Every friendship I have is based upon me making the effort, AIBU to get upset by this?

(128 Posts)
obtuseone Thu 14-Feb-13 08:33:23

Every friendship that I have is conditional upon me making the bulk of the effort, ie making arrangements, and making contact. Even commenting on Facebook photos and statuses. There have been a few occasions where I've stopped initiating contact in each of those ways and in every single time I've just never heard from the friend again.

It's happening again now with a schoolfriend, whom I've known for around 20 years. She seems to make an effort for lots of other people but not for me. It's always me making contact and suggesting meeting up. I've done her a variety of favours and helped her out a lot but she barely says thanks yet if anyone else does her a favour or she spends time with them she tags them on Facebook and thanks them profusely (yes I know Facebook isn't the be all and end all but she uses it a lot). She takes me for granted. So I've decided to back off a little and see if she makes any effort. Not heard a bean for 3 weeks now, so looks like that friendship will go down the pan too.

AIBU to be highly fed up with it all?

mrclaypolefan Thu 14-Feb-13 09:03:06

I have/had the same issue with friends, so haven't got any advice I'm afraid. It's frustrating and it seems very unfair when people in life that make no effort seem to have others flocking around them and remembering every detail of their life, whilst others that make an effort and try to be a good friend just get walked over.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Thu 14-Feb-13 09:10:24

YANBU to feel upset. This must be very hard and hurtful.

But.... sometimes as people we repeat bad patterns over and over, so there is a chance you pick similar people to be friends with, which means you get the same crappy treatment.

Do you see any similarities across your friends, do you have a 'type'? I think just like some people always pick cheating boyfriends, other people pick selfish friends. Which means by understanding who is your type and why, you can make changes and find nicer friends in future.

pictish Thu 14-Feb-13 09:13:51

Yanbu. Perhaps it's time for you to not be quite so available and eager to please eh? When it's always you, people take you for granted. I speak from experience here. In my youth I was a pleaser and an effort maker, yet always felt vaguely ripped off somehow at the lack of effort in return. Well, I don't do it any more, and life is a lot simpler as a result.

Never make someone a priority, if they'll only make you an option.

Stick by that, and you won't go far wrong. wink

obtuseone Thu 14-Feb-13 09:16:47

YellowAndGreen I think you're right that I do pick a certain type each time. I'm not sure how really, they just seem to be the type that gravitate towards me.

pictish I find whenever I make myself not available and not eager to please friends just ditch me like a hot potato. Do you find if you just stop making an effort with everyone that people do or did eventually contact you? In the case of the friend I mentioned in my other post, I know she will make no effort unless I do, and will be happy to let me go as a friend. It was the same when we were at school really.

FallenAngel22 Thu 14-Feb-13 09:18:57

No YANBU. I have exactly the same with my friends. I have backed off and it means some of them I've not heard from for over 6 months. Sad, but there you go

INeedThatForkOff Thu 14-Feb-13 09:21:24

I have the same issue. I wonder if it's partly that very popular people have the likes of me and you doing all the legwork because they're nice to be around, so they just don't have to?

I also know that I've always been a bit unlucky with circumstances, for example my two closest friends left our (small) school to go some distance elsewhere post-16; others didn't return to our hometown after uni, whereas I did; my antenatal friends seem to be in the same situation as SAHMs, whereas I have to go to work and can't be around much; my work friends tend to be much older or younger and in a different position; other mum friends have closer friendships with each other because their DCs were born close together whereas my DD was a few months earlier.

I do keep friendships going though, and know someone else who feels she's always on the periphery too. Actually it works for me because I don't like cliquey politics.

Sorry for threadjacking, it was unintentional. Are you a friend to lots of popular people who don't need you as much as you need them? Or have circumstances prevented you from developing friendships as close as you would like?

obtuseone Thu 14-Feb-13 09:24:14

It's sad isn't it FallenAngel. I hate the way I have to frantically make effort all the time in order to have any kind of social life or any socialising during the day with the DCs. I feel envious of how effortlessly it just seems to happen for some people. One acquaintance in particular seems very much the type to just make no effort at all with people yet I see people are forever writing on her Facebook wall "We must meet up soon"

I can't remember the last time a friend remembered my birthday, or one of my DCs birthdays, yet I remember everyone's.

Sometimes I wonder if I would be better off cutting my losses with all of my so-called friends. At least my life would be easier and simpler, with less chance of being let down

obtuseone Thu 14-Feb-13 09:26:31

Bit of both I'd say Ineedthatforkoff. It often seems as though I view people as a closer friend than they view me. So I'll think I'm close to someone but then they will go and do something thoughtless that makes me think they don't value me.

Adversecamber Thu 14-Feb-13 09:28:13

I feel very sad reading your post, I'm a bit of a people pleaser. I must admit to making a new friend over the lat few months and it seems a lot more balanced than some friendships I have had.

I have had a couple of friendships like the ones you describe, I am going to be far more careful in future.

pictish Thu 14-Feb-13 09:32:07

Obtuse - yes, I precisely did find that they were ok to let things dwindle to nothing...so I deduced they weren't that arsed about having me in their lives and decided it was their loss. Then I learned to hold out for friends that were.
Who wants friends you have to make all the effort for, in order to have them bother with you?
It's a two way street imo.

obtuseone Thu 14-Feb-13 09:35:18

Adverse I'm glad you have made a balanced friendship now. Did you go into the friendship acting differently to how you have acted in previous friendships?

pictish I agree, it should be a two way street. I think inside I am scared of having no one at all if I did that, but then I guess having no one would be better than having friends that don't behave like friends

pictish Thu 14-Feb-13 09:39:06

I'm lucky, after learning the lessons I did in my youth, I went on to become a self contained and choosy adult. I have a good social life with many...but count on and genuinely care about few.

obtuseone Thu 14-Feb-13 09:42:31

I wish I'd learn the lessons in my youth pictish. I'm in my thirties now.

Do you find you have to do much organising in order to have a good social life?

Fishandjam Thu 14-Feb-13 09:51:15

Me too OP, to a certain extent. (YANBU, of course.) And I really know what you mean about being scared you won't have any friends if you don't make the effort.

I've come to the conclusion that friendship is overrated!

I always seem to end up being the fall back friend that gets called on when no one else is available, I'm a nice person and will do anything for anyone within reason but I'm sick of putting myself out.

I'm a loner by nature and I'm honestly not that bothered that I don't have at least one good friend, I enjoy my own company. At least by being this way I don't feel constant disappointment from being let down.

Looks sad written down but I'm ok with it smile

pictish Thu 14-Feb-13 09:54:45

No...it turns out that as a pleasing myself grown up, I'm pretty crap at organising things.
I find that these days, people tend to come to me.

I have a small handful of friends that I regard to be very good ones, and I tend to put in a bit more effort for them.

Otherwise, I just go with the flow.

CailinDana Thu 14-Feb-13 09:55:28

IME in order to be treated well by friends you need to be secure in yourself, speak your mind, and demand respect to a certain extent. If you're a people pleaser who won't speak up you will get walked all over.

pictish Thu 14-Feb-13 09:57:20

Agree Cailin.

YANBU at all. I used to be the same. I did what you have done, and withdrew a little and stopped making so much effort. I now have 3 or friends that I ca ncall true friends. I may not see them very often, but when I do, nothing has changed. I have 1 friend who I see every day that is lovely. Always willing to help (and me her) I just don't allow selfish people in my life any more, and that includes family

I think it's a good idea to let people go if they are not really good friends. This will open up the space in your life to go out and make new friends.

I do think there is something a little bit off in your logic though. When I think of my friends, they are people that I really enjoy spending time with -- we have good talks, they make me laugh, we do fun things together or have common interests. It's not really about effort or favours. It's not like anyone owes you friendship just because you put effort into it.

I think you should focus on finding new friends who you really connect with, then the friendship will just carry on naturally without you feeling like you really have to nurture it.

CailinDana Thu 14-Feb-13 10:01:37

Agree bohemian, very good point.

obtuseone Thu 14-Feb-13 10:03:51

If I speak my mind people never like it. I'm not someone that can get away with it

Mumsyblouse Thu 14-Feb-13 10:05:01

I don't have the time for endless Facebooking and meet-ups and to be honest, it all sounds a bit intense. I have lots of great friends, but not hearing from them for 3 weeks wouldn't worry me at all, sometimes I only touch base with them every 3/6 months but then we have a 2 hour chat. I have closer friends I talk with weekly, but not every friendship needs to be quite so full on, when we are busy with work/kids/life in general is exhausting.

If I didn't hear from a friend for three weeks, I would just call them for a chat sometime, I wouldn't assume they didn't want to be friends and get all huffy about it. Facebook is responsible here for leading people to think that silly messages are a mark of true friendship, which they are not.

EuphemiaLennox Thu 14-Feb-13 10:05:57

OP you mention 'frantically' trying to stay in contact and arrange things.

Why are you doing this?

Why are you trying to be friends with peoople who you feel would just drop you?

This 'social life' you are working hard to maintain is so superficial and based on sand that it really doesn't sound worth the effort.

My advice to you would be:

Get off Facebook- it advertises people's 'popularity' and 'social lives' and breeds the type of competitive neuroticism you're experiencing. It's doing you no good.

Think about who are really your friends. If you can think of at least 2 you're doing well. Then keep in contact with them off Facebook.

Decide what's important and how you actually want to spend your time. You'll probably find you have been focused on doing things that don't actually make you happy.

Think deeply about why you've got to a position we your are 'frantcially' trying to maintain relationships with people who you feel don't care about you.

Sounds like some time for some reassessment.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now