Love. The unrequited kind. We’ve all dealt with it, either in our adult years or with that high school crush which, at aged 15 was actually THE love of your life. You loved that crush, you loved the very bones of them and yet, they never even knew you existed. A somewhat harsh reality, but not massively uncommon. In fact, I’m not sure I have enough fingers and toes to count the sheer number of unrequited loves I’ve had.

But more recently I’ve been thinking about another type of relationship – another place where the unrequitedness (a word? It is now…) of our love can take a severe battering. Friendship. Think about it – have you ever had that person in your life, male or female, with whom you chased and chased a platonic relationship only to have your emotions – unrequited?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the unrequited friendship, and the hurt you can suffer when a friend just doesn’t want to give you what you hope for back. Do you ever feel you are making a lot of effort to keep a friendship going only to be met with utter indifference? Are you drifting apart and trying to claw back what you once had with a barrage of texts, Facebook messages and unanswered calls?

I’ve been there, and it hurts. But there are some ways to deal with it.

Unrequited Friendship

Assess your friendship

This is the toughest, but we’ll start with this and it’ll get easier from here I promise. Whilst you may be making all the moves and all the effort, have you reached the point of, well. No point at all? Sometimes, friendships end. Sometimes people drift apart due to circumstance, location or just because. Friendship can be long lasting, but it can also be transient too – for the moment.

Think carefully whether this friendship may have reached it’s course, and then act accordingly. Unlike romantic relationships, you don’t need a messy break up to tell you it’s over.

Are you not getting what you need from your friends? Here's how to deal with unrequited friendship.Click To Tweet

Keep doing what you are doing

If you don’t believe your friendship is over, don’t stop making the effort. People go through difficult times in their lives – sometimes they are ready to talk, and sometimes they are not. Without you realising it, your messages and chasing may well be keeping up the spirits of someone who is just not ready to respond right now. Or they might be busy – don’t be hurt or upset, but understand that sometimes you can’t be the number one priority.

Alternatively, you may have to accept that in this particular relationship, you are the do-er. The one who makes the plans, the one who organises everything. That definitely isn’t a bad thing, so long as you are happy in that role. I’m pretty happy in the organiser role, but at times it can get tiring. So I’m honest about that…

Unrequited Friendship

Discuss feelings openly

If this is an important relationship to you, then perhaps it is time to get honest about how you feel. Do it sensitively, do it face to face, but most of all, just do it. Open up about how important the friendship is to you, but explain that it feels one sided, and you’d like some support too. If it is a good friendship, it’ll withstand some brutal talking it out.

Perhaps your friend doesn’t need as much face to face time in the friendship as you do. I am friends with people I barely see, and yet when we are together it feels as though we are never apart. So it is ok that we don’t text each other all the time – we have that bond and it’ll always be there. By discussing feelings openly, you may come to realise that this is exactly how your friend feels – you have an unshakeable bond that doesn’t require constant contact.

In thinking about this post, I collated a heap of other reading about female friendships if you want to delve a little deeper (basically – it’s complicated!):

I’d really love to know how you deal with the brush off from friends – female friendship is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, so share any wisdom you have in the comments. 

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Female Friendship | Female Empowerment | Personal Development | Millennials

Female Friendship | Female Empowerment | Personal Development | Millennials
Female Friendship | Female Empowerment | Personal Development | Millennials

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  • Hannah Anderson

    I really feel this blog post. Something I needed to hear right now. Thank you!

  • Friendships can be so complicated and in my experience, I feel like female friendships especially can be a lot more complicated than friendships with males. I have a strong group of male friends around me who I am lucky to have but recently in Leeds, it’s been awesome to have a group of female friends around me. I have found though that these friendships are navigated differently and it’s so important to keep communication open and explain why you feel the way you do. I think I would reach out to that friend, not take it personally at first and then figure out whether the friendship is worth investing more time into or not.

  • I love this post so much. I completely relate to so many of the points. But you’re right, assessing it is a sure fire way to work out if it’s worth it or not – often, the most tricky relationships aren’t meant to be anyway. L xx

  • Aryn Forman

    This is great advice. I find it’s incredibly hard to have open dialogue with friends sometimes

  • I recently come to terms with letting a friendship go: I was the doer in that relationship and I just couldn’t keep it up anymore. I was fairly gutted about it, but in the long run I know it’s whats best for my own well-being. x

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