Friendship advice/insights needed (very passive friends) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 09-28-2009, 03:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hoping to get as many replies as possible, just want to see what everyone thinks.

Do you have friends who are just alot more passive and less enthusiatic about you than you are towards them? These are not people who are generally like this towards some of their other friends (I know because we share other common friends) due to personality/habits, etc.

I have a couple of friends whom I really adore, they are such nice and wonderful people, and hanging out with them often leaves me feeling good in general. But somehow, I just cant get close to them in the way close friends get. (for the record, I am talking about a few random people that I know, they are not all part of a group/clique)

Its like, 90% of the time, its me who have to initiate contact and meetups, and I always get the vibe that I am alot keener to get togather than they are. And when we do meet, its always so fun to catch up and I have a ball of a time and cant bear to part because I know that it'll be a while before I see them again, and it'll prob have to be me who will have to initiate.

I have been trying to develop these friendships into something on a deeper level but I'm getting tired that its always ME who have to do the work. And like I say earlier, they seem to have no problems with being an active friend toward some other people, so it must be that they just arent as keen to develop our friendship? (and no, none of those I am referring to just had a new baby/family crisis or anythng that may suddenly take up a huge part of their time/energy)

Which leaves this burning question in my mind- am I the only one having fun and enjoy the chats/meeting so much or what? I have come to this point whereby I am starting to wonder if this worth the effort?

So may I ask, what about you? Do you have any friendships that you cherish so much that you'd rather be the one to do all the work while they remain passive? Is it worth it after all (no matter how much you like this friend)?

And if you have been in the shoes of these friends I am talking about, care to share more on your perspective? I'd love to hear more.


PS: for the record, its like not all my friends treat me this way, thank goodness. I do have a few very good friends who are very decent pals. Its just that it doesnt hurt to have a few more closer friends (somehow I feel that superficial friendships are quite a waste of time) and I am throughly confused by their passiveness because for me, its either I want to be a friend, or I dont, and if I do, I'll not leave all the work to them, gwim?

(this is almost as complicated as dating! "is he gonna call? If not, why not? I thought the date went great! ohh, I wish the phone would ring, sigh!" LOL! I'm very pleased that I'm not in the game anymore, things like these drives me nuts!)

Thanks for reading.
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#2 of 12 Old 09-28-2009, 03:44 AM
 
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Honestly, my first thought is that maybe they're just not that into you.. Or they rarely intitiate things, even though it may seem like they do.

Do you have a lot in common with these friends? Do they ever call or email? If not, I would probably back off

Or maybe they think that you're too busy and they don't want to intrude..

When you get together, do you feel like you're the one doing all of the talking or are they excited too once the ball starts rolling?

Do you feel comfortable enough to bring this up? They may not know that a problem exists until it's mentioned..

Hopefully you figure all of this out..

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#3 of 12 Old 09-28-2009, 03:57 AM
 
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So may I ask, what about you? Do you have any friendships that you cherish so much that you'd rather be the one to do all the work while they remain passive? Is it worth it after all (no matter how much you like this friend)?
I don't, really. I am not one to initiate, I will only do it if I'm sure the person would be receptive, which requires a certain level of closeness that I usually don't feel that we have. I think I'm just insecure about that. So if a relationship was dependent on me always initiating, it would fall by the wayside pretty quickly.

I also kind of feel like if I get to a point where I feel comfortable enough to initiate, like we are true friends, what's going to happen is that the other person is going to realize I'm not that interesting after all and try and disassociate herself from me. So I'm always stuck in this place where I don't have a lot of true friends, but I do have friendly acquaintances.
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#4 of 12 Old 09-28-2009, 04:46 AM
 
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I'm very passive in friendships. But, this is because I'm asocial and am just not that interested. I have my family, and I have dp, and I feel very fulfilled with that amount of contact/friendship. So ... with me, it's like pulling teeth with one's bare hands to get me interested in cultivating any deep friendships.

I may sometimes go to an outing when invited, and I may even enjoy myself ... but, it doesn't mean that if they never called again I would be devastated. In truth, I probably wouldn't even notice.

I'm not saying this is your friend, of course. She probably has different reasons than me if she does have deeper friendships with others.

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#5 of 12 Old 09-28-2009, 12:29 PM
 
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I only have 3 super-close friends with whom I've bonded deeply, and I'm actually happy with it that way, so I'm probably the one who is more passive in other friendships. Honestly, with my DH, kids, other family members, and these 3 friends, my plate is very full. I put a lot into my special relationships, and I don't think I'd have the energy to take on any more friendships at that deep level. If it happened naturally over time, I guess it'd be okay, but I'm definitely not going out of my way to bring more people into my cozy little circle.

ETA: I do know what you mean, though -- I don't want to come off as totally unsympathetic. Your "it's like dating" comment is so true -- with my besties, I have no doubts at all about our relationship -- we can go a month without talking and I never have the slightest twinge of doubt, but with certain other people, if we make plans that never materialize I have silly thoughts that maybe she doesn't really want to hang out with me after all, etc. So I definitely know what you mean and have experienced it too, but I'm trying to just realize that other people might be like me and value their alone time along with trying to be an excellent friend to those already in their inner circle, and might just be keeping others at arms-length for now. I try (try!) not to take it personally.

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#6 of 12 Old 09-28-2009, 01:04 PM
 
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I am a passive friend. I know it frustrates my really close friend because she often thinks I am mad. Its just that I am comfortable doing my own thing a lot of the time. I do care about her and have fun with her -- but I tend to want to do things very last minute.

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#7 of 12 Old 09-28-2009, 01:30 PM
 
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I'm very outgoing and have a lot of friends. I love being with people, I love meeting new people, and I am very socially active. However, this has happened to me before, and I've also been the one being passive. I'll try to explain:

I do love meeting new people and making friends. If i meet someone and I think we could become close, I pursue them. I call, email, invite, whatever. Usually it works out and I have a new friend. There have been a couple of times when the person doesn't seem to be reciprocating, and honestly, if I get 2 or 3 rejections to my initiatives, I stop trying. Even if I like someone, if I invite them to do something and they don't respond or don't come, I give them a couple of chances and then let it go. People are busy - I live in a college town, so lots of grad students and young parents. I just figure they aren't into me or are too busy to cultivate a new friendship. I'll leave the door open if they want to contact me, but I don't pursue someone who has been passive. I'm too busy!

On the other side, I really am busy. I have a lot of friends and am active in local activities/organizations, plus my daughter is young and special needs and my husband is a busy grad student - there's a lot going on with us. I am sometimes the "passive" one, if I don't see the potential for a deep friendship (or a fun one or what have you). I guess I feel that if I make it clear I'm busy or don't make a real effort to get together, the person will get the idea. Honestly, I try to find common ground with people, and I usually can, but sometimes I just don't click with a person and don't seek out their company. If I really want to cultivate a friendship, I am not passive about it - I'm up front and say that I like you, let's hang out more, then plan specific events. If I'm not as interested in the person, I don't do these things.

I hope this makes sense, I feel I have gotten rambly. Not everyone connects, and I'm sure these friends like you, but may not have room for more people in their life, or they just don't feel the same way you do. I would let it go - it doesn't reflect badly on you at all, and it's probably not personal.

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#8 of 12 Old 09-28-2009, 03:10 PM
 
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I have found that in adulthood, it's sometimes harder to connect to a friend on that deeper level...
I guess that when you're younger, you can put so much time and passion and energy into your girlfriends...they really are the most important people in your life and can come before family and romantic relationships.
But then, you reconnect with family, your DP becomes your best friend in a sense, and the new friends that you meet don't take up the same space that they used to.
I have some close girlfriends, but weeks can go by without phone calls, emails, or time spent together and that's OK on both ends.

So perhaps it's not that they don't like you or aren't into you, maybe friendship just taken on a different role in their lives.
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#9 of 12 Old 09-28-2009, 03:22 PM
 
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I have a very good friend from high school who simply seems to be kinda lazy about keeping in touch. She even admits it. I've tried everything - phone, email, snail mail. She's always thrilled to talk, email, whatever, but says she's just lazy.

I had another friend from high school I lost contact with after I graduated from high school, while I was in college. I'll call her T. I was her maid of honor in her wedding (she got married a year after hs graduation). She lost her first baby when she was five months along. I sent cards, called (this was before email). I was away at college, during exams, and couldn't come to the baby's funeral. I had no transportation to go see her. Never heard from her again, even though I tried repeatedly, due to her losing the baby. But I lived year around at school and didn't have a car. About six months later, I got phone calls from both her sister and her mom, chewing me out for not having any contact with T. I told them I'd called repeatedly, sent cards and letters, and had no response from T. They both hung up on me.

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#10 of 12 Old 09-28-2009, 03:42 PM
 
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I had another friend from high school I lost contact with after I graduated from high school, while I was in college. I'll call her T. I was her maid of honor in her wedding (she got married a year after hs graduation). She lost her first baby when she was five months along. I sent cards, called (this was before email). I was away at college, during exams, and couldn't come to the baby's funeral. I had no transportation to go see her. Never heard from her again, even though I tried repeatedly, due to her losing the baby. But I lived year around at school and didn't have a car. About six months later, I got phone calls from both her sister and her mom, chewing me out for not having any contact with T. I told them I'd called repeatedly, sent cards and letters, and had no response from T. They both hung up on me.

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#11 of 12 Old 09-28-2009, 07:16 PM
 
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Hoping to get as many replies as possible, just want to see what everyone thinks.

Do you have friends who are just alot more passive and less enthusiatic about you than you are towards them? These are not people who are generally like this towards some of their other friends (I know because we share other common friends) due to personality/habits, etc.

I only have one very very close friend, the rest I see em when I see em. They invite me to do things, but I have kids and a few of them don't so it's never really very convenient, and I don't bend over backwards to go out to bars and do that whole scene. We get together though for hikes and swimming. Most of the in house gatherings I end up skipping too because they are late at night and it's not my thing. (I don't drink, and don't care to watch people get drunk.)

I have a couple of friends whom I really adore, they are such nice and wonderful people, and hanging out with them often leaves me feeling good in general. But somehow, I just cant get close to them in the way close friends get. (for the record, I am talking about a few random people that I know, they are not all part of a group/clique)

Its like, 90% of the time, its me who have to initiate contact and meetups, and I always get the vibe that I am alot keener to get togather than they are. And when we do meet, its always so fun to catch up and I have a ball of a time and cant bear to part because I know that it'll be a while before I see them again, and it'll prob have to be me who will have to initiate.

I have been trying to develop these friendships into something on a deeper level but I'm getting tired that its always ME who have to do the work. And like I say earlier, they seem to have no problems with being an active friend toward some other people, so it must be that they just arent as keen to develop our friendship? (and no, none of those I am referring to just had a new baby/family crisis or anythng that may suddenly take up a huge part of their time/energy)

Which leaves this burning question in my mind- am I the only one having fun and enjoy the chats/meeting so much or what? I have come to this point whereby I am starting to wonder if this worth the effort?

So may I ask, what about you? Do you have any friendships that you cherish so much that you'd rather be the one to do all the work while they remain passive? Is it worth it after all (no matter how much you like this friend)?

My best friend is much more pushy/forward about getting together. I'm much more laid back. I'm okay going months (she lives 45 min away) without seeing her, though when she wants to go get coffee or do something with just the two of us I always find a way to go. I do invite her to do things, and we both go to a book club together. Honestly I struggle with depression sometimes and I just don't have the energy to make the effort to get together frequently, but she usually does so it works!

And if you have been in the shoes of these friends I am talking about, care to share more on your perspective? I'd love to hear more.

Sometimes when people don't mesh it has nothing to do with the moms, but maybe the kids? I have really calm laid back kids and have backed off friendships with moms (who want to get the kids together constantly) that have "spirited" kids because well I can't handle it for too long without becoming seriously stressed out and I don't invite people over again if my house gets destroyed.

Also it could be that they just aren't that into you. Sometimes when I meet someone and think they'll make a good friend they go overboard and call and press for getting together like almost frantically and that to me sometimes feels icky and I don't like it so I avoid them. I'm quite shy though and I don't like feeling badgered. Not saying that is what you are doing, just laying out possibilities.

Most likely it seems that you haven't broken through the barrier to be a close close friend. I would start maybe branching out and meeting different sorts of people.



PS: for the record, its like not all my friends treat me this way, thank goodness. I do have a few very good friends who are very decent pals. Its just that it doesnt hurt to have a few more closer friends (somehow I feel that superficial friendships are quite a waste of time) and I am throughly confused by their passiveness because for me, its either I want to be a friend, or I dont, and if I do, I'll not leave all the work to them, gwim?

If you have a few close friends I think that's really good, a lot of people don't have any. Most people can't run very many close relationships at once without feeling pulled in a 100 directions.

(this is almost as complicated as dating! "is he gonna call? If not, why not? I thought the date went great! ohh, I wish the phone would ring, sigh!" LOL! I'm very pleased that I'm not in the game anymore, things like these drives me nuts!)

Thanks for reading.
What do you guys usually do? Where do you usually meet up when you do get together?
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#12 of 12 Old 09-28-2009, 11:06 PM
 
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Friendships can be so complicated, huh?!

I sympathize. I have been on both sides of this - sometimes I am the "passive friend," and sometimes I am the one trying to coax my "passive friend" along.

What I have learned over the years - as a perpetually single-by-choice-and-childless woman whose friends thus mean the WORLD to her - is that everyone has different ideas about what friendship is and different friendship needs, and open, honest communication is the key! Women's friendships are so often a guessing game; we're left wondering, "what did she MEAN by that?" and "does she like me or NOT?", and blah blah blah, and we overanalyze and play detective and ask for others' opinions, instead of just...talking to our friends and asking them what they're thinking and feeling!!

I have a history of feeling hurt and let down by friends, often feeling like I love my friends more than they love me, or that they mean more to me than I mean to them... it has taken me years of journaling, self-reflection, therapy, and honest conversations with friends, to learn and accept that different women have different friendship needs and expectations, and it's not always personal. I forget where this quote is from, but it helps me a lot - "Just because someone doesn't love you the way you wish they would, doesn't mean they're not giving you all the love they can." Similarly, just because a friend doesn't want to spend as much time with me as I want to spend with her, doesn't necessarily mean OMG SHE HATES ME!

If a friend genuinely enjoys our times together despite the fact that I am almost the initiator, I will usually continue to initiate, giving her the benefit of the doubt. Some people are really just not good at initiating the contact, but are genuinely glad to be contacted.
Sometimes that person is me - sometimes I end up being "the passive friend," not because I don't like/want to be with my friend, but because I just get used to her initiating stuff. I subconsciously expect her to call soon to schedule our next dinner or whatever, and totally look forward to it... sometimes I don't recognize this pattern until suddenly she doesn't call or email, and then I realize, oh, I miss her, I should see what's up.
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