My thoughts about friends and friendship

Hi Brooke,

I’ve been feeling really down lately because I feel like I don’t have any real friends. I’m in my mid-40’s and I see other women my age out with their friends having dinner and going on vacations together, but I don’t have a close group of friends to do that with, and it makes me feel like shit.

A little background: My best friend (or the woman I consider my best friend), lives in my city but I only see her once or twice a year. She has a demanding job, 4 kids (!), and leads a girl scout troop, plus she has to take her kids to activities and stuff. She’s also clinically depressed and has had a couple of suicide attempts. So on the one hand, I know that she is dealing with a bunch of shit, and that she often doesn’t have energy to socialize. But we’ve been friends since college and a lot of times she won’t even return my calls or emails. In the past, when she has disappeared for a while, she has told me that I mean a lot to her and that she doesn’t want to burden me when she’s going through a hard time. I know all this, but I still feel snubbed when she doesn’t return my calls or emails. It makes me feel like I’m not important to her at all. I wonder if I died, if she would make time to come to my funeral. If you never see or talk to a friend, are they still a friend?

There are a couple of other women I see once or twice a month and we also text sometimes. They do not know each other. These friendships are somewhat new, only a few months old, and I’m grateful for them, but the problem is that I am always the one initiating contact. I’m always the one who calls or texts first and I’m the one that asks to get together. Since I’m always initiating (just like with my best friend), I never really know if they sincerely enjoy my company or they’re just being nice.

I have shared with therapists in the past that I feel really lonely, and they tell me there are a bunch of people out there who feel the same way I do. If that’s true, where are all these women seeking friends, because I can’t find them! Most of the women I know seem to have plenty of other friends already and no room for me.

In the past, I have made what I thought were good friends, but they turned out to be situational friends. Meaning, once the situation is changes, the friends disappear too. So I had friends in school, at work, and at church, but every time I moved on from that situation, no one ever kept in touch. It makes me so sad to think how many women I thought were my friends were just really social acquaintances who no longer give me a second thought.

I know my thoughts about this situation are really negative. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable for friendships to be a two-way street. On the plus side, I have a wonderful husband who is truly my best friend forever, but I really long to have some close female friends. I’ve been trying my entire life, but I feel really lonely most of the time.