When They Don’t Want to Be Your Friend from the Start

It hurts, but it’s not the end of the world.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Trung Thanh on Unsplash

I’m a great friend and it doesn’t make any sense to me when someone doesn’t want to be friends — at least, not at the beginning, when I’m presenting the best version of myself.

I understand it better when an established friend breaks up with me.

Although having your friend dump you can be as painful as a romantic breakup; it’s a different kind of pain. A friendship cut short is more intellectually painful than emotionally upsetting.

Someone not wanting to be friends with you is still a rejection.

Dita Von Teese

The hard truth is that no one’s required to like you or be your friend, but take comfort in the fact that the reverse also true. You don’t want to be friends with everybody you meet.

A few years ago, I met a woman in a writing class I was taking, and we seemed to hit it off. We shared many of the same goals, had great senses of humor, and had similar viewpoints about life.

We had one of those lunch dates for the books where we had that moment where we almost seemed to be the same person because we connected on so many levels.

I thought I had found a new friend, but that lunch turned out to be both the beginning and the end of our relationship.

There were vague plans to get together again but they never transpired. She was friendly enough, but I could tell she was keeping her distance.

She got less and less enthusiastic about getting together again and stopped returning my texts, DMs, emails, and calls.

I didn’t know what I’d done wrong — if anything, but I finally got the message that she wasn’t interested in me in a platonic or any other kind of way. And I certainly wasn’t going to force her to be my friend.

We’re social-media-friends, so I can confirm that she’s not some kind of recluse as she appears to have a very active social life. She has lots of friends — I’m just not one of them.

She didn’t break up with me because there were no ties to unbind.

It’s was the friend version of they’re just not that into you.

When you decide you want to be friends and the other person chooses not to pursue a friendship with you; it’s still a rejection, and it still hurts — even if the bruise to your ego takes a while to bloom.

In grade school, we tend to rotate through best friends like scrolling down a list of new releases on Netflix. As they say on Project Runway, one day you’re in and the next you’re out.

When you’re a grown-up, you have less of a friend-pool, and when you make friends with someone, it’s because of more than just you sat next to each other in History class or you both hate gym.

Her not choosing me to be her friend didn’t hurt as badly as if I was ghosted by a potential partner, but it did hurt my ego a little.

I had to look at it as an audition, even though I had come fully prepared to wow her and had presented myself in the best possible light, I hadn’t gotten the role of the funny best friend.

No matter how much I tried to figure out the whys, I’d never get a satisfactory answer.

When someone doesn’t want to be your friend; don’t take it personally.

It feels personal because it is, but you still shouldn’t take that way. They have their reasons.

Sometimes the timing may be off, or they may be going through something, and they just don’t have the energy to make a new friend, even if it’s you

There are many people that you’re not going to have any kind of relationship.

There’s a chance that at some point in your lives, you’ll come together again and be friends. But for now, let it go, and put that energy into something positive that you can do for yourself.

Reconnect with old friends.

If you’ve recently moved away and are starting a new life with zero friends, not connecting may be alarming. Will you ever make any friends?

Now’s the time to reach out to your old friends to remind yourself that you can connect with people on a deeper level other than liking their Instagram posts.

Stop looking to other people for your validation of self.

You don’t need another person to make you feel worthy, lovable, or even cool.

Too often we put too much of our energy towards doing for other people, or we depend on other people to fill up our time.

Friendship may be a gift, but it isn’t a prize, and you’re not losing anything if someone doesn’t want to be friends with you, nor are the people you don’t want to be friends with losers either.

Take the opportunity to get to know yourself.

Be your own friend. When was the last time you did something by yourself? We’re all constantly changing, and it can be hard to keep up with the updated versions of ourselves.

Take time to process your feelings and discover who you are now.

It can feel like a rejection when someone chooses not to be friends with you, but it isn’t. It’s just one of the hundreds of choices we make every day. Your toast doesn’t get hurt if you choose oatmeal for breakfast, and you shouldn’t be hurt if someone chooses not to ever be your friend.

You will find someone who gets you and is honored to be your friend.

Written by

Writer for The Los Angeles Times, Salon, The Startup, Tenderly, Fearless She Wrote, MuddyUm. Christineschoenwaldwriter.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store