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Stuck in limbo with friends


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Yes, it's true people's lives change as we get older, married, kids and dynamics are not the same as when all of you were young and carefree.  Now, there are heavy responsibilities, some marriages are not easy, people have problems with their spouses, children, there are health woes, financial distress, some in-law problems and it runs the gamut.  These problems affect friendships.  It's hard to be pleasant, kind and jolly when people internally hide what is bothering them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Try not to feel unsure.  This is how it is.

Diane was a good friend to you in the past because her life was less stressful and she had brain space for you.  People change depending on what stage in their life they're at and especially if they're containing insurmountable stress. 

Don't grow frustrated with Kelly.  Let Kelly handle her friendship with Diane.  With all due respect to you, her friendship with Kelly has nothing to do with you.  For your own peace of mind, with all due respect, mind your own business. 

When Kelly puts Diane on a pedestal, don't care.  Don't try to win a popularity contest.  Every friend has their own status in a friend's life and you need to respect your place in your friend's hierarchy.  There's nothing you can do about it. 

Kelly is about to become a mother.  Let her live her life.  I remember when I was expecting my first child.  I was so preoccupied with becoming a mother, became a mother, became extremely busy for years and it's the way it is.  Then I had my second son and became crazy busy.  Sure, friendships can be squeezed in there somewhere but you have to remain patient and realistic.  The baby (or children) and her family will become Kelly's top priorities.  While you can still be a friend, you need to have less expectations out of the friendship.  She will have less time, energy and attention for you after she becomes a mother.  Being pregnant is fatiguing so be compassionate. 

You're single and you shouldn't rely on your friends unreasonably.  Friends are nice to have but respect their stages in life.  They're no longer single and carefree.  They have strict schedules, dinner with their spouses and families the majority of time, household responsibilities and once children enter the picture, they become exponentially busier to the point of insanity!

Develop a nice friendship with Asha if she has time, energy and attention to do so. 

However, remember to give everyone space.  Never smother your friends otherwise they'll drift away faster.

If you like Raquel and can tolerate her rudeness, then go with the flow and have her as a nice friend if you wish.  If she frustrates you with her rudeness, then she can be an acquaintance or less.

Since you're single and your married friends are busy and super busy mothers or about to be, in-laws and new hectic family lives, again, be realistic.  You have more time, energy and attention so socialize with other singles who have the same time, energy and attention you have. 

Get busy.  Work hard, join clubs, develop hobbies, focus on your health and fitness, do what you enjoy, books, movies or be so busy that you won't have time to feel sad and bored. 

I'm sorry your friends were too busy for yoga class and that they're preoccupied with their husbands, homes, families, in-laws, etc.  That's life.  This is me. 

However, they should make time to meet you for walks or coffee even if it's seldom or infrequent.  Unfortunately, not every friend will do this for you.  This is reality.

Expect less of people and you won't feel disappointed and hurt.  If you're realistic about this, then you won't feel fazed, disrespected nor insulted.  Lower your expectations of others.

Drifting apart is normal.  People will constantly waft in and out of your lifetime.  Some friends remain while you drift apart from others.  It happens.

I'm sorry about your disappointing brunch.  Don't knock yourself out anymore.  For future gatherings, make it potluck so you're not doing all the cooking and buying all the expensive groceries. 

Develop a new set of friends who are enthusiastic about gathering with you.  It's a great big world out there.  Don't just focus on friends who've failed you.  Broaden your horizons.  There are plenty of friends who would be absolutely delighted to spend more time with you whether it's brunches, restaurants, picnics, outings, etc.  Don't give up.

People don't always reciprocate.  Don't be too generous with your time, money, gifts, food, etc.  Be fair and equal.  Don't do more than what others are willing to do for you.

By the time you get married, you'll most likely have a new social life and a new set of friends.  Don't despair.  It's not hopeless!

Friendships are worth it but you have to be happy with yourself first.  When you become immersed with your own life, succeed with your individualism, you will attract others.  They'll notice that you are secure with yourself, have a sense of independence and will flock to you.  This is what happened to me.  I gave up trying to hard to be popular so I concentrated on myself, my career, my health and overall well being.  I was too busy to feel sorry for myself.  I no longer engaged in self-pity.  Then one day, something funny happened.  I started garnering a lot of attention from others.  So many people wanted to be my friend because I gave off the vibe of being secure with myself and very independent.  People love independent people.  It's like bees to honey. 

Change your attitude.  Become a positive person and you will have friends without even trying.  You'll see.  It works.

 

 

 

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On 6/5/2022 at 1:32 AM, Alex39 said:

hey've all gotten married. I've bought nice gifts, was a bridesmaid, I threw one a bridal shower, I spent tons of money, I helped all I could, put myself out, I was there. 

I feel like by the time I meet someone and get married, I'm not going to get the same support back from them at all. They are moving on and l don't see the same time and effort given to me. This makes me sad. I don't know how to make new friends at 30. I do cherish that I've known these ladies for a long time. But not one of them cares that I'm alone away from my family, lonely a lot.

I feel kind of stuck. Are these friendships worth it? I care about these ladies, but sometimes I feel like a convenient friend. The one who drops everything, the one who always makes the plan, the one who tries to keep us together, the one who gives her time, care, attention, so it feels nice to have around. 

First of all - STOP.

Stop trying to hard. By paying out all of this money for everything to try and 'prove yourself', is how I see this.

A way to try & make new or more friends is 1) go to yoga on your own - there are others there.  2). Join a 'local singles group'. I'm in one on FB.  I met a few new friends there ( about 4 yrs ago).

Also, they may very much care ( even if from a distance), knowing how far you are away from your family... BUT, this was your own choice.  Your own doing.  Not sure what you expect in this aspect?

Yes, people grow up & move on.  Is normal to meet a partner & have kids etc.  No reason for anyone to feel bad for any of that... is just that you are not there..yet.

So, you work around it.  You work on accepting their progress and their roads they're experiencing. It's okay!

So, stop relying on these other gals and focus on YOU more.  Go out on your own, go join some groups. goto your yoga etc.  I can see you meeting a few other local people & singles 😉 .

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I empathize with you. I have a friend group I've sort of fallen out with, well really just two friends. One whom I've been close with for 20 years, Jamie and another for 12 years, Lissa (not their actual names). Jamie, I just decided at the beginning of the pandemic to stop being the first one to call and see what happened. She never called. That and other things she'd done recently, let me know she wasn't a real friend any more. Hard pill as that is to swallow. I think she was at some point. Lissa, about a couple years before the pandemic and around the time of my wedding, began insulting me and my husband when she was drinking. Always just to me, late at night, after everyone else had left. She knew what she was doing. I now feel like she was trying to sabotage my relationship, for whatever reason. She told me she was jealous. I then initiated honest convo with her on it and my need for better boundaries, and told her my honesty stemmed from my desire to keep her as a friend, to grow our friendship to a healthier place. She agreed, cried and told me I was the best friend she'd ever had, and then proceeded to ghost me without warning. When I asked her about said ghosting, she gaslit me and told me she didn't know what I was talking about. Although she literally went from calling every day, sometimes multiple times a day, to not at all. Most recently, I reached out a few months ago and asked her on a hike and she just never replied. I have another friend who still communicates with Jamie and Lissa a little, and she did say they still hang out with one another. So it's just me being left out? Cool. Though I logically know they are not good friends to me, it triggers my abandonment wound and the hurtful feeling of being left out. 

But like others have said here, focusing on your life as it is now and opening yourself up to making new friends, is the way to go. I feel like the universe puts people in, and takes people out of our lives for a reason. I have made other new wonderful friends, rekindled old friendships, and I can honestly say all of the ladies in my life right now are "for" me. I knew Jamie and Lissa weren't for me. They weren't good friends and I felt this for years before we went our separate ways. I held on because of what I remembered of our friendships, not how they were currently. Also, I was avoiding being left out, which has been an issue of mine forever. The universe will also force us to deal with our unresolved issues, sometimes by having us experience them! I wish you lots of new and wonderful friends who more match where your life is now, and who can do the things you want to do! 

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On 6/5/2022 at 1:06 PM, Batya33 said:

Also I stopped at a certain point agreeing to participate in all the extra wedding festivities and I don't think I declined to be a bridesmaid but I declined certain extra events.  I find in the last 20 years it's been an explosion of extra events and obligatory gifts (I remember being horrified in around 2006 when I first saw a friend register for "gift cards" and 30 years ago it was poor etiquette even to have a registry).  I don't go to baby or bridal showers unless it's very close family (I went to one in 2002 because I was a bridesmaid and it was my dear friend and cousin).  Stop going all out in this way with your wallet. 

Be much choosier about how you spend your time and money -go to the wedding.  An engagement party if it's over a year before.  Skip showers, decline bridesmaid invites because when I was in my 20s our dresses were paid for by the bride or her family.  You resent all you've done and I get it -so have better boundaries.  

YES! The extras, my GOD! 
 

Fell out with a handful of female friends through this alone! 

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Hey Alex!

 

This may be of no help, I imagine it isn’t at all, but just to comfort you in some way - I find myself just recently for years in your situation; and your situation still! And I am married with 3 kids and I’m 32. I don’t work, I gladly stay at home with them.

 

You would think with all the Mum groups and the time I have that I would have made loads of friends? And; I did! I had my phone ringing all the time! But 6 months or a year would go by and things would either sour, drift off. Basically, we just wouldn’t click. I often felt used as well, as some kind of relaxation base and food service, which isn’t a nice feeling, especially when you absolutely enjoy hostessing and create events and revel in it (as by the sounds of it you do, with your lovely spread of food!).

 

As women, we often look inwards and feel bad. We think, when we were teenagers, we told ourselves all this playground stuff would one day end when we magically hit our 20s and 30s and everything would be put together and organised and perfect in life. It would all fall into our laps with our perfect husbands, perfect careers, perfect wedding and our beautiful children and yes, perfect, grown up, mature, supportive friendships! In your 30s I think it dawns on you that sadly, we never left the playground!

 

After years of disappointment, and putting my heart and soul into friendships, and being very vulnerable and open with a few of these women, I kind of, this year, did something I have threatened to do for about a decade. I just stopped. I just stopped having, or trying to have, close female friendships.

 

Yes, I have plenty of women to go to coffee with and shoot the s**t. And I’ll meet up with girls at yoga or go out for a drink with a woman I know or two but, I would never make the mistake of labelling them a friend anymore. If I don’t feel it, I don’t go out of my way to try and make it into something it’s not.

 

I still have hope for a friendship, a true kind but, my standards are high and that’s just that. I’m not here to waste my time or mess around with someone who feels halfy half about me. I also don’t want to waste anyone else’s time by pretending it’s working and then for us to both have an awkward moment where, really, it’s stale and was never great to begin with!
 

Throughout your life, as a woman, you are told you MUST have female friends. Rom coms aimed at women feature the lead with her female confident. Or, like Sex In The City, a close knit babble of girlfriends all ready for you with their shoulders to cry on. 
 

I don’t know. Is this possible for everyone, and all the time? I’m not so sure. Does every woman even need this? Again; I’m not so sure.

 

Initially I went through an amazing feeling of liberation and freedom. Completely flying solo with no one to please! I will choose my own friendships exactly when I want too! Then, I went through a really lonely and reflective phase I never thought I would find myself in. Then I came out of it again. And I’m still here, still selective; and still with not one close female friend. And the best part of it is? I don’t miss it, at all! 
 

The difference maybe is is that, my husband is truly my best friend, and I tell him everything and he is my shoulder and my rock. Maybe if I didn’t have him as my support and acceptance, I would have more of an urge to find a close friend but then again, before I met him I also went years as a bit of a lone wolf! Even though, I went to parties and would do things with people; I wasn’t desperate for it and, I knew I didn’t connect to those people on a deep level.

 

Please note, I am a sure fire extrovert, and definitely not retreating introvert, so this is a big leap I made personally considering how much I thrive on conversation and connection and communication! This experiment is not just for the introverts.

 

I don’t know if this is any help. What am I suggesting? 🥲 I’m not even sure myself Alex! Maybe, a bit of a “break” from female friendships? For a month? See how you go. See if you actually miss those women who proclaim to be friends. See if they even contact you! Then you can decide if you want to start afresh, let them drift away and make space and time in your life by letting them go to welcome new people who are a better fit for you, in!

 

x

Edited by mylolita
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I have female close friends who I've known for 30-40 years- our friendship hasn't always been close the entire time but nearly so.  I love what you wrote and your insights. One mistake I think certain women make is that they need "mom friends" when they become moms.  It's important for most moms to have friends who are also moms but assuming they will be close friends is a mistaken assumption and leads to unrealistic expectations IMO.

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10 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I have female close friends who I've known for 30-40 years- our friendship hasn't always been close the entire time but nearly so.  I love what you wrote and your insights. One mistake I think certain women make is that they need "mom friends" when they become moms.  It's important for most moms to have friends who are also moms but assuming they will be close friends is a mistaken assumption and leads to unrealistic expectations IMO.

Yes, very! Thank you Batya! 

 

Can also be said for single people who just want single friends, or couples who think now they should buddy up with other couples. Even goes for age. People think because they are 20 they should only be friends with people in their 20s, or because they are 60 they should only be friends with people who are retired. 
 

One of my closest female friends who, I let myself drift away from, is 66. Apart from our ups and downs we used to get on like a house on fire! 

 

You truly need a good mix. Or, one true friend, is extremely rare in this life. I think that is something special to be cherished.

 

Modern life seems to champion the more is more attitude to friendship, and that fair weathered friends are still what we call friends. I don’t think that’s true. Unless you are both in happy agreement that is how a good friendship you enjoy will work for you of course!

 

Friendships to me are almost like finding a boyfriend but without the romance! You need to click and connect. They are ideally going to be with you - forever? That’s the ideal, right? We put that weight happily on prospective partners, but why do we let ourselves fall so short on our criteria for friends? They take up sometimes nearly as much of our time? So why so little values and principles surrounding them when we pick who we spend our spare time with?

 

It’s very interesting! I think a lot of people feel frustration towards themselves and others regarding this at some point in their lives!

 

I just checked out for the time being! I am past caring! Taking a break 🤣

 

🫡

 

If you want to take a break and just focus on you Alex, let me know how it goes, good or bad for you! 
 

x

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I agree and Lolita -totally respect you taking a break!  I had to take a break from "helping" people -I mean in this particular way - I'm on two huge mom facebook groups and a few related groups and I would try to "help" because I'm a great connector - help by offering to introduce the mom to someone else who could help her with her situation (like agreeing to message babysitters I knew in a different city they'd be visiting or agreeing to look over a resume or provide links for potential jobs, etc -not at all because I would benefit in any financial way -at all -simply like to help in this way -I'm good at it like I'm good at setting people up on dates the last 40 years or so).  But too many times I felt unappreciated or taken advantage of and now I'm so so selective about who I offer to help.  

So yes my friends have always had a rather wide age range - my dear friend who just passed away was 69 and I also have a number of friends in their 30s.  And when I was single I had many married friends, friends who were parents, single mom friends -and we tried to accommodate each other's different schedules.  

And -I took back a close friend who very obviously faded out once she became a mom and I was single -we were out of touch for 8 years.  We reconnected when I called her to tell her I'd married and had an infant.  And I chose not to confront her about the past.  I simply accept the limitations and over the last 13 years we've remained close.  I agree -with that example -that true close friendships are rare, they can be messy/complicated/confusing on the boundaries kind of thing - like marriage/relationships/dating.  Other women see friends as far more expendable and life phase-based.  I do not and never ever have.  

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I read somewhere once that one can expect to change your circle of friends every 5 years or so. 

You've just accounted to everyone's major life milestones and as life would have it, we all evolve.   Sometimes that evolution finds us naturally drifting in different directions and you end up meeting other people along the way who you have more in common with at that particular stage of your life.

I have changed my circle of friends a few times in my life.  There was a time I felt much like you and I took it very personally.  But with different jobs, having children, etc I also noticed that I was meeting different people along the way and cultivating new friendships as well. 

I am still friends with the women from 30 yrs ago and even with that I do see how much we've changed, and those changes have reshaped our friendships. Though we make the effort to get together once in while I certainly say we aren't as well matched as we used to be.

Edited by reinventmyself
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