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I'm losing my friends

Becca wrote:

I have two friends, we used to be a threesome ... but lately its turning into a twosome ... this has happened to all of my friends ... I have always been in threesomes that eventually left me out. I'm always the one to never have to get in a fight with any of the friends and in the long run I stay friends with them all.

But it hurts when I begin to be the lesser friend. I think this is because I have always been the more quiet reserved one, I can be outgoing but for a limited time. I have come a long way from when I used to be afraid of people all together. But it seems its never enough because my friends are always extremely outgoing and I'm not. What should I do to stop being left out?

Dear Becca

You don't give any specific reason for the 'breakup' of your friendships, so it's hard to give a specific answer

But here's some things to consider.

First, friendships are not some kind of competition, least of all a popularity contest. Friends are people who are friends because they are comfortable together, not because they've defeated other people.

You say there's a pattern. Well, maybe you are choosing the wrong kind of friends; if you have a pattern of finding outgoing people that you feel the need to compete with, then maybe you are mixing with the wrong kind of people? There are folk who DO like to compete, and maybe they call it friendship (it isn't); maybe you should look elsewhere.

But maybe you should also look in the mirror; what kind of person are you, and why are you drawn to people you feel are different?

What about all the other people, the ones you don't consider to be your friends. What's wrong with them, then?

Probably nothing at all.

Becca wrote to me again:

Thank for what you said and I do realize that I didn't give you enough information. I have a large number of friend outside of that little threesome senario and I hang out with them too. I love them all.

I also realized that one of the girls in the threesome is what you described: competitive within the relationship. And her being competitive probably made me somewhat as well. She would constantly say things that she and my other friend has done and make sure that anything we talked about I couldn't respond to since I wasn't there and the only way I could talk about it is if I was there. And that would in turn make me less fun and moody. I would become completely quiet and almost to shy to talk again. She wasn't always like this and I think that she is scared of losing her best friend.

I can't stop being friends with her because I still care for her enough to give a shoulder to cry on. I know that she used to not have friends and she just changed to a new school and the people there are constantly mean to her. Her only way of taking care of herself is being defensive and mean. I just want to help her and myself.

Dear Becca ,

Being a shoulder to cry on is fine, that's what friends are for (among other things!). But there's a limit to how much defensiveness and spite a girl can take.

You might consider throwing in a little honest hard talk. Think of it as a 'listening fee'. If she doesn't like the honesty, she may use the shoulder a little less. Or a little less spitefully. Get the balance right, and the friendship will cope with good times and bad for many years to come. Just be sure you don't get all the bad.

Good Luck!

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