I’m one of the happiest people on the planet. I married a man I adore, and who adores me. I love my career. And I have amazing friendships.
The friendships I love best are the ones you don’t have to second guess. My best friendships are the ones that make a plan to get together. No “pencil in” plans — real plans that pan out. From lunch dates to afternoon Broadway play dates to double-dates with our significant others to spa days. It’s all good!
Everyone is so busy, including myself. In my case, it’s career. In the cases of others, it’s most likely family. And in some both.
I’m by no means a “needy” person, but like romantic relationships, friendships need attention too. There are my “top” friends I see several times a year — usually to celebrate our birthdays. Those same friends I can call if I need a shoulder to cry on. Then there are other friends I see from time to time. Or call on the phone to chat because we don’t see each other as much. Then there are the friends who I don’t see much, or even talk on the phone too, but they all support me on Facebook (there are quite a few I can count on to press the “like” button if I’m promoting an event or a book). Those friends are the ones who actually take the time to read my blogs and my books! (That’s quite extraordinary in this day and age when no one seems to read). They’ll never realize how happy they make my mornings when I log on to Facebook.
But then there are those who seem to be neglectful. You can’t really call them friends because they don’t act like friends. They don’t answer emails. They don’t return phone calls. They just don’t go out of their way for you in general.
They may give you a random “like” on Facebook, but only after you’ve “liked” something on their page. You support their events, but they never show up at yours. You send them cards for holidays, yet never get one back.
It may feel like you are chasing a person. You may wonder what you’ve done wrong. Why is everything else so important in their lives than answering a quick email?
If someone doesn’t tend to their friendship, it’s a way of saying, “I don’t care.” People prioritize their jobs, their families, and their children, and put friendships on the low priority list. Or maybe just YOUR friendship because they seem to get along wonderfully with other people.
How many times do you continue to reach out or overlook? Do you bring it to their attention? I wouldn’t. Here’s why …
In the past I did. I’ve noticed a trend that people who are neglectful in friendships have another major flaw … they don’t like hearing that they are neglectful. They get defensive, or worse, downright nasty. Perhaps they were looking for a fight by ignoring you in the first place? That’s not friendship. That’s being manipulating. By making you feel wrong for questioning the friendship and making you feel like you’re needy and expect too much … that’s called gas lighting.
This taught me to take “neglect” as a red flag. If someone isn’t paying attention to you, it’s because they don’t care about you. Friendships are a lot like dating. Read the old classic, “Maybe He Just Isn’t Into You.”
So, do what you have to. Whether it’s friends or even relatives, if friendships are not nurtured, you can’t call them friendships. It’s a team effort and no fun to play by yourself.
Cut ties with those who don’t care. And don’t feel bad about it. Because they sure don’t. (Until you bring it to their attention. Then all hell will break loose).
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: email@example.com.
She is available for motivational speaking engagements and is the author of the following books:
“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/
“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261