• Making Friends

Finding friends: Are you barking up the wrong tree?

Published: March 28, 2014 | By | 25 Replies Continue Reading
If you keep getting turned down, you may be barking up the wrong tree.


Hi Irene,

I am a 46-year-old female who is single without children. My entire life I have had many friends but for about the past five years I cannot find anyone to do anything with. My friends’ children are not young and many of them are single also but they never want to do anything.

I know that they have social lives because I see them post things on the Internet. I have told them I feel left out and ask to be invited next time around but I never am. What am I doing wrong?

Signed, Elyse


Hi Elyse,

It’s always disappointing when friendships are one-sided—when one person wants more from a relationship than another. And watching friends talk online about social events that don’t include you can be particularly painful.

Although you describe yourself as single without children, it doesn’t sound like being single or being child-free is the barrier between you and these old friends. Some of your friends are single as well, and the ones who are parents don’t have very young children that keep them homebound. So I can’t be sure why these friendships have dwindled.

Friendships often change over the years and if these friends don’t have time for you or never initiate contact, it may be a case of you barking up the wrong tree. You have more of an investment in these friendships than they do.

In addition to extending occasional invitations to these friends, you need to seek out some new friends based on common interests. What are your passions or hobbies? Is there some group or organization you could join to find new friends to spend time with? Is there a neighbor or someone at work you would feel comfortable inviting for a get-to-know-each-other coffee?

Relationships take two and it can get very depressing to be in a situation where you are repeatedly rebuffed.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

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Category: Finding friends at different ages and stages, MAKING FRIENDS

Comments (25)

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  1. Deidre says:

    Interesting conversation. I am female, 53 and do not have children. I am in a relationship but my partner doesn’t want to go out with me or socialise. So I’m effectively single but have the additional complication of being hassled about why my partner doesn’t come to things with me (explaining he’s not social so will never be coming with me and I’m more than happy to come on my own hasn’t worked). So I stop being invited to things as hubby has a beef with me not bringing a male for him to talk to and friendships with the women (I don’t seek to form friendships with attached me) ends up being Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm which doesn’t suit as I work. But other singles see me as being not single.
    The biggest thing I find is fitting into people’s busy lives especially without the partner attached to my hip as I don’t get to get into the centre of their lives but more on the peripheral where the woman has to make time to see me (rather than being included in couples/family things).
    I have gotten discouraged with initiating invitations when often the other person isn’t available and difficult to make an arrangement with so say something like “It’s a shame we can’t find a common time to meet up as I’d really like to get together” then name my availability (most nights and weekends are good for me) advising “it sounds a busy time at the moment but that’s my availability so when you have some time get in contact to arrange something”. Usually I don’t hear further but it makes it much less awkward if we bump into each other and leaves the door open. But it’s hard to keep stiffling disapointment and putting myself out there.
    So I’m more targetting activities I like where I come in contact with the same people on a regular basis to allow things to build more naturally without having to keep opening myself up to disapointment.

  2. DJ says:

    Interesting conversation. I am female, 53 and do not have children. I am in a relationship but my partner doesn’t want to go out with me or socialise. So I’m effectively single but have the additional complication of being hassled about why my partner doesn’t come to things with me (explaining he’s not social so will never be coming with me and I’m more than happy to come on my own hasn’t worked). So I stop being invited to things as hubby has a beef with me not bringing a male for him to talk to and friendships with the women (I don’t seek to form friendships with attached me) ends up being Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm which doesn’t suit as I work. But other singles see me as being not single.
    The biggest thing I find is fitting into people’s busy lives especially without the partner attached to my hip as I don’t get to get into the centre of their lives but more on the peripheral where the woman has to make time to see me (rather than being included in couples/family things).
    I have gotten discouraged with initiating invitations when often the other person isn’t available and difficult to make an arrangement with so say something like “It’s a shame we can’t find a common time to meet up as I’d really like to get together” then name my availability (most nights and weekends are good for me) advising “it sounds a busy time at the moment but that’s my availability so when you have some time get in contact to arrange something”. Usually I don’t hear further but it makes it much less awkward if we bump into each other and leaves the door open. But it’s hard to keep stiffling disapointment and putting myself out there.
    So I’m more targetting activities I like where I come in contact with the same people on a regular basis to allow things to build more naturally without having to keep opening myself up to disapointment.
    Anyone else without children but with a non social partner?

  3. Jenn says:

    I find this topic interesting mainly because I too suffer with a lack of close friendships. I’m a single, childless 40 year old female. I have tons of acquaintances in my town and previous ones I have lived in, but have struggled to make close connections that are not work related. I was popular enough growing up and had best friends most of my life. What I think changed things for me are: struggling with fatigue and depression, moving around too much and then settling down thousands of miles from my family and that I do not fit in a clear box of belief systems. I question everything and overthink stuff to death, plus I don’t get drunk or do drugs. Basically I find it’s hard to find people like me. I’m caring, but maybe too intense for most people. Thank you for sharing a bit about your life stories. We all have value and it’s good to be heard.

    • Ryan says:

      Sometimes I think I suffer with close friendships (just the opposite). The thing is, I just stopped going out with a group of friends which I was hanging for the last 2 years.
      They were good friends, but all of a sudden they started doing things I do not agree with, like sayin’ bad stuff from people behind their backs, and then being all kind when they’re near.
      Plus, sometimes friends wanted to “use” my patience, my car, even my money. What an abusive way to be, huh?
      Finally, last weekend, two of these ‘friends’ got mad at me because I refused to drink vodka, liquor and beer til get crazy (I don’t drink at all). I always joke I’m gonna get drunk and stuff, but never actually do it, it’s just to make people laugh. However, I think they took it seriously.
      And I did everything for them. Two years of intense outgoing, had many good moments together. But now it’s just gone. And still, I don’t feel sad at all.
      Maybe we should find happiness in ourselves before searching for friends.

      • Princess Marie says:


        So true. I often think the lesson is to be able to be comfortable being alone at times and not be so needy and always looking for someone to make us feel happy and whole. (I am by no means saying that’s what you were doing AT ALL so please don’t take that the wrong way. Actually I use to be that person. Just saying in general.) There are people in my office and office building who ask me to go to lunch often. I kindly decline most times for two reasons: 1) I am not rolling in the dough and choose not to eat out as often as they do. 2) I enjoy time alone and like the idea of physically removing myself from people (whom I am always surrounded by during the day) for some quiet “mental” time daily. I do also enjoy others’ company and appreciate and value those friendships I have. I just try not to look to other people; be it significant other, child, BFF, siblings, colleagues, etc., to be the primary source of my contentment. I only allow them to be EXTENSIONS of it and I think, for me anyway, this is a healthy position. Sometimes I admit that have “lonely relapses” though and have to remind myself of these things.

        You sound very much like my son, and that’s a huge compliment (says a biased mom). I commend you on not sacrificing your values and continuing to be a kind person (not two faced) just to stay with this group. That says a lot about you. And great job on keeping that liver nice & healthy!

        Thanks for sharing your story. It’s so refreshing to know that there are good, strong, people out there who won’t bend in upholding their character…even if it means limiting your inner circle.

        Continued joy and peace to you!

        • Ryan says:

          Hi Princess Marie, first of all, thanks a lot for replying my message.
          I agree with you. Those two items you described looks a lot like how I feel. I mean, I work with people all day, solve a lot of problems (sometimes ones that aren’t even mine), and when I get home, all I want is to peacefully rest, by listening to good music, reading a book, etc. Quite simple, but that’s how I’m happy. And just like you said: friends must be extensions, not the source of happiness.
          Thanks for the compliment, I’m very happy to know that you and your son think like me.
          Oh, and I’ll keep my liver nice and healthy, that’s for sure. If people wanna drink, fine by me, as long as they don’t try to force me into drinking too.
          Once again, thanks a lot, Princess Marie. Probably I’ll check this website more often.
          Have a nice day!!

      • Carole Heath says:

        Hi Ryan,
        I like your comment you are quite correct when you say maybe we should find happiness within ourselves before searching for friends. Your particular dilemma sounds very familiar to my own experience with some so called friends. Personally I think sometimes you do move on in life from some people especially if they are users and cause you problems. It is not a good experience to go through this type of situation but I think it does make you more cautious and you do I think try to not get involved with these type of people again. But in saying that there are friends who you can call real friends who are there for you through thick and thin. As the saying goes as one door closes another open’s is very true I think. I hope you will find some nice friends good luck.

    • Kiki says:

      I think the last time I had a true best friend was in High School. I suffer from chronic migraines for the past 25 years, which has dictated my life from every aspect. That dictation has had a medical & social domino affect. At one point in my life when I moved back home I found who I thought were my friends to be nothing but ugly to me & ended up walking away from them. I would meet people here & there & have some sort of a descent friendship, but no one to call a “True Friend”. I know no one wants to be around someone who doesn’t feel well all the time, & it has taken years to have more good days than bad. I know life doesn’t always go the way you would like it to, I’m a walking testament to that. I try so hard to look at the good, the positive, & what I can do vs what I cannot do. I understand that somethings are just not meant to be, which can be rather tough. I since moved from what I call home to an area in the country that is so far beyond my norm that I don’t fit it in no matter what i try to do. Being not from this part of the country is the first huge whammy, where I live, how I dress (I tend to dress higher-end, it’s a choice & it has a lot if which the environment i grew up/from), divorced & no children (like I said somethings are not meant to be). I generally get a long with folks at work & can have a good time, yet outside of work nobody really wants anything to do with me. It’s tough right now because I’ve finally been able to go back to school (a life long dream, & able to do online with my migraines). So I know there tends to be some isolation. I don’t leave the house if I don’t have to (a lot has to do with studies & fatigue), though I try here & there. I went to a co-workers wedding, & spoke to a few people, very minimal because it felt like I was transparent. The gal I sat next to I tried to have a conversation with, but that was a strain. Someone who works in my own department didn’t even say anything until leaving the ceremony & yet that was minimal & awkward. This pretty usual of what happens when I come out of my shell outside of work, if I’m invited to something, so it makes me not want to keep on trying. I know I can be sensitive, but it goes beyond that & would be a major epic. I finally had an Aha moment with God & Church a couple of years ago, only to have that crumble as well. It added to the brokenness. I was so happy that I had found a church that I could relate to & the message. I joined a bible study group to have a better understanding of the bible & to meet new people. I didn’t care if it was singles or married couples. I preferred an older group, yet, was put in a little bit younger group. Being adult, I told myself it’s not about the age, its about what you get out of it. Every meeting there was a dinner & dessert. I would bring a dessert because of my food allergies & I didn’t want anyone have to worry about me, plus an expense I just couldn’t afford. Something that should be an hour-hour & a half turned into 3-4 hours. There was a couple of folks/couples I could relate to & enjoyed being around them. When I enrolled in school I wasn’t sure how the two would work out & being that this group was so overextended in rituals I knew I would have to drop it for school. I didn’t think it would be an issue, I would still see everyone at church. When I made the announcement the host(s) just looked at me in disbelief, I was stunned. When we had our end of the evenings prayer the hosts wife went around the group twice, skipping me. Thank goodness that gal sitting next to me, whispered to me & patted me on my leg, for best wishes on my school endeavors. i was so crushed, but had a pinch of relief that someone else noticed. At church, it is very family oriented. There were several folks from work that went to this church, but never actually sat together. I met a couple of families that one invited me to sit with them whenever i was there & the other from the group would always speak to me me when they saw me. Other than that, I always felt so alone when going & it would upset me so terribly (to the point of not going anymore). Over time I have my ups & downs, & more & more lately I keep getting sucked back down. Something positive would come into my life, to be nothing but a brief moment in time. People I think are my friends are more like acquaintances or just co-workers. Relationships, unhealthy. With health & all that has gone on in my life I feel like I’m being punished for something I don’t know what I have done wrong. I ask for forgiveness, but I don’t think anyone’s listening. I pray daily, sometimes throughout the day. I ask for help, guidance, to have faith restored. To be shone the path I am to be on, to hear & feel him, but nothing. I feel like I keep getting pushed to the ground & I just don’t understand. If I could only understand. I keep searching for answers, hope, something. I feel like I am suppose to suffer & always have, & each time I start making progress I’m pushed back down. I don’t know where to turn anymore, & then having found this, I thought maybe it will help.

      • Princess Marie says:

        When will I learn to type my comments in a document first, then copy and paste it to the blog? I just lost an entire reply to Kiki because of an error message (arghh!), so I will start over. Hopefully it won’t come through twice. Pardon me if it does.

        I started by saying I am sorry you are going through so much, Kiki. And yet, it is our trials that strengthen us. Sounds cliché, and we may not realize it while we’re going through what we are experiencing, but after a while we see, “Hey! I’m stronger, wiser, and better than I was before all of this. Glad I made it through THAT!” (OK I borrowed some of that from a song. So true, though.) Then we pay it forward by encouraging someone else who is down.

        It is difficult when we feel alone and like no one cares for us or that we don’t fit in anywhere or with anyone. Obviously I don’t have all the answers or I wouldn’t be on this blog myself. Even though today is a good day, there was a time when I was feeling down and lonely and friendless and ended up here. Things don’t always stay the same; we go through something, make our way out of it, rest awhile, then it starts over again. Peaks and valleys/roller coaster rides they’re called. Or…LIFE. You seem to be on the right track and show diligence by continuing to read your Bible and pray even though you don’t see results. Those very actions sustained me when I was dealing with some things, and it is absolutely a chore to keep at it when it seems like you’re not being heard. As humans, we rely so much on feelings (feeling BEFORE we act and feeling BECAUSE of those actions). Faith; however, is pressing on despite of feelings. It is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Believe me when I say, you are loved and heard! If I might recommend a book, “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyer. (I am not suggesting this on behalf of The Friendship Blog, rather as a personal recommendation.) It is so good and proved to be a tremendous help when I struggling with some of the things you are going through now.

        Be encouraged today and know that you are not alone! Obviously everyone who has posted on here has gone through something similar. Even though we may have different views or handle situations differently, everyone is kind and respectful of each other. I have never read any mean comments. I think we are all somewhat sensitive considering we share a common thread.

        Anyway, all the best with school and finding a new church. Balance is key, so I can’t say I blame you about scaling back on those 3-4 hour meetings (whew!) to allow time for some other important things in life. Been there, done that.

  4. Brad says:

    Friendships have always been elusive to me. I’m 55, single with no kids, and I have one person in my life that I would call a real friend, and even that is a long distance friendship that can stretch for several years between brief, face to face encounters. I do 70% of the work in keeping that relationship alive. However, in fairness to her, she’s my ONE friend, while I’m but one of her MANY friends, so…..there’s that.

    There are just so many friendship-killers to navigate in the course of a lifetime:

    -high school ends, everyone scatters and consequently friendships quickly fade

    -workplace relationships, as intimate as they may seem at the time, end pretty abruptly when employment situations change

    -in the event that a close friendship IS forged somewhere along the way, it is unlikely to survive the marriage of one of the friends

    -in the unlikely event that a close friendship still clings to some form of life after one of the friends gets married, along comes the arrival of that friend’s first child, at which point your friendship, already on borrowed time, is soon to be vapour

    -then there is terminal cancer, the ultimate friendship killer that doesn’t give a damn about your social lifelines

    It seems to me that one of the most important survival skills that we can have, in a world with 7 billion inhabitants, is to be comfortable with outrageous amounts of alone time. In that department, I think I’ve proven that I’ve got what it takes.

  5. Mr M says:

    I am a 51 year old male who works out 5x a week and keep fit. Most people say I don’t look my age. I am separated and have 3 children in another state. I live in Las Vegas, attend church every Sunday, don’t smoke, drink, do drugs and have a professional job in High Tech. I also speak 2 other languages fluently. I am 6 tall and 210 lbs. I have a hard time making friends. I have one friend that tells me I just need to schmooze people more. When I do talk to people, they say I cause a good first impression but later on, everything changes. They seem not to want to talk to me anymore or be around me.

    I make sure I talk about them more and don’t get too personal. I try not to sound needy but maybe because of being friendless all my life, maybe it comes across. I have one male friend that calls me all the time and we talk about these things.

    I am mostly inclined to want to make friends with the opposite sex but at my age now, it’s hard to find people that want to be physically fit and younger women have no interest in older men in general.

    Women my age don’t pay attention to me either. I would pay money to see what other people see when I talk to them and what makes them decide not to want to know more about me and let me into their lives too. Apparently, being friendless in America affects thousands of not millions of people for similar reasons I and others have posted here.

    Maybe it’s just our current culture where friendships are now forged online first. I have 3 great children and they are my best friends but I know I cannot live my life through them. So now, I live alone, fill my time with work, work out, eat out alone most of the time and then, once in a while I will meet someone and that usually ends up with them just wanting a one-night stand, which I won’t do due to religious principles. I don’t go to clubs or bars. I used to feel sorry for myself thinking I was just different. What is funny is that I worked in sales and marketing for many years and was quite successful. But those were all business relationships. None lasted.
    It’s nice to read all of your comments and about your situation. I think that like attracts like and when you’ve been lonely for so long, you no longer attract people that are always surrounded by friends. People probably sense that you are not popular and have no friends so they hesitate being friends with a loner.

    I think it is even harder for men because when women see a guy eating out alone, many times the worse is assumed.

    Anyway, I sort of gave up trying to make a few friends to go out with on the weekends and am getting very used to just being my own best friend and not beating myself up like I used to. I refuse to get depressed about it and,maybe God loves me. My kids love me. So I am content with that. Thank you for reading this. God bless.

    • tanja says:

      I find that as one gets older, friendships change. I still have small kids and the friends I have made are not as close as the ones I am use to because we get together for playdates for the kids.

      So, I guess it is easier to make friends if you join clubs or what not with like minded people. For me, it is our kids that help me make friends, but I know that as our kids get older, some of these friendships will not last because we have nothing in common anymore.

      I am surprised you have not met anyone in church. As you get older, I know that you almost become pickier with friends because you don’t want to waste your time anymore, life is too short.

      For me, I am an atheist and do not believe in God. I do find it hard when I do get together with someone who does believe to connect. Yet, I love having discussions about religion but I like thinkers and not people who use religion as an easy answer to some very complex questions about the world we live in. That infuriates me beyond believe.

      But, I have joined the center for inquiry group. They have social gatherings once in a while and it is fun to get out and meet like minded people and get away from the kids for a bit. But, even with us those friendships have not lasted, we have exchanged numbers but nothing comes of it, because we are just tired and usually there are such age differences there and different circumstances as well that nothing comes of it until the next meet and if we can get a babysitter, we will attend.

      So, if you are joining things with like minded people, I am not sure why.

    • Princess Marie says:

      This is very sweet, and I would say that God definitely loves you very much! Embracing this Truth ( that I am deeply loved by Him), personally keeps me going when I get in one of those would-be lonely, depressed states.

      Thank you for sharing.

  6. Denise says:

    Hi Elyse,

    Do you like the activities they are doing? Are the activities just ok and it’s the people you’re really looking for?

    My problem is not finding anyone with common interests. I live in a state and town where my interests don’t exist because of town size and environment/climate. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I moved here from my home town. It was either stay behind alone or move with my Mom. I am now 50 and have been living here too long. I’m very unhappy, am doing research about how to move back and trying to convince Mom.

    If your interests and hobbies do exist in your area, then it’s just a matter of finding the people. Otherwise, you’ll have to like something new or relocate to a place where your interests are. And people who don’t invite you when you show interest are not wanting your company. It hurts, but it’s best to move on. I hope you will find friendly people soon.

  7. Amy F says:

    I’m single and childless and a few years older than you. Meeting new people can be challenging and it’s hard when many peers have family obligations that I don’t have.
    I agree with Irene’s advice about extending occasional invitations to friends, while seeking out new opportunities for acquaintences. Do you like to read? Libraries and book stores often have book clubs. I know come private book clubs where more socialization and wine drinking and less book discussion occurs.
    When I didn’t have nearby friends who were free to socialize, I used to periodically step WAY outside the box and go on “dates” with myself, whether to the movies, shopping of even to lunch. If even get dressed up. While it didn’t solve my companionship problems, it did feel positive to be proactive and have fun independent of needing to rely on others. It also gave me something to talk about.
    Alberta is right, if social media is making you feel left out or jealous, it’s probably not healthy for you to use. Know that pictures are brief snapshots in time, but as Alberta says, you don’t necessarily know what’s going on outside the pics.

  8. Alberta says:

    To answer the last question – it is healthy to not look on those social media sites – they create heartache and ‘drama’ within. To meet people and do things with them it can be healthier to join a sports team – if thats what you are in to or some kind of group where the people are doing stuff – ie like marathons, craft fairs so you meet people while in action. Also, for some reason this came to mind.. The Quakers – it is a religion and they are super cool at least from my experiences – also they have half yearly and yearly meetings – you could find a meeting house in your area – they have an hour of silence and people speak when moved and there is a potluck afterwards – so it is an opportunity to make your best dish and many interesting people. The half yearly and yearly meetings are fun too because there are workshops – you can lead a group of teens or help with the kids crafts and attend meetings and discussions on different topics. All the best for you to meet kind people who like to do things 🙂

  9. Cyndi says:

    Hi Elyse,

    It seems like you are a great person, unfortunately as we get older friendships are more difficult to forge. I am 51 from NYC and currently live in Cheyenne Wyoming so I understand where you are coming from. The difference is that I am from a huge city, I am used to being able to go out and do things on my own. I have a 17 year old son who is Autistic and he keeps me on my grind. I do not have any real friendships in Cheyenne, I am the outsider. I was not born and raised here, very cliquish and petty. I am also mixed race, Black/ Spanish Jewish, not the mixture people here are used to, the Mexicans keep with their own and the White women keep to their own, nobody intermixes. I am the mom who gets the dirty looks from the other mothers, my ex is witness to this petty nonsense. I work out and I do not look my age, so that makes people uncomfortable. Many of the women here are drama queens and gossips, I also do not drink and party and that is something women and men do a lot of out here, nothing else to occupy their time. Not the lifestyle I am accustomed to. I have a handful of friends I have made, all from different places as well and having the same issues, the cliquish attitudes and the blatant prejudice we deal with as women of color in a place where people do not embrace anything new or different. I also see the girls nights out on weekends from people who claim to be friends, I have confronted it in the past but I was beating my head against a wall and decided to delete them all from my Facebook page. You may need to do some Facebook housecleaning and make new connections based on common interest.

    • Princess Marie says:


      I am sorry you are going through this. It can be a challenge to be in a different setting with others who aren’t very friendly. As long as you don’t make THEIR problem yours, then I’d say you’ve conquered some of the battle.

      I live in a city in the southeastern portion of the country. The city is known for its hospitality and friendliness. It even made a top 10 list in a reputable magazine ranting about the friendliness. I laugh! I visited often because my sister resided here many years before I finally relocated. I was soooooo in love with the area, namely its beauty and reputation. I found very quickly that visiting a place (even long visits) can paint a different picture than actually residing in a place. Where I am is rich in culture and history but it’s not very progressive in some ways one would think. Many I meet are mean spirited, closed minded, rude, and fake. So I have experienced some of what you spoke of in your post.

      I have even witnessed the cliquishness at church (so middle schoolish) of all places! If you’re from here, you might be accepted but if you relocate here, people tend to be not as friendly. I have been here awhile now so when asked if I like it by the natives, I don’t hesitate to say no. (I haven’t moved yet due to my son who is doing well here and will be college-bound next year.) When I respond that I don’t like it, the area natives are shocked and want to know why. How dare I not like their city?! When I tell them of my experiences, they always want to blame the bad behavior on those from other states. (This is both a college and military city so it’s a melting pot.) I am quick to let them know it’s the city’s natives who are meanest and exclude others. Mind you, I am from the state I live in; it’s just this darn city that’s backwards. I have no real friends here (only acquaintances who say they want to keep in touch but expect me to do all the work.) Thankfully I have friendships with my sisters and those in other parts of the state and country.

      It’s so important to learn how to enjoy oneself alone, although most of us want to enjoy life with friends. We were wired/created to crave relationships and do life with others. I am no exception. I just cling to the hope that I will develop one or two REAL friendships here before I go. And if I don’t, I’ve learned how to be “at least okay” with being friendless in my current city.

      All the best to you.

  10. tanja says:

    I am sorry you are going through this. I have a friend that I knew since high school. We even ended up in the same city years later. We both are married with children the same age. However, I always invite her places and want to get together. However, she will come out with me, every now and then, and then she would invite me somewhere but never follow through, so she asked if I would go running with her, but never called to confirm plans. When my husband and I had her family over for dinner. She came and then invited us over “sometime” but it never happens. We go through long periods without talking and every so often she will call out to me, but that was more when our kids were babies. But, after years of knowing her. I have decided that she is confusing and I am tired of always being the one to over my home or I invite myself to hers. It is not that she says no, but I can’t trust her that when she offers an invitation that it will follow through. I also get the sense that she is not a genuine person and I am not too found of her husband and kids either. So, I decided, they are not very nice or genuine and I don’t want to deal with that. She was kind of like that in high school as well. She was mean as well, but would come across as nice, she was a bystander. She also lies. I mean why would she change from high school? So, I took her contact of my phone and I said in my head: to hell with you. I can make more friendships with children my kids age as well.

    But, I didn’t close the door, meaning if she contacts me, which I will not hold my breath, I will respond, I don’t want to make it nasty or as if I am bitter, because I am not. I have accepted this is who she is as a person. So, I will not go out of my way for her. But, I do know from experience that it is not good always to let the other person know how you feel, especially if they are distant anyway, you have to kind of say to yourself, I won’t bother with you and leave it at that. But, I don’t like closing doors all the way because people have a way of surprising you at times. I mean we went for years without talking because I have said this to myself quite a few times and then years passed and out of the blue, she contacted me, usually because she was bored during the day and she knew we both had babies and stayed at home within the first year. So, I said okay because she met my need at the time as well. But, in a friendship you have to get something out of it as well.

    Someone once said to me: I have a friend that is using me. I thought, that is the purpose of friendship, what good is a friend you can’t use. I stick by that. So, the way I view this particular friend is that we served a purpose for each other at the time, but I will not hang on. Now, it is time to let her go again. If years go by and she calls me again, I will determine with her purpose serves my purpose and if it does, then we will meet up again and if it doesn’t, then I will decline. But, friendships have to be useful and you need to get something out of it from both sides.

    My advice, I guess is to just not contact them and not comment on posts they have made on facebook, but join some clubs, make it a goal to meet people, go to meetup.com online. Or join a sport or art club, what ever you like, go to the gym and then ask people to have coffee sometime, always extend a smile and keep active, even if it is just by yourself.

    I know this feeling sucks. Hang in there.

    • Cyndi says:

      I stopped a 40 year friendship for the same reasons, one sided friendships are not worth the time. We were best friends since 1973, it ended in Feb when I was home in NYC, I was always the one making the effort and she would back out at the last minute, this is every time I come to NYC to visit, she lives in NJ, she has become lazy and complacent and expects everyone to go out of their way for her but will not put in any effort to met half way. I had confronted her about it in the past, she has a girlfriend, she is gay who she lives with, does not work and who drives her around everywhere. They have been together for 20 years and not what relationships is coming to a head because of her inability to compromise and hold her own. She stays because in her words, her girlfriend pays all the bills and she has no where to go, the house and everything is in her girlfriends name, she has not a pot or a window but wants everyone go go out of their way for her, she is spoiled and lazy and I have told her so. I told her off and had enough, it had been coming to this for a while and we ended it as soon as I came back from NYC.

      • Carole Heath says:

        Hi Cyndi,
        40 years is a long time to have a friend but it sounds to me that the friendship had run its course sadly. As you say a one sided friendship is no fun if you do all the compromising. I hope you find some likeminded friends soon good luck.

        • Rosamund Forbes says:

          I quite agree Carole Heath you need friends who are loyal and not just there when they want something from you and give nothing back in return. Many people put up with friends like that but i won’t either.

    • GraceW says:

      Hi Tanja,

      I think you raise a couple really interesting points in your post. In particular “…what good is a friend you can’t use” caught my eye. I’ve extracted myself from past friendships where I felt used, and I will say, I see a big difference between “being useful” and “being used.” Of course I want to be useful to my friends, and they’re useful to me, for companionship if nothing else. “Being useful” is giving a friend a ride when her vehicle breaks down, cooking meals for her family when she has had surgery. “Being used” is when the person only reaches out to you if she needs that ride or those meals and she’s uninterested in you or too busy for you the rest of the time. I don’t like “being used” but I also don’t notice it until I see a pattern or trend. Then I usually kick myself for letting it happen “for so long,” but really, I don’t think anyone can identify “being used” versus “being useful” without waiting to see a pattern.

      The other thing is I think you can accept who a person is and decide not to have a relationship with her based on that information. Choosing not to associate with a person who you don’t like doesn’t make you nasty or bitter. I agree you don’t always have to let the other person know how you feel, just disengage. Especially if you haven’t heard from her in months or years, just don’t respond. Every minute I invest in dealing with a person I don’t really like is time I could invest in positive relationships or other positive things in life. Sometimes we don’t have a choice (colleagues, boss, relative, etc) but when we do, I don’t voluntarily spend time with people I know I don’t like.

      • tanja says:

        HI Grace,

        Your right that there is a difference between “being used” and “being useful”. However, I see it kind of like the same. I like how my husband puts it: I will do what ever I can for someone, if they need help moving or need a place to stay etc. However, if I need something and I reach out to that same person and they do not give back, not that they have to let me stay at their place, but give me information or show concern in their voice and come up with other options to help, even if it is a friendly ear to listen…If they do not do that, I keep it in my head for the next time but I won’t end the friendship based on if I do like that person in general. But, the next time that person calls and wants a favour equivalent, in my opinion to the one I asked of him/her, I will respond in the exact same manner, so he/she knows how it feels.

        However, there are some friends that if you ask a favour, they are not that helpful, yet they themselves never ask for help, so it is not being hypocritical, they may not be there for you, but they don’t have the same expectation of you either. So, it is all about balance, I believe.

        After a while, you know who you can go to and who you can’t. For example, I have written before about my twin sister. I love her, but I know she would not be there for me and offer a place to stay etc. She could ask that of me and I would do that for her, but that is the relationship we have. She may do it, if she felt she had no choice but reluctantly. I know this from experience. We were both in Japan together, I moved to another location within the company I worked for and they did not have my apartment ready. It was in the same city or prefecture as her and I asked to stay with her. This time I was single, without family. When she saw she had no choice, she did it, she didn’t want me homeless, but she was reluctant and the first day I was there, she made me buy groceries for them.

        Can’t get rid of your twin, so what I accept is different than any other friend because we are blood.

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