I still feel that I have been neglecting the importance of family and friends in my life. My family has dinner every Sunday at my grandmother's house, and for the past year I've been there only a couple of times. Not that I have such a busy schedule, I just preferred to have the weekends free. But the last couple of weeks I went and felt that it was nice to see them. At the end of the evening I'm certainly ready to leave, but it is usually a positive experience.
Family always brings up old memories and issues, so sometimes it is easier just to stay away rather than make the effort to spend time with them. My moods can shift very quickly around my mother, so it can often be a stress to be there too. But there's something comforting about eating a meal with family and then lounging around watching TV together. We're not the most communicative bunch but we are who we are. My grandmother has Alzheimer's and is getting worse, so it is important for me to be able to spend as much time with her as possible while she still recognizes me.
I also have trouble getting close to friends. I have one good friend that I see on a weekly basis, we usually go out to eat or see a movie. I also go to 12-step meetings (AA and NA), so I see people there a few times a week. But aside from that, most people remain acquaintances. There are so many people that I could easily initiate friendships with but I just don't do it. I'm fairly independent and prefer spending a lot of time doing my own thing, although a certain amount of interaction is needed on a regular basis. I think becoming close to somebody requires a certain amount of vulnerability, and I guess I find it easier to avoid that as much as possible.
Relationships are an essential component of health and can't be ignored. Allowing myself to have more close relationships would be one of the best things I could do for myself.