Dilemma: Are our friends embarrassed of us?

Jo Brand / 18 October 2018

A reader is worried that their friends are too embarrassed to be seen to be friends with them. Jo Brand advises.

Dilemma: Why don't our friends want to share their friends?

We have some really good friends who don’t tell us about their other mates and certainly never let us meet. I don’t know whether they’re protective or embarrassed, but it seems odd to us.

Should we challenge them about it?

Jo Brand's advice

This doesn’t sound especially unusual to me and it’s hard to tell from your letter whether you are talking about a small or a large group of friends. You also don’t say how you found out about these ‘other mates’.

There are plenty of people who like to compartmentalise their friendships and I think there could be myriad reasons apart from them being protective or embarrassed. For example, you may have different political or religious views from their other friends, or be from different backgrounds. I don’t really understand why you are hurt by this; if you don’t even know their other friends, why would you want to meet them anyway?

If you are watching their time spent with these friends on some sort of social media, then believe you me, people always make their lives look much more exciting and fun than the often-banal reality.
The fact is, we all have different groups of friends that tend never to meet each other, not for negative reasons, but more for practical ones. 

For example, my old friends from nursing never see my university friends, or a lot of my comedy chums never meet my friends from the battle re-enactment group. (All right, one of those isn’t true.)

To be honest, I wouldn’t give the matter a second thought. If you’re really put out about it you will have to ask them, but I think you would need to be prepared to get an answer that you don’t want to hear.

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