Are you here because you think you’re chasing friends? If you’ve come to the point where you need to ask yourself this question, then you probably are.
I’m sorry to be the bearer of the bad news, but the chances that you are chasing friends are relatively high since you’re reading this article. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t notice some red flags, and you wanted to clear things up.
Any relationship is really hard to maintain and that’s a fact. However, friendships shouldn’t be exhausting. Yet, some people drain your energy and you feel washed out after spending time with them. Why is this happening?
Okay, let’s try to explain everything. Speaking from my own experience – it’s not them, it’s you.
You are probably going out and about to please those people and it’s kinda expected of you to be the one who’s going to accommodate. Is it for the greater good? I don’t think so.
As someone who was chasing friends and didn’t realize it until I left my hometown, I think I can give you some advice.
I know leaving friendships is going to be hard and you may feel abandoned at first, but you’ll thank me later. I know I’m grateful for the people I have in my life now.
The friends you are chasing got used to the fact that everything will be as they want because you neglected your needs one too many times. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing bad about it, but there are more beautiful friendships out there you can engage in.
I hope you’re ready to put all your cards on the table and stick with me while we go through all the signs you are chasing friends. In the end, I promise I’ll give you some tips on how to break that vicious circle. So fasten your seatbelts, we’re about to take off!
5 unfortunate signs you’re chasing friends
Are you the one initiating every conversation and the only one compromising in this relationship? Chasing friends means that you’re going out of your way and even neglecting your feelings and needs in order for another person to be happy.
It means that you’re doing all the work: you’re suggesting ideas for hanging out, you are the one who’s listening to their problems and you are the one who asks questions. This friendship brings you nothing but discomfort; it’s really stressful and it doesn’t genuinely make you happy.
So why are you choosing to stay?
These are five signs you’re turning a blind eye to the red flags in this friendship and whether you like to admit it or not, you are chasing them.
1. You are the one initiating the conversation
Can you remember when was the last time they reached out to you first? Do me a favor and just go through your call log or messaging history. That way you’ll be able to give, both me and you, an answer to this question.
If you initiated most of the conversations (and probably they texted/called first because they needed something), it is a clear sign you are chasing them. Maybe you don’t see it that way and you’ll tell me “But hey, I’m the one who always gathers people” or “I’m a social butterfly, I need to be surrounded by people”.
How many of those friends you are chasing would reach out if you wouldn’t contact them for a week, or a day if you will? I’m sure the number of friends you think you have right now would drastically change.
When I went on a student exchange, my circle of friends simply shrank. You may ask now why that happened. Well, the answer can’t be more simple – I didn’t initiate the conversation.
I won’t push you to stop talking with your friends, but just try to minimize the effort you’re putting into keeping that friendship alive. You’ll either understand you were chasing them, or you’ll prove yourself wrong if you’re doubting that bond right now.
2. You regularly do things they want
When you guys go out, are you always doing things they want even if you’d preferably do something else? When was the last time your friends agreed to participate in the activity you badly wanted to organize or something you really wanted to try out?
Toxicity comes in many forms and, unfortunately, this kind of friendship is one of them. They make you feel less worthy and like your ideas and opinions do not matter.
Why are you ignoring this evident sign that you are chasing friends?
Doing certain things just to make another person happy is never a good choice. Still, I agree that we should do it from time to time because friendships require compromising.
But if you do it constantly, not only they will think your needs are not worth mentioning, but you’ll start thinking of them as something irrelevant too.
Friendships should never be one-sided because at least two people are involved. So, if you catch yourself doing something you’d rather not, look for those red flags, please.
3. You organize your schedule according to theirs over and over again
You agreed to go hiking on Sunday morning and while you were getting ready, they’ve sent you a message that something came up and they won’t be able to go today. How many times did you reschedule a get-together just because it wasn’t convenient for them?
Do you feel like you’re the one who’s always neglecting your obligations and organizing your schedule according to theirs? I hope that, at this point, you won’t be surprised when I tell you the obvious – you’re chasing your friends.
There could be many reasons why someone is enjoying this chasing game (your friend may be a narcissist and refuses to disregard their needs), but you have a right to be chosen. So don’t compromise on things that really matter to you.
4. You always feel the need to agree with their opinion and laugh at their jokes
Do you give them a nod even though you don’t agree with their statements? Do you think that this doesn’t mean you’re chasing them, but rather avoiding the argument because you know they may react impulsively?
Sorry to disappoint you one more time, but no, this doesn’t mean you’re just avoiding the disagreements.
If this is happening more often than not, it may mean that you’re subconsciously seeking their approval or affection in order to feel worthy.
5. You put more effort into this friendship
Do they show at least a bit of care, or are you generally putting more effort into this friendship? If you are the one doing all the work (that we already mentioned above), you’re either a clingy person and overly attached to them or you’re chasing your friends.
If you are the one doing all the hard work here, like organizing activities, booking a room for your trip, or checking the flights, it’s crystal clear.
They probably tell you something like “I really don’t have time right now, but I’d love to visit a new city with you.” You may feel excited about the adventure and will do anything to have fun with your friends.
But, let’s be real. Would you have fun and enjoy the adventure even more if they’d help you organize it?
You would have enough time to do some things you may forget about, and that are somehow important, like buying traveling toiletries or rolling your clothes so they can fit in your luggage.
How to stop the vicious circle of chasing friends?
Being able to stop this vicious circle may be a bit difficult, but if you’re ready to finally put yourself first, I’ll gladly share what I’ve learned.
For starters, you already made the first step just by deciding to go deeper into this topic, and getting this far means that you’re eager to change. I’m really proud of you!
Another thing you have to always keep in mind is that you cannot change people, no matter how hard you try. This goes for any relationship, including friendships. You can’t influence a person’s behavior or persuade them to do something different unless they are up for it.
However, one thing you can and should do is change yourself, or rather that you should move forward in leaps and bounds. Keep reading to figure out how.
1. Learn to put yourself first
The first and the most important advice I can give you is to put yourself first.
I know this is the trickiest one, but you can do it. I’ve been neglecting my needs for people I wanted to make happy until I realized that it’s not going to work. I cannot make someone happy if I’m not happy.
Instead of spending forever and a day planning some activities for someone who won’t appreciate it, spoil yourself!
You have to be aware of all qualities you have to offer, and all the beautiful characteristics you possess. Be clear with all the perks of having you as a friend. There are people who will appreciate that. One bad experience will not mark you for life.
By putting yourself first and learning your worth, you will be able to easily recognize what you want and what you don’t want in life and in any relationship.
2. Be honest about the red flags
As soon as you notice the red flags that you’re chasing friends, be honest about it. In order to change yourself and improve the quality of your relationships with other people, you have to learn to trust your gut.
If you feel like someone is neglecting your feelings, react. You should do this mostly because people don’t know how their behavior affects us, but more importantly because you have to stand for yourself.
Is someone using you to get what they want or calling you only when they have no other option? Are you constantly being the one who reaches out? Do you feel exhausted after spending some time with your friends? I think there is no louder wake-up call.
Be honest with yourself whether you’re chasing a friendship or you’re nurturing one.
3. Change your expectations
Do you want other people to like you or do you want to like yourself?
I have to be brutally honest with you right now: If you don’t like yourself, nobody else will. The positive side is that if you like yourself, why would you care about other people’s opinions?
It’s not like you desperately need their approval in order to stay alive. What is really essential for you to flourish is self-love, self-confidence, and self-awareness. Well, besides the obvious factors like food, water, and a couple of rays of sunshine.
You have to keep in mind that people hardly change and that they will keep behaving the same way, regardless of your opinion. They may act the way you want for some time, but their true nature will eventually rise to the surface again.
I’m not saying that they won’t necessarily show up when you need them, but change your expectations because you may get hurt if they don’t make an appearance.
4. Not everyone is going to like you and that’s fine
Do you like everyone you meet? I thought so.
Then, why do you give yourself a headache and let it lower your self-esteem when somebody doesn’t like you?
Sometimes, it’s someone’s personality trait or a habit that just makes us like people less and that’s completely fine. I hope you don’t expect everyone to understand you or like you.
You can’t be everyone’s cup of tea and the sooner you realize that, the better. If you try to change yourself and blend in, you’ll vanish. Tetris taught us that, remember?
5. Walk away
Whatever you do, don’t try their technique. Don’t manipulate people just so you can keep them in your proximity. Try not to make your friends chase you so you could prove to them you can play the game too.
Rather walk away. Don’t waste your time on something so harmful, when there are a bunch of possibilities for honest friendship. Get out of that toxic environment and learn that chasing friends is not good for you.
It may hurt in the beginning and you may want to return, but for your own sake, don’t. Stay on the path that leads you to the person you can be!
6. Focus on people that matter
Once you move away from toxic people, you’ll open the door for many beautiful things you weren’t aware of. A lot of like-minded people are waiting just around the corner. But you have to make that turn on your own and let the magic happen.
If you’re anything like me, you probably have a friend who understands your crazy side and the other one that you enjoy having deep conversations with. So, stop chasing fake friends and let the real ones find you.
You’ll be surprised by how much people actually care about you, and that you were not able to notice it before.
I promise you, the right people will love you just the way you are and you won’t have to beg for their attention. Therefore, focus on those who matter, and leave your door open if someone eventually comes back to the healthy environment you’ve created.
What happens after you stop chasing friends?
So far, we spoke about the signs that show you are actually chasing friends and mentioned some ways how you can stop doing that. But, what happens then? Do you become lonely? Do people start avoiding you?
Don’t worry. You won’t have problems with meeting new people, just because you said goodbye to the toxic ones. It may be a bit thorny in the beginning and you’ll be cautious because of the previous experience, but you’ll untangle the knot.
There are a lot of benefits waiting for you outside of that toxicity and in the last part of this article, we’ll talk about what happens after you stop chasing friends.
1. You’ll be happier
Right now, you’re trying too hard to meet all of your friends’ needs and to make them happy. But what about you? I know that many people may think temporary happiness is better than no happiness at all.
But, what would you say if I tell you that you can be permanently happy, and all you have to do is stop chasing friends? Okay, maybe you won’t be happier right from the start, but in the long run, you will.
When you chase people, you let them influence your life and your happiness. As soon as you take the control back, things will start to fall into place.
Choosing to be happy has to be your priority. That way you’ll be able to appreciate healthy relationships and focus on good things in your life.
2. You’ll be more confident
As I mentioned earlier, is it really important if someone likes you or not?
Are you hiding some parts of your personality just because your friend may not like them? Are you conscious about the way you talk, dress, and behave when they are around? Do you sometimes feel like you’re not worthy?
Why would you be someone you’re not when you clearly can be whoever you want to be?!
Unless you leave this vicious circle and stop chasing friends, you’ll never develop your full potential.
You’ll finally stop overthinking your worth because you’ll be able to see your virtues and be proud of the person you are. Why would you deny your true self to the world? Please, choose yourself and shine your light confidently!
3. You’ll know what you don’t want
We all have a tendency to give people traits they don’t necessarily possess and that’s okay, to some extent. But once you decide what is good for you and stop chasing people, it will be easier for you to speak your mind.
You will be able to express your opinion and firmly stand behind it. Also, you’ll be well aware of all the things you don’t like. You’re going to put healthy boundaries and be vocal about your needs in the future.
In other words, you’ll stop wasting your time on things and people that are not worth your attention.
4. Your health will improve
Chasing another person is stressful and exhausting and the closer you get to this person, it requires more energy. Of course, our diet and daily habits affect our health, but we are well aware of the fact that our mental health influences our body as well.
Why would you harm yourself? Stress and anxiety can cause different medical problems and we could ease that just by choosing to be in healthy relationships, rather than toxic ones.
Start chasing kilometers instead of friends, either by taking up jogging as your new hobby or by discovering new places while you’re walking around the city. It will definitely improve both your mental and physical health.
5. You’ll grow as a person
One of the most important benefits that will come after you leave an unhealthy relationship is growing as a person. Throughout this relationship, you’ve learned new things about yourself and during the healing process as well. I can surely say that you’re growing as a person right now!
You will leave your comfort zone and you will start opening new possibilities for yourself. As soon as you do that, you’ll be able to see the wonders our beautiful world has to offer. I hope you’ll accept all of it with your arms spread wide apart.
And I hope you’ll embrace yourself as well.
Don’t chase friends, chase your dreams and new adventures. Keep on chasing a better you, a better future for yourself. Create a life worth living and writing stories about! Choose to be happy!