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?

Ilovexmastime Mon 18-Feb-13 15:05:29

shewhowines is talking a lot of sense!

This thread has really got me thinking about friendship, thanks OP!

shewhowines Mon 18-Feb-13 14:45:07

And if i knew there was an expectation that I had to be in contact frequently then that would scare me off too. I don't want to feel pressure or feel guilty when being someones friend. It needs to be easy.

shewhowines Mon 18-Feb-13 14:39:44

Spent too long thinking about this in the shower.

Not everybody is as confident as they appear. If you have always done the running then you suddenly stop making the effort, then many people would take that as you not being interested anymore. (eg the poster whose friend rang back immediately after she misdialed her but didn't/couldn't get in touch of her own accord. ) It may be wise to have a jokey conversation such as "it's always me calling you - you need to call me next time". Then at least if they don't call then you know where you stand completely. Don't make all the running in any future new friendships and don't be too keen to offer your help. That will naturally evolve as you get to know each other. It would put me off as other posters have said. Don't appear needy.

Also its always the "nice guys' who get shat on in romantic relationships. You need to do a very watered down version of "treat them mean to keep them keen". People unconciously sp? need to feel they have to work to get something worthwhile. They won't value you as much as they would, if they had to actually invest something into the relationship. Again if they're not prepared to invest in your friendship then you know where you stand quickly.

One of my best friends was only an acquaintance for many years. She is not naturally bubbly which attracts people and makes people feel at ease with them. It took a long time to actually get to know her well, but how many people are missing out on a great friend because of it. Again not a reflection on her, but probably a source of frustration for her as far as friendships go.

shewhowines Mon 18-Feb-13 13:45:29

i also think it is about respect. A true friendship is where friends respect each others efforts and limitations. You need to respect yourself though and not accept "inferior" friendships.

A true friendship is balanced with give and take, both of which may change at various times but if you find yourself always "giving" then it is not a true friendship. One person may make more of the effort in arranging meet ups/ telephone call which is ok if it is balanced in other areas of the relationship.

shewhowines Mon 18-Feb-13 13:34:14

I have old friends that I don't see for month and months but when I do it is immediately comfortable.

I have friends that I don't see so much of, now that we are at a different life stage, but I value their friendship even though i no longer put in much effort.

I have friends that I see more often now, because it is easier both logistically and is less effort. We just seem to naturally "click".

I have found that as I have got older I have got lazier and am not prepared to put in the effort that I would have done when i was younger. It does not mean that there is anything wrong with people, but they may feel the same as the op if they are feeling sensitive.

I have suffered angst in the past when people do not seem to particularly want to keep in contact with me but what I have come to realise is, that you need to take friendships for what they are. What will be will be. I wouldn't say I was popular but I wouldn't say I was unpopular. I am not a people "pleaser" or a "taker".

I think that sometimes you 'blame yourself" as the op has, when actually it is nothing to do with you at all. It is the type of person and what they need/are prepared to invest in a friendship. Maybe consider friends who are not your "usual type" and look outside your comfort zone or in new places for people with similar interests/ life stages.

I also think it is very difficult to break into established friendship groups. I am very resistant to people joining in on close friend get togethers - not because i probably wouldn't like them but because I don't want to change the dynamics of our group which is easy and no effort. (i don't worry for more casual mum get togethers). I'm not proud of this but I think it could explain some friendship issues that people on here seem to have.

In essence don't take things personally. I like lots of people but have no time or energy to develop new friendships . You are probably well liked Op. You just haven't been lucky enough to meet people who can offer you what you want. I think I would really struggle if I had to start completely afresh with friends. I think most people would.

MoodyDidIt Mon 18-Feb-13 11:56:08

oh yeah and there is a Mumsnet group on the dreaded Fb for making friends, someone on here set it up months ago, there are 100s of mners on there looking for friends locally to them (hope that doesn't sound sad or owt, it really isn't!)

i for one met a couple of lovely ladies on there (ok that actually does sound quite dodgy grin )

so if any one would like to join pm me!!

MoodyDidIt Sun 17-Feb-13 11:11:51

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.

^ came on this thread to say this!

its so annoying and soul destroying sad

Losingexcessweight Sun 17-Feb-13 08:39:15

What area are you in op?

I have the same problem. I dont bother with friends anymore

Lessthanaballpark Sun 17-Feb-13 08:03:24

OP,YANBU.

Some of your friends sound very juvenile and i sense that that they treat you this way because you are a people pleaser. Which frankly isn't very nice of them.

So, stop being so nice, get in touch with your inner "don't give a fuck" person. Start posting some boastful pictures of yourself and your brilliant DH and DC. The fact that you have a great DH makes you luckier than a lot of people believe me. Don't leave comments for them. See if they start making an effort and if after a month they havent, screw'm! It'll ruin your self-esteem to keep chasing people that don't reciprocate.

Just make yourself happy! Join a new club where you can have acquaintances not friends, because that way you won't feel socially isolated.

Besides you'll always have Mumsnet smile

JohnSnowsTie Sun 17-Feb-13 02:44:43

I think one of my main problems (as someone who would be perceived as making little effort) is that I'm an introvert, and not a big talker. If I see someone too regularly, I find I have nothing to say and it feels awkward.

When my friends from school and I get together, we always have a brilliant time and at some point in the evening someone will inevitably say "we should do this more often" (I've said it myself) - but we all go on to agree that it's precisely because we don't do it too often that we have such a good time.

Murtette Sun 17-Feb-13 00:45:15

I love the phrase about a friend being for a reason, a season or life. That rings so true to me.

Having felt that I was always the one making an effort with friendship, I've made a real effort to become wiser in forming friendships and more realistic as to what to expect to them. This has lead to me not initiating contact with a couple of friends who I felt were takers, realising that some of my friends are simply busier than me (full time job, more children, caring for eldery relatives, voluntary work on top of full time job etc) so don't have as much time for me as I do for them and so I can't expect them to be free when I am, realising that some friends aren't as busy as I am so will be more available without being "needy", realising that some people (such as the lady two doors away) isn't someone I'd necessarily pick to be a friend but our DC are in the same school year & (at the moment anyway) seem to get on well so this other lady & I are bound to see a lot of each other & call on each other for favours so I may as well do my best to get on with each other and that other friends are what I consider to be true friends who I may sometimes call or email two or three times a week but then not speak to for a month depending on what else is going on in our lives but who I know will be there for me if I need it. I've also learned that what gives me pleasure may not give the same degree of pleasure to someone else - I enjoy cooking and hosting so often invite people over for lunch. I've realised that a friend who hates cooking & is very house proud but feels she never has the time to get the house to the right standard is never going to invite us over for Sunday lunch. On reflection, I've decided that I find Sunday lunch at ours such a relaxing affair, especially as they tend to bring a couple of bottles of nice wine, that I'll keep inviting them even though the invite is unlikely to be reciprocated. On the other hand, it does bother me if I spend ages choosing a birthday present for a friend only for them to forget my birthday and then for this to be repeated the following year & the one after that. So I now take my steer for whether I buy gifts for friends and their DC from my friends, if they buy for me/my DC, I buy for them; if they don't, I don't.

I've also learned to listen more.

Tulahoob Sat 16-Feb-13 23:41:37

Great post iusedtobefun2! Definitely food for thought for lots of us!!

It's been said before but isn't all about expectation?

For me a true friendship is not about how often you see each other but that relationship when you are together. And giving your friend space to live their lives, respecting that we all have our own families and responsibilities and ways of dealing with those.

Friendships also take time to build. They don't happen overnight. I think the slow burners are the best ones.

Also, I think that it's really important not to make your friends responsible for your happiness. That's your job. You need to find out exactly what you want from your life and make sure it happens.

It's really unfair to burden your friends with that responsibility.

BooCanary Sat 16-Feb-13 22:14:59

I don't spend much time 'investing' in friendships. I have a handful of old friends and a few mum friends. Enough friends to have the odd evening out or weekend away with - friends I have a shared history with and who I care a lot about.

However, I like my own space and can't be bothered with trying to be popular. I have decided against a night out tonight with some mums from school who are really just acquaintances and quite cliquey, and am chilling out in my PJs instead.

I expect I seem to some like I don't make an effort. I am rarely the one who organises things, and don't tend to exchange favours, although I am more than happy to help a friend in need.

Now and again I get upset that I haven't got stacks of friends, and have to remind myself that I kind of like it that way.

i guess i say 'in my experience' or 'what i've found is'. 'sometimes it seems'.

i think the spirit in which it's said is actually the most important. this will sound cheesy, but if you say something with love and goodwill in your heart it will generally be ok. if you say something for the right reasons, and not to hurt or put down or just be plain argumentative then i do think it comes across better.

of course a lot of some people don't like me. that's ok. i'm not that easy to get along with because i don't go along for an easy life.

i feel more comfortable with that than going along with the crowd just to fit in.

Tulahoob Sat 16-Feb-13 21:46:22

Don't mean to hijack the OP's thread but how do you speak your mind nicely Claudedebussey? I find however nicely I speak my mind, or try to, someone takes offence!

Ilovexmastime Sat 16-Feb-13 21:31:21

Well said.

also, after trying a couple of times with someone, if they have excuses and it doesn't work out i don't pursue it. and most importantly don't take offence. there might be a myriad of reasons why they don't want to meet up.

thinking the best of people is another helpful trick. no-one likes someone who's bitter or resentful. just let it go. think of a good reason why someone has let you down and move on.

i've even been de-coffee'd! someone asked me for coffee and then effectively withdrew the invitation. i guess she realised she didn't really want to get to know me better. perhaps i remind her of someone she knows and doesn't like.

it's none of my business what people think of me.

i do think you're picking the wrong friends op.

the good friends i have have taken a while to make. no swapping favours or doing things for them (although obviously i'd try to help people in need. just that you can spot the users). and i definitely speak my mind although i think there is a nice way to do this - which i'm still learning but much better at than i used to be!

you'll start to sort the needies and the bullshitters from the genuines. then hold onto them because they'll stay with you for life.

i reckon out of 20 people i know i might get on with 1. and for every 5 i get on with, 1 will become a really good friend. i'm happy with that and find that i have enough friends.

about 5 years ago i found that i was lonely and didn't have good friends so i made it a priority to have coffee with lots of different people. that also yielded results and i got a couple of good friends from that.

loobloo Sat 16-Feb-13 21:00:04

It makes me really sad that people forget me. But I feel even sadder for my DS, who's missing out on activities and socialising because I'm so forgettable.

Joiningthegang Sat 16-Feb-13 20:55:26

Also - some people are takers - they dont deserve you xxxx

loobloo Sat 16-Feb-13 20:55:17

So pleased I found this thread. I've been feeling the same too lately, I always text people to see if they want to join us when we go out. But very rarely get texts from others if they are planning things. The other day 3 out of 4 people replied with 'busy on play dates elsewhere'. Why do we never get invited to any ones house for a play date? I believe I am pretty well house trained and my child is well behaved. We just get forgotten about.

Joiningthegang Sat 16-Feb-13 20:54:14

I worked with someone who once said "you have friends for a reason, a season, or for life"

This was 14 years ago and makes absolute sense to me.

Some friendships need maintenance, some don't, some people are the initiators for doing things (me included), just because others dont make the effort doesnt mean they dont like you,

Your op sounds like what my mum would call "cutting your nose off to spite your face"

Ilovexmastime Sat 16-Feb-13 20:24:21

I think it shows that there are friends out there that you can make, it's a numbers game really.

Fishandjam Sat 16-Feb-13 20:20:48

Well, I think it's kinda cool that all us Billy No-Mates can get together on MN and share a kvetch.

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