. She declined the excitement of watching me gas up the car and buy tubs of yogurt and suggested instead that she just come over to the house. She needed to swing by Powell’s books and get her hair cut first, and asked if I wanted in on her action.

A bookstore and the nearby barbershop? Hell, yes! Especially since I already had a small stack of my own books to bring to Powell’s. I didn’t need a hair cut, but that’s only because I’m concocting a plan to have my very precise fifteen-year-old son trim the ends.

So off we went to Powell’s and the barbershop. I got $8 in Powell’s credit, and then watched Sasha get a quick $12 hair cut. She took me to lunch (I paid the tip and told her I’d treat the next time) and then she watched me buy a big bag of on-sale oranges at Fred Meyer. We walked up and down the boulevard, chatting amiably and checking dull tasks off our to-do lists.

Friday my friend Lise and I got together for our scheduled get together for a walk. But we didn’t walk aimlessly, instead we walked to library where we both had holds to pick up. (Craft books for her, a DVD of Cast Away for me.) We then picked up dinner fixings at New Seasons and came back to my house where I defrosted a jar of black beans and put out a burrito buffet for the two of us. I also dumped out a basket of miscellaneous pens-n-stuff and proceeded to sort the contents. I gave a few things to Lise as she’s an art teacher, and rediscovered some stuff I’d completely forgotten about.

Chatting while sorting miscellaneous stuff is actually my pinnacle of social activity, so I was in heaven. No $4 coffees, no shopping for cute boots and no feeling pressured into spending money that’s earmarked for bills.

I have lots of friends through work with whom I really enjoy spending time. But I know that to socialize with them outside of work would involve cute outfits, mixed drinks and expensive evenings. And that’s simply not my style.

Because when you’ve spent $30 on the most perfect couch ever assembled, it becomes painful to fork over the same amount on drinks.

Besides, I never would have sorted out that pens-n-stuff basket if I socialized normally.

Do you like low key social dates or are you more of a dress up and hit the town kind of person? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa April 27, 2014 at 6:56 am

I’m in a group of 5 to 6 women that gets together for coffee every Friday. Sometimes we go to each others’ homes, but for the most part we hit up a local coffee shop or grab a table at Whole Foods. We have been meeting as a group since my soon to be 21 year old son was in first grade. We will also go out for a meal to celebrate a birthday, but we keep it low key. Most of us work, go to school, or have a heavy volunteer schedule, but we make sure to keep our mornings open on Friday. I know being able to spend time with my friends like this is a luxury and a blessing.
I also have a book group that meets once a month or so. That one is more expensive since we do go out for dinner. Though I almost always manage to source the books I need to read through the library or borrow a copy from a friend.
One year during the summer we had work parties at a friend’s house. A group of friends from work got together at a co-workers house. She would make us a wonderful lunch, and three or four of us would work in her yard pulling weeds for a few hours. We got to chat, help out a friend, and eat a great meal. Win, win, win.


Katy April 27, 2014 at 9:20 am

It sounds like you have a great circle of long time friends, that right there is a luxury!



PL April 27, 2014 at 8:25 am

Katy, my recent socializing has been incredible! A best friend – for 35+ years – has come over once a week for the last 4 months to help me clean out my late mother’s home and get it ready to sell. We spend hours talking, reminiscing, laughing and crying as we go through drawers, closets, cupboards and trunks. It makes the task bearable for me as I am a “nostalgic hoarder” and seem to want to keep everything that my mother and father ever owned or touched. She becomes my “voice of reason” as we talk about the items, the memories, and then the fact that I don’t have the room to keep it all. These things are NOT my parents, they are just things. Some items stay around for several weeks as I work through “the process” of grieving, remembering it in my childhood home, and then finally letting it go. Chris and I both love antiques and things of days gone by and used to go thrift store shopping and antique hunting – usually just to look and say, “Oh, I remember my grandma had one of those!” and rarely, if ever, bought. This gives us the opportunity to shop at our leisure because the “store” is only open for us!!! We talk about our kids, current events, and memories of our relatives…as we sort, throw away and pack up things to pass on to various family members. I honestly couldn’t do this alone and we end up tired, dirty, and sometimes emotionally drained from the day, but we are making progress. Her pay for all of this work? Anything (almost) she wants to take from the house, and a bowl of soup at the local pizza parlor after we are done. We enjoy the “treasure hunt”, the taking stuff to various charities in the community, preparing for a yard sale, and even the occasional trip to the store to sell scrap silver and gold. Most of all, for me, it is the connection we are making as friends and the loving help in the grieving process. Only one downside…what ever will we do for such cheap fun after the house is sold???? 🙂 Thanks, Katy, for your articles – they have been so helpful – and my mom’s mantra was always “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without” so I feel as if some of the advice you post is coming directly from her.

PS. The one thing Chris and I will never be able to get out of our heads is my mother’s thriftiness when it came to securing boxes….almost every one is held shut by a section of panty hose or the elastic from the top of a pair of underwear!!! 🙂 We have vowed we won’t do that to the things we leave our children to go through. 🙂


Katy April 27, 2014 at 9:19 am

How wonderful to have a friend who’s willing and able to go through your parents’ house with you! And your mother using underwear waistbands as rubber bands? I think I love her!



A. Marie April 27, 2014 at 12:24 pm

In addition to what Katy said (hear, hear!), both PL and her friend deserve major credit for engaging in this process thoughtfully and with due regard for how best to dispose of things. Too often, children or other heirs just bring in a dumpster and chuck absolutely everything into it.


Betsey April 28, 2014 at 10:08 am

What a great friend and complement to your life! Thanks for sharing.


Queen Lucia April 27, 2014 at 8:52 am

Love this post! I work with a local theater group and making theater is very social, but also good, hard work. Over the years I’ve come to prefer this purposeful socializing to parties, cocktails, shopping, etc – I like to turn the work into fun (though I do have to watch out for the opposite – turning the fun into work, which I also tend to do).


Ann Leach April 27, 2014 at 3:56 pm

I’m happier to chat with busy hands. It keeps me from flapping them around too much while I talk. 🙂


Gina April 27, 2014 at 7:29 pm

I would love to have the money back that I spent on entertainment, shopping excursions and $4 coffees before I began living frugally. These days my friends and I bring our own hot or cold drinks from home to our destination. I’m fortunate that I live two minutes outside of a large metropolitan city that sits on a riverfront. I used to meet friends for dinner or lunch at one of the expensive restaurants overlooking the city or the river or go shopping or to the movies and that was the extent of our socializing. Now we take advantage of the free things there are to do in the city. The entire river area consists of many urban parks, we meet at one of them and walk, play tennis for free, do yoga, take picnic lunches, watch the boats and barges pass by, listen to free concerts, enjoy the gardens, splash in the water park and thoroughly enjoy the beauty of it all. We go to the farmers market every weekend and fawn over the fresh produce and local crafts and plants, listen to street musicians, have a picnic lunch and share recipes or cooking techniques. We go to the library and check out DVDs, CDs, and books and sit outside in their courtyard and catch up, we also take free classes there from gardening to computer to yoga. We go to a monthly speaker series. We sometimes meet at one of the museums on a free admission day or one of the art galleries. I volunteer at the zoo and the conservatory and love being there with the new friends I have met who share my passion for animals, plants and conservation.


SusieQ April 27, 2014 at 11:13 pm

An old friend and I meet up every 4- 6 weeks in an outlying part of the city. She lives near there and so does my partner so I would be in the area anyway. There is one long street with easily 15 to 20 charity shops. We meet halfway, walk up and down one half and then have a cheap and cheerful (but filling) lunch so we don’t have to bother about a big meal in the evening. Then we hit the other half of the circuit. There’s a lovely old library halfway along which holds different events – if they’re on, we pop in. She’s a browser and I’m a shopper but this way I get my shopping fix very cheaply! Also what I buy is limited by the number of bags I can carry on the long walk back to the car.

Also once a year the city has an “Doors Open Day” when you can see into old buildings that aren’t normally open to the public, and it’s completely free!


Bellen April 28, 2014 at 6:08 am

Being retired should mean time to socialize on whatever level suits us.
This is not the case where we live. Socializing means drinking, eating out and going to events that require an admission fee. We’ve tried to engage a couple of neighbors in free events, walks along the harbor, even going to some yard sales but to no avail. So, we engage in casual conversations with people in the neighborhood while out walking or strangers at garden centers, the library, etc. Being very frugal seems to be a ‘solitary’ lifestyle in my area. We’re content with our lifestyle and will not compromise our standard of living just to fit in. FYI we do have contact with others at least every other day so we are not isolated which is good for our health.


Gina April 28, 2014 at 7:36 am

Good for you not compromising your lifestyle to fit in with the neighbors. Perhaps if you volunteer somewhere you enjoy or that’s meaningful to you you will meet new friends with similar interests and lifestyle. Or even if you just frequent the free events you enjoy – seek out friends. After your walk on the harbor for instance, sit on a bench for awhile and strike up conversations with others and if you like them tell them your walking schedule and hope to see them again. It’s difficult to find friends of like mind when your frugal, or when your vegetarian or anything off the consumer norm – but they are out there you just have to look for them – and they are usually right under your nose at the same places you are frequenting. Don’t limit yourself to couples only – it’s nice to have single friends too and they usually fit right in – as they used to be part of a couple once too.


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary April 28, 2014 at 8:10 am

Much of my socializing is around meals — we invite friends for dinner or weekend brunch, or get invited to their houses. Once in a while we go to a movie or play before or after the meal, or if the weather is good we’ll go for a walk or just sit outside in the backyard.

I’m trying to get together with one particular friend more often, so we are aiming for Sunday morning walks if the weather is at all decent.

I only go clothes shopping if I desperately need something (can’t stand clothes shopping!), so that is definitely not a social activity for me.


Katy April 28, 2014 at 10:34 am

Damn, I wish you lived in town!


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary April 30, 2014 at 6:37 am

You sure do! I’m a good cook too, if I do say so myself, but you can bring the pie. 🙂


DD April 28, 2014 at 11:42 am

Your brand of socializing sounds wonderful! And I enjoyed hearing about other readers’ frugal fun. I love reading about your life, Katy, because I’m an expat Oregonian about your age, with kids the same age, and you represent ‘the road not taken.’ Love seeing how my life would have turned out — through you 🙂 You’re doing great!


Tammy Brackett April 28, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Katy, I love that you are a hermit. I feel super fortunate to work from home (I’m a publicist, writer and artist) and only venture out “among the English” as Eli Lapp from the movie Witness put it, when I must. I find a lot of adventure in my own backyard, literally, with two dogs and a nice veggie garden and a fairy habitat to maintain. I have a good friend who is also an artist and her company is excellent. She likes to go to thrift stores to find crafty things and we made plans that, as soon as my work schedule calmed down, we’d treat ourselves to a trip to her favorite second hand shop, Love of Jesus Thrift Store. I cannot wait. No $10 mixed drinks, stylish footwear or pressure from this pal. And she also brought me luffah seeds and camomile seeds for my garden! If we find anything interesting at Love of Jesus I’ll photograph it for you!


Katy April 28, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Please do!


Lilypad April 28, 2014 at 4:14 pm

I am an extreme introvert and a homebody. I only do well in small groups or one-on-one. I could go weeks without seeing anyone outside the family and be perfectly happy, but for the sake of my son, I force myself out into the world. For years, my favorite way to socialize was via my son’s play dates—I had the best group of mom friends. We’d take turns meeting at our homes or nearby parks and our kids would play and we would have a (homemade) coffee or tea and just chat for a few hours. Sometimes there would be 3 or 4 families, sometimes just 2. The kids always had a blast. Slowly, bit by bit, as the kids got older, all but one of the families moved away. (So sad!!) We still get together with the last family at least one a month, which is quite challenging now that our kids are almost 13 and the other family goes to public school while we homeschool. We now have different friends, also homeschoolers, so we’ve tried to recreate those old days a bit but it isn’t quite the same and now the kids are big enough to get mad at us moms when we are talking about them! 😉 On a side note: I absolutely loathe talking on the phone. I’m quite happy to chat with someone in person but feel like a phone call while I’m trying to get some work done is such an intrusion. Not to mention, all that tea makes for desperate moments trying to get off the phone and straight to the facilities without cutting off and offending the caller, hah hah! I guess that’s why I like blogs like yours so much, I can look at it when I have time and know that the conversation will be there when I am ready for it!


Chrissy April 28, 2014 at 5:13 pm

My best friend and I try to get together about once a week or so. Whenever we get together we always are exchanging things. Her daughter is 2 and mine is 1 so she’s always got hand me downs for us and now she is expecting her second so I am sending baby clothes her way. I recently gave her all my maternity clothes and she gave me a full tote of clothes she never fit back into after her first pregnancy. When we get together our girls play and we talk. We often meet at the library for tot story time, parks, walking etc. Occasionally I will watch her daughter while she runs into work for a few hours and she will treat me to a $4 coffee but it isn’t necessary! We even will trade things out of our cupboards. Last week we were involved in a mass freezer cooking swap with an additional 4 families.


Kristyn April 28, 2014 at 6:26 pm

*disclaimer* I didn’t read ALL of the comments above so forgive me if I’m rehashing an idea that’s already been raised. I WISH I had friends who shared a similar frugal lifestyle. I do have friends and they respect that I prefer certain activities over others so I still get to socialize but things like thrifting tend to be solitary activities for me. I’m not sure how much of this affects my friends’ stance but I was lucky enough to grow up in a home where my needs, and most of my wants, were accommodated while many of my friends grew up in families where they *had* to buy secondhand, if they were able to buy whatever it was at all. I enjoy thrifting, its an adventure for me to go and see what I can find while conserving resources while they seem to see it solely as an indicator of poverty. They ARE good friends, they just don’t understand my choices (especially when I can easily choose to buy lots of nice, new things).


Jess April 29, 2014 at 7:25 am

I go back and forth with frugal friend meet ups vs. things that cost money. I live about 20 minutes or more from all of my friends, so there is usually a drive involved for me. We usually meet up for dinner, and it’s my once a week dinner treat, so I don’t feel that money is wasted in anyway, and the rest of my expenses are low. I enjoy dinners out and find I end up spending quite a lot to cook for one at times. Since I work from home, it is sometimes just necessary to be among people, even if I’m not going to talk to all of them, just a pleasant atmosphere. We usually do end up hanging out at someones house after dinner to continue talking, because I could talk for hours on end once I get started 🙂 We try to do walks and things as well, or see movies. Maybe when I have my own place I’ll do more come over for dinner and a movie type of things, but as of now it’s far easier to meet them in a public location.


Maggie April 29, 2014 at 10:02 am

I have a toddler, so my social life revolves around other mommies with toddlers. I’m a part of two Facebook groups for my local area that do meetups every so often, and a bunch of my friends and I get together on Thursday mornings to go to the farmer’s market and a local bakery (and have some conversation that doesn’t revolve around the noises trucks make and potties).


JD April 30, 2014 at 7:34 am

I see lots of people at work each day, and having known many of them for 20 years, it satisfies most of my need for outside socialization. At home, I’m an introvert and homebody. My husband is more of a homebody than I am, so he’s content to stay home if I want to go thrifting with a friend, something that happens a few times a year. Most of my social activity, though, is with my grown children — the occasional matinee, cook outs, accompanying each other on necessary trips — and I have to say, that’s some of my very favorite social time. They are such a blessing to us, and although those toddler and teen years sure could be tough, I wouldn’t trade any of the rough days if it meant giving up what I have with them now.


Michelle H. April 30, 2014 at 9:17 am

Pre-kids socializing involved bars and restaurants, but now with 3 little ones we usually just invite friends over for dinner. We visit on the deck while the kids run around the yard, and maybe enjoy an adult beverage or two bought on sale at the grocery store. 🙂


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