• Resolving Problems

A Social Butterfly Friend Who Keeps Secrets

Published: February 10, 2024 | By | Reply Continue Reading
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A friendship has a “social butterfly” friend who withholds names (or other information) can feel perplexing and distant.


Dear Friendship Doctor,

My good friend Clarice is a social butterfly, whom I’ve known for more than eight years. She is always talking about her other friends but never uses their names. 

We both have a common friend, Vanessa, whom we met at the same event at the same time. She, too, thinks it odd that Clarice never mentions the names of any of her other friends. Vanessa says “No one could have that many friends.” I have only met three of Clarice’s friends, by accident.

The only reason this matters is because I often feel deflated (and I know Vanessa does, too) after talking with Clarice. It seems like she has this incredible parallel life going on with thousands and thousands of other friends, and it’s all I can do to tread water and keep the dishwasher emptied. 

Usually after a period of a year or so, if not much sooner, one learns the name of your friends’ friends. As in, “Oh, is that the one who moved to Spain and then came back a year later?” or “Oh, is that the one who got divorced and met the tennis pro right after and got married?”

Have you ever encountered this? I frankly have not. If I am conversing with someone I care about who I know doesn’t have many friends, I take pains not to reference very many other friends, intentionally. 

And, even if someone does have a lot of friends, I simply don’t go on and on about my other friendships. I know there are bigger problems, but it’s been going on for years. What do you think?



What is a social butterfly?

Source: Wikipedia

“A social butterfly is a slang term for a person who is socially dynamic, successful at networking, charismatic, and personally gregarious. Usually, social butterflies don’t belong to a particular group, but rather jump from one group to another. They are accepted in all of these groups, but don’t necessarily have any deep friendship connections in any of them.”


Hi Lila,

Many of us have had that one friend who seems to flit effortlessly through social circles, leaving us wondering about the many lives they lead. 

Your question touches on a topic that many of us can relate to—one about the dynamics of friendship and the quirks that make each bond unique.

Your friend, Clarice, a true social butterfly, has a habit of weaving tales about her numerous friends without ever revealing their names. It’s like she has a secret society of pals, leaving your and your mutual friend Vanessa feeling a bit left out of the loop.

But before we dive into analyzing Clarice’s behavior, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the beauty of friendship in all its forms. Each of us brings something special to the table, whether we’re the life of the party like Clarice or the quiet observer like you. Our differences make the tapestry of friendship richer and more vibrant.

While it may seem odd that Clarice keeps her friends’ identities under wraps, there could be a multitude of reasons behind her actions. Perhaps she values her privacy or maintains loose connections with her acquaintances. Or maybe, just maybe, she’s simply forgetful when it comes to names—a trait many of us can relate to!

But here’s the thing: it’s okay to feel a little perplexed by her behavior. After all, friendships thrive on open communication and mutual understanding. If something is standing in the way of a friendship, talk about it.

So, what’s key to navigating this friendship maze? Understanding and acceptance. By recognizing that each of us has our own unique approach to friendship, we can embrace the diversity that makes our connections so special. Whether you’re a social butterfly like Clarice or a steadfast companion like you or Vanessa, there’s room for all of us in the world of friendship.

In essence, you and Clarice have very different personality styles and you need to assess whether there are enough positive attributes to the friendship that make it worthwhile keeping, 

Hope this helps.

My best,


Have you ever encountered a friendship dilemma like Lila’s? Share your stories and insights in the comments below—we’d love to hear from you!

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