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When you're ALWAYS the one initiating...


Friendship Having issues with a friend? Get it off your chest!

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Old 31st January 2018, 8:38 PM   #1
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When you're ALWAYS the one initiating...

Is it safe to assume in these cases that when you (the initiator) stop trying, the other friend will simply fade out for good into the sea of apathy? Or is it ever worth doing the "callout" in attempt to salvage?

I have a friendship (we're both 30s F) where it's always been me initiating 90 percent of the time, in the four years I've known her. At first I didn't mind because I was positive she enjoyed my company equally, and I respected that that her schedule was busier than mine.

Recently, though, her flakiness has increased (i.e. never answering phone, responding days late to texts) while her schedule has seemingly become even more jammed. As a result, I've backed away a great deal and haven't seen her for now six months.

In most cases like this, I'd simply call it a loss — but here I admit I'm saddened at losing this friend for good due to communication lapses. Also, when she IS in touch, she's friendly and encouraging, giving me signs she does care on some level. (Like, a text that says "It's been forever, let's try for next weekend???" ... even if she then disappears again.)

Part of me wants to issue a warning to ensure she clearly recognizes our problem, to the effect of: "I've had to stop trying here, but if you give a f*ck at all you need to start lifting a finger." Not in those words, of course. I just don't know how to do that w/o coming off as bitter or naggy in a friendship that already seems on its last lifeline.
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Old 31st January 2018, 9:29 PM   #2
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Sorry😔 but yes, if they never initiate to see you I think it is a loss
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Old 31st January 2018, 9:44 PM   #3
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I have a friend who I used to hang out with maybe once a month, and it was always me initiating with the rare exception of her emailing and saying some exhibit was in town or something like that. So I waited to see how long it would take her to check in if I didn't initiate. It was six months, but she did it. Part of it is who sort of has the leader position. I would say that's me, so she got used to that. It's hard to even get her to say where she wants to eat. Anyway, now she got a boyfriend and only initiates on holidays because he is taking up all her extra energy.
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Old 31st January 2018, 10:00 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Standard-Fare View Post
Is it safe to assume in these cases that when you (the initiator) stop trying, the other friend will simply fade out for good into the sea of apathy? Or is it ever worth doing the "callout" in attempt to salvage?

I have a friendship (we're both 30s F) where it's always been me initiating 90 percent of the time, in the four years I've known her. At first I didn't mind because I was positive she enjoyed my company equally, and I respected that that her schedule was busier than mine.

Recently, though, her flakiness has increased (i.e. never answering phone, responding days late to texts) while her schedule has seemingly become even more jammed. As a result, I've backed away a great deal and haven't seen her for now six months.

In most cases like this, I'd simply call it a loss — but here I admit I'm saddened at losing this friend for good due to communication lapses. Also, when she IS in touch, she's friendly and encouraging, giving me signs she does care on some level. (Like, a text that says "It's been forever, let's try for next weekend???" ... even if she then disappears again.)

Part of me wants to issue a warning to ensure she clearly recognizes our problem, to the effect of: "I've had to stop trying here, but if you give a f*ck at all you need to start lifting a finger." Not in those words, of course. I just don't know how to do that w/o coming off as bitter or naggy in a friendship that already seems on its last lifeline.
If she is a true and real friend then just be honest, not pissy to her and rude, assuming she's brushing you off. What you say is, I know you're really busy and I'm really missing our girl time together and friendship. Let's set a time/date and circle it in the calendar.

I think if she knew that you were feeling hurt she would make more of an effort. Friendship is a two way street but communication and honesty has to happen to make it work.
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Old 31st January 2018, 10:48 PM   #5
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If she is a true and real friend then just be honest, not pissy to her and rude, assuming she's brushing you off. What you say is, I know you're really busy and I'm really missing our girl time together and friendship. Let's set a time/date and circle it in the calendar.

I think if she knew that you were feeling hurt she would make more of an effort. Friendship is a two way street but communication and honesty has to happen to make it work.
I guess I should mention that I HAVE brought it up before. Not persistently, not attacking, but I've hashed things out a couple times.

About two years ago, she left me hanging on something time-sensitive, I got mad, and we had a brief argument that we were able to resolve.

Then about eight months ago, after she ignored a couple texts from me suggesting to hang, I called her up to talk. I said I didn't expect the friendship to be a top-tier priority for either of us, but accused her of poor communication. She apologized and seemed to absorb what I said, but the behavior didn't really change — leading to our present-day fadeout.

I feel stupid worrying about this stuff in my 30s, but losing a friend is never an easy pill to swallow. I think we need things to feel light right now rather than framing this fadeout in tension and negativity. But it's possible I'm cutting this girl too much slack.
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Old 1st February 2018, 1:59 PM   #6
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I do think she cares. The question is at what level? Sometimes friends take advantage of one another because they feel like their friend is always going to be there even when they do ignore them, take advantage. I think you are doing the right thing, back off some and let her contact you and show how important you are to her. Don't give up the friendship entire. Good luck to you!
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Old 1st February 2018, 2:12 PM   #7
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I expect local friends to initiate occasionally, or I'll probably assume they don't want to see me, and just do so because they have nothing better to do. I can do without those kinds of friends.

I have other friends who have been close for decades, but we may only see each other every few years - or sometimes less. We don't stay in touch between times, but are always happy to see each other when our travels bring us close enough to get together.
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Old 1st February 2018, 3:38 PM   #8
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A true friendship involves both friends making an effort. If it is one-sided it isn't really a good friendship.
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Old 1st February 2018, 3:44 PM   #9
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I expect local friends to initiate occasionally, or I'll probably assume they don't want to see me, and just do so because they have nothing better to do. I can do without those kinds of friends.

I have other friends who have been close for decades, but we may only see each other every few years - or sometimes less. We don't stay in touch between times, but are always happy to see each other when our travels bring us close enough to get together.
Right, I have long-distance friends that I'll only see every 2-3 years if that. Sometimes too much time passes and you lose one.

This friend I'm speaking of is local, and that does change the expectations I think.

I only have about ... seven? ... friends in my area I see on any sort of regular basis, and she's been part of that rotation. Three months passing, I wouldn't think much of, but now that a couple of full seasons have turned, it's feeling weird.

I'm going to leave it alone. If she's not able to figure out that this friendship warrants a slight bit of effort, there's not much I can do.
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Old 2nd February 2018, 3:34 AM   #10
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I think its best to have a diversity of friends. That way you don't always have to so socially dependent on one.

Sometimes you have to take the leader role. Some people have to accept it that way.

Once again diversity is the key. It could slide the other way and have everyone call you all the time.
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Old 4th February 2018, 6:05 AM   #11
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Your post could have been written by me as I have the exact same situation at work. Even down to the ‘seems happy to visit and spend time with me’ fact.

It took me four years and numerous movies, dinners and cubicle visits to realize that in FOUR YEARS, my “friend’ had never reciprocated anything, not a single invite for coffee, dinner, movie etc. In fact much to my embarrassment, I realized that in those years she’d never even come by my office to visit A SINGLE TIME. This would be comical if it wasn’t so sad. The thing that made it most difficult for me was that she always seemed to enjoy our conversations and said yes to invitations. (Just like your situation)

I considered her a friend until I really faced up to the fact that the non-reciprocal relationship did mean something.

The reality was that she wasn’t a friend and to paraphrase a famous book, ‘just wasn’t that into me.’

The realization was liberating, I just let it go rather than dwelling on the why’s and what-if’s.

This was four years ago. We’ve worked together now for eight years, and guess what? No fair-tale redemption ending. Lol she still hasn’t envited me for so much as a coffee or stopped by my office to visit. We say “hi” as we pass each other and are pleasant.

That’s life.

I’m glad I faced the situation for what it was and not wanted it to be.

Good luck
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Old 4th February 2018, 10:11 AM   #12
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With my bestfriend, usually I initiated. But after I decided to take the responsibility for my life, to improve myself and to work on myself, I've seen that she initiates more than she used to. Just pull back and create some space for your friend to reach out to you. It's like dancing, if you're always stepping forward with your partner, it's more similar to cornering someone rather than dancing.
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Old 5th February 2018, 12:50 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Standard-Fare View Post
I guess I should mention that I HAVE brought it up before. Not persistently, not attacking, but I've hashed things out a couple times.

About two years ago, she left me hanging on something time-sensitive, I got mad, and we had a brief argument that we were able to resolve.

Then about eight months ago, after she ignored a couple texts from me suggesting to hang, I called her up to talk. I said I didn't expect the friendship to be a top-tier priority for either of us, but accused her of poor communication. She apologized and seemed to absorb what I said, but the behavior didn't really change — leading to our present-day fadeout.

I feel stupid worrying about this stuff in my 30s, but losing a friend is never an easy pill to swallow. I think we need things to feel light right now rather than framing this fadeout in tension and negativity. But it's possible I'm cutting this girl too much slack.
Well let the friendship slip away or just stop putting effort in and keep her as a casual friend, someone you don`t rely on for much.
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Old 19th March 2018, 9:05 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Carpe Diem View Post
Your post could have been written by me as I have the exact same situation at work. Even down to the ‘seems happy to visit and spend time with me’ fact.

It took me four years and numerous movies, dinners and cubicle visits to realize that in FOUR YEARS, my “friend’ had never reciprocated anything, not a single invite for coffee, dinner, movie etc. In fact much to my embarrassment, I realized that in those years she’d never even come by my office to visit A SINGLE TIME. This would be comical if it wasn’t so sad. The thing that made it most difficult for me was that she always seemed to enjoy our conversations and said yes to invitations. (Just like your situation)

I considered her a friend until I really faced up to the fact that the non-reciprocal relationship did mean something.

The reality was that she wasn’t a friend and to paraphrase a famous book, ‘just wasn’t that into me.’

The realization was liberating, I just let it go rather than dwelling on the why’s and what-if’s.

This was four years ago. We’ve worked together now for eight years, and guess what? No fair-tale redemption ending. Lol she still hasn’t envited me for so much as a coffee or stopped by my office to visit. We say “hi” as we pass each other and are pleasant.

That’s life.

I’m glad I faced the situation for what it was and not wanted it to be.

Good luck
OP returning WEEKS later...

The above really strikes a cord.

In my own case, I made the decision to give up on the friendship, and I haven't seen my friend try to pick up my slack in any way. We've both simply faded out on each other.

I did see her a couple weeks ago at a mutual social event. I wanted to hear something encouraging from her, like "Hey, I miss you, let's hang out," but I didn't get it. It was awkward and almost cold between us—which makes me sad, but I'm moving on.
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