30 Brutal Moments When People Realized Their Friends Don’t Like Them
Many of us Pandas know who our real friends are… or at least we think we do! The folks we think are our closest allies and who deserve lots of space compartment in our hearts and minds might not think the same way about us. In fact, we might wholeheartedly believe that we're in our friends’ inner circle when, in fact, we’re on the far outskirts of their social circle.
The moment you realize that your friends don’t actually like you as a person hurts. Badly. However, the moment the scales lift from your eyes can give you the clarity to help you move forward. Redditor u/noweverythingisair asked the crowd over on r/AskReddit to share the moments when their illusions about being firm friends with someone were completely and utterly shattered.
Scroll down for a heavy dose of blunt honesty, soul-searching, and raw emotions, dear Pandas. When you’re done reading these powerful confessions, tell us all about the best and worst, real and fake friendships that you’ve had in the comments.
Bored Panda reached out to Suzanne Degges-White, a Licensed Counselor, Professor, and Chair at the Department of Counseling and Higher Education at Northern Illinois University, who was kind enough to answer our questions about the differences between authentic and superficial friendships, why we shouldn't be telling our secrets to just anybody, and how to make friends after we finish school and university. Read on for our full interview with Suzanne.
Got pretty sick and was in the hospital for a week. Not one of my friends in a small group (of supposedly close friends) reached out to see if I was getting better. They never visited, didn't even so much as get a text from them. We hung out almost daily for the past two years and they knew I was in the hospital.
When I finally got better I decided it was time to get some new friends.
"Friendships are built on trust and mutual respect, so if you don't feel in your gut that this is what a person is offering to you in the relationship, they aren't a true friend. Also, friends recognize that the 'giving and taking' in friendships needs to be balanced over time," Suzanne explained to us that true friends understand how reciprocity works. Someone who's always asking for favors like loans, rides, or a place to crash, but is never available when you need help might not be a true friend.
"Friends who talk about us behind our back, aren't there for us when our lives are crashing and we need someone to talk to, or aren't there for us when we want to celebrate our successes—those friendships don't reflect authentic deep friendship. When a friend takes advantage of us or lets us down repeatedly, then it is time to re-think whether this is a relationship that is worth the risk."
Another indication that someone's a false friend is that they ask you to do things that they wouldn't do for you. The relationship between you might not be as deep as you think. However, the best way to distinguish between real friends and fair-weather pals is to check to see whether they're there for you as the circumstances of your life change.
"Real friends are those people who are going to be there for you whether life is going beautifully for you or life has tanked and you feel like you're in over your head. Friendships are about emotional and instrumental support—it's a totally mutual, voluntary, reciprocal relationship. Therefore, we can all decide what we want to put into a friendship," Suzanne, from Northern Illinois University, explained to Bored Panda.
Had a tangential friend group. They were fine people and I was new to the city. Bought a boat and all of a sudden we’re BEST FRIENDS. The immediate rise to central friend made me step back and go “yah no.” So when I took notice of when I wasn’t invited to normal day to day stuff in the group like concerts and dinners versus when the Thursday flurry of texts came in about the weekend on the boat. I distanced myself.
Back in highschool, I thought I was best friends with a girl on my sports team for 3-4 years. Through thick and thin I've been there for her. I supported her through devere depression, bullying, abusive home life, multiple suicide attempts, giving her my clothes when her dad periodically burned hers, bringing her food from my house, spliting my bus tokens so she didnt have to walk home from practice late evenings(you have to qualify for them), letting her wash her clothes and bathe at my house so she didn't get ridiculed, stuck up for her during a time she nearly got expelled wrongfully, and just being a good friend to her in anyway I could.
Long story short, senior year, between classes when I asked her where did she want my mom to take her out to eat for her birthday this year (my mom was doing this the past few years), she told me she was going to out with 'A' and 'B' this year because "I only want to hang out with friends, but I'll see you on Monday."
I didn't even know what to say and stared blankly at her, then went to class then practice. I felt hurt and was so salty that McDonald's could've used me for their french fries for a long time after that. I haven't spoken to her since.
According to the licensed counselor, it might be nice to have some superficial friends at the organizations you belong to, to meet up for drinks, have fun, go out together, or do whatever else you might want to do. However, we shouldn't invest more into these relationships than we can expect to get in return.
"Authentic friendships are built on mutual respect and reciprocity and affection—there's an emotional commitment there that doesn't exist in superficial friendships. Don't tell your secrets or your vulnerabilities to a superficial friend, because you can't be sure how they might use this information. With authentic friendships, we can be completely ourselves and know that we will still be loved," Suzanne warned that we shouldn't be opening up our hearts to everybody within earshot.
"One of the biggest differences between friend types is the amount of emotional energy they are investing into the relationship and the depth of their appreciation for your presence in their lives."
I became friends with a group of women my own age, mid 20s, through a mutual friend we all shared and I thought we were getting along really well. We would meet up at least once a week and do dinner and movies at one of our homes, I was invited to weddings, hosted baby showers, we all belonged to the same social media group and chatted constantly. Then gradually I started noticing I was no longer being invited to things. I would show up at an event and be totally out of the loop as far as major life changes were concerned and no one would bother telling me anything or filling me in. I then found out through that mutual friend that the group had gotten tired of me and instead of saying anything they had created a new social media group without me and were just waiting for me to take the hint and leave them alone. So I did. I stopped trying to stay connected and just let the four years of friendship die.
I saw them all at that mutual friends wedding recently and tried to have a casual conversation, catch up and everything, but not a single one of them even looked at me or said a word to me. I felt really stupid and confused as I stood in a group with them but was completely ignored. I eventually wandered off.
They all told me they had canceled their plans to go to a lake over the weekend, I found out they actually went, and had replaced me with someone else through their snap stories
My "best friend" moved out of state for college. She came back to visit but told me she was too busy for anything but family. A month later, a mutual friend asked why I wasn't at the party she threw. Every single other person in our friend group was invited. Still not sure why I wasn't.
Oh well, she farted a lot anyways.
Some of you Pandas know for a fact that it can get harder and harder to find friends once you leave school and university, which are very social settings.
"In our jobs, we don't have nearly as much variety in the people who are there and the time we have to spontaneously strike up new friendships is much more limited. Fortunately, as we leave school, we also are entering a new stage of life where our goals begin to solidify and we begin seeking companionship and friendship with folks who are swimming in the same stream that we are," Suzanne told Bored Panda that people ought to look beyond just the workplace to find potential pals. Though the office can be a great place to find friends as well.
Went to a sleepover when I was about 12-13 y/o. It was for my best friends birthday. They said “let’s sit in a circle and list our favorite things about each other!” sounded wholesome, so I sat in the circle. When my turn came around, everyone in the circle had nothing positive to say about me. “buttwiped, you’re actually really annoying and we don’t like you”.... my best friend looked sad for me but didn’t say anything... damn kids are mean
The day I was informed that my presence wasn’t necessary for the annual Christmas party. After I had spent what little money I had made that year into presents for the friends that I thought were supportive of me.
I still have the presents.
I recently got a message from an old school friend. Apologising for the bullying i received from them and the rest of my circle. I didn't realise i was being bullied. 20 yrs later and i only now find out that the people i though i was closest to at school didn't actually like me. That hurt.
"The workplace is one setting where we can begin to form new friendships—and these may be cross-generational friendships which enrich our lives in important ways. As we get involved in volunteer activities in the community or special interest groups or classes at the gym, we can use these spaces to connect to potential new friends—you already know that we have something in common with these folks, since you're showing up at the same place with the same aim, so friendships can naturally develop with folks with whom you have an affinity," the expert pointed out that shared interests can lead to strong bonds.
"Taking classes related to your job can also give you opportunities to mix with others in your field. While some friendships from our early 20s may fade as we begin our professional journey, some friendships may endure or grow stronger. We need to recognize that friendships that thrive are those that flex and change over time as humans are dynamic and we don't stay the same as we grow older."
It can take a single moment to shatter the illusion that you matter to someone. It’s like a bolt from the blue that changes everything. You might not get an invitation to a social event. Your roommate might suddenly tell you to pack your things and move out.
Or someone might be very blunt and tell you that you don’t actually matter all that much to them. It’s harsh, it hurts, and it can make your emotions go topsy-turvy. However, this shouldn’t mean that you should stop being kind and caring altogether. Being social is a huge part of who we are as people and is vital when it comes to our happiness and health.
When I invite them all to my birthday and nobody arrived. Turns out, they got together elsewhere that same day and just decided as a group not to show up.
Started getting excluded as I was single, no kids, didn't own a house and liked to travel.
My friends wives didn't feel I fit. So made sure I wasn't invited to anything. Apparently I was a bad influence. Friends of 15 years being so easily influenced.
Found a new group of friends now. Old ones reached out to me not long ago. Told them to f**k off.
I spent my free time over a fall and winter helping a friend restore a fishing boat (25’ish Mako). Sanding old rough fiberglass (this is agonizing work by the way, you have to have all of your skin covered, goggles, respirator, gloves or the fibers inbed in your skin.) Putting down new fiberglass. Sanding that smooth. Priming, painting, gel coating. Lacing a new canvas onto the T-top. Guess who didn’t get invited on the first trip. Yup. We don’t speak anymore.
Vanessa King, the Head of Psychology at ‘Action for Happiness,’ previously explained to Bored Panda that a large part of our happiness as human beings stems from helping others without expecting anything in return.
We evolved as a social species and we’re meant to live in groups. And lending a helping hand, working together, and acting altruistically are all things that act as social glue. Kindness is essential in keeping families, social groups, society, and civilization all functioning and whole.
"If you think about it, human beings are social species, we evolved to live in groups so working together and doing things to help each other is the social glue that keeps us together,” Vanessa explained to us during an earlier interview.
I was sitting at the lunch table with them and they were talking. It then dawned on me that they never talked to me during lunch or reached out to me during break. I was basically following them around like a stupid lost puppy all the time while they couldn’t care less.
I remember one Monday in high school I sat down in the cafeteria with my friends and we start talking about how our weekend was.
Friend #1 mentions a Will Ferrell movie he saw. I ask if it was funny and he tells me one of the scenes he really liked.
Friend #2 chimes in to say "Remember the scene where...?" and recounts another hilarious moment. They both laugh in agreement.
"Oh, you saw the movie, too?" I ask and friend #2 confirms.
Then friend #3 says: "And remember when friend #4 threw up from food poisoning!" and everyone laughs -- including friend #4, who had no shame.
That's when I realized: they all went together and I was never invited. Unfortunately, I developed quite a bit of shame.
I didn't get the little going away party at work. It's a silly thing, but it was a close, friendly workplace and when people would quit they'd set up cheap little themed decorations from the office printer and add some other funny stuff about the person that was leaving. I brought a cake and it was fine and I know my coworkers didn't dislike me, but I guess everyone sort of forgot about me because I'm not the most expressive person. I was sad I never got my themed decorations. I worked there for two years.
The expert stressed that we are hardwired for cooperation. Children as young as 2 years old have been seen sharing which just goes to show how much kindness is a part of who we are as humans.
"Participating in group activities and community events makes us happier too. When we do things for others, it activates the reward center in the brain, so when we give a gift, it feels the same as receiving a gift," Vanessa said.
Some of the small ways in which you can practice being altruistic involve giving money to charity, donating to food banks, or volunteering your time over the holidays. You can also help out your elderly neighbors by leaving them a food package or a friendly note. There are countless ways in which you can spread joy… and plant the seeds of future friendships.
“Maybe at first, you start out doing things to help others only to get attention and praise, but you will find that doing things for others helps you feel good when you see people’s responses. Once you see the difference you can make in the world and to your own happiness, altruism can grow naturally," Vanessa said that, eventually, most people learn that kindness is rewarding in and of itself.
When they took all the proceeds from the project we had worked on together, and to which I had contributed a great deal of labor, then went to Disney World for a week. Without me.
In college I had a group of friends (4 guys and 4 girls, including myself). I realized I was out of the loop when for Christmas all the girls gifted each other a friendship bracelet and I was the only one without one. It was also kind of humiliating since this was during a Christmas party with just the group while we were opening presents in a circle, so the guys noticed as well.
At that moment, I realized that even though it hurt, all the pieces started to fit about the girls’ attitudes and interactions with me and I decided I didn’t need people like that in my life. Although it was hurtful, I was more surprised that they could act so petty and childish for being juniors and seniors in college. I just wish I noticed all the red flags earlier since I did consider them as good friends, but at least now I know.
Been at my job almost a year. Noticed on snapchat everyone was together for some drinks, managers, staff who started decades ago, staff who started weeks ago...
Except one other person. I texted her out of curiosity about it and she responded with "yeah, they asked me but i couldn't go".
I tried to laugh it off but man did that hurt.
I always thought i had a good rapport with my coworkers but i wonder now am i just being tolerated by them.
There is a practical side to being altruistic, too, however. By being nice, we become more liked and the odds are greater that someone will help us out when we need support. And yet, we still shouldn’t expect these things when acting kind. It’s best to have few expectations and not to expect any sort of reward for being a decent human being.
"There’s an important point too here for people on the receiving end of kindness. If they can, it’s, of course, great to say thank you and add the positive impact it has for you, e.g., 'Thank you, It’s great to know that someone cares.' That can really boost the glow for the giver and encourage them to give more," she told us a simple ‘thank you’ can help encourage positive behavior in others.
"It may also be helpful for the person to think about why they are seeking attention and reward from an external source, a key part of being happy is feeling comfortable with who you are and accepting life the way it is. I’d suggest that the person take time to build up their self-care to become happier and more resilient. Perhaps start with a personal gratitude practice to appreciate what they already have in life, writing down three things each day that we are grateful for can boost happiness.
When email was starting to become a thing, my classmates and I were having lunch and a bunch of them were excitedly exchanging emails. When I asked one of them to give me hers, she said: “Why do you need it? We see each other everyday.” She gave it to everyone else.
When my friends said they don't go to the movies just to go there without me. I saw them because I went with my older sister instead
I suggested a group vacation to the beach. Split a rental for a week... lots of fun. They booked it and didn’t invite me. Burned a little.
I found messages of them talking s**t about me. Everything I said, did, tried to do was just a damn joke. Wasn’t even looking for the messages, had to borrow a computer they were synced onto. That hurt. We supposedly talked it out which turned into them detailing about how it was all my fault and I forced them to act that way, no apology, nothing. Can’t cut them out as they’re my spouses sibling but yeah. Still haven’t gotten over it.
My friend group had a group chat called “The Crew” which was made in between sophomore and junior year of high school. It was used somewhat regularly for a while, up until the middle of senior year, I noticed that it straight up wasn’t being used anymore. While I was around some of them one day, I noticed them having “The Crew” notifications pop up on their phone and finally I asked my best friend (like one of the 3 people in that group I’m still friends with today) if they made a new group chat and he said yeah. It was basically the old one minus me and plus like 10 more people. It sucked but whatever, f**k em
In the late 90s/early 2000s I made friends with a group of people through an anime message board and we’d regularly hang out at various conventions. Some people in the group were in the crew/committees for the various cons so it felt like the group to be in for a budding weeaboo. I thought I was inner circle in this group until one day while we were having dinner together after a con they all started talking about some party they were going to and just basically walked off without me. I kinda thought I was supposed to tag along since they’d been discussing it with me right there, even though they all obviously knew about it beforehand and I didn’t, until one guy turned to me and was like “sorry kermi this is a private thing”.
A private event that just happens to exclude one person out of the group, who’s been part of this group just as long as everyone else? I kinda ditched the community after that, stopped going to cons altogether.
You get the news last of what happened with the group members and you don't get an invitation from them, they only invite you when you invite yourself through them. Meaning that when they discuss the plans and you happen to be there so they must invite you. But i was always like that. This above was just a summary of what i experienced. Ive never had that kind of friend group that actually cared about me, so i never had an "oh s**t" moment.
Two of my friends ditched me at high school ski club by skiing fast ahead of me intentionally. I ignorantly raced up to rejoin them, only later to realize that they intended to ditch me. I didn't know why it was awkward until later.
Hadn't heard from them in over a week, then learned they were all on a cruise. I had no idea they planned, booked and went on this cruise so it became clear how much I had been kept out of the loop.
When one of them accidentally sent a message to me saying how annoying I was and urged to talk about it in their own group chat I wasn't aware of and oh the sender used a codename for me
They always told me in this 'I really pity you' tone to go away every now and again when they were talking, because we weren't close enough to let me hear it. They also got really uncomfortable when I tried telling them about my feelings or tried venting about stuff to them, but they expected me the always listen to them. Always told me a reason they couldn't go to events I invited them to. Kept on casually mentioning all the times they had a great time during something they were doing together; and that it 'didn't matter that I wasn't there, we had fun anyways!' Looking back, I just thought the phrasing was pretty weird, but now I really feel my blood boil whenever I think about it.
They all went to an amusement park out of town on a weekend without telling me.
When I found out they said it was because they didn’t want me to be all mopy and depressed all weekend.
I had a best friend for almost a full decade. Every single day of my life for years, she was right there with me. I loved her kids, and was even good friends with her husband.
She had some problems with her health and I was the only one that was there for her in the hospital emergency room every time she went. Her father and brother ended up ditching her and hubby couldn't join because they had multiple kids and no babysitter.
She ghosted me for 2 weeks after my grandfather died. She told me to go away and I was annoying her and wouldn't give me a reason why.
Why did she do it, you ask?
She was mad that her brother's roommates had baiked on him and decided to take it out on everyone. Including me.
She later apologized, but the damage was done.
She would then spend the next three years after forgiving her calling me a bad friend, saying I wasn't being supportive, I was too negative, and was just never happy no matter how many hoops I tried to jump through for her; no matter how much I apologized and tried so desperately to change. She admitted to me during this time that she deliberately looked for reasons to be upset with me.
It came to a head when she came over for the night one night and spent most of the night talking to my sister instead of me and left the next morning before I could say goodbye and just sent me a text. She didn't want to be alone with me because I was trying to talk out our issues like an adult despite being younger than her by 5 years.
It's been 4 months now, so everything is still fresh, but it's getting better.
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