I had a conversation about this with a good friend not too long ago and he told me how he sometimes gets paranoid over how he thinks certain friends value him. For example, with some people, he feels like he’s the one who puts more effort into the friendships, or he’s the one always reaching out. It makes him question whether some people really want to be friends or not. I can totally relate to him because I’ve found myself in that situation many times.
I’ll be honest, from the time I was a kid and all throughout high school, I believed in having one best friend. And when it wasn’t reciprocated, I would always get jealous. As I got older, however, I began to realize that just because someone may not like me as much as I like them, it doesn’t mean they value me any less. Some people are very vocal about the “best friend” label, while with some, it’s more like an unspoken understanding.
There’s no harm in evaluating your friendships every once in a while, especially if you’re beginning to notice drastic changes in the dynamic. If you feel like you’re beginning to question your friendships, consider this:
- Pull back. If you feel like you’re the one one initiating contact, pull back and see if the other person initiates contact first. If they don’t, then you’ll kind of know where you stand. As life goes on, we all become busier and priorities will change, but if you’re important to someone, they’ll always find a way. This leads me to my second tip.
- last resort. I had a friend from home who moved closer to me for work. He was one of my good friends in college, but as soon as he moved, he made little to no effort to see me. It suddenly became all about his new friends and he only contacted me as a last resort. Don’t get me wrong though. I was happy he was meeting new people and making new friends, but he would start contacting me at the very last minute, which I didn’t like. There is absolutely nothing wrong with spontaneity. I realize that sometimes it’s easier to just do things on the fly. But for me personally, I like finding a time that’s convenient for both of us, even if it means having to wait a couple of weeks.
- finding a way or making an excuse. Do they find a way to hang out with you and see you, or are they constantly making excuses as to why they can’t get together with you? If you find yourself in the latter category, you might want to re-evaluate the friendship. That’s not to say you have to stop being friends with the person all together, but don’t put them so high on your priority list if they’re not going to treat you the same way. I’ll be honest and say I’ve been on both ends of this. I’ve been the one who’s reached out to people with no luck, but I’ve also been the person making the excuses because I don’t want to hang out. It’s a part of life. At one point or another, we’ve ALL been on the giving/receiving end of this circumstance. If you feel like someone’s always making some sort of excuse not to hang out, maybe it’s time to stop making attempts.
Friends will come and go. Always trust your gut, but also pay attention to their behavior. It’s not something you have to do every single day, but definitely pay attention to how they treat you. You may need to cut some strings, and that’s perfectly fine! It’s important to surround yourself with people that lift you up and get just as excited to see you as you are to see them!