Was it something I said? Why do my friends keep dropping me?
posted by anonymous to human relations (57 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
Over the last few years I’ve been friends with a number of women - some of them are friends I’ve met through work, and others outside work - all of whom have suddenly dropped the friendship. There’s been no bust-ups, no arguments or disagreements, but we’ll go from being friends, sharing social events, spending time together, sharing confidences, laughs, good times and then ... nothing. The kicker in every single one of these situations is that I later find out that I’ve been deliberately excluded from something or otherwise snubbed.
- A woman from the office, we’d have lunch once or twice a week, we’d go shopping and for a meal or to a movie after work or at weekends from time to time, we’d help each other out with work projects, talk about girly stuff like clothes, makeup and shoes, boyfriends, all that stuff. She was offered a much better job, I was really happy for her, and as it came up to her leaving date I talked with the other women in the team about arranging a lunch for her, as is usual in our office. They all said they weren’t interested, which I thought was odd, so I asked her when I could take her out to lunch myself. She was evasive, and then one day about a week before she left, she and all the other women left me sitting at my desk as they all got their coats and purses, making it quite clear that I was not included as they went out for what was, I later learned, the leaving lunch that someone else had arranged.
- A woman I’d known for a while, we discovered we both had a mutual interest in a particular activity, so we signed up for a course to learn how to do this activity, every week for several months, having coffee or dinner after class, I’d give her a ride to and from school. We went away on a vacation related to this activity, shared a room, had a great time, we talked a lot about our hopes and dreams, our fears and worries and were (I thought) close friends. She met a great guy, they decided to get married and I was the only one out of our group of friends who wasn’t invited to the wedding. It was deliberate because the wedding was about 100 miles away and, as people were making travel plans, I was asked by a few people about car and hotel sharing and I had to say I hadn’t had an invitation. Everyone was surprised, so someone mentioned it to the bride in case my invitation had been lost and she said she had not invited me.
- A friend from work, I’ve known her for 10 years, we’ve been friends for about 5 years, we spent time together outside work, visited each other’s homes, went to museums, theatre, day trips, she came to my birthday party at my apartment. We’d meet for coffee in the cafeteria at work, go out for lunch when our schedules allowed, and would always be emailing each other about all sorts of things. She’s retiring next week and I wanted to see her before she retires for lunch or coffee and to give her the gift I got for her. She emailed me yesterday and said she’s “fully booked” and in the same email said that the party she’d had the day before went very well, with “over 100 friends from work” in the office cafeteria.
- A woman who moved into the same street as me, right opposite my place, because she liked where I live so much and used to spend a lot of time at my apartment. When she moved here, I’d invite her over for meals, we used to go out to a social group together at least once a week, we spent two Christmases together - once at my house, once at hers, with other friends too, we’d cat-sit each others’ pets. She decided to move closer to her daughter, who had a young baby, so she could provide daycare while her daughter went back to work, and she rented out her apartment. She cried when she left, saying she’d miss me so much but it was always me who emailed her, and she would only contact me if she wanted something. The tenants moved out yesterday and I just found out from another neighbor that she’d been back to her apartment today, spent most of the day there, knocked on the doors of neighbours who she used to tell me she couldn’t stand to chat with them but, even though she would have seen lights on in my apartment, did not come over even just to say hi.
This is happening too often for me to think it is just coincidence, but I am at a loss to understand what it is I might be doing to make my friends drop me. I am not a clingy, demanding person (just the opposite, in fact, I am reserved and a bit shy). But each time this happens, it makes me retreat a little more into myself and hold back with people, because it really is hurtful and humiliating to be summarily rejected by people I thought were friends.
I am a kind, compassionate, generous person, I know that, I try to treat people as well as I can, yet I am left feeling that, as much as I’d like to expand my social circle, it’s just not worth it if this is going to keep happening. I do have a couple of other close women friends who I love spending time with, doing all the same kinds of things I did with the four women mentioned above, and they are good, true and loyal friends, so I know that I can and do have true friendships.
Yes, there is a question at the end of all this:
- From what I’ve said, is there something you can identify that I’m doing (or not doing) that’s making people decide they don’t want to be my friend any more (I know how ‘high school’ that sounds, but I really am puzzled as to why someone would just drop me like this).
- How do I lower my barriers enough to make friends yet at the same time protect myself from rejection? After two blatant snubs two days in a row, I’m feeling pretty raw about this right now.