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Are they my friends?


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I became friend with my friends when I was a freshmen, I am currently a junior. Before covid, me and my friends were close, we would talk and hang out at school, but it was rather hard to hang out outside/ after school. Since we stared online learning, some of the only texted me when school started again (August 2020) and none of them have contacted me since then. I think like 1 or 2 of them texted me for a class or something. I've seen a couple of them at stores, and we've greeted each other, but other than that we've had no contact. And I am not the type to contact people first, I'm rather shy, quiet, and introverted. I've been thinking if they really were my friends or people I just hung out with. Any thoughts???

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No. Never use introvert/extrovert as an excuse. It's about reciprocating a friendship and unfortunately if you don't feel comfortable reaching out to anyone, try not to expect others to do the same for you. There's a double standard there that needs to be squashed. I say this with kindness because that sense of entitlement won't get you very far in life. 

The pandemic and restrictions have impacted most people so you are not alone. Do what you can to overcome that loneliness without putting your health or safety at risk. Some have kept up with online group meetings or busied themselves with other hobbies/interests and made new friends that way. Life is what you make of it and you get what you put into things. Don't be afraid to open up and reach out to people just to say hi or ask how someone is doing. That other person may need it more than you do or be thinking the same thing. 

 

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I can still see them as your friends.

Friends do not need contact daily.  But, I can go months and not talk to some of my friends.  Others I may hear from at least once a week.

I have a few friends, who I know from back in my high school days, we still have contact, even after 20 yrs, especially seen on FB.

So, try not to look too hard into this... will be the test of time... You'll see who sticks around and who you'll never hear from again, in time.

 

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They're still your friends.  Just because friendship was temporarily put on pause, it doesn't mean your friends are no longer your friends. 

I've noticed that with any friendship, you can't always wait for the other person to make the first move.  You have to often times initiate, suggest, reach out and keep the momentum in the friendship going without keeping score with who did what first or how often.  In order to sustain friendship, there needs to be mutual rhythm and enthusiasm.  If you allow too much blank time to lapse, this is how friendships drift apart and fade away quite easily.

Maintaining friendships (or any relationships), requires tenacity.  You have to cultivate, nurture and maintain friendships in order for friendships to thrive and endure. 

I've hung out with my friends and a best friend safely.  We've maintained contact, did ZOOM, did work arounds such as safe walks with masks and social distancing and picnics despite not being close together and rather far apart.  It was better than nothing. 

As with any friendship or relationship, you have to keep it going by not forgetting about the maintenance part otherwise catching up is harder because if there's too much absence, you become like strangers all over again. 

Absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder.  To the contrary, too much absence causes people to not know each other anymore.  Also, the other danger is lack of enthusiasm when friends move on in their lives without you in it. 

I'm shy, quiet and introverted.  However, if I want friends, I have to step outside of myself and be brave enough to be more sociable and outgoing.  I never expect others to do the work for me.  I jump right out and take care of matters myself. 

If I'm in hermit crab mode, then life starts to feel lonely and boring which I don't like.  You need to have balance in your life and a healthy social life is very important for sound mental health. 

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I think with friends it needs to be pretty 50/50 in terms of contacting each other and trying to organise chats and catch ups. Unfortunately it can interfere with your friendships if you're too shy or introverted and you don't reach out to anyone. Because that might look to people like you're not really interested in talking to them and don't really want to be friends. They might not realise that you're just shy and introverted and think you just don't want to talk to them. So as much as you might feel shy, you do need to try to contact people yourself. 

I totally understand how hard it's been to catch up with people because of pandemic lockdowns and not being able to see people in person. I was in a six month basically  "house arrest" style lockdown but I spoke to my friends every day on texting and social media. I also watched virtual movies with friends and played a lot of online video games and other types of games. I also video called my friends a fair bit. I know it's not the same as seeing them in person but you need to keep in touch somehow to make sure you don't lose your friends.

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OK an example of reciprocity.  I met B in 2004 when we worked together.  We stopped working together a year or so later as she left but we stayed in touch.  We made a plan where we met for breakfast about every two months at the place where her train came in and was close to my office.  We did that for a few years, reliably -but yes both of us put effort into making it work and despite being so very busy I can't remember ever cancelling a plan.  The reliability kept us solid.  In 2008 we met for breakfast.  I was so excited to tell her I was expecting my first child - and in the middle of the crowded train station I told her, loudly, and she replied ME TOO!!!  Within the next year I moved 800 miles away.  Guess what -in the last 13 years we've seen each other a handful of times when I came back to our home city, we've talked by phone and emailed and in the last few months we both got super busy and tried and failed to schedule a phone call to catch up.  She emailed me today to say we should schedule one and I know we will do so despite being busy with work and children and life and lockdown.

We're not best friends.  I'm very fond of her, love chatting with her, care about her.  I know she doesn't consider me her best friend either.  What the point is - we both came up with ways to keep in touch and it took that level of reciprocity -making a plan, keeping a plan, having a habitual plan so that it makes it easier -it becomes kind of a routine and less and less work to make it happen. 

I appreciate her and here's why - because this is rare.  I've met too many people who don't reciprocate and are full of hot air 'yes I'd LOVE to meet for a walk/lunch/etc" but there is always an excuse, or MIA with a lame reason why months later. 

Shy is not an excuse -I have a number of friends who are shy.  I'm good at making shy people feel comfortable around me.  But no I'm not going to do the lion's share of the work in a friendship.  You all had to adjust to keeping in touch in a different way.  B and I went from working together, to not working together but working near each other, to not living near each other at all.  And for 17 years we've kept in regular touch.  not just on facebook (she and i rarely post on FB).

 

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Most people are fatigued by this pandemic and feel too bored or boring to say very much these days.

Keep in mind, in order to have a friend, you have to BE a friend.

Don't chalk your behavior off as some label while holding others to a different standard--it won't benefit you. At all.

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