Why won’t my friends ever text or call me first?

I have two best friends and they are totally different in many ways. The one thing they do have in common is that neither of them takes the initiative in calling or texting me. We never make plans to meet up unless it's me making the first call. I'm sick of giving so much to them and not receiving anything back. I've told them all this but they never change and I don't know what else to do. Are they really my best friends?

In the case of your two best friends (and maybe other people in your life as well), there’s a good possibility that part of the dynamic between you and each of them is about you feeling needed. For example, as much as having to organise social events and initiate contact might irritate you, it might also give you a sense of purpose and make you feel more confident that these people really need you. Generally speaking, there’s nothing wrong with this, except for the fact that you’ve got to the point where you seem to be feeling used, rather than needed.

It seems to me that what’s going on for you has a couple of layers to it. Firstly it’s possible you’re beginning to realise that perhaps you allow some people to take you for granted. The fact that you’re gaining insight into this part of your character is a good thing as it will enable you to re-evaluate relationships and assert yourself more when necessary. As a result, you’re quite rightly questioning the basis of some of your friendships.

Perhaps you could arrange to speak to each of them separately and explain that you feel you do all the running in the friendship, which you’re beginning to resent. Let each of them know that you care about them and don’t want to lose the friendship, but that you feel they need to make more of an effort so that it doesn’t feel so one-sided. Try to give some examples of what they might do to help the situation, such as initiating social events or phone calls.

At the end of the day if these people really are true friends they’ll take on board what you’ve said and try to make some changes. If they appear to be doing so, try to be patient with them as they may not get it right straight away. If they don’t seem willing to take your feelings into consideration then perhaps you should consider whether they’re your ‘true’ friends – if they are, you should all enjoy a give and take relationship. If you decide that they’re not true friends, you’ll obviously feel sad and disappointed, but at least you’ll have gained a much better understanding of your own boundaries and of what you expect from a friendship.

Next Steps

  • Do you want to understand your relationship better? Love Smart helps you work it all out.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.