Despair in finding a running partner or group, adive sought

I would like to share some thoughts with you all on something that's been a huge problem for me in recent years: workout partners. In my case, specific to running. I could really use your support and advice if you have any to offer on this.

Ever since I moved to the town I'm in now I've had essentially nobody to consistently train and run with. I've tried -- very very hard -- for 3 years now. I've been both a participant and later a mentor for Fleet Feet's running programs. I've joined more than one local "running club", gone to several local races and even volunteered at one. The best I was able to do was have a span of about a year with one guy that would sometimes run with me, but most times not. He had a lot of drama going on at home with a troubled son. And I know we didn't see eye-to-eye on politics or religion, and when you run with someone for hours, sometimes that can seem to limit topics of conversation (I don't know that is has to, but I got the sense that it did with him because he was very politically motivated). There was also one other man, but he cancelled on me more often than not, and very often last minute. Both of them had to be almost begged to run with me. Neither ever initiated a run-invite to me, which after awhile seemed like a red flag that they really weren't interested in this (at least, not with me). End result, there's nobody to run with.

Facebook is another huge issue for me. Facebook was used a lot when I moved here to add local runners as "friends" even though almost none of them really are. I've never been invited to join them in runs, never been invited to their get-togethers, parties, weddings, etc etc. In fact, seeing constant updates from a large set of people who have essentially ostracized me is a big downer and lowers my motivation to run. I want to remove them all from Facebook, yet I see them all the time at local group runs, so that feels awkward (which, I wonder, should I still attend?). Basically, the impression is that there's this big tent of "cool kids" that have fun running together and racing and even traveling together. Then, there's me. And I guess that just kind of sucks to be bombarded with constantly.

Why do I want/need someone to run with? Well for me, a good running group or partner really makes the longer runs more enjoyable. It's also just a social interaction of a friend and we all want and need friendships in our lives, right? There's a lot more to it though in terms of learning the local running gossip and what races and training programs others are doing, what apps their using, what gear, etc. It made me feel connected in a larger way and made running a much broader event for me than just a workout.

In years past (different town) I had a running group and a few guys I could run with on occasion and I didn't know how lucky I had it. For most of this last year I've run alone. Some of that was also because of my school schedule (career changing). But I've also just sort of given up on this community. I have gone months at a time without using Facebook, and it seems the longer I'm away from it the happier I feel.

What do I do? Do any of you have recommendations? Do I just become a solo runner and seek friendships elsewhere and in different communities? I feel this situation has reached a breaking point for me. I can't keep begging people to be my friend and frankly it's just too demoralizing and depressing. Running used to be a lot of fun and anymore all I seem to concentrate on and talk about is feeling left out. To me that's ridiculous. More importantly I think it's risking me abandoning the sport that I'm passionate about and which has helped keep my weight off and keep me feeling generally happier (although you wouldn't know it by this post).

Thanks.
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Replies

  • VioletRojo
    VioletRojo Posts: 594 Member
    Have you tried MeetUp.com? I've found it very useful. But, frankly, I find it too difficult to find a good running partner to even bother any more; it's easier to run alone. In the ~15 years I've been running, I've only had one good running partner. I pushed him on speed, he pushed me on distance, and we talked about so many interesting things that our runs always seemed to go by super fast. But that friendship grew organically, we weren't really looking for running partners. Since then, I find it easier to run alone than to try to find someone I can run with.
  • Joenali
    Joenali Posts: 208 Member
    I say you need to be a bit louder. How do those people know you want to run with them? Are they supposed to read your mind? Be more assertive and ask them or even invite yourself on some runs. Or start your own group!
  • intherunning45
    intherunning45 Posts: 12 Member
    Already done those things Joenali. I have attempted to start several groups. The best one fizzled after three meetups as the members found alternate groups they liked more. I have also run with other groups. But biggest issue is they don't last long and I'm always a 5th wheel. And many groups are closed and aren't seeking additions.
  • dewd2
    dewd2 Posts: 2,449 Member
    Maybe I am spoiled by the area I live in, but this sorta surprises me. There are several groups that run around me and I belong to most of them (I'm not a drinker so I don't run with the Beer Runners o:) ). My local Fleet Feet has an incredible base and they offer many programs. I've made dozens of friends there. About 5 years ago a local runner started a group on Facebook that now has 1500+ runners. I've made 100+ friends there and probably ran with 500+ different folks over the years. There are a few other groups as well that aren't as active, but anytime I want I can post and there will be one or 2 that are eager and willing to run.

    Have you ever done any charity running? I used to run (and sometimes still do) with Team in Training. Maybe seek out a group like that and you will always have a weekly run you can attend.

    Good luck.
  • intherunning45
    intherunning45 Posts: 12 Member
    Dewd - I have posted on several Facebook groups here looking for someone to run with and always, and I mean always, come up empty. I see others like you doing the same thing and yes two or three people instantly appear and are eager to join them. Do this for three years and see if you don't develop a complex...it's demoralizing. I don't know if we have "charity running" here. Certainly not the volume of runners you seem to have in your area.
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,470 Member
    I also run alone, though I would like to run with others. In my case it's mostly because I run at times that others don't. The local groups mostly run at 6 a.m. and I run in the afternoon, primarily. I do run sometimes with an evening Beer Runners group and hoped that I would make contacts with runners that would lead to finding a partner outside the weekly runs, but that hasn't happened. My pace doesn't really match many of the group. (It's a small group). Still, I go with them sometimes just because I like running around people even when I'm not actually running with them. And I enjoy the post-run beer;-) I haven't tried to go farther to look for a partner simply because I don't mind running alone. I also don't want to risk rejection, because I have enough problems with that in my life. I don't need running to become a source of anxiety when it isn't now.
  • L1zardQueen
    L1zardQueen Posts: 8,755 Member
    I have a friend that I walk with occasionally but she sometimes brings up politics and I would quickly change the subject. The last thing I want to do is discuss politics with her or anyone. It's too damn frustrating. I do like it when we start talking of recipes found and tried.

    Maybe there are other people like me who don't like debates while running.
  • fitin50s2
    fitin50s2 Posts: 111 Member
    I searched high and low in my area as well (including local Fleet Feet) and turned up empty. I run alone. I suppose since I end up going out last minute it probably is for the best.

    Wish it wasn't this way, but it is. I've learned to accept it. Would certainly never consider NOT doing it because of not having a partner. I like it WAY too much to abandon it.

    I enjoy running for the run itself.
  • tinkerbellang83
    tinkerbellang83 Posts: 9,057 Member
    Try setting up a Meetup group, there are a few where I am for bootcamps, running and walking (meetup.com)
  • DavPul
    DavPul Posts: 61,407 Member
    Already done those things Joenali. I have attempted to start several groups. The best one fizzled after three meetups as the members found alternate groups they liked more. I have also run with other groups. But biggest issue is they don't last long and I'm always a 5th wheel. And many groups are closed and aren't seeking additions.

    Whelp, this confirms it for me. It's definitely you that's the problem
  • AliNouveau
    AliNouveau Posts: 36,287 Member
    If you've exhausted all possibilities then I guess embrace the alone time. I'm a social person but running time is my time
  • lorrpb
    lorrpb Posts: 11,465 Member
    edited July 2017
    [quote="WickedPineapple;c-39980006"]I've found that people in general tend to be flaky. I mean this in all aspects, not just this particular instance. At some point, you have to stop expending so much energy trying to get people to socialize with you. I've had this problem with long time friends/family and it was causing me way too much stress. My method is that I will invite people to do things, but will not plan around them, nor expect them to actually come. (I will make exceptions for more reliable people and will consult with them on dates/times.) So for your purposes, you say something to your running group or specific people along the lines of, "I am going to run at <place> on <days> at <time>. You are welcome to join me." Assume you'll be running alone. Then if someone shows, you'll be delighted.

    You can't force people to invite you to things or be your friend, you can only make your interest known. I would still keep going to or volunteering at races. Keep going on your group runs (unless they're depressing). People aren't always instant friends. Be friendly, not demanding, and given time, you might click with people.

    I do think you should delete those people from facebook if they are unresponsive. I'm also a big fan of blocking people if their posts have a negative impact on my mood (when you block them, none of their posts will show on your home page).[/quote]

    ^^
    This. The first sentence.
  • AllonsYtotheTardis
    AllonsYtotheTardis Posts: 16,948 Member
    Sounds like people find you annoying to run with.
  • WickAndArtoo
    WickAndArtoo Posts: 774 Member
    Sometimes it's best to take a breather from Social media, for this exact reason. Those people are probably just really close friends, and sometimes that does lead to not really caring or wanting a new group member, but that doesn't say anything about you at all.

    People are flaky, and when it comes to running they are even flakier! Please don't let this get to you or make you question yourself or your passion.

    In my opinion I think that you should continue to run with your running group if you like it or if there is a chance that new members may join it and they could feel the same way as you do... but also plan on running alone and learn to expect and enjoy it. Also having a dog to run with can really help if you like dogs :smile: they are my answer to everything, so I just had to throw that in there.

    A good running buddy is super hard to find, but that's because not only does it include finding someone as committed and passionate about running as you (rare), but also someone who you get along with well enough to spend multiple hours together with nothing but conversation to focus on, which is nearly impossible!! Seriously...I have only found like 2 people like that my entire life and I married one of them haha!! You may find making friendships easy and enjoyable but some people find it hard and stressful and they tend to only want to spend long amounts of time with very specific people and as I am one of those people I can say that it has NOTHING to do with how nice/cool/fun/great the new people are, I just truly find making new friends exhausting.

    So in short, try not to base your happiness or running career on other people or having a running buddy. Though they are fun to have they are very rare and it is not worth dwelling on. And for the love of god stop forcing yourself to look at those peoples images! You can just hide their posts in your feed if you don't want to delete them, I did it all the time when I had a Facebook when someone's posts were bringing me down in one way or another.

    There are entire focuses of study based on this sense of letdown we get from social media, it's known to cause this because we are only seeing a highlight reel of other people's lives and we are only seeing posts from those with those adventures, not the millions of people sitting at home just like us wishing we could find a running partner. Social media is a double edged sword :neutral:
  • puzzledstill
    puzzledstill Posts: 67 Member
    edited July 2017
    I've no idea about running groups but have a suggestion re FB.
    It doesn't seem to be working for you at the moment - and it can be difficult if you unfriend individuals. So maybe make a post saying you are closing your account for a while due to ' lack of time ' or something vague. Then in say 2 months set up a new account taking a lot of care who you invite to be friends.
    Regarding running look at the things you enjoy running alone - I could imagine nice to have time to think. Maybe look to go to non running group based on another interest , or learn a new skill, and you never know you might bump into a like minded runner. I think things happen when you least expect them. Good luck.
  • snickerscharlie
    snickerscharlie Posts: 8,582 Member
    edited July 2017
    Stick your earbuds in, crank up the tunes and git 'er dun. Life is too short for this kind of drama once a person gets out of middle school.
  • DebLaBounty
    DebLaBounty Posts: 1,172 Member
    edited July 2017
    I second the recommendation to check out Meetup.com. I found one group that met once a week for a friendly little run. I never socialized with anyone outside this time, but we did a 5K together. I eventually stopped after a couple months because I had a hard time finding someone with the same pace as me. But I enjoyed it while it lasted.

    Don't rule out the beer runs. There's absolutely no requirement to drink beer, and I doubt you'll be ostracized for downing a bunch of water! Ask the person next to you if they're up for sharing an order of fries, your treat. It's a nice gesture, and a possible opening for getting that person to have a conversation with you.