Interpersonal skills

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2003
Interpersonal skills
12
Sun, 07-27-2003 - 3:46pm
Hi,

I have two issues that I want to work on that I was hoping I could get some input on. Basically, I am on the verge of becoming the woman I want to be (chessy, I know but...) and want to work hard at getting there.

So, first issue. Interpersonal skills. I am a fun person to be with, have opinions, am articulate and am a decent conversationalist. But I find myself struggling to make and maintain freindships. And when I do make friends I tend to be the one always doing the calling, planning, e-mailing, etc. I find it to be frustrating and would like some reciprocity. I would like to have others initiate first for a change - invite me to dinner, etc. I think that perhaps I make myself too available but if I don't I find I have no plans, no e-mails, no mail (or male. hee. hee.). How can I change this aspect of my life?

Second issue. I had a very good high school friend with whom I had a falling out. After time we got back in touch and seemed as if things were going well. We were taking it slow and we were killing each other with niceness but it seemed to be realigning itself and felt like we were friends again. Lately though she has dropped of the face of the earth and has not responded to my phone calls and e-mails. I am now scared that she is again mad at me. What to do? I thought about just asking her but I don't want to seem desparate but this hurts again.

thanks for your input.

dtwgrl

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2003
Mon, 07-28-2003 - 10:39pm
If someone doesn't call you back, then don't call them again, until you hear from them. You should never "give" more than what others are giving you, because then, they will start taking advantage of you.

You aren't the only one who struggles with friendships; a lot of people do.

I've always had a problem with being shy and introverted.

Maybe you and the old high school friend just grew apart? That happens to a lot of people. Its nothing personal.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 07-29-2003 - 7:18am
It sounds to me like people might find you overbearing or trying too hard - I have never heard of any close relatiosnhip developing from too much niceness. Move on if you are not getting reciprocity and try to find an environment to meet people where you are comfortable and yourself - for some that means volunteer work reading to children (what I do) for others it means backstage community theater work (what friends of mine do), etc. Sure being a good conversationalist is important but that is not nearly the most important part of a deep friendship.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2003
Tue, 07-29-2003 - 5:47pm
You missed the point of my post but thanks anyway for your input.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 07-29-2003 - 9:28pm
And you're wondering how you're lacking in interpersonal skills? Too funny. Thanks for the laugh, and thanks for your input!
Avatar for skinny42
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2003
Thu, 07-31-2003 - 12:43pm
How can you change the fact that you are always the one performing the friendship maintenance? I want to make sure I understand what you're asking before I comment.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2003
Fri, 08-01-2003 - 10:49am
I think that's probably the best way to put it. Thank you in advance for taking the time to reply.

D.
Avatar for muffy65
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-08-2003
Fri, 08-01-2003 - 2:04pm
Hi!

I hope I understood the essence of your questions. So, let's see if I can be of any help.

Second question first:

I would ask your friend how she thinks things are going between the two of you, and if she desires for the friendship to continue. I believe that if your relationship with this person is unable to withstand an honest conversation, then it's a friendship you can do without.


First question:

I often find myself on the high productivity end of some of my friendships. It is very exhausting, and I sometimes wonder why do I so all of the calling, Emailing, etc. However, I don't think it's anything you should take personally, and if the friendships mean something to you, which is obvious that they do, keep on doing what you are doing until it becomes evident that for your own well-being, you need to move on, and sometimes this is the case. I think time and circumstance govern the substance of our connections with others. Therefore, if the friendships are meant to endure, then they will, if not, they will not. There are several friends, for whatever reason, with whom I lost contact, and therefore I decided to re-initiate contact with themt. Of course, these are people I have known more than ten years, and so for me it was worth the time and effort. Some people simply don't like to communicate via phone, email, etc. and unless you are in a work or school situation with them, you may never hear from them.

As I say the aforementioned, try to carve out a more independent existence. Try to do things without relying on the company of others. Additionally, check into joining groups where people share your interests.

One more thing: I encourage you to be self-critical. Is there something in your style and approach that may need enhancement? Often it is not about us, but it is always useful to check in with ourselves periodically to see if we are in need of a tune-up. Does your conversation focus on them, or on you? When you share your opinions, are you open to the thoughts and feelings of others? Do you show interest in the people you are with? Some things to consider.

Good luck, and let me know if I read your situation correctly.

Marcy

Avatar for skinny42
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2003
Fri, 08-01-2003 - 2:35pm
Okay...a few thoughts.

You sound like a really smart and interesting person who should have lots of friends. I love the thought of your being on the verge of becoming the person you want to be. I think that's a noble and open minded attitude.

I'm reading between the lines a little here, but I get a general sense that you do not like to be alone. I sense that you are almost afraid of it. You say that if you don't initiate plans with somebody, then you end up not having plans at all. Well, what's wrong with that? What's wrong with an idle Friday night, spent renting your favorite movie, eating some ice cream and polishing your toenails? I think learning to enjoy some alone time will do you good. I think people sense in you a desperation to have other people around you. I think they feel that it's more about having SOMEBODY around you than having them specifically for who they are. Let me ask you...how good a listener are you? When you are in a conversation with somebody, how much are you talking about yourself as opposed to asking that other person about his/her life?

Another thing to think about...give the other person a chance to respond to you. Put the ball in their court, then just be patient. Just because people don't respond to you as quickly as you would like them to doesn't mean that they're going to blow you off.

Best wishes,

Nini

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2003
Sat, 08-02-2003 - 7:39pm
God Nini, you hit the nail on the head! I read your response and was practically in tears. I hate being alone - even as a kid I would get a pit in my stomach if I was alone or without a playdate. And as I grew up I would still get that same pit in my stomach and then find myself dialing all my friends numbers so that I could have someone to talk to and take the loneliness away. I can't even tell you how much I have spent on phone bills in the past - if I saved some of that I could have probably backpacked through Europe or China. I guess I just hate to be alone so much so that I will make plans with someone even if I know we are not on the same wavelength as friends. The ironic thing about this is that it does not extend to men. I can't even talk to men. I get so gunshy and become at a loss for words when I encounter a man that I am interested in; it's as if I just run away. Actually, I must say that even right now after working all day and knowing that I have a ton of work to do tonight I find I have this pit in my stomach and wish someone would call. I'm trying not to call anyone because I do, in fact, have a lot of work to do and know it must be done. Anyway, at least now I have an inkling of why I behave the way I do at times. Now, it's just what do I do about it.

Thank you,

Dtwgrl

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2003
Sat, 08-02-2003 - 7:47pm
Hi Marcy,

I've been thinking about what you've said and it makes me feel better to know that I'm not the only one who struggles with these issues. I think sometimes I feel that way because people tend not to talk about what's bothering them and they only highlight the good stuff. And I'm the kind of person that bottles things up. I can't tell you, though, how much I have grown and changed as a person - so that's good.

I think you are right about my friend. If you can't be honest with someone than how deep is our friendship, really? I guess I have to decide how and when to approach her with my questions and concerns regarding our friendship.

Your right about people not necessarily keepiing in touch etc. I guess I have always wanted people to care for me on my terms not theirs. For example, I find it important to make contact and call and e-mail people but I have a cousin who thinks it's just enough to think about a person and that's ok. I guess knowing that I should really consider that people care about and love each other in different ways. But for some reason it's hard for me to accept that. I always want it on my terms. Selfish, I guess.

Thank you for this. I really got a chance to think about things and as I mentioned to another "post-er" now what am I going to do about it?

dtwgrl.

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