Q: "I know I’m young, but I am having a lot of problems with friends. I only have one friend and she never talks to me first. I’m always the one reaching out and she never seems that enthusiastic about talking to me. But, when we hang out she is always so engaged and seems like she’s having a really good time. It’s so hard to see where she stands in our friendship. Can you help?" - Anonymous
Brooo this feeling… ahhhh. Based on the amount of people who wanted me to answer your question, I know it doesn’t just hit hard for both me and you but a lot of other girls are experiencing this same dilemma as well.
Reciprocated friendship has always been super important to me, but it’s even more of a necessity with my closest friends. 50-50 effort put into the friendship by both sides is the expectation but not always the reality. As a fellow over thinker, it can be exhausting when we get in our heads and try to decipher where we stand in a friendship… wondering what the other person really thinks about us. When someone neglects to reach out to me first it begs a lot of internal questions: Am I a backup friend? Why are they super posty on social media with other people but not with me? Is our friendship a swept-under-the-rug thing or is it just them as a person? Do I bore this person? Why am I not their first choice?
I am the type of person who if I love being in someone’s company, regardless of. whether that person reaches out to me as often as I would like, I am ok putting in 60-40 or 70-30... but with the few people I consider to be my closest friends, I won't expect anything less than equal contribution. As I talked about in the ‘middle girls tiktok’, a lot of us have many surface friends … people who you don’t expect much more than just to have a good time together. I would say to anyone who feels like they are the first to reach out when making plans with their peripheral friends, don’t stress it because these relationships are not as substantive in the long run. If things are good in person and you guys are just vibing, I wouldn’t be too concerned about the whole who asks who to to hangout thing.
In this scenario, we’re dealing with a very close friend. Putting up with these mind games and letting all the weight of the friendship rest on your back is stressful and unfair. Maybe her texts appear dry but she is just not a huge Facetime person and she’s hard to read online. Maybe she doesn’t ask for plans because she’s lazy and would be at home alone despite you reaching out. Yes, some people need a push and even if they don’t tell you, they do need you. 2 options:
1: Talk About It
Me and my best friend have an extremely open relationship. We say what’s on our minds and practically hide nothing from each other. Over the summer, we just weren’t talking as much and things started to feel a little shaky. I questioned our friendship at times because she never really reached out to make plans. Eventually, I was super straight up with her and pretty much said, ‘why haven’t we been hanging out’? I know this is a bold move but you really have to know your friendship and assess if this is an appropriate confrontation. Obviously your call but for a multi year friendship that you see growing even further in the future, tell her how you’re feeling.
2: Give Some Space
Next option is backing off a little bit. I know you don’t want to lose this person but continuing to wait for her to show she cares is a useless waste of time. If you are correct that your worst fears about her are that she’s not enjoying your time together and doesn’t really care about your bond, then maybe she feels stuck. The only way you can grow your friendship stronger is if you give each other some space. Letting go of her a little will make you realize how much you need each other. Reach out to other people. You might be nervous to speak to new people, but especially in these times, you will lift the spirits of a lot of people and give them the refresh they’ve been needing. It could be the girl on your soccer team from last year, in your chem class who you’ve been studying with, a friend from your neighborhood, or even one of your preschool or elementary school besties. Keep it casual and ask them if they want to grab a coffee and do a socially distanced walk or maybe catch up and study together. Give your friend the space she needs and time will tell if she will re-spark the friendship.