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Do you give up with a friend who doesn’t contact you first?

(86 Posts)
Atqui Tue 09-Feb-21 12:02:23

I have a relatively new friend ( of 4 or 5 years) who lives on her own having been widowed 2 years ago.Before Covid we met for coffee or lunch regularly, and outside before lockdown.She is in a bubble with family so does have regular physical contact , but is still finding life difficult ( naturally). I hope I have been supportive in texting and sometimes ringing once a week to see if she is ok and she has always been happy to chat. However , it is always me that initiates this. Am I being annoying ? Should I just give up?

cornishpatsy Tue 09-Feb-21 12:27:35

I have found myself not contacting people just because I have nothing new to say and do not want to appear annoying so maybe she feels the same, knowing you are going to phone once a week she does not feel the need to contact you in between.

Pre Covid , there have been times where I will stop contacting people just to see if they will contact me, if they do not then it shows me that perhaps it was just me wanting to keep the contact going, I feel no ill will towards them, sometimes relationships can drift apart.

In your situation I would text to ask if she is up for a call, if not no worries. It will give her the chance to say if she wants to continue the contact.

Nellie098 Tue 09-Feb-21 13:04:21

There is an elderly lady from my knitting group that I keep in touch with on a weekly basis. Like your friend she has family and a carer but I phone her every week and we talk for ages about nothing in particular. I know that if she didn't hear from me for a while she would phone me but she knows I phone every week and we both feel comfortable with that arrangement. So if you get on well then keep in touch, even if it is you that makes the effort as I am sure it is appreciated and you would miss not meeting up again after lockdown. Have you ever mentioned to her that she might like to give you a phone call from time to time? Whatever, wait until after lockdown and if your friendship changes then make a decision. There are others that I know in the same situation that I have given up on as we have nothing really in common.

Sparklefizz Tue 09-Feb-21 13:07:02

there have been times where I will stop contacting people just to see if they will contact me, if they do not then it shows me that perhaps it was just me wanting to keep the contact going,

I've done the same and suddenly realised that I've been propping up a friendship sometimes for years.

On the other hand, there are some very dear friends I've had for years, and we may not speak for a long time but when we do, it's as if we only met last week.

Peasblossom Tue 09-Feb-21 13:15:45

Hi hum, this is me. I operate from the basis that people probably don’t want to talk to/meet up with me and that I’m a bit of a nuisance so I find it really hard to initiate contact by phone or (in other times) to suggest meeting up. I’m always steeled for rejection or at best tolerance.

Text/letters/email no problem because then I’m not intruding.

I know this is my problem but I find it really, really difficult.

Also when you’re widowed there’s always this additional feeling that people are just being kind and you don’t want to make more contact than they want. Even confident people worry about that.

Nonogran Tue 09-Feb-21 15:08:53

During lockdown, I've been disappointed that I seem to be the one who initiates contact with friends some of whom I've had for years. I'm the one who texts to ask if they're ok etc?
I've decided to give up on them and will wait and see if they initiate contact post lockdown. If they don't, well that says it all doesn't it?
Life goes on.

keepingquiet Tue 09-Feb-21 15:57:30

I think sometimes people don't understand that relationships, including friendships, need work and sometimes people are lazy.
I have lost friends through being in a one sided situation and realising they just don't care about me that much.
I also have friends who I know will contact me if I haven't been in touch with them for a while.
What do you get out of these phone calls? If it only a sense that you are doing her a favour then I'm not sure it is worth pursuing. Is she interested in you and your life? If not then why bother?
Over the years I've been friends with people I thought appreciated my company. Gradually I came to realise that wasn't the case and backed off.
Now I only give my time to people who want it, and there are plenty of them I'm very lucky to say.

JaneJudge Tue 09-Feb-21 16:01:04

I am like Peasblossom too. I find it really hard to ring people unless it is planned. I ring my Mum but everyone else I feel like it is an intrusion for some reason, yet don't feel it is when people ring me confused

FarNorth Tue 09-Feb-21 16:13:21

I'm another one who tends to feel I may be a nuisance. I will text to ask if a friend fancies a chat, tho, and that usually works out okay.

In lockdown, tho, I've been even slower than usual to contact anyone. I feel as if I'm in suspended animation, just drifting through the days with no aim.

Maybe one of these things applies to your friend.

Why not just mention to your friend that you wonder if she's happy about you phoning every week, as you wouldn't want to be a nuisance.

Madgran77 Tue 09-Feb-21 16:23:22

I think texting her to say "Fancy a chat?" is the best way. If she is struggling then motivating herself might be very hard. You initiating the contact gives an opening that might help her.

Kim19 Tue 09-Feb-21 16:29:19

Nope, I have no problem with always being the one to initiate a call. However, I am extremely selective and know that these people will tell me if they haven't time to chat.

grannie62 Wed 10-Feb-21 10:24:27

Some of us were brought up not being allowed to make chatty phone calls (remember when it cost quite a lot?) and as a result don't make calls unless they seriously need to.

Mauriherb Wed 10-Feb-21 10:31:50

I must admit that lockdown has made me reassess a few relationships. At the start I was making A conscious effort to ring around and check on everyone and most people rang me. A couple of so called friends haven't bothered to make contact even though they know I'm on my own so I've decided that maybe they aren't true friends.

Nicky7of7 Wed 10-Feb-21 10:33:17

I’m just like Peasblossom and JaneJudge. I am very shy and have low self esteem. Having worked full time until retirement and then nursed my husband for three years I was totally isolated. I found it incredibly difficult to make new friends, so with great trepidation I joined a walking group, the Rock Choir and the WI but it seemed to me that most people already had an established “friend” base and didn’t want to add anyone, so I retreated into my shell! I do have three friends and use the text before ringing way of contact, which seems to work well.

BigBertha1 Wed 10-Feb-21 10:36:39

DD1 is like this Atqui - she puts messages on Facebook about being lonely and sad but she never rings for a chat. I ring her and she has nothing to say and I dont have much more. I keep ringing though. I would keep on as you say she seems happy to chat.

claresc0tt Wed 10-Feb-21 10:37:57

Hello, sorry but I've always thought this an incredibly childish approach to friendship. If you like the person and value their friendship initiate conversation. If you don't, then don't!

Boolya Wed 10-Feb-21 10:39:15

This might be a bit extreme, but years ago I realised that my cousin had stopped getting in touch, but when I contacted her she was her usual chatty self. In time it very sadly became apparent that it was an early symptom of dementia.

Angiesusan Wed 10-Feb-21 10:39:46

I’m finding that I have to be the one to do the contacting and am wondering whether to wait and see if anyone contacts me. Even my sisters don’t bother.

Gingergirl Wed 10-Feb-21 10:43:59

I think different friendships call for different action. If you’d like to continue your friendship, then why not contact her. I’d do it sensitively by maybe a text, as already mentioned. Then it’s easier for her to not respond or say no thanks. She may well want the friendship to continue but these covid times are strange and we all have different ways of dealing with things. I wouldn’t assume anything but be honest,don’t pretend your contact is only to support her when it’s probably a two way thing.

timetogo2016 Wed 10-Feb-21 10:50:43

I don`t give it a thought tbh.
I contact people either by calling or texting.
Make no difference who makes contact first as it`s the friendship that matters.

LuckyFour Wed 10-Feb-21 10:55:11

I contacted two of my cousins (all in our 70s) who I hadn't spoken to for a while, I phoned them a couple of times and then oddly both phoned me. It was lovely to realise they had both enjoyed our chats and catch-ups. I had felt distanced from them but now (thanks to lockdown) our friendship and shared history has been renewed.
If in doubt about phoning someone then do it (but not too often),

effalump Wed 10-Feb-21 10:55:30

I can't imagine ringing up someone if I don't have anything particular to talk about. I guess I'm not a chatterbox. Please don't cut them off just because they don't initiate a call. It might be, like me, that she thinks she may be interrupting something you normally do. For example, you may be a follower of the TV soaps, or certain quizz shows and she doesn't want to spoil your watching. I'm not a person with a huge circle of friends but the ones I have have stayed loyal even though I may not speak to them more than a couple of time a year. I understand people have their own circle of friends and are probably busy with them.

TrendyNannie6 Wed 10-Feb-21 11:09:46

SparkleFizz totally agree with your post

Frankie51 Wed 10-Feb-21 11:09:50

If you get something out of the friendship, and it helps you, then go ahead and carry on making the first contact. If you contact her because you feel she needs support, then that's a good enough reason to continue. However if you are asking this question, it seems to me that you want to get out of the friendship and that's your answer. If she's really bothered she will contact you after a while anyway.

Craftycat Wed 10-Feb-21 11:11:13

Can you drop into the conversation something like - do let me know how you got on at....- or something like that & see if she rings you.