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AutistAro

A good friend

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Not sure where to put this, or if it's even an aro thing.

 

But...I've been called a 'good friend' by everyone in this group chat I'm in. Now, most of us knew each other roughly the same amount of time, but I know everyone got along differently behind the scenes, because four people coupled up.

 

I care about them all, and I make sure to private message all of em every now and then, because I actually like talking to all of them individually!

 

But...when they call me a "good friend" I feel...bummed out. Like...a "good friend" sounds so...fake. Like I don't mean anything. Like Im just there. 

 

I realize I don't really open up all the time like they all do, but they've said it's ok. But...why open up if they've got significant others? I feel like since they've got partners emotional stuff is only between them. I know it's BS, but I feel these boundaries. I'm just a "good friend". I should know my place.

 

But I don't want to be a "good friend". 

 

This is so stupid but wow it really gets to me...

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This isn't stupid at all, but I understand your feelings. I think that because I've heard the phrase "just a (good) friend" so often, especially in movies when people really want to say "not THAT important," I can sometimes get bummed out when people say that. I love my friends and I have recently come back around to loving the word "friend" and using it in the most loving platonic sense, but feeling the way you do is something I'm not a stranger to at all. 

 

All that to say I don't think the feeling is on you or your friends, but rather how friendships are so inconsistently portrayed in popular culture. That said, it might be useful to come up with a new word (like a nickname) that is endearing and works for you and your friends, so that you can all express the fondness you have for each other without sounding fake. Even just saying "I love you lots" instead of "You're a good friend," or qualifying the "good friend" sentence with real compliments could be a way to get your feelings across genuinely.

 

Thanks for sharing this with us. :)

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To be honest, in my point of view being seen as a "good friend" in this situation would be perfect! Ideal! It's exactly what I'd want: to still be considered a good friend by people despite the fact that they have romantic partners. For them to still make time to talk and listen to me individually, as well as in a group. For them to tell me that I'm important to them, by reminding me that they consider me a good friend.

 

I mean, if not a "good friend", what would you prefer to be?

 

I think @running.tallyis right here in that popular culture throws a lot of bullshit at us about what "friend" is supposed to mean, and what is and isn't allowed between friends. I say fuck that. Don't let mass media stereotypes limit what a friendship can be. "Friend" can mean whatever you want it to mean, and you can be as emotionally open and vulnerable and supportive and close with your friends as you want to be, regardless of whether or not they have romantic partners. Being a "good friend" is a wonderful thing to be.

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7 hours ago, running.tally said:

I have recently come back around to loving the word "friend" and using it in the most loving platonic sense, but feeling the way you do is something I'm not a stranger to at all. 

I have mixed feelings about the word ‘friend’. What a ‘friend’ is depends on the person, I’m aware of that. I kinda thought of Kingdom Hearts, and how Sora, the main character, is always making a bunch of friends. He’ll meet someone for 5 minutes and boom, they’re friends. And it’s not shallow at all, the way this is portrayed. It’s actually really sweet! That’s how I see it though. But that’s fiction, and real life...a lot of people have wants and needs from others. A lot of people want more. Or heck, they might want less. 

 

8 hours ago, running.tally said:

it might be useful to come up with a new word (like a nickname) that is endearing and works for you and your friends, so that you can all express the fondness you have for each other without sounding fake. Even just saying "I love you lots" instead of "You're a good friend," or qualifying the "good friend" sentence with real compliments could be a way to get your feelings across genuinely.

I’ve actually noticed my friends do this! They’ll add kissy emojis and hearts lol. I didn’t do this before, but now I do, too. It’s silly, but it’s also kinda nice. 

 

7 hours ago, eatingcroutons said:

To be honest, in my point of view being seen as a "good friend" in this situation would be perfect! Ideal! It's exactly what I'd want: to still be considered a good friend by people despite the fact that they have romantic partners. For them to still make time to talk and listen to me individually, as well as in a group. For them to tell me that I'm important to them, by reminding me that they consider me a good friend.

 

I mean, if not a "good friend", what would you prefer to be?

 

I think @running.tallyis right here in that popular culture throws a lot of bullshit at us about what "friend" is supposed to mean, and what is and isn't allowed between friends. I say fuck that. Don't let mass media stereotypes limit what a friendship can be. "Friend" can mean whatever you want it to mean, and you can be as emotionally open and vulnerable and supportive and close with your friends as you want to be, regardless of whether or not they have romantic partners. Being a "good friend" is a wonderful thing to be.

;-; I wanna be a good friend ;-; It’s just the thought of being...not important to them that bums me out. Obviously this is some insecurity thing with myself. >>” Honestly my feelings go all over the place. Like sometimes I want to be a bit more intimate? Like, emotionally. But then I remember their alloromantic and...bleh.

 

But I won’t give up! I’ll try embracing being a ‘good friend’ from now on. Because dammit, unless you don’t communicate with your friends, you shouldn’t be assuming anything! 

 

Thank you for being understanding TwT

 

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3 hours ago, AutistAro said:

What a ‘friend’ is depends on the person, I’m aware of that. I kinda thought of Kingdom Hearts, and how Sora, the main character, is always making a bunch of friends. He’ll meet someone for 5 minutes and boom, they’re friends. And it’s not shallow at all, the way this is portrayed. It’s actually really sweet! That’s how I see it though. But that’s fiction, and real life...a lot of people have wants and needs from others. A lot of people want more. Or heck, they might want less. 

I always thought Sora's friends were like children making friends, that simple thing of meeting a stranger and asking to be their friend and then making it work! simple kiddy friendships are so sweet. I just wish it was that easy now. 

 

3 hours ago, AutistAro said:

I wanna be a good friend ;-; It’s just the thought of being...not important to them that bums me out. Obviously this is some insecurity thing with myself. >>” Honestly my feelings go all over the place. Like sometimes I want to be a bit more intimate? Like, emotionally. But then I remember their alloromantic and...bleh.

friendships where you aren't regularly seeing them because of routine you share (like going to school or something) you both have to be putting effort into talking and seeing each other. If they are putting in effort then they do care. Though not always true, a good measure is amount of effort to keep in contact = care for you. Though all sorts of other responsibilities and things can mess up that simple equation...  

 

 

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1 hour ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

you both have to be putting effort into talking and seeing each other. If they are putting in effort then they do care. Though not always true, a good measure is amount of effort to keep in contact = care for you.

 

 

😨 That reminds me of this tumblr post I made a year ago about how making new friends is what dating must be like. I think I was whining about something, but one of those new friends I had made replied with “If [the person you’re trying to be better friends with] doesn’t put in the same effort as you, they’re not worth it”. 😰

 

And...it made me think a lot about how I think about them all and worry about them. And I try to make conversation with them individually in private message, but a lot of times they don’t start a conversation. Like...maybe there’s isn’t much to talk about, but...isn’t that what starting a new friendship is like sometimes? 

 

Eh...I’m not as worried about them anymore. If they really don’t care about me, and only think of me as a casual friend, it’s ok. I’m very glad to have met them! Some people just don’t want to talk to me, and that’s ok. I’m like that, too with other people. 😓

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12 minutes ago, AutistAro said:

replied with “If [the person you’re trying to be better friends with] doesn’t put in the same effort as you, they’re not worth it”

lol, that is harsh. I think people you get along with are always worth it....or maybe just worth something. If they are really lackadaisical with keeping contact, but we do get along they will be a friend but just not a very close one. I always think being friendly is easier face to face because the conversation can flow to whatever is in the moment, text is stilted which makes it tricky. 

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On 1/22/2019 at 4:01 AM, Apathetic Echidna said:

lol, that is harsh. I think people you get along with are always worth it....or maybe just worth something. If they are really lackadaisical with keeping contact, but we do get along they will be a friend but just not a very close one. I always think being friendly is easier face to face because the conversation can flow to whatever is in the moment, text is stilted which makes it tricky. 

Yeah, I too think it's hard to keep some kinda hard rule on the ratio of initiative.

I know so many people who go with the principle of: I've invited this person over once so now it's their turn. Or that reached out to an aquintance like twice and then gave up.

If I like hanging out with someone I will invite them over as many times as I feel like. And keep doing it even if they say no. All to a decent limit of course. If it's clear someone doesn't want to be friends I'll stop. But sometimes you have to put yourself out there.

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@Holmbo

 

15 hours ago, Holmbo said:

If it's clear someone doesn't want to be friends I'll stop. But sometimes you have to put yourself out there.

 

This’ll sound silly, but how do you know someone doesn’t want to be friends? Or...like I’m reaching out to a friend, and I tend to reach out a lot when I see they’re freaking out on social media (nothing dramatic, but you can tell). But it feels like I’m not reaching them at all? I understand depression and anxiety can cloud your thoughts and make you think no one actually cares about you, or they’re just pitying you, OR I’m just not the person they want to open up to...but how do you know when to back off and leave them alone? 

 

I’m not trying to be a ‘good friend’ for the sake of it. No, I’m a ‘good friend’ because I actually really like these people. And I ain’t giving up until they send me a message that says something along the lines of ‘it’s not you, it’s me’. (Happened before, I’m glad the person did that because I’ve stopped reaching them completely. I wasn’t hurt at all because they never really tried talking to me.)

 

Agh. I don’t mean to use this site as a therapy thing. I’m genuinely asking for simple life advice? Or opinions. Discussions? Derp. 

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2 hours ago, AutistAro said:

@Holmbo

 

This’ll sound silly, but how do you know someone doesn’t want to be friends? Or...like I’m reaching out to a friend, and I tend to reach out a lot when I see they’re freaking out on social media (nothing dramatic, but you can tell). But it feels like I’m not reaching them at all? I understand depression and anxiety can cloud your thoughts and make you think no one actually cares about you, or they’re just pitying you, OR I’m just not the person they want to open up to...but how do you know when to back off and leave them alone?

Good question 😕

I think when there's mental health issues involved it's best to be even more... stubborn. Like you wrote, unless the person outright says they don't want you to reach out, keep doing it. I suppose you could make sure to give them an out. Tell them to let you know if you're not the person they want to open up to, and no hard feelings.

 

But maybe some of our other posters can join in about their personal experience of depression and how they want friends to act about it.

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Re: the reaching out to depressed friends part, as someone who's been on the other side, sometimes we just don't have the energy to tell the full story when someone comes to our aid. You may not be the right person, sure, but it also just might not be the right time.

 

In these situations, I would recommend reaching out in a very low-commitment way. Not asking questions is something small. Just give short updates about your life or share something that you think they would appreciate. Something like, "This reminded me of you" or "Sending a million hearts your way." It shows that you are present if they want to talk with you but it also doesn't force them to commit to an interrogation. Sometimes responding to "How are you?" or "Are you ok, do you wanna talk?" is just too much of a decision to make, because the answer is too long and complicated.

People I've tried this with usually respond with an emoji, if at all, because they're too exhausted at that time to engage. Later, they do open up when they are ready.

 

In the cases where the person in question doesn't respond at all for quite a long time, after your attempts to give them space (but still keep in contact), that is when I would ask the question of whether they're committed to you again. In my experience, a friend of mine who was very depressed and didn't have the capacity to respond to me, even though they wanted to, eventually fell off my radar. It was nothing personal, but they were going through an event in their life that was out of their control. Maybe we'll link up again in the future, but putting time and effort into a relationship that can't move at the moment hurts everyone involved. Stepping back doesn't mean stepping back forever. I knew it was time to let go when they stopped reading my messages entirely, and when they wouldn't message a thumbs up or give the message a like or whatever.

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