Friday, March 09, 2012

{Friendship Friday} When is friendly too friendly?


A quick, funny story.

The other evening D walks into the study and says to me, "Marcia, I was praying for you and God told me to tell you you're a good friend"

I went, "ha! that's actually such a stressor for me at the moment"

He says, "why? what on earth?!"

I said, "well, I'm actually being friend dumped at the moment" (I didn't admit it to myself til last week so it's a bit raw for me)


(but thank you, God, for restoring my self-esteem)


The thing I most love about doing these posts is the conversations they result in, either in the comments or behind the scenes via email.

A couple of you never comment on here but we email, which is so great.

Well, so a couple of those conversations happened and I spotted a trend I want to talk about today.

How friendly is too friendly?

I've openly admitted on this blog many times that I have a problem letting go.

I think it can be a strength that I keep on keeping on with people. I know in when we pastored our area (yes, that's still a story for another day) and when we were cell leaders, I would carry on following up people forever and they appreciated it. Because I do care about people.

That's a positive situation.

I'm not in leadership in the church any more but with friends and acquaintances I will email, email and email some more. And now with Facebook, I message, write on walls, etc.

But... I also don't want to appear desperate.

That would be... very negative :)

Sometimes even though I'm itching to send someone an email or a note in the mail, if it feels like the balance has shifted a bit too much, I'll hold back if I think I may appear too desperate.

Do you do this too?

A blog friend mentioned that what she considered a vague aquaintance invited her to a really special event (memory fails me but something like a baby shower or wedding shower) after just a few hellos and small talk exchanged.

I don't know about you but for me that feels cringe-worthy.

I think my response would have been, "oh thanks so much but I can't do it" but still bring a tiny gift to show some friendliness.

So my question is, when is friendly too friendly?

How do you know when you're crossing the line into too much contact?

What are the signs (for you) that the other person is extricating themselves?

PS The getting dumped post got TONS of views. Clearly this is a hot topic. And strangely, since I wrote that post, I now feel even more AWFUL (if possible) about being dumped. Honestly, I'm a little scared to put myself out there again.


  1. Keep on mailing! Because there are some of us who want to do that so SO much, but are too scared sometimes because we think it really is too much too soon. And that may be just what we need in order for us to reciprocate more. I often have that issue - not sure if I am being "too much", or whether I can "be a bit more", and I think sometimes in the end I really blow it because I don't do anything at all...

  2. Thank you for your encouragement! But how will I know when is too much? When I get friend=dumped? :)

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  4. With potential friends, I work to keep the balance. We invite you over - but if you don't invite us, I might mention "We should have a playdate again" yet won't extend an invitation. Around here, this seems to stop at parties from school: A parent hands out invites to all of the kids, a few kids come, we all meet and talk, I invite your kid to our party, we all meet and talk and I get all excited about hanging out with new people....then...nothing. Hurumph.

    I appreciate your honesty! What difficult waters to navigate as an adult! A lot of people in my small town are still friends with the people they grew up with or went to college with (all here in the same town). This type of clique is - for real - impossible to break in to...I feel like I will always be the outsider.

  5. so i'm running behind on your posts. you're posting now about being too friendly and i'm still thinking (and posting) on the friend dumping thing. but oh well... I wanted to chime in with another possibility for when you're reaching out and getting nothing or little in return. I know, because sometimes I'm guilty of it. there's two reasons: (1) is that my life is ridiculously overbusy. much too much. and therefore sometimes email gets buried until the hundred other (mostly work-related) emails I get each day and lost and forgotten : (. so often i'm not trying to friend dump, i'm just lame. and overworked. and hoping my friends will have patience with my sporadic disappearances. the other reason is that (2) sometimes I'm in a bad place emotionally, and when I am, I tend to stop blogging, commenting, or reaching out (or even responding a whole bunch) to friends. which is also lame. but true. and hopefully fairly short lived, but not always. so anyway, long way of saying, i'm hoping some of the friend dumps you've had stem more from that than from the friend growing cold on you. and that might explain why sometimes the friend is clueless about what you perceived as "the dump."

    thanks for the thought provoking posts.


  6. But of course you are a great friend. I tread very careful with new poeple, but sometimes you just read someone better than the average and then you know it will not be too much

  7. I am actually very sensitive and a bit vain. I want to be "chased" as much as I'm doing the "chasing". If I sense even a slight something that indicates that the person that I'm dealing with is uncomfortable then I withdraw. Immediately.
    This is really such a complex question because some people genuinely suck at keeping in touch. Some people are comfortable with hanging out once a year. I try to understand and accommodate the other person because I know that we all have different expectations/values. It's difficult to say what to look out for because everyone is different. It really depends on the person and who they are. For example, my person B (who is dumping me at the moment) no longer makes eye contact with me. Someone else didn't respond to messages etc. There is no one size fits all for something like this. are a FANTASTIC friend. One of my bestest ones EVER!
    Love you.

  8. I've had somebody who was too friendly. Her hubby was sort of friends with my hubby. Well more like train buddies. Anyway one evening this guy came to play wii games with my hubby and another of our friends. He had a message from his wife and when he rang her back she slammed the phone down in his ear. Turned out he was expected to be home by something like 9pm and by now it was nearly midnight. The next morning I got a call from her wanting to just explain and she launched into this in-depth highly personal conversation about the things she was unhappy about in her marriage. And at that point we've not even really met each other. We did in the end sort of became friends, but she was just too different and in the end I pulled away.

    I am usually quite reserved and take my time getting to know people before I'll encourage a friendship.

  9. I CONSTANTLY re-read and re-think things I send out, but ultimately I'm more of a listener. I don't want to sound clingy and not so much because of how I sound, but because I don't want a hanger-on. Does that make sense? I don't really go out of my way to contact/make friends/etc but when I do I don't want that person to pester me. I don't want my neediness to make them feel obligated to be needy back. That's worded weirdly but I hope you get it.

    I hope this doesn't sound terrible, but I don't really try to save things. I feel that if it was meant to be it will happen, there is no sense in wasting my time trying to salvage a friendship that never was. So if someone drops me, I don't go chasing, they really don't have to try to dump me.

    I'm such a bad friend!

  10. For starters, I'm a VERY shy introvert. It is very rare for me to reach out to anyone in person, or even in emails. It takes a huge amount of talking to myself to send an email or post on a blog like this. Shocking, I'm sure. But I wouldn't even make a post like this if I didn't like (friendly) the person first - and if I do venture out and get negative feedback (like with the reviews I sometimes do on Amazon) - then I'm quite likely to disappear and have to be coaxed out of my shell. I'm not one to post much of anything controversial on FB or on my blog.

    I rarely talk to anyone without being prompted. I do tend to over invite out of shire panic ... I don't want to offend you because you want to be more involved. And trust me, I am delighted if you appear!

    I really don't know when someone is "too friendly" ... though it is very easy for me to become uncomfortable. My best friend's FIRST time talking to me, offered to babysit my two girls while Tim and I went shopping at Walmart, just around the corner from her house. ..... It took every ounce of willpower to not run away. I kept her at arms length for quite some time - but she was persistent. Our daughters got along well, and so did we, and both our husbands were into computers. I told her where I would be (at the library every week, and a zoo trip we made) and she made sure they met us there each time. And here we are best friends some 12 years later.

    Signs that the other person isn't interested - not talking to me if we meet someplace different (like a grocery store), rushing off all the time, doing something busy busy and not really paying attention ... though on the flip side, I do understand that they might be an introvert, like me, and this just means that they are uncomfortable reaching out.

    I do have a ton of friends - surface friends - we chat when we see each other, catch up and walk away. They might even help out with a meal or babysitting if we have a tragedy. A few of these are also FB friends.

    I have a ton of shirt tail friends - actually these are friends of family or friends, we are friends because of a friend in common. Yet I can hold a good conversation with them on my own. Many of my FB friends are this category.

    Then I have church/work/public/family friends - people who will do things for me/with me because of what we have in common, even if we are not so much on speaking terms. I'm never quite sure where I stand with any of them. Another huge hunk of my FB friends are this category.

    Then there are the relative/like relative friends - the middle of the night and I can call if I need you people. My dad, sisters, best friends, aunts and uncles. I know where I stand with them. We have been through so much together, that it would be like loosing your own skin to have them missing.

    Mostly I bumble along ... hoping to not offend anyone, and hoping I stay under the negative feedback radar.

  11. Oh yeah, to complicate matters ... If I'm very nervous, or you ask too many questions, I will go off rambling for hours. My brain shuts off and my mouth doesn't get the message.

  12. I am never TOO friendly. I tend to be over careful where it comes to getting into somebody else's space.

  13. adesolaf8:58 am

    It's a very fine line. I tend to talk too much but also know when to shut up and when to reach out. I take cues from the other person and this determines whether we will become friends. Back in university I was the one who became friends with everyone but if you don't reciprocate I crawl back into my shell and wait patiently or move on. I check up on friends, send birthday messages, anniversary messages but leave it at that. Now I reach out and wait and if the person stretches out a hand I'll take it .... My thinking there's a reason it takes two to tango!!!!!!

  14. I say be who God made you to be-when you are authentically yourself then you bring Glory to the father and you have to trust knowing he made you just the way he wants you. I find that very few people actually get friendship it is a relationship that takes time, effort, nuturing. Be the unique beautiful woman God made you to be-

  15. I tend to cross that line too much. I tend to be more friendly than I should be and this scares people off so quickly. But that's just the way I am.
    I love how God have spoken to you through someone else. That is so cool.

  16. haven't read the dumped post yet. i DID just finish BFF though! ;)

    this is something i struggle with. like rachel, i find myself needing to give myself a pep talk to actually TALK to people. i'm so shy!!

    off to read the other post!

  17. Sometimes I think a special connection can be there for one person and not both. Maybe that's why the person was invited to a special event...maybe the inviter thought it would be the beginning of a beautiful friendship and invitee didn't feel it so much.

    I think you can be too friendly, but it's important to step back and take another look at the situation. I hate seeming desperate, but sometimes the other person wants connection as much as I do!


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