My 'Low-Maintenance' Friendship Is Starting To Feel Lonely

by Kathy Black
Originally Published: 
A woman holding a phone and the text ''Who wants to always be the only one reaching out? Not me. Not...
Scary Mommy and Pixabay

I have a friend who has been a big part of my life since college. We’ve shared several major milestones together, including weddings and babies. We’ve always talked pretty consistently, never holding each other to too high of a standard. But for the past year, I’ve felt the friendship slipping away, and I’m sad about that.

After I had kids, her friendship continued to be valuable to me. I was busier, but the boost and energy her time and attention gave to me was irreplaceable. I learned after becoming a mother, if you want someone in your life, you need to make time for them.

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Yes, our communication dropped off. There were times when I’d need to nap instead of call her. There were weekends trips she wanted to take, but I didn’t want to leave my kids. She was understanding and we still made our friendship work. The friendship never dipped into the place where we felt ignored or neglected.

After she had kids of her own, she became busy too. Although we’d sometimes go months without talking, we’d always come back together.

But the shift that’s taken place these last months do make me feel completely ignored and taken for granted. I’ve tried to be patient and understanding. I’ve let her know I’m here when I send texts that go unanswered.

She knows I miss our friendship. I’ve told her as much because I know she’s really busy and not a mind reader.

I called her a few weeks ago and then sent a follow up text. I have not gotten a response to either. Though we’ve always had a somewhat low-maintenance friendship and don’t require constant communication, there’s been a shift as a result of this silence. I feel shitty about where our friendship is going as this pattern has gotten more common between us. There’s lack of communication, followed by a feeling of not being wanted. The two can bleed into each other, and it’s hard to know what to do.

Who wants to always be the only one reaching out? Not me. Not anymore.

There was a time when I would have continued trying, telling myself she was just busy and get to me later. But the thing is, I’m busy too. I’m a divorced mother with kids who works full time and is trying to maintain a home with zero help.

So, when I saw a meme come through my Instagram feed the other day about how there are people who talk to you when you have time, and there are those who will make the time to talk to you and you should learn the difference, it stung.

We all appreciate low-maintenance friendships. The ones that don’t need a ton of attending. The ones that pick up right where they left off and there’s no hard feelings exchanged.

But there is a difference between a low-maintenance friendship and letting a friendship slip so far that you feel hurt and cast aside. Like I do now.

The other day, I got a message on my phone that made me realize I am guilty of letting a friendship slide too. My friend simply wrote, “I miss us.” We had gone from talking at least once a week to touching base not even once a month. My messages to her have been quick, something I’m doing to get checked off my to-do list. And she deserves more.

I have a boyfriend. I’m in the depths of trying to get through the holidays. I have so much to do my head spins. My excuses could fill a page, but they aren’t worth losing a friendship that means something to me. I was thankful for her reminder because it’s important to me to have her in my life.

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That message was all I needed to make more of an effort. It also made me feel less alone in my situation with my friend– I’m not wrong for feeling hurt that we’ve lost touch. It’s a normal feeling to have when you have big gaps in your conversations and feel like the friendship is fading.

Yes, life gets busy. We all have shit to do. But there are very few things that are so important that I’m willing to let a friendship that means something to me go to the wayside.

And it’s starting to feel as though my long-time friend doesn’t share this sentiment, so I’ve decided I’ll just let the friendship go.

I’m hurt. Losing a friendship is never easy. And maybe it won’t be lost forever — there’s always a chance of rekindling something later, and I’m not going to shut her out. But I’ve tried for long enough.

Right now, I’m just going to stop putting in my ignored efforts. Right now, I’m gong to feed the friendships that feel like we are on the same page. Right now, I want to spend time with someone who “misses us” as much as I do, even if it’s hard to find the time to reconnect.

The thing is, when you want to, you will. And I don’t have time right now to chase friendships if I’m not getting anything back.

Just like everything in life, friendships ebb and flow. It’s okay to let them go. It doesn’t mean it won’t hurt. It just means you are putting your feelings before theirs. And really, that’s more than okay.

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