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are they really my friends?


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So this is a situation that I've been dealing with for a while and that kills me inside, so I wanted to know if anyone has gone through something similar.

First of all, I need to give a bit of background story. My name is Sara and I am 16, for a while a year an a half ago I went through a period of depression in which I lost a lot of confidence. My best friend at the time who lives far from where I am decided to completely ignore me and not respond to my texts or calls, she was my escape from reality, so this really hurt me. Throughout this time no one ever asked me about it, even though I was always sleeping, barely going out, not taking calls, and constantly having anxiety attacks and moments of pure frustration. No one except my parents helped me or even tried to reach out to me. Not even my closest friends realized that I needed them more than ever. After I recovered it took time to get back to reality and to start accepting myself and others. I changed a lot, I became more laid back, less stressed, happier, more positive... but I also turned into more of an introvert and started not showing much my emotions so that I couldn't be hurt.

Let's jump to this year, in school I have a group of three (they can be tricky) and I always feel like they leave me out of things. They get invited to parties and don't even bother to tell me. What kind of friend does that? I always invite them and look out for them, I just can't understand what I am doing wrong. When we actually have parties together I always invite them to my house, I cook them dinner, I even let them stay in my home if I have to go out early the next day, all of this is paid by them taking pictures together at MY HOUSE without me. WTH? I just don't know how to deal with them, I only have to go through this for another year before college, but I care for them. What hurts me is that I am always there when they have a problem but they don't seem to care about whatever happens to me.

What do you think? How should I deal with this?

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That lack of confidence is definitely coming across in your above post OP... a confident person doesn't place emphasis on having a "+it for tat" relationship with someone... i.e. I invite them to come with me so that means they have to invite me to come with them... they are happy to share what they have, and accept others for who they are.


You admit to being introverted and shut down... this will make it hard for them to connect with you, and may be why you aren't getting included in what they are doing. It's probably as simple as the two girls being closer to each other than they are with you... which isn't a personal attack against you, it's just because you take longer to open up.


You need to practice vulnerability when you are building friendships... and you need to get over being hurt by your previous friend... I don't mean to be unsympathetic when I say that, I just mean that based on my years of experience with relationships it won't be the last time a friend hurts your feelings so you need to learn what your part in that is and build some resiliency in this area.

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I changed a lot, I became more laid back, less stressed, happier, more positive... but I also turned into more of an introvert and started not showing much my emotions so that I couldn't be hurt.


High School years are among the most troublesome for teens, especially girls.

You need to try to get back to the mindset (in your statement above) you worked so hard to achieve.

Introverted or extroverted, you need to own who you are and be 100% comfortable in your skin. Open your heart to your friends.


Turning those types of situations around could help too. Try to find ways to be a good friend to THEM without the need for reciprocity. If you are being a good friend to them, and they value your friendship, you have good friends.

It's that simple

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They are users which is plain to see. I know I have been there, I know the song and dance. The more you give the more they are going to take. They are not friends, they let you hang around with them, especially when you do stuff for them or it benefits them. My perspective, is that you are not doing anything wrong. They just don't accept you as part of their "click". A lot of the time there isn't any room for one more, they are so close. Being positive and charming only works in adulthood. That is what I had noticed right away. All those people that ignored you from high school, you run into them a few years later and they all of a sudden remember you and ask you how you are doing. People do change from that mentality. So I wouldn't fret over it.....you are right, you only have a year left of this nonsense, and you will enjoy new relationships in college when it's neutral ground. When I got to college, a made lots of good friends, we partied together, had some real good times. It was a whole different reality.

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These don't sound like very good friends. Don't internalize. Let them go and free yourself up (all that time and energy) to feel good about yourself doing other things. Some people just drain energy from us and are takers. Let them go. Learn to recognize the signs like you already have but quicker so you don't waste your energies or hurt yourself next time. There's nothing wrong with being an introvert but don't use it as an excuse to stunt your growth in other areas. Being an introvert is no excuse for being kind or friendly or assertive, all the things that you already are or may be. Let go of bad habits and excuses and don't let others take advantage of you.

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Over one's lifetime, nothing ever stays the same, including friendships. Some people are friends for a lifetime, but it's never the same as when you're young, as people might move away, get married, have kids, have busy careers, and your time together will be minimized. Some friendships fade away or become more distant in nature. You will develop new friendships, but when you expect that friendships will evolve in any which way, you won't be shocked when it happens.


As far as friendships go, don't put in any more effort than you're receiving. If you're reasonable with your expectations, keep the people that are clearly friendship material, and when they are not, put your emotional energy elsewhere. And yes, it's okay to share with friends if you're feeling upset about something, but if it becomes the norm or happens really regularly, it's not something you should overwhelm a friend with. If you find yourself regularly anxious or depressed, seek out therapy so you can begin to feel mentally better.


I enjoyed community college a little more as far as friendships went. I no longer saw cliques, and people weren't as catty and gossipy. Look forward to joining some clubs in college according to your major or any hobby or interest that sounds appealing to you. Good luck.

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Hi Sara - this is very normal, and it's likely a perception issue. You feel the way you feel after you noticed that your friends don't reciprocate or include you in all their activities. It's completely understandable from your perspective. They may have a slightly different perspective - one in which they are totally unaware of how they treat you, or that you feel the way you do. I would say that they are your friends, but it sounds to me that you make more effort than they do, and I think I understand why. When you disappeared from the "scene" last year, people may have assumed that you were out doing things with other people, or that you may just disappear again from their lives, and so, they aren't really ready to invest in the relationship as much as you are. You don't show as much emotion, you are more guarded, and more introverted, and more difficult to know. Meanwhile, they have no idea just how you feel, or how difficult things were for you. They probably perceive you as someone that is completely unaffected by their behavior and as such they may not feel as close to you, as you do to them. So... it's a Catch-22 in a way. You're protecting yourself, and they probably are too, to some degree. They most likely have no clue that you feel left out - they probably think you don't care, or that you have other or better things to do.


I would simply say this - they are your friends, but they aren't super close to you yet. They have a wider social network, and while they enjoy hanging out with you, you aren't part of their core group, as such. Nothing wrong with that. They are probably practicing a little self-protection in case you suddenly disappear from their lives without explanation. Building a meaningful and lasting friendship takes time, and the older we get the longer it takes. So, don't worry too much about this. Just be yourself, gravitate towards the people you like, don't spend time agonizing over whether you did something wrong or not - you didn't. It's just that things take time.


On another note, something I found fascinating, and something that may actually help you to build your social network, and bond closer to the people you like, is something that Benjamin Franklin came up with (believe it or not. The man was seriously smart.) It's a simple psychological tool that I think would be beneficial for you - google up on the Ben Franklin Effect.


In short, the Ben Franklin Effect is rather simple - to get people to like you and feel positively disposed towards you, you just ask them to do you a favor on occasion. It doesn't have to be huge, but it's super effective. Asking them for a favor, somehow makes them feel more positive towards you - it lowers their guard a bit, and somehow makes them feel useful, trusted and liked.


Why do I think this would be a good method for you? Because of the depression you went through where your friends weren't there for you. Sometimes we need to ask people for help. Small things, or big things. "Can you pass the salt?", or "Would you listen to me while I tell you that I feel down and don't know why?" Whatever it may be, asking for help from people will make them want to help you. Once you realize that, and start actively asking for help when you need it (and even if you don't need it), you'll find that people are more inclusive, less intimidated, more open, and absolutely more willing to include you in their inner circle. It shows a certain vulnerability, and allows people into your life in a helpful and positive way.


Good luck, and I hope you continue to feel better and manage to not let the dark grasping hands of depression drag you down again. You have a bright future, and I am certain you will find the closeness you are looking for in time. Take care, and stay strong, and read up on Ben Franklin Effect - I think it will help.

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We'll all have different kinds and degrees of friends, unlike the besties we could form when we were younger. We were blank slates then, so we could homogenize well with others. As we mature, we solidify into our own personalities. We'll each have limits, and we need to learn how to respect the limits of others.


That said, it's never a great idea to have enemies while we're stuck sharing the same classrooms, campus and social circles with the very people who might hurt us. So, we keep them as acquaintances, we share good times to the degree that it's convenient, but we avoid attempts to ingratiate ourselves with people or groups who demo that our investment is not mutual.


None of this makes anyone a villain, it just means that we respect the limits of those who aren't invested in us even as we expand out scope to form other friendships with people who we may have overlooked.


Head high, and keep making new friends. You'll learn over time who will bond with you in simpatico and who won't.

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