Ask Dr. NerdLove: Why Is This Friendship Fizzling Out?

Dear Dr. NerdLove,

I was wondering if you could help me out with friendship dynamics.

I met this really cool girl, we’ll call her Zoe, about 3 weeks ago. We hit it off immediately: 3-hour dialog, a lot in common, super easy to speak to, soul-sister type of feeling. She is a far more extraverted person than I usually hang out with, but that made me excited because she is connected with this huge group of other cool individuals. When I first met her, I got a weird feeling about her character, but it was hard to put why and since the connection felt great, I brushed it off as me with too high expectations for individuals.

This woman and her husband host a weekly get-together in their house, which they use as a type of open house to contact their friends. Fun games, fantastic conversation, etc.. All the people were fine. Additionally, Zoe came over to hang out with me in my home several times and we hit it off just like the first time we hung out.

The thing is that the connection appears to be tapering off, and I really don’t understand why.

I got sick lately, beginning about a month ago, where I can not drive and the doctors are not sure what’s wrong (I am not contagious). So I have not been able to actually get out of my home and I have not been able to make it to some of those weekly get-togethers or other things my new buddy group has planned, like hiking excursions and other social events on the weekends. I told my friend what was happening with me around the time I first got ill, and she looked concerned and sympathetic in text messages, but that is as far as it went.

This is sort of where the problems began. I have not seen her in some time because I can not drive. My sickness makes it tough to be out and about so I have not risked catching a ride to her place. I invited her over to my place to hang out but she said she was busy and was so sorry. After a while, she began not replying to my texts as much (I send you maybe once a week and she answers about half of the time). She never checked in on me to see if I was doing fine, and it began to feel awkward reaching out to her, knowing I was probably going to get rejected, possibly by being turned down for hanging out or simply not receiving a response in any way. I understand that she has been extremely busy socially recently also.

I don’t know if my expectations are unrealistic, but they are so it is clear in my mind goes when I am anxious: A great friend would have checked in on me to see if I was getting better in my illness. A good friend would have attempted to see me or reschedule understanding I can not go anywhere, but she’s not. A good friend would have reacted to my texts even merely to let me know she got them{} ignoring them entirely. She’s apologized for not responding to my own texts before, saying how much she cares for and misses me, but the behaviour does not change and I don’t see any activities supporting her words.

I understand this friendship is young (again on the order of a few weeks ), but I can not help but find the intuitive hit this woman is much more self-centered than she originally let on. I have another close friend who said he has seen similar patterns in {} . Essentially, they be certain you’re attached to them and appreciate them and go over to their place to hang out, but once they know you are hooked, they sit back and relax. I really don’t want to think this is the sort of brand new friend I found. I’d hate to get rid of this friend because she is sort of this self-titled”leader” of the new group and I enjoy plenty of the people I have met inside, but it seems really crappy being ignored, particularly when I am sick. And to tell the truth, I miss her. Again, she is cool and fun to hang out with.

Are my expectations too high? Can I have a blind spot that I am unaware of that is making me the problem in this circumstance? I’ve often suspected I’ve social dynamics struggles because I have not been able to keep friendships for at least 2-3 years since I was small, and I know that I am super sensitive and have any anxiety which gets in my way. I also have a propensity to assume people do not like me and do not want me around, when in fact I have been told I am a joy to be around and very socially calibrated (I believe I just learned the moves and can behave well). I know these things are raising my anxiety around the situation and I am wondering if it is not just me and my own difficulties.

Assuming there is absolutely nothing wrong, and this is normal for new friendships, have you got any hints on the best way best to maintain connection? I have not accused her of anything since I do not even know if she has done anything wrong!

I do not want still another new friendship to fizzle because I do not know what I am doing. This has happened to me before, and previously I have just stopped reaching out entirely, losing the friendship completely.

Sick and Abandoned

There’re a few possibilities, SaA.

The first is that you might have rounded up the amount of the connection the two of you had. This is not all that unusual; we feel the thrill of New Relationship Energy with platonic relationships as frequently as we do with intimate or sexual ones. You met someone who is really cool and you really enjoyed spending some time with. It is understandable that you would feel strongly about this new relationship you’d. Unfortunately, that we might be excited about a new relationship — whatever the type — does not necessarily mean that the person we are enthusiastic about feels the same way.  It may well be that while you’re super-hyped to get this magnificent new man in your life, she did not feel the same way. Not that she did not like you or did not feel that you’re cool, just that she did not necessarily see you as her new BFF.

The next possibility is that your absence meant that the two of you were not able to keep the friendship going to the same degree. One of the things we seldom consider is that friendships require both time and maintenance.  It requires seeing each other at least once every few weeks to keep a friendship going and preventing them from beginning to fade. Considering how recently you met with her and how much your illness has incapacitated you, the very fact that you haven’t managed to place in these keeping-the-connection-going moments may indicate that your friendship meter began depleting. This has nothing to do with you and everything related to just the way people form and build social networks. Without active maintenance, they begin to go away. Since she has been planning more active outings your illness has been preventing you from attending, then it is that much harder for you two to get together and cement those bonds.

Another possibility is that she is a bit benignly self-centered; she tends to favor things on her terms, such as when and how she sees her friends. If her open-house occasions are her favorite means of keeping those social networks, then the very fact that you haven’t managed to create it through no fault of your own — supposed that she simply did not think about seeing you more often.

Along the same lines, if she is a real social butterfly, it might well be that she is topping out in the amount of connections or friendships she could reasonably maintain; we all have only so much emotional bandwidth and we could only reasonably maintain so many social connections before a number of them begin to fade.

It might also be that your illness makes her uncomfortable, or that she is just selfish and does not like putting herself out there for people she is not already near.

There is not really any way of knowing, and agreeing beyond a particular point isn’t useful. It is too tempting to blame yourself or move down unhelpful roads that are not really connected to reality.

Now all that having been said:” I think that the likeliest explanation is that your link was not as tight for the two of you. Not everybody bonds with other people super-quickly and you could have had expectations that she was not going to have the ability to fulfill at this point in your friendship. That is a damn shame, to be certain.

However, what I would not  do is assume that this is because people do not like you. Just like intimate or sexual relationships, occasionally we will meet people who we’ve mad chemistry, but we just are not compatible with on some basic level.  And it might well suck, because they’re amazing, but it conditions mean that it just can not work out. Similarly, {} intimate or sexual relationships, not every friendship is supposed to last forever… or even for terribly long.

If your disease eases up or you find a remedy which makes it easier for you to get about, then it could be possible to reconstruct that link and also put in the time necessary to solidify things. Or it might be that, circumstances being what they are, this is a friendship which you might need to let go of and prioritize ones where your buddies are more prepared to make space for you and your own restrictions.

Very good luck.

We have both gained a substantial amount of weight since we have been married, but I am trying to mitigate that with exercise and diet. The issue is, he is not; and whenever I try to converse with him about it, he makes me feel like I am the bad guy for bringing this up.

Look, we are both approaching 40, and I know we will never be the”twinks” we were when we met, but I would love to be better than I am, and I am finding it rather tricky to find healthy with no support. His sex drive is nowhere close to it had been when we met. And it is frustrating because most this is correctable and he is refusing to even attempt. It is like he does not care.

I really like my husband. I’ll never”fat-shame” him, and that I know my weight struggles are not his issue. But I’d find it far easier to handle this when I feel like that he had been {} , and if he would attempt to be healthier too. I don’t know what to do, short of giving him an ultimatum: it is me or the sugar, dude.

One of the universal truths is that gravity and time make fools of us all ultimately, CFHH, and what we do is ultimately fighting a delaying action. This gets harder as we begin hitting our 40s and 50s, when our metabolisms have a gigantic hit.

That is when everyone has to make a decision: is it worthwhile to them to change things up and operate at pushing back against the inevitable?

While it’s definitely possible to be fat and healthy, it seems like your husband is not . What is slightly more about is that he does not care.

This is where it is time to begin using your words and figuring out how he is feeling. His deciding to let himself go could be an indication of — and trigger — melancholy. One of the ways that depression manifests is that you are a useless pile of garbage and there is no use in trying to do anything about it. Then as your physical condition deteriorates, you take that as evidence  which you’re, in actuality, crap, which reinforces those feelings. He may be reacting to injury or a sudden change in his life such as the death of loved one or the loss of his job.

But he is the only person who can let you know just what’s happening. So the best thing to do right now is sit down and have who Awkward Conversation — roughly your wants, his wants and exactly what’s happening. You will want to highlight that part of what you would like from him is his support for your targets, in addition to your nervousness about his health. Sleep apnea, for instance, can lead to potentially deadly  complications. So let him understand: you want the both of you to be there, not only for a fantastic time but for a long time. And you want that opportunity to be collectively .

The sooner you are aware of how he is feeling — and he knows what it is that you want from him — the earlier you can come up with a way for the two of you to get your needs met.

Very good luck.

A couple of months back I wrote in about my friend Sarah.  

I’m delighted to report that both the trip and dialogue were a success. She confirmed she had captured the feels and was considering what it’d be like to get serious but when her family member unexpectedly passed it away her life into disarray and she understood our lives were not moving in similar directions — that I agreed with. We agreed it was best to stay friends and she invited me to find active dating. I wanted her all the best as she continues to handle the family issues at home and reminded her that she has friends here that care for her. As for the trip itself we had a blast and proceeded to be physical.

I’ve mixed feelings about the results of course but recognize it’s for the best. We stay close friends and we are staying in touch. I need to thank you and the community for those remarks which encouraged me to finally get the closure with Sarah.

Currently, I am back in therapy. In spite of the confidence I gained from my time with Sarah it is not enough to calm my nerves and get comfortable around people. I still have to work the stress that continues to hold me back from actively relationship. The work persists.

Hanging From The Telephone

I’m glad your trip was a success, even though it was not necessarily the outcome you had been hoping for.

Meanwhile, you are on the right path: caring for yourself and functioning on your own anxiety issues is the right option.   It ai not glamorous or even terribly fun… but at the end, you will be in a far better place. And, even better: you will be ready once you find another chance for connection and love.

You have got this HTBT.


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