I'm pretty sure that some of y'all remember the 2009 movie, that came from the book, He's Just Not That into You (Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Ginnifer Goodwin, etc.). Anyway, a co-author of the book is a man by the name of Greg Behrendt. There are several quotes from the book that I really like. One of them is, "If he's not calling you, it's because you are not on his mind. If he creates expectations for you, and then doesn't follow through on little things, he will do the same for big things. Be aware of this and realize that he's OK with disappointing you." Whew. Yes. And amen.
No doubt, when it comes to what inspired the title of this lil' read, it was definitely that book and film. And while I'm absolutely not saying that you should have the same sort of expectations in your friendships that you do in your romantic relationships (or situationships), I do think that there's a huge group of individuals who constantly find themselves disappointed, if not flat-out devastated, in their friendships, and it's all because they were more invested in their "friend" than their friend was ever truly invested in them.
That's why I thought it would be a great act of service to share a few clear indications that, while you might be out here thinking that you're in a friendship, the other person really isn't as "into you" as you may currently believe.
If You Didn’t Reach Out, You’d (Probably) Rarely Speak to Them
While I'm not exactly sure what makes so many of us think this way, when you're of high school age and under, you're kinda wired to think that either someone is your friend or they are your foe, with not much space in between. Oh, but as you get older—and hopefully wiser—you begin to embrace that there is a whole lot of space in between those two words. That's why I've written articles on the site like "Always Remember That Friendships Have 'Levels' To Them", "According To Aristotle, We Need 'Utility', 'Pleasure' & 'Good' Friends" and "Allow These Things To Happen Before Calling Someone 'Friend'". Anyway, something that I believe is a clear sign of a healthy friendship is mutuality. And so, when it comes to my friendships, we both call each other, we both initiate times to hang out, we both acknowledge special days and we both are readily available if one of us is in need. On the flip side, when it comes to a lot of my acquaintance situations, while whenever we see each other, it's all good and sometimes we even hang out, at the same time, if I never reached out to them, it could easily be months before they ever checked in on their own.
And you know? The people behind Door #2, if I put them into the same category as my friends, I could easily find myself feeling taken for granted a lot of the time. However, since they aren't my friends…I don't.
If you're out here calling someone your friend and yet that person rarely does any of the leg work to make sure that the two of you remain connected, while that doesn't automatically make you enemies, that doesn't really mean the two of you are homies either. Remember how Greg said that folks call when you're on their mind? Exactly.
It Seems Like They Politely Tolerate You More than Celebrate You
There is someone in my life who I used to put in the "inner temple" (which is basically the closest to me category) because we are a lot alike, we have a good time together and we have shared some pretty personal things with one another. That sounds like the foundation for a friendship, right? Yeah, that's what I thought too. However, over the years, something that I started to notice was that when they had something worth celebrating in their life, I made sure to participate so that they would feel like I was a huge supporter of their goals and aspirations. Oh, but when I had something going on, they would barely even acknowledge my efforts, let alone make me feel like they were truly happy for me.
There's an article that I wrote for the site a couple of years back entitled, "5 Signs Your Closest Friends Are The Most Envious Of You". While I definitely think that green-eyed so-called-friends do exist, sometimes folks aren't celebrating your life with you because they envy you. As much as it might hurt to hear this, sometimes they just don't really give AF one way or another.
It's like, if you're a musician and you've got an album release coming up, your friends are gonna show up, no matter what. Meanwhile, the people who just aren't that much into you will look and see what else they've got going on. If nothing, they'll roll through and even seem glad to be there. But if they can think of something "better" to do, they'll do it and holla at you…whenever.
People who are your friends are invested in your life. And so, when something awesome happens, they feel it, right along with you. If you've got someone in your world who seems to have more of a "meh" attitude about your milestones while you're always bringing balloons and champagne to honor their goals, you already know what I'm gonna say sooooo…this one time, I'll spare you.
You Keep Stating Your Needs (and Boundaries) and They Keep on Ignoring Them
While it took me a large portion of my 20s and 30s to figure out what a true friend is (and how to be one), now that I am comfy 'n cozy in my 40s, I can confidently say that I can both trust and rely on each person who I give that title to. A part of the reason why is because they know my needs (as it relates to a friendship) as well as my boundaries—and they honor both to the utmost.
Listen, I'll be the first to say that when it comes to a quirky Gemini like myself, that is no easy feat. It's not that I'm a high-maintenance person; it's just that I'm weird about certain things. I don't do holidays (yet am off the chain about birthdays), only a couple of people have my cell number (everyone else gets my landline because I don't care to be 24/7 readily available), I'm a big-time words of affirmation person and an ambivert. I don't like folks coming to my home (it's a place of peace and refuge for me) but I like to treat others while I'm out. I am pretty private (hence, "Why I Prefer My Friends To NOT Be Friends With Each Other") too. And you know what? There's not one friend of mine who doesn't know this about me and respects it.
A healthy relationship definitely consists of two people who strive to meet one another's needs (so long as they are realistic which is another article for another time) and honor each other's boundaries. A sign of a toxic friendship is when one or both people don't do either.
Here's the thing, though. When someone is into you, on any level, they retain what you say because they want to keep you in their life. When someone isn't that into you, they might forget a need or boundary that you've got; not because they are toxic but because they casually took in the information.
If there is someone in your world who seems to keep dropping the ball when it comes to your needs and/or boundaries, ask yourself is it because they seem to be doing it on purpose or that they tend to take the "Kanye shrug approach" to just about everything as it pertains to dealing with you. If the answer is "B", while I'm not saying you should tolerate their nonchalant behavior, what I am recommending is if you put them in a good associate category, them not honoring your desires may not sting quite as much.
You Do Things That Friends Do. They Do Things That Acquaintances Do.
It was around this time last year when I penned the piece, "10 Questions To Ask Your Close Friends Before The New Year Begins". A part of the reason why I wrote it is because, I find it fascinating that, there are all of these articles out in the world which state that two keys to a healthy relationship is open communication and "taking your partner's temperature", just to make sure that both of you are in a good space. Personally, I think the same things should apply to friendships as well because, after all, when you've got someone in your life who you love, respect and share your life with, even on a platonic level, it's important that you both are clear that you're both happy in your friendship.
That said, another sign that you are probably way more into your friend than your friend is into you is you're out here being their friend while they are out here acting more like an acquaintance. What do I mean? Well, while you take their calls, even after midnight, they will push you to a voicemail or not respond to a text until they get around to it; not some of the time—all of it. While you are intentional about observing special days and milestones in their world, you might be good to get a "Happy Birthday" message on your actual day and/or they will be what I call, happily dismissive about a goal that you've reached. Even though you share with them all of your secrets and fears, they tend to remain pretty surface-level with you about their stuff.
I could go on and on and yet, I think you get where I'm going with this. If you're all-in with someone while they are on the shallow end of the friendship pool, this doesn't mean they don't like you. What it does mean is they aren't as into you as you may want them to be. Do with that what is best for you at the end of the day, sis.
You’re More Committed than Comfortable
When someone is committed to you, they are devoted. Shoot, sometimes, they are even willing to do things out of pure obligation to what is required in order to make a relationship work or last (check out "Life Taught Me That True Friendships Are 'Inconvenient'"). That said, I once had a friend who wasn't all that into me. I should've realized it earlier because…the lengths that I was going to make sure they were good vs. the little that they did in return didn't even compare; not by a long shot. Yet, due to my codependency at the time, I thought my "overdoing it" was showing how committed I was, when really all it meant was that I was being used.
Commitments aren't always easy (just ask any married couple that you know). Still, something that is very different about my friendships now vs. back in the day is, even the ones that require me to make certain sacrifices, they're worth it because my friends have proven that they will do the same for me in return. Healthy friendships shouldn't feel draining or even uncomfortable. If yours is, ask yourself why, be honest about the answer, and then decide where you should go from here.
You Got Triggered, Just by Reading the Title
If you just read all of what I just said and you either "feel some type of way" or you find yourself immediately rattling off excuses for why your "friend" is acting (or not acting) the way that they do, take a moment to breathe deeply, then skim these points all over again. I can promise you that 5-7 years ago, I would've read this myself and been p-i-s-s-e-d because it would've absolutely occurred to me that I was "into" some folks way more than they were ever into me. And yes, sometimes the truth does hurt. You know what else the truth can do? Help us to see things for what they really and truly are so that we can reroute and do better.
No matter what kind of relationship it is, you deserve for people to be as invested into you as you are to them. The sooner you let the ones who aren't go, the sooner the people who are best for you can come into your life. Your friends should be totally into you. If they're not…shift on, sistah. SHIFT.
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