Dilemma: I'm always the one organising social events

Katharine Whitehorn / 11 March 2016

A reader feels that her friends always leave her to make social arrangements and worries whether they really like spending time with her.



Dilemma: my friends wait for me to call them

I have, I think, a decent social life – I meet friends regularly for a meal, a film, a concert, a walk. It’s usually one-to-one and we have a good time with plenty to talk about and a few good laughs. Some are, like myself, early retirees, some still working – we’re all in our sixties.

My problem is that nine times out of 10 I set up the meetings, usually after a gap of six weeks or more. But if I let it carry on for longer, I still get in touch first. My friends never call me first, and they never seem to want to spend time with me unless I ask them. 

I enjoy the meetings but I increasingly feel the imbalance means – well, what does it mean? That I am fooling myself when I think the meetings are enjoyable? That their hearts sink when they hear my voice on the phone? That I am spending time with people who aren’t interested in me? 

It makes me worry that my friends don't really like me as much as I like them.

Katharine Whitehorn's advice

Or maybe none of the above. Almost all friendships have their patterns: the woman who rings when she’s in town and suggests lunch, the man who always invites the group for his club night. I have only twice missed New Year’s Eve at the home of my oldest friend since the Sixties. 

Your friends don’t suggest anything because they know you will – and you’re probably much better at it by now than any of them. 

But I think you could, in a jokey and casual way, say: “Why’s it always me that has to book the tickets? Come on Mary, what shall we do next time?” That might stir them into action – but even if it doesn’t, it would surely be a great mistake to stop enjoying something that you obviously value.

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