Suffer Unrequited Friendship
On my way back up to university I purchased by usual monthly copy of Elle magazine and flicked through the pages in the car, despite knowing this is a bad idea as I sometimes get quite car sick. Anyway, as I was looking one article caught my eye (mainly because it mentioned New York) about female friendships. Not man troubles or falling in and out of love – but the basic need for feminine companionship.
Anyway, my train of thought to write this post went a little skewiff because it actually got me thinking about unrequited friendships, the kind that drift apart because one – or perhaps both – people fail to make the effort to keep it going. To suffer unrequited friendship is to feel like you are making a lot of effort to see a certain friend, and not feeling like you’re getting much in return. A one-sided friendship. To be on the receiving end of unrequited friendship is difficult. And I think it’s particularly poignant during the holidays, such as Christmas, when we all return from our jobs/university etc and it becomes clear which of our friends makes the time to see us, and who are just too busy.
I felt this a little bit now and then this Christmas holidays. With one friend in particular, it felt like I was the one texting and calling, trying to organise times when we could best meet. It felt one-sided, like I was making huge amounts of effort and I wasn’t feeling particularly ‘wanted’ back. It appeared that my friend was obviously very busy, however there were many occasions when I would log into Facebook (yes, bloody Facebook-check out the post I wrote about the trouble with Facebook here) and see that she was out to dinner/in a club/etc with the same group of friends quite regularly. It felt a little bit like I was the crappy second option to spending time with her other friends, and boy oh boy does it hurt. So what do you do when you feel this way?
1. Don’t stop making effort
No matter how frustrating it is, or how hurt you feel, that your friend seems to be too busy to see you, just take it on the chin and still send the odd text now and then to see if she/he are free or ask how they are. Sometimes our pride gets in the way of seeing things clearly, and it won’t help the situation if you decide to stop bothering to make effort altogether. Friendships ebb and flow, sometimes one person is trying harder than the other, and occasionally you will go for a considerable amount of time without speaking…but that’s okay. Just don’t give up on a friendship that deep down you know means the world to you – otherwise you will regret it.
2. Don’t panic that you haven’t spent as much time together lately as you used to
Like I said above, friendships go through ups and downs, lots of seeing each other and then, well, less time spent seeing each other. There’s no need to panic! The other evening I got myself in a real tizz because I thought one of my closest friendships was over. I felt like I hadn’t seen my friend properly in a long time and felt pangs of sadness that I wasn’t spending virtually every weekend with her anymore. Would she think of me when something wonderful happened to her? Would I be her first choice of housemate when she’s deciding where to live next year? I’m not really certain about the answers to those questions anymore, whereas once before I could have told you they would definitely have been YES. The thing is, sometimes life gets in the way and if your friendship is strong enough and you keep maintaining it every now and then with lovely text/twitter/Facebook/phone-call life-updates and how-are-you-doings then I promise you it won’t matter that time passes.
3. Don’t dwell on these temporary worries – focus on the other special people in your life
Make sure you’ve checked in with the friend you are anxious about and then stop. your. dwelling. Channel your energy into your family and friends that are in the here and now and want to spend time with you! Your worries will fade away and you will gain a little perspective on the situation. Also, remember that at times when you are very busy with your boyfriend/girlfriend, university work, part-time job, internship, family issues, whatever it may be, your friend may be wondering why you aren’t making so much effort and might be feeling these exact worries I’m talking about, that you are being distant and so on. Just don’t forget one another, and your friendship will be just the way it always was when you reunite.