27 September 2008

I want to see my friend more frequently, but he won't let me!

Hi, I need help: I want to meet up with my best friend more frequently, but he lives a 3 hour train journey away from me. He has a busy life, he works 5 days a week and works on the weekends but he is able to take days off.
I only do a 3 day a week college course during the week so I have a lot of spare time and whenever I ask if we can meet up sometime he’ll put it off and say he’s always busy. We talk every day texting and instant messaging each other but I just want to spend more time with him.
Does he not want to pursue this friendship? He means the world to me and he sometimes says that to me as well but I wonder if you have any wise words that would help me. I am desperate to meet up with him more frequently. I know he is not very comfortable travelling on his own, but even when I offer to go and see him, he won’t let me. What should I do?

Kay Wo

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for writing to us with your question. After reading over your post several times, it seems to me that communicating your feelings with your best friend may help you in this situation.

It is clear from what you have said that you want to be able to spend more time with your best friend but that it’s not always possible because: 1) he lives far away, 2) he is very busy, 3) he is not comfortable travelling by himself and 4) he isn’t open to having you go over and see him. That seems like a lot of factors working against you! However, you did say that you two talk and text everyday so it seems like he’s still quite interested in keeping your friendship strong. Sometimes talking to him and telling him all the things you wrote to us may help. Let him know that you really want to spend more time together face-to-face and that it’s important to you and your friendship with him. Ask him if he values the friendship the same way that you do. Find out why he doesn’t want you to go and visit him. These are all very reasonable questions to ask a person that you consider a friend. If he values your friendship as much as you do, he’ll be able to talk about these things openly with you.

Sometimes a person may value your friendship but finds that he/she does not have enough time to spend with you being busy with other things (work, seeing other friends). Also, some people may find that having someone else depend on you so much can be draining and a burden; sometimes by giving that person some space you can help stimulate more efforts on his part to see you! However, you cannot know for sure unless you talk to him directly. By talking to him, you can figure out how to change the situation so that you’ll be able to meet both of your needs.

Hopefully he’ll respond well to your efforts to strengthen your relationship. If he’s very defensive or tries to avoid the situation, he might not be the greatest friend for you after all. However, if he’s open to negotiating some changes, such as learning how to be more comfortable travelling on his own or letting you visit him where he is, your friendship will only improve. Be brave and tell him what you want and need! Best wishes for an open and honest conversation and please feel free to write us again if you have more questions!

K-Wo for AlterHéros