Updated: Jul 27, 2022
A wise person once told me, "let people do what they wanna do, so you see what they'd rather do." That'll answer all the questions you have.
I understand the sentiment of this. You don't want to waste your time on people who you think don't have concern for you. I get it. Who would want to waste any of their time at all, for any reason?
I prefer to see things a couple of different ways.
I prefer to concern myself with my own issues. I look at what makes ME happy. Does being around them help me grow? Does being around them challenge my belief systems and make me think critically? Does being around them make me feel supported, like they appreciate who I am and some things I like to do, and I'm able to do the same for them?
If I don't feel like a relationship or friendship is fulfilling for me, why would I concern myself with what the other person thinks? If I find that things are feeling one sided and I am becoming tired and exhausted, does this person deserve to know how I feel?
If I find that I have a lot invested in a friendship, relationship, particular situation, and I don't want to just give it up, I can be an adult and talk to this person about my concern. I actually have no idea what their life is like. I don't know what they're going through. I don't know why they're not spending time with me. I can't simply assume it's because they no longer
desire friendship, can I? I mean, I could. Is that fair? There is no technical right or wrong here. I'm offering a different perspective. But if I don't give this person the benefit of the doubt, was I ever a friend to them in the first place? If I don't assume they're doing the best with what they have, what does that mean about me?
Living with the attitude of "I'm going to test you to see if you come running to me" is just not it. This is not high school. This is real life. Real people talk to each other. Real people reach out and get the help they need. Sure, you've slipped this person's mind. Maybe for a short time, maybe for awhile, maybe for YEARS. The thing I'm trying to get at here is what does this mean to YOU? And if you just start to ignore someone as some sort of revenge tactic, who are you really hurting?
People get busy. People change. Situations change. It's not always easy to maintain quality friendships and relationships these days. There are countless distractions, problems, issues, that get in our way. And that is no one's fault. Life just happens. So why not talk about it? If it's something you notice, why not speak up about it? If they're "not your friend" anymore, what do you have to lose? And now, what do you have to GAIN?
As a shy introvert, I do find it tough to reach out to people. Growing up, most of my friends I met and maintained relationships with out of convenience. We went to school together, lived in the same neighborhoods, went to boot camp, was in the Navy with, worked with,
whatever the situation may be. Now, a lot of that stuff doesn't exist for me. So, I've had to get out of my comfort zone and reach out to these same people that I've considered friends. I didn't hold it against them because life happened. And much more often these days than not, I'm finding that I have to be the one to reach out, or no one will talk to me. If I assume this is a "them" problem, I condemn myself to loneliness. Yes, it is taxing on me, and I need my alone time and rest following a lot of these encounters. But it is worth it to me because of the time I DO get to spend with them and the gratification I get out of these friendships, whether I'm #1 on their list, or #200.
Now, I'm not saying overinvest yourself into something that doesn't exist. But generalizing something as complex as human relationships in a single sentence isn't doing anyone any good. Yeah, it feels good to read something that feels validating at the time.
I urge you to concern yourself less with the other person's side, and more with your side. Ask yourself the questions, am I getting out of this what I need? Am I putting into this more than I can bear to offer? Are these things I should discuss with this person because I do value what we have and would hate to see it just go away?
In a society that not only promotes, but almost demands people-pleasing, making yourself small or less-than, bigger is better, it can be tough to put yourself first in your own mind. It can be tough to stop or slow down and ask yourself those questions. If you want deep and fulfilling relationships that aren't built on tit-for-tat attitudes and high school politics, keep your door open. Reach out. You might just be surprised who still wants to spend time with you but is just feeling the same way.