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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm back on my BS (boo****, happy October :happy: ), with something that's been gnawing at me.

I would say my default level of "friendliness" is pretty high. I can engage in conversation and seem happy for a while even with people I do not know well. That's just how I operate, as I'm pretty easy-going when there's nothing on my mind. However, I've had plenty of instances where someone will call me their friend out of the blue, and I sit there blankly because we're friendly acquaintances, but I don't use the term friend loosely (but still do around others because calling everyone I know an acquaintance sounds crazy in practice).

Does anyone else have a lot of "one-sided" friendships with others?
 

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You just described my entire life.

It seems to me that the word "friend" is thrown around super easily, just like the word "love". This easiness makes my stomach turn, because to me the meanings of those words are huuuuuge.

I do have a problem though with lack of vocabulary. There are people in my life who are in an in-between stage between acquaintance and friend. But I have no word for that. So when I tell stories about these in-betweeners, sometimes I use the word acquaintance and sometimes the word friend, but it's only an approximation, because the word friend is so huge in my mind that nobody is able to reach that level.

99.9999% of my "friendships" are one-sided.
 

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I don't put too much weight on calling someone my friend because i'm learning that its loosely used. Doesn't mean anything. I have alot of people I regard as associates because we interact on a superficial level and are able to be friendly and cordial.

It used to shock me too when people called me their friend. There's a bible verse that says something to the nature of you have a brother for ever season so with that being said I think everyone serves a purpose in my life which motivates me to be friendly as well.
 
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My high school BFF was very popular, and I think I'm pretty easy to get along with, so there were a lot of moments when somebody I considered an acquaintance would call me their friend and I'd feel kind of surprised and confused. I generally know when I'm connecting with someone on a meaningful level, but I tend to incorrectly assume that they'd intuitively know when I'm not connecting with them. Also, I don't think I make my feelings clear when I don't like somebody, and so I think that a lot of people misinterpret me being polite or nice towards them as me liking them.

It seems to me that the word "friend" is thrown around super easily, just like the word "love". This easiness makes my stomach turn, because to me the meanings of those words are huuuuuge.
Same. Sometimes I think that this is just one of those things that shouldn't bother me but does, and other times I feel like I have every right to be bothered by throwing words like those around. In high school, there was this one girl who became close with one of my friends, and told me that she loved me one day. I felt very uncomfortable, because we had never, ever had what I would consider an actual conversation, and I worried that she might have been expecting an actual friendship from me (which I wasn't willing to give because we just weren't clicking). She was nice, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@entheos - very nice to know it's not just me then! I struggle with how I relate to people, so some of my "friends" are confidantes but we don't really talk, others I talk to all the time and yet they know very little about me (but I'm comfortable in calling them friends)...it's all really confusing. Whenever I discuss one of these people, I'll end up saying "someone I know..."...it's funny to me because one of my FRIENDS (who I neither confide in too greatly or spend a lot of time with, but call her this) was speaking to a relative over the phone about me, and she used the word "peer". That feels too impersonal for me, but at the same time it describes on paper how I interact with most humans. No sense to it!
@tryingtodobetter - I definitely have the attitude of people being in my life for a season. I recently cut off someone (and probably should have done so much earlier), but was still a "friend" until the end. I do take the in and out of life very literally, so maybe it's the fact that I truly don't mind the lack of permanence that leads to me not being able to label someone a friend, unless some time has passed and they happen to hang around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Also, I don't think I make my feelings clear when I don't like somebody, and so I think that a lot of people misinterpret me being polite or nice towards them as me liking them.
When I was an angsty young teen, I realized that I act scarily polite to people that I strongly dislike. Leads to my enemies staying a little too close for comfort because they think I'm find with the relationship they THINK we have. :frustrating: It's very hard for me to come out and say "I don't like you." because I'm afraid they will take it personally and lash out (and yes...it is personal, but at the same time I'm one out of billions of people, don't hang on my disliking you, find someone else!). Or, people are quite aware that I dislike them because they see me act so warmly with others (I do make a point to distinguish this in their vicinity...God I sound horribly passive right now), but they get confused because I'm not outrightly mean or nasty with them...
 

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@Flower Hat I was going to quote one sentence from you and applaud, then I had to quote a second sentence, then it became ten sentences ahahaha, so I better just mention you and that's it xD XD

Your story of high school reminds me of how I had a bff for 12 years, starting in high school and then until our late 20s, and I had a friend (I didn't consider her bff status) for 10 of those 12 years. The reasoning why I considered them big words like "bff" and "friend" is actually veeeery complicated, especially because I would have to explain the fact that I never once had an intimate/vulnerable conversation with any of them. I never once put down my wall, and I felt that they weren't vulnerable with me either. To me, our walls existed on both sides, it was something I just intuited. I considered them friend status because I committed to them, and this means I subjected myself to certain obligations, and I expected them to have certain obligations as well. We all fulfilled those obligations in my book, so in my mind we had a commitment. But there was no love. For me... I don't love my friends, I just commit. I'll explain the commitment thing later.

What was my surprise when after 10-12 years, we three had a fight, and I felt quite stable about the whole thing, I felt hurt but I never felt the need to cry about it, and I didn't feel a sense of loss or grief or fear. In fact, it didn't affect me much and I instantly dropped them from my life and I went out socializing to meet new people. My surprise was that they both came to me bawling their eyes out, begging me not to leave them in their pain, and my friend (not the bff, the other one) was literally crying on me and beging me to get emotional just like they were. I was very surprised, and felt empathy for their pain, but I didn't feel my own pain. I didn't have any particular pain inside me because I simply didn't love them. I felt like I had done my duty by doing my commitments for as long as the friendships lasted, and that was it. My surprise was that they told me I love you. I was like wtf... is there love involved here? How? When? Where?

I could never feel for them like they felt for me, and the reason was because I never trusted them. And so I never ever made myself vulnerable. I never invested anything from my deep waters in them. And I believed that this was mutual. I never felt like they had invested anything profound in me either. So I find it so difficult to be able to recognize when someone is giving me a profound piece of them. Because probably what they consider "deep", to me it's superficial. And I'm not saying this to appear profound or anything, I'm saying this just because it is a real problem, and had I known that they were investing so much of their emotions in me, I would've never let them do that, because I have a strong sense of justice and fairness (typical INFP) and I would never allow someone to give too much to me unless I am going to give the same in return.

The thing with my concept of friendship is that to me a real friendship involves a commitment. And commitment involves obligations and duties. There are certain obligations I will have to do in a friendship, so I keep everyone as an acquaintance or an in-betweener because I don't want the obligations, and so I won't make a commitment.
The commitment is a choice, and this choice is made when the pros of having the friendship far outweigh the cons; so the obligations and duties are worth it. Because you get something big out of it, it's something abstract but it's real.

I generally know when I'm connecting with someone on a meaningful level, but I tend to incorrectly assume that they'd intuitively know when I'm not connecting with them.
A++++ description.
And so many times I think I'm being clear. With people, we talk for five hours and I'm very friendly, they get attached to me. And I'm like... yes we had a fun conversation, but I didn't feel anything, and I'm certainly not committing to you (according to my own definition of it).
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
And I'm not saying this to appear profound or anything, I'm saying this just because it is a real problem, and had I known that they were investing so much of their emotions in me, I would've never let them do that, because I have a strong sense of justice and fairness (typical INFP) and I would never allow someone to give too much to me unless I am going to give the same in return.
I like this, and often act the same though I've never thought to put it into words as you are so good at doing. :)

It's a conscious pulling back for me. If I feel someone is venting too much and asking for support and I know I can't reciprocate (or they won't allow me to!), I shut that part of our friendship down indefinitely. About a week ago I had to tell a now ex friend that it was very unfair for her to only contact me if she wanted to complain / whine / rant / seek emotional support when she would never return the favor. Most of the issues in my true (past) friendships came from the fact that I became more of a therapist than a friend. So now when people call me a friend without us having a foundation, or I don't feel the same way (haven't been acting as a friend, just an acquaintance), I get suspicious. :dry:
 

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It's a conscious pulling back for me. If I feel someone is venting too much and asking for support and I know I can't reciprocate (or they won't allow me to!), I shut that part of our friendship down indefinitely.
Yes! Me too. I only started doing this after breaking many hearts in the past, though. I learned that allowing people to get vulnerable with me would only make them feel like I am their confidante (or something) and thus they would have a feeling of.. like they invested in me.. and this vulnerability and investment builds their trust in me... and when someone trusts you, the next step is they will probably love you. So I've learned by trial and error not to allow people to invest anything in me, for fear that they will trust me, and horror! get attached.
 
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I call people my friends loosely, mostly because throughout the grand scheme of my life, I feel that I have never that great of an understanding on what it means to have a friend.

Although, this does appear to be changing a little...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I call people my friends loosely, mostly because throughout the grand scheme of my life, I feel that I have never that great of an understanding on what it means to have a friend.

Although, this does appear to be changing a little...
Same here, it's only the past year or so I've stopped being a faux hermit and actually TRIED. I don't know whether I care either way, but it's fun to be in a different circle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes! Me too. I only started doing this after breaking many hearts in the past, though. I learned that allowing people to get vulnerable with me would only make them feel like I am their confidante (or something) and thus they would have a feeling of.. like they invested in me.. and this vulnerability and investment builds their trust in me... and when someone trusts you, the next step is they will probably love you. So I've learned by trial and error not to allow people to invest anything in me, for fear that they will trust me, and horror! get attached.
Yes, this great thing called love. I shrink into myself when I hear it from someone. An acquaintance said he loved me and I swear I blacked out for a good thirty seconds. Even a friendly love (which is how he meant it) makes me want to run away. I ask myself how they can truly LOVE me. They don't know me. They haven't seen all sides of me (hell, I haven't seen all sides of myself), how they can say something that means so much..so carelessly?

I much prefer the detached "I care about you." :) If I truly mean it, it's "I care for you".
 

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When I was an angsty young teen, I realized that I act scarily polite to people that I strongly dislike. Leads to my enemies staying a little too close for comfort because they think I'm find with the relationship they THINK we have. :frustrating: It's very hard for me to come out and say "I don't like you." because I'm afraid they will take it personally and lash out (and yes...it is personal, but at the same time I'm one out of billions of people, don't hang on my disliking you, find someone else!). Or, people are quite aware that I dislike them because they see me act so warmly with others (I do make a point to distinguish this in their vicinity...God I sound horribly passive right now), but they get confused because I'm not outrightly mean or nasty with them...
Oh, I'm very passive as well when it comes to dealing with people I have zero (or negative) feelings towards, although I think that I'm not quite as tactful and polite as you seem to be. I'm not forthcoming about my feelings, but when asked I can be quite blunt. During high school (gosh, all of my stories are from high school!), there was this boy in one of my classes who used to annoy the crap out of me, and one day he asked me if I liked him. I said that I didn't, and when he asked why, I told him that it was because I found him rather irritating. Afterwards, my BFF scolded me for being so mean, but I didn't realize that I was being mean at the time. I thought that I was only being honest.

@entheos
I lack your conviction, I believe; I'll admit that I have a tendency to lead some people on (whether in a platonic sense or not) because flattery goes far with me. I can't seem to distance myself from somebody who's paying attention to me, although I believe that there is a difference in my behaviour towards those who I'm interested in and those who I'm not - if I want to know you better, I'll get actively involved (starting conversations, asking to hang out etc.) whereas if I'm comfortable with you but not necessarily interested in pursuing a relationship, I'll let you approach me, although I'll engage when you do (depending on my level of comfort).

My idea of what a friendship is pretty much the same as yours, and like you, most people I know and get along with get mentally filed as acquaintances or "friendly acquaintances." (Also, I've never been vulnerable with, I think, any of my friends, despite considering them friends, but I don't mind, and I'm not going to elaborate on that). I assume that some of my acquaintances believe that I'm in the process of warming up to them, but I'm not the kind of person who takes the time to get comfortable with somebody else. Either we click or we don't, and if we don't, I'm never going to stop being awkward and uncomfortable and shy around you. If we do, then I'm pretty chatty and friendly. What separates friends from friendly acquaintances for me is that while I find myself comfortable enough to carry conversations with both, my friends are the people who have something to offer me and to whom I have something to offer. I don't know how else to put this - I don't like to fuck around when it comes to people and relationships. I don't like usually interaction for interaction's sake (I can appreciate it though, when somebody's gotten something out of it, even if it's just some short-lived fun); I'll do it if I have to, but I don't like it. Generally, I just don't to feel like I'm wasting my or somebody else's time or energy on something that isn't going anywhere. Because of this, if I stop feeling stimulated in relationships and feel that things aren't going anywhere, I become rather bored and restless, and I don't hesitate to walk away. I think it's fair to both me and the other person involved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Oh, I'm very passive as well when it comes to dealing with people I have zero (or negative) feelings towards, although I think that I'm not quite as tactful and polite as you seem to be. I'm not forthcoming about my feelings, but when asked I can be quite blunt. During high school (gosh, all of my stories are from high school!), there was this boy in one of my classes who used to annoy the crap out of me, and one day he asked me if I liked him. I said that I didn't, and when he asked why, I told him that it was because I found him rather irritating. Afterwards, my BFF scolded me for being so mean, but I didn't realize that I was being mean at the time. I thought that I was only being honest.
I wish more people would ask me! I hate offering up my opinion of the friendship without being prompted. If people could pick up on how much I hate them, and slowly fade from my life, things would be easier for them (and me). :ninja: Naturally, I don't like stuff blowing up in my face, so I prefer to remain silent.

[As for the story, I guess it depends on how the boy was acting. Was he just 'existing' or actually being a pest is the question. That's another reason why I often bite my tongue. It's easy for people to annoy me without truly being "annoying", so half the time I don't have a good reason for not pursuing more with someone. I'm just turned off by the thought of them.]

I assume that some of my acquaintances believe that I'm in the process of warming up to them, but I'm not the kind of person who takes the time to get comfortable with somebody else. Either we click or we don't, and if we don't, I'm never going to stop being awkward and uncomfortable and shy around you.
This. I've already determined whether I want to know them more (read: I wouldn't mind if we engaged again) or not from the first meeting. They can sour me from further interactions, but if I've already decided it's a no-go, no-fly situation, they can't bring that back.
 

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I don't have one-sided friendships, because from the moment a person thinks of me as their friend, I start thinking of them as a friend back.
I used to have one-sided friendships in the past whereby I regard someone as a friend and they only regard me as an acquaintance, and those experiences hurt me so much that I vowed to myself I will never place anyone into the same situation as me.
So yeah, if a person calls me their friend, I'll regard them as a friend back and I'll start investing my friendship into them.

As for people who doesn't call me their friend, I'll just assume that they regard me as an acquaintance, so I don't bother to invest much into those friendships.
 

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I don't have many people to wonder if to call friends or not I think. My definition has tended to be people who would actively engage in keeping in contact with me, personally (so some people I meet now and then fail to fall under that category for example if they are my husbands friends or family, and they seem to like me ok, but if it wasn't for him we would not keep in contact), and where there would be a mutual liking. Then there are "good friends", "close friends", "really close friends", "good old friends" and "childhood friends". I don't have all of those myself, but I don't really see a reason to exclude lots of people I would hang out with from the term friend altogether. If I used the word more exclusively I would never had had a friend ever I think. I tend to use the words "vän" and "kompis" differently, they both mean friend, and there is no official difference that I know, but quite a lot of people seem to use kompis more for not so close freinds, people you share time and laughs with, and vän for more personal connections, who you share thoughts and trust with, and I use them like that too. It would be good with a proper inbetweenword though, also in english. Aquaintance I think is a bit cold, it is to me more someone who I encounter once in a while because we are in the same place, but doesn't arrange to meet with ever. I quite like the word kamrat/comrade as well, though I don't use it often as it has gotten a bit archaic, it is like aquaintance, but someone you feel more connected to through shared circumstances (same class in school, same organisation, same workplace...).

It is interesting though how different people view these things, interesting and a bit uncomfortable as one don't know where other people are regarding this when getting to know new people.
 

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TBH Idk who my real friends are.

There are people I know who care about me.

But tbh they'd be fine without me. And maybe I without them.

Maybe it's my 9 talking but they mean a lot to me. But if they don't want you then what can you do.

Most people in my circles (loll what circles you got, kid?) are acquaintances I rarely see. And many if not all way older than me.

 

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The reason why friend is overused is because we/i tend to avoid hurting other people's feelings by referring to them as "acquaintances"


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[As for the story, I guess it depends on how the boy was acting. Was he just 'existing' or actually being a pest is the question. That's another reason why I often bite my tongue. It's easy for people to annoy me without truly being "annoying", so half the time I don't have a good reason for not pursuing more with someone. I'm just turned off by the thought of them.]
I'm rarely bothered by things or people when I'm in not direct contact with them. I enjoy co-existing peacefully with others. That boy in particular was deliberately pestering me but I didn't realize at the time that it was because he liked me. Stupid of me to fail to see it, but probably a good thing, because if I'd known I wouldn't have been able to ignore him as well as I did.

This. I've already determined whether I want to know them more (read: I wouldn't mind if we engaged again) or not from the first meeting. They can sour me from further interactions, but if I've already decided it's a no-go, no-fly situation, they can't bring that back.
Same. I don't understand how some people can go from hating somebody to loving them. I'm not judging those people; I just struggle to wrap my head around this.
 
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