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  1. #1
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    Default WWYD: Friends who don't call back?

    Throughout my adult life, I have had several friendships in which I was the person who made sure we kept in touch. Happily not all my friendships have been this way. At times I had wondered if these particular people were trying to give me a message, or it was something personal, but I do feel sure in retrospect that these were just the kind of people that are over-extended and interact with most people that way. Also, before I had dd I was single and childless for a long time. I was okay (mostly) with the idea that people who were married/had a partner/had children had more on their plates than I did so it kind of made sense to me. However, now that I am a single mom that hardly holds true. I know I am as busy as most people. I made myself a promise to stop continuing to initiate contact with people with this pattern. The pattern made me both feel bad about myself and judge them. I now do a better job and making sure I don't do a whole lot more initiating/maintaining contact than friends.

    Here is my question. I recently changed jobs, and had a friend from my old job who was pretty "bad" (for lack of a better word) at returning calls. She fits the pattern of being overextended and interacting with most people this way. However, things mostly were okay as we could make plans during work. Our dds adore each other. Dd asks for her dd frequently. I finally got a return phone message from her from a message I had left a month ago. Guess what, she wants to get together and her dd is asking for my dd. This "friend" is married, but she only works part time, while I work full time.

    I have tried talking to people I have had this issue with in the past and it really hasnt worked. Either they would say, sorry that's just how they are or they would try to be different and have it not work out.

    So, I am not sure what to do. I really don't want to model for dd that she has to just wait for people to decide to call us back. I think what I model for dd/teach her about friendships is my biggest concern.

    Thanks,
    Robyn
    lucky single mommy to 11 yr old dd and 8 yr old ds through 2 very different adoption routes

  2. #2
    janeybwild is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Default RE: WWYD: Friends who don't call back?

    I’m curious to hear what others have to say on this, as I too struggle with this. DH and I both have people who we feel that we always have to be the one who calls etc. It does wear you down. I guess for me it comes down to how important the person is to me. For my college housemate, we go back too far and too deep to let the fact that she rarely calls be the cause for us loosing touch. I decided for myself a few years ago that she is like family to me, and it will be my role in our friendship to be the initiator. But, that means I had to let go of the expectation that she would change so that I could try to be at peace with it. Doesn’t stop me getting periodically annoyed however, so I’m not as over it as I would like to be :)

    In the situation you described I see you have choices. You can choose to accept the relationship on her terms, occasional and last minute, and let go of the negative feelings. Your DD will take her cues from you and you can enjoy the time you do see each other without any other expectations of getting your needs met or her changing. This puts it in a casual friendship mode for me. Alternatively, you could just lay it out for your friend, telling her what you need from her. If she can’t deliver/help you then the friendship will fade away. I see some other choices in between, but I think feeling bothered by it without changing it is not OK, and that is what could send the wrong message to your DD. Anyway, as I said, I’m curious to hear other input. Good luck.

  3. #3
    tarabenet is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Default RE: WWYD: Friends who don't call back?

    I typed a much more pros-and-cons post. But I'm tossing it in favor of this: is a person only worth your time if she conducts a relationship based on your rules? If so, write off this friendship. Write off everyone who doesn't approach things exactly as you would. If you need compliance with those rules in order to appreciate any particular person, then you will be happier terminating the friendship. Some people really need others to live according to certain expectations, and those people will be more relaxed and happy if they only deal with people who respect the same set of rules.

    Other people value more diversity and find fulfillment in relationships with people who live by varying sets of expectations. If you find that you are one of those people, then you will be happier and more energized if you can relax/release your "rules" about their behavior in the relationship and just enjoy what they do bring with them.

    Neither is right or wrong, although some people are completely unable to recognize that. We are all just different. If you can enjoy the differences, then revel in them. If you find only distress in them, then avoid the stress by sitcking with people who are as much like you as you need them to be.

    The *only* wrong answer is to live outside of what is true for you!


  4. #4
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    Default RE: WWYD: Friends who don't call back?

    How many times did you call her before she called back? Some people are just truly not that great at calling back right away. I have a few friends like that, my best friend of 24 years included. Here is what I have found. Like a PP said, it depends on how important that person and that relationship is to you. I don't think it's anything personal if she did finally call you back and wanted to make plans. You know that she is this type of person, so you either have to accept that or lose the friendship.

    My best friend and I lost touch for a long time. We reconnected and have both made the effort to keep in touch more often. I just really call her a lot more than I used to and that keeps me in her head. She may take a couple of weeks, but she does call back and we see each other more often.

    I have other friends that may not call for a week or two, but they do eventually call back. I've decided that their friendship is too important to me to let that be the thing that destroys a good relationship. I can tell you that I now have a lot more friends than I did when I was single without kids. I just make a more concerted effort and I'm willing to let those things go.

    Now, I did have a friend who I roomed with in college for a couple of years. We kept in touch even when she moved to California (I'm in Florida). She moved back here and we saw each other pretty regularly for a few years. All of a sudden, she stopped calling, no Christmas cards or anything. I invited her to my baby shower, she came and just told me that she has been really busy and has no reason that she hasn't been in touch. I even asked her outright on the phone once if she was pissed or something. She told me no, but I have not her from her again since the shower (almost 2.5 years ago). I'm sad about it, but have written that friendship off.

    A month is not that big of a deal to me, although I would probably call again before waiting that long. I think if you value the friendship and can let go of the extended call back time, you can still enjoy the friendship. You just have to be ok with being the initiator and you have to call that person more frequently. Don't feel stupid doing that either. If you talk with your friend and tell her that you plan to call often, she will know that you are just reminding her to call back. My friend knows this and actually appreciates that I call her as often as I do. She told me that it makes her more accountable and she will call back sooner (which she wants to do, it's just not in her make up to do so on her own - lol!). I think that what you will teach your daughter is unconditional friendship rather than placing rules on a friendship. It's really hard to maintain relationships with rules.

  5. #5
    dogmom is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    Default RE: WWYD: Friends who don't call back?

    Hmm...I've probably been on both sides of the return phone call end of the equation, sometimes with the same people at different points of my life. I don't really take it personally. I mean if someone never returns my call after years, I figure they don't won't to spend time with me. But I can easily go months after playing phone tag with people before I talk to them. For me it boils down to do I enjoy their company when I do talk/get together with them. If I do, it is worth the wait.


    Jeanne
    Mom to Harvey
    1/16/03
    & Eve 6/18/06

  6. #6
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    Default RE: WWYD: Friends who don't call back?

    I am really struggling with this myself. I have two different friends and i have figured it out with one but the other is still up in the air. My one friend works nights as a nurse and i know that the time she has to call me back is really limited. I know that she is not sitting by the phone ignoring me, she is sleeping or doing errands on her day off. I am also in school and working two jobs so my time to get together is really limited, but she calls me back when she can, and i call her when i can, and we both make an effort. My other friend just does not return my phone calls or emails for days/weeks at a time, when i know she has had time to hang out with other people or talk on the phone, so that hurts me more, and we are still trying to figure it out.

    Basically i feel like if one person is not happy about the relationship it is not working properly. If you are not happy that she does not return your calls for a month then there is an issue. If you can accept that she will maybe return your call a month later and you will see each other and then not be in contact that is ok, but if you are not happy with that you need to figure out what you expect or want from her, and explain that to her and try and make it work.

    I am not talking about playing phone tag and missing someone btw, i am talking about if you call someone and they do not answer and do not call you back until a month later.

    Sry for the long message...

    Ilana, aka Nana to my sweet nephew Avi

    http://lilypie.com/pic/061128/V76Q.jpg[/img]http://b3.lilypie.com/wYA-m8/.png[/img][/url]

  7. #7
    gatorsmom is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default RE: WWYD: Friends who don't call back?

    I find this to be a problems too. I have a friend from college that I never felt I had that much in common with and so she did most of the calling (we've lived in different states since college) and staying in touch. I always marveled how she could always call me and seem so happy to talk to me despite my not initiating calls. I always felt bad about the fact that she did all the calling but maybe I've finally matured because now I call her just as often. I really want to hold on to this friendship. She's been there through thick and thin.

    I have another friend, however, who rarely returned my calls. I did all the calling and always got her answering machine. And she wouldn't call back for weeks even though we always had a ton of fun when we were together. So finally I would let time go by and when I called again or when she'd finally call back she'd say, "why haven't you called me?" or "wow, it's been a long time." I just think her life was so disorganized (and she's a SAHM whose ILs babysit whenever she wants) that she just couldn't find the time to call back. I also think she had emotional problems and that contributed to her inability to keep up with her life.

    Anyway, I've slowly started to "release" the people from my life who cause me stress or negative feelings. If I don't get a return call from someone, then I don't call them again. The friends who do want to remain friends call me back.

    Lisa
    Mom to Gator July 2003
    And Cha-Cha July 2005

  8. #8
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    Default RE: WWYD: Friends who don't call back?

    This is a tough one. My question is, are you upset that she didn't call you back sooner (a month is a long time) and want to resolve that, or are you worried that she doesn't really want to hang with you any more, and you want to check that out with her?

    If it's the former, meaning it just bugs you that she isn't good about returning calls, then you could mention it to her, but I'd wait until you have an incident where you called her more than once before you bring it up. I usually follow up a call with an initial invite with another call within the week. If I'm feeling vulnerable, I might say "I hate to be stalking you, but I'm planning out my week and would love to find some time we can see each other." You can also mention your DD and how she has been pestering you, so you promised you'd call again.

    I think it's great that you are looking to model good behavior for your DD. In my view, it's not worth waiting around for what you want - if you really want to see someone, call them again!

    On the other hand, if you call a few times and she doesn't call back, then you follow up with "Hope everything's okay" call and she doesn't seem to have a reason, then you could bring it up and see whether it seems like she's just not interested in the friendship.

    Hmm, I seem to have run on a bit... HTH!

    Laurel
    Mama to Jack 6/02 and Maddy 12/04

    Babywearing education in Napa, CA

  9. #9
    dr mom is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Default RE: WWYD: Friends who don't call back?

    On the other side of the issue...I'm one of those people who is horribly bad at returning phone calls. It's not that I don't love my friends, in fact I think of them often, I'm just so crazy busy that I tend to focus on the urgent (DS shrieking for my attention) and then one day I realize it's been almost four months since I've talked to my best friend. Shame on me.

    Recognizing the problem is a great start, but I don't seem to be making any headway toward improving it. When friends do call, I always make a point of saying "I am so happy that you called, I love to hear from you, I have been thinking of you often." I would be so sad to think that a friend was worried I was deliberately shutting them out. So, I apologize a lot for being so bad at keeping in touch. I am always delighted when a friend makes the effort to call and maintain contact. I know that I suck at it.

    That said, if a close friend approached me and said "it hurts my feelings when you don't call me or take responsibility for making plans together," I would REALLY try to do better. If it bothers you that much, you might try that approach. Alternately, you might take pride in being the "cruise director" that makes plans in your social circle, and accept that some of your friends are bad at initiating contact but have other important gifts to offer. As long as you're comfortable with your choice and don't feel taken advantage of, I think your daughter will be seeing a good role model for friendships either way.
    Cindy, Mommy to DS 2/04 and DS 2/08

  10. #10
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    Default deleted double post

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    lucky single mommy to 11 yr old dd and 8 yr old ds through 2 very different adoption routes

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