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Difficult to hang out with friend.

billwillbillwill Registered User regular
edited December 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
So I know this girl who is awesome. She's really smart and funny, and she is also seriously one of the nicest and most honest people I've ever met.

The thing is, making plans with her is always very difficult, because a) She never answers (or has) her phone so I have to do it online and b) She just is very wishy-washy with her responses ("Does Tuesday work?" "Oh, I don't know, I might have family in...").

The obvious conclusion is that she doesn't want to be friends, right? That's what I figured. Turns out, after seeing and befriending her friends, she is exactly the same way with them. Even her best friend has to call multiple times and be very aggressive in the making of plans.

I felt awkward about pushing too hard early on in the friendship. I mean, if someone wants to hang out with me, I figure they'll expend at least SOME effort to do so. And we really do have a lot of fun. When we do manage to hang out, she's laughing non-stop and usually we'll go for hours and hours at a time. Anyway, I mentioned that I was uncomfortable with this early on in our friendship and she kept on telling me it's just the way she is.

I really am not sure what I'm asking for advice with, really. It can be extremely frustrating to make plans, but I have so much fun hanging out with her and I don't want to lose the friendship.

Is this a common thing? Are some people just entirely apathetic like that? It's just weird because I'd expect someone's apathy to extend into our hanging out time, but not with her. She's exceedingly happy and talkative when we are together. There's just that damn voice in my head that is always there telling me, "You're forcing friendship, man."

I guess the answer is I just need to accept it as a part of being her friend. I just need other people to tell me that/let me know if it's common.

I hate you and you hate me.
billwill on

Posts

  • garroad_rangarroad_ran Registered User regular
    Oh man, I hope you get some good answers for this, because I've got a friend with whom I have the exact same issue.

    I'm always skirting a fine line, never knowing if she just doesn't want to see me, or if she's just really busy and disorganized.

  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    It happens. Sometimes in friendships/relationships one person puts in more effort/gives more.

    Just realize that and accept it. Personally it's not something I would put up with - but to each their own.

  • PolloDiabloPolloDiablo Registered User regular
    I'm like that. It's not personal, at least with me. I guess it's just how some people are.

  • radroadkillradroadkill MDRegistered User regular
    I have a friend like this as well. She's hilarious, awesome, and we have fun when we get together but she is the worst at getting back to me with things. I know she always has a lot of activities and plans and marathon training going on at any given moment so I'll try to get in touch with her a week or two before the outing and she might take a week or more to even respond to me unless I track her down.

    It's just the way she is and I've learned to deal with it because she is awesome. That doesn't mean it doesn't drive me nuts at times though!

  • ToxTox I kill threads he/himRegistered User regular
    billwill wrote:
    Anyway, I mentioned that I was uncomfortable with this early on in our friendship and she kept on telling me it's just the way she is.

    She's aware of the "flaw" and has chosen to consider it a "feature" instead. Your options are get over it or move on.

    Twitter! | Dilige, et quod vis fac
  • lonelyahavalonelyahava Call me Ahava ~~She/Her~~ Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    i'm kinda like this.

    Mostly, my reasoning (and no it's not necessarily logical), but I like to be alone. Also, I don't handle social situations well. I mean, i'm fine when i'm in them, but getting >to< the situation is always more of a struggle for me than the actual situation. It's a small level of social anxiety and sometimes it just takes getting past. People will want to schedule lunches or time to hang out, and I always want to go, but I almost always back out and it usually takes almost physical effort and constant self berating to convince myself to go.

    I always have fun when I do, but it takes time.

  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    billwill wrote:
    I guess the answer is I just need to accept it as a part of being her friend. I just need other people to tell me that/let me know if it's common.

    Well you already got the answer here, so I guess I'll just tell you that you're correct and observe that as a general principle, dealing with people as they actually are rather than as you wish they were is an infinitely less stressful and disappointing way to live than the reverse.

  • TheOrangeTheOrange Registered User regular
    It does hurt a bit feeling "un-missed", like, if YOU had to leave town for a week, come back, and not even a single "where you at?"? Not cool, even if it is common.

  • DisrupterDisrupter Registered User regular
    The key to dealing with folks like this is just to never expect them to follow through or be a part of your plans. Always consider then a probably no until they show up, and then appreciate them being there as a bonus.

    I have a buddy like this, he is extremely hard to get to go anywhere, he will usually seem excited about something and then back out. I don't hold it against him because I've learned that's just how he is. I hardly ever even see him, but I was best man at his wedding a few months ago. Basically whenever we do something as a group, I give him a call and let him know, but I never expect him to show.

    I, however, have always had "girls" i was "friends" with act like this. And it bothered me more, because I wanted more then just friendship. So, if that is the case, I would suggest moving on pronto. If, however, you are just looking for friendship and nothing more, then just don't worry about it much. it doesn't take much to throw an invite her way or what not, but I wouldn't focus on making your relationship with her a priority, its probably not worth it. If you focus too much on this person you will get upset because you will feel you are giving way more then you are receiving.

    616610-1.png
  • SpawnbrokerSpawnbroker Registered User regular
    I would leave messages and invite her places, but outside of that it's on her to actually do things with you. If she wants to be a flake, eventually you'll get fed up with her never being around and stop inviting her. It's how things work.

    Steam: Spawnbroker
  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    She's flaky. It's a thing. You don't really have a choice between "deal with it" or "don't deal with it."

    I would say this is the best advice:
    I would leave messages and invite her places, but outside of that it's on her to actually do things with you. If she wants to be a flake, eventually you'll get fed up with her never being around and stop inviting her. It's how things work.

    Invite her out and then go do whatever you want. Don't construct your social circles where flaky people are the anchor. I've done it, and it doesn't work because then you feel like your plans hinge on whether or not they make good on what they've said (about meeting you or whatever).

    Unfortunately, you need to treat people like that as people you appreciate if they show up but not take offense to if they don't. Honestly? I think most people who act that way probably want to be treated that way. Maybe they don't want to feel obligated to be here or there. I'm not saying it's wrong to want to make plans with these people - I'm just saying that some people are like that and see invitations as obligations so they kind of distance themselves to some degree.

    Switch: SW-7690-2320-9238Steam/PSN/Xbox: Drezdar
  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    I would leave messages and invite her places, but outside of that it's on her to actually do things with you. If she wants to be a flake, eventually you'll get fed up with her never being around and stop inviting her. It's how things work.

    This is pretty much all you can do, don't ever expect this girl to be a really close friend though, doesn't sound like she has it in her.

    I had a friend that planned a happy hour one afternoon over facebook, then didn't show up (like 2 hours later!). some people are just flakes.

  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    I would leave messages and invite her places, but outside of that it's on her to actually do things with you. If she wants to be a flake, eventually you'll get fed up with her never being around and stop inviting her. It's how things work.

    This is pretty much all you can do, don't ever expect this girl to be a really close friend though, doesn't sound like she has it in her.

    I had a friend that planned a happy hour one afternoon over facebook, then didn't show up (like 2 hours later!). some people are just flakes.

    haha jesus.

    Switch: SW-7690-2320-9238Steam/PSN/Xbox: Drezdar
  • EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    With flaky people like this, I concur that it's basically a "either you follow the system, or you don't." For my friends that are flaky, I don't put that much effort into it. I will extend the occasional invitation to them, but i never try to force it. I tend to put it in a "I haven't seen you in a while, are you free on saturday" thing, and if they say they're essentially not busy, I say we should get together for dinner or something.

    If they're wishy-washy, then I assume they're busy. Like, if they say "oh maybe a family thing is happening" I say "OK, well have fun with that, I'll catch you later." And plan something else with someone who commits. If it consistently happens and it feels like I'm the only person who reaches out, I eventually stop reaching out. I essentially view it as offensive that they value my friendship so minimally that they wouldn't call me back or propose their own get-together at some future point after pushing me off for months.

    Most of my friends who fall on the flaky end of the spectrum do end up contacting me at some point, because they do eventually realize that I've stopped calling/emailing and they haven't seen me in a long time. I have a couple friends that I don't see anymore because they apparently have more interesting things to do in their lives.

    Granted, on the scheme of offendedness, this ranks down with "someone throwing a cigarette butt out of their moving car" and not "stole my cat after insulting my family" because if I never see someone, I don't really consider them much of a close friend. We'll just remain facebook friends, and leave it at that.

    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • CliffCliff Registered User regular
    I can't quite tell from your posts, but if she is saying she will meet up and then doesn't, thats called lying. People like to cover this up with words like "flaky" and the like, but its just straight up dishonesty. I wouldn't tolerate it, because part of being an adult is growing up and following through on your word. If she's not doing this, she's just a kid.

  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    Cliff wrote:
    I can't quite tell from your posts, but if she is saying she will meet up and then doesn't, thats called lying. People like to cover this up with words like "flaky" and the like, but its just straight up dishonesty. I wouldn't tolerate it, because part of being an adult is growing up and following through on your word. If she's not doing this, she's just a kid.

    Uh. I'm not trying to cover anything up for anyone. I've been flaked out on and it's goddamned annoying. But it's a different kind of goddamned annoying than what people usually classify as lying. It may technically be lying. It could also just be total irresponsibility, or lack of care, which are not necessarily lies. Either way, we've created a word to describe this kind of behavior. That word is "flaky" and it's not at all meant to cover up or defend against the nature of such a set of behavior in any way. It's just a descriptive word.

    edit: But I do agree with you that someone who habitually or routinely flakes out to that degree is probably someone you should reconsider socializing with. I wouldn't cut someone off for a single flake - maybe something happened out of their control - but two or three times? Ciao!

    Drez on
    Switch: SW-7690-2320-9238Steam/PSN/Xbox: Drezdar
  • CliffCliff Registered User regular
    Drez wrote:
    Cliff wrote:
    I can't quite tell from your posts, but if she is saying she will meet up and then doesn't, thats called lying. People like to cover this up with words like "flaky" and the like, but its just straight up dishonesty. I wouldn't tolerate it, because part of being an adult is growing up and following through on your word. If she's not doing this, she's just a kid.

    Uh. I'm not trying to cover anything up for anyone. I've been flaked out on and it's goddamned annoying. But it's a different kind of goddamned annoying than what people usually classify as lying. It may technically be lying. It could also just be total irresponsibility, or lack of care, which are not necessarily lies. Either way, we've created a word to describe this kind of behavior. That word is "flaky" and it's not at all meant to cover up or defend against the nature of such a set of behavior in any way. It's just a descriptive word.

    edit: But I do agree with you that someone who habitually or routinely flakes out to that degree is probably someone you should reconsider socializing with. I wouldn't cut someone off for a single flake - maybe something happened out of their control - but two or three times? Ciao!

    What's that saying "if it doesn't apply to you then it wasn't directed at you." I wasn't saying everyone who uses words like flaky are trying to downplay the severeity of it, just that it was common, which it is. And I agree, if its something that happens occasionally then its no big deal. But frequently doing this shows a high level of immaturity and deep disrespect toward friends.

  • TayaTaya Registered User regular
    I had a friend like this except instead of not committing to plans, we would actually make the plans and then he wouldn't show up. We'd make plans to watch movies at his house and then he wouldn't answer his phone that day, or we'd make plans to go to an event and he would tell me he would call me when he got a shower and then a day or two later he would make up some excuse about why he wasn't able to go (never explaining why he didn't call and cancel). I actually put up with this for far longer than I should have. Finally I decided to stop calling him. Friends like this aren't worth it.

    Some people are just homebodies though. I know I don't always want to hang out with people and it's not because I don't like them; I just want to stay home that day. As long as it's not getting as bad as the friend in my example I wouldn't worry too much.

  • UsagiUsagi Nah Registered User regular
    So to offer a different perspective, I'd like to suggest that maybe she might not be a "flake" but may actually have some social anxiety which makes it difficult to make concrete plans and/or actually follow through on said plans.

  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular

    Usagi wrote:
    So to offer a different perspective, I'd like to suggest that maybe she might not be a "flake" but may actually have some social anxiety which makes it difficult to make concrete plans and/or actually follow through on said plans.

    And I'd also like to highlight that, yeah, this might seem weird. You might be saying to yourself "Hey! We're friends! Why is she feeling anxious!?"

    And I'll just point out that anxiety isn't exactly the most logical feeling in the book of feelings. But I have known people like this so...

  • EgoEgo Registered User regular
    I'm exactly like the girl you describe, OP. Other than the whole 'being a girl' thing, that is.

    With all my friends, even the absolute best of them --people I've known since the first grade. In fact, I'm even like this with my family, and my family gets along splendidly.

    If someone calls, my general tendency is to see who it is, then just mute it and text them back later when I'm done doing whatever it is I'm doing (or maybe just on some other day.) If someone texts and it'd require a long reply, I'll usually put that off, too. If my doorbell rings and I wasn't expecting anyone to come over, I may very well just ignore the door altogether (or see who it is as they walk away.)

    While I have a great time hanging out with friends and you'd describe me as extroverted and outgoing while I'm with them if you saw me, I'm actually a very introverted and introspective person --I have a lot of fun when I'm out doing whatever, but it's still a stressful thing, and there's no way I could do it every day of the week or even several times a week without feeling burnt out.

    I don't like making plans to do things on specific days because, in general, I just enjoy having my time open. Having specific plans for specific days makes me feel kind of anxious and restrained beforehand, even if I have a lot of fun when those plans come to fruition.

    On top of this, I don't call people. Me calling people usually indicates some form of emergency or big news.

    Now, I wouldn't be one to call these aspects of my personality 'features' as Tox put it, but they are the way I am, and after decades of being that way, it's unlikely I'm going to change. Some people are okay with this and find the tradeoff of me being an annoying bastard in myriad ways to be acceptable, and we're still good friends. Some people aren't okay with this and eventually they stop calling enough for me to do things with them, and that's the end of that.

    Not sure this'll help, as she could be the way she is for entirely different reasons than why I'm the way I am, but what works best with me is:

    -call and ask out of nowhere if I want to 'hang out' for a bit at the place that I already am. Spontaneous hanging out with minimal invested effort isn't a stressful thing at all to me. This might not work out so well if she doesn't, say, have a house or apartment or whatever that's good for hanging out in.

    -arrange a day per week to do stuff as a friends-group. This won't really work unless you and she are best friends already, but this is kind of what my friends cornered me into doing. This might seem really childish unless a) you are a child or b) you've reached that age when you realize that career + spouse + all the crap that goes along with it eats up so damned much of your free time that you should be happy if you can manage to have a free day or evening's worth of time with someone (or someones) who can also manage a free day or evening's worth of time.

    In short, some people are introverted and it's annoying, because they're still fun people but they just don't put the same effort into sending out social signals that you do. I'd agree it's a personality flaw, at least for social interactions. But you really just have to decide if the extra effort on your part is worth what you get out of the friendship.

    I'm lucky to have friends who feel that it is. They still get pissed off at me, though, and bitch about it regularly :).

    PS: I really don't know if it's common or not, though. Common enough that such people exist, at least.

    Erik
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Yes some people are just like this. My friends typically are not, because I can't put up with it for any period of time and so people who are just like that don't stay my friends for very long. Because hey, that's just how I am. I require some sort of returned effort to keep in touch.

    And when both parties are saying "deal with it," the end result is that they aren't in each other's lives, no matter who is making the push.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • billwillbillwill Registered User regular
    Thanks for all the advice so far. It's helped put this in perspective.

    I should clarify a few things: She's not flaky at all. I mean, once plans are set, she never backs out. It's just getting those damn things set.

    Can you elaborate on how social anxiety might cause this?

    Also, as for the phone thing, I know she doesn't intentionally not answer the phone or whatever. If she hears it ring, she'll pick it up. It's just that she doesn't care enough to have it with her or put it on something other than silent.

    I'll try to accept it but it's just really difficult. I can't help but feel offended. For example, I was trying to make plans a few days ago to hang out either today or tomorrow. She told me she might be busy one of these days, and said she'll get back to me. I didn't respond, mainly because I knew it would be an exercise in frustration, and just an hour ago I get a message from her saying she didn't know if we were going to meet or not today but she can't because her best friend is over. And I know it's just because that friend was more forceful than me in setting the plans.

    I need to just dial back the friendship I guess, at least on my end. I'm used to hanging out with friends at least once a week, but clearly it's not going to be this way with her. I just can't help but feel insulted when she doesn't put any effort in and I should stop giving myself opportunities to feel that way.

    I hate you and you hate me.
  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    billwill wrote:
    Thanks for all the advice so far. It's helped put this in perspective.

    I should clarify a few things: She's not flaky at all. I mean, once plans are set, she never backs out. It's just getting those damn things set.

    Can you elaborate on how social anxiety might cause this?

    Also, as for the phone thing, I know she doesn't intentionally not answer the phone or whatever. If she hears it ring, she'll pick it up. It's just that she doesn't care enough to have it with her or put it on something other than silent.

    I'll try to accept it but it's just really difficult. I can't help but feel offended. For example, I was trying to make plans a few days ago to hang out either today or tomorrow. She told me she might be busy one of these days, and said she'll get back to me. I didn't respond, mainly because I knew it would be an exercise in frustration, and just an hour ago I get a message from her saying she didn't know if we were going to meet or not today but she can't because her best friend is over. And I know it's just because that friend was more forceful than me in setting the plans.

    I need to just dial back the friendship I guess, at least on my end. I'm used to hanging out with friends at least once a week, but clearly it's not going to be this way with her. I just can't help but feel insulted when she doesn't put any effort in and I should stop giving myself opportunities to feel that way.

    Yeah, this is totally your issue, not hers at all. I have plenty of friends I don't see once a week.

    Your friend sounds exactly like me. I keep my phone on silent at all times, am pretty hard to pin down for an actual rendezvous unless I myself schedule it, and independent to a fault. Some people are just like that and there's no reason to be "insulted" by it at all. We just do things on our time, not others.

  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    One sided friendships suck. That's something I had to learn.

    The easiest thing to do is just to dial back on your efforts to the point where it doesn't bother you.

  • naporeonnaporeon Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Esh wrote:
    Yeah, this is totally your issue, not hers at all. I have plenty of friends I don't see once a week.

    Your friend sounds exactly like me. I keep my phone on silent at all times, am pretty hard to pin down for an actual rendezvous unless I myself schedule it, and independent to a fault. Some people are just like that and there's no reason to be "insulted" by it at all. We just do things on our time, not others.
    I'm with Esh here. I am exactly the same way, and as @ceres pointed out, this is a totally self-correcting "issue" -- people who can tolerate it will, and those who can't won't. If hanging out with this girl totally on her schedule feels demeaning or is otherwise not acceptable, a friendship is just not in the cards.

    My guess is that you have a thing for this girl, so you're taking it especially hard, as it feels more like rejection. My suggestion if this is the case is to find someone that wants to spend time with you on a schedule more in keeping with your preferences.

  • cabsycabsy the fattest rainbow unicorn Registered User regular
    Some people are just like that! And especially in the month of December is the worst time to try to pin someone down on when they're available - I've done exactly what this person did to you this month just because my schedule has been packed between unexpected overtime, family stuff, parties, christmas shopping... the only reason I've seen friends has been because they nailed down a place and time and sent it to me and said will you be there instead of asking me when I'm free and waiting for me to try to come up with a time when something else isn't happening. "I'm doing dinner on Tuesday at 8pm, will you be there?" is something I'll schedule and plan around, while "I was thinking if you aren't busy we could hang out on Tuesday" is something that's probably going to get pushed to the side, or I'm going to figure they didn't have any set plans and won't be upset if I pick up the overtime that is offered to me on short notice, sleep in, hang with my family, go grocery shopping, or bake cookies instead of getting back to them ASAP.

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