I do not know how to be friends


“The expression“ best friend ”has always surprised me. I have dozens of friends, and not all of them will last forever, ”Alexey admits. At 33, he adheres to the idea that people can be considered friends exactly as long as they have common interests.

“In our time, too much is determined by considerations of benefits, so why should we make an exception for friendship?” He wonders. However, this approach may seem overly pragmatic to many.

Give and receive

“My laziness is to blame for everything,” said 36-year-old Tatiana. “Someone needs to call, meet someone … Friendship takes time and effort.” As well as attention, affection, mutual interest, willingness to provide a service or support a friend when needed. Like all close relationships, friendship is based on mutual exchange: we give in order to receive, and vice versa. However, there are those to whom such “mutual exchange” gives difficulties.

“These are primarily narcissistic personalities, too self-absorbed to give their attention to other people,” explains French psychiatrist Gerard Apfeldorfer. – In giving, they feel empty, and therefore try to avoid relationships where something is expected of them in return. And dependent individuals, who, on the contrary, are ready to dissolve in a loved one, but it is difficult for them to accept love and care from him in return: the need to be an object of attention for them is uncomfortable for them. ” Their friends are embarrassed, they may even feel manipulated, and this destroys the relationship.


Gerard Apfeldorfer also recalls those who are “very independent”, who claim that they “do not want to owe anything to others.” However, this declared independence is often only a pretext that indicates that a person is afraid to become attached to someone.

“Friendship is a relationship that is built on trust and sincere self-disclosure and at the same time makes us very vulnerable,” says family therapist Lucy Mikaelyan. – Avoiding attachment, we are unconsciously afraid of being rejected, misunderstood, criticized and, as a result, experience strong and unpleasant emotions (resentment, anger, humiliation). And if the habitual way to deal with painful experiences is to break off the relationship that caused it, the friendship will be either brief or superficial. “

“I took the first step”

Natalia, 30 years old, teacher

“It seemed that I had everything in my life: family, profession, hobbies … Well, friends. Somewhere on the periphery of my life, but they were. All this suited me until my classmates forgot to invite me to the wedding. Most of all, I was struck by the fact that there were all those whom I called friends – everyone except me. After discussing this with my therapist, I realized that in order to be friends with someone, it is not enough to know that you are friends. Family, work, hobbies – all this absorbed me so much that I completely alienated myself from friends. I didn’t know how they were doing, what they were doing. I have never seen my best friend’s one-year-old son! Realizing this, I took the first step – I invited everyone to visit me. They weren’t in my new apartment either. Now we see each other once a month, and if not, we follow what is happening with each of us on the Internet. “

One gap hides another

“It is also difficult to maintain friendship for those who have not fully gained independence from their parents, who do not allow them to be independent, constantly monitor and take care of,” adds Lucy Mikaelyan. – In dealing with them, it is difficult for such a person to build a reasonable emotional distance. If we forbid ourselves to break off relations with our parents, then in friendship such a break is possible – and this manifests our desire for separation, separation from the family. “

In this case, it is important to understand whether this trend is only about friendship or whether it affects other areas of life (for example, work, personal life). If so, then psychotherapy may be needed.

I do not know how to be friends

What to do?


Is friendship important to you? Make a list of what makes you happy: love, family, career, friends, hobbies, travel. Then calculate what percentage of your time you are willing to devote to each item. The purpose of the exercise is to help you find a balance between interests and the time you are willing to devote to them.

Organize yourself

More often than not, there is not enough time to maintain friendship, not desire. The simplest advice is to include communication with friends in your plans, do not wait until they call you: most likely, at this moment you will be busy, and the meeting will not take place again. Only by paying attention can you get it in return.

Confess your weakness

Be honest: “You know, I cannot often and for a long time communicate with you, but this does not mean that I do not think about you.” The very fact of such recognition is proof of your trust in friends, and it is this very fact that will fuel your friendship. Of course, if you do not turn it into a routine excuse.

Advice to others

When it comes to your partner, you can try to instill in him a taste for friendship. Invite guests, invite him to meetings with your friends, ask him about those with whom he meets. If you recognize your friend in these descriptions, the tactics should be different. It is useless to constantly call him, reminding him of yourself and offering to meet. There is a risk that he will start avoiding you. It is best to find some common cause or hobby. This is what will help restore your relationship.

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