Home > The Care and Feeding of Friendship

The Care and Feeding of Friendship

September 29th, 2018 at 08:56 pm

Lately I've noticed that so many don't seem to understand that being a friend often means putting a little effort into it.

I'm almost to the point where I am staying off Facebook because of the rabid political posts on both sides. I still email and I do Messenger. And I'm one of those old fashioned folks who writes letters and cards.

However, I've noticed that other than two people who are honest to goodness friends, I'm the one who does the reaching out. And to be honest, I'm weary of it. If I don't call, write, message, or email first, I don't hear from them. Most then respond, but then nothing. Yesterday it all sort of hit me all at once. There are a couple of people who we email at least once a day. But, I didn't hear from anyone yesterday.

I'll admit it, my feelings were hurt. It didn't have to be a message the size of a small book. And I had emailed in the morning like I almost always do.

Today, I didn't email. I figured I would wait and see. This afternoon one did respond and basically blamed me because she hadn't received a message from me. Really? I'm the only one who can start?

I just don't understand, I guess. I thought relationships take some effort on both ends. And I'm just feeling like I'm being taken for granted.

I don't want to lose friends, but I'd like to be the recipient of a message that wasn't a reply to mine. Guess I'm picky.

8 Responses to “The Care and Feeding of Friendship”

  1. Smallsteps Says:

    I too have noticed this as well. I always ending up being the person who reaches out and does the work.

    The odd thing is that I connected with a couple of old friends recently and they complained about losing touch with others and I asked them did you message them or call or text or anything?
    this very thing has lost me many friends as I could not keep up with being always the person who connected then when we did anything it seemed like I was always the person whom drove out of my way ect. I got tired of it so slowing just quit reaching out now it has been a long time I think about sending a message then I just get mad that if the friendship meant anything to the other person they could have called/ text or any sort of communication.

  2. rob62521 Says:

    I understand exactly what you are saying, Smallsteps. Or, if we run into each other, the person will comment how they expected to hear from you. It should be a two way street. It is both frustrating and hurtful.

  3. Wink Says:

    I can relate. Several years ago I noticed the same dynamic. I was the one who did most of the reaching out and planning with certain friends. I finally reevaluated, and just stopped being the one making all the effort. This resulted in losing contact with a few people. But what I gained is now a small but very close group of friends. These are the relationships that are mutually valuable and pretty much equal in efforts. I now purposefully keep my circle small with family and just a few close friends.

  4. Jenn Says:

    So I'm the type of person that you're complaining about. For a different perspective: I'm at a stage of life where my time is limited - full-time job, kids with activities, and I'm the only driver in the house. I do care about my long-time friends but I seldom reach out. I make the time for birthdays & holidays but don't have a regular communication cadence otherwise. I feel guilty and once told a friend that I noticed that she was the one to reach out twice in a row. I was relieved when she responded "it's okay - I know you have several more kids than me so I can only imagine your schedule."

    Maybe consider whether your friends have competing priorities. Or maybe they are more introverted. I guess if's very lopsided though, like you invest in the relationship and they ask for favors but never reciprocate, then it could be a relationship to evaluate.

  5. mumof2 Says:

    I noticed this a few years ago with family and friends so I only reached out when I wanted to, when they asked why they hadn't heard from me...I asked why didn't they contact me, they just sort of looked sheepish and I'm much happier now I contact people when I want if they don't reach out thats ok...if they do thats great as well...I lost a lot of friends when I become ill and it just showed me who my true friends were...people don't need to contact each other everyday to be friends but you don't need to be the first to reach out needs to be a balance...but if it bothers you then ask them...great friendships rely on great could be that they are busy, feel that its the way you communicate (you have been emailing first for a long time) etc...just ask them

  6. LuckyRobin Says:

    I quit reaching out to most people a couple years ago. I didn't have the energy for it anymore. I still don't. A lot of these people were the type that you just have to work and work at the friendships and they honestly weren't worth it to me to do so. It was always me making arrangements, always me making the effort, going the extra mile and I was just too exhausted to be that person anymore. I also stopped reaching out to the ones who went rabid during the last political season. I watched how they treated anyone who didn't have an opinion that matched up exactly with theirs and decided I didn't want to be using up limited resources (time and energy) on people that were becoming meaner and meaner by the week. I find that I really don't miss most of them and the ones that I do, it is just in passing, and it is not enough to do anything about. I think I miss more who they used to be than who they've become.

  7. frugaltexan75 Says:

    I totally hear what you are saying. It's very rare that anyone reaches out to me … and I don't reach out either. Got tired of it.

  8. ceejay74 Says:

    I hear you too. I've been making more of an effort to cultivate new and existing friendships this year, and believe me it IS an effort!

    I sometimes have to reach out several times before I can get someone to respond, and getting them to agree to meet is even harder. People are so overbooked and busy these days.

    At least they don't guilt me when I DON'T reach out. That would really irritate me! I do understand what I'm contending with: I've got friends with new significant others. Friends in college. Friends whose kids are in sports. Friends planning weddings. So I don't take it personally. My one friend with no such obligations is in frequent contact with me, but she's in another country so we don't hang out in person very often.

    When we do get in touch it's fun and great, so for now it's worth the effort. I don't want my social circle to shrink any more than it has, in fact I'd like it to be a little bigger. Not only do I enjoy connecting with people but I know it's very beneficial for mental and even physical well-being.

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