Post # 1
I was hoping for some assistance with my relationship with my BFF. We’ve been best friends our entire lives but had to spend long chunks of time apart since she used to live far away (for close to ten years). She just moved with her husband and now they live ten minutes away from me and my SO.
She has never been a person who LOVED being around other people, I suppose but that never used to include me. Before she moved away we saw each other almost every day even when we weren’t in school. I know relationships change and grow and shift… and I know I am definitely trying to be in her shoes- but the problem is we’re socially very different.
If our situations were reversed and I had just moved to a new town where I only had two friends (her and her husband) and I was working part time I would be crawling out of my skin and my apartment and I would be making plans left and right to see her. We may not hang out every single day, since I understand people have lives, but I never would have thought that trying to see her once a week would be too much.
Anyway, she’s not me, so putting myself in her shoes wasn’t a helpful exercise for me it almost made me feel more frustrated, which was fruitless. I know we are still friends and close and it is not her way of trying to distance herself and break up as friends. I know this is just her “having limited energy for people” as she puts it. I am trying to be understanding, but I end up a little disappointed each time she says no to plans.
The reason I’m posting this here is because I’d like to hear from introverted or socially anxious bees- what is the best way for me to ask her to hang out without her feeling pressure (which will probably make the situation worse?) or should I take a hands off approach? Or could that make her feel like I’m not interested in being friends?
I’m sure that I just need to talk to her about it, but I’d be interested to hear some opinions before I talk to her since I want to do my best to approach it gently. I know she is not intentionally hurting my feelings.
Post # 2
Hmm yeah I can relate because I’m introverted as well. Although it’s weird that her “limited energy” applies to you because you are best friends. For me and most other introverts the “people drain me” thing only applies to strangers and acquaintances but not really good friends or close family. I love to hang out with these people and would do it with regularity if I had the opportunity.
So I think if you guys really are BFFs then there must be another reason. She just moved back into town… Is she really busy setting things up? Or working? Does she have kids? Although once a week is a pretty decent amount of time to spend together as adult BFFs in my opinion. When you’re young you can hang out with your friends every day but when you get older it doesn’t matter how much you like someone, it’s hard to fit in a friend around chores, work, spending time with SO/family, etc.
Where do you ask her to hang out? If you want to hang out more you might need to suggest hanging out at her place rather than going somewhere. Although that can sometimes backfire if she’s the type of person who feels she needs to triple clean her house before any guests 😂 I think convenience is key though. Might not have anything to do with you, she could just be busy.
Post # 3
For me knowing plans in advance is a huge thing. If I got a text from a friend at 10am that said hey want to meet for lunch at noon? I’m liable to panic. So asking a couple days in advance is always nice. Or asking when she’s free in the next week, something like that. If this is a new town to her then driving somewhere new may cause anxiety. I’d suggest picking her up or finding a place to meet that is very close to home. I hate driving into the city area vs the suburbs because of how crazy the road system and parking can get. So maybe if you find a way to avoid those things it would help her feel more comfortable? Also have places in mind. Instead of where do you want to go/what do you want to do? You could say hey want to try this italian place X for lunch? I’ve been there many times and it’s great. Or, want me to pick you up for the farmers market this Saturday at 8am? Sometimes introverts get stuck in their own head. You seem like a good friend though so thank you for trying with her.
Post # 4
Try something really open ended when you have a not so busy week, like “I need some girl time this week. What should we do?” But don’t give up on her, us socially-anxious type have a lot of demons (lol) and we really depend on our extroverted friends to help us adjust and come out of our shells after a big change like a move.
Post # 5
peachykeener : I’m not an introvert but maybe just sit down and have an open honest conversation with your friend.
Tell her you love her and you understand her personality and perspective but that you being the opposite personality wise is causing issues for you. Explain that her not taking up your invitation as often as you extend one, makes you feel a little crappy. Explain that you know your reaction is illogical because you know with her that declining your invite, is not actually personal. Tell her that you also understand that you calling her to catch up regularly probably has the same effect on her. Maybe then float the idea that to makr you both feel comfortable, you plan a catch up twice a month that’s continously standing. For example every second Tuesday of the month you meet up at the same restaurant for dinner at 6.45pm. On the last Thursday of every month you see a 9pm session at the movies.
By doing it this way you are not having to extend invitations that are not accepted. She doesnt feel pressured to attend things that she isn’t interested in. The routine of a set pattern and familiar place will not be so mentally draining for her too. You could also float throwing in a random catch up doing something more off the cuff which is more in keeping with your personality. I think this could be a good compromise and allows you both to have your needs met by way of the friendship and 3 catch ups in 30 days is pretty good for touching base with an adult friendship.
Post # 6
I would ask her what feels like a good amount of socializing time for her and then respect that. Also, maybe making plans farther out might feel good for her.
I have a friend who I love deeply, but interacting with her can be EXHAUSTING. She’s pretty extroverted and her energy is almost frenetic with its intensity. She also is at a different place in her life where she has a lot more spaciousness to hang out than I do. I would hate for her to feel that I didn’t love her, but with all that I’m holding in my life, I just don’t have time or the energy to be around her the way I did before I had a family of my own. The last time we made plans (that didn’t fall through), we had to make them over a month in advance.
Post # 7
I have a weird combo of issues with this. I am very much the extrovert, once I’m out or talking to people. I can talk to anybody.
But, it can take C4 to get me out of the house. Working from home probably reinforces it. Just forcing myself to go to the store is a BFD. I recognize that this is my depression flaring and I’m working on managing that better.
Once I’m out, I’ll be happy about it. For awhile.
The really odd thing is that if someone else will be doing the driving, it’s much easier for me to get motivated to go out. I’m a pretty good driver. In over three decades, not a single accident that was my fault or a ticket. So, I can’t really explain that.
So, I’m an extrovert/hermit hybrid.
Post # 8
How old are you? I’m in my late 30s and I think that seeing a specific friend once a week is a lot. Not saying it doesn’t happen occassionally with my friends as we’ll have events back to back weeks, but overall, I would say we hang out about once, maybe twice a month.
I am also what they call a social introvert. I get my energy from being at home, but I enjoy socializing. There is a fine line for me when it comes to too much socializing, but I also get bored at home if I spend too much time alone.
What types of things are you inviting her to do? Have you tried inviting her over for some pizza and movies at home? If she is socially anxious, going out might not be fun for her at all, but some intimate time with a friend at home might be more her speed.
Post # 9
ArcadiaRose : I’m right there with you! I think if you truly enjoy the other persons company, usually the “too many people” wouldn’t apply to them. I guess this is partly why I am becomming hurt. Try as I might to understand from her perspective, I am having a hard time. The move was emotionally very complicated for them, especially her as she loved her work. Things became toxic and they had to choose their mental health over the place they thought they would retire from. She and hubby worked at the same place. They moved at the beginning of October, so initially I tried lots of space so there would be time to unpack and settle. I have never known her to be a depressed person, but part of me is worried if she wont see me that she may be becomming depressed (since she didn’t entirely want to move, she’s starting over professionally after 10 years, she was close friends with some people at work she wont get to see any more, new home, etc.).
The where is the problem! Haha, for as much of an extrovert as I am- for me that’s not crazy social stuff. I mostly just like to be near ‘my people’. I’d play board games, or pool, or just watch tv, we could bake cookies, etc. She knows me well enough to know that I wouldn’t be asking her out-out or to spend money (which I know is tight for them with the move). Instead of saying “Hey, want to do X” I’ve moreso been saying “Hey, are you free on X?” And usually I get a no before I offer an activity. Do you think mentally it would be easier for her to agree to an activity and then sort out the where and when after vs. maybe she’s saying no because she doesn’t know what activity I will suggest?
Post # 10
threecrazycats : Yes, thank you for mentioning this! She did put the axe on same-day plans pretty quickly which I appreciated. I don’t intend to stress her out on purpose, so I haven’t been making same-day offers anymore. I like your point about leading with the what rather than the when. I got the impression from ArcadiaRose that trying that may work out better too. I will switch to this and see if results improve!
Post # 11
cmsgirl : I absolutely agree with you! This is all just in an effort to try to understand her side better or see what works for other people before brooching the conversation with her. I fully understand that the Bees can’t fully help me because they aren’t her. So I’ll be speaking with BFF shortly.
I LOVE your idea about having our own kind of ‘appointment’ style thing! I think that is a really great idea. If it’s something already in her calendar up to two weeks in advance I think that would definitely reduce stress. Plus it would stop me from asking and her having to say no which would remove that aspect too.
Post # 12
baileybagels : Definitely wouldn’t give up on her haha! I think she’s just really stressed out. We still talk every day via text same as we did when she was far away, I’d just rather move at least a couple days a month to in person contact since she’s so close now. The once a week I suggested earlier may have been too much/too greedy.
Post # 13
TwilightRarity : I appreciate this insight! Neither of us have kids, but I know she is going through a lot mentally with the physical move, the change in jobs, the change in environment, etc. This is part of why I wanted to ask around a bit. Reading through the perspectives here is making me feel that I am expecting perhaps a bit too much too soon and I feel much better knowing that before going into a conversation with her about it. I would hate to make her feel like she isn’t entitled to wanting to sit at home and do nothing for a few weeks if that’s what feels good right now.
Post # 14
sassy411 : Kudos to you for recognizing your limitations and such. This BFF doesn’t have a license or a car, so I would definitely be doing the driving. Maybe she thinks my invites are only good if we leave her house. I’d be happy to hang with her at her place too. I wonder if I haven’t made this clear as an option. I will discuss that with her too! Thank you for sharing with me!
Post # 15
sharpshooter : Great contextual question! She is 28 and I am 27. We are both in committed relationships with pets but no children. I think in my frustration earlier, saying once a week is kind of crazy and especially with this friend would be unrealistic. I don’t see any of my other friends this often except coworker/friend hybrids so I shouldn’t expect it of her. It’s just with her living so close I’d be smitten if we could! Haha I think 2x per month would be reasonable, but I think the reason I am getting discouraged is because every time I have tried to brooch the subject of doing something together, whether with our SOs or without, I get the feeling it is a no right away (I could be reading into it too much now, who knows).
I am trying to find a way to let go of the no. I want to work with her to find a way that we can ask each other to spend time together without her having to feel badly when she needs/wants to say no, but also without me feeling that all I’m getting is no.
I talked briefly with my SO about it too and he asked me if when I ask to hang out if she makes a counter offer, i.e. “Hey want to get pizza and watch a movie on Friday?” “No, I can’t.” “Okay, no worries.” “I’m free next Tuesday, do you want to do something then?”
But we don’t get that far, she doesn’t make the counter offer. This is what makes me feel that I’m bringing it up too often, so I think the suggestion to have a pre-determined meet up schedule may work well for both of us. I don’t have the same types of social anxiety as she does, but I know I suffer because I am a worrier/ and can be a bit insecure at times.
I think you are correct in saying that, especially for her, making ‘in’ plans will be better than ‘out’ plans.