• Keeping Friends

Not good at keeping friends

Published: March 2, 2016 | By | 6 Replies Continue Reading
A woman is concerned that she isn’t keeping friends and is simply moving on to new ones.



Over the years, I have lost some friends and met new ones, as per usual. But lately, I’ve noticed that I’m the one who slowly starts to distance myself from friends in order to socialize with others. I took a hard look and realized that I’ve been doing this for years. It’s gotten so bad that it now feels instinctual.

I feel terrible about it. It hurts my friends so much, and that’s the last thing I want. How do I help reconcile with my friends and solve this issue?

Signed, Maggie


Hi Maggie,

It’s great you’ve realized this is a problem you want to address. In addition to hurting others by flitting from friend to friend, this pattern can also have a negative impact on you.

To some extent, it’s normal to fall in and out of some friendships as life circumstances change (e.g. people move, change their romantic/marital status or careers, become parents, etc.). Friendships can fade away when neither friend has the interest or energy to sustain the relationship. But if you are consistently distancing yourself from existing friends, you aren’t giving yourself or them the opportunity to nurture deeper, more intimate friendships.

Keeping friends entails taking the initiative to stay in touch and to make plans to see one another. It means making efforts to know the other person more deeply by slowly revealing your own story and feelings. It entails being there when the friend needs help or support, and relying on them for the same.

Your relationships with different friends may be different, too. Some friendships will be more intimate and others more peripheral.

It’s likely to be tougher (although not impossible) to resurrect lost friendships than to begin efforts to keep the friends you already have. If there are any good friends you feel like you’ve ditched and/or alienated, ramp up your efforts to reconnect with them.

Awareness is the first step in making change so I congratulate you on having this insight. If you continue to have these problems and are unable to curb this “instinct,” you may want to speak to a counselor to figure out what is getting in your way.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Comments (6)

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  1. DJ says:

    I would encourage you to list friends you’ve lost contact with and look at why. Then decide who you would like to reconnect with. Then get in touch. Some may not be interested but others would be.

  2. Sandra says:

    I like what Amy F said about “the honeymoon phase” of friendship. I find this to be very true. When we first get to know a new friend, everything is fun and exciting, and, like Amy said, everyone’s putting their best self forward. In that phase, new friends are especially considerate and they are unusually kind and reciprocal. We enjoy each other’s company and treat each other like gold. I think you might be disappointed when that phase is over.

    After a while, when the “honeymoon” is over, we get to know things about our friends that we didn’t notice before, or we start taking each other for granted. Like in a marriage, that’s when the relationship is put to the test. I believe that if we want to keep certain friends, we have to decide to overlook and forgive their minor flaws (because we all have them) and work at building the best of the relationship.

    That said, I do think there are points where we realize a friendship is just plain unhealthy or terribly wrong for us, and we should be allowed to move on.

  3. Lyn says:

    I do understand your problem as I too have never really wanted lots of friends and it frightens me if people get too close or clingy.
    However I do have one really close friend who I can totally trust and we both want the same things so that’s helped keep our friendship going for many years.
    It suits us to email and meet every month as we are both busy people but when we do get together we throughly enjoy each other’s company and know we would be there for each other what ever.
    I also have another friend I go dancing with but we are not in each other’s pockets .
    Maybe this would work for you you don’t have to have lots of friends but the ones you do have should be special so treasure them.We are all different and you shouldn’t have to work too hard to keep a friend ship going it should come naturally and you should want to share your time with someone not feel you have to.
    Good luck I do hope you manage to find a special friendships like I have.

  4. Ben says:

    I moved to an entirely different part of the country and what I do is when someone dear to me comes to mind I call them to say hi. The ones who I continue to pattern this after are the ones who call me occasionally. I’m not against to telling some people who don’t call back I am thinking of them but if it is continually only me that reaches out to them and I get upset about it I have to take a look at that.

  5. Amy F says:

    Sometimes new friendships go through a “honeymoon” period, when people and the relationship seems exciting and easy and flaws can be overlooked. People generally present their “best selves” in newer friendships, before they are truly comfortable enough to letting down their guards and showing their flaws. If a new friend seems to be a bear ideal fit, there’s a chance you could unknowingly be putting her in a bit of a pedestal compared to the friends who have shown themselves to have both positives and negatives.

    Some people who have difficulty sticking with the peaks and valleys of relationships can trace the source back to childhood. Lifelong patterns are difficult to change and therapy can be a wonderful tool to help you develop further insight and create new patterns.

    Good luck.

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