Not quite BFFs

Joey Garcia

I don’t make friends easily so I really love on the friends I have. Now, I’ve hit a wall. I’ve always been the one extending invitations to hang out, the one texting to see how they’re doing and even paying the Uber driver when we’re out. Lately, I’ve been going through personal issues. When I reached out to my closest friends, no one had any time for me. They each said sorry, but they were really busy. I’ve never felt so hurt, alone and depressed. Shouldn’t a friend make time for a friend?

Yes, although some friendships are one-sided. Since you invested tremendous effort into staying connected to friends, you expected reciprocity. Yet your inner circle has apparently never given you reason to believe there would be a return on that investment. They are consistently distant, self-involved and unavailable. Still, you sought emotional support from friends who never offered it previously. Can you see how that might be a big ask? Don’t be hard on yourself for reaching out to friends or for over-giving. Just see reality and choose to change.

There are different kinds of friendships, some rooted in emotional intimacy, others based on shared interests. Your friendships fall squarely into the latter category. Now you’re ready for something more nourishing. You want a friendship you can depend on, with someone open, available, caring, honest and trustworthy. Do you believe you deserve to have that in your life? I ask because you have settled for crumbs while consistently over-giving. This might mean that you are also distant and unavailable. Over-giving is a shield that keeps relationships unequal. It hides a deeper need to control people and situations. That’s because this kind of giving is transactional: “I’ll do this for you, if someday, you do the same for me.”

Beneath over-giving sits scarcity, insecurity and the fear of not being good enough. Ready to shift out of that pain? Allow yourself to receive. By learning to accept everything from compliments to invitations, you can restore balance. Along the way, you will become a true friend to yourself. At that point it’s easier to bring caring people into your life, real friends who will have your best interests at heart.

My dates never turn into anything serious and I don’t know why. I read this thing that said, “You’re the common denominator in every bad relationship you’ve had.” So I keep wondering what I’m doing wrong. What is the biggest reason that people don’t find a lasting relationship?

The belief that every romantic relationship should lead to a commitment interferes with love. If dating doesn’t morph into marriage or living together, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. The relationship just hit its expiration date. If you’re trying too hard to drive a relationship toward a particular direction, you might come across as too intense, even desperate.

So enjoy the journey, the messy, joyful privilege of getting to know yourself in the company of another. Don’t cling to old-fashioned ideas about marriage as a better lifestyle choice than being single. Have fun. Stay open to possibilities while growing in self-awareness and love.

Meditation of the week
“The longer I live, the more uninformed I feel. Only the young have an explanation for everything,” said author Isabel Allende. Are you comfortable answering a direct question with: “I don’t know?”

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