I finally replied to a comment on a post I made almost two years ago right before our wedding. Well, the comment was actually left relatively recently, which has reinforced for me the affect this particular post has had on a lot of people. As much as I felt it was a downer to write it at the time, I’m glad I did. Apparently, people can relate and it’s important, when you’re feeling down, to read an honest conveyance that other people feel the way you do sometimes.
After writing the reply, I decided that it really merited its own post not only because it was terribly long for a comment, but also because I felt it contains some useful advice that shouldn’t just be tucked away in a comment. Hopefully, Matt won’t mind me highlighting his comment in a post of its own.
“Yeah, i found this on a google search, and im only a 15 yr old boy and i also hate it when my friends blatantly make plans in front of me and leave me out. I dont feel like the people i used to hang out with are my friends anymore and its really depressing.”
@ Matt I definitely understand how you’re feeling and I know how hard it is the first time you go through it especially because it takes a while to notice a pattern in how your friendships change. There are a couple things I learned over the years that I wish I knew when I was 15 (I’m almost 30 now): I wish I knew that friendships naturally change, that it’s a lot easier to deal with the change if you accept it and let it happen, and that sometimes people are reacting to my behavior.
Chances are, if you had good friends who are now starting to blatantly leave you out, there has been a change in your friendship and it sounds like you know it already because you mentioned that you don’t feel like they are your friends anymore. BUT, before you decide to write them off think about whether the way you act toward them has changed.
To give you an example, I’ve noticed that sometimes when I feel left out it’s actually because I don’t make an effort to include myself. A fact of life is that people will not always be entirely considerate, not because they are bad friends, but because it takes a lot of energy to think of everyone around you ALL the time. If you simply ask your friends if there’s something going on Friday night, they might be happy to tell you about it and invite you along.
At the same time, you also need to make an effort to accept invitations because people will get tired of asking if you reject them too much. You need to make an effort to invite other people to do things as well. It’s very true that what goes around comes around. People like to be included so if you become the person who is always including them, they will start to think of you whenever they go out. Be patient, it takes a while for people to change their perception of you and it’s not going to work every time, but generally people do like to be social with other social people.
Despite making positive efforts to include yourself, there will be situations in which it’s clear that people do not want you to hang with them. Maybe you ask if they have plans Friday night and they lie or they act really awkward and are hesitant to tell you about it. Perhaps, that doesn’t happen, but instead when you are included you don’t enjoy yourself with them anymore. They want to do different things, their jokes aren’t funny to you anymore, etc. That’s a sign that you’ve grown apart and it might simply be time to move on.
Try not to think of it as a bad thing. This is your opportunity to meet new interesting people and find out more about yourself. You don’t necessarily have to burn your bridges with your old friends. There will likely come a time when you will run into them again and the nostalgia of your old friendship will be very important to you. You might even still want to hang out with them every once in a while, but they just won’t be the friends you go out with every weekend.
I’ve had many different groups of friends over the years and have noticed that the group I spend most of my time with tends to change every 2-3 years. I used to think there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t stick with good friends, but then I realized that I’ve just changed and so have they. I’ve very rarely had fallings out with old friends, mostly we just drift in different directions and I will usually have one or two friends in each group who have become very close friends whom I will get back in touch with here and there over the years. I’ve just very recently realized that I’m happiest when I just let my relationships change and tried to think of the positive aspects rather than dwelling on “losing” a friend.
If you’ve dealt with a similar situation or have something to add, I definitely welcome comments on the issue.