“Dear Blunt BFF,
I’ve had a fight with my best friend. Well, actually, we keep having the same fight. It’s about how much effort I put into the relationship.
Every time I speak to her she keeps saying to me, ‘you never call me’. Which I don’t believe is true.
I don’t call her all the time, granted. But she doesn’t call me all the time either. I’ve known her for so many years and wondering if our relationship is fizzling out.
- Kelly, 28 and confused
I want to start by saying that it’s only natural to feel like your friendship is waning.
Everyone has moments when they feel like their friendship is ending, going in another direction or battling a rough patch.
Sometimes analysing the changing friendship can be detrimental to recovering the issues. However, I’m inclined to prefer reflection.
We can’t grow without reflection.
It might help you to know this cliched line isn’t new in relationships, and we’ve been using it for as long as phones have existed. While sometimes it can mean just that, ‘you never call me,’ this may be a mask for more serious feelings.
These serious feelings may be:
“You say you’ve called me, but you haven’t”
Facts are facts in friendships, and perhaps yours or her memory of events are at war. She thinks you don’t contact her, when it might be the other way around. You may think something different. It’s possible your friend has noticed that you don’t call or message that often. Or as often as she would like you to.
Sometimes we play tit for tat in friendships, trying to outdo each other or prove who is the better friend. That’s when your friend might think that she calls you more than you do. She may think she is a better friend because she calls more often.
(Side note: If your friend is doing this, she isn’t the better friend. From my experience, we don’t do nice things in our friendship to be the best. We do it because we care.)
“You don’t call me when I need you.”
Some people think we are mind readers. They think we will be there for them even when we don’t know that they’re suffering. This can be a cry for help, indicating that you need to be around more than you are now. It’s tough to know when your friend is hurting when you aren’t around.
“You aren’t being a good friend”
The definition of a good friend varies from person to person. Everyone has their own unique measuring stick of what constitutes friendship behaviour.
Some people fall short just because they are being themselves. This is a battle you can win or lose extremely easily.
According to some people and their measuring stick, you may never reach their standards of a ‘good friend’.
What can you do?
Evaluate your actions
You can’t do anything to control what she does.
The only thing you can evaluate and change is what you do. Take a look, honestly and thoroughly, at your own actions. Are you the one who isn’t calling? Or is she the one isn’t calling? Though I discourage tit for tat debates, it will help to understand both your behaviours.
Change your behaviour
If you think what she is saying has any merit, act on her concerns. If you think you really don’t put in the effort with your friendship, now is the time to take what your friend is saying and rectify your actions.
Alternatively, you may need to adjust what you’re doing to make sure your friend knows you’re there for them. It may be as simple as changing your language or using more evocative language.
Try saying you love them or miss them once in a while. If that doesn’t pull at their heartstrings, you may head to doomsville.
Rethink what is important to you
Most of us hate it when someone says you’re not doing enough in a relationship. The result can often result in the opposite of what we’re hoping to achieve: distance. The person can run the other way, ignore you, or take offence.
You may feel like this, having had your actions questioned. Set the record straight before running a mile. Leave the running to the athletes.
Be honest with them
This conversation isn’t what everyone wants to do, but it’s necessary. This is when you need your big boy/girl pants on.
Talk to your friend, express your confusion about what they said, and ask for clarification.
This lets them know your friendship communication needs refinement. Tell them their ambiguous statements mean little to you and only give you a headache.
Don’t beat yourself up
You won’t please everyone, so don’t try to.
Your friend’s expectations of you may exceed reasonable thinking, or what you’re able to give. This situation isn’t necessarily your fault, so don’t blame yourself. Make sure you’re happy.
Your Blunt BFF
If you're going through, more than likely I’ve been there and bought the t-shirt!
I’m Ellen McRae, your Blunt BFF, offering relationship lessons from my own chaotic experiences with love and friendship.
I’m a writer by trade and passionate storyteller by nature. My want is for a better opportunity for writers, especially fictional, in an increasingly technology dominant world. I write about figuring about love and relationships through fictional-reality.
The anecdotes might not always be true, but the lessons learned sure are!