• Keeping Friends

Remaining Friends With Friends Who Don’t Reciprocate

Published: August 11, 2013 | Last Updated: August 22, 2021 By | 141 Replies Continue Reading

Do you have friends who don’t reciprocate? What would you do if friends depended on you to host the party all the time?

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

My husband and I have a group of friends we have known for many years. We used to get together regularly, with each couple taking a turn to host, sometimes in our homes, but also sometimes planning an outing like going to see a movie, or picnicking at the lake.

My husband and I live rurally and both of us work from home, so getting invited to go do things was very important to us. Slowly the other couples started not inviting us, they would accept invitations when we invited them, and they would tell us how much they enjoyed seeing us, but no longer invited us out.

Being the only ones to host or plan was getting to be a bit of a strain and after a year of being the only hosts my husband and I decided to stop issuing invitations in hopes that someone would pick up the slack, but no one has.

I have continued to keep in contact with our friends who don’t reciprocate via text and phone calls, and all of them have mentioned that they miss getting together to which I have responded, “I miss that too, we would love to get out of the house and see you guys!”

I feel like I have done something wrong and am being shunned, but also if I go back to being the hostess I am being taken advantage of. I keep thinking back to the year of hosting and the feeling that our friends only want to hang out with us if we are bribing them with food and entertainment. How should we be handling this?

Best, Dara

ANSWER

Hi Dara,

Your feelings about friends who don’t reciprocate are totally understandable—whether it is a couple or an individual. The way you responded sounds perfect.

I can understand how you would begin to feel used if you are the only ones hosting the get-togethers whether it’s a dinner or outdoor barbeque.

Remaining in touch, letting them know you miss them, gently and suggesting someone else offer up their home was a great way to handle it. Assuming it’s nothing personal, your friends may simply not have the initiative or wherewithal to host the group.

Given that your initial strategy didn’t work, a few other suggestions:

  • Can you suggest the group meet someplace neutral, where no one couple would have the responsibility of hosting? A restaurant, perhaps?
  • If not, another possibility would be to invite a smaller group, perhaps just one other couple to go out together or to come to your home.

You can’t make people invite you back if they don’t have the energy, initiative or money. You may want to limit get-togethers at your home to once or twice a year or look for other friends who are better at reciprocating your generosity.

Best, Irene


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Comments (141)

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  1. Alonso Colter says:

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  3. Grobar Ivo says:

    Keep this in mind dear friends her eon this forum. People are generally very nasty. Most have no character nor mannerism to thank you for your kindness and reciprocity…however singled sided it is radiating from you to them, the users and exploiters of your good will.

    People suck. They exploit you until they extract everything out of you. Perhaps they realise that they cannot dominate anymore in closed social settings ie: a living room or around the dinner table, perhaps outside in the backyard whilst you’re cooking something on the BBQ.

    People are generally, about power, domination and oppression of others. Do not be alarmed, this is a historical fact…from the days of Sparta, Athens and Socrates and his elitist ideas contrary to the very idea of liberty and democracy.
    People tend to deviate from the normative aspects of morality and ethics. They are unable to approach the aesthetics of friendship the way you can.
    The indifference is not uncommon and (as above) you are struck with confusion “what did I do wrong?” perhaps he or she is jealous? or was a user and a manipulator the whole time?

    So my dear friends, be careful of such individuals. If you are a true friend and you believe that you are and that the other is not…..until that “other” recognises the GOOD in you and identifies him or herself or themselves with your GOOD; you will never align with them, morally, and you will be wasting your time.

    Remember, people are, generally stock … sheep and cows….. no character, no morals, no sense of duty of care…pure indifference and from time to time materialism and welfare maximization; all which are designed to use you until they see no prospect of further interest and further oppression ie: in conversation or prestige or competition with you.
    This is a tragedy, totally!

    kind regards to you all friends

    Ivo

  4. Laura Stratton says:

    An old friend from college used to say, “Reciprocity is a wonderful thing.” Yes, it is, and I might add, it’s a rare thing. My home is ideal for throwing big, sit down, ‘cocktails and dinner’ parties. My table, with extensions can seat up to 20 people and I have 20 dinner plates, 20 wine glasses, 20 of everything. Not only do I have the necessary stuff, but also the know how to throw a dinner party. I learned at the hand of my very sociable parents who threw dinner parties at least once a month back in the 1960s and 70s in Lansing, Michigan. It’s all about the details: unobtrusive low volume beautiful music, fresh flowers, unscented candles, charming ambience, comfortable seating, a well stocked bar, delicious food, lively conversation, sometimes singing, and so forth. So twice a year, always on a Saturday night, I’ve been throwing a big (15-18 people) summer party and a big Christmas party at our home in Olympia, Washington. These are not pot lucks and pets or children are not invited. This is an opportunity for adults to play with adults, and believe me, this is a welcome relief for many. Just arrive on time and bring a bottle of wine. Everyone loves these parties and it is rare that they decline an invitation, which incidentally, is a written and mailed invitation. We cook wonderful cuisine and I mix the tastiest alcoholic concoctions. The average party like this costs $300 to $500. But I don’t mind. It’s money well spent for a memorable evening. Here’s the rub, only one or two of our friends reciprocate. And when I say reciprocate, I don’t mean throwing a similarly elaborate dinner party. I mean reciprocation of any kind, such as inviting us over for a small get together, a drink, going out to dinner, anything at all. It is disappointing to say the least and as the years go by, my patience is growing thin. Only rarely does anyone even send a thank you note. Oh, I know that sending a hand written thank note is an old tradition, a strange old tradition known as good manners! So what is going on here, is there a loss of gratitude and manners in American society? Yes, I fear there is. Other reasons people don’t reciprocate, many of which have been mentioned in this blog, are: lack of energy, lack of will, lack of money, the people just aren’t that into you, lack of a house that is well suited to entertaining, lack of necessary ‘stuff’ such as table ware, glassware, and flatware, lack of a large enough table, lack of party throwing skills, selfishness, self absorption, and yes, cheapness. A friend of mind recently told me that the act of giving with the expectation to get something in return is not well intentioned giving. A therapist friend defines expectations as premeditated resentment. I get all that, but gosh darn it, I still feel somewhat used and disrespected. The question is this: Do I stop throwing these parties? Probably not, because I actually enjoy doing it, despite all the work, which begins weeks in advance with ironing napkins, getting the chandlery in order, planning the music, stocking the bar, planning the cuisine, cleaning (lots of cleaning), etc. If I enjoy doing this, then why not continue? However, my guest list is an evolving thing. I have not given up on finding new friends, who, who knows, might be reading off the same page as I am. There ‘are’ people out there who reciprocate, but they are rare. My advice, keep looking for precious people like that. It is worth it, even if you only find one such person.

    • elizabeth says:

      Dear Laura, as a fellow hostess with many dinner parties under my belt, I’m moved to say, I appreciate the remarkable, vivacious and generous person you clearly are. There is no clear cultural recognition of this unstinting labor, perhaps because it’s so often performed gratis by females, esp. wives. But besides being a gift to lucky guests, it’s the lifeblood of successful cultural enterprises too numerous to cite. I hardly need to tell you that I’m cut of a similar cloth, and luckily I lived in a milieu where reciprocity was natural and expected. But I too harbored similar resentments, as anyone would. It was a revelation to begin hosting on Airbnb, and not only enjoy continual appreciation for my efforts, but rake in substantial sums in the bargain. In this respect it’s a joy that they’ve commoditized labor that women have provided gratis for centuries. If I lived in WA, I would certainly look you up and solicit your friendship – with assurance that I’d respond in kind!

  5. Meagan says:

    I have racked my brain trying to figure this out! Thank God for this forum.We are a young couple who love to plan go on trips and have social gatherings we invite everyone and my husband sometimes gets annoyed that i do..heres the problem we are always the ones inviting and planning!! friends get upset and make us feel guilty for not sending out an invite sometimes..we just want to be alone..not only that if they found out they get upset about it but they hardly ever invite us to some of their events! we want to take a trip but last trip that we planned was a nightmare because people werent happy thats not my fault i felt like it was because i planned it :/ and our trip was almost ruind not to mention they invite themselves even if its a romantic date ..we are not ones to invite ourselves so we just bite the bullet everytime we dont get invited.. we would never make anyone feel guilty even if our feelings were hurt..any advice?

    • Ann says:

      Finding friends is a lot like dating. You go through a lot of frogs before you meet someone nice. People who are mooches tend to always be available for parties and invites at others homes but never reciprocate. There needs to be some give and take. Never feel guilty or obligated to someone who never reciprocates. You give potential friends a chance when you meet them and after a while if they expect you to continue hosting, or continue paying and there is no reciprocal overtures, just phase out these people. Keep looking and remember that you are valuable and deserve decent friends. Hope I helped.

      • Ann says:

        It’s important to put yourself in other’s places in these instances and to tell them of your feelings. For example, I had a friend who i now know thought this (that I was a taker) of me, which I found out about only after the breakdown of the friendship,thru a 3rd party; she even had various pop psych diagnoses for me which were nauseating to find out about. She never told me anything of her feelings which could saved the relationship. At the time, I had gone through a terrible loss, was going deaf, could not afford new hearing aids which I had to have to work and was making about $20K yearly while struggling with debt. I did support her by suggesting she deal with her horrible marriage (both her husband and son constantly criticize her), suggested she go to school (she’s a bright woman who has had low level jobs all her life), gave her presents I made, suggested we do things together etc. She was not responsive and the last holiday we spent together was horrible; I was so nervous about whatever it is she wouldn’t tell me that while on the road I locked my keys in the trunk and was delayed by AAA; she was even angry about that! Long before that, she intimated that I was exaggerating the hearing loss to the extent of when I broke down because I couldn’t hear an interviewer at a job interview, she was unsupportive. I had no other sources of income or any family support so this was all hard. In the last 2 years of our friendship, almost all her energy went to her divorcing sister and a married man she (my friend, also married) was pursuing. When I was hurt and angry, I was just a “taker”. It is true that I was despondent that she had withdrawn and i was too needy. But she was equally responsible for the breakdown; other of her friendships had broken down because of her judgmental nature. I don’t know what happened to her, but I feel well rid of the friendship–and I have managed to rebuild my life with loving and supportive friends.

      • Diane says:

        Thank You for this msg, I have struggled with this for sometime. Feeling used and unhappy and tired of having all the work, gatherings and always initiating. My husband said if we have to buy our friends, maybe we better buy better ones. Now that I have read your comment, I do believe the solution is move on, there are good people out there. Thank You, it is an eye opener and greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Diane 🙂

    • Carlos B says:

      Perfect answer. It’s all about reciprocity. Not keeping score, but an awareness that a friend
      also calls, shares and participates with invites, etc.

  6. TIA says:

    So my husband was let go of work and was unemployed for 3 months, we are renting privately and just catching up with everything my FIL is in a rehab centre, they let him out for the day as it was his birthday, so everyone in the family went down to see him hang out to a restaurant for a meal and a walk down the beach (on the Saturday), but us, as is a bit far, with money for a meal out not being an option for us, a lot of petrol to use and we are really living day by day. My husband finds it hard to say “no” so he left it for me to reply to my MIL’s messages. For which I politely declined the invitation and even when I do not have to explain myself, I felt I had to, so they knew it wasn’t because we didn’t want to come with, but more because of financial strains.

    Next day came, we went to church, came home for a meal, watched movies, played with our son and as we were getting ready for bed, was checking my Facebook and noticed my SIL had just posted photos of her son’s birthday party, where her son’s friends were invited, their parents and the whole family was there too. She tagged them all and comments were there too.

    My heart sank and I felt very frustrated, sad and disappointed, as we weren’t invited, How is it that our son wasn’t invited to his cousin’s birthday party? They always hang out and play, my son absolutely adores his cousin. Then I realised she had done the same the year before, my son wasn’t invited, the whole family was there, but us, yet she was more than happy to send us a birthday present shopping list. We did buy a present and met them at a National Trust site for the kids to play at. (Not knowing she had already thrown a party and thinking she didn’t plan anything that year).

    She just had come to our house a few days before the party, to drop toys that his son had outgrown for my son to keep and play with and for others to sell (for me to make some money as money is tight, with my husband being back on employment just recently)

    Are we too broke to buy a birthday present and that’s why we weren’t invited? I know a couple of people in the family & I don’t click very well, Maybe they don’t like me and don’t want me there, therefore my son couldn’t be there either? My husband was quite surprised to see the whole Facebook thing going on and what his sister had done, not does he understands what’s going on, anyway… 2 weeks later, his sister in question is now inviting me and my son (only) to stay over night for “our kids to hang out” at her house. I have not replied to her message yet. Don’t know what t say no, one thing I definitely know is that I don’t ever want to spend time with her, never mind going to her house.

    What is this about? I don’t get it. If you don’t like me, fine, I’m fine with it, one cannot make someone love you and that’s it. But I don’t understand why rejecting my son? Leaving him out of things where the whole family is being part of. There has been a lot of tricky situations within the family and I feel like this was the last drop for me.

    I’m at the point where I no longer have any desire whatsoever or the energies to deal with people like this. Nor is it fair to not have my son spend time with that so called “family”.

    • Jen says:

      I’m sorry your SIL is very two faced. My in laws don’t like me and don’t invite myself, my husband and toddler son to certain celebrations. It hurts but a lot of adults can be very childish and hurtful. We can’t chose our in laws and many of them are selfish, immature people we are stuck with. That being said, you are stuck with your SIL. Maybe she is trying to make amends. I would say take the olive branch and see if she improves and invites you to a future party. You never have to give any gifts if you don’t receive an official invite to a party. It sound like your in laws are lacking in social etiquette. I can relate! Hang in there. I wish my awful in laws would extend an olive branch so definitely take a peace offering from the SIL.

  7. Todd says:

    My wife and I have been talking about this for awhile. We love to host, and I’m the kind of host who likes to hand you a margarita as you step in the door. We just remodeled our house to be more open-plan, we have a pool, and we love to entertain and have a smaller group of friends or family over.

    We enjoy these friends and family, and they seem to always have a great time and are appreciative upon leaving, but no one…and I mean, no one ever reciprocates. A few of our friends I can understand, as they struggle somewhat financially or live in really small apartments. Others, they’re just passive and could spend a limitless number of weekends at home by themselves…and they do, until we either invite them over or invite them out to a restaurant. I suffer from being more in touch with my needs for community, however…my wife and little boy the same. The passivity is maddening!

    It’s gotten really frustrating, and it’s become one of the factors that has us thinking about moving. We live in California (in a town of 75K), and I just remember when I lived in a small Georgia town (Eatonton) people were so much more friendly, proactive and hospitable. We want to be around that again, and just want that feeling of being valued by being invited over dinner or drinks, just once!

    Sadly, the only other couple that used to do this that we know is possibly going through a divorce (she’s in rehab right now).

    Does anyone have a similar experience of having lived in a smaller town/community?

    • Debra says:

      Hi all…another disappointed friendship….I’ve lived in four small towns as a professor til I landed a FT job and lived there for 21 yrs. Always the host, never , or rarely the recipient.. After moving to a small southern town (again) am still met with resistance for a friend. I am really about to say forget about it. I’ve always been a person with a small circle of friends. At my age I guess I am just tired of being so stinking generous. I feel like a fool. despite one person stating that the “initiators ‘ should be satisfied with that. I am not.

    • Anna says:

      Yes, we have lived in a small (<3500) community for several years and, although they seem to have enjoyed get-togethers at our home, no one has ever reciprocated. In fact, one woman who most often resides out of town and spends holidays with her children and grandchildren, was terribly affronted when we didn’t extend an invitation to her for brunch last Christmas Day. She wasn’t going to be here, has never invited us to her home, and basically treats us as interlopers.

      The pandemic has been the real eye-opener for us. People who are quite sickly, or have some immune deficiency, have still gathered with their families and friends…maskless and sans vaccinations. Since we haven’t been invited anywhere, despite being vaccinated + booster, and consistently wearing masks in this high-risk area, I guess we will always be considered outsiders.

      We will to continue volunteering for worthwhile projects and causes, but it is highly probable that our entertainment will be severely restricted in future.

  8. Jen says:

    I have a theory where a lot of so called friends who are takers are always more available. They have opportunistic personalities perhaps. It is astounding how self absorbed and rude a lot of people are. Children who are never taught to think about the next guy so to speak grow up with this view of what’s in it for me.
    Finding a good friend is a lot like dating. There is no shortage of frogs! We have to play the game like this: we meet new people and see where it goes. After a while of someone stringing you along, you have move on and keep looking. It would be nice to just meet people out of the gate who are considerate. While not impossible, it often feels that way.
    I figure if I where dating a guy and he never calls me back, why stick around. He might call me if he is lonely and desperate. That does not feel to good!
    It is the same with friendships.
    Just takes effort and putting yourself out there and never giving up. Having faith that the right people are on the way.

    • Kris says:

      I completely agree Jen – it’s unfortunate how plentiful the crappy friends are to the very few and far between decent or great friends.
      We moved back to So Cal last summer and my daughter plays soccer so soccer parents are some of the first and only people I meet. I’m also on the slightly younger side for being a parent of a child her age, which makes it harder. It seems a few years up to 10 yr difference is enough for people to write me off (I’m nearly 40…). I’m about ready to give up on making friends. Just disappointing.

    • CMS says:

      I agree…… and it’s not just friends, it’s family too. We have family that has come to our home for decades when we host a party, holiday or anything else, and don’t reciprocate. My husband and I finally just accepted it for what it is, and we don’t host any of them anymore….. and guess what? We don’t even hear from them. We spend time now focusing on developing friendships with more like minded folks. I have friends that I’ve invited them and their extended families repeatedly…….. and was invited back in 10 years one time. Every time I suggest going out for dinner somewhere I hear “oh, yeah…it’s been a while.” Ok, message received. I’m too old to waste time on this anymore, and my husband and I are on the same page…. better to be alone than in bad company. We’ll go out ourselves now and have a better time…. Shame because we literally do not see any of our siblings at all anymore. And worst part is they’d say it’s “our fault” that we don’t get together anymore because it was ALWAYS us that hosted everything. DONE DONE DONE….. life is short.

      • Sandy says:

        I could have written your very words. And after years of being the only ones to do the inviting & hosting, we, too, are DONE DONE DONE. We’re now going it alone & enjoying our own company. 🙂

  9. Eileenika P says:

    Help!?!? My sister in law and I just can’t seem to get along. She is cold and passive aggressive and a taker in every respect. I’m so on edge around them and their kids I am the worst version of myself- polite but rigid. It’s just awful. Years of prayer and some group counseling was even attempted to get on the same page. It’s not all me- but I’m the only one that seems to get blamed. We always host, treat, gift, because no one else offers. One year we didn’t make specific plans for Easter, and the family ended up at Mc Donald’s. I cried. Now our children attend the same school and last year I drove 3 days, and her hubby drove 2 on his days off. I expected to rotate the extra day by week or month… But no, why would they do that. My husband says I keep score and that’s the crux of the issue. I just feel like if this were a friend I wouldn’t be friends very long w a taker like this- so why do I put up with it from family. They also do t respect our pool rules : very simple they have to be outside watching their kids in the pool- they wear shoes in our house- we don’t and even have a cute sign and basket by the front door- and it goes on. They borrowed my car, brought it back w paint and scratches on the bumper- and denied it! I’m just fed up— so how do I get out of carpooling this year????! What do I say?

  10. Lucy says:

    It’s rare that I initiate anything with acquaintances/strangers these days and here’s why.

    There is evidence that I am friendly enough to engage people. I have met strangers at Preschool pickup and parks while with my kids. The conversations seem to go well. No one excuses themselves from my company or, acts uneasy around me. The conversations last, I have even had people follow me from point A to point B as I chase my kids. People laugh when I talk, suggesting I may have a good sense of humor. I genuinely think people are interesting and like asking them questions. I am a good listener, the conversation is usually a healthy balance btween being about me, and being about the other person. To me, this is evidence enough that I am not a freak (though anything is possible ?

    Yet, I have 3 friends only. They date from highschool and college. They are like my sisters.

    The main problem I have had making new friendships recently boils down to 2 things.

    1. People will, themselves, INITIATE plans with me. When I respond, they back out, or don’t get back to me. And that’s it, I don’t hear from them. I find this irritating. If they don’t like me, why are they even talking about plans? If they have no intention of getting together, why are the doing this? It’s hurtful and insincere.

    2. 98% of the human population is indifferent to me. They are just fine if a year etc goes by and we don’t see each other. Sure, if we meet by chance, their faces light up, and they profess they miss me. They say we should get together. But nothing happens, whether it’s me initiating or them. Out of sight out of mind.

    If I had to pick a themesong for myself, it would be “Cellophane” from “Chicago”. Quote, “You can look right by me, walk right through me, and never know I am there”. It’s like they like the IDEA of friendship with me, and not the actual friendship for some reason.

    I guess I will have to attribute it to some quirk I must have that is invisible to myself, my husband, my kids and my 3 closest friends. Maybe I am a weirdo who was lucky enough to meet the husband and 3 friends she was meant to have. I think I can be ok with this, 3 friends is better then none.

    • Kris says:

      I think, unfortunately, it is just the way people are these days… not you at all. People used to have manners about making plans and treating others well. That is pretty much gone. Count your blessings to have those 3 close friends! 😉

      • Lucy says:

        Oh, I consider them (my 3 close friends) a wonderful blessing, and know I am lucky to have them. I have read/seen/heard about people with ZERO good friends. Like you said, with the way people are now…..it’s not difficult to see why some people end up with no friends. Its easy to do in this culture, unfortunately.

        • notinourhouse says:

          I can relate exactly. It just leaves you shaking your head at the end of the day and then searching on the internet for questions and answers like on here. I have a couple of friends from high school that I get together with occasionally, but that is about it. I have a couple groups of friends that get together once in a great while, but they always seem to keep in touch without me. Like I am not privy to their inside information, and no one offers it to me to catch up when I do see them. It’s always been the same at work: can sit with people at lunch and then the next day they will sit at a different table. So, I just keep to myself wondering if I am giving off some weird vibe or something, but like Lucy says, I can carry on a conversation, banter back and forth and etc., like she said she does, but no one seems to initiate any thing afterwards. It leaves you wondering if you had a lugie hanging out of your nose or if you had some mannerism that is not comfortable for other people. I just seem to get shut down by people’s rude questions or comments that they seem to give as part of their normal conversation to strangers and kind of weed out whom I want to talk to after hearing it once or twice, therefore, I don’t sit at their table either. If they can do it, so can I. Then there is no finger pointing as to who is the rude party. So, I just kind of hang out with myself for the most part and have hobbies that I like, and know that I have family and friends at some times, but not 24 hours a day, so it is the best I can do. I just wonder how those people that can make friends throughout life, rather than just have friends from high school only like I do, can keep making friends? Don’t other people want to make friends too? It’s a mystery to me!

    • Lindsey says:

      I think most people can count on one hand how many “real” friends they have. The appearance of a large social circle does not equate to friendship. I know many social butterflies who, at the end of the day, don’t have a lap to cry on.

    • Nursie says:

      I don’t think it is you at all. I think for the most part the world is quite shallow and selfish. You sound really fun to me.
      I only have three or four friends as well. We have a girls night twice a year. The last girls night was decided to be a Wednesday and I was working second shift and they had it anyway. Now I am laid up. Doing everything one-handed and have not had a single lick of help from anyone at all. My husband’s family is also shallow and selfish and has not offered any help either. I have been a nurse for 32 years and have given so much of myself. Very little of my care has been thanked.
      I have many acquaintances but don’t consider them true friends because it is mostly Facebook. I actually find the world to be a really lonely place now that my kids have moved out and don’t have much time for me. So my husband and I found a new church and are hosting a Life group and hope to make a few friends that way. I wish you luck !

  11. Joanna says:

    I have a so-called friend and one of his woman friends who, unfortunately, have turned out to be takers. I hosted several dinners for them, including birthday gatherings for both of them. They have not been reciprocating and have, in fact, just recently ignored my special birthday. It was very painful for me to accept that he is not really a
    friend. Had me fooled for a long time. As long as I was giving, they were both taking. Good news is that some of
    my real friends recently gave me a surprise party for my special birthday. It might take some time, but the truth ultimately emerges.

    Two friends really think I should talk to him about this. Be upfront and transparent, let him know how he hurt my feelings, etc. I am not ready to do that and may never be. I suspect that we will just continue to be more
    distant. Not sure that you can really go back if you’re dealing with a taker. Who wants that in your life.

    • CMS says:

      I hear you… once you get that feeling, just move on and leave them in the dust. There are others who will value your friendship. They obviously do not.

  12. Kath says:

    This seems to be happening lots now. Friends not organising things with you, and you always feel you got to ask them. A lot of friends I know enjoy lots, and I mean lots to drink when they go out. I’m not a drinker in that way, but would happily have a few. But they don’t ask me out because of it, which isn’t nice feeling. But I have to organise other things with them, which hardly ever happens now. They don’t text to ask how I am, or if I’m going through a tough time, I never hear from them. I have learnt to move on from these friendships because its so unbalanced. Friendships should be a 2 way thing, if its unbalanced, it will effect you, so its best to think of your own happiness and move on. Lots of people seem to be experiencing these bad friendships, I honestly don’t think its right because you are being used and that sucks. Do what makes you happy, if they don’t appreciate you, that’s their loss.

  13. ShootingStar says:

    Like why not just be fully reciprocal or don’t make the “attempt”. Sometimes I wish she would just go away and not contact me cuz I can’t stand everything being on her terms and acting like she’s the only important person in my life. To top it off this past month I’ve seen 3 different occasions of her and acouple friends going out on social media. For a yr or two she has stopped drinking and partying and now she’s doing it again. I’m not jealous and i get that even myself have other friendships, but would it kill her to reach out and ask my bf and I to go out? So the resentment continues.

  14. ShootingStar says:

    So I can somewhat relate to you, Sam. My BFF and I have been friends for 11yrs and have know each other a total of 13yrs. Some yrs we had made some amazing memories and other yrs have been alil rocky. Especially when life brings us change, which I understand. My friend has always been kinda flaky and VERY passive. So like you Sam, I understand that’s kinda of “engraved”. Over the past 5 yrs we have been through bumps, which has made me very close acouple times to ending it completely. She has since became engaged and has two “step-daughters”. It has made me extremely recent full over the last handful of years due to the simple fact she doesn’t reach out to me and invite me to things. I get everyone in life including myself get busy, but I know from social media you get out and do stuff. Since the past 9months I gotten very close to my childhood friend and her uoung son. He loves me! And I love spending quality kid time with them. I don’t even have a kid lol but my friend even says there’s no reason you’ve never been invited to go out to lunch with her and one of her step daughters. The past few months I’ve been posting a few pics of me with my childhood friend, her son and my boyfriend. So she’s been recently reaching out to talk and sometimes asks to hang out. Can anyone understand why it’s me that still has to set up a “plan of action” and is expected to drive 2 hour round trip to her place?! I am fine with our “relationship” but it brings up more resentment when she shes I’m living my life with other friends and then still doesn’t make the effort..

  15. Sam says:

    Currently grappling with a slight issue along these lines.

    I have a long-standing friend of about 10 years or so. The friendship was forged over shared interests and time spent together in a flat-share many years ago, and we’ve stayed in touch ever since.

    They have many good qualities, including honesty, conscientiousness and a set of values that I basically agree with. However it must be said that proactiveness and inclusiveness is not one of those qualities.

    When I’m arranging to go somewhere – say a party, see a film, a hike, I like to include different friends in it, sometimes from different circles. Over the years I feel that I have introduced this friend of mine to quite a few people, who have then gone on to be friends of theirs in their own right.

    By contrast, I feel like I am very rarely invited along to social occasions that this friend is involved in, even if it’s obviously something that I’d like to come along to.

    It does breed some resentment, particularly when I think back to times a few years back when I could really have done with being included in those kind of things, and was not (thankfully nowadays I’m in a much better place).

    It’s tempting to feel unvalued and to get resentful. But in truth I think they do value me – it’s just that they’re very lazy. I don’t honestly think they behave differently to me vs other people. I guess that my friend is not going to change.

    So the solution here isn’t going to be telling them how I’d like them to be more proactive. It’s just not going to happen. If they can’t be arsed to make that kind of effort, have always been that way, and come from a family with role models that are equally passive…. They’re just not going to change anytime soon.

    So any change in the relationship will have to come from me. I’m finding that I probably need to change my expectations. Basically – I should just carry on doing what I’m doing, but make sure that I’m not doing so with an expectation of reciprocal social invites as it’s not in their nature, and not take it personally when they do. For all I know, they might find my expectation of inclusion to be needy and in turn feel that I only value them as a gateway to events and not in their own right. After all, our friendship is not built in the first place upon a shared desire to socialise, but upon shared values and interests.

    As long as those shared values and interests are still there to be enjoyed – then I guess it’s okay.

    I do still want to be introduced to new things and people, but I shouldn’t expect that from this person.

    I feel better now, at least.

    Thanks for the free therapy.

  16. PUZZLED says:

    We have a similar situation with one of my daughter’s friends as LEFTWONDERING. My daughter is nine years old. We frequently invite her friend over, are kind, serve foods that her friend likes etc. When they are together her friend talks about “when you come over to our house we can…” but outside of birthday parties there is never an actual invitation from their part to do anything together. From time to time they ask for help in transportation which I am always happy to give but they never initiate any activity or visits. I know for a fact that they do initiate activities with some other friends and invite them over – just not my daughter. My daughter has been over for a short time a few times after I have asked it as a favor but that is it. My daughter really values this friendship so I keep initiating things from time to time although less frequently these days than before. The mom can be nice and considerate towards me (and my daughter) today, evasive tomorrow and downright rude the day after with no apparent reason. Not sure what to make out of it.

    • same here says:

      Thank God I am not the only one. With us, it is our son. Everyone likes to visit us, play with my son in my house, have dinner for their sons etc. But its never reciprocated. My son is never called back to their house. The same lines “when you come over we can do this…” etc. is said. But my son never gets the opportunity to go over. He sometimes expresses that it would be nice to go to their house, but is not overly bothered about it as long as he has friends to play. He is lonely and is in a street which has no kids in the entire street. So it is a bit tiring to be hosting all the time other kids to our place, with no relief and a balance in this. It feels a bit selfish of the other parents to be happy to send their kids to our place, without thinking for a minute if they should reciprocate. If I was in their position I would have been quite embarassed at not reciprocating. Maybe we are doormats. But we need to keep our son happy too.

      • Sami says:

        That’s because those parents don’t want anymore kids around. They send their kids to your house if they don’t have to deal with him. Move on already. Put your kid in some kind of Club or interest he likes With like-minded Friends he can make for a lifetime.
        Those kinds of people are takers and manipulators. Good riddance!

        • Mary says:

          You totally hit it right on!
          So many users out there.
          At the point where my own company alone is better than being taken advantage of.

  17. Simon says:

    Hi Data,

    It’s good to know what I’m feeling is common as I have been fretting for hours on what I should do.
    My friend who also owns the business where I work invited another friend out for a drink right infront of me, they continued with the details of where and when but not once did they turn to me and ask if I would like to join them.
    This was a complete shock to me and didn’t know how to feel?, I posted a hypothetical Question on Facebook of my problem naming no names.
    Now one of my friends who is my boss has replied to the Facebook post with obscene language, other friends had replied to my post along the lines of ‘it was rude of them not to ask and there are better friends out there’
    I have since deleted the post as it has caused a rift between us and it was only there to gauge how I should feel as it was something I have never experienced before.
    It feels that I am now the one in the wrong and I have to apologise, which I am going to but only for posting on Facebook nothing more. I feel the friend/boss has blown this out of proportion and I’m contemplating severing our friendship if I don’t get an apology from him.
    I will continue to be calm and professional towards him in the work place but need some advise on whether this is the right course of action?

    • Simon says:

      Sorry that was Dara before predicted text got a hold of it

    • Sam says:

      Hi Simon,

      That’s a tricky situation. It does seem to me that your friend either lacks basic tact, or was being deliberately insensitive. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to meet up with friends individually but it’s common sense to do so in a way that avoids offense.

      I think you have your answer from the way your “friend” has responded on Facebook – you say using obscene language. Personally I wouldn’t want to remain friends with anyone who displays such obvious insensitivity in the first place and then reacts with aggression when this is pointed out to them.

      So for sure, I’d consider the friendship over until they make amends.

      The fact that they are your boss makes it a bit more difficult, but essentially – do you want to remain friends with someone who deals with you in that way?

  18. M says:

    Hi there,

    My younger brother and his girlfriend of 5+ years have always come over to my husband & my home on holidays. We are not super close but get along just fine. The thing is, they never reciprocate with an invite to us. I joked with her about it and her response was that she “does not have enough room for all those people” nor does she “have enough seating at her table” (“us” meaning my husband, parents and myself). Although, they openly talk about having their friends over all the time. Additionally, she is throwing a holiday party and actually invited a co-worker right in front of me.

    I do not want to cause drama, but don’t know how to react here. I find it rather rude and I am no longer excited to have them over my home nor plan to invite them again after this Thanksgiving (invite already extended).

    HELP!

    • Carlos B says:

      Personally, and it’s obviously an opinion from someone you don’t know.

      But and but, I would definitely not close the friendship with your brother over their response, not enough room, etc.

      Rather than all the trouble of Thanksgiving, just invite them over some other time. Pizza or whatever.

      Some people just don’t have it to give. Keep the doors open.

      Invite other friends that you like to be with.

  19. LEFTWONDERING says:

    My daughter has a friend. We invite her over often and are kind to her. We invited her family for a cocktail party, the mother and daughter came but it has been 2 months since and no reciprocation. My daughter isn’t invited over unless I ask it as a favor and she is cold. I asked her if I could run with her since my daughter has acting with her daughter but she is always evassive. Every acting class she goes walking with her neighbor, it is at a park. I don’t really mind it on my part but it seems to bother my daughter. What are we doing wrong?! My daughter never gets into fights and is calm and polite (other parents have told me).

    • Carlos B says:

      Not sure how old your daughter is? However, when people do not initiate or reciprocate invites, these are big clues about who they are and how they may feel about you.

      This mother may be shielding her daughter’s feelings or may have her own reasons for not being friendly or social. Don’t take it personal, they likely treat others the same way.

      Most important, no one needs a bad friend who you have to beg, plead, manipulate or even ask to hang out with. I m sure you were not begging or manipulating, but you get the idea.
      Remember the word: Reciprocal.

      For myself, I call, text, email a friend twice. If there is no reply, then I stop trying.

      Like yourself first.

  20. JESS says:

    hi everyone im a 30 yr old female and recently have been feeling this way except with friends and all my family members to the point i have realized I easily get attached to those who are toxic for me. I have done everything and bent over backwards for all my friends to family and recenlty have been going through depression with placing limits to everyone and now IO feel like my friends dont call me and when I express myself to family how im feeling nobody has once said thank you or im sorry you are feeling this way or what can we do to change the way you feel which are all things I would have done. I known I cant expect anything from anyone but they always say treat those the way you would like to be treated or karma is a B. I’ve done my share of giving, kindness and all of me to family mostly, and I feel my friends saw that and knew they could do the same and treat me unfairly. All I get is negative feed back for trying to actually have limits to what I have allow.

    How do I cope with all these new changes, no family or friends to understand how I feel.

    • Lily says:

      Jess,put the past behind you and move on. Don’t bother figuring these people out. You are you’re own person and must be strong for the sake of your sanity. No one, but no one has the courage to reach out. You should ask yourself, “what am I going to do for myself to make me feel better?” Don’t give anymore. I don’t mean to talk hard on you, but this also applies to me. I’ve learnt my lesson on this, and also speaking from similar situations. If I were you, I’d look after myself. Join the gym, start on something you wish you had done in your 20’s. Basically start entertaining yourself. Find hobbies that interest you. Heck, have a massage. Once you show your independence, watch and see how people will flock to you. People are attracted by those that show their security about themselves. Next time a friend or relative asks for advice, don’t say a word, simply shrug, like you don’t know and move the conversation on. End..I hope that helps. Take care.

    • Mary says:

      I totally understand. You have described my family who has shunned me but gets irritated when I have boundaries. I’ve realized that I chose cold, passive-aggressive friends who are like my family. Pretty depressing.

  21. Jas says:

    Hi, I hope someone here could advise me in conveying the message I like to convey but in a peaceful/respectful way.

    Basically, I had a friend whose child and my child were good friends too. Whenever I used to hear from her she would say she has missed me, same when we meet – however, when we do meet she rarely listens or asks question. Instead sit glued to her Facebook chatting with friends online or she would go out partying while I would babysitting… So all in all, I felt that she didn’t really value our friendship but I put up with it as deep down she has a good heart and we have shared some good times together so I didn’t want to just throw our friendship away.

    However, summer 2013 was the last time I heard from her and this was when I called her (it is me calling or texting each time – usually I won’t get any reply to text messages either). So, I felt I had enough and didn’t contact her at all. I had an uge to text her on her birthday , for Christmas, New Year ect but purposely didn’t. I thought to myself that I’ll see if she actually bother and for once takes the initiative to contact me. But no, never until this week where I heard from her out of the blue AFTER 2 YEARS!! Apologising and saying she has just been busy…yes, we all have busy times where we are not good in staying in touch ect but 2 years?! Come on… She also wrote that she had lost my e-mail which can’t be true either as all you need to do is type a person’s name in the e-mail’s search bar and old messages (from sent/inbox folder) should come up.

    I like to send her a reply explaining how I felt that she didn’t value me or our friendship. I would like to say that I feel she didn’t see our friendship the same way I did (not giving it any importance) and that I respect myself enough and that was why I stopped all contact and also deleted her from my Facebook (she has asked if I had deleted her as she couldn’t find me…yes I did cause I could see that she was posting on there all the time although she couldn’t be asked to reply to the private message I had sent her on facebook). That I did feel sad to end our friendship, often thought about her, missed her but at the same time because I value myself enough I felt I didn’t deserve to hang on like that anymore. If she could be honest enough t take ownership for her actions and genuinely likes to give our friendship a chance then I am happy to give it a o too. But if, it is going to be a one-way friendship once again then I rather like to go our separate ways in a respectful manner, thanking her for all the great times, support and the good friendship we once had and wishing her all the very best for the future.

    • Lily says:

      Jas, your moves have been nothing but well in order. I would have done the same thing. Yes, let her go. There’s absolutely no explaining necessary as she is an adult and doesn’t need to be told/educated by her “friend” how she ought to reciprocate or act like a true friend. I would suggest you don’t talk about her to any of your mutual friends, because it will go around and to her ears. Just be yourself. Hold your pride and be kind like you usually are. Let her question you instead. I would say feel her out, and let her do most of the talking. See what she has to say for herself. The only thing I would say to her after all her BS, is, “I just haven’t heard from you in 2 years, is everything okay?” That’s all. Try not to slip up and pour your heart out to this person. She won’t value it. Just stick to your family, really, that is all you need in life. I wish you the best.

  22. Mary says:

    Can someone help with this friendship dilemma. I was friends with a group of women for over 15 years. I was really close to one of them Andrea and the other two Ellen and Jill were here neighbors. They included me in the circle but I mostly was good friends with Andrea. Our families did everything together, vacations, barbecues, weekends with our whole families. My kids were always included for family get together.
    Then suddenly about 7 years ago the music literally stopped. Everyone stopped calling me. I reached out to Andrea to find out what was wrong and she kept insisting nothing. Finally a couple of months passed and she told me Ellen was getting divorced. No one had bothered to include me as to what was happening in the group. I felt really hurt, I know Ellen got under my skin at times and maybe I wasn’t the best of friend to her, but I did not feel I needed to be left out.

    Fast forward that the relationship has never been the same for the past
    7 years. I do not see Ellen at all and Jill rarely invites me. Andrea who was my closest friend only seems to invite me when she goes somewhere with Jill which makes me uncomfortable.

    Here is the dilemma: Jill’s son is getting married and they invited us.
    I have two sons. One will be in the wedding party and the other they did not invite. My question is should I go to this wedding? I still feel so angry and don’t want to feel the pain that I never got over and
    also that my other son has been left out.

    Thank you for any support!

    Mary

    • Lauren says:

      Hi Mary,
      This is certainly an awkward situation for you, and also quite hurtful to say the least.

      Regarding the wedding, is your other son (the one who was not invited) friendly with the groom? Or is it your other son, ( the one in the wedding party) the only one of the two who is friends, good friends, with the groom? Actually if it were me, I would invite BOTH sons, but that’s not what happened.

      You could discuss it with your other son before you accept the invitation, and see if he would feel really upset or not. Then decide if you want to go or not.

      From what you say, Jill is not (and was not) a really good friend, so based that that you may be inclined to send you regrets and not attend. would you feel awkward at the wedding with those friends who have practically ditched you? They don’t seem like good friends anymore.

      If it were me, I would probably not attend. I’d decline diplomatically, and this would not upset the son who is in the bridal party.

      Yes, it is awkward, but none of this is of your doing, so don’t feel bad about whatever you do.

      Best,
      Lauren

      • Mary says:

        Dear Lauren,

        Thank you so much for your reply. In answer to your question
        the son who is in the wedding party is good friends. My other son who was not invited, they are not good friends, but they
        grew up together and we had many gatherings together.

        Nonetheless, I have already decided not to go. Sometimes you second guess yourself and wonder if it is you, did I do something wrong, etc. Whatever it was, they never sat down and discussed it with me, so I am through with guessing.

        Thank you again for validating what I already knew. It’s just always so hard to let go of people that have been in your life for so long.

        Mary

        • Lauren says:

          Hi Mary,

          Thank you for the update. It is a very wise decision on your part. Yes, I agree that it is hard to let go of people who have been in your life for so long. And in reality, closure must come from within ourselves, and this does take time.

          All we can do is to silently, secretly and in our hearts forgive those who have hurt us and then move long without bitterness or anger. Sometimes others just change in their views and outlooks, and subsequently friends are tossed aside. It hurts, but time will heal the pain.
          Best,
          Lauren

  23. Ellie says:

    You couldn’t have said it better, friends can disappoint and if you have feelings for them, they don’t always have feelings for you. It’s upsetting, it really is,

  24. Lynette says:

    I’m beginning to wish we all lived by each other! It would be nice to have friends who reciprocate like you all do!

  25. Joy says:

    I am completely over always being the one to host, plan, organize, care about and reach out to others. I seem to always meet the same kinds of people……takers. I genuinely start out liking getting to know people and putting effort into planning fun things, but after awhile, it always starts to feel like I’m the only one doing all of the work and all of the inviting. I’m a kind and thoughtful person, but this is really starting to affect how I relate to people. I’m becoming very cynical and don’t want to be that way. I’ve had so many disappointments with friendships. Lately, I’ve been concentrating on myself……becoming a better artist and musician. I’m taking classes and getting back into bicycling. A few times when I was invited, the person cancelled at the last minute. Another time, I went to a party and the host talked nonstop about herself (and showed me photos of a trip!!!!). What is going on with how self centered people are becoming??? Even some family members are becoming obnoxious. I’ve remembered birthdays, purchased presents, baked birthday cakes, called, posted Happy Birthday messages, etc., but when it’s my birthday (or a family member), it’s not even mentioned. I’ve had it.

    • Lynette says:

      That’s so sad! I’m sorry! My husband and I feel the exact same way! We have been burned so many times and it’s hard not to start feeling negative about it…but we still keep trying with those who at least try to show they care in other ways; even if it isn’t how we prefer to receive care/love. I wonder if it just depends on certain areas and cultures. My husband and I would like to move for that reason. Do you mind me asking what state you live in? Hope things get better for you!

      • Joy says:

        I live in Florida. I think that part of the problem is that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of depth in relationships. I recently had something happen that was disappointing. I have been friends with a family for 18 years. We’ve watched our children grow up together and both kids were on a wonderful academic and musical path. My son is now a Junior at at very prestigious college, while, my friends daughter has become very rebellious and ran away from home ( I think it was because my friend was overly controlling). This all happened over the holidays. I continued to communicate with all of the family through phone calls, invitations, gifts, etc. to show my concern. Now my friend dies not speak to me because she said I was enabling her daughter by sending a Christmas gift and speaking to her. (????????) I just thought I was being a loving friend. This is the sort of thing that happens all too often. It’s bizarre. Sometimes I feel like I’m from a different planet dealing with some of these people. My life is so rich and meaningful…..except for the lack of close friends. I know lots of people and see lots of people, but no one wants to carry the friendship to the next level. At first I thought it was me, but now I don’t think so. I’m interested in the world, I’m always trying to learn things and improve myself, I’m a docent at a well-known museum, etc. I guess it is what it is. After reading some of these comments, I feel better knowing that it’s not just me experiencing this.

    • Lauren says:

      That must have been very disappointing when friends cancelled out at the very last minute. Also, when you went to another party and the host talked non stop about herself, and then showed you photos of her last trip. Actually, when I go on a trip, I show my friends photos of the trip…now I am beginning to wonder if I should not do that. But on the other hand, they always show me photos of their trips. And personally, I like seeing the photos of their trips.

      • Joy says:

        I actually like to see photos (a few) of travel or people I know, but this was something different. There must have been over a hundred. I kind of felt trapped, not knowing how to cut it off without hurting feelings. I have been on several fantastic trips, but wouldn’t dream of showing every single picture and explaining everything in detail. I have great memories, but wouldn’t expect people to be that interested in my travel photos.

        • Rubyann says:

          I been used and burned so want times, with so called friends and family,I helped a “friend” cater her mentally challenge daughter party for years, I cooked,baked the cake help decorate and loss tons of sleep. After the party she didn’t know me or talk to me, until the following year 2 months before her daughter birthday I again cooked all the meals, made the cake,dealt with her mental health disorder,help set up the desert table running errands..she ran me dry, her mother in law also a Baker and cook was exhausted making her micky mouse cake pops,my so called “friend”, yelled at her, saying the cake pops were a mess.. poor lady was shaking and her blood sugar was low. She was shaking in front of her to find out she ended up in the E.R the following day. the day of the party. I was so beat you think she say thank you for helping me I really appreciate you and your time. She yelled out when I De idea to leave the party early due to the fact I needed sleep she next year the Bella Disney theme! Wow! I fled her the next day and told her we can not be, friends I never hear from her through out the years, and I’m not her house slave, it has other g to do with her daughter it had a lot to do with our friendship and her mental health disorder I can’t not deal with! Thank you Jesus I’m free!

    • michael says:

      Hi,
      How are you. I just have to say, that throughout my life(and I’m a single man who is gulp 60) that I have constantly been disappointed
      in my “friendships” over the years to the point I was (almost) asking
      myself “what is wrong with me”
      And the answer is (and I am not a conceited arrogant person)
      NOTHING!!!! It’s everyone else, lol. I know how that sounds, but
      I was constantly (and not in a cloying way) paying for friends at dinner, doing favors, babysitting (both humans and pets) and I truly
      truly feel that most people are just selfish and inconsiderate.
      ME ME ME!
      And so, I stopped inviting them over and out. Can you imagine a friendship that if one person doesn’t call the other one back, then
      they never hear from them again. AND I don’t really think these people were “users” or horrible people; just self-absorbed, selfish;
      too bad; it really is.
      Well, thanks for letting me rant and rave…………
      Michael

      • Lily says:

        Michael, You couldn’t have said it better.
        I also think people have too much going on in their lives nowadays to devote any valuable time with friends. So it has become a selfish act.
        I used to live in a small town. People from small towns for the most part make time to be with friends. At least that’s what I’ve been noticing.

        • michael says:

          Hi, Lily
          Hope you’re having a great evening and yes, how did you guess?
          In Chicago now but originally from a small town in Ohio.
          I do think, perhaps, that’s a part of it but me things more,
          as well.
          The down side (for me, anyway) in the big city (although I
          have my dogs) is Loneliness. I know this sounds weird, but
          there’s a married couple, who lives beneath me (3 flat graystone and I’m on the top floor; younger, mid thirties);
          You can tell when people are fake. They really do love and adore me, lol. BUT, I would only see them if I extend the
          Invite? I just got an email from the wife. “we miss you,
          when are we going to see you; Let’s have dinner!!!”
          And like one of the other writers here responded, should say
          ” yes, I’d love to. What do you have in mind?”
          but then I don’t hear back, lol
          AHHH, the phrase, expression I didn’t use before, better
          than self-absorbed………………
          SELF-ENTITLED!!!

          • Helen says:

            I have dealt with friends that also tell me how much they love me and then every time I try to set up a get together they never get back to me. It’s very frustrating, and hurtful!! I had and still sometimes feel very lonely and wonder if I’m doing something wrong. I’ve asked certain close friends if I’ve done something offensive, or if I’m weird. I’m always pointing the finger at myself as the problem to the situation.Thinking that maybe I give off a desperate vibe, that I’m not aware of. But maybe everyone commenting on this page is correct in the idea that it is that others are selfish and are only concerned about themselves.

    • Bailee says:

      That’s how I am one time I through party And invited my friend Alyssa over she had a party at main event where mine was at it was her birthday I said happy birthday to her and she never said happy birthday to me on my birthday so she was giving out invitation out she didn’t give me one so are fights go on and off cause I don’t know if she likes me or not but she talks about people in horrible ways and when I tell her my secrets she tells everyone but when she tells me her secrets I keep them safe I had it I am the person who always brings a pizza to school for my friends and when they bring the pizza I am not invited how selfish are they ?

  26. Jackie says:

    Well, I have the same problem but its with family. My husband and I are the only ones who own a house; his oldest brother-in-law whom we have a close relationship with is married with 2 kids. Sometimes I feel taken advantage of because they are always coming over, bringing the kids (I dont have any yet) and Im the one having to host and entertain. Meanwhile they live on their in-law’s basement and every time we mention going to their house they change subject and never invite us! We dont even mean going there for dinner or anything like that, we mean coming over to see them and my nieces. We love them and we love spending time with them, but sometimes I feel its too much on my plate and its always an excuse when we want to drop by.I dont know what to do cuz sometimes I feel my sister-in-law hides behind the fact she lives with her parents to not have to host.

  27. Morgan says:

    I’ve stopped inviting people round as I never got invited back and just ended up feeling very hurt and unliked. Would have been nice even to have been invited round for a tea or a coffee.

    • Cindy says:

      Morgan,
      It may not feel like much consolation now, but you will find better friends, ones that are more considerate and worth your time. And when you do, you’ll wonder why you took so long to ditch the unappreciative and inconsiderate ones that made you feel so lonely. At least, that’s what I’ve come to realize after I stopped inviting the same group of people who never made any effort in reciprocating anything. Once my husband and I stopped relying on them for company, we opened ourselves to other opportunities to meet other people and have since made wonderful friends (who enjoy having us over as much as we do them.)

    • michael says:

      hey, Morgan
      Understand completely.
      Strange, isn’t it
      Well, not going to repeat everything I just said to Lily but
      you can read my comments here.
      Hope you have a good week
      Michael

    • Arom says:

      I can’t agree more having read these posts, how self centred the world is. I too have just about begun to give up entertaining which I love but simply because it seems no one else bothers to invite me even for a cup of tea. I’ve had some unbelievable situations where people who have come home & enjoyed my hospitality on leaving seemed like they did not want to leave without fixing a follow up meeting at their place. It’s now coming to almost one year & I’ve not heard or seen from them.

      At least I’m glad to know that I’m not alone in facing this syndrome. Maybe we will all soon meet people who we can interact with on mutual terms.

  28. Kelvin says:

    I’ve cut out so many long term ‘friends’ out of my life the past 8 or so years due to them being non reciprocal. I decided it was making me feel low and sad i.e affecting my self esteem. There is NO EXCUSE to not reply to friends who you value. Esp these days, with all the different methods. I use to make such a big effort with these guys and girls, remembering all there special dates etc. They were not bad people, but for whatever reason were happy for me to do all the work.Both genders! Once i stopped texting, emailing etc, i really hoped that they would return some of the efforts and balance the friendship out somewhat. I never heard anything from them again, unless it was the occasional ‘happy new year’ sent generically. I now only have 3 friends, but they are excellent at reciprocating , i’m single and they are married with kids, have to drive in to the city to see me etc, and they still manage to make an effort, even if it’s meeting once every 3 months!

  29. Susan says:

    I had a similar experience moving to a new area, and I could not figure out whether it was “the way things are” in our location, or that people were just not interested in getting to know my husband and me, for some reason. We entertained often, both dinners and informal gatherings for groups of families, but literally years went by and our invitations were not reciprocated in any form: people seemed glad to come to our home again and again, but never followed up with invitations of their own — of any sort. We did not necessarily expect them to have us to dinner or other event in their home, as some people don’t like to cook or even entertain all all, but we hoped they might suggest getting together to do an activity or attend a lecture. Some people complain that this all about “keeping track” –but I think this criticism is sometimes misplaced: for us, and many people, it is not about “keeping score”. We could not have cared less about where a gathering might take place, who spent what, who cooked or drove etc. Instead, the complete absence of return invitations caused us to wonder “If people never reciprocate, how do you know who wants to be friends? How do you move things forward in getting to know people? How long before one-sided efforts and invitations start to seem like we are being too pushy?”

    • Lilly says:

      To all the posts here. I wish we all lived near one another to do our invites and reciprocate, but I’ve discovered that people who work, and that’s the majority of Americans (whom I’m involved with) don’t have the energy to invite people. They love to be invited, but hardly have the want to reciprocate. Then there is the cost. I’ve noticed that food costs. It’s too expensive to buy all the necessities to arrange for a dinner. I’ve had so many gatherings in my home. I too am fed up with preparations. I don’t want the hastle of having to run to the supermarket and buy a ton of food, wine,salads etc, bring it home, then prep the food and so on and so on. It’s tiresome and by the end of the night when all the friends are over I’m completely exhausted. No less, no one, but no one ever gets up to help. Men are sitting around drinking and discussing whatever it is they’re talking about, and women have discovered their liberation. They too won’t get up and do what’s considered “women’s” work. So why should I be the idiot doing all this work? I’ve gone out of my way and people don’t seem to take notice. Can’t blame them. I’ve since been getting together with a few good people (really can’t define the meaning of good anymore) and we make it a point to meet out and have a quiet dinner. I don’t have to get up and serve, ask if everyone is satisfied or not. I get waited on, and am content with the outcome. I do think that everyone who won’t reciprocate dinners feel the same way. It’s not that they don’t like us but then again I’ve met my share of inconsiderate, selfish schmucks who get what they want and never have the decency to call to go out. I’m past that, I think-Sometimes. Just move on, and really it all comes down to being satisfied with your hubby and children. By the end of the day it’s really all about having a happy safe family. We should value that the most.

      • Joy says:

        yes…..what you’ve said is true ( too tired, too expensive). I understand that and accept that. I guess what I’m referring to is inviting just to get together….planning an outing to the beach, going for a walk, meeting for dinner, or going to an opening at a gallery, etc. It seems like the takers just want to laze out and have me come up with all of the fun things to do. I just stopped doing it. I ran into one of the couples recently who NEVER plan anything, never say thank you for gifts, etc. and they actually had the nerve to say, ” Long time no see, no hear from,” as though they couldn’t pick up the phone…..it was MY duty. Almost like they were waiting to hear from me. I think it’s an ego thing. These are people who should know better. I hate to think that they are so lacking in social graces. It probably doesn’t help that I’m a sensitive soul, but I really can’t be bothered with one sided relationships. It makes me feel very sad. i am very lucky though to have a wonderful husband, son, mother in law and a few relatives. I’m just going to concentrate on showing my love to people who make a difference in my life. I do have one girlfriend I’ve know for 20 years who is a kid and giving person. I’m starting to think of many former “friends” as acquaintances.

      • Joy says:

        I wish we all lived closer, too. We’d have some wonderful get-togethers!!

  30. Annette says:

    I have a problem. My husbands coworker wants us to do thanksgiving with him and his large family. The first thing is we live 2 1/2 hrs. from them and I don’t want to be traveling with bad weather. We told them they can come to our home but they are saying that because they have a two year old and four other kids they need to be able to entertain them. I just want to stay home so my daughter can come home from collage and spend time with her. How do I deal with this? I almost feel obligated to go and I will not see my daughter.

  31. Carla says:

    I’m so happy to find this blog. New in my town and so it is hard enough over 40 to meet friends but we found a nice couple. I’ve been going over and over what to do about non reciprocating friends. We never actually entertain at our house but rather outside activities and trips. I think of things and suggest to friends and get their feedback and ideas. We have taken this one set of friends on 2 very nice trips and many, many all day outings within the last 3 or 4 years. They have yet to reciprocate and I’m a big supporter of that. The only thing they will do is @ 4:00pm call and say Hey meet us for Sushi and most of the time we have already made plans. My husband has noticed that I have backed off from the plan making with them this past year and does not see eye to eye with me. Not sure why but I try to explain to him that although I like to make our friends happy, that I also like to feel happy and cared about by our friends. Not to mention the husband is constantly bagging on me about taking pictures on trips and they never bring camera but yet ask me to send my copies over via email. Sheesh!

    • Sandra says:

      My husband and I have a few non-reciprocating friends like these. We enjoy their company, but finally learned that things work out just fine if we simply meet them at a restaurant or an event and each couple pays their own way. That way there is no resentment or unmet expectations.

      Some people don’t understand the simple rules of courtesy, such as reciprocating gifts and entertainment. Others just don’t care — or they can’t afford it. Some people, sad to say, are simply self-absorbed and cheap when it comes to entertaining other people. I’ve learned that I can still enjoy these people — but on neutral ground and when we all pay our own way.

      • Lara says:

        Just a point others may want to consider. We are the couple who don’t invite people to our place because I hate cooking. My husband & I eat out most of the time. When friends invite us for dinner (only 2 friends do this) without any special occasion like birthday and the like, we do bring pasta or desserts or anything we can buy from a restaurant and take to their house as our share for the dinner. We don’t go cheap, cheapest we’ve brought so far is a dozen of Sprinkles cupcakes. I help my friend prepare food because because she has kids. Normally she would buy KFC chicken or Costco chicken and salad. Sometimes it’s bbq, but nothing fancy.

        We have invited them out to restaurants and we did pay, in exchange of not being able to invite them over. They really dislike having dinner at restaurants because of their young kids. My friend has been telling me it’s better that they get invited to our condo instead of going out to restaurants. Aside from not cooking, I also dislike having her at home because her kids break things, jump on my bed with dirty feet, mess up my hardwood floor, pee without their mom making sure that they wash their hands after. Yes, I am picky like that, but it’s my home.

        My friend went dramatic over this. She said one time that she feels used by people other that me for dinners. And that people don’t even try to reciprocate. I told her that maybe people LIKE ME think that we are actually doing her a favor because she can’t go out without tagging her kids, can’t meet at restaurant so for her own convenience, people like me actually drive up to her house to see her. I wanted to add ( but I didn’t) that people LIKE ME DON’T always enjoy having KFC AND Costco chicken for dinner and the money we spend buying food to share when she does haggle me to meet her BUT MEET HER IN HER HOUSE BECAUSE SHE CAN’T GO OUT, could be used to buy my husband & I a decent dinner that we ACTUALLY LIKE.

        Sandra, it’s nice that you learned what works best for you, but please give people the benefit of the doubt when you choose to be generous with them and invite them over. Not all people who shows up on your dinner table actually like what you serve. Sometimes people come over because they can’t say no. Sometimes people you invite over just really like to see you not your food. It doesn’t mean that they are “cheap and self-absorbed” when it comes to entertaining people.

        • Rick says:

          Well Lara, I can’t wait until you have children of your own (if you decide to have any). Especially more than one.

    • Cindy says:

      I have read through many of the comments below and can relate to the feelings of being hurt and frustrated with non-reciprocating friends. We moved to a new city a few years ago and since we moved here have made several lovely friends who have young kids like us. We happily entertainedany of these families at our home numerous times the first year we moved here. No expectations from us, just felt we wanted to get to know everyone and make good friendships. Well, after many, many parties- including, but not limited to, Holdiay parties, BBQ’s, play dates, New Years eve parties, Girls nights, cocktails parties, kids birthday parties, and imnumerable dinner parties. We realized we were hosting the same few families and their kids almost every 6-8 weeks without I single invitation back after 1 year! Seems unbelievable but it’s true. Yes, we did get invited to some kids birthday parties at some bounce house or other venue, but none of these friends would invite us back to their home for a simple meal (be it home cooked or or even get take out).
      I get that when one hosts a party, you shouldn’t expect a tit-for-tat scenario. But, I think people now have completely forgotten what common courtesy is. Yes, we hosted a lot in the beginning. And we did it because WE wanted to. We hoped to make good friends, to get to know them and create opportunities for gatherings to create memories for all of us. But, when we are the the only ones going to the effort/expense of cleaning our homes, preparing lovely meals, serving wine and cocktails and without any reciprocity…. That just plain sucks. I still maintain these are lovely people whom we know. But, they either don’t have the energy, want to make the effort, spend the money, or deal with the mess of having people and kids over. But they’re always happy to accept out invitation. Sadly, we just no longer give them.

  32. Mindy says:

    I’ve never written to anyone on an etiquette site but I do have a dilemma that falls into the same category as this thread. I have two married children. For each of their weddings, I invited two old friends and their spouses. They attended both weddings. However, recently these same friends have had parties and get togethers with mutual friends and I have not been invited. These old friends have posted photos of their parties of Facebook. There was a wedding last week of one friend’s stepson and the other friend was invited but I was told, in advance, that it was a small wedding and not to expect an invitation. My youngest daughter is soon to be engaged. She does not really know these old friends who live out of town, and is angry at them for the way they’ve treated me. Upon my daughter’s engagement and wedding, am I obligated to invite old friends who have left me out of their festivities. I am certain that they will call and demand an explanation.
    Thank you.

    • Sophie says:

      Ouch. I can see where you’d be hurt, Mindy. Once again, here’s another reminder of how dangerous — and harmful — it can be to post too much information on Facebook and other social media. I have a new rule for social media use for myself: Before I post any photos of myself at a party or social outing, I ALWAYS ask myself if someone on my friend list could feel hurt or left out or angry. I’ve seen real-life friendships end over such insensitive postings — way too often.

      As for your daughter’s wedding. She and her future husband should be the ones to decide, ultimately, who attends their wedding. In my opinion, weddings should be about the bride and groom — first and foremost. Hope this helps, and I look forward to other opinions.

      • Mindy says:

        Thank you for your thoughtful response. The situation, of course, is more nuanced than what I’ve written here. I am generally pretty easygoing about being left out, but the social media part does hurt. These friends loved the two other weddings that we’ve had, and I know they will be thinking of themselves, and not what they’ve done to me should they not be invited. I will leave it up to the young couple to decide who they want when the time comes.

    • Irene says:

      Mindy,

      Sometimes people can’t afford to invite everyone to a wedding, even good friends. Nor should there be an obligation to invite everyone to every party but your friends should have exercised more discretion about posting the festivities on Facebook.

      I agree with Sophie that the decision about your daughter’s engagement and wedding should be hers. But what also struck me was that your friends would demand an explanation given that they haven’t invited you.

      If they do press you, I would simply say that your daughter had final authority over the guest list. If you want to preserve the friendship, you can let them know this in advance.

      On the other hand, if you truly want them to be there, this is something you will need to explain/negotiate with your daughter.

      Irene

      • Mindy says:

        Thanks, Irene. Excellent advice. It’s so hard to know when to resort to treating other as they’ve treated you, or rising above the situation. We have a little time to see how this will shake out.

        • Candy says:

          Or you can always say in advance that “it will be a small wedding and not to expect an invitation” – same thing that your other friend told you.

  33. Hi,
    We have a problem that’s somewhat the opposite. We have been to some friend’s houses (all five of us, my husband, myself and 3 kids). They’ve thrown some very nice dinner gatherings and we had a great time, and I’d love to reciprocate but we live in a 2 bedroom apartment. We just can’t fit a whole other family of four or five people in here. It would be awkward. These people have large beautiful homes, so I’m honestly embarrassed to say this, and it seems that they’ve shut us out at this point.

    I’m thinking of reconsidering and trying to have these people over. Do you think that’s the right answer or will it just embarrass us all?

    • Sandra says:

      Carolyn, this topic has been on my mind because I’m usually the hostess who is always inviting people over. (I enjoy entertaining very much, but sometimes I like being a guest too!) The fact that you are concerned about reciprocating shows that you’re not trying to take advantage of your friend’s generosity.

      I have friends who don’t have the room — or the budget — to throw parties all the time. But sometimes they will invite my husband and me out for dinner in a restaurant and they pick up the tab. It isn’t as much trouble to do that (no shopping or housework involved) but it shows that my friends want to do something to treat me or return my hospitality. I am totally pleased by that.

      You could also treat your friends to lunch or movie with treats — again, just something to show that you appreciate the gift of their hospitality and to thank them for the good times they’ve given you.
      Just an idea.

      • Thanks for the idea, but we can’t afford to take just my family of 5 out to a restaurant let alone 4 or 5 additional people. I think we might have to try having them over.

        • Sanda says:

          Carolyn, you might consider making it an adult evening, no kids. That way, it would just be you and your husband, and your friend (and her husband/partner if she has one). Or — even a girls’ night out where you treat your friend to a simple dinner. Actually, I have found that it’s often cheaper to take another couple out than to entertain them at home. And if you’re on a budget, you don’t have to choose an expensive restaurant. I have a friend who’s on a very tight budget, and sometimes she treats me to breakfast — rarely more than $16 for the two of us — instead of dinner. It’s the thought that counts.

          • Carolyn says:

            That’s an interesting idea, but we met through our kids and the girls are best friends. I think not including them would be a bit awkward. Maybe if we can get through this “dinner” at our place we could go out more one on one.

            • cathy says:

              True. Also if they invite you over and welcomed your kids, they might get offended that you’re not inviting their kids. How about a picnic at the beach and tell them they don’t have to bring anything but themselves

              • We live in the desert, so the beach is maybe 120 miles or so away. Maybe when it cools down in the fall we could do a park or something.

              • Thanks! I also though maybe a picnic in the barbecue pit by the pool in our apartment complex might work. We’ll have to wait till temperatures here n the desert start dipping below 100º though.

                • Ellen says:

                  I just came across this site. My husband and I are in the same boat. Our friends have nice houses and always invite us over, while we live in a small apartment, with a small kitchen. But, we asked one of our close friends if instead of them coming over to our tiny apartment, whether we can host dinner for her and another couple at her house. I cooked the food at home, but re-heated some of it at her house, set the table, cleaned up and did the dishes. The only thing she provided was the space.

      • Lynette says:

        I completely understand! When we lived in a small townhome, I felt embarrassed to have parties at our place. My husband loved having football parties at our place and I liked seeing our friends, but it was so stressful in so many ways for me. There were kids running around destroying everything because there wasn’t much space and most of the parents wouldn’t watch them. But since then we’ve found ways around the small place until we could buy a home because we really wanted to reciprocate to everyone around us. We would have BBQ’s out in the common area (like you mentioned)in our complex, have get togethers at parks, and now we’ve had so much experience with planning small events, we started having huge events (usually at local parks) for my husband’s business that are super fun(slightly stressful just making sure it all works out correctly) and we get to see all our friends and hopefully they feel like it’s our way of giving back because we are SUPER busy all days of the week with three kids and hardly have time or energy to have friends over these days. Haha.

  34. Alex G says:

    Friendships should be equal…point blank. We are not in high school and you should never feel like you are begging to sit at the lunch table…we have had the same group of friends since before my wife and I were married and had kids….we have dealt with many many friend issues…the good ones are worth talking it out and compromising, the bad ones are not…and with the bad ones all we can do is move on…are we that desperate to chase after people and send then 30 different types of invites when we know full well that they don’t want to hang out? Do what we did…love and cherish and invite the few good friends who reciprocate your feelings and do not invite the others who do not show you the same courtesy…you are AWESOME!!!! Let people want to come to you, to hang out with you! Sometimes you just need to let people know what they are missing.

    • Sandra says:

      Alex, you are so right — I like your attitude. “Reciprocation” is more than inviting folks back to your house for dinner, etc. It’s about communication, keeping in touch, answering your emails, returning phone calls, and generally checking in and keeping in touch with your good friends. Like anything else worth having, friendship requires effort and caring and communication. If it becomes a bother, or it’s not returned, it’s time to move on.

      • Lynette says:

        That is an awesome quote you just came up with! I’ve considered posting it on Facebook…but I suppose that could impose some sort of unneeded drama in my life. 🙂

        I finally realized I had do just what you talked about. Sometimes you have to move on when you’ve done all you can to give to a relationship with very little or nothing in return. It’s hurt me deeply to come to this conclusion because I really don’t like having anyone mad at me and I just want to make things work out. But I can’t change people to be what I need them to be. It hurts even more that most of the time it’s relationships with my family.

        I appreciate your words of wisdom. Really good friends will sift themselves out eventually.

    • Lynette says:

      Amen!

    • Lily says:

      Alex, I know this is a late email since it was written in August, but I’ve been looking for an answer to my dilemma and was happy to have found this exact problem posted. I was distraught over my “friends” never reciprocating to a dinner or better yet, a coffee, wine and cheese night.I never wanted to ask for a lot, but I’ve had Thanksgiving dinner, cheese and wine night, coffee/tea at our place. Not once did anyone say, come on out and let’s chat or let’s meet for drinks together, somewhere, anywhere. I liked my friends. Many times I asked them to plan something together. Would you believe the 5 people with their family’s have “Friday night dinner fun” at each others homes weekly? One of them posted a pumpkin carving just recently on facebook. It was of their children only, but you could see the mothers together in the background. Reading your post put things more into perspective. I’ve let go. I have remained very close with most of our other friends and it’s a great feeling to have people who actually do reciprocate. Thanks

      • Joanna says:

        I can so relate with most of these posts. I embrace the idea that when it has become one sided and
        these so-called friends aren’t reciprocating… It’s time to move on. I have made a list of couples
        that I will invite for dinner (one couple at a time since I am in a condo) in the hope of nurturing
        more satisfying friendships. If all else fails, I’m getting a puppy. LOL

  35. milly says:

    I don’t mean to respond directly to A., I just don’t know which buttons to click. LOL. My husband and I hate it when a friend started guilt-tripping us for not inviting them over to our place. They do invite us over to theirs, but to be honest, it’s more of a burden to us than a treat of some sort. We never go to anyone else’s house empty handed, even if I don’t cook. We don’t buy cheap food to bring. My friend would occassionally tell us what to bring. Since they had kids, they would decline every offer to dine out, so I thought we were actually meeting them halfway when they would invite us over for dinner – we all still get to meet, but at THEIR convenience and shared expenses on food. I say at THEIR convinience because they would always bitch abt their other friends who have “left” them as soon as they had a kid. We don’t have kids by choice and we definitely don’t find it pleasant to be dining with noisy kids. Also, most of the time, they invite us over to ask help for something. Still, our friends think that they are doing US a favor by inviting us over and would always say “how about us having rotating dinners?” I always respond by saying I don’t cook and I don’t like entertaining people at home, but I’d be glad to treat you for a dinner at a restaurant. They won’t because they said the kids can’t be brought to restaurants. Because of this, my husband started declining their dinner invites. And consequently, since they won’t meet at a neutral place, we now seldom see each other. Not our fault that they don’t want to meet us half way, but I’d definitely not accept any more of their dinner invites because I know this will cause them to feel ENTITLED to being invited to our home. We have imposed a restaurant meet-up or nothing on ourselves for the last 1 and a half year (except for birthday parties) to avoid the drama. We have also started declining treats coming from our neighbors because it causes the giver to think that they can bother us when needed because they have already “invested” on us. Sounds really sad, but I like my peace. I don’t like people hauling me to do something I don’t want to do.

  36. A. says:

    You should communicate with your new friends. That is key. Communicate in a non-confrontational, non-accusatory way. Tell them that you would like to split the hosting. Maybe all they need is to have this brought to their attention.

  37. HateBeingMisUnderstandandAlone says:

    Hi,

    I feel so stifled by the people around me.
    * controlling parent–I’m a full adult, but if I make a comment, it’s a problem. If I’m silent, it’s a problem. If I’m having a good day, it’s a problem.

    * sibling with erratic emotions (anger, sullenness, refuses to make even the very basic of conversations; gets angry when I ask about their day says “I don’t answer questions like that.” what? huh? )–curses me if I don’t agree with their bad attitude. Lives in the home with my parent, so I have to see/interact with them when I visit or call. The parent usually defends this grown up sibling instead of me.

    Weird family dynamics. Right now, they are all I have other than extended family members. I try not to go beyond the “immediate family” to maintain respect; not to get gossip going. Would you agree that immediate families have unspoken rules of protection?

    I reach out to people, but they are not interested. I used to be the one to make the travel plans, night out events, make the phone calls, be the driver, etc. Then I just stopped because no one wants to reciprocate. When it’s time for them to make the plans or do the driving, it becomes a hassle.

    When I suggest a movie, I’m the one who has to look up the movie or they get angry. “What time does the movie start?” they say, even though I’m the one at work. Can’t they look up the movie while I’m on my way to pick them up?

    When I suggest going for a simple walk, they say, “I don’t want to walk in the bad weather.”

    When I say, let’s take a trip even if just for overnight in the city across town, they hesitate or hem and haw. I don’t need to take a long trip or spend a lot of money (maybe less than $300 total–food and hotel for weekend; and I’m paying for the hotel without asking for $$ back). They may only have to pay $50 give or take for their own food. I pay for parking. I pay for the hotel.

    I don’t mind being alone, am comfortable in my own skin especially when I am doing hobbies, reading, my favorite interests.

    Why do people see being with me as a burden?

    • Joy says:

      Maybe the people you meet are just boring people……..it probably has nothing to do with you. You sound like you are interested in life and having fun. there are lots of deadbeats out there. Maybe if you meet new people you will find some friends who like to do things. I seem to meet lots of people who like to tell me about their health issues……..BORING!!!!!! I move on when this seems to be the main conversation all of the time. Good luck and have fun!!!! You sound lovely.

      • Nadine says:

        I agree, there are a lot of boring people who like to talk about their health problems or their husband who is always sick for the past 20 yrs. I was always quiet, but I like to have fun but I get stuck with these old boring deadbeats, which I though was better than no friends. I was stuck with one 15 yrs older than me, was a neighbor, was nice but she never drove. I had to take her to the grocery store all the time, and to see the doctor(she’s a diabetic). I had to (ho-hum) watch her learn to use the pin-prick and asking for my advice, and I never used one or knew about it! Before her father died, I felt obligated to bringing her to see her father at the nursing home once a week or once every two weeks! I finally moved away but stupidly kept contact with her because I’m lonely(I’m not ugly but only mentally deficit males always liked me so I remained single all me life(with the exception of a boyfriend with a steel-plate in his head). Anyway, one day when I was driving her, she was complaining how I drove(I just bought a new car-learning to drive it)That moron never drove in her life-too chicken to get a license. Then a week later I asked her if she wanted to go to a fair, and she asked me to bring a friend(older than her) who had met me once and told my so-called friend I had frizzy hair. yeah! I wasn’t too thrilled, but I did it. And on the way home her friend commented my on my driving-and explained to me how to drive while the other one sat there saying nothing!
        The next day I called her on it, that it was insulting! And she thought it was just good advice. Anyway, I ended up telling her something truthful. She didn’t anything. But the next day(she probably mentioned it to her sickly husband) when I called her, she said we were done. I got dumped by this deadbeat! I know I’m better off, but I wish I wasn’t so nice. At age 55, I feel like I wasted a lot of my life on this old plain woman. We always looked like”mutt and Jeff” me being Jeff. I just wish I could change my life. I like to do things but there is nobody to do it with! They only do things with their family. So it is impossible to meet friends who don’t want to do anything unless they are with grandkids. I wasted my life! To younger people, watch out for these parasites!

  38. Erica says:

    Here’s my take on this. It could be that some people lack the time or energy or money to reciprocate much. But perhaps the fact that they are not reciprocating much is the politest way they know to communicate that they’re just not that into you? I know that sounds mean, but how would you prefer people communicate this? If people are pursuing me for friendship but it’s not where I want to focus my social energies, should I be direct and tell them that? That seems really rude. Instead, I will just not reciprocate much, and hope that this is the more polite way to get the message across. If I reciprocate every time someone invites me over, then the message I am sending is, “Yes, I am into you and want to focus my friendship energies on you” when that is often not the case.

    • Sandra says:

      I’m inclined to agree, and to back off from the friendship. Spot on.

      • Lily says:

        I agree, I easily get the hint and it’s closure for me too, but don’t call me to ask me to pick up your kid, and be there for you when you don’t have your close buddies with you. I don’t like the hypocricy.

    • valentyne says:

      No no no. If you don’t want to be friends with someone, you nicely and politely DECLINE INVITATIONS. You can’t send a message that you don’t want to be friends by gladly accepting all their hospitality and then not reciprocating! Good Lord people get some manners.

    • Bill says:

      Erica:

      How about declining politely the things they are giving you or offering you instead of taking and not reciprocating. I would prefer that instead of non-reciprocation.

      Bill

  39. Meg says:

    I’m in total agreement with you. I have had a friend who has also been a business client. I try to keep business out of the equation and have done a pretty good job of that. Over ten years I have hosted, organized, etc. just about every activity and shared my relatives and friends at events at my place with her, and many times her friends and relatives. I’ve shared Holiday Festivities, etc. Not once in the ten years have I ever been invited to her home to see a Christmas Tree or have some Holiday Cheer. In ten years I can count on one hand the number of times she has invited me over for a party, a dinner, a cocktail hour, or a lunch at a nearby restaurant. I’ve given her a horse after paying 10.000 dollars for surgery on the horse, and many many other gifts. I was perfectly satisfied to continue being friends until this past several months she has continually made appointments only to not show up or cancel at the very last minute, and most recently when I lost a dear pet, she didn’t appear to have much consideration for my sad reticence on the day to day relations. When I began to be more communicative, she began shouting how indignant she was, and so I let loose a laundry list of my own grievances. I’ve since apologized for my outburst, but she has severed all but the business aspect. In other words her horse is still boarded with me for now. I am kind of expecting that she will sever that connection also. Who knows? Is there any help for this friendship?

    • Lauren says:

      Hi Dara,

      I agree with Dr Irene’s advice, and I also think that you handled it as well as anyone could in those circumstances. I don’t see that you have done anything wrong when you stopped being the only host. the others should have invited you and others out to dinner (their treat)
      or invited you to dinner , or at least for drinks, at their places.This one way street doesn’t seems like much of a friendship situation. Friendships are reciprocal.

      • Lucy says:

        I think if we look into it a little then we would see the common denominator! Really it is all about ‘value’. How much we value our friends is the reason we like to have them over for dinner/drinks/catchups and just plain spending time. The problem arrises when the ‘giver’is not valued for her ‘giving’by the recipient. This in turn expresses to the giver that she/he is not of high value to them. In short if you cannot afford the food/drink/or whatever else, then you are talking rubbish. A walk and a coffee would be $5 , and the experience priceless! Get over yourself and find a way to do something that can keep your friendship going…dont look too deeply, just understand that EVERYONE wants to feel valued. Make the time!

    • Lauren says:

      Hi Meg,
      This friend /business client does not seem much like a real friend. Even if she did not want to entertain in her home, she could easily have reciprocated by inviting you out for dinner/lunch etc.

      I also believe that when friends flake out at the last minute
      , especially with flimsy excuses or no excuses, and when they don’t reschedule, then that is a message, loud and clear. This is even worse when the friend actually makes the arrangements, and also then flakes out. It’s is basically para-talk for saying that they don’t care about your feelings. It is dismissive.

      I am not really sure that I would want a friend like this.She seems to be quite a source of stress for you. Hopefully , you will connect to other friends who will treat you better. All the best to you.

  40. Sparky says:

    Hi all, I thought this was really appropriate to post, it touched my heart and my eyes filled with tears. It kind of sounds like us, let’s not be too quick to judge.
    Sparky

    WE DON’T HAVE LOTS & LOTS FRIENDS… JUST GOOD FRIENDS.

    A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the 4 pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls.

    He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.

    “Mister,” he said, “I want to buy one of your puppies.”

    “Well,” said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck, “These puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.”

    The boy dropped his head for moment.Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer.

    “I’ve got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?”

    “Sure,” said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle. “Here, Dolly!” he called.

    Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur.

    The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. His eyes danced with delight. As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse.

    Slowly another little ball appeared, this one noticeably smaller. Down the ramp it slid.Then in a somewhat awkward manner, the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up…

    “I want that one,” the little boy said, pointing to the runt. The farmer knelt down at the boy’s side and said, “Son, you don’t want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.”

    With that, the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers. In doing so, he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe.

    Looking back up at the farmer, he said, “You see sir, I don’t run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands.”

    With tears in his eyes, the farmer reached down and picked up the little pup.

    Holding it carefully, he handed it to the little boy.

    “How much?” asked the little boy… “No charge,” answered the farmer, “There’s no charge for love.”

  41. Cynthia Anne says:

    I sure can relate to this one! During our child’s school years, we got together often with the parents of our child’s high school friends — there were 7 of the youngsters in this close-knot group, and so there were 14 parents altogether. We would take turns hosting picnics and parties … all except for one of the couples. The couple who never hosted actually had a lovely home and money to entertain, but they were the type who didn’t want to spend the money to throw a party — or get their home messed up. (They never allowed the kids to play in their home — they sent them to other people’s houses!)

    After a while, the rest of the group got tired of being taken advantage of, and stopped hosting these gatherings. And guess what? The couple who refused to host had the nerve to ask WHY we had all stopped getting together! From then on, we started meeting in restaurants — on neutral territory, as someone else suggested here.

    That said, I lost respect for the couple who wouldn’t reciprocate. Friendship should be a two-way street. I don’t believe things should be tit for tat — but when I feel I am taken advantage of, it’s hard to feel the warm glow of friendship. Now that I am older, I don’t put up with one-sided relationships any longer.

    • Kim says:

      This is truly a case of being taking advantaged of. I’m sorry that it happened to you & your husband. Since I detest entertaining in my home, I try to reciprocate to friends who invite us over for dinners by treating them out to dinner. However, I have a friend who have refused to dine out with us due to their kids, so we don’t accept their dinner invites anymore. The reason being is that I don’t want anyone branding me as taking advantage, non-reciprocating friend.

    • MelissaJane says:

      Yep me too… Life is too short to waste on people that want to be entertained but cannot be bothered to put themselves “out” for anyone else. They are not friends, they are users!

  42. LL says:

    I was in the writer’s shoes about 10 years ago and stopped entertainment because it was just too one sided. But later I found out these non-reciprocating friends had genuine reasons not to entertain. Not everyone is comfortable arranging parties and some can’t deal with the stress. It has a lot to do with fear of rejection. If people decline, they take it personally. What I did is set up individual “dates” with my friends, to meet at restaurants and shows one to one. It took a lot of time to set these ups but it was very much appreciated by the friends. Still some are too shy to reach out unless I do. I stopped being offended and realized that they have a problem being proactive in reaching out to friends.

    • Kim says:

      LL, thank you for pointing this out. I’d like to add my 2cents on this. I realize that this may not be a popular opinion, but pls. consider this as another side of the story. I am on the other side of the fence. I am the one getting invited by a friend all the time. This is despite the fact that I have told her numerous times that I cannot reciprocate by inviting them over because I do have a tiny apt, I don’t cook, I don’t like stressing out on having visitors, and I am a hoarder. I really am. Whenever I go to dinner invites, I make sure I bring dessert, an entree or whatever everyone can eat. I don’t go cheap on it. Most of the time to be honest, I feel really burdened by having to attend to their invites, because I’d rather spend my $ & time dining out. These are the reasons why:

      1. When I dine out, I spend less $ and better quality of food. I can order what I want and eat what I want. I have control over what I spend, too. I will never ever go to a dinner invite to a particular friend’s house (or any invite for that matter) esp. because from experience, this friend gossips about her guests who don’t bring anything to complement the meal. The money I spend for the food I bring along to your dinner invite can be used to buy myself the food that I’d LIKE to eat.

      2. Dining out – I save time. We both save time. If we meet in a restaurant, I don’t have to drive all the way up to your house- we can meet where it’s convenient for us both.

      This friend of mine would spontaneously invite me over for dinners at their house and would plead like a child for me to go. The thing is, after work, I don’t want to go shopping for food to bring to her house. I’d rather go straight home and cook my own food or dine out. The worst part is when this hostess would ask me to drop by the market to by a piece of tomato, or onion or some drinks, after I have asked her beforehand if she needed anything, to which she responded “no”. Since she is doing the “honor” of hosting, it’s hard to feel irritated by last-minute shopping requests and not to heed to these. Another thing is that when I get to their house, if she tells me to go at 7pm, food is not prepared at 7pm. She waits for me to come and help her chop up the food and cook. Why would you want me to drive all the way to your house for an “invite” when I can do all these at my apt and spend lesser time preparing for my own food? Also, I am expected out of courtesy to stay over for movies and long talks. If I don’t then that makes me a bad user-friendly friend and a eat-and-run friend. As if I do enjoy your dinner invites. This goes back to the driving, buying food to bring to the dinner, last minute requests for grocery shopping.. yes you’re hosting, but really? It feels more like a burden to me than an invite. It’s a lesser hassle for me to meet you at a restaurant halfway between my apt & your house, I order and pay for what I want, go home at the time that I want (no more guilt-tripping!) and most of all, I wouldn’t have to be burdened by constant display of feelings that because of your dinner hostings, I owe you, or that I am taking advantage of your generosity by attending to your invites, but not inviting you over for dinners. Uum, I did tell you that I don’t like hosting dinners or having visitors over, right? Now here’s the sticky part- friend feels “overused” or taken advantage of. Get over yourself. No one forced you to invite me over for dinners, but you sure do feel “offended” when I don’t.

      Sometimes hosts feel like they are doing their guests a favor, but perhaps you can’t go out because of your kids, etc? and you need company no? Whatever it is, I think that when you invite someone over, invite because that’s what your heart desires, not because you are expecting something back. Of course if you host several times, I’d like to take you out and pay for your food to reciprocate. But don’t feel like I took advantage of you if you can’t get the exact action you are expecting of me to reciprocate your hosting. Again, no one forced you invite me over for your dinner. Knock it out.

      I havr invites at this friend’s house or any friend who seem like the type te gotten better at handling situations like these. I have completely stopped attending dinner shove in front of your face the the things that they did for me. Again, no one forced you to do so and. I the truth is, I don’t enjoy your invites. I just don’t like offending you and you going dramatic over it.

      To OP, I’m sorry for sounding harsh. I have my friend in mind while writing this. Perhaps you can pick up on some of what I said, if any applies to you.

      • Michelle says:

        Kim, you sound like you resent your friend. Have you tried talking to her about how you feel? I do get your point, though. While it’s true that most invitations should be taken at it’s face value and normally considered as an act of generosity, some people can simply be manipulative. I am not saying that Dara is. I’m referring to other people in the light of showing the other face of the coin. Here’s a link to explain further:

        http://www.wikihow.com/Pick-Up-on-Manipulative-Behavior

        “Understand the characteristics of a manipulative personality. They’re not always obvious because they play a silent game of building up obligations toward them, that end up with you feeling guilty, pressured, and obliged to carry out things for their sake even though you’re still wondering how things got to this point. Some of the characteristics of a manipulative personality include:

        A martyr style personality. This personality type behaves as if he or she is being considerate toward others but is actually messing up considerateness with a need to be significant to you. By “martyring” themselves, they are doing things nobody has asked of them or wants them to do but in the process creates a bind when they do them. In “doing you a favor”, their expectation increases that you have to return the favor. They may also complain constantly about all the things they do for you and wonder rhetorically when you’re going to return this favor…”

        • Anonymous says:

          Michelle:

          I believe that that my currently-estranged friend fits your profile of “martyr” as well as seeming to suffer from something of a “savior” complex. She has many good qualities and it was she who reached out to me, initially to empower me to “soar” in my online advocacy & causes, as well as to support me in dealing with major family issues. D. has a tendency to befriend needy people and offer herself as a friend. We got to calling each other friend and sister and acted as intimate confidantes for each other. But one week, it was obvious that things came to a head in our friendship. The “final straw” ugly incident happened via Facebook Cat, where D. got confrontational, told me I was acting like a jealous child, and would up demanding that I apologize to her for “treating her like —–.” To sum up, D. apparently had “had it” with me. I fear now that I came off as needy and clingy, though I tried not to! D. would lash out at me in fights, leading up to one evening. She had gotten downright confrontational to the point of hostility in our final “words” via Skype. It was so ugly! I yearn for closure but fear contacting her because of her last words to me.

      • LL says:

        Hello Kim. I have definitely been where you are. I had a friend for 30 years, and she felt as if she was a “sister”, not that you would even use a sister like she did me. She called for dinner parties whenever she needed either company or something else, like for example reading legal papers and giving her free advice. Or helping her kids with job interviews. She got worse and worse with demands on my time and services when I moved to her neighborhood due to my husband’s new job. She would call last minute for meetings at the beach or meetings for dinner.

        But this lady did not feel she needed to reciprocate or even be kind. At times she was also too critical and offensive and there was the matter of the gossip that boomeranged back to me. She seemed obsessive about gossip to the point I had to change the subject towards the end. Definitely this friend had issues, her drinking was becoming excessive and she was going through changes as she aged, frustrations. But still it didn’t excuse it.

        I had to end it, and it was very painful for me because we went back to High School and the adult children were friends now, so it was awkward for them. I am still wondering if I did the right thing, but it is too late now, years have past.

        The advise I would give anyone is that you need to erect those boundaries very early in the relationship, because if I had said no sometimes I might still have the friend.

        • Kim says:

          LL, OMG!!! I could possible write what you wrote in a couple of years from now. Thank you very much for sharing your experience! I am currently building boundaries between my friend & myself. She lures me with dinner invites only to find out that she needs help with something – something that takes too much time. Sometimes I’d like to puke out the food she fed me, after I discover the real reason for the dinner invite. Help me prepare my child’s party – and the only stuff she buys ready made are plastic spoons, forks, plates and cups, oh.. plus the soda! The rest have to be chopped up and cooked. And she invites 30-40 adults and about 10kids. Imagine the preparation I have to help her with! I can’t tell you how many times I stayed over 2am in their house on the night before the party because I was helping her cook. WTH, why not buy ready-made food or have it catered or just spend in a restaurant? Sometimes she’d ask me to take care of her toddler and a baby because she & her husband wants to have a date. One time she asked me to host a party for this home demo for a cookware- so that she can get the freebie cookware for free. WTH. Sometimes it’s to be a guarantor for something. And she asks these favors right after feeding me dinner. Bleeeecch! I swear I have to learn to vomit all the food out once the real reason for the dinner invite is revealed! This is the reason I don’t accept dinner invites from ANYONE anymore, unless it’s a birthday party where a lot of other people are coming over. I don’t want to owe anyone anything, I don’t want to be fed only to find out that I am being tricked into heeding to favors and on top of that, I don’t want to be regarded as taking advantage of their generosity when I don’t heed to their requests or reciprocate by the way THEY EXPECT me to, such as, but not limited to inviting them to my apt for dinners. This friend I am talking about is the same as your “sister” friend – 1.a gossip 2. hyper-critical of other people including me! 3.no common courtesy – not nice when she doesn’t HAVE to. Thanks for what you wrote. It helped me know that I am on the right route in handling my situation with her – I need to set boundaries. And yes, I have declined her dinner invites. She gets dramatic, frustrated, snarky, sweet, tweetums and back to showing frustration, but the answer to her dinner invite is still a big NO.

          Dinner invites should be done without expecting anything in return, or without an agenda. Otherwise, just save your money and stop buttering up to get your invites to do you favors.

          • LL says:

            Kim, I am glad you have worked at erecting those boundaries. Hope it worked since August. However, I would caution you against thinking all friends are users and declining dinner invitations.

            I have had to cut out the users out of my life. I do miss them sometimes because they are intense and make you feel somewhat special by demanding so much of your time and manipulating me with kindness into helping them. But at some time I had to say no more.

            I’ve had to go out and find new friends, and there were new rules and I had to get used to the way real friends act.

            I feel much better now with my friends.

            • Kim says:

              Thanks, LL. I’m gaining new friends & applying boundaries as early as now so as to avoid future conflicts. I can say the same. I feel much better now with my friends.

            • red says:

              exactly !!
              i have a pool. itz amazing how people start calling again in the spring…..
              i love hosting parties. but this year, i’m tired of cleaning up after everyone has had a good time and left. but when they have a party or go out of town, i am not invited. when they “slip” i ask why i wasn’t invited? they tell me “well, it was a family vacation” etc. okay ……..
              no more users.
              i miss them sometimes, but i have to remove all toxicity now.

      • Sienna says:

        Hi Kim,

        I had a friend years ago, who wanted me to visit her every weekend and drink with her until all hours of the night. It was so unhealthy and I was miserable because, I am and always have been quite a health conscious person. I would have loved to have gone for a hike, bike ride or to a museum instead.

        I couln’t stand it after a while, so I basically cut her off, which i did feel guilty about. But i found out years later, that she had to go to detox for alcohol and, i think drugs too. She almost lost her job too as her employer and all her colleagues found out.

        I think you just don’t want to spend much time with your friend, and going to a restaurant is better for you since you can have a visit, but you don’t have to spend the entire evening listening to her.

      • Lynette says:

        Friendship is about sacrifice. I can already count on both hands how many times I went out of my comfort zone for friends this week. If you really care, you go out of your way for people and strangely even though you may feel out of place or out of your comfort zone, you still get a high knowing you sacrificed for them are are a true friend.

  43. Claire says:

    This is one huge reason I cut a handful of people out of my life in 2011 and it’s now a principle i stick to. I was always the planner – in my mid 20s i lived in an entertainment district so i found myself doing a lot of he inviting over to my house or the bars or restaurants nearby, but also planning other things for our friends like outings to other neighborhoods and whatnot. I went back to grad school at night, so while i did not have the time or energy to commit to being the planner, I still could occassionally go out if any of the other people were to host/facilitate/plan instead.

    While I don’t mind sometimes planning things, there’s quite a burden that goes along with it even if youre the one that simply planned for your women friends to all meet at a restaurant one night – if something comes up and you cant make it, it seems like a bigger deal if the person planning the outing cant go; if you try to plan something and some people can do one date or time and others can do a different one, you end up having to be the one that has to choose which date to have and thus which dates certain people get included or excluded; obviously if you’re inviting people to your own place, you have to do the cleaning and at least sime if not all of the drink and food planning; if you are planning anything you have to worry about if the places youre choosing are really worth the trip and if something turns out badly you tend to feel like the cause of it simply by virtue of being the facilitator; if there are any minor decisions to be made, people naturally defer to the person who facilitated the plsn; and finally, when you end up ALWAYS being the facilitator, even if people always say yes to YOUR invites, you start to feel like youre not that liked when you never, ever get similar invites in return.

    So when school started for me i realized i never heard from anyone; if i did plan something everyone would show up but if i didn’t plan anything then i never heard from people. It really worse on my self esteem…i felt like an awkward insecure eighth grader again, at 28 i was constantly worrying about if i was TRULY liked by my own friends. I even did a bottle service thing for an out of town friends wedding, and some friends who didnt know the bride too well were invited and they inevitably showed up but did not chip in a dime for the bill they knew was $600, while the brides other friends and my husband’s friends all did… At one point I realized the only couple of things any of them had invited me to were their wedding showers and bachelorette parties….I started to see what type of people they were over my 3 years of grad school and decided to stop initiating contact. It helped that I had a few newer friends who weren;t as self-involved with whom i had a more two-way street sort of relationship. It allowed me to see the light – here these people who ive not known long find me valiable tneough to invite me places, plan things, or even be the ones to pick up the phone and ask me how i am doing – when my old friends cant.

    Long story short i stopped inviting anyone who didn’t seem to put forth the same types of effort in return, and it was the best thing I ever did. I have fewer friends now that I did then, but I am also much happier. I don’t know if it was anything personal against me in particular or just the way those people are, but I suppose it doesnt matter because they clearly shouldn’t be in my life regardless.

    Nobody should bear all the burden of being the facilitator with relationships whether its with your significant other or with a friend…I probably wasted time on those “friends” for many years thus wasting time i couldve spent making new friends who shared my values. I was glad that grad school cramped my style because having those challenges was the classic “finding out who your real friends are” life challenge i needed to change my social circle.

    • Debbie says:

      Claire,

      That’s amazing! I’m proud of you, and you did it in a way that was respectful to everyone involved; in life, we have to consider our needs first. I feel the same way you do: it’s about quality, not quantity of friends-for sure.

      Debbie 🙂

  44. Debbie says:

    Hi Dara,

    I totally understand how you’re feeling. My husband and I tend to be the social convenors with people, and it does get tiring (and expensive!) when it’s one-sided. It doesn’t sound like you’ve done anything, do I wouldn’t start that whole taking it personally rant, but I do agree with Irene: meet somewhere neutral, and whoever shows up, enjoy your time and before you leave, put out some dates for the next get together. What we’ve started doing is backing off and waiting for others to step forward. If they don’t, get out of the house the 2 of you-there’s always tons going on …. you may just start meeting some new friends….there are a lot of like-minded people out there-maybe invite some work colleagues? Couples from church or other organizations you may be involved in? Take care!
    Debbie

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