General Question

emeraldisles's avatar

Anyone who has struggled with friendships? How do you know if you are trying too hard to make friends?

Asked by emeraldisles (1934 points ) June 7th, 2012

I’m talking when all you can really do is text or chat and cannot hang out in person. I seem to be making friends easier with guys than girls, for I don’t know what reason. I don’t know its easier to just be? Is it too much to text someone everyday or should the person wait 2 weeks? I’m also talking about friendships on facebook. I hung out with this guy 6 times in 2 weeks. Am I being overbearing? Should one of them text me?

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19 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Ther should be some give and take in initiating get togethers and in texting or calling first.

emeraldisles's avatar

Then I’m in no luck. No one ever wants to get together wih me or call me. All I have are facebook friends. I wouldn’t call them real friends. None of them have my back. I feel like I do all the work. I’m no loser, so don’t go there.

chyna's avatar

Maybe you should try to make friends outside of the internet. If there are any sports, classes or other activities you like, that could be a place to meet people with your interests and make friends. If you are old enough to work, that is another place to meet people.

Earthgirl's avatar

If you keep texting or calling someone and don’t get much positive response in return then it’s hard to take the friendship to the next level. I need some sort of positive affirmation from the other person. It can’t be all one sided. If it is all one sided, then I know I am trying too hard. In my life, the people that have become close friends are people with whom I had an immediate chemistry. That is hard to gauge online. I would advise getting out more and doing things to meet people other than online. I also have an easier time making friends with men than with women. I don’t know why. I wish I did. I have 6 sisters and get along with all of them great.

chelle21689's avatar

I do. I never really had true friends…just acquaintances. I can easily get a boyfriend or make a guy friend but that’s not a friend now is it? lol I hang out with my sisters and cousins.

Fyrius's avatar

I have and have had a whole lot of e-friends I hang or hung out with regularly, some once a week or so and some every day. I’ve also had a lot of them with whom friendship never really worked out. (And that’s fine.)

The question you should be trying to find the answer to is this: does this person enjoy my company? Do they appreciate it when I talk to them? Do they give me their undivided attention┬╣ and show signs that they’re having fun?
If they don’t, and you still insist on talking to them all the time, then you’re trying too hard. In the worst case, they might see you as a nuisance that’s hard to get rid of. Be careful you don’t end up in that situation. It’s painful for everyone involved.

Here’s my remedy for trying too hard:
Be polite and considerate. Leave them a way out. Go out of your way to make it easy for them to tell you when they don’t want to talk, without making it embarrassing or awkward to say so. Friendly people won’t just flat-out tell you they don’t want to talk to you, and if you flat-out ask them they might lie to spare your feelings, but if you make it easy for them to let you know in a polite way, and they don’t, you’ll know their appreciation is genuine.
Start a conversation with something like “Hi there! Am I interrupting?” Be on the lookout for signs that they don’t really want to talk; for example, if they take a long time to reply, or if they just fall silent when there’s a lull in the conversation instead of bringing up a new subject, they might be doing something else at the same time. In that case you can just ask (again) if they’re busy and would prefer to be left alone for now. If they take you up on that offer, that’s okay. (It should be okay, or you’re doing it wrong.)

Something to keep in mind: there’s seven billion people on this planet, around 1.8 billion of them speak English, and most of those are on the internet. That’s how many fish there are in the sea, so to speak. If one particular person doesn’t want to be friends with you, that’s all right, you can just try someone else.
_____
┬╣ Multitasking may be a sign that someone isn’t interested in talking to you, but it might as well not mean anything. Some people just do that, even when they like talking to you.

Fyrius's avatar

Follow-up:
For those who find it hard to make friends, and for whom leaving a way out (as described above) would mostly lead to people walking away, it would probably pay – to put it bluntly – to try to be more enjoyable to talk to. That’s the only right way to keep a friend. And I think it’s mostly learnable.

I’d be happy to share my thoughts on how to do that if you like, but I won’t do so in this post, because I already feel like I’m being more of a patronising friendship guru wannabe than anyone asked for. Bad habit of mine.

foraginggirl's avatar

Personally, I believe that the reason it’s so hard to make new friends these days is because of the way society has morphed into an individual-based world rather than a world based on gregarious cooperation. We used to need each other in order to hunt, gather, build houses, heal each other, etc. We still need each other in the sense that we need grocery stores to stock food so we can buy it, we need people to build and sell or rent dwellings so we can buy them, and we still need doctors who we can pay to heal us. Keep in mind these things used to be free. Actually, they weren’t free but the favours were returned with something of equal value. But because we rely on a monetary system now, instead of returning favours with favours, we are on a much more impersonal level of communication. Added to that is the technological revolution, which further reduces our need for interpersonal communication “in person”. We used to have friends as a byproduct of our lifestyles. We needed people. We took favours, we gave favours. We lived in communities and helped each other and had time for relationships (hunter-gatherers only worked a few hours per day).

I work 9–5, Monday to Friday. By the time I get home, I’m so exhausted that I have no time for my current friends. I can’t even drag myself to the stove to make dinner. All I want to do is rest. Thank god I don’t have kids to think about. When the phone rings, I feel almost anxious; wondering who it will be and what they will want. When I have a voicemail, I have a sense of anxiety leading up to listening to the actual message because I’m wondering if I’ve forgotten something or what responsibility I’m going to have. Even someone asking me to call them back is a pain because I feel like it’s another thing to remember, or another responsibility. Keeping my relationships has become a pain. What kind of life is that?

If you were trying to contact me to be better friends, I might have just been ignoring you because I’m too tired to even think about you. So to answer your question, you probably are trying too hard if you’re not getting a response. You want someone to be interested in you as much as you are in them. On the other hand, I am so grateful that I have my current friends because I couldn’t face trying to make new ones.

Anyway, it’s easier said than done to just say, “Well get out more.” But it’s true. What are you interested in? Google some local groups that are interested in that. Sometimes even sites like Craigslist have meet-up groups. I got off Facebook and I’ve been hanging out “in real life” way more now. Facebook is a total time-eater. I first got the e-mail addresses of people I wanted to keep in contact with, then e-mailed them to say I’m not on Facebook and that we should hang out some time. Everything took off from there. It feels like the ‘90s! hahaha.

mowens's avatar

If you care what people think…. you are trying too hard.

Fyrius's avatar

@mowens
You think so?
I think some people’s opinions are worth caring about.

foraginggirl's avatar

@mowens I think it’s backwards: If you are trying too hard, you care what people think. But if you care what people think, it doesn’t mean you’re trying too hard. A depressed person could wear the same clothes for days, knowing that people could smell him or her, and caring that they can, but still doesn’t change and have a shower.

wundayatta's avatar

You need activities—something that gets you together with people regularly. An outing club. Quizzo. Support group. Bicycle club. Band. Book club. Church. Garden club. Coop work team. The A-space. Political club. Band groupie.

Whatever. You go for the activity. You start to make friends with the people you see there regularly. That’s the way it works.

Virtual groups yield virtual friends. Unless those friends are focused on a local activity, they will never get together often enough to allow you to make friends.

mowens's avatar

@foraginggirl I agree, but they have to earn that right. People you meet off the street? It shouldn’t matter what they think of you until they are your friends.

hearkat's avatar

As others have said, start with where your interests lie. Join online forums and in-person groups around those topics. Meetup.com is a site that allows people to organize groups around pretty much every interest there is – from knitting to skydiving and everything in-between.

A big part of being a good friend is listening to and empathizing with the other person. Monopolizing a conversation, interrupting them, or downplaying their statement will lose their interest in you very quickly. You are trying too hard if you feel like the interaction is one-sided or if you are acting needy; but don’t get all bent out of shape if someone isn’t immediately responsive—most people do have obligations and have very little truly free time.

True friendships can be made and maintained online, and I’m sure many on Fluther would agree with me. I have also made good friends on a couple iPhone social apps – I’ve known some of these people for nearly 5 years, and we interact nearly daily.

emeraldisles's avatar

I don’t monoplize the conversation. I always ask them what they want to talk about . Most of the time they want to talk about what I’m doing. I’ll ask them questions and see if there’s a response. I just give up. I don’t have time to get together to see people. They don’t have time either. I get tired too. I figure if its meant to be, its meant to be. Oh well.

Kardamom's avatar

You need to give up the idea that you can have deep, meaningful wonderful friendships by only talking to people online. I’m not saying that people don’t make friends with people online, I’m just saying that the reality is, that there are tons and tons of detailed nuances about how people actually are that you cannot fully asertain from an online relationship. Many of the pieces of the puzzle will always be missing until you know people in real life. A sentence here and there, with a few emoticons thrown in is not the same thing as actually hearing the tone of a person’s voice, the lilt of their laughter, the look of sadness/love/fear/joy/lust in their eyes, the touch of a warm hand. And you sure as heck can’t read anyone’s body language from words typed on a screen.

Also, you are going to have one heck of a time making and keeping friends if you maintain your introvert status. I used to be shy an introverted and I have also suffered bouts of depression. When I grew up, I realized that I needed to make some changes. One of the things that has really helped me is to actively engage people in a casual and friendly manner (and always try to maintain a sense of humor) even if I didn’t feel like doing it, even if I was tired, or I didn’t know these people (people that I don’t know are strangers fer crying out loud!).

The reason I decided to change the way I interact with people is that one of my best friends is able to make friends wherever she goes. She’s never met a person she wasn’t interested in getting to know including old people, people from out of town, people that barely speak English, people that look a little off and everybody in between. She’s not forceful or pushy, she’s just friendly and nice. Like I said in another thread, she can de-grump the grumpiest grump, and pull the shyest person out of their shell. And she does it with grace and empathy and humor, not with force.

On the other hand, I have another friend (one of the few that has the patience to stick around) suffers from rage and depression, but he won’t admit to the depression. He’s a smart person with a lot of nifty interests in all sorts of things, but sometimes he’s such an energy sucking downer that it’s hard to be around him. When he gets really bad, he mostly rants and complains. He needs to get treatment for his depression, but because he denies that he’s depressed, he doesn’t seek treatment.

Also, to find and make and keep friends, you need to change the way you operate. You have to do things differently from the way you’ve been doing them, you need to be willing to step out of your comfort zone (the computer) and try new ways of meeting and interacting with real people. You might need to do some self assessment, or have someone else (maybe a close, kind relative or a therapist) give you an idea of how you come across in your interactions. Sometimes, even if a person has good intentions, they may come across as mopey, demanding, shy to the point of not being able to communicate in a meaninful way, always expecting other people to pick up the slack (with regards to choosing a movie or a restaurant or an activity) or having a conversation style that mostly uses, yes, no, or I don’t know, but not much more, not having a sense of humor (and I don’t mean being sarcastic or snarky, just pleasant and fun) or being so serious that you can’t enjoy the silly and small things in the world. No one wants to be the only person in a two-person relationship. And no one wants to have a person simply ask them twenty questions all day long, instead of having a back and forth conversation. Nor does anyone really want to have to deal with someone who’s constantly depressed, or tired or unwilling to fix their problems. So put “self-assessment” on your to do list.

And here is the hardest part. You may have to give up some things to get the love and friendship that you desire and deserve. You said that you don’t have time to get together with people and that you are often too tired and that you don’t have time. Those stumbling blocks are going to be major hurdles for you if something doesn’t give way. You’ve probably heard the old saying, “You have to make time for the things that are important in life.” I know, easier said than done, but it’s true.

You may have to give up some of your attitudes that are causing you not to find and keep friends. You may have to give up working such long hours, to make time to find and maintain friendships, you may have to make do with less money, by working less hours, you may have to give up some of your solitude (because you gotta meet people in the flesh, eventually) you may have to give up some of your comfort zone (the computer) and you may have to give up the notion that depression will somehow cure itself, you may have to give up the idea that continuing in your introverted ways is going to magically draw people to you. And you may have to give up the thought that you can’t change, not that change is easy, but sometimes it is necessary, otherwise nothing will ever change.

Also know that you don’t have to have scads of friends, one or two great ones are all anyone really needs, but if you can have more, all the better. Good luck to you, my friend : )

emeraldisles's avatar

Thanks. Its all set. I have no time. I have to work and actually be a responsible adult you know. The most I can do reasonably is to get together maybe every other week for a couple of hours. By the way, there’s nothing wrong with being introverted as I have asked and had answered on a previous thread. I like being and would not mind being friends with introverted people. Artists, musicians, writers, ports, the list goes on.

Fyrius's avatar

@emeraldisles
I agree with that last point. I also think meeting up with people in real life is somewhat overrated. And internet friendships get way more flak than they deserve. Different, yes, but I wouldn’t call them inherently any less legitimate, as friendships go. Some people can’t do internet friendships without feeling awkward about it, but other people can.
I’ve met up with friends I knew via the internet. It was fun-ish. But I felt less comfortable in that situation than when talking to them online, no matter how close we were. To each their own.

Here’s a term you might find interesting: ”Webtrovert”. It’s what I consider myself.

There’s something wrong with being introverted if it means you’re shy or antisocial and can’t deal with people when needed. But if you have your basic social skills, nuthin’ wrong with introversion. If that’s what makes you happy.

emeraldisles's avatar

Thank you!

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