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My friends don't reach out to me, ever. When I reach out, they're willing to catch up, be friendly and all that. Why don't any of my friends want me?

Novocastrian
Community Member
I'm an emotional guy (26M), which most interpret as needy or just plain weird, but I know that I need close relationships to survive. I've been dealing with depression since I was 14 and suicidal thoughts since I was 16, and the only thing that got me through the suicide attempts was decent counselling and close friends. Most of my friends have moved away and don't even have the initiative to call or text to catch up, but when I miss them enough to reach out (every month or so), they're readily available to play online games together and catch up. Why don't any of my friends take initiative to reach out to me? Being the only one to organise events makes me feel abandoned and that they're only tolerating my calls/texts/gaming catchup sessions out of obligation, or that I'm some sort of charity case to them. How do I live with this?
11 Replies 11

Sophie_M
Moderator
Moderator

Hi Novocastrian,

It takes a lot of courage to be so open and honest with your feelings, and we are so glad that you have reached out here tonight. We can hear how frustrated and neglected you're feeling at the moment, but please know that you've come to a safe, non-judgemental space and our community is here to offer you as much support and advice and conversation as you need.

If you feel up to it, we'd also encourage you to reach out to our Beyond Blue Support Service, which is available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 3pm-12am AEST on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport. One of our friendly counsellors will be able to talk through these feelings with you and can offer support and advice to help you through this.

You are not alone here, and we hope that you keep us updated on how you're going whenever you feel ready.
 

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

I think there could be two or three reasons you have this annoying situation with “friends”.

1/ Overall people place less emphasis on close friends with distractions like playing computer games even throughout the world online.

2/ That the caliber of friend you have is not of the type that values your commitment levels. Find better friends

3/ That we with mental illness cannot understand why others don’t express basic empathy-why?

Well the reasons are set out in the following thread you can cut and paste into the search bar at the top of the page

They just don’t understand- why?

TonyWK

Thank you both for your contributions, I really appreciate it!

The two friends this is about moved from Newcastle to Perth and bought their first home together a few years ago. Particularly in the last 12-18 months, I noticed that they had dropped the ball with our respective friendships, and in January they promised to do monthly catchups to keep the friendship alive. We've only had 3 or 4 of these sessions since then, and I've organised all but one of them. I feel that if they really cared about our friendship (and me), they'd be excited enough to organise some of the catch-ups themselves. I believe that good friendships involve both (or all) people, putting in equal amounts of effort and care, so when I see them put in no effort into maintaining our friendships, it hurts immensely. These two are meant to be my best friends, but I feel they've abandoned me instead. I want to raise this with them (again), but I don't have the guts and don't know how to raise it in such a way that they'll take me seriously. I'm at a point that if they make empty platitudes or can't commit to even basic efforts (call every now and again, not that hard), then I'll terminate the friendships and be alone. When we all lived in Newcastle, I genuinely thought they loved me as a friend. Now I am not sure.

 

Would appreciate your inputs on this. Hope you're both safe in these difficult times.

Hi again

Ive been in your situation a few times and unfortunately you run a high risk of losing your friends altogether.

Friendships are fluid by nature, meaning they ebb and flow. I know you and I have had expectations of our friends to contact on a reasonably regular basis but that is our frequency not theirs.

What is the chance your friend will ring you and suggest they come to Newy for a visit? Highly unlikely yes? Yet you’d be more eager to go to Perth. That says it all.

However, if you didn’t contact them at all and they were going on a round Australia tri 15 years from now they might drop in. This is how some friendships go, it’s a way of letting go in the hope it might rekindle down the track.

This means you are hurting, we have to half expect such hurt in life.

Continue loving them by not hurting them.

google

beyondblue topic do we expect a smooth road in life?

beyondblue topic the labyrinth of friendships

reply anytime

TonyWK

Guest_3256
Community Member

Good afternoon Novocastrian.

I can personally relate to you and can image how difficult you must feel especially if you've been friends for such a long time and quite close with them. Unfortunately, that exactly what friendship is. Friendships come and go, people move away, change their lifestyles, habits or events and other things happen that can make it difficult to stay in touch. I personally am the kind of friend who will go silent on and it's not because I don't want to reach out to them, it's due to several factors, such as becoming really busy with work, sometimes I may not want to communicate with others due to being tired, burnt-out and overwhelmed or because of my highly insecure partner who I absolutely love, kind of prefers that I don't have friends to stratify his trust issues. I guess with the last one, once he has overcome his mental health issues, I will then reach out to other, maybe even find new friends and build connection with others.

Try joining support groups, online hobbies groups - I am a car enthusiast so I would love to do a car meet up after COVID settles down.

Food for thought - take care buddy.

Hi White Knight,

Thanks for the links to your previous articles. I've read them, but I feel they aren't entirely applicable to my situation. Perhaps that's just my depression screaming at me that there's no one else in the world that's going through what I'm going through.

>> I've been in your situation a few times and unfortunately, you run a high risk of losing your friends altogether.
What exactly do you mean by this? Am I at high risk of losing friends altogether due to my actions or how I feel? Or am I at high risk just generally?

>> but that is our frequency not theirs.
I don't know how to manage this. How have you? I've found that I'm thinking of them *always* (literally - even when I'm doing other tasks and activities such as work, jobs around the house, hanging with friends/family, and practising hobbies). If they aren't going to be the close friends that we used to, then how do I degrade my expectations so their lack of effort stops hurting me?

>> What is the chance your friend will ring you and suggest they come to Newy for a visit? Highly unlikely yes? Yet you’d be more eager to go to Perth. That says it all.
I hate how true this is, and you don't even know them or me! I'm inclined to just dump the friendships altogether - just let all my frustrations of them out at them and leave.

>> Continue loving them by not hurting them.
This statement is the one I find most difficult to agree with. They're mistreating (or taking advantage of) their respective friendships with me by putting in absolutely no effort in maintaining the friendship, leaving all the legwork to me. Freebooting a friendship isn't fair. That isn't love. So how can I and why should I love them back?

The thing I hate the most is that I do love them immensely, but they've never reciprocated this, ever. Their unrequited love is killing me, and I need it to stop.

There's so much more going on in my head that this forum's character limit prevents me from listing, so I might make another post on that.

Hi Jsua,

Thanks for reaching out and contributing.

>> other things happen that can make it difficult to stay in touch.

Sure, life gets busy, but there is no excuse that reasons why anyone can't just reach out to anyone at any time. Technology has enabled instant communication regardless of where you are on this beautiful planet. Therefore, I find it frustrating when people use this as a reason for not reaching out over an extended period of time. If someone sees me as an important/close friend, there's nothing stopping them from reaching out, whether it is for companionship or support.

>> highly insecure partner

I'm sorry you're going through that! I hope that he makes peace with his insecurities and builds enough trust for you to have close friends.

>> Try joining support groups, online hobbies groups - I am a car enthusiast so I would love to do a car meet up after COVID settles down.
I've started joining some groups in Discord for the things I like, but I find that these don't replace friendships at all - they are just usernames next to random strings of text. It is rare when I find someone I want to befriend in my city (regardless of age (adults, of course!)).

Hi,

Im glad you asked for clarification and it helps me also as I get to know you more.

  • You could lose your friends through actions. Putting pressure on friends to fulfill expectations is not a comfortable feeling for them.
  • “Thinking of them frequently “ Imo this highlights your problem because your racing mind to almost obsessive levels needs professional intervention in the form of therapy or what a GP will refer. Those obsessive thoughts drive your mind towards frustration- it’s the core of the problem. I had this also, It was anxiety and it isn’t a simple remedy- google

beyondblue topic anxiety, how I eliminated it

  • The “visiting you in Newy “ question- proves your friendship is one way only. This is heartbreaking and has recently happened to me from a friend I’ve known for 50 years. You can’t fix it and confronting them about it will just confirm their actions were the right ones. Better to leave the door ajar. Love them by releasing them, let them go.
  • They are not mistreating you, they are exercising the freedom of being close to whom they choose. You wouldn’t want a friendship based on obligation? This doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you at all. Over analysing fuels anger
  • ”Freebooting a friendship isn’t love” correct, they likely don’t love you like you love them. It happens in marriages, friendships and even family.
  • “You love them immensely but they’ve never reciprocated it- ever” I would question why you have loved these people when love has never been returned. I personally believe true love can only be two way. If it is so one way I think this displays evidence of obsessional thought patterns.

My comments are opinion only with no educated diagnosis. Purely based on what you’ve mentioned and my carbon copied experiences.

Unfortunately for you it is grief - for them it could be anything from relief to grief. That means they could well be grieving also for a lost friend knowing that they can’t continue the friendship for whatever reason. Whatever their reason no one can judge if their reason is just or not- again they have the freedom of choice.

I have a handful of friends. I find I must be flexible with them but from hurt has come a remedy. I have a filtering system so I protect myself against getting too attached.

google

beyondblue topic fortress of survival (also part 2)

Beyondblue topic the weighing scale effect on friendships

beyondblue topic REJECTION, it’s hard to swallow

We can chat more, I hope I’m helping

TonyWK

>> this highlights your problem because your racing mind to almost obsessive levels needs professional intervention in the form of therapy or what a GP will refer. Those obsessive thoughts drive your mind towards frustration- it’s the core of the problem.
I've been going to psychologists for nearlly a decade now, and none have really helped get underneath any surface-level tensions. There aren't many in my city or within ~ 2 hr drive that I haven't seen, and most haven't helped in any particular way. I'm keeping with my current one as she's actually been helpful with some deep-rooted family issues (that I hope aren't related to this), but we haven't figured out my friendship issue in time I've been seeing her. I know I should let them go, but if I do, then I acklowledge that I have no close friends; that I am well and truely lonely. I'm fine with being alone; I have for a long time; but the loneliness is something I'm scared of.

>> It was anxiety
I was previously diagnosed with anxiety and chronic depression, but that was during a time where good psychologists were at a premium, and it was at the end of a long string of misdiagnosises from varying professionals, so I didn't really accept it. I knew I was depressed; getting the CD diagnosis confirmed what I already knew. I was also tested for autism (negative) and ADD (negative). Both doctors noted I exhibited a elements of those behaviours, but didn't satisfy the criteria.

>> Better to leave the door ajar. Love them by releasing them, let them go.
How exactly do I do this?

>> I would question why you have loved these people when love has never been returned. ... If it is so one way I think this displays evidence of obsessional thought patterns.
These two friends at one point were my only friends at the time of my depression diagnosis. As I don't have a supportive family regarding mental health, they were my lifeline, and I love them for that. At the time I think I misread their help as love. Looking back at it now, it feels like they felt obligated or pressured to being a good friend.

>> I have a filtering system so I protect myself against getting too attached.
I have a similar system myself, but caring for me is a very slippery slope; I care too much too quickly!
Thanks for the ideas, they're helping a lot. I see my psychologist in a few weeks, and this has given me a lot of food for thought.