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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 05-Dec-05

 


Monday 05-Dec-05

Friends in need, real friends and fairweather friends

'A friend in need is a friend indeed' is a popular saying, implying that some people play the friendship card when they need something from you. Whilst this can indeed be true, the reverse is also significant. When you are in need, then you find out who are your real friends.

An acquaintance found out recently that she has a chronic medical condition. Nothing visible and nothing to stop her living a normal life, but something that will occasionally flare up and cause discomfort. She also found out something of the difference between real and fairweather friends.

She informed them simply because she is an open and honest person. There was no seeking of particular help. Perhaps a little sympathy, but no special treatment or additional attention.

When she told some friends, they responded with concern. They listened without asking anything in return. They asked how they could help. These were real friends.

Others, who she also believed to be friends of the same sort, responded first with selfish concerns. They asked if it was infectious in any way or that might somehow catch it. Then they melted away, despite reassurance of their safety.

Fairweather friends are those who are most likely to appear when they are in need or, at best, when you are not in need. Real friends don't care about your need. They will help where they can and know that it's ok if they can only offer a little sympathy.

This must be something like what it is to have cancer, HIV or AIDS. Those who were friends when all was well suddenly show their true colors, whilst some from the core and some from the periphery fly the true flag of friendship, offering and giving what help they can.


Your comments


The third wheel. The tag-along. The last in the priority list friend. I had been through all of these, even up until now with friends whom I thought were real. I am still hoping they are or if not, they'll change 'cause my friendship with them weren't all that bad. However, I really felt to be invisible in our group. That they only contact me when they needed something and would be out of the blue thereafter. They also aren't listening to me sincerely after asking me what I've been up to lately. Jokes at me when sometimes it looked like they're bullying me. Mostly, they are all self-centered, needy, competitive, yet genuinely caring. I don't know now if they're still like that. Seemed not. I did the gentle fade a couple of times yet I ended up guilty doing it so I reconcile with them again when they establish a reconnection. Crazy. For all I know, I don't feel connected with them anymore. We shared a long history, but the friendship felt dead to me. I am longing for the connection I once felt with them, that's why I managed to survive being the third wheel, the tag-along, and the fall back friend for them. Think I am having enough. I am sad thinking about this  over and over.   

 -- Jinnie


 Yeah, well, I'm in here waiting for their needs, with my anon quote, "Best friends are like diamonds, precious and rare. False friends are like leaves, found everywhere." Trouble is, all I seem to have around me is false friends. 1I have been out of town for over 2 months. Seems now that I have returned, everyone has moved on and/or afraid of abandonment. It was the same cold shoulder I got where I was visiting -everyone there on vacation or braced for rejection in a transient tourist world. Wish I could accept my loner reality, in motion, not sure where to settle.

-- leaf

Dave replies:
I have few good friends and many acquaintances. I was certainly a loner in high school and only made good friends  when I went to University. Others find their way in different ways. Key is to ask yourself difficult questions and reply honestly, without beating up on yourself. We're all human and fallible. Then actively get into self-development, ditching any self-pity, self-loathing, etc. And first you won't mind not having friends. Then, oddly, when you don't need them, they will appear.


Good for a teenager to read. For a middle-aged adult with a chronic disabling medical conditions, not too in depth.
A good start.

-- Becky


I am a girl and I want be a friend for a boy but I want just friendship

-- Lina

Dave replies:
You and many, many other girls, Lina (including my daughter). It's a sad fact that many boys find this difficult. There are those out there, however, who can be 'just friends'. The problem is that they may not want to stay that way. Fewer still can do this properly.  One way that this does happen is where the boy is gay. This may seem strange, but gay guys make great friends with girls as neither will want any more than friendship.


 I've found out the real meaning to fake friends and real friends. Real friends are always there for you no matter what fake friends are people who just talk to you when they have no one else to talk too.

Am I right?

~Mary

Dave replies:
That's a pretty good definition, Mary. There are some shades of gray also between real and fake friends --- for example many intermediate friends will be there for you
sometimes. But the best of friends are, indeed, there for you through thick and thin. Also remember that friendship is a reciprocal arrangement, and you also need to be there for them too. 


 Most of my friends disappear when I am in need of them, however when they need me. I always offer them hand whether emotionally or financially. when things are good for me they tend to call me or gather around me. what shall I do? will I cut them off or keep helping them no matter what they do to me.

abdi

Dave replies:
These sounds like fairweather friends, Abdi.  My advice would be that after you have offered a certain level of support to a friend that if they do not reciprocate on the same level, that you do not offer the higher level of support again. If you like, give them one more chance, but do not keep doing this in the vain hope that they will one day improve. You don't need to cut them off, but it does make sense to downgrade those who do not reciprocate at the same level from 'close friends' to 'acquaintances' with whom you spend some time. There are other people like you out there, believe me, who will reciprocate at the same level as you, but do not waste time on those who do not want this level of supportive friendship.


I have friends I don't knew if they are real... I got 1 close friend, he is the only closest friend in my whole life that is why I can say that he is my best friend. But I cant tell if he treat me as a best friend as well. Every time he is in needs he contacts me and I'm always there. Does it mean that I''m already his best friend? Am wondering if he only uses me and needs me when he is in need. But when not. he don't even give me a call or even say hi and hello. this bothers me a lot.

-- jing nea

Dave replies:
It sounds like for him you're a good friend, but I don't know if you're his best friend or if he has a best friend (I have friends but no best friend). Friendship is about giving and getting in some format that works for you. It can also mean letting them go their own way. If you ask too much of a friend (as
they define it) they may distance themselves from you more. We all have need for contact but some people have more need than others. I have friends I see every few years and that is just fine.  It takes two to be friends and each may have a different idea of what that friendship should be like, which can be difficult but it doesn't mean they cannot be friends.


 I have a friend who I think just uses me alot. He comes around when his mom grounds him or punishes him, or when they don't have alot of food or his 'favorite' food, He comes over whenever I get new games for playstation, and he swears alot. he wants me to swear too, but I don't feel right when I swear. I'm thinking he's not a good friend to be around, I don't even feel that safe around him because he got suspended for having a knife at school. What should I do?

-- Kathryn

Dave replies:
Kathryn, I think you're right. It looks like he's using you. I'd make excuses and refuse. Be out when he calls. Just say no.


"Dave's reply to Lina:
You and many, many other girls, Lina (including my daughter). It's a sad fact that many boys find this difficult. There are those out there, however, who can be 'just friends'. The problem is that they may not want to stay that way. Fewer still can do this properly. One way that this does happen is where the boy is gay. This may seem strange, but gay guys make great friends with girls as neither will want any more than friendship."

I take offense to this. My group of friends is about evenly matched as far as gender goes, and one of the 2 vary close friends I have is a girl. While I'll admit that I have had a lot of luck with friends (almost all my friends have stood by me no matter what happened. And considering how annoying I can get, that's pity hard) I still can't see a friendship between a boy and a girl to be particularly hard to maintain as just a friendship (Although this may be just my opinion...).

-- Yuriy (a guy in high school.)

Dave replies:
You are right, Yuriy, that guys can have female friends who are just friends and I've a few myself. It's just that there's a lot of misunderstanding out there about what people want from a relationship and it's easy to confuse 'just friends' and 'romantic relationships'. Before I was married I fell into the trap a few times with girls who wanted to be friends and I wanted more. Since marriage and with a bit more learning I've had a number of women send romantic signals when I am just being friendly (I know the dangers here and do not play away).


I agree with the confusion signals you talk about between friends of the other sex. I am married and I have had friends say that I'm being romantic when actually I thought I was being friendly. In fact my best friend started falling for my husband in much this same way. Do you have any advice for figuring out how to tell the difference between flirty, teasing friendly and playful friendship?

-- Jada

Dave replies:
Hmm. Tricky. One method I'd use is to talk about my partner and watch the response. If they are happy with you talking about your other half, it's friendly. If they look miffed and back off, then it's probably not.


In fact i'm moroccan male . I think the real friendship is't to help your friend and share him his all problems .and help him. and considered him just like your self or more . so we have one life so we need to life it at peace and happyness

-- man


 Well, uhm. It's summertime and only a COUPLE of my friends -- who seemed like my best friends in school, have talked to me. I send them comments saying "Hi" but they don't comment me back. Just their other friends. I've done nothing wrong what should I do? Do I not talk to them when school starts again? I'm really sad and upset that most of them are doing the same thing to me.

-- lost and confused

Dave replies:
Well first, you are not alone. This happens to many, many people. Don't assume you might have done something 'wrong' because usually, you haven't. The most common cause is that people have different friends in different places and times (they are thus 'situated'). Thus you may be seen as a good friend in school, but not outside or not in the summer. There are many other possibilities, from going on holiday to meeting other people.

When people who I thought were universal friends - that is friends at all time in all places - become reticent or difficult, then the first thing I do is back off a little. The last thing friends should do is chase after one another saying 'I want you to be my friend'. I then do little tests, like sending them a text and seeing if they reply, what they say, etc. This tells me whether they want to be universal or situated friends.

I have lots of situated friends and few universal friends, and I'm comfortable with this. If people want to be more friendly, then I also have to decide if that's what I want, so I do 'situating' too. What I've found is that when you offer accepting friendship and do not chase people, then more people will seek your company. I want friends to be comfortable with me and not feel obliged. If they want to go elsewhere, that's just fine and I don't feel bad about it.


 My name is joan chentu and I will like to have a friend. My father is a pastor and my mother is a house wife. If I am writing to you, is just that I need a friend .I need someone in whom I can true a friend who will always be there for me when I need help. this is why I am writing to you.
 

Dave replies:
Friends are people we find, Joan. True friends do not appear immediately as we must first learn to trust one another.
Friends may be there when you need help but you also need to be there when they need help. The best way to find friends is often not to look for them but simply to be a gentle friend to others. In order to receive, you must first give. There are many who need your friendship and support. Be that generous friend who seeks nothing in return but the satisfaction of seeing them smile and, when you least expect it, you will find you have more friends than you knew.


I have many, many acquaintances, and I get on with a lot of people very well. A lot of them I don't tend to see outside of work. I grew apart from my close friends from school as we tend to do different things nowadays. I have a "best mate" who I'm still good mates with from school, who I go to gigs and events with (all the things my old school mates don't do) and go to the pub for a drink with regularly, he comes round my house and we watch TV, generally just having a laugh. But he has little "digs" at me, which sometimes gets me down. I know its only a bit of banter but a lot of my old friends do this as well. I've helped him out financially in the past and don't expect it in return as he isn't as well off as me. I haven't been going out a lot for the last month or so due to financial circumstances, and my "best mate" is concerned at this and seems to want me to go "out on the town". Is this a real/best friend?

-- Steve

Dave replies:
Friendship is a complex affair -- the only real rule is 'what works for you both'. Friendships where one gains at the expense of another are dysfunctional. We use friends to define ourselves and when these people change, even for the better, we may become annoyed as this effectively changes our selves (and hence we may prod, provoke and otherwise try to get the original person back).

Banter can be really saying 'you're different -- I want the old you back'. Effectively it is trying to put you into the box where they feel most comfortable with you (although this is seldom a conscious activity).

Your best mate wanting you to go out on the town may be him trying to cheer you up in the way he would cheer himself up. When this conflicts with your need to conserve money, a good friend should really accept this.

The best friends accept you as you are, not as they want you to be.


 I've been discouraged by people who I had considered to be a "friend". I thought I had been fairly close to Sarah because of how frequently we saw each other during nursing school. Sarah was my maid of honor in December of last year. I flew her entire family in at our expense, bought her expensive jewelry and had several good conversations. While I don't think she is intentionally ignoring me, it will take many phonecalls on my end before I ever get her to call me just once. This is really hurtful. I am a loyal, loving-hearted, and giving person who has a wonderful husband and family. I would love to be a loyal friend to someone who would just make more of an effort to be a friend to me. Sometimes I wish I just had someone other than my husband to confide in.

Sad and Disappointed--
Sonia


I have a friend name Tiana . Everyone thinks she's fake . I stood up for her because I didn't think that . We became good friends . She knows me pretty well and I know her pretty well now . I tell her everything and she tells me everything . Who I like and who she likes . She liked a guy named DJ and Ii did whatever to help her . She appreciated what I did for her and all . She then wanted to help me on my love life . She knew who I liked of course . She said she wanted to help me but then a couple days later she then liked the same guy I liked . I know feelings cant be help but she lied to me . She keeps giving me hope and stuff but at the same time she's crushing it . Tiana told me that it may just be a crush . I just don't know what to do now . I'm not disappointed or mad that she has a crush on the person I like but I'm more of a mad that she always lead people on in liking her but she says she would never like them back, I'm more disappointed and mad that she lied to me, trying to give me hope but backstabbing that when she turns around . Is she a true friend? What should I do?

Confused&Quiet ;
Natalie

Dave replies:
Sometimes there are difficult decisions between friends and romance and it looks like Tiana has chosen romance. In doing so, she has forfeited your friendship. Is she a true friend? It doesn't look like it. I'd do one of two things: (a) dump her in the way she seems to be dumping the trust you placed in her, or (b) tell her how you feel, and if she does not come up with a really good answer, revert to (a).


I have a friend for close to 20 yrs whose life has been very similar to mine. We are single moms of 1 son each which they are now grown young men. We have become even closer over the past several yrs and had become running buddies since we are obviously older and our circle of single friends has gotten smaller.

But, my friend has found a mate after all these years and I was really happy for her.. he is a doctor and they are getting married, but even though she assured that our friendship would not dissipate it has..in the past year we went from talking to each other daily and being involved in each other's life to now we may talk every few weeks for a few minutes.

I feel used and hurt because I know she hasn't abandoned another friend of hers that she has had even longer than me. I want to say something to her about how I feel, but then I think I shouldn't. I always thought the world of her, and wouldn't think that she would use anyone, but it is difficult not to think that she only used me because she needed a running buddy, after all we had been friends for so long. She has not reciprocated at the same level and our friendship is changing from 'close friends' to 'acquaintance', and at this late stage of life I am hurt since I thought we were lifelong friends and thought we would share in each other's lives even if we did find a mate. If I didn't know that she hasn't changed her relationship and closeness with her other lifelong friend I wouldn't feel used and hurt.. What do you think?

-- nak

Dave replies:
How you feel is quite understandable, Nak. When a long-term friend changes the status of your friendship of course it is going to hurt. The question is how you think about it and what you do about it.

A trap is to reframe the friend as bad. If you think them as bad you will act as if they are bad and effectively drive them further away. This is one option, of course and you can abandon them as they seem to have abandoned you. There are many lonely people in the world who would appreciate more some of your kind attention.

Another way of looking at it is as an episode in life. For a while, you gave each other succour and support, but now the situation has changed and your friendship must change too. Like a child who moves away and only calls their parents infrequently, sometimes people move on. The child may still love their parents but they no longer need them, perhaps because their parents have given them enough in many ways to enable the child to fly the coop into greater independence.

Her spending more time other friend is curious and perhaps reflects that the person is giving more to a specific need that you do not give. This is normal! We get different things from different friends. It is quite possible that what you gave in the past she now gets from her new partner.

My advice would be to find some quality time with your friend and discuss things openly and, very importantly, without blame. Listen to what each needs and accept that some of your needs that she fulfilled in the past now must be found elsewhere. Keep the love that is there and cherish what you gave each other for so many years.


 I recently moved back to my hometown in Georgia after 10 years of living in NYC. Of course I found myself isolated and lonely, missing the (what I thought to be) very important friendships I left up north. A month into being here, my mother suddenly & unexpectedly passed away. I'm an only child & we were extremely close, we battled and argued much like most mothers and daughters but we loved each other with such intensity. The most eye opening lesson I've learned from this experience was who turned out to be real friends. People I didn't consider my closest friends came out of the wood work to support me and offer an unconditional shoulder to cry on & and ear for me to vent...however my best friend of 15 years neglected to call me after a few brief conversations the day of my mothers death. After over a month of waiting for her to call, I finally wrote her an email, asking her simply if I had done something to upset her, why I hadn't heard from her? Her reply was basically this:

I love you, but I am focusing on "my path, goals & dreams". She wished me the best and said we will always be friends, then ended her simple email stating "I just need my space right now"

Never in my life did I expect someone so close who I've spent half of my life with to do to me what I've seen her do to others time and time again, using her ambition as a barrier to caring for another. Undoubtedly I tell myself how sorry I feel for her that she is completely and totally incapable of sharing human qualities such as sympathy and compassion, but it still does not dull the pain of being left, asking for help and being denied even the simplest act of kindness.

With that I will say I am so grateful for those people in my life who very much rallied around me and still, a month and a half later (and probably as long as it takes), continue to rally around me. True friends are indeed the most precious gift anyone can have, and I try as often as possible to let them know how grateful I am & how much I love them. Lesson learned...


-- Lauren


Human life is struggle home its impossible over the a that kind of problem alone. That's why human make friends.

-- Raman


This is a good blog...
it helps to reflect on my own behaviour and feelings about my friendships currently. I made a list of friends in good standing, fairweather, conditional and civil by association and luckily there are 10 in good standing. Man, though do I take my friendships seriously!!

It makes me laugh at myself how upset I can get thinking of a simple life fact like moving. Last week I had to clear out both my small cabins. The only person that showed up was my brother and my father had to tell him to go help me! I told most of my friends that I was moving but I did not ask anyone to help me move since I am always ready to help a friend if they say they are moving (w/o being asked first)... In fact I just received a thank you card from a friend I helped move a few months back saying she appreciated that I am always ready to help her.

Also, recently, a male friend gave me an ultimatum about our "friendship". After many manipulative comments directed at controling our relationship into a romantic place, without success on his part, he said we couldn't hang out with our mutual friends together. Since he's the 'invite' guy, I've been iced out of social occasions with other 'situational', and 'civil' friends I enjoy. For a number of years now, all of the men have avoided much conversation with me, stepping aside for this 'friend'. Now, since I have sternly and w/o inhibition to hurting his feelings said no to his unrelentless motives he, under a guise of being godly, has asked his friends to pray for my problem with commitment with men. After telling me about this in our last conversation recently, I rebuked him saying that it isn't right to make up a problem about someone because your looking to justify why I do not reciprocate your feelings. Also, it appears that he is trying to hurt me back. It bothers me the most that all of these mutual friends are not supporting me since it should be obvious that I do not want him as a boyfriend. Especially to the other men in the group who should see after 5 years that I do not like this man like that since we have never dated or alluded to dating. I don't appreciate being slandered either. Should I let it go?
I don't understand their complacency.

That frustrates me. This 'friend' is very popular, likable guy and the ring leader of many old friends. I had fun getting to know them. Now I am sad that I am out of this group and don't feel that I did anything wrong. Lesson learned: Never fight with the most popular guy when you are moving. No one shows up. Or is it that they are simply not worthy of MY friendship. Because I give it. And I am not afraid to love people as best I can. I am glad I have other friends to talk to. But it remains hurtful to me.

I am taking a year sabbatical and this is a compelling way to move away from fairweather 'friends' who don't take a stand on what's right.

Stung, but not taken out

-- Sting


Dave replies:
Some lessons of life are hard, and it's easy to become cynical. I find words of wisdom helpful sometimes here. Helpful also is to explain how you feel and why. It can be difficult but at least it clears the air and helps you decide what to do next, and stepping away from a friendship is always an option -- for a friendship to work it has to be right for both sides. What 'friendship' means to me may not be the same as what it means to you. Be careful, then, in imposing your values on others.

Indeed there's danger in criticising a group leader, for by doing so you are criticising the group. There are roles (such as the Shakesperian fool) in which this can be done, but it's a slippery path. Criticising the leader can also be seen as a challenge to his/her position, resulting in a fight of some kind.


Whatever works for everyone involved.

F.E.


I think real friendships are a rare occurrence on this side of eternity. There are many people who are there for you when times are good, but as times change, the cycle of time shows who is true and who is false. Also, to the comment about the girl who wanted to be friends w/ guys, they don't necessarily have to be gay Dave. I made good friends with boy guys and girls, because I am an understanding person. If the girl doesn't want to have a relationship or doesn't express interest, then I am not going to push it. Once in middle school, a friend girl of mine asked if I was, and I told her no. I actually kept hinting that I liked her, but she never caught on. Anyway, I just hung with some girls in middle school, cuz the guys ostracized me, because this one guy, who had status didn't like me. Aww well.

-- William


Hi everyone. I wanted to share a story but I am not sure if it fits the criteria for this blog. I have a friend called Milos. I met him at university and initially I found him to be easy to relate to, easygoing and fairly intelligent. There was something about him that made him endearing. First of all, like many people of his age, he was into independent bands, literature, and found most faddish trends off-putting. Of all the people in the class, I had the greatest contact with him, and at times it felt as if he was not interested in being at university or doing the course he was enrolled on. In fact, he told me when I first talked to him that the course did not interest him, but it was a way out of his rural life, and since he had some funding it meant he could live in the city. If he did not he would have had to return home. Maybe this isn't significant, but many things followed this pattern in his life. He would always have one reason for doing something which could quite easily be interpreted as something else. For instance, if he did not want to do something, he would always come up with another reason, yet in all discussions it would be clear that he really wasn't very eager to indulge in anything, yet he always expressed his commitment to things. However, not everyone noticed this since few people knew him as well as I did, and also, the real reason for his actions was seldom revealed but what he did to avoid a particular event (when I already knew he was not keen on participating), he would try to come up with something that would be least offensive and he did not have to say the truth. I will get back to this later. In this way, we always remained friends and we talked as often as we could. We corresponded and shared many ideas, but I always felt that usually when he wanted to see me, r personally get in touch with me was when he needed something. This was also true before. He would need someone to sign him into college classes and I thought he needed someone to keep him in touch with what was going on in the classes, but he did not do this as other people do since he was very well spoken, laid back and very pleasant and came across as being very sincere. People really found him to be quite honest and very likeable so even people with whom he spent very little time would vouch for his integrity since he had one public face, which masked his true motivations, which were never explicitly revealed but if one spent enough time with him, it became obvious that he was selfish, avoided everything, but he was also quite sly. If you don't say what you feel and instead say something else to the same effect which also happens to be true or realistic, he would go for it, cause little or no offence, and also get sympathy. After we left university, I was the only person he stayed in touch with. His parents lived in the countryside and at times he returned home, lived with his parents and then came back to the city for short stretches, sometimes living with friends (rent free), or claiming welfare whilst saying he had some mystery illness which never stopped him from going to pubs, hanging out with his other friends, playing videogames and illegally downloading media, and going to concerts and hanging out with his brother's university friends. What's so fairweather about that? I think he just lies, he jst doesn't say what he really thinks or feels. He only hangs out with people who may be of some use to him in the future. In the last few years whilst I have been studying, he has neither worked nor done anything, and in the last few months, he was diagnosed with an illness that is very vague and allows him to stay out of work. I know for a fact that he never wanted to work in his life, and he made this pretty clear, and he cannot commit to anything that requires commitment or punctuality other than those things that interest him (such as hanging out with his friends and being involved in their projects). However, he has the best of both worlds because he does not have to pay for his living costs (he lives rent free at a flat rented by his brother and university friends) and due to their affluence and ambitions, he is able to also involve himself in their activities, network with the group and raise his profile, and anything else he can't afford, he tries to take from the resources he could exploit. For instance, whenever he has wanted advice or something material from me, he has been in touch. We both have an interest in the arts, and I think there is some disagreement on the way we see things, and in spite of having very obvious differences, he would not openly say that he disagrees with me simply because if you believe something, you do not have to say it if it would likely cause a rift in the friendship because he needs me to help him. I know this. We have have become two very different people and everything I have said or done has indicated this yet for some reason the things I know he would not agree with he never seems to say because if he does, it would mean we would become incompatible and he would not be able to take advantage of what I have achieved in the last few years. So what have I achieved. As I said before, we are both interested in the arts, and although I have hardly distinguished myself in that field, I have worked in the arts industry for a very key organisations, and have some contacts there, and he probably thinks I may have some influence amongst the people I met there. Within my chosen field of interest I have also had contact with some significant figures and have been involved in working within the area from which he is excluded since he has little practical work experience, or educational qualifications. I have just invested a lot of time in this friendship, and some of his worst qualities, oblivious to others, have always been quite evident, but I have some fondness for opportunists and people who would like an easy life. I have no sense of morality myself, and, in his place I would have done the same, and lets not pretend that if we can get something out of life by manipulating the resources, we wouldn't feel good about it. It just doesn't feel very good when you think you are one of those resources, especially when, on your part the relationship was sincere, and that you genuinely admired the person. In recent months my life has seen some turmoil and in this time I hardly heard from him. I would email him a lot, and he would not even send a reply. would ask him questions, and he wouldn't have time of day for me, yet he was neither employed nor engaged with anything. He would always make up some excuse for not seeing me (I hardly ever see him anyway, as I have been working and he often leaves town when the flat he resides in is vacated by its official residents during semester breaks). Yet, whenever he needs something from me, he comes across as being awfully nice and he just doesn't seem to really listen to what I am saying. He just seems to agree with me without listening to the details, and once he's got what he needs he is never in touch again. Recently I got fed up and thought maybe I should just forget about him, and maybe should but then, he is such a person that if I do this he will get all the sympathy since everything he does is always justifiable and he is never blatant about using people since he puts them in a position where he neither demands anything nor does anything that would be offensive. I mean, if I ditch him, people will say I was the intolerant one, and if I say I was getting nothing from his friendship, people would still say I was the selfish one. I just feel really bad since I really believed in times of trouble maybe he would understand my concerns, but he does not seem to be responsive, which to me suggests he is not committed. He has not cut me off since he has suggested he would like to start some kind of enterprise and needs me to help him. In the meantime, he has been having fun with his real friends, with whom he lives and par takes in their life and activities. I just feel excluded because if I was a friend, he would have asked me to accompany him on some of the things he does. He would rather shut me out. Maybe some people think am romantically interested in this person. This is false, I am a heterosexual male, but I thought I had found a kindred spirit, but I am beginning to see that maybe I found a chameleon who changes colour to fit into any situation. It is just that to the discerning individual, he is not very convincing, but as most of the people he is in touch with are hardly going to consider his ulterior motives for being with them, he takes advantage of their trust. I am very upset since, as I said, I thought he was a friend, but I now know that he treats me or thinks of me as being someone he could use, and it hurts because nothing he has said or done could be sincere and if that is the case, I could never get the truth from someone like this. Friends need to be honest and critical too. They shouldn't agree with everything we say. What makes a debate interesting is when people debate and disagree. If the only person only ever agrees for fear of alienating or offend ing you, it is not a friendship. Is there anything anyone wants to say?

-- Leroy


Dear Dave
I don't know what should I do! I always want to help my friends without thinking if that is good or bad for them! Whenever they are in trouble I cant just looking although I know that may be wrong. What should I do? I also have a friend that I consider the best, but it seem to be that it's so hard for him to listen to me! Whenever I'm sad or off I just want to share with him but he nearly can not understand! I always have to solve his problems. I don't know what to do as I make friend with so few people! I don't know if there's anyone for me to share!

-- Tranvan

Dave replies:
Hi Tranvan. Sometimes people are not ready to listen and sometimes they are not ready to hear what you have to say. It's like with my teenage son: he often is not ready to listen to his father. So I back off, otherwise I would be talking for my own benefit. I look for times when he is more open, then I pick my words carefully and avoid over-doing it. Sometimes planting a few seeds is better than trying to grow the whole crop at once. The secret of friendship is often patience and understanding.


 Well I have this friend who, sometimes is there for me, but other times, like now for instance, completely ignores me. I help her out to. When she does his I usually try to give her space, but earlier today she told me, and I quote "I'm busy. And I don't really care" but only hours later she said I was overacting. what did I do to her?? its really hurting me.

-- Rosa

Dave replies:
Let her know that it hurt you, but -- and this is important -- do it in a way that is not accusing. Act as if she hadn't realized it hurt you. Don't back her into a corner where she feels she has to defend herself. Then listen. And then decide how much she really cares and how much of a friend she really is. Then decide what to say and do.


Hi, I have a kinda large group of friends at school (year nine) but there seems to be like a social hierarchy. Some people are liked much more than others and people are always looking to become friends with those who are higher up in the hierarchy. The problem is I don't really have any friends in this group and I am finding it difficult to make them because people are always looking to make friends with people who are generally liked more than themselves, and as I am low on this 'social hierarchy' I cant find any friends! Also, my group seems to be interested in video games quite a lot, but my parents don't let me play them, so I cant really join the conversations that they have at school about them. The only good thing is that I do have some people who like me outside of my group, but they are all in different groups to one another, and all of these other groups have at least one person in them who doesn't like me. I have looked at the opportunity of making friends with people who aren't really in a group (loners) but I don't really want to go down to that level. So what do I do? I don't really want to take the large risk of trying to change groups, because I might be rejected which will harm my future chances of finding a group and getting more friends. Ur blog is really useful, and thx for reading my post.

-- Harry

Dave replies:
Hi Harry. Your situation is far more common than you might think. There's two things you can do: change yourself and change what you do.

Changing yourself means trying to see how others see you and find out why, then changing what you think. For example many people are less popular because they actually think about themselves too much (this can be hard to understand and accept). Some have problems because they believe that others are superior to them (or vice versa), rather than all people being equal. Making internal changes is tricky but it's the one thing you can control. Think hard and honestly about how you think. Listen to what you say to yourself.

Changing what you do can include not trying to hard. People who chase others too much end up with the others running away or pushing them away. Learn to be happy without others. Don't bother about this social hierarchy thing. It's a strange thing, but if you want friends less then you'll have more.

Hope this helps.


Well I use to belong to this church, the church is own and ran by family members. The pastor son would call me fairweather friend; I thought that being called a fairweather friend was a good thing until I was reading some of the comments prior to. I don't know why he calls me fairweather friend when I would give my last money I had in my pockets. I had to leave the church so I could learn how to grow in the knowledge and grace of talent that God had given me. I was tired of burying my talent. I come back at times to visit only when they have a need or they may need a little help in a certain area in the church.

-- Faith
 


 I have always Tried my best to make people happy. I have a friend named john (this name is so common, I feel okay putting it) and he's always really been there for me when I need him. He isn't interested in anything more than friendship, and neither am I. He's having a hard time with a girl who he is in love with. She uses him.

The strange thing about john is that he almost seems like a reverse fairweather friend. I texted him one time, and I told him I was crying. I didn't get a reply, until about 10 minutes later, and he said "I'm outside, come here and give me a hug" then we went for a drive and listened to a band we both really love. He accepts the fact that I don't like to talk about my problems, and can comfort me in different ways.

He does stuff like this consistently, but when he's really upset, (usually about this evil girl he loves so much) he'll tell me about it, but all I can do is listen to him.

He won't tell me in person, only texting or on msn, and he doesn't want anything more than acceptance, and I guess justification of his feelings.

Am I still being a good friend? I try my best but I don't know how to make him happy.

-- Michelle
 

Dave replies:
Hi Michelle. Friendship is about give and take in ways that work for both parties. There's few rules beyond this. Fairweather friends tend not to give what others need, which makes for a broken friendship. Sounds like you and John help one another when you're down, giving what the other needs (and not necessarily what you want to give). And just listening without comment or criticism is often what's needed. So I'd say you and John are both very good friends.


Dear Dave,

I don't know what to do. I have a friendship of which I have maintained for the past year and some months now with a girl named "K", but originally this friendship started off with us "strongly disliking" one another due to a guy we both "wanted" and several negative rumors that came afterwards. At the same time we both shared a common friend ?P?, that we perceived to be each our "best friend" and constantly, we kept her in the middle sometimes with our negative feelings towards one another. The problem I am facing now is still with my friend ?K?. She has been a very good friend to me in many ways listening, giving advice, supporting and encouraging me and I considered her to be my ?best female? friend (even though she was originally best friends with my other friend ?P?).

Whenever she confronts me about a situation, she usually comes across as rude and has a slight attitude, and I am tired of all the arguments we have been getting into usually about the similar things. Even though she has her best interest at times for me, she is a stronger Christian than I am and has a way of CONSTANTLY ?picking? at things very petty such as the clothing I wear that sometimes that show very little of my cleavage (of which she comes across as nagging---and my own mother rarely does), making assumptions about my other close friendships (that she thinks we are not ?real? friends----although these friends of mine have been there for me in several positive ways and continue to play an important part in my life (and I believe that she crosses the line when she makes these remarks), and her expectance to know ?every little detail? about situations that are personal and I do not feel the need to explain everything to her, keep some privacy (although I trusted her the quickest out of all my friends).

All the situations along with the way she confronts me, I feel like she crosses the line with. Recently when I calmly tried talking to her about some of these things, she was rude told me and told me ?not to talk to her, she is done? which kinda hurt my feelings b/c it sounded like she was ?done? with our friendship. As I?ve had the time to reflect on our friendship, I feel like telling her how I feel (not to talk to me as if she is my mother and rudely in that manor) and ending our friendship (assuming we are still friends), b/c I?m tired of dealing with this situation constantly since our different views seem not to be changing that much. I know overall I will miss her presence in the end and that the friendship between myself, ?P? and ?K? might resume back to the way it was in the beginning with ?P? in the middle and ?K? and I avoiding each other. Is this the best thing for me to do b/c I have become fed up with the way she is towards me although she has been one of the ?best female? friends I could hope for despite how we started out.

Priscilla

Dave replies:
Hello Pricilla. Friendships come and friendships go. It sounds like you had a good friendship here for a while but now it's on the wane. For a friendship to work, it must work for both parties, and this seems not be the case now. Do not fall into the blame trap -- it is seldom anyone's 'fault' -- it just happens, just as the seasons change. Some friendships go on for a long time and some are for a little while. It's probably a good idea to back off for a while. Go talk with others. Be civil when you meet, but do not expect anything from her.


 I was going through a personal crisis a few months ago, and not one of my friends came to visit me where I was living (which is approx 20 mins away from them). These are friendships from high school, and I am not 2 1/2 years or so graduated from college. I also know that they are gossiping and making fun of me behind my back. I'd rather be alone at this point.

-- Adriana


Dave replies:
Those who knew you in high school may seem different now and you may seem different to them. College changes how you think and equips you well for life. Those who have not shared this experience can be envious or have changed in their own way. Old friendships can be rebuilt but it's not the same because you're not the same people. Sounds like you're well off being away from them now. So put them behind you for now and go build a new social circle.


 I understand your frustration and support you in your decision. I lived most of my time living that way. Financially I was stable and everyone who came along including my family were somehow helped.3yrs ago my downfall started with my girlfriend who secretly was manipulated by her mother who was a con, left me. We agreed to relocate to Germany and she goes first to pave the way for us while I sort out things here. The truth was that her mother was in loads of debts and influenced her that her previous boss wants her back and that her father left us a small guest house for when we go. Once there the real truth came out and the daughter fled away with all what was saved to save her mother. Things got worse as business went down and I had 2 operations which left me out for 18 months, after 8 yrs a court settlement was reached with my ex wife and was in her favour. I WAS LEFT WITH NOTHING. All the people I have helped has deserted me and gossiped about me. One particular friend remained close in the most needed time and another has popped out now. New people are coming into my life through these people who somehow supports me. The Lesson are there to learn .When you swim and make yourself visible around sharks you can only be dead, handicapped or marked. Change in attitude is the solution.

ALEXANDER G.


I know what Alexander G. means. I had a good life for for a large part of my life. I never understood what it meant to be involved in politics. I never understood why people were insecure and suspicious. It was only in university where I had the first taste of what it meant to be torn. I was too friendly and honest. Everyone was friendly and you tell the truth. However, it will come back to bite you in the backside. Once you're in trouble, people who wanted your help in the past will pretend that they don't know who you are. You will see all your fair-weather friends for who they are. You will never see it coming until it's too late. People who used to smile to you will pretend that you don't exist and avoid you like the plague. But every cloud has a silver lining. It's in these times that you will filter out the trash from you real friends.

-- Kevin


Hello Dave,
I have a friend here in my first job.We've been together for 6 months. Other says that we are like "kambal" or "bestfriend" because of seeing us from tym to tym in our company together.From the start,We always eat together from breakfast, lunch,snacks and sometimes dinner before going home at night.And I really enjoyed her company. You know what, I treat her as my best bud or my bestfriend in our office.If there is only person in our office that I can trust,she is.When there is problem within office works and even personal problems.
Sometimes when we dont talk to each other because of mis understanding; I really feel sad.To the point that I don't talk too much in our office and cannot concentrate with my work.It really affects me when we don't talk just like we always do.

-- avril

Dave replies:
Hi Avril. It's good to hear you have a good friend, and your point about feeling loss when your friend is not there is quite normal. It will settle down after a while and you'll be able to work ok when your friend is not there. Be careful not to be too clingy -- when one side of a friendship needs contact more than the other, it can push the other person away.


My gay friend thinks I like him so now I'm afraid I might lose his friendship, just because he doesn't want me to carry my hopes up.

-- Ana G

Dave replies:
Relationships are two-sided, Ana, with both give and take in ways that work for both people. You should be able to express your concerns and feelings in a caring way that does not damage the friendship.


Friends are entirely predictable. When you have something they want you will have friends and relatives. When you need something you will no friends or relatives. The only person you will ever be able to be sure of is you.

-- Ray M


Dave replies:
Friends certainly should be predictable. When they are not, then disappointment may follow.


 I read about fair-weather friend. I have a friend who is there when I need him during difficult times - he is a sounding board for me, but he is not there during good times! I questioned him on it and he denied it! says he is always there - don't think he realises how fickle his friendship is LOL

-- Franjelica

Dave replies:
Friends are people, too. They have needs, values, beliefs and preferences, just like you. At least this one helps sometimes. Some 'friends' want more than they give. And some are happy to give, perhaps because it makes them feel good.


Hello sir,

I came upon this site while I was searching about friends who seem not friends. I was searching for it bec.for the past few months I have been feeling depressed. It's been 2 years since I've known this group of friends (I seem to have) but they seem to be drifting away. Here's the story: we were originally 4 in the group, one person there I consider a "toxic" person bec. she just drains my energy. All the while I thought it was just me when suddenly the other 2 opened up to me about this and we seem to be under an agreement or something. Note: they initiated this talk behind the back of the toxic person. But lately seems to me the world turned upside down and I'm the one feeling left out. It's not that I want to leave that person out of the picture, but the other 2 is even going out on gimmicks and the likes with the toxic girl and I'm not even aware of it. At first I thought they're just being civil but then now they seem to be enjoying her company more.

I don't want to appear needy of friends or anything but what they're doing is really hurting me, there's even some instance where it hurts me through bec. they seem to only remember me when they need to have a copy of my notes in class. It's so demoralizing having to meet people like them, it makes me feel as if I'm a very cruel person to be experiencing all of this. It seems so hard finding real friends nowadays and it really makes me treasure the real friends I have in high school and college. Right now I don't know where to go or whom to trust, although I'm still thankful I'm still eating lunch with someone (although it's fine to eat alone) I still feel somehow betrayed. I'm thinking of opening up but I'm thinking if they're real friends they should have felt my pain a long time ago (and my face is fairly expressive so you can tell if I'm irritated, sad or what). I'm enduring for just a few months now and come next school year hopefully I can successfully switch seats and hopefully I can have even just one true friend who'll be there and I'll be there for her too.

-- Sam


Dave replies:
Hi Sam. Friendship's a two-way thing and the only rule is that however the relationship works, it has to work for both people. So if people aren't acting like the friends you want, then it's just a mismatch. It happens often and you have to persevere. Finding friends is like finding a partner - sometimes you have to 'kiss a lot of frogs'. When people are unkind, remember that it's about the tension they feel inside -- in other words, it's not about you, and the best approach (unless you're a therapist) is often to go elsewhere. The best approach to finding friends is to respect everyone and avoid those who do not respect you. Then explore gently from there.


Friends?
Although I have a few self-esteem issues I feel that I really only hear from 'friends' when they need comforting or help with computers/gym/etc. always putting myself out there for others and I guess never for myself. Each time I return home, I check my answering machine and no calls.... texts, hardly a thing.
Now I am in hospital after falling in and I have gotten to the point where I didn't want to tell anyone. After all, how bad a person must I be for those people to only want me for something? So now I distance myself even in my times of need. Sad, lonely and upsetting at times. Some may read this and tell me to snap out of it, others may not...

I guess we all have to live with our actions and in-actions!

-- Al
 

Dave replies:
Hi Al. Finding real friends who will help you when you are down can be a tricky business. Paradoxically, the best way is not to look for them. When you seek friends, you do not always find good friends. There are plenty of people who want to take more than give and who are always on the lookout for the givers of life. Paradoxically also, those who are happier giving than receiving also are happier overall. If you can help people and not want anything in return, you can find surprising happiness. You might also look for people in real need (for example by doing voluntary work) more than those who turn out to be fairweather friends.


People are hard to understand sometimes. It is difficult to let people, whose company you have enjoyed and who also enjoyed yours, go. I had a "friend" tell me that it's time to move on. What does that mean? Does it mean you?re no longer good enough? Now the need will be filled elsewhere? It makes you feel like you did something wrong, but you didn?t. I guess he just needed something new.

He has since gotten a new set of friends, but still calls occasionally. It's just not the same. I feel like I've been set aside for the new friends and feel kinda jealous. ??

So how do you get over something like that? It would be easier not to have any contact because you almost get hopeful. But I know I'm worth more than the now backburner friend. How do you get over that?

-- Sally

Dave replies:
People want different things from friendships and it's most tricky when one wants to move closer and the other wants to move further away. Needs also vary with time, with some wanting longer relationships and others wanting shorter or variable ones. The result is pain, anguish, frustration, jealousy and other emotions as you do not get what you want from a relationship. If someone wants a more distant relationship and this makes life uncomfortable for you, then maybe it's easier if you just leave them be, stop banging your head against this brick wall, and look for the type of relationship you really want elsewhere.


I hvn't read everything on this site.. just a bit here n a bit there.. mashallah iv been blessed with a great set of friends.. ur site is called changingminds.org.. r u telling people that they can have good friends or that they cant which way r u changing their mind cuz some of the stuff iv read, replies I mean, are quite depressing.. I mustve misunderstood but hey be a good friend n I'm sure u will hv good friends in return.. n being a good friend means telling a person that they are using u, not being honest with u, being a jerk so on n so forth if u think they are isn't it?

also I wondered if you (Dave - the administrator) are a man of faith? Cause iv found that helps me with not just the friends bother but every other that the world can offer, if we all only read n try to understand what our books tell us. I wish peace upon u n all the other readers.

Israh
 

Dave replies:
Well hello Israh. You are right in saying that being a good friend is a prerequisite to having good friends, but what does 'friend' mean? For many, it means 'someone who will give me what I want when I need it', which can be a problem because that means making demands on your friends and it could be said that is not always a friendly thing to do. It is when 'friends' have a different interpretation of what that particular friendship means that problems ensue.

As to the question of faith. Well, yes I have faith in people. I believe that, despite fears, angers and the terrible things we do to one another, most people are fundamentally good. We are also imperfect and most have deep troubles that they wrestle with, and which can lead to dysfunctional external behaviour. Put simply, we are all broken, but we are doing the best with what we have. We are also all perfect and have the means to right our wrongs. One of the most fundamental things we can do is to accept others as they are, not blaming them for their imperfection nor for ours, and to accept ourselves likewise and seek always to improve.


hello. my bestfriend dated my boyfriend and now my ex-boyfriend, my ex-boyfriend and I stayed for almost 2 years. we loved each other so much, til' my bestfriend came, we're always fighting because of jealousy. I asked him million of times if he likes my bestfriend but he didn't answer me. and now their together, I still gave them a chance because I love them and I want them to be happy. but I dont know if I could still treat my bestfriend the same way.. please help... I can forgive but I dont forget...

chiara


Dave replies:
Hello Chiara. Did you know that if you keep asking a boy if he likes another girl he will think about liking her. And if you keep asking him, he'll keep thinking about it and then maybe he will like her just because he's thought about it so much. You have to trust people more, even when you have been disappointed in the past,. because if you don't you'll end up repeating history. Forgiveness is a blessing. Do make sure you have truly forgiven. Let go of the uncomfortable past and decide to have a beautiful future.


I'm in the military and move about every 3 years with my husband and, now, 2 young boys. I often find a group of women right away so I feel "at home". I have met tons of really nice women. Some I feel very close to, others are nice to chat with because of school or a group, etc.

It is difficult moving because I always have the fear of someone not wanting to invest their time in me becaue I have "one foot out the door". I do understand this, but it still hurts. I've also experienced friendships where I've become close regardless of the time I have with a person.

I think I've come to the conclusion that I always need that "confidant" everywhere I move. That person who understands how I think, can open up to me, and me to them, have the same sense of humor. I need this person to kind of "get me through" (works both ways) my normalcy in what, I think, is a very sad and sometime fulfilling way to live---moving with the military. I've been fortunate to find this every where I've moved.

My confidant, in this move, has kind of moved on to someone else. She still phones but much less. Our boys don't play together anymore but do still like each other and talk--they've moved on. Problem is, I'm having the same reaction as most of your other posts. I'm hurt, jealous, angry, trying to be realistic (esp/w military), maybe she found someone she likes better, their sons only play w/each other, etc).

Dave, I know what you're saying about friendships having to work for both people, I guess I just hate the "grieving" process or the waiting to get used to the change where it doesn't hurt so much. Esp, if I come to the conclusion that she is/was a fairweather friend or maybe a decent one, but doesn't need me like she used to. I could go on and on about how we used to see each other a lot, talk a lot, etc. but it's changed. I'm just trying to get over it. It's just hard. I don't like feeling this way about people who I'm just going to leave. It's funny how my 6 year old has moved on w/many friends but I'm still stuck with being consumed by the change in my friendship with his friends mom.

I guess it's nice, for me, that I still care and not jaded, even if the friendship is for a short while. But I'm in my mid 40's and tired of starting over everytime I go somewhere. I think what I need from you is a pap talk. Thanks.

-- A C

Dave replies:
Well I must say I'm impressed with the effort you make every time to get to know people and I do hope at least some of them appreciate this. In all jobs there are swings and roundabouts, good and bad things. One thing it does teach you is how to make friends (It'll do the same for your kids). And when you move on you still have those friends (albeit not right next door) and you can leave behind those whose company you'd rather not keep.
   As when you're living in a single place, not all friendships work and this can be upsetting. This is normal and human. The only thing to do is to learn to let go and move on, which I guess the military life teaches you something about. Is it all tiring? Sure it is. I work 13-14 hour days and get pooped. My wife's a teacher which is one of the most exhausting jobs out, and by the weekend she's knackered. But then she picks herself up and continues, as do we all because we must. One of the most important abilities to develop is resilience, bouncing back from a loss or tiredness. It's also important to know how to recharge your batteries and take the time to do this (which as a working mom both difficult and essential).
   Having a confidant is a neat way of doing this and developing such a close relationship in a short period is a real skill. When it doesn't work and when you move on, you're right, there's a grieving process. It's a pain but it's also important to use it to help you work through the process. I'm a Brit and we're great at denial, which means we can get stuck in grieving for ages. If you can face the situation, get angry and cry, then know you will feel better, then it's a much better way. 


My best friend since elementary one day decided she didn't want to be my friend anymore. This came as a shock to me. I asked why several times and never got a straight answer. She said it was time to part ways and she wanted to have a fresh start since she had just gotten divorced. This was almost a year ago. I'm still hurting till this day. I don't understand how someone who I loved and who I thought loved me just let me go like a pair of old shoes. Now it seems I cant find any friends. And the ones I have made only use me when they don't have anything else to do or if they need a favor. I feel so sad and at the same time so angry because I don't feel like I deserve this. I know I'm a good friend. I have become a loner n I think I'm depressed but don't want to admit it.

-- Loreny


Dave replies:
The same thing happened to me, Loreny. My best friend in junior school decided not to be my friend when we went to senior school. It was hurtful at the time but in the end I think it was a good thing. I was determined not to try to make him my friend again -- if he wanted to be a friend he had to decide himself. As it happens he then went off the rails and got into trouble and I was glad we weren't friends any more. Sometimes things happen.


I have a friend, shes been my best friend for years now, on her 17ths birthday I wanted to do something special for her as it was also the last year of high school, so I've spent all year saving up and I got about 1.5k which I spent and bought her a branded goods and dinner with her family and friends. Money doesn't matter to me but when it came to my birthday a couple of months later she got me nothing. I had a talk about it with another friend on the same topic she was mad and said she should of at least gotten u card or smoothing which got me thinking as well. its not the only thing I've done for her through out the years I've bought her heaps of things when we were out, lent her money when she needed it, did her home work when she couldn't and I'd always be there to listen to her problems. the only thing I care for really is that she treats me so badly compared to other guys who have done nothing compared to me and I really don't know what to do about it.

-- makky
 

Dave replies:
Hi Makky. You were very generous to your friend and I don't know what she thinks about this, but if a friend spent a lot of money on me, I'd be very embarrassed, especially if I did not have the money to reciprocate or I was given things I didn't really want. I might also suspect the friend and be a bit annoyed that maybe they were trying to force me to give something in return. In this way I might want to punish the friend for making me feel so uncomfortable.

You can't buy friendship and spending a lot on friends can have the reverse effect, pushing them away and making them dislike you. And some people will punish you by continuing to accept your gifts and giving nothing in return.


I just moved here, a totally new place. New country, new people, etc.

Im not sure if the friends I have now are real. Even though we call each other sisters or say I love you and miss you to each other, when I need them the most, they arent there. Even when I tell them outright. When they need me, I try to help them with the best that I can. I cant even feel much concern from them. I dont know what to do cuz everyone in class seems fake too. And I keep thinking that maybe I'm just too paranoid.

All my life ive only had guy friends, and I'm a girl. Now that I'm in college, in a diff country, I thought maybe I should change that. So maybe theres something wrong with me and not with them?

I actually, theres more to it, but it would be too long if I put it all in here. This is the best summary I could make. lol. I hope you get the picture.

I dont know who else to ask and I dont know what or how I'm gonna deal with it. I just feel so disappointed everytime that its just sad.

-- Louise
 

Dave replies:
In different countries and places there can be different cultures which have different rules for friendship. To be friends, you have to find out those rules, which can be tricky as people won't tell you and may don't know them explicitly themselves. Try watching how others are friends to understand. There's nothing wrong with you, Louise. You're just somewhere new. Don't blame (yourself or others). Just seek to understand and adapt.


well I'm in high school and I have 3 close people That I consider a close friend . But someone came back and told me that one of my friends were talking bad about my body this isn't the first time she's said something wrong because she said she never used to like for no reason at all I don't know if she jealous because she fat.

My Other friend were not as close. She told me something about my ex that I felt she was trying to throw in my face that hurt me so bad I don't talk to her. Our friendship has had its ups but mostly downs. My third friend I don't really talk to either because I guess she has other friends . I feel so unappreciated by them they can't even remember my birthday. I buy them stuff for their birthday and they they can't even do the same I don't expect nothing but it would be nice to get something back ....i have made up my mind to stay away from them to make them see what a good friend I was to them but I'm so done with trying I always been there when they were down and they were never really there for me...they Always wasn't to talk bad about people and called them names and make fun of people .i don't want to do that because I'm very humble and care about people for who they are.

-- Jay
 

Dave replies:
Hi Jay -- sounds like you've got a lot figured. Friendship's a two-way street and if what they want and what you want are different, then splitting up is probably the right thing. Don't worry. If you care about others then you'll find friends who'll care about you. Sometimes it may seem like there's nobody out there who understands, but there are. It just takes time to find them. I didn't have great friends in high school but found wonderful people at college and we're still friends even though it was many years ago.


 I have a boyfriend that just reacquainted him self with a old high school friend. They haven't seen or talked to each other in almost 10 years. I was ok with it at 1st but she started to act funny. We would be in town and she would say that she was to busy to hang out with us. but if he was in town alone then she would try to make plans to spend time with him. they haven't spend time together yet, but this has happen more then once.
I told him how I felt about it and that it would make me feel little better if he lessen the calls. He lied to me and told me ok "i understand". I found out that they are still textn and talking over the phone nothings changed. When I said something to him he told me if he wanted her he would have been dated her in school and he also said she has issues. just don't understand why hold on to so one so bad if its making your relationship a mess.
do you think I'm going over bored with asking him to tone down the calls?

-- Katalina


Dave replies:
Sounds like they fancy one another, Katalina. Your boyfriend's feeling guilty and the lady's acting jealous. It's quite common for people who didn't get on in high school to get on later. Maybe they've both grown up, and maybe they are trying to recapture a lost moment from years ago.  


I've got a friend whom I used to help everytime she needs a helping hand, either financially or emotionally. I treated her as a best friend because I enjoy spending my time with her. we are like sisters but I'm confused if she treat me as her best friend as well. sometimes I cant stop myself from judging her for everytime she ask a help from me she keeps on txting me, calling me but when she is already okay it seems that she dont answer my call and when she reply me with my text messages it seems that she is just forced to text me back. I want to end my friendship with her, but everytime I attempt to do it I felt guilt.what should I do? I hope you can help me by giving advice.

-- bideng12693

Dave replies:
Judging your friends too much can be dangerous, as one of the reasons for friendship is to forgive and not to judge.  Friendship is also a two-way street and both people need to get what they want from the relationship for it to work. If she's asking more than you want to give then this is not friendship. The same is true the other way around, of course.


I am the classic frienemy, admittedly, after having an 6 month sexual and ideological long distance relationship with a girl. During the relationship, she and I promised to be friends no matter what. The relationship soured after I acted stupid because of grief and worked with the wrong therapist to negotiate the emotional snares. I became ambivalent thereafter because of incidents immediately before, during, and after the break up.

Can you tell me some stories of your experiences or experiences of those you know who worked through the ambivalence successfully?

bee

Dave replies:
Ambivalence can be just due to a lack of natural empathy, which can be both genetic and a result of early repression. The brain is a very complex instrument and many people have to cope with limitations. One way is to learn strategies in which you 'act' rather than appearing to not care. Learn to watch the body language and listen to what others say and how they say it. Watch how others interact and try to copy responses. I have known several people with such conditions as Asperger's Syndrome learn to fit in very well using this method.

The most important thing is that you care and want to do something about the ambivalence and the effect it has on your life. Your therapist can help. Look for inspiration in others who have also found ways to success.


Family members can be fair-weather-friends too. My mother is a fair-weather friend. She is nice to me and present in my life when I am feeling happy and doing well. She is critical, rude and avoidant of me when I am in need of any help or empathy. She avoids all responsibility for the dissolution of our relationship. She tells me that I am draining her when I ask for her to listen to me or when I tell her I want to share my less than happy feelings. I think, in general, passive-aggressive people are fair-weather-friends. They have no idea how to contribute equally to a relationship and then play victim when others are naturally disappointed and ask more of them. They play the eternal victim while assuming no responsibility for giving anything in return. Perhaps that stems from not having the capacity to give anything (i.e., low self-esteem, poor social skills, etc.). The problem is that when it is a family member, you can't let go of them. You just have to accept them for the way they are and learn not to rely on them for anything.

-- Dj79
 

Dave replies:
You're right. Family can be this way and it's a dilemma when you can't leave them and when they become persistently needy but give nothing back. In the end you have to figure out what to do about them. You can discuss them with others. You can avoid them as much as possible. You can minimize the conversation with them. Often, they are not so much 'fairweather' as just difficult. Both parents and children can cling to their roles long after they should be treating each other like adults. Sibling rivalry for attention can reach way into adulthood. And some are so emotionally weak they can take but they cannot give. And when they find other friends give up on them, they turn to their family, who cannot turn away. Sad, but surprisingly common.


I think I have a fair weather friend. We were so close and spent a lot of time together. Then she got a boyfriend and our time together went down significantly. Then they broke up so we spent more time together. Then she joined support groups and is not making time for me any more. This hurts. I do not want to be friends with her anymore. We have a lot in common so I am sad to see the friendship go. But I cannot stand feeling used.

-- Arlene


I found what you wrote to be pretty inspiring. I especially love the title of this post in connection with what you said. Friends are such an impactful part of out lives and I don't think many of us realize that sometimes.

-- Katie U.


I really feel for Sonia, and there was another post similar that made me reflect on my experiences. I have had similar feelings, and hearing theirs helped me understand that anyone who is caring will care if a friendship changes, especially if it is changed abruptly or with any neglect of empathy for the other's right of closure. Both of these responses were not answered, although there were so many to respond to, and they were responded to so well, I tried to think of a response to them.

I think that there are people who want to give support, friendship and love, like Dave mentioned, it's just that it's easy to feel/ or become isolated and be in pain until this is physically realized, vs rationally. Hearing these people go through pain over the awkwardness of a changing relationship makes me wish you could send out wishes of hope that they will realize they are great, and that if they wish for this type of friendship it will come when they realize that they have so much worth to offer.

-- Andrea


I know this blog is pretty old and I might not even get an answer and it's ok but I just needed somebody to talk to. I am 32 years old and spend most of my life in the UK, I came back to my home country at age 26 and tried making friends from scratch. It wasnt very easy but I thought by being accepting I would meet people and I did. Then I got engaged to this man and kept all those people in my life. However life had other plans for me. I lost my job, my fiance dumped me and got back with his ex and had zero support from my family. I ended up living in a basement flat away from the centre. I found that most of my "friends" abandoned me. Some made excuses that I lived too far away and they couldnt spare the time/petrol money whatever to come visit! Although I live 5 minutes away from the metro station it is still TOO far away for them to visit and they expect me to do all the visiting or not see them at all. I suppose my being broke is not a concern of theirs!! Thier solution was to simply talk to me on the phone!! Other "friends" visited my flat and only had negative comments to make about how "low I have stooped" (I used to live in a very modern flat with my ex). Some were even happy I broke up with my ex because they thought I had this brilliant life!!! Since December 2011 I've heard so many cutting remarks about my life, choices, job situation etc that I could write a book on "how to bring your friend down". And to top it all up, some of my female friends that are not single anymore are too "scared" to go out with me cause I am single and available!!! I only have one friend left! And of course my UK friends thank Jesus for facebook and skype. Technology keeps me safe. I need to start over and rebuild my life from scratch and I am finding it very hard. I was talking to this UK friend of mine the other day and she said that it is actually for the best that I found out NOW who my real friends are rather than keep on giving and giving and over extending myself and helping people out all the time that were clearly envious of me and are enjoying my "demise". I'm not saying THEY are only to blame. My low self-esteem has attributed to all of this. I was afraid of loneliness and I suppose I was TOO accommodating...but now that I need somebody local to just listen for a change there is nobody there! Thank you for listening and I am sorry for the long post.

-- Tash


hi I need help , I trusted someone who I thought was a friend with something and realised she soon betrayed me , it now has got that no one at work I can trust even people I thought were friends , she stirred up so much trouble that has landed in my lap leaving her free from blame it all came out last night at work iv not confronted her yet as I'm waiting my time , I'm getting so I don't want to go to work.

-- Tracy


I recently had to get rid of a few so-called "friends". I am 40 and these "friends" were blokes who fancied me in one way or another. Two were married and angling for an affair (dear God), one I did not fancy back at all and was making me very uncomfortable, and one was an FWB. All of them except for one talked smack about me behind my back and all of them were extremely patronizing. I feel there is an element of jealousy involved as I am in a creative profession and have worked very hard at it even though I do not make much money. I am not tied to the material things of life and couldn't care less that I have a simple lifestyle. They see me enjoying my creative lifestyle and are unhappy because they feel insecure around me and uncertain of their life's path. So they try to make me feel insecure in return by criticizing or trying to control me.

One of them even said "I HATE YOU!" after I had said goodbye after a night out and turned my back!! Now I wasn't sure about this person's motives anyway and I thought "well I really don't CARE if you hate me, but at least say it to my face"!!! His patronizing behaviour got very unpleasant in the end and in fact I knew he had been talking about me behind my back very early on in the friendship . This was because I hadn't made any movement towards wanting to have a "relationship" with him (which is fair enough) and so I was on the receiving end of snide remarks from his friends about "people who use others". Now I suppose I should have offered my own counter-remark about "people who try to buy others" at this point, but perhaps I'll save that up for when it happens again...I don't need o be around that sort of atmosphere , so I told him I didn't enjoy his company as I once did.

After having got rid of these people I don't feel so much of an urge to reach for the booze as I did and I can only assume this was because they were stressing me out!

-- Daria


  Cancer, for me was the real revealing factor; the measuring  stick to determine who is a real friend and who is not. I was shocked by some so-called 'great friends" who, upon hearing from me that I have cancer,  showed their true, unsavory colors (and got fired by me out of my life swiftly) Some said trite things to essentially say "There there, All will be well and good. Now shut up and let's not talk about your silly problem" and some, shockingly, upon hearing the grim news, responded to everything BUT the news and literally IGNORED the fact they'd just been told. For instance, I showed one friend a painting I had done and then mentioned it is something I was inspired to do after learning I have a rare and aggressive kind of cancer (GIST) That "friend" responded, "Hey, keep up the good work!"

WTF? So on the flip side, some people who I did not think cared that much about me were and still are so THERE for me. I ask nothing but alas, they are there to offer some emotional support, socialization, one guy brings me fresh fruits and vegetables, another bought me a new bed, my ex-husband gave me the best birthday of  my life and has been a constant support, someone else bought a painting and took me out to lunch, some offer to do my laundry while others invite me to social gatherings or come to visit, call,  do research, offer assistance. So--cancer and really any strife a person goes though sure as heck weeds out the fine friends from the fairweather bogus non-friends. I am swift to ditch the bad friends and let them know precisely why they are being fired.No room for debate or  discussion Just fired. Some instances of when it's tie to be a GOOD friend should just be known  Those who fail--well they're out. If ever  questioning your  judgement in the A-hole social filtration-unit,  ask yourself how much of a JERK would YOU have to be to behave the same way in times of your own true in-need friend's strife-induced dilemma? Then you know t's time to pull  a "Donald Trump" and fire their incompetent selves; perhaps while adding link  to the PIL song "Fair-well My Fair-weathered Friend"  for  added  "effect"

That feels good to exact some measure of quality-control in the friend department. Key thing is weed that precious garden of your social-life of the rubbish stress-inducers and keep only the gems and be grateful and a good friend to them in return too. Real friends are gold. False friends are toxic.  

 -- Denise L


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