welcome to tough love. We answer your questions about dating, breakups and everything in between. Our advisor is Blair Bravermandogsled racer and author of small game And Welcome to the fucking ice cube. You have a question? Write to us at email@example.com.
I live in a city very full of nature surrounded by beautiful nature and I like to hike whenever I can. Unfortunately, I don’t have a car, which means I either have to rent or borrow one, or go with a friend. I would love to hike with people more regularly, but I’m fairly new in town and think the friends I have here already have other hiking buddies, so I don’t really get invited around much.
The problem is I’m really embarrassed to ask someone for a ride or hike – it’s pretty hard for me to ask for things but I have chronic knee pain so I’m going down quite slowly. I can definitely hold out, but even with hiking poles (which helps a lot!) I always feel like I’m slowing people down. I know I can tell people to keep going and I’ll meet them downstairs – which I prefer, to be honest – but that puts them in an awkward position of waiting and/or feeling like they’re leaving me behind .
There have been times in the past where I really felt like a burden on the band. And what’s even worse is that I don’t even have a good reason for my knee pain – there’s no obvious injury that people would understand, and I have trouble doing the exercises basic physiotherapy. (PT is so hard to follow!) So this looks like an ongoing problem that I’m not even trying my best to fix.
I don’t want to give the impression of using people for a walk in the woods, nor do I want to overload them with my slow hike. What do I have to offer in return? I just feel needy and slow. Thanks for your advice on how I can get out more hiking with people.
If there’s one thing writing this column has taught me, it’s that there is a tonne of people who struggle to find good friends in the great outdoors – and many of them feel self-conscious about their pace. People worry about being too fast or too slow, too inexperienced or too inclined to stop and smell the flowers. And many of them are embarrassed to take time on the climbs, which makes your worry about the descents almost refreshing. If you can be patient while a mate goes up, and they can be patient while you go down, you’ll solve two people’s insecurities at once.
It’s totally acceptable – and normal – to call a friend (who lives relatively close), invite them for a hike and explain that you don’t have a car and that you would need them to come. pick you up on the way. Most of us know what it’s like to be carless and are only too happy to help. If someone did that to me, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid; if anything, I would feel like the car ride was a chance to spend some more time together, and maybe we could grab some ice cream or coffee on the way. And even if I couldn’t go, I would be honored to be considered a fellow hiker.
The trick is to take the initiative to find a hike and suggest it to someone East a freebie, and asking for a ride doesn’t negate that. It’s especially nice if you’re specific in your invitation: “Hey, I read an article about a five-mile loop trail around Saddle Mountain that passes some really pretty waterfalls. Would you like to go together this Saturday or this Sunday? The weather is expected to be clear all weekend. It’s easy for all of us to settle into routines, and it’s nice when someone does the research and suggests something new. If you want to give even more, as a thank you for the ride, you can bring fun snacks, learn interesting facts about the area that you can share along the way, or take pictures of your friend in action and text them after the ride. journey. hiking. These are all fun ways to contribute to an excursion, although by being present, friendly and kind, you are already making the most important contribution of all.
As for feeling uncomfortable with your knee, your best bet is to go for full disclosure from the start. “Just so you know, I have a knee problem and I’m slow on the descents. It’s totally ok with me if you walk ahead and wait. I just wanted to let you know in advance because I feel embarrassed about it. Sometimes all it takes is acknowledging your self-consciousness out loud to diminish it. (Plus, it’s good practice for building trust in friendships.) Plus, it gives your mate a chance to back off if he hates waiting and his main priority on hikes is, say, descend very quickly. But I guess most people won’t care in the least. Really. They might even feel relieved and confide in their own insecurities.
You can also completely circumvent the problem by finding hikes without descents. It’s a long climb, but if you live near a gondola you can often walk to the top and take a ride for free. Another option would be to take a one-way hike with road access at both ends, hike the road uphill, then hitchhike to the first trailhead. And the easiest solution, of course, is to go for flatter trails, which might be a good choice for your knee anyway.
Whatever you choose, I suspect you won’t be stuck in this situation for long. Once you have a routine with one or two compatible friends, there will be no need for negotiations. They’ll know they’re the driver and they’ll have a nice stretching routine waiting for them at the bottom of a hill. You’ll know they love Fig Newtons, so you’ll keep a bag in your backpack to get to the scenic views, and you’ll also know they’re obsessed with mushrooms and can’t pass one without pulling out a field guide (which is a great opportunity for you to do some PT exercises). That is, after all, how some of the best friendships are formed: not by not having quirks, but by learning to care about others as we do our own. You are not a burden. You elevate each other.