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Doing all the running

My friends don’t want to hang out anymore. Is it Covid – or is it me? Have an honest conversation with them, says our elder. At least you’ll know you did all you can.

Dear EWC

Lately I feel like the two friends I hang out the most with don’t seem to want to hang out with me. The one friend I’ve asked and tried to make plans with several times has cancelled every time. First it was appointments, then they just didn’t feel up to meeting some place, and I get told this week doesn’t work for them. I just feel like a lot of these are excuses each time I ask. Although I don’t truly know if these are excuses or not but it just feels like this friend doesn’t want to hang out. I don’t know why because we haven’t had any issues. This friend hasn’t made any attempts to ask me either.

The other friend used to ask me to hang out often but hasn’t in a while. And lately it’s been me asking, not them. I think one factor is the heat. It’s been very hot lately and not many public places to do things are open due to the virus. We don’t have our own places yet so it’s hard to go to each other’s houses with so many people, plus there isn’t anything to really do if we did.

I don’t know if I should just let these feelings go and not take it personally or should I ask these friends why they haven’t gotten together with me? Usually when we get together we go out to eat, bowl, play pool, walk around the lake and talk, or play sports at the park if it’s not too hot or bad weather. Of course bowling and playing pool is out as those are closed here still. It just would be nice to be asked to do something too as it would make me feel like they want to see me and not being ‘avoided’ in a sense. I feel like I’ve been doing all the asking lately too.

John-Counsel replies

I appreciate how difficult it is to feel abandoned by friends — especially in this difficult time of the pandemic when so many of us are feeling lonely. That said, I caution you not to jump to conclusions about the intentions of your friends. As you point out, there seems to be many factors in your and your friends’ lives right now: the heat, the pandemic, busy schedules…

So how should you deal with the uncertainty in your relationship with your friends? I suggest you have a conversation with each friend individually. In that conversation,
Acknowledge that you have not been able to see each other as often as you would like.
Acknowledge the crazy times in which we are living and all the things that keep all friends from seeing each other.
Tell your friend that you miss him or her.
Then ask your friend for his/her thoughts and listen to the response.
If your friend’s response satisfies you, you can rest assured that your anxiety is unfounded, and your friendship is secure. On the other hand, if your friend’s response is vague or elusive, you can ask if there is something else affecting your relationship.
If your friend lists issues about which you are unaware, you can simply ask if the issues are reparable. If the answer is yes, you can work together to resolve them. If the answer is no, then you have the clarity you need to move on and find other friends.

I hope that these ideas help you resolve the anxiety of not knowing your friends’ intentions. I also hope that you find out your friendships are secure. If, however, you discover that your friends are no longer interested in being friends, you can rest assured that you did what you could to reach out to them in a very honest and caring manner.

Letter #: 461859
Category: Friendship

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