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Friends who don't make an effort to stay in touch

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I have a fair number of friends and in the past (I'm going back quite a few years here), and when I say a fair number, I probably mean around half a dozen really important friends.  We always kept in touch over the years, meeting up for drinks, BBQs in the summer and we'd do other things such go see bands, evenings at the cinema etc.  Even when we didn't live in the same town this wasn't a problem.  It wouldn't be every weekend, it wouldn't always be with the same friend and it might be as infrequent as once every month or two.  This was fine because at least there was a bit of a buzz, the odd email or phone call.  This is what keeping in touch is all about is it not?  These days, however, it's all gone awfully quiet.

Phone calls aren't returned very often if at all and it's extremely rare if they ever ring me in the first place.  Emails are occasionally exchanged, but more often than not there's radio silence there as well.  Instant messaging, although I don't use it much I'm always in my GMail and therefore on Google Talk.  I also have Pidgin running so I'm still contactable on Live messenger for those who use that, but it's always quiet these days.  Now before you ask, no I haven't done anything to upset them.  For the most part they all lead separate lives anyway.  I think the problem stems from the fact that we're all engrossed in our own little worlds with our own problems lifestyles.  I do feel that when I make the effort to keep in touch that it isn't reciprocated by them.

It could be tempting to blame Facebook here since I am not on there and nearly everyone on the planet seems to keep in touch through it these days.  However, half of these people aren't on Facebook either so it's probably not the problem.

We moved house a few years ago, only an hour away from the town where one friend still lives.  At lest a couple of times a year we go back to visit, but he hasn't been to our new house at all despite having passed quite close on several occasions.  I used to live next door to this guy and I just can't believe that we haven't had a single visit from him yet.  Well it's his loss, because he knows where we are and by the way when I say "we", I mean myself and my girlfriend as we were all once part of a group of friends.

Nokia phone Another one of my friends moved away to Kent quite a few years back.  He works in London and we'd meet up there now and then, sometimes he'd come back out our way and we'd all go out for the evening as a group.  This was several years ago and we've barely spoken since.  I've called and sent the odd email, considering myself lucky to get a response.  I heard through another female friend recently who has seen rather a lot of him, that the reason he's not been in contact is because he feels guilty about going off and getting married on the quiet.  We'd talked about me being the best man at his wedding one night and apparently he feels awkward because it didn't happen that way.  I really can't understand this at all.

I don't fret too much about not seeing friends who live some distance away.  It's understandable that people have a lot going on, the weekends are often crammed with stuff that needs doing.  What does irk me though is leaving messages and very rarely getting a response.  I have a friend up in London who's guilty of that; not too good at answering emails either as it happens.

Some friends do get in touch...  when they want something or need something, for example a broken computer that needs fixing or some advice about something that is my within my area of expertise.  Then there's another friend that seems to show up more frequently between relationships.  When the going is good things are a bit quiet, but when the brown stuff hits the fan we're always at the end of an email, phone call or a get together to help mend the pieces.  This isn't a problem, but it would be nice to hear from these fellows at a spontaneous moment when there aren't problems.  A "hello, how are you, just cooking my dinner and thought I'd say hi" would be really appreciated.

I used to share a house with a friend that I used to work with.  Anyway, to cut a long story short he got a house with his girlfriend and they had a child, the usual story.  I last saw him at his surprise 40th birthday party and that was about six years ago.  Have repeatedly tried to get in touch but to no avail.  Again, we have another mutual friend (one of the elusive crowd I'm afraid) who is in contact and sees him occasionally, but for some reason or other the gap hasn't been bridged and I have no way of contacting him directly.  It's such a shame, because we got on really well and had some good times.  C'est la vie...

I don't think I'm asking too much here.  Oh, and did I mention that I'd done the usual ring around at New Year to wish them all a good one (as I'm Scottish this is a big thing).  Lo and behold I spoke to one person (thank you Jason), but have yet to hear from any of the rest.  Still, it's only February so I might hear back sometime before the summer.  Thankfully I've got my girlfriend here and my family keep in touch a bit more often otherwise I'd be that man you read about in the papers, you know the one, found dead in his flat and the police were only contacted when the neighbours noticed the smell.  They say he'd been dead for around three months and nobody noticed.  Maybe I should just go under the radar myself and see what happens.  What would you do in my shoes?


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Desillusioner

Desillusioner

That's what I do with my one-sided friendships- quit trying after a while, and go under the radar. It s usually depressing at first, but then liberating- I realize it was never my duty to make an effort, I was just conditioned somehow to worry about keeping the relationship going- even though there was no actual benefit to it (not to me, at least.) Get rid of the ballast, you'll sail smoother.
05/03 Desillusioner
1
Angela

Angela

People go in different directions, and life quite simply gets in the way - work.... work, and MORE work, work dos in the evening, boy/girl-friend(s!).... stalkers perhaps - aagghh! Barbecues, shopping, hobbies, keep fit, you name it - the list is endless, and the older that we get - the more things there are to do, as we become more intelligent, quicker at doing things, and thus quicker at also ADDING things! Then... marriage and children. I haven't actually had children, but I have gotten married - it is not the same as dating - not in the slightest. There is a home to look after as well now (along with a full-time husband!). Maybe pets. New friends in new places if you move. In-laws on both sides. And then each child. If you have a baby - it doesn't just need attention for one hour a day - it needs attention 24-7! It is really therefore not personal at all that friends drift - BUT they always were your friends, and sometimes meeting up again even after 10 years - you will just carry on where you left off just about. However, you all have life experiences, and like branches on trees have grown. Grown in slightly different directions, but you all knew each other nearer to the trunk of the tree. You will always have that connection, but I personally wouldn't worry if someone has grown just too far away - you will always have a special memory as if it is yesterday if not today of a (hopefully!) kind and loving friendship. I have a HUGE list of friends that I want to get in contact with, but I do NOT want to just do a round-robin email-shot, so-to-speak - but maybe I should.

People aren't necessarily purposefully ignoring you - they possibly feel guilty that they literally haven't got the brain space and time to fit absolutely everyone and everything in!!!! There are so VERY few hours in the day.

Good luck - and maybe just go do a few new hobbies and make a few new friends yourself. Don't stay in a rut - branch out on that tree!

Good luck once again. :-)
03/12 Angela
0
Been there done that!

Been there done that!

Hi, I'm afraid to say that this is quite common, I'm 50 now, married for 18 years 2 kids, nice job, done ok! Friends? Forget it..so many similarities to you TBH and yep I've wasted a lot of time and emotion mulling it all over..
Well I've learned so much now and my best advice is accepting things for how they are, people are just self absorbed and busy..you wont ever change that..finding a friend who sticks around is hard..however nice you are or how hard you try..count your blessings and the 1 or 2 good ones you may have and dont beat yourself up about it! It really isn't you! I know that's zero consolation but if you dont except it you will go crazy..
I've tried going to ground too BTW but nobody even noticed! 😆...and I'm apparently really nice kind and fun to be around!
Mate, move on, your a decent bloke, be friendly and upbeat with everyone but be careful being such an open book..
30/10 Been there done that!
2
Happily Single and Friendless

Happily Single and Friendless

I'd find some new friends, if having friends in contact with you is important. I wouldn't waste time on people who don't reciprocate. People do grow apart, even in close relationships. If you have one or two good friends who remain friends the rest of your lives, that's remarkable. Otherwise, friends come and go.
15/11/19 Happily Single and Friendless
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Lou Lou

Lou Lou

I just confronted a school friend for never initiating contact to catch up with me. She wants to be in charge whenever I initiate contact to catch up because she prefers the car instead of the bus by depending on her friends to give her a lift to and from her house regularly. I prefer her to make her own way to see me so she complaints about the buses not showing up and catching 2 buses to get home. She was self conscious about what other people think of her head, facial movements and neck from the side affects of her taking medicine. The bus has become a barrier for her and she will never compromise with me.
15/07/19 Lou Lou
-4
Kim

Kim

I am still going through the same issues about my friends not keeping in touch with me. I am the only one keeping in touch with them all the time. I heard from no one when I was working in retail. My Italian friend tells me we will go out for coffee in 2016 and I have not heard from her because she never calls me in 2016 since I always have to call her. I have friends who were married but they have no intention of keeping in touch once married because my Asian friend can only see me during her lunch break and not on the weekend because she is devoted to her kids on weekends. My Aussie school friend was married after 10 years of living with her boyfriend never calls me either and she always have to stick with her husband. She has become a copy cat friend. I don't feel valued for my effort to keep in touch. I have confronted some friends for not keeping in touch with me and I just let them slip away. Sometimes I will do a spring clean to get rid of those friends who are not true friends.
16/07/18 Kim
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Joe

Joe

The biggest problem in our contemporary society is that we are each in our own little electronic concentration camp, thanks to all the technology, AND Fbook. The art of personal, one on one communication is severely lacking, therefore friendships suffer. It's sad really.
27/01/18 Joe
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Kath

Kath

Hi Kel, agree with you 100%, Facebook has changed people and friends who you thought were friends...... Facebook these days is for showing off which isn't a good trait. I have come of it now for 5 months and feel more at peace with myself now. Friends on Facebook I found, don't really care, or never there when you want a chat etc. Time is precious, so enjoy what you want to do in real life.
16/05/16 Kath
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Kel

Kel

It's a shame, but Facebook and other social media crap has changed people. Do some research and find out what makes you happy without your friends from the past. It's no easy but ya gotta do it. The time with your girlfriend and family are precious.
06/04/16 Kel
3
Rissa

Rissa

My husband and I are ages 55 & 67 and we've been through some of what you're going through. In recent years I've had medical/physical problems and I can't keep up with others. I'm not working, so that makes a big difference also....no money to keep up with others. We moved 3 hours away to a small town in the woods for a few years. We decided it was too desolate and moved back. Our friends didn't visit us in the small town or keep in contact, and now that we're back, our friends STILL don't keep in contact. I would say, enjoy life with your girlfriend and family and maybe focus more on your favorite hobbies, even if the hobbies are simple or light. At this point in my life, I'm not going out of my way any more to contact my "use-to-be-close-friends." I'm planning on listening to music more often and shoot pool on our new used pool table. I look forward to packing a lunch and taking day trips with my husband. All of these little things mean a lot.
06/04/16 Rissa
4
Ursula

Ursula

I know I'm late to this party, but this is the state of many of my relationships as well. It would be different if it wasn't so easy to text or email. It's as if people are trying to tell me they DON'T want to be in touch by going silent in this age of easy communication. It makes me feel quite unwanted.
14/02/16 Ursula
3
Grumpy xx

Grumpy xx

I read this article with interest. Mainly because when I reflect on my life I find that the people that did send Xmas cards and messages more frequently, and saw most of at any one time in my life, were the same very people who were not there for me when I needed support or their friendship because it might cost them time, money or both and they were often first off the scene - permanently too - when either I or they moved on geographically or in life generally. Friends who did not send cards or I hardly ever spoke to with anylike like regularity were the very people I knew I could contact - after such a long break -to support me during a crisis and they would be there for me to see it through or provide substantial support in other critical ways. Catch ups with them, infrequent though they were, comprised deeper shared experiences as if we'd only spoken recently, and more meaningful discussions took place too, rather than a lot of showy banter and trivial small talk and mwaah, mwaah kissy superficial nonsense that comes with the territory on facebook and with extroverted people who can't enjoy their own company. This brings me onto my next point...

I think the point I am making here, if it is of any help, is that quality not quantity is the essential component of defining friendship and that friends should be categorised as accurately as possible to understand them and know how to deal with them. True it is nice to be contacted and reciprocated to by everyone you associate with who aren't your family, but I would be more inclined to carve up my non-family relationships into

(a) real friends for which you are lucky to have less than a handful, maybe two or three people that are most like good family and stay with you and for you for life no matter where they are, where you are, what they are, what you've become etc. - and who accept you for what you are as a person

(b) those you keep in touch with out of duty or sense of history together - for formal or informal anniversary style get togethers to talk over old times and get pissed etc

(c) the rest you just hang out with to have a laugh with and probably see most often because they live nearer to you, like the same hobbies as you and you are only as useful as company for you for as long as you share a particular passion, geography, interest etc. but would disappear if any of that changed never to be seen again because either you or they or both have 'moved on.' These probably make up most of the fb luvvies with 1000 friends they've never met.

Once you get that into perspective, and learn to categorise people, the amount of calls you get or emails returns becomes less important and you're well on the path to managing your own expectations.

Most of all, most critically, the best friend you actually need for yourself is YOU. So learn to like your own company so that those lonely moments we all have, no matter how many friends we think we have, or feelings we have of being let down, particularly at some times of the year (anniversaries, holidays etc. when painful memories can often hurt the most) don't turn into desperate acts of despair and self destruction.
05/12/15 Grumpy xx
10
Kelvin

Kelvin

P.S -OP, my email is reydsan@outlook.com

Kelvin
03/11/14 Kelvin
1
Kelvin

Kelvin

Hey

I can totally relate to you man. You probably won't read this as it been a while since your post was written.

I think this is a sad epidemic in society now. Most people don't really think it's important to make an effort or be reciprocal. It's too much effort and they would rather have immediate gratification of people near them, people they can gain benefit from fast, and other things that create quick pleasure e.g. quick dates, playing computer games, face book and other instant chats/apps, etc

I have found all my friends have slowly drifted away over the years. I am single, so it's a lot harder for me to not get lonely pangs. I'm glad you have your Girlfriend.

I don't understand the argument that people put forward such as , ' i know my friends are always there' or ' I don't need to keep in touch', or ' i have a busy life, so don't get the time' etc. These are all usually just lazy excuses. Friendships, like romantic r'ships need nourishing and caring by BOTH parties. Otherwise one of you will start to feel down and hurt by doing all the 'chasing'. This will inevitably make you bitter and affect your social interactions with people in the future. It's better to let go of these non reciprocal friends. Now, I'm not saying these people are bad. A lot, of my friends were lovely and i know somewhere n there heart they care for me, but it's somewhere in the hazy distance, as i fade away into the mist of time. It never had to be like this. They just could not be bothered to make the effort. They manage to make the effort and time to manage other things and people in their life. So, really, there was no excuse. I have 3 close friends left in my life now, and they are all reciprocal. I meet one once every 2 months , fairly regular, but when she can't make it, that's cool, i know we will get together again soon.
I have a friend who was very close to mea few years back , but he slowly stared communicating less, but would always reply when i messaged or suggested we meet and he would then meet. When we met, it was always like old times. I would drive to his town regular. However, there was this unrest at the back of my mind that i was doing ALL the contacting.Also, he would ring when he was feeling down and that was it.I then found out he had moved to my town. I thought we would meet more, but he never contacted me. That's when i thought, ' i don't need this anymore'. I'm not sure why he doesn't contact me, but it was starting to hurt. I loved this guy like a brother too. So, I stopped texting to see if he would. He did text, after a year and then again a year and a half later. So, that's 2 texts in 2 and a half years. I just let him be in the end and think about him in that far away misty place.

So, it's a sad state of affairs and i understand where you are coming from totally.
Feel free to drop me a message.

Take Care
Kelvin
03/11/14 Kelvin
3
Cell

Cell

I am in the same situation, out of sight out of mind I guess. It is sad because I have not been able to make good connections as an adult as with the "kids" I grew up with, that find it too much trouble to reply to an email when at one time we like brothers.
25/09/14 Cell
3

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