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sick of being the 'organiser' with friendships

(11 Posts)
maggiethemagpie Tue 30-Jun-15 09:26:47

I feel like I am the only one with this problem. Most, if not all of my friendships seem unbalanced and one sided. I seem to be the one to do the keeping in touch/organising/contacting and the other person just drifts along.

It makes me feel really unwanted and unpopular. When I do get together with my friends we have a good time, and I feel the friendship is genuine, but I grow resentful at always (or mostly) having to be the one to make the effort, and with one friend in particular I have grown so resentful that I can't bear to actually see her anymore. I kept inviting her and her partner over for dinner, or for a catch up, and although we did get invited back in the past, recently they have never invited us back (although were happy to accept our invites) and it's got to the point now where I just can't do it anymore.

It just seems like everyone is a bit indifferent - happy to come along if I do the organising but happy to go for months without getting in touch if I don't.

I don't think I'm too clingy, it's not like I'm trying to organise things all the time but I would like it for someone else to make the effort now and then. Only it doesn't happen.

Maybe I'm just not very popular and need to accept my fate. I guess I'm asking what it's like for other people, do you feel your friendships are equally balanced, or do you give more in terms of organising/effort, or less?

Thenapoleonofcrime Tue 30-Jun-15 09:35:57

My experience is that there usually is one organizer and one person who just accepts in a lot of friendships, not all, but I am that organizer and I have also been hurt by the fact that some of my friends wouldn't call or text if I didn't keep in touch with them. In fact, a couple of them I haven't called or texted, I sometimes wonder if I would ever hear from them again!

Having said that, with closer friendships I do expect a bit more reciprocity, my best friend does call me about as much as I call her or slightly less and that is great.

I do also think if you are an outgoing organizer type, you sometimes end up friends with more passive people, and then the trouble is that they are never going to be the initiators however much you wish they would- this may be due to lack of confidence, less priority on friends, thinking the friend wouldn't want to be contacted (I have one friend who just thinks people have gone off her when they haven't). But ultimately, if they are never ever prepared to even text you to check how you are, then it does start to become a one-way street.

With this couple, I think couple friendships are always a bit more difficult, perhaps the two guys don't really have so much of a friendship, so perhaps just leave it a while and see what happens. If your friend (the female) really never texts you or checks how you are, then that's a bad sign, but if it's just the invites over to theirs are less frequent, this might not be a big issue, some people don't like having people over that much.

I don't think just withdrawing completely is a good idea if you genuinely value the friendship, as it has been set up in one dynamic and you just unilaterally moving it to another won't work- but equally if they don't seem fussed about meeting up that much, perhaps focus your attention elsewhere.

I am friends now with more organizers and it's nice to get invited places!

KERALA1 Tue 30-Jun-15 09:39:39

Let the passive takers drift and try to build new friendships with other organisers.

maggiethemagpie Tue 30-Jun-15 09:50:09

Trouble is I seem to only attract the passive takers - in the past I had self esteem issues (now much better as done a lot of work on that) so I would accept bad treatment but now I have higher standards for myself, which is a good thing, but means I get frustrated a lot more if people aren't giving anything back.

With the female friend in the couple, she used to text more as we were pregnant at the same time (although been friends much longer) although for the past year or so I'd say she really hasn't bothered that much. She hacked me off big time a few weeks ago as I said we were looking at going to a kid friendly festival and let me know if she was interested. She didn't say she was interested then a few weeks later put a post on fb saying they were going to a festival with their child and did anyone want to come, and name checked a few people - but not me!

I replied saying we may be interested and she said come along - but tickets had sold out by then. But the fact that she name checked a few people and not me after I'd specifically said I was interested in going to a festival is ringing big alarm bells for me that she actually doesn't give a crap about hanging out any more - in fact it says to me that she actively doesn't want to. I think I'm going to let things lie with that particular friend for a while. She is the worst one, but with other friends although things aren't that bad I am still the one to do the chasing and I'm seriously considering becoming more of a recluse than I already am as I am so hacked off with it, it just feels like a long slow drawn out rejection.

I've tried to be less 'chasey/organiser' with newer friends I've met but then we either end up meeting up very infrequently or it just fizzles out as neither party is putting in any effort.

I have tears in my eyes typing this right now thinking how it must mean I'm just not the kind of person people want to hang out with. Sorry for the self pity - but it really hurts.

Thenapoleonofcrime Tue 30-Jun-15 10:04:32

Maggie I'm not sure you are reading this all correctly, if you were pregnant together, then surely she's now got a tiny baby- in which case it is quite normal for people to be very preoccupied. Similarly, she's just had a baby so many not have remembered you said you would want to go to a festival- so just put the idea out there. I don't think she's done anything too terrible, although it may be the friendship is moving on.

I think you obviously feel very insecure in your friendships and take the 'rejection' very personally, but I think this is probably wrong- my experience is that when everyone has babies and toddlers, opportunities to see friends drastically diminish, everyone gets a bit more insular, or hangs out with friends who are close by and are convenient, rather than travelling to see old friends. This is sad, but it is just a stage, and an opportunity for you to make new friends too. I'm finding that now my children are older (10+) the opportunities to go out are much more frequent.

I'm not trying to say that your friends aren't a bit flaky or passive, lots of people are- but you seem to be taking it very personally when I don't think it is probably meant as a rejection, more as a thoughtlessness and just busyness with life.

Perhaps meeting up infrequently would be ok. It sounds like you do have quite a set idea of what friendships are like- coming over to dinner as a couple, meeting up a lot, and these things are shifting and changing now you are a parent, and they are for others too. I think looking for genuine connection, not expecting too much for people, and not seeing all things as 'rejection' may be the key here- perhaps talk it through with someone.

I'm not trying to say that you aren't in the organizer role, and lots of people are quite passive in friendships, but you have a lot of time in the future to meet people and make new connections, you don't need to cling to these friends if it looks like the friendships are moving on.

maggiethemagpie Tue 30-Jun-15 10:15:36

Thank you Napoleon - our kids are both nearly 2 now and I live around the corner, but I take your point that things can change when kids are on the scene. I have gone back to work full time and my friend is part time and still does a lot of baby group type things so I think she has met a lot of new people whereas this is harder for me since I've been back full time (a year) as all that baby socialising time in the week is gone.

I do take rejection very personally and always have, I'm aware this can make things worse as I can then become resentful and it becomes self-perpetuating.

The whole festival thing did feel like a snub, but perhaps it was more of an oversight.

HerrenaHarridan Tue 30-Jun-15 10:17:22


Ok firstly this is not a value of your worth. Are you listening? This is not a way to define your self worth!

I understand your position, I am a giver, an organiser, an active person. my counsellor helped me to identify the friendships I want to nurture by looking at the feedback loop.

Who would come if you called and needed them? Here is where you invest your energy. Tell them how you feel. Say you don't mind doing most of the organising but you feel it's been falling too much to you and you're feeling insecure about it.
They probably think you like it.
It's also not necessarily a problem to not speak for 3/4 months then pick up where you left off. Life gets in the way.

Others don't deserve your soul, remain friends of you want to, certainly no need to dramatically end the friendship but don't pour energy in without a feedback.

Also keep on meeting new people and nurturing new friendships.

You sound lovely to me

Anxiousanne01 Tue 30-Jun-15 10:54:36

You sound lovely to me too OP. People are just fickle and weird and FB is the work of the devil!

I think everyone has friendships like the one you describe, I know I do! I just accept that that's the way it is and now only bother with/ organise things with these people once every couple of months now.

shovetheholly Tue 30-Jun-15 11:03:39

flowers you sound lovely! And I know what you mean about attracting people who tend to be more one-sided. I do this too. I think there are two elements to it:

1. You: you have a strong need to be needed, and these people feed that in the first instance. Therefore you pursue these friendships because these are the people who tend to want help and to be grateful to have you in their life when they are in trouble. Unfortunately, they are probably also the type to dump you as a friend when they are feeling better. Recognising that better, more reciprocal friendships may take a bit longer to nurture may be quite important.

2. Them: some people are just 'takers'. They have a sense of entitlement towards the world, and they don't see the need to reciprocate. This is not your problem or your fault! Nor is it a rejection of you. What your friend did with the festival is at best thoughtless and at worst deliberately hurtful. Either way, she's probably not the friend for you. Maybe instead of seeing it as rejection, view it as a lucky escape?

I am coming round to the view that you need a whole range of different people in your life, a lot of relationships that are very differently calibrated. I have friends who lean on me very heavily for support, but I've drawn some boundaries so they don't take up literally every available social moment. This has cleared some space for others that I just hang out with and talk about not-so-personal kind of stuff. I used to feel like I didn't have the closeness I wanted with the latter group, but I now see that it's just a different kind of friendship.

Things do change when people have kids. I try to understand that up to a point, but I do think it can reach a moment with some parents who are utterly absorbed in their children to the exclusion of all else where it's better to draw a line and maybe find other people to socialise with.

Thenapoleonofcrime Tue 30-Jun-15 11:58:55

I think that's a really good point about different types of friends. I have one close friend who I speak to every week, a few friends I go for coffee/tea if I get the chance every couple of weeks (but these are at work so easy to catch up with logistically) and then a few couple friends who we might catch up with once every month or two or even longer, and some old friends who I see less than yearly! It's hard to get two families with multiple kids who live hours or countries apart together- I have a couple of old friends I haven't seen in many years, but we chat on the phone a couple of times a year and if the opportunity ever comes up to visit them (e.g. go there for work) I would always take it.

I think it is doubly hard when you go back to work, the opportunities to hang out easily with mum friends drop off significantly, as they are free in the day and want to do coffee with other mum friends, but aren't necessarily wanting to go out in the evening, especially as people move on to have 2nd/3rd children and can't afford babysitters.

I think as others have said, having more friends, and being quite flexible and understanding work well at this stage. However, if you feel someone is actively avoiding you, or putting all the work in other friends, it may be that friendship is best left for a while.

maggiethemagpie Tue 30-Jun-15 17:32:06

Thank you all, I feel a bit better now. Looking back, it was much easier last year when I was on mat leave/part time (went back to work pt when baby was six months and ft when a year). I did make some 'mum' friends but it is really hard to keep it up if you're not on the baby circuit. My partner is now the SAHP and has made dad friends with some other SAHDs so now he has the social life! 9In fact he has made friends with one of my friend's husbands, as we both went back after mat leave and the men stayed at home. ) I was forced to go full time (or be out of a job) and I remember the first thing I thought was - bang goes my social life.

Regards the flakey festival friend, although we were once fairly close I'm not sure it is working for me lately. I got so focused on whether she wanted to be my friend that I forgot to think about whether I wanted to be her friend! I think we have drifted apart a little, so will leave it and if we reconnect in the future, great , but I'm not sure we will tbh.

Good to know I am not the only one who doesn't have oodles of friends, it can feel like everyone else is part of a massive social whirl but I guess it's one of those taboo things that no one talks about in RL.

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