We don't have get-togethers very often. Maybe once a quarter. And almost every time, when I leave the get-togethers, I feel worse than before I went. Even when I know not to expect much. So, I think it's pretty clear, that I don't enjoy these gatherings.
I think it's because, on some level, people are very guarded with each other, when we meet up as a group. We keep it light. When we talk about our problems, it's not the truly significant ones in our lives. That's how it feels.
I'm not saying that our get-togethers have to be group therapy sessions, with everyone going around sharing what's really going on. First of all, that would be way too heavy, and second of all, there isn't enough time to hear about everyone's lives in that much depth.
But at the same time, there can still be more depth sometimes, at least once in awhile. I mean, we're family.
So when that authenticity is missing, it feels like the hangouts are almost a "place to see and be seen." In other words, about appearances.
It's not as bad as it could be, but there are still some traces of this.
I think it's because it's predominantly about being with each other in order to have fun. Versus caring about each other, which is there, but becomes a lower priority. The priorities are shifted.
I think it can also be a way for people to feel good about themselves. Sad, but true.
I think it's also because there's a fear of judgment, which exists because there IS judgment. There is pressure to have your life fit into a certain mold, one which doesn't signify happiness or meaning necessarily. A lot of times the judgment/pressure is unspoken, but you know it's there.
Anyway, I leave these get-togethers feeling exhausted. It's exhausting because I feel like I can't be myself. I also leave these get-togethers feeling kind of empty.