• Resolving Problems

A Texting Only Friendship: Is That All There Is?

Published: October 15, 2014 | Last Updated: April 5, 2022 By | 28 Replies Continue Reading
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Can a texting only friendship survive without face-to-face contact? One friend is upset because the other never wants to get together.

QUESTION

Hi,

I am in so much pain right now regarding my friend. We are both females (I’m 42, she is 39). We met three years ago, and just had that instant girl connection. She is extremely busy, and travels a lot for work (she’s an actress). I was a little taken aback when she pursued me for friendship, but we soon learned that we had a lot in common, and similar views on many things. I also became close to her husband last year, after he texted me out of the blue one day (I had met him once previously, nice guy).

Our friendship is great except for one thing. I would like to spend more time with her.

For the last ten months, we lived just 45 minutes from each other; closer, because my job transferred me to LA, which I wasn’t 100% happy with, but I digress. The last time I saw my friend was a year ago when I came here from Las Vegas (where I lived at the time) for my birthday. Since the day we met, it’s been like this. Whenever I ask if she can hang out, she either can’t or doesn’t know. If I ask her about her schedule, she always says, “So far, it’s open…” or something like that.

She’s so busy that she doesn’t stop to see the things right in front of her, and I’m referring to much more than me–I’m a minute part of that. My feeling is that although we text nearly every day, I need that personal contact with people I care about. To me, it says, “You’re important enough to me, and I want to make time for you.” I don’t (nor do I want to) see my friends/family every day. I’m pretty much a loner who enjoys “me” time. But, yes, every few months, I enjoy seeing my friends, especially if they live close to me.

She is not like this. I ended up writing her an email about my frustrations and she hasn’t spoken to me since, except a text calling my email BS & saying she was PO’d about it. That was a month ago. I don’t really understand how wanting to spend time with her WHEN SHE CAN, not every day of her life, would be so upsetting to her. Just a couple hours for coffee or a meal every now and then, that’s all I’m asking.

When we DO hang out, it’s great! We laugh, talk, connect, and really bond. Maybe I expect too much of her? I totally understand that much of her downtime is spent with hubby, but I sometimes think she uses that as an excuse. He was on a road trip for nearly a month. I asked a couple of times if she wanted to do brunch and she declined.

It just doesn’t register for me how we haven’t been able to get together for eleven months despite our constant texting. NO ONE is so busy that they can only have a texting only friendship. If she has time for Botox appointments, she should have time for brunch. In the email, I just said for once, that I’d like HER to plan something nice for us, to surprise me, etc.

What’s really hurting me is this silent treatment. We’ve NEVER gone this long without talking. I just don’t understand why she’s so angry. I’m upset that after three years of friendship that she would not feel like she could talk to me about this.

This is really bothering me. I miss her a lot, and I know she thinks about me because we were a part of each other’s daily routine. I’m losing sleep over this. I need serious advice.

Signed, Felicia

ANSWER

Hi Felicia,

I’m so sorry you are in this painful situation. In a sense, it is similar to having an unrequited love. You are attracted to your friend who feels like a kindred spirit (of sorts) but you acknowledge this friendship has been quite disappointing almost since the day you met.

Your friend seems to have a busy life and doesn’t want to make social plans with you. You’ve lived many hours apart and now you live less than an hour away, but you still can’t find a common meeting ground.

You probably should have let her known how you felt sooner than this but writing the note was absolutely the right thing to do. You have finally come to realize that you want (and deserve) more than a texting only friendship.

Your friend ignored your request and that speaks volumes. It suggests she was happy with your limited relationship, as it was, and is not interested in changing it. Perhaps, there are things going on in her life that demand her time that she isn’t willing to speak about. Or, perhaps unlike you, her work, her husband, and the texting only friendship she has with you satisfy her social needs.

Relationships require give-and-take from two people. They are rarely satisfying if only one person sets the terms.

Whatever your friend’s reasons, you have no choice but to respect her decision and figure out whether you want to maintain this unusual relationship or find someone else who is more accessible and less unreliable friend. I can’t help but think that remaining in this frustrating relationship would feel demeaning and incomplete.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene


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Category: Disappointing friends, RESOLVING PROBLEMS

Comments (28)

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  1. Kathy says:

    Substitute Facebook for texting and that was a “friendship” I had. Rare get togethers and when I challenged her on it, stating I”d like to have more face to face time, after some back & forth and hurt feelings, it ended the friendship. There was no contact even on Facebook for almost a year so I unfriended her this year on Facebook and she retaliated by blocking me.

  2. Jade says:

    Me and this girl that was in a club with me stared being friends. And Idk if I should text her everyday or if it will get on her nerves. Then we don’t talk at school I seen her and she keep looking at me so Idk what to do

  3. Sarah says:

    oh my goodness I can so relate to this! My friend and I met through work. We were friends for about 3 years. I helped her with her business; promoted it and gave up my free time to help her sell stuff. She found another job and we didn’t see each other for about a month when she treated me for my birthday. Then I heard nothing. Whenever she text it was because she wanted something. Anyway, it’s been nearly 3 months when she text out of the blue to ask if I’d be a bridesmaid. Then she started texting me about dress shopping appts etc which was fine. Then i was told I’d have to pay for my own make up, and the hotel room if I wanted to stay over etc and it started to get expensive so I explained and said I was happy to not be a bridesmaid. However my husband would only be invited to the evening do, so I said that as I would prefer to go to the wedding with him (which wasn’t being held locally) I’d be happy to go to the evening do. Since then I’ve heard nothing. However all this was done by text!! I mean what happened to good old fashioned communication??! to make matters worse she has been moaning about me to another work colleague, who, I might add, she didn’t like and had stopped talking to!!! Hypocrisy right? So this “friend” thinks I’m over reacting. Texts can be read so many ways. She was always so busy to meet me, yet made time for others and wanted me to be a bridesmaid?! None of it makes sense but I’ve backed off and left her to it. I’m not chasing after someone who can’t make time, it’s not worth it.

  4. Kaylee says:

    Hi,

    So im in the 7th grade right now, and my friends was like doesn’t care about me anymore, they only care about themselves? is it called true friends?, i don’t know that i really like her right now or not, but I’m just too tired of her, like she’s a new students, in the first day no one wants to be her friend we are the first people who plays with her, but now in the middle of school/term another people start taking her away from us. how can she do that? like we’re her first friend? she is like ignoring our friendship and start to take her new life with them , i know maybe she just can’t feel what we really feel we feel so sad, she really changed.

    • linda says:

      These are the challenges that we go through with we open ourselves up in friendliness and friendship. Yes, it is a bad feeling when someone does that. Sometimes the only thing to do is go on with your life the way it was before you befriended her. It reminds me of so many movies in which a friend leaves those who have included them when they needed it most, but we know it does happen, not just to you or me, but to almost everyone at some point in time. Sometimes, it helps us to be more aware how special true friendship really is and when the situation is turned around, and sooner or later they will experience some of what you are feeling right now. And this can be an awesome reminder to you when someone else, tries to pull you away from your friend who has been there for you, you will be wiser and kinder than the new girl was.

      And old saying “make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold” I always thought the old was the gold but both are valuable 🙂

      • Laura says:

        Beautifully said, Linda. I share your sentiment. You don’t know when somebody will walk into your life. Sometimes important people might not show up until later on. It’s boils doen to fate and how you end up crossing paths.

  5. Lynn says:

    Oh, whoa! Can I relate to this. In fact, I spent a lot of time thinking about this ‘friendship’ before finally falling asleep last night. I’ve had a friend for almost forty years who, now, will only text me……..maybe has attempted to call four or five times in the last year. Whenever I return her call, perhaps four or five times, she doesn’t answer and then won’t call me back. She has had some health issues and I certainly understand this.
    If I call her and she might pick up the phone (pretty much never does) we’ll have a nice talk, catch up on various things and here’s the clincher. If I say I need to go for some reason or another she sounds quite miffed and says ‘bye’ very quickly and in an obvious angry tone. I am giving up on this. It has totally sucked the life out of me. It’s like an odd game and being in my 50s I just have to spend time with friends who really want to communicate.
    I feel I’ll always be open to calls but won’t text any more. May sound harsh but this has now gone on for a couple of years. I’ll add that she lives a couple of hours away…………

    • Laura says:

      I find, being passed 50, that I am intolerant of nonsense or games. Time is valuable and I only spend it on people that really matter to me

  6. Luella Nicholson says:

    Hello

    I am an elderly lady who would enjoy having a
    pen pal,
    someone with whom I can just pour a cup of coffee at my desk and sit down and text to my pen pal some of the day’s happenings, not every day, but from time to time.

    Luella

  7. Amy Anne Jones says:

    I have had this exact problem with my friend. She texts sparingly, never wants to meet, really I don;t know what I see in her because she is so incompatible with me in so many ways. Yet I felt early on a string connection and I thought we both felt that but now I just don’t know. It was kind of good to see that there are so many other women with problems like mine. Love to all!

  8. cyndi says:

    I am a bit old school when it comes to friendships, I never want to lead anyone on and that is where I differ in my opinion to real friendships. If someone does not have time for me, why would I invest any time in maintaining a friendship that is one sided. I am over 50, almost 52 to be exact and I am never too busy to catch up with old friends, we text back and forth but we also spend countless hours on the weekends talking as if time has never passed. Before social media and cell phones people made more of an attempt to connect with one another, many times the ones who say that they are too busy are the ones who have no business, the ones who make the time are the ones who have much more on their plates from my experience and those are the ones I have maintained close ties to after almost 40 years.

  9. hanna says:

    This comment isn’t really about the OP’s situation, but just the idea of text only relationships.

    I have some friends that I prefer to have a primarily text/email relationship with. A college friend I no longer have much in common with. A mentally ill friend I don’t mind texting but who is very difficult to be around in person.

    I hope I am not just leading these people on. It seems cruel and unnecessary to me to cease all contact because I prefer limited contact vs. a very intimate friendship. If that’s not enough for the other person, I entirely understand if they want to move on.

  10. Pearl says:

    Hi Felicia,

    Your situation really struck a chord with me, because I have gone through something similar in a texting-only online friendship. I found that, like you, I was frustrated when we were fairly close by, but I had to do all of the planning myself, or nothing would happen. We would text each other almost every day, but as soon as I suggested meeting for coffee or something, she said she was too busy and kept putting me off. Finally I stopped asking.

    I also have a similar situation happening with my own sister. We were close growing up, but now have taken very different paths in our lives and are different in our political and religious beliefs. So, we don’t have much in common anymore. She makes time for her church friends, but not for me, even though I only live a half-hour away. When I ask her to go somewhere or do something with me, it never happens. She also stopped exchanging birthday cards and presents with me a few years ago (not due to money issues, but because she just didn’t feel like it). I still send her birthday and anniversary cards, though, because I like doing that sort of thing.

    Unfortunately, I will echo the other advise here and suggest that you pull back from this friendship. Let her be the one to contact you, if she suddenly realizes she missed out and having a good friend in you. You sound a lot like me: We would do pretty much anything for our friends, and we want a reciprocal relationship, but for whatever reason, we are rebuffed when it comes right down to it. I have been told I am “too needy” in the past, so maybe your actions or words come across that way to her? I have learned that if I sort of let things go, then sometimes the friend in question will suddenly contact me after awhile and be like, ‘Where are you?’

    If they do not bother, then you know this friendship was one-sided. This is a sad realization, but quite honestly, you seem like a warm, giving, generous person who deserves friends who not only appreciate you, but care about letting you know, in whatever way is comfortable for the both of you.

  11. Amy F says:

    Hi Felicia,
    From the letter you sound frustrated because you have more time and energy than your friend can or is interested in putting into the relationship. You have more free time than she does. She’s set boundaries about what she wants to devote to the friendship, but that feels unsatisfactory to you. Daily texting isn’t enough for you.

    When I was younger, I was single and had more time to devote to friends than they had for me. I quite needy and that stressed the relationships, sometimes to the point of breaking. If I knew then, what I know now I would have appreciated the time I had with my girlfriends instead of always wanting more. I’d be more understanding of the demands balancing jobs and kids and not view their lack of time as a reflection of my importance. I’d have spread my self a little thinner, had relationships of different levels of intimacy to meet my needs, rather than trying to get all my socialization from one or two people. I hadn’t yet realized that not every friend had to be a close, intimate friendship. I could have fun friends, without a lot of intimate discussions. I could have guy friends, friends older and younger than me, friends that shared a hobby and friends who worked in my profession. I could have old friends and new ones, friends I saw often and friends I rarely saw, but when i did, we felt like no time had passed.

    I think sometimes being in close proximity means spending less, not more time together. I have a close friend who moved across the country 15 years ago. She comes back a few times a year and we always do something fun. It’s s priority. When we text, I feel like she’s right next door. Texting, connecting and an occasional call, sustain the relationship in between seeing each other. Our time together is more special than it was she lived here. There have been times when she’s been too busy to see me due to other obligations. I feel sad, but I know I’ll be first on her list to visit on her next trip. If I was demanding of her time or needy, spending time with me would feel more like an obligation and it would stress our relationship.

    You’ve got to decide what’s tolerable and what isn’t in your friendship and whether 5 or 10 years from now you’ll be comfortable with having if nothing changes.

    • Luella Nicholson says:

      Hello
      I too, would appreciate having a pen pal that I would be able to have a cup of coffee and talk with a friend at the end of a long day.

      I am a senior lady, 77 years old, a Christian lady.

      Because of my poor health as it is today my physical live is reduced to my grown son taking me shopping or just out for something to eat.

      I have a somewhat severe COPD which is affecting my respiratory system which makes, at the present time, it necessary at the present time to have my son take me out in a wheel chair.

      I will be attending at the office of a respiratorologist on January 7th, 2015, and I am hoping for an improved breathing capacity and the opportunity to go to the mall for coffee.

      I have four children, lost one in
      November 7, 1981. She got in with the wrong crowd and that was the result.

      I have four children all told, and so many grandchildren it would take a while to list them.

      My children love me very much, but my grandchildren and great grandchildren are respectful but cool toward me.

      That is enough about me but it would be nice to have a pen pal. It would appear that there are many people in your blog to just sit down and have a cup of coffee with and talk,

      Luella

  12. cyndi says:

    From my own experience I can honestly say NO, relationships whether it be close friendships or romantic relationships take work on both ends. I find text messaging cold and impersonal. I had had what I thought were close friendships suddenly turn into text tag relationships and I confronted it right away. If people want you in their lives they will make the attempt to invite you into their lives. I am not the kind of person who begs for relationships to happen, I can take it or leave it. I am too old for the drama and for the gossip, petty jealousy and the cliques. I am from NYC and live in Cheyenne Wyoming for now, I have had to deal with the cliques and the girls nights and weekends on Facebook that I was not invited to, girls I had known for over 8 years who I see one on one for lunches and sometimes dinners but in group outings, my invitation was lost in translation. I would text to see what everyone was doing on the weekends without any answers and to then go on Facebook and see the shopping trips to Denver or birthday celebrations. I decided it was not worth my time and thankfully being from NYC, I can do things on my own, no need for fake women and those who want you around when it is convenient.

    • cyndi says:

      People pick and chose who they want to respond to, if you are only an option, do not make this person your priority. I do not know what your work situation is but it really does not matter what you do or how much time you have, we can only speak for ourselves.

    • Amy Anne Jones says:

      I wish I were more like you Cyndi! Thanks!

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