• Other Friendship Advice

My friend at school makes me feel unnoticed

June 25, 2016 | By | 1 Reply Continue Reading
A friendship that makes you feel unnoticed may not be a healthy one.

QUESTION

Hi,

I had a close friend in the same class when I was in seventh grade. Things were good but when we went into ninth grade, I was being put into another class as I chose another subject to study.

We started to fade away from each other and I tried to meet up with her often after school but as we were in a different classes, we all had different friends—and the topics my friend talked about were what was happening in hers. I started to feel left out as her other friends would join in without including me in the conversation. I stopped talking to them after a few months as I felt like I was an extra.

However, stupid me apologized to her saying that it was my fault. We started talking to each other again but I felt like she was always distancing herself away from me. Things started to get worse. When I tried to talk to her, she would be short with me. And she even went out with friends thrice without me even when I said that I would like to
join them. But when her friends left her alone, she would call me and tell me to accompany her.

Every time, I would try to make her notice me, it seemed like she just didn’t care. And she even told me not to hang out with other people from my class but she has freedom to make her own friends.

So should I stop being friends with her if I feel as if she is using me?

Signed, Charlotte

ANSWER

Hi Charlotte,

I’m sorry you’re having trouble with your friend. The situation you describe, feeling distant from a schoolmate when you’re in separate classes, is very common among teenagers.  Also, the teen years are ones of growth, maturity and self-discovery. Friends often grow in different directions during this time and/or go through growing pains.

I think you apologized to your friend out of loneliness, which isn’t stupid. Making good friendship decisions when you’re lonely is challenging whether you’re a teen or an adult. This line of your letter jumped out at me:

  “Every time I would try to make her notice me”

Your true friends will notice you without you having to try to get their attention. Healthy friendships are those when both people are equally invested in the relationship. From what you’ve described, you’ve given your friend more power and control and she’s setting the pace, one with which you’re uncomfortable.

You can continue to be her friend on your own terms, if you choose, by being less available to her, setting boundaries and telling her that you choose how and who to befriend.

You can also move on from the friendship if you’re not getting pleasure from it and if you’re feeling used. In my opinion, letting relationships fade often works out better, because you might encounter this friend in a few years and discover you’ve missed each other. If feelings have been hurt, there can be retaliation. Also, if you have mutual friends now or in the future, things can be very awkward.

In the meantime, focus on friendships that make you feel better about yourself with people who are as invested in you as you are to them.

Good luck!

Signed, Amy Feld


*Amy Feld, PhD, MSW has trained and worked as a child psychologist.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this or any other post is intended to substitute for medical, psychiatric or clinical diagnosis/treatment. Rather, all posts are written as the type of advice that one friend might give to another.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Category: Child and adolescent friendships, OTHER ADVICE

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Lovey says:

    Hi Charlotte, The thing you wrote that most bothered me was that you said your friend discouraged you from hanging out with other people in your class.

    That is a manipulation I fell for with a former friend. She always told me that I didn’t need a lot of friends, just one or two good ones (meaning her!). Meanwhile, unknown to me, she kept making lots of acquaintances. When she ended our supposedly lifelong friendship over jealousy, I was left with no other close friends. That was a very lonely time for me, and I wish to spare you that kind of pain.

    If you want to keep this friend in your social circle, knowing that she doesn’t treat you that well, it is up to you to decide how much bad behaviour you will tolerate from her. But definitely hang out with your other friends as much as you want to … and keep making new ones as you go along in your life. Good luck! 🙂

Leave a Reply