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Fitting in

Self-described introverts find friendships, fun at Seabrook

Created date

August 3rd, 2015
Seabrook resident with dog
Seabrook resident with dog

Introverts often say they never quite fit in. They’re a “loner” or an “outcast.” They tend to fear large groups of people. But for introvert Amy Volz, a large population was exactly what she needed to feel comfortable as she transitioned into retirement. 

“I was introverted, but this environment has inspired me to be more outgoing. It’s very friendly,” says Amy, who moved to Seabr..., in Tinton Falls, N.J., last January from Bronxville, N.Y.

A community of 1,300 people, Seabrook is conveniently located near the Jersey Shore. Amy says the active Seabrook lifestyle encourages friendship and has an intimate atmosphere despite its size.

“I like the large population. You can choose your friends; you’re not limited to a small group of people, so you’re in a situation where like attracts like,” she says. 

Activities attract like interests

With 120 resident-run interest groups, nearly anyone can find an appealing activity and meet similar people. 

Professional actor Jerry Vermilye can play the part of anyone else, but ask him to be himself and he quickly clams up. Just two weeks after moving to Seabrook from his apartment of 46 years in New York City, Jerry joined the Seabrook Performers. The theatrical group produces two musicals a year. 

“This is the best place for me. I have an apartment that I love with a great view of the pines and the pond, and I’m looking forward to getting more acting things going,” Jerry says. 

He also anticipates utilizing the on-site fitness center and taking advantage of Seabrook’s lock-and-go advantage.

While he’s begun to get involved at Seabrook, he can easily get away to his creative oasis by simply locking his door and leaving. “I plan to go to Maine for three weeks to write my book [about actress Carole Lombard] and visit a friend.” Seabrook’s 24/7 security and maintenance crews guarantee he won’t have to worry about his home while he’s away.

Reconnecting with friends

Aside from making new friends, people are likely to reconnect with old friends when in a larger population. That’s what happened to Lynne Prager. 

An interior designer for celebrities like Grammy Award-winning musician George Benson, Prager also styled the home of Arthur and Dorothy Greenbaum when they moved to Seabrook. 

“My clients became my friends,” Lynne says. So when Dorothy and Arthur told her how much they loved life at Seabrook, she considered it for herself. She moved from her house in nearby Deal on December 12 and soon reconnected with several other friends who live at the community.

“I know quite a few people here, which makes it even easier to like,” she says.

Since December, she has started taking watercolor classes—a pastime she’s always wanted to pursue despite her artistic career. 

Everybody’s best friend

While Lynne reconnected with friends at Seabrook, and Amy and Jerry met new ones, others bring their friends with them. Joan Leonard moved to Seabrook last September with her 11-year-old Havanese named Abi. 

“She’s made so many friends,” Joan says of Abi. “We’re a duo. Everybody knows us.”

Joan says she and Abi have adjusted well to life at the pet-friendly community. They moved to a studio apartment, which fits their lifestyle. “There weren’t actually too many studios available, but we were able to find one I really like with a spectacular view that was spacious and roomy,” she says.

To meet new people when Abi’s not by her side, Joan sits with different neighbors each evening at dinner in the on-site restaurants. “Meeting people is very, very easy here,” she says, adding that she’d like to take up watercolor painting. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years.” 

Maybe she’ll meet Lynne and strike up another friendship.