Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Brother-like friend no longer has time

Community Member
I live alone, have no partner, job ¬ much family support, am awkward around most people but make self socialise ev. day even if that's just gym or coffee. I have a few friends I rely on that I catch up w' regularly. One of them is like a brother, we've been friends15 yrs.He recently got a demanding job, and is studying. He used to have time for me & has said on many occasions that our friendship matters to him. As well as that he has started advising me on my mental health issues. I think I shouldn't have OK-ed that because there now seem to be conditions on the friendship. He said I need counselling once a week for a year or more, and have people in place to check in with. Very sensible ideas, and he offered to be one of those check-in people. I started looking for a counsellor and we started doing this regular email exchange thing but that stopped because he has no time now. He tells me I need to let go of my fear, (he doesn't say what of) but I wonder if maybe he needs to let go of his need to make me into the person he thinks I should be - even if being that person would make me happier. He's not my teacher or my shrink. He is my friend. Or at least I hope he still is. I would be devastated if he stopped bothering to contact me like he has been doing all these years, but that's what seems to be happening. Friendships change, people change, people move away from each other sometimes. I know that, but I am keeping myself together partly by knowing my friends are there for me. Is that really so much to ask? I'm there for them as well, doesn't that mean anything? I need to learn to have conversations with more people, make more friends. Because the first Q so many people ask you is "What do you do", I have to say, well, I don't have a job but.... But by the time I have said that much, you can see the look on the other person's face. The connection is over before it has even been made, it happens all the time. I am involved in a few community groups and garden for people as well as my own garden. Even so I feel so empty when something happens to make me doubt that someone important thinks well of me. I have been to psychologist but she is 140Ks away. Am on waiting list to see another counsellor closer to where I live. In the meantime I have taken up meditation and will endeavour to do that every day for the rest of my life. They say it really helps.
2 Replies 2

Community Member


Just a suggestion. When someone asks you about what you do, maybe say that you are in between jobs at the moment but have been gardening peoples yards. That can give someone an opening to ask you more questions.

I had quite a stressful job. It took over my life. There were times when I couldn’t maintain friendships as I was busy during the day and exhausted at night and on the weekends. Don’t take it personally. I’d give him a little space for now. It can be difficult to be a support person and they do need time out too and go back to focusing on themselves to get that energy back.

Community Member
I'm not sure how these forums work. I am replying to you (Lee) but I want as many people to see this as possible. IS that how it works? I'm looking for feedback and suggestions. Thank you for replying to my post. It's true, give him space. We have since talked and things are OK again but the fact remains I have relied on him for social contact and now he's so busy it's left a gap in my social life. I've started looking at other people walking around and doing things together and then I look at myself and think how empty I feel. I need to make new friends, which doesn't happen overnight. Not real friends anyway. It's not like I don't get out and do things - gym, market stall, church, the pipe band I'm in, gardening work and other events that occasionally come up eg. a movie or a gathering. I catch up with my son and granddaughter every week and go for coffee with people sometimes, or dinner. But some weeks I can go days without having a real conversation with anyone. It's not healthy. Even the fact that only one person could be bothered to reply to this post shows that the world is just too busy to acknowledge me! I know that's a whole lot of self-pity and negativity - I'm just trying to give you an idea of how I sometimes feel. It scares me. I just turned 55 and I can't see things getting any better. This morning I had my market stall and lots of people came up and talked with me - that's the main reason I do it, not to make any money! But none of those people said hey lets do coffee, say, Monday? None of those people said hey there's this great film on do you wanna go and see it. Sure, people like talking to me but then what? They go off and do their thing but they don't invite me to join them. That's where I'm at at the moment.