Your friends seem to have gone a little quiet recently. Your phone used to vibrate off the hook, but the sound of vibrations has now been replaced by the sound of crickets.
You could’ve sworn you saw tumbleweed rolling across your Facebook feed the other day.
Your friends don’t seem to invite you to things as often, or respond to your messages as enthusiastically as they once did, but for the life of you, you can’t figure out why.
Now, we’re all busy people. They may well have a lot going on in their lives, and there might be extenuating circumstances, but have you considered that you might be (at least part of) the problem?
It’s a harsh truth to face; that your behavior might be pushing away some of the people you hold dearest.
It’s not all bad though. After all, if you’re causing the problem, then you can be the one to fix things too. The power is in your hands.
Here are a few things you could be doing, whether consciously or subconsciously, that could be the reason why your friends have seemed a bit distant lately.
1. You’re Flaky
We’ve all got far flakier in this modern world of social media and instant communication, but just because everyone’s doing it, doesn’t mean it’s okay.
Your true friends will understand if, now and again, you need to cancel plans because you’re just not feeling up to it, or have another genuine reason.
However, if you get a reputation for constantly bailing at the last minute, then, in the end, people will just stop inviting you to things.
Who can blame them?
If you need to cancel or, if you’re honest with yourself, you just don’t want to go, make sure you let whoever you’ve made plans with know ASAP so that they can make other arrangements and aren’t left high and dry.
2. You Gossip Behind Their Backs
Even if you’re starting all your sentences with “I love them, but…,” you still shouldn’t be gossiping about your friends behind their backs, even with mutual friends.
You will, of course, end up discussing them with other people, and you might express your worry or concern for them, or even laugh fondly about something silly they’ve done, but it should never be in a nasty way.
You should always genuinely have their best interests at heart, and you should give them any advice you feel they might benefit from to their face.
Gossip inevitably ends up reaching the ears of the subject, and they probably won’t like it. Always think before you speak, and consider how you’d feel if someone you considered to be a friend said the same thing about you.
3. Judging Them
Let they who are without sin cast the first stone… and all that. Judging isn’t a friendly thing to do, so you shouldn’t be doing it to your friends.
We all do things that we perhaps shouldn’t, and we probably know we shouldn’t when we’re doing them.
However, we can never know the whole story behind why a friend has decided to do the things they do. There are often mitigating circumstances. Even if they are in the wrong, nobody’s perfect.
What people need from their friends is support, and sometimes even brutal honesty, but never judgement.
4. Telling Them What They ‘Should’ Do
Think you know what’s best for them?
Friendly advice is one thing. However, there’s a difference between that and categorically telling them that you think what they’re doing is wrong, and then informing them just what, in your opinion, they should be doing instead.
Do you like being told what to do? I thought not. Neither do your friends.
Do you ever suggest activities for you to do, or do you just wait for them to organize everything?
Do you ever take the initiative? Are you ever the one that rings THEM up to see how THEY are?
If they’re always the one starting the conversation and making the effort to keep in touch, and they see no effort coming from you, then there’s inevitably going to come a time when they stop bothering.
6. Expecting More Than You’re Willing to Give
Do you ask things of your friends that you wouldn’t be willing to do for them?
Remember, a large part of friendship is reciprocity when it comes to time, money, effort, and love.
If you’re always asking for favors and never returning them, or not showing your gratitude, then they’re bound to end up feeling like you take them for granted.
It’s all about finding the right balance of give and take.
7. You’re Making The Same Mistake For The 10th Time
Are you back with your horrible ex after having broken up for the 50th time? Do you persist in making the same terrible romantic decisions? Or terrible decisions in general, for that matter?
Whilst we’re always there to support our friends no matter how crazy their decisions seem, if you see someone you care about making the same bad decision time and time again, not caring how it affects them or those around them, then there comes a point when you just can’t sit back and watch it happen anymore.
If people care about you, they don’t want to see you suffer. There will come a point when they’ll get sick of your self-sabotage and won’t feel able to support it anymore.
Have a think about the way you treat yourself and whether you’d be able to support one of your friends who was doing the same.
8. You’re Nothing But Negative
Sure, life can be tough, and we all need to complain and vent sometimes, but if you do nothing BUT complain, that can be pretty toxic. It isn’t something that other people will want to be around.
If you persistently dwell on the negatives and never look on the bright side of life, you’re not going to be easy or pleasant company.
It can be hard for a friend to listen to you complain again and again, especially if, from their point of view, there are actually plenty of positive things going on in your life.
9. You’re Always Late
Punctuality not your strong point? You might want to work on that. People will always understand if you’re late now and again for reasons beyond your control.
However, if you consistently fail to turn up when you say you will, then your friends can’t be blamed for feeling like you don’t really have much respect for them or value their time.
Do Unto Others…
I know this is all getting a bit biblical, but the basic message here is do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
If your behavior toward your friends is behavior that you wouldn’t accept from them, then you need to re-evaluate, make a few changes, and try to show them that you’re making a genuine effort.
With just a little more self-awareness and consideration, you can nurture those treasured friendships and make sure they last a lifetime.
Katie splits her time between writing and translation. She writes about travel and self-care and never stays in one place for too long. She’s currently based in beautiful Cornwall, England, after long stints in Brazil and Mexico. She spends her free time trail running, exploring and devouring vegan food.