I seem to continuously be reminded of friends that I used to have through various means. It for some reason, jealousy probably, annoys the crap out of me that they are happy and living their lives. The thing is that I will be down about this for hour’s even days. I know this is ridiculous.

I wouldn't be able to pin point why our friendship degraded. Its just several friends for several reasons just drop off the face of the planet. Some I think might have been jealous that I got a great job and they were still there working in the kitchen, others moved on with partners and started their own families.

I don’t think I have changed. I still talk to people when I can. They never seem to return the favour.

Ive invited people over for dinner only to have last minute pathetic excuses of "sorry i'm tired can’t come”.

Ive done all sorts of things to make the friendships stronger, Ive helped people move houses, with no thanks received. Sometimes I feel like I get taken advantage of.

I spend most of my time these days involved with Scouts, being a leader and helping others. I get satisfaction from my life it’s just that when I get reminded of these old\ex friends it makes me feel like crap. I don’t know why.

I wouldn’t say that these people and I are not friends. But after several years with no contact with the invention of facebook, mobiles, text, emails and even passing each other it frustrates me that many of them are one way relationships.

Is this a sign that i’m getting older. I’m 26 years old. How do I get past these feelings of almost jealousy, anger etc.


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There is no point wasting time worrying about false friends. No matter how mad you get it is not going to change anything. So move on, find new friends.

Ive invited people over for dinner only to have last minute pathetic excuses of "sorry i'm tired can’t come”.

Ive done all sorts of things to make the friendships stronger, Ive helped people move houses, with no thanks received. Sometimes I feel like I get taken advantage of.

Buddy, those sound like symptoms of "nice guy syndrome". Let me explain it with a different metaphor:

Why do people spend money they don't have, buying lots of superfluous Christmas presents for people they don't relate to particularly well, that probably will not contribute to the happiness of the recipient?

Isn't it that they hope that the recipient will give them love and attention?

What do they REALLY get, instead? People reciprocate by giving stupid, kitchy, thoughtless, tacky, tasteless gifts that the recipient doesn't want or need. Assuming they do; a lot of people don't reciprocate at all anymore.

That's the same kind of problem with fishing for love, friendship, and attention with favors and saying nice things:

  • You're not necessarily giving people what they want.
  • They don't necessarily want what they need or for that matter need what they want.
  • They might not appreciate the value of what you give them.
  • Because they don't appreciate it, they might not reciprocate, and they probably won't come back for more.

People give Christmas presents in hopes of receiving love and attention. But even love and attention are just means to an end: happiness.

People want to be happy.

You can not make someone happy. But you can contribute to their happiness by offering

  • An infectiously cheerful mood
  • Warmth and friendship
  • Kindness
  • Your full, undivided attention when you relate to others

If people feel good when they're around you, they will come back for more. That's operant-conditioning 101: you get more of what you reward, and less of what you punish.

How do I get past these feelings of almost jealousy, anger etc.

What is your baseline emotion, Bud? Is it happiness? A sense of contentment? A sense of "joie de vivre" (enjoyment of life)?

Probably not if you're feeling almost jealousy, anger, and not feeling a sense of fulfilled relationships. Good relationships are one of the pillars of happiness. But there is a bootstrapping problem: you have to be a fountain of joy yourself so that you can be the one who lights up the room the moment you walk in the door--and then people will be drawn to you. They'll look for excuses to spend time with you.

You can appreciate and enjoy friendship, but you need to be happy just the way you are, by default. Nobody outside of you can make you happy. Nobody can open up your head and push a button to make you happy. You choose to be happy, or not. And when you choose to be happy, and radiate joy, then you light up other people's lives and offer them something that is very precious...something that speaks to their own craving for happiness.

You can also offer favors, but when you do, they need to be "throwaways", offered WITHOUT ATTACHMENTS to being reciprocated with friendship and attention. AND, your joy, warmth, and attention to others need to come FIRST.

Try this game...it's called "what I like about you":

Pick people. Could be strangers in the supermarket...people at a park...people on the sidewalk...someone you know that you have a lukewarm relationship with...

Look at that person. Think of:

  • Reasons to like that person.
  • Reasons to care about that person.
  • Reasons to feel compassion for that person. Think of their hardships...failures...illness...mortality

You can do it with either sex; it's not erotic (if it is...your mind is wandering off-task...).

Play that game every day. It will build empathy for people. Then add this one: it's called the "mindreading game":

Someone that you relate to, even if not very well or very deep: when you talk to that person, look them deep in the eyes and imagine that you can read that person's thoughts and feelings.

Don't worry; it's not intrusive. It's a deep form of communication so that you can sense what they want from you but can't express in words.

  • What are they thinking?
  • What are they feeling?
  • Why? If it's something negative, what caused it?

Don't take it personally; just assume that everything has a cause (Aristotle's law of causality), and it's not you personally. Are they bored? Rather be somewhere else with someone else? Why are they empty like that? What's missing in their lives? Can you feel compassion for their emptiness? Are they stressed? If so, what would make them relax and feel more at ease? Do they want attention? Well, you're giving them your FULL, undivided attention as you try to read their emotions!

Great success to you, bro, in matters of friendship... 

I would like to hear from extroverts here, but I wonder if the difference between an introvert trying (and usually failing) to make friends and an extrovert doing the same is that the extrovert says, no biggie, there are plenty of people I can enjoy being with -- or maybe doesn't even notice.

Thanks for the replies.

This was more of a vent. I have a good group of close friends. I ended up going for a walk\run last night. I know i shouldn't care that people have moved on but i did last night. As i seem to get further and further ahead in life, i am just seeing who are my true friends.

thanks again for the replies.

First off, you are not old....26 is not old...you're only part way through really growing up (I hope).  :)  Anyway, I am almost 37 and though I am very new here, I know there are older guys than myself around, which I think is great!  I can relate to much of what you're talking about with regard to losing friends as time goes on.  I think that some of it is simply the age bracket you find yourself.  Many young men in their 20s are just plain shallow and don't value the friendships they have.  I did not have a lot of friends growing up, but I know much of that was because I was different in ways far beyond my control.  Of the three primary male relationships I had as a youth, two are no longer a part of my life.  I chose to let go of one when he embraced a lifestyle radically different from my own and it became clear he wanted new friends.  The other...well, it hurts a hell of a lot more.  We remained friends through about the first of 2001, and then, for reasons I still do not understand, he completely dropped off my radar screen, so to speak.  Ten years went by before we reconnected once again, mostly due to his wife finding me and talking to me in a public place.  We coresponded via email for a while, and I even asked him if he'd fly to Oregon to be my best man in my wedding.  He gave me what seamed to be a good excuce, and I went through planning the rest of the wedding.  Somehow, I neglected to send him a formal invitation because the message he sent me with his new address was sent from an email account that was not in my contacts.  As a result, the message ended up in the trash bin.  When my friend was not at my reception, I tried to contact him, only to find he had blocked my number and email.  One of my favorite songs has a line in it that says something to the effect that we should fight to hold on to our friends and not allow differences in lifestyle and geography to break those bonds, because the older we get, the more we need the people we knew when we were young.  I'm only 37 and I already understand the truth and wisdom of that statement.  There are movies I can't watch and songs I can't listen to because it reminds me of what I had and lost.  I'm very happily-married and my wife is most definitely my best friend, but having only two close male friends, one of whom lives a thousand miles from me, kind of sucks.  But, I simply try to direct that energy into reaching out to try to form new friends rather than dwell too much on the past.  I have a lot of my life left to live, and I intend to make the very best of it.  I was recently invited to hang out with a group of guys from my church a few weeks ago to go bowling and then to a midnight breakfast, and I found myself marveling at how refreshing it was to be in a group of 10 other guys discussing mannly topics in a manly sort of way.  I really have missed that in recent years.  But my advice to you is to try not to spend too much time looking back, and above all, don't blame yourself.  Perhaps you could have handled a situation differently, but the strongest of friendships will recover from such things.  One of my favorite quotations says that life is a sieve through which we sift our acquaintances.  Those too big to pass through are our friends.   J.D.


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