friendship confusion

Dear Paulo, I’m troubled over a friendship matter. It’s confusing, as this friend seems to be loving one moment then turns into an iceberg the next, and always fails to reply to my mail. But whenever we meet up during gatherings (twice yearly) he’ll shower me with tenderness. The thing I wish to find out is whether he has any interest to develop a stronger bond of friendship. There is a big age gap between us; besides this, both of us are from different walks of life (career wise) and different countries in Asia.

I wrote him back tonight seeking for a clear answer whether he truly accepts me as his friend. I haven’t received any response yet. I care a lot for his well-being and wonder if he feels the same too.

-– Tan, Selangor, Malaysia

Dear Tan, what is a ‘friend’? Perhaps your mind is overwhelmed by the memories of the ‘tenderness’ you felt in his presence. His attention stimulated your feelings and you would like to think that means he cares, but maybe not. Charm is one thing; emotional connection is much more of an effort. (Is there any possibility that he never received your messages?)

Who knows? If he did get your emails, he could be a narcissist, who turns on the charm when he feels like it, but lacks real feelings. There are plenty like that in the world, who believe they are the center of the universe and everyone else is an object for their use (when they are in the mood).

Communication is the lifeblood of friendship, and actions (or non-action, in this case) speak much louder than words. You have evidently given him plenty of invitations to communicate. His refusal to respond when you reach out to him, demonstrates lack of interest. We don’t know his reasons, but it sure seems that he is not available to be your friend.

You have done enough to invite him. Unless you need to learn from more suffering, do not pursue him further — out of love for yourself, which is where all adult loving begins. Good friends come to those who have self-respect.

4 thoughts on “friendship confusion

  1. However, it is worth considering the possibility that the mail (emails I presume?) are not getting through his SPAM filters, or he has the wrong email address. Easy to jump to incorrect conclusions and destroy a potentially good thing.

  2. Great advice, Paul. I’m a psychic in Greenwich Village, and variations on this question come up almost daily, so:

    If you reach out to someone who doesn’t respond repeatedly, or who repeatedly fails to reach out to you, then they are not interested in being friends with you. Watch for clues. Friendship goes both ways.

    Being interested in someone is not a claim on them. They have every right to not reciprocate. There may be a variety of reasons for their behavior that has nothing to do with you.

    More than likely, the fact that this man is so kind when he sees you twice a year means that he genuinely likes and respects you, so there’s nothing you need to do to heal the situation. Accept the reality that he just doesn’t have time or isn’t interested and let it go.

    Emails bounce back as undelivered, so that’s a pretty unlikely explanation. If it’s a generic mailbox and an employee may be sorting the mail, then you’re not rising to the top of the pile as a compelling email that will interest the boss. If the boss wanted a relationship with you, he would have given you an email address he answers himself.

    Btw, what’s the age difference and in which direction? Are you both male, or are you a female? Is your interest romantic? This information is crucial when trying to evaluate your situation.

    Bottom line: You’re wonderful–caring, sensitive, articulate! Forget this one, the world is filled with people who will just adore you! Brush your teeth, comb your hair, go out and have a good time! 🙂

  3. Does anyone know who ORIGINALLY said the quote.. “Communication is the Lifeblood of friendship” A dear old relative said it to me 35 years ago and I have quoted it back to others many times… thinking it was his original quote. However I see that you Paul, said this to Tan in your response to him. Just curious as to who first said it. Thanks Judy

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