Do you ever get the feeling that people don't want to hang out? If so, if can leave you wondering what the heck is going on. Are you pushing them away? Are your friendships changing? Whatever the case may be, discovering the source — and fixing the problem — can help solve those lonely, lonely weekends.
Keep in mind, though, that most of the time it has nothing to do with you. "A lot of people know themselves and how many friends they can keep up with," says Rebecca Rawczak, LICSW, in an email to Bustle. So if that cool girl at work seems completely disinterested in getting drinks, this could be your explanation.
But what about friends who are suddenly MIA, despite years of getting along? While it's true friendships wax and wane, it could be that you're inadvertently pushing them away. Perhaps you go to them too often with problems, or are really bad at listening. Habits like these make people less likely to hit you up, and even less excited when they do. If that's likely what's going on, don't worry — there are ways to fix the problem. Read on for some tips, as well as other signs people don't want to hang out. If any of them ring a bell, you'll know exactly what to do.
1. They Bring A Third Wheel
If you were expecting your friend to show up solo, it can come as quite the shock when she strolls in with a mystery third person. Of course, she may have wanted you two to meet. Or maybe she thought "the more the merrier." But if she keeps bringing unexpected guests, friendship expert Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., tells me it could be a sign she's trying to dilute your relationship. Think that's the case? Then have a chat. Tell her you value one-on-one time, and explain that it would mean a lot if she'd give you a heads up in the future. If she meant nothing by it, she'll totally understand.
2. You're The One Making All The Plans
Whenever you have plans, it's because you made them. "You always have to be the initiator, [the] planner," Levine says. "[And] you have the sense that if you didn’t plan it, it wouldn’t happen." If this keeps happening, it may be time to assess why everyone is running away. Do you talk over people? Are you judgmental? Putting a stop to these bad habits can make you more likable, and way easier to hang out with.
3. They Don't Reach Out As Often
In the same vein are the people who don't reach out as much. There could be a million reasons for this, so it may require some investigating. "You could ask your friends/family to be completely honest with you and give their feedback," Nicole Zagara, LCSW, tells Bustle. Ask friends why they are MIA, or reach out to family for their opinion. You may not like what you hear, but it can help shed some light on why everyone is suddenly so unavailable.
4. You Can't Nail Down A Date
This one is confusing because it often involves a friend who seems down to hang out, but never actually does. This is the person who suggests coffee dates, or movie nights, but can't seem to nail down the plans. Levine tells me they may be vague about the time or day, or constantly cancel. If this goes on on and on, giving them space can help. "Back off and let her initiate," Levine says. "Sometimes, even very good friends need a break from one another."
5. They Give Vague Excuses
Whenever it comes to making plans, your friend is full of one vague excuse after another. "Once or twice may be a coincidence if they give you a strong reason, like a visiting friend from out of town," says Rawczak. "But if they repeatedly give you vague reasons, 'I’m busy' [or] 'I already have plans,' then they are either a) a covert operative for a international spy agency, or b) not interested enough in hanging out to make time for it."
6. They Seem Checked Out
Let's say you're out for coffee, and that "friend" of yours has yet to look up from her phone. Sure, she may just be busy (or rude). But it's also possible she's wishing she was somewhere else. If you think that's what's up, take the time to figure out why she's acting this way. Apart from a flagging friendship (which happens to everyone), it could be you're wearing her out. Do you go to her with all your problems? Then back off a bit. "Don’t depend on the same friend, or any one person, to fulfill all your needs," Levine says. Spreading the love to multiple people will prevent them from feeling burnt out.
7. They Don't Know About Your Life
Hanging out with people is 50 percent hanging out and 50 percent catching up. So of course it's totally fine to meet up with a friend who has zero clue what's going on in your life. But if she seems disinterested, or can't remember what you say, it may be worth noting. "If neither of you are sharing the little nuances in your lives with each other, that’s a major indicator that your friendship is cooling down," said relationships writer Elaine Chaney on TheBolde.com.
8. You Only Chat Via Social Media
Facebook and the like are obviously great ways to keep in contact with people. But take note if your relationships are almost 100 percent online, according to Chaney. And take an even bigger note if your "friendship" is dwindling to the occasional reaction emoji.
9. All Your Convos Fall Flat
Of course it's possible your friend just isn't the chatty type. But does talking to her feel like pulling teeth? If so, Levine tells me it could be a sign this person only met up as a favor. Again, talking to your friend is the best solution. If you both agree it's not worth the effort, it can save you both a lot of heartache and a lot of wasted time.
10. They Throw A Party Without You
While I hope close friends would never do this to you, it can happen with potential friends. "A lot of people use parties to start to deepen acquaintance relationships and read if their acquaintances want to know them better," Rawczak says. If this happens to you, try turning the tables. Throw your own party and invite a bunch of people. "You may be surprised who shows up, and that’s a strong indication they are interested in knowing you better outside of your shared hobbies."
11. People Joke About Not Inviting You
Are you known as the complainer of the group? Or the proverbial Debbie Downer? If so, it can really turn people off — and may even lead to them jokingly (or not so jokingly) squeezing you out of the group. If this describes your problem, it may help to rethink your ways. "Try not to complain openly in mixed spaces, especially at work," says Rawczak. Save it for close friends, or family, and go about being the positive one people love to be around.
Of course, you should never change yourself to gain friends. And you shouldn't waste your time on people who don't love and respect you. But recognizing how you might be pushing people away can explain why it seems like nobody ever wants to hang out.
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