• Keeping Friends

Everyone else has close friends

Published: April 15, 2014 | By | 5 Replies Continue Reading
It may seem like everyone else’s close friends are permanent but most friendships are dynamic, changing all the time.



I have had two close friends over the years (I am 40 now). My best friend of 16 years met and ended up marrying a controlling man who was very jealous of our relationship and as a result we lost our friendship (I didn’t see her get married and she never saw my children born).

The other friend ended up using and abusing me, I allowed her and her 10-year-old daughter move in to help her out of an abusive relationship and I helped them in so many ways. Once she moved out, I continued to help her out and then she met a guy and basically stopped catching up with me.

I am such a giving person to the ones I love and I just feel that they always seem to take advantage of me. Since my children have started school I have made some friendships but all those people have close friends already. You see photos of happy times with their friends and I never have that. It is really hard to find that special friend or friends later on in life.

Signed, Leah


Hi Leah,

It had to be hard to recover from the loss of a 16-year friendship but I imagine that it’s also difficult to watch someone you care about wind up with a controlling, jealous husband. It sounds like your friend is in a very tough situation and it’s unfortunate her marriage had a negative impact on you as well.

In terms of the second friendship, if your friend used or abused you, consider yourself lucky to be out of that relationship. Hopefully, you’ve learned that although it’s nice (and comes natural) for you to be a giving person, you need to make sure you aren’t taken advantage of and that a relationship involves give and take on both sides.

From your history, it doesn’t sound like your friendships are fickle. Rather, you have a knack for being able to develop close friendships and keep them for years. Even though these two ended, you shouldn’t consider either one a failure. Many friendships, even very good ones, change or end over time.

I suspect that the people around you that seem to have close friendships may still be interested in making new friends. They’re friendship are likely to be changing, too, so don’t count them out.

If you are 40, it’s not too late to make new friends at all! Just think, based on your life expectancy, you can count on at least another 40 years of friendships. Moreover, friendships made at mid-life tend to be more enduring: People know themselves better and have a better sense of what they want from their friends.

My guess is that by the time you are 50 or 60, you’ll have made other long-term friendships to look back upon and will have captured them in photos. You never know which of your current acquaintances will turn into those friendships.

My best, Irene

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Comments (5)

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  1. C says:

    The problem I found out with friends who use others is that they either don’t know that their behavior is unacceptable or they deliberately try to take advantage of you. Some say that the fault lies with the givers or the generous people and that they have low self esteem but I disagree. I actually think that it’s the other way around. When we have someone, family or friends, who we truly care about, we tend to give (not with the hope of reciprocation but if they do feel the same way about us, it is often reciprocated). We don’t give because of low self esteem. We give because we care to help or share with the other person. Being generous is great but if you notice that anyone is abusing that, it’s best to establish boundaries.

    I’ve had a friend who rarely ever opened up her wallet to pay for her own meals. She would simply sit and wait for me to pay when the bill came out. I eventually decided to establish my boundaries with her and the first thing I did was to not pay and wait for her to pay. Ironically, she flipped saying “Wow, you’re not paying? You didn’t even open up your wallet”. Needless to say, I eventually distanced myself away from her. I’ve had another friend who used her friends for rides although she had her own car. Ironically, both of the friends liked to brag and ‘one up’ which leads to me think that beyond selfishness, they were insecure. I’ve always wondered if they were great as they claimed to be, they wouldn’t be leeching off of other friends.

    The friends I choose to spend my time with now are similar to me in a sense that they like to give or they respect my boundaries. They have high self esteem unlike the friends I mentioned above. I don’t think we can completely isolate ourselves from people who take advantage of us but we can call them out on it, establish boundaries or simply find and spend more time with friends who share the value of giving. Life simply wouldn’t be life without giving.

  2. Friendship Poet says:

    Friendship are similar to love relationships in that they do in fact change over time. You and your friends morph into different people over the years. One day it seems you wake up and you find that your friendship isn’t what it used to be. If you can work a friendship out to where there is an equal give and take then the friendship, like a relationship, is worth saving. If you are being taken advantage of like you were then it it is better that you moved on. I agree with the poster who said that you will find another long enduring friendship. If you keep yourself open to new people and new experiences, the right friend will come along. Be careful not to close yourself off from other people because you have had friendships in the past end badly. Keep yourself open!

  3. Bernie says:

    I’m tired but I feel better now stumbling upon these comments. I used to have lots of friends and so called friends. My cousin and I decided one day to get rid of all of them because we felt that there’s no reciprocation and growth. That we’re just being used and our families are being affected. It’s true that being in a friendship is a very unique fulfillment of the human soul. But to find a true friend– I have none now though I’m not complaining. Instead, I concentrate more on my wife and kids unlike before when I spread myself thin for reaching out to others, don’t misunderstand me, I still make myself available if one needs support. I absolutely agree with the other posts here. Giving is the ultimate act of being human. It’s easy to give and sacrifice for those you know and love, but have you tried doing the same to those you hate and to those you don’t know? I did. You’ll be surprised how your life suddenly changes maybe because you detach yourself from material things and from your selfishness. I also find Faith as my happy corner for healing, learning, and growing. God bless

  4. caraK says:

    Leah, being of your giving nature is 100% wonderful. Do not ever see the problem in having a giving nature, bec it is a virtue. Most, if not all organized religions of the world, believe that to live a life giving to others is the highest life anyone can achieve on earth. That is one example. Another is, most of the famous philosophers thru history came to see a life of giving to others as the best of lives. A third example is, there are many many famous ppl today, who have tons of money, but who say their happiness lies not in their money nor in their material possessions, but rather in serving others. The problem lies with ppl who take, take,take. And, you know, that is not necessarily a problem in certain situations of extreme need, but eventually, those ppl who have needed to take for awhile, they achieve “balance” again, and can give to others again. The problem is, many ppl see it as their purpose in life to think only of themselves, and even when a giver like you had given them tons and tons of help, they literally see no, no, no obligation to give back to you. This is because they believe they are #1, and owe no one anything at all. Some ppl, even some of the major philosophers of the world, choose or chose to keep on giving to these selfish “taker” type of ppl. It is a petsonal decision whether to keep on giving to takers (i have decided to stop giving to taker types &to search for ppl like me who ate giving-driven.) And taker-types abound, we run into them always&everywhere. We are not to blame when we are the “givers”.There have been ppl who study modern psychology who have worked to define the dynamics between givers and takers. That is interesting, and in certain situations may be useful, but i personally believe psychology and medicine should never, never, never interfer or intervene in our personal Core Beliefs. If you are aware someone in your life is a taker, and you yourself can freely chose to continue that relationship, because above all you are a giver and giving is Central to your life, well, no one has the right to suggest it is a flaw in you! I am a giver,too. However, i am currently chosing to end relationships with all users. This is based on a year of fighting for my life against a CA diagnosis, a year where many so-called friends and family turned their backs on me and my dh. It was shocking&hurtful to see such absolute selfishness in ppl.i chose to end all these relationships bec i came to realize that for me they were literally physically toxic. Yet,it is not easy bec altho at my Core i am a giver, it is diificult to accept that ppl at their cores can be so selfish. I believe true joy in life comes in giving. I have noticed that ppl who choose to be selfish takers,&who are capable of turning their backs on others (both in good times and challenging times), these ppl are chronically unhappy. Leah, where you&i might feel temporarily hurt or disappointed or wondering “When on earth will we ever find good loyal loving close giving-oriented friends”, well, the taker-selfish ppl are always miserable, always complaing, always depressed (and these days when there seems to be less of a stigma on a person saying they are taking medicine, these ppl often are on anti depressants&such). Can you believe that many of our so-called friends continued to complain&dump their relatively trivial problems&fears&”baggage” on me &my dh During the year i was ardently fighting for my life thru major surgeries&treatments? It is unthinkable, but true. Now that i am recuperating, i find myself deciding to Relentlessly search for new friends who belief 100% as i&dh do, in giving to others. There are days when i feel the hurt feelings your post here shows, but i Never allow my feelings to interfere with my beliefs and the truth. And that truth is, Leah, the there really Are wonderful givers out there in the world for you and me to meet! I have chosen to not pursue any person who lets me know they are self-centered, and ppl do really let us know who they are within the first few minutes of meeting. For example,two weeks ago i met four new women. Two revealed their selfish lifestyle immediately (bec i was keeping myself alert and aware,i noticed what they were revealing about their true characters, but even if they were good at “conning” ppl, we have our gut intuition to listen to-and i am also trying more&more to listen to what my gut or intuition is telling me!). One if these spoke 99% about herself, a huge red flag. The second displayed great noticeable reluctance to connect via email, even tho she & i share same work/career and even same hobbies. The 3rd woman i am yet hoping to hear from, as she took my email. The 4th woman, i will try to get in touch with her thru an events coordinator of the event we met at. But i am treading with awareness and care, due to my core resolution to spend the rest of my life knowing others who have chosen to make Giving the primary focus of their lives. I hope and pray this reply post provides integral support to you, as that is my intention. You are a fabulous woman to have a giving nature!!

  5. Amy F says:

    I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your friends. It’s particularly sad when a friend chooses an abusive/controlling partner over a true friend.
    Since there seems to be a pattern with your two friends, they both ended up with the same type guys. Is there something in your personality that’s attracted to women who are or become victims? Do you have a “rescue” type personality? It’s always easier to change your own behavior than to try to change other people.
    Relationships, friendships or otherwise, can only be as healthy as the people in them. If your friends don’t have healthy relationships with themselves or their partners, they don’t have the skills to be in healthy relationships with others.
    Like Irene says, it’s never too late to make intimate friends. If I were you, I’d look go slowly with new relationships, for “red flags” to similar traits of your previous failed friendships, and be open to different types of people of different ages. The worst friendships decisions I’ve made in my life have come out of loneliness.
    Good luck.

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