Should I really let go of this one-sided friendship?
Question Posted Monday April 9 2007, 12:27 pm
I've asked this question twice, at two different advice forums. Perhaps I just won't accept the answer, I think I might be looking still to hear what I want: that I should hang on... Well, I've met this friend through business, she's 19 years older than me (I'm 27, she's 46). We get along just fine, but it's mostly up to me to keep things going and stay in touch - unless I phone, e-mail, text or visit I rarely hear from her. I've tried "silent treatment": it once lasted 3 months, currently we stand at 8 weeks and counting. It just feels as though I am not important to her at all. Last year she went through major surgery, and I supported her as much I could. I know how much she appreciated it, she said I have been "an angel" through her op & recovery. Yet, when I need a little support, she's never there. We never get to go out and have that coffee; she can never commit to a date or find time for me. Perhaps she's just not that into me? Everyone, including my husband, says that I should let go because it is one-sided (she doesn't seem to miss me when we lose touch for a couple of weeks anyhow?) And still my heart keeps holding on, I love my friend, I've gained her trust, we have an almost tangible bond that seemed to have been strentghtened in her trying time last year. I feel guilty for wanting to let go - a true friend is supposed to give without expecting anything in return, right? I had always hoped that it is divine to give unconditionally and that that in itself would be fulfilling enough. But I do in fact have expectations: I want and need her friendship, I want her to want me too and to also put effort into our relationship. Perhaps my expectations are far too high... should I let go? Or should I fight for it? When I touched the subject of me always taking the effort to stay in touch and her never picking up the phone, we ended up arguing; she said that she is busy and I am over-sensitive. Please help me, I've invested so much and this friendship has brought me so much joy (although a great deal of tears as well...)
I am currently putting all of my energy into a friendship that it seems only me alone wants. She is suppose to be my best friend, but if I don't call, text, fb, skype, email, etc, she doesn't! It hurts a lot because the friendship is one sided.
I think that it's in my best interest to leave her alone before she breaks my heart anymore. I really wanted this friendship to work, but it has brought too much tears to my eyes. I have been talking to her about it for months. She says she cares and doesn't want to lose me, but that's as far as it goes for her- words. Sob sob.
Razhie answered Monday April 9 2007, 6:52 pm: True friends do not give without expecting anything in return. Only slaves do that. Human beings give love and trust in order to receive love and trust in return. There is no shame in that. Relationships are supposed to be beneficial to both people involved, not just one of them.
Love her all you want. Divine love is not something God gives us because we deserve it, and it isn’t something we give each other because it is deserved either, but love doesn’t require you to torture yourself.
So go ahead and love her, but don't you dare pick up that phone again! Loving her and twisting their arm to make them spend time with you are two completely different things. Love her unconditionally, forgive her for her sometimes lousy treatment of you, and if she should contact you respond with all the loving joy of a good friend.
Her understanding of friendship is clearly different then yours. She doesn't see the effort as necessary, or perhaps she believes that friends who only speak three or four times a year are still good friends.
Stop confusing loving someone as them having some sort of obligation to you. She has made it clear to you what role you play in her life and that despite your efforts, that role isn’t going to change. If you can accept how much energy she is willing to put forth, match it, and continue to love her, then the relationship will become beneficial for you both. If you can’t accept it, then you should end the friendship, not because you don’t love her anymore, but because your love for her is hurting you to a completely unreasonable extent. Love does make demands on us sometimes, but it should NEVER be allowed to make us a victim. [ Razhie's advice column | Ask Razhie A Question ]
DearAbby92 answered Monday April 9 2007, 4:20 pm: I understand what your going through, as I've had my share of bad friendships. It doesnt sound like shes a bad friend or person, it just sounds like you appreciate the bond the two of you have a lot more than she does. She probably is busy like she says and isn't looking for a strong friendship (or doesn't have the time/effort). Whatever her reason is, it is deffinitely not fair for you. If your willing to put so much into a friendship, you need a friend who can and wants to reciperocate. You don't have to let go of the friendship, just don't depend on it so much. Let go a bit to the point where it wont hurt you so much. Call her up occasionally, make dates to catch up, etc. Let her make some effort. Rebuild your friendship. It's hard to let go, but when it hurts you so much, it's not really worth it anymore. You could try talking to her again, and telling her how hurt you are, but it would probably be easier on you to just let up.
Attention: NOTHING on this site may be reproduced in any fashion whatsoever without explicit consent (in writing) of the owner of said material, unless otherwise stated on the page where the content originated. Search engines are free to index and cache our content. Users who post their account names or personal information in their questions have no expectation of privacy beyond that point for anything they disclose. Questions are otherwise considered anonymous to the general public.