Friendships are a unique form of relationships in several ways. For starters, we enter them of our own accord, unlike family relationships. Additionally, friendships lack the formal structures that are typically present in other relationships like marriage and familial bonds. What’s more, research suggests that friendships form the core of one’s happiness levels and well-being. In fact, strong social relationships matter more to us as we age, which is why it’s important for us to form meaningful connections that make us happy.
According to the authors of the still-ongoing Grant Study, a study which aims to monitor the happiness levels and well-being of 1,600 Harvard undergraduates through their entire lives, “the capacity to love and be loved was the single strength most clearly associated with subjective well-being at age 80.”
Yet, it’s a known fact that friendships change as we grow older. In the current COVID-struck world – where most of us are picking up the social connections from their pre-pandemic lives – some may slowly realize that their friendships probably aren’t the same as they once were. On the other hand, we may have formed new connections and friendships during these difficult times. However, not all acquaintances or connections can be transformed into fulfilling, lasting friendships.
Sometimes you may want to re-kindle a friendship from your distant past, hoping for a happy reunion despite spotting some warning signs that your friend doesn’t care about you. Indeed, given that we are largely social creatures, your excitement towards forging a friendship may cause you to overlook some of the signs someone doesn’t actually want to be your friend.
Friendship is a two-way street, and it’s not healthy to force it upon someone who clearly isn’t interested in being buddies with you. So, if you’re concerned that a friend of yours appears disinterested in your relationship or is acting up, here are seven pointers to help you differentiate true friends from mere acquaintances.
One of the easiest signs that your friend doesn’t care about you anymore is when you feel that your they don’t really know or understand you. It’s possible that with time you may have simply grown apart, and that your interests now vary. However, if your friend doesn’t make an effort to keep up with your likes and preferences, and seems indifferent to your opinions and feelings, it could signify that they don’t truly value your friendship.
Not feeling included is a sign of a problem friendship shutterstock/fizkes
It cannot be denied that communication and consistency form the bedrock for any fulfilling and reliable friendship. Which is why a steady lack of interest in catching up or a refusal to make plans with you can be considered as signs that someone doesn’t want to be your friend.
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We all have busy lives, but if you notice that you are continually the first one to touch base and attempt making plans with someone, or that they doesn’t seem enthusiastic about meeting you, it could be that they are no longer interested in being friends with you and are unable to talk to you about their feelings.
One of the most obvious signs someone doesn’t want to be your friend is when they leave you out of their plans to hang out or attend an event, even when your other friends may have been invited. When confronted, they may offer a vague excuse or inadequate reasoning for why they left you out, leaving you even more puzzled each time. While this can sound like a common movie trope, it is especially hurtful and can sometimes make you question your friendship.
“A steady lack of interest in catching up or a refusal to make plans with you can be considered as signs that someone doesn’t want to be your friend.”
With social media becoming an integral part of our lives, a reasonable way to gauge the true state of your friendship could be to observe your friend’s social media feed. You may find that they do not post about you or tag you, even if you were attending the same event and were present in the picture they posted.
Indeed, not everyone uses social media in the same manner and to the same degree, and thus social media shunning is not a foolproof way to gauge your friendship with someone. However, excluding you repeatedly from their socializing plans and ignoring you on social media whilst they’re active on it are reliable signs your friend doesn’t really care about you.
Despite our hectic schedules and busy lives, we usually make time to catch up with the people we truly care about. After all, healthy communication and timely, mutually enriching interactions are key to sustaining friendships.
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One of the warning signs your friend doesn’t care about you can be their remote behavior and tendency to be preoccupied when you’re making a conversation. Paying attention to the non-verbal cues can sometimes offer a clearer picture too. For instance, if someone is always playing with the phone or looking off into the distance rather than listening to you, they may be trying to avoid you.
Indeed, if you find that your friend doesn’t pay attention to you or responds with unenthusiastic answers when you’re trying to make a conversation, it could be a sign that your relationship may have faded.
While it can’t be denied that every relationship can face minor stumbles at some point, good friends often work together to clear misunderstandings and overcome the obstacles that stand in their way. However, holding you responsible for everything that ever went wrong, and never acknowledging their mistake despite clear evidence of their wrongdoing could be clear signs that person doesn’t want to be your friend any longer.
True friends prove to be reliable during hardships and support each other through thick and thin to the best of their ability. So, being too busy, citing excuses, or flaking out on you every time you need help or support is one of the unmistakable signs your friend doesn’t truly care about you.
“One sign your friend doesn’t care about you is if they respond negatively to news about your success or accomplishments, or never seem excited for your growth.”
This is often compounded by the fact that this fair-weather friend does often touch base with you to seek help or ask a favor but is unapproachable when you’re in dire straits. While you may often end up feeling hurt or bothered by this opportunistic behavior, it could be seen as a clear sign someone doesn’t want to be your friend.
One of the definite signs your friend doesn’t care about you is if they mostly respond negatively to news about your success or accomplishments, or never seem excited for your growth. Real friendships are based on mutual admiration, support and encouragement. Evidently, the lack of support and constant negativity coming your way could be surefire signs someone doesn’t want to be your friend.
Given the voluntary nature of friendship, it often gets subjected to uncertainties of life in a way that other relationships don’t. Here are some ways to deal with indications that a friendship is now drawing to a close.
The power of friendships is real and our buddies play an important role in our happiness and well-being, which is why we need to be mindful when touching base with friends from the past or trying to forge new friendships. Just as you can’t possibly be good friends with everyone, it can be unfair on your behalf to impose your friendship, despite signs your friend doesn’t seem to really care about you.
Try practising acceptance and consider this as an opportunity to express gratitude for the friends in your life who will always be by your side through good times and rough tides. In the meantime, keep your chin up and do not let the disappointment prevent you from finding your tribe. •
Main image: shutterstock/Prostock-studio
Have you ever had to end a friendship because it was clear your friend didn't care about you anymore or had lost interest? Perhaps you've had a one-sided friendship and had to make changes and now have an ex-best friend! Let us know your thoughts below and in our friendship forum.
Fitness and healthy food blogger, food photographer and stylist, travel-addict and future self journaler. Sonia loves to write and has resolved to dedicate her life to revealing how easy and important it is to be happier, stronger and fitter each day. Follow her daily pursuits at FitFoodieDiary or on Instagram.
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