Modern Life

Friends Who Don’t Ask You Any Questions

It is surely assumed that when catching up with a friend for dinner or coffee, they will ask you at least one question.

Not questions like ‘how are you going?‘ as you both settle into your seats. I mean questions that show that they have a genuine interest and understanding of your life. ‘How’s your job at ______,’ for example.

I returned from catching up with a friend for dinner with pure annoyance and offence over the fact that she did not ask me a single question throughout our whole dinner. Not one.

I have multiple friends that I know love having catch ups with me because I listen.

And I genuinely do listen.

I ask them questions, not out of nicety, but because I am truly interested in their life and what they are up to.

I love hearing people’s stories. In fact, learning and listening gives me great joy.

But after I nod and listen intently and contribute to their discussions about happenings in their life, I sometimes wait for the reciprocal question.

Sometimes we sit in silence as I wait for even a simple, ‘how about you?’

And it doesn’t come.

Is this because they really do not care about me and my life? Are they so uninterested in me, and if so, why? Moreover and more pressingly, am I selecting narcissistic people to be friends with?

I genuinely do not know the answer.

Sometimes I try to contribute something about my life into the conversation, but I can see their faces grow uninterested in my story. I’m no fool. I can read the social cues.

Their eyes slightly glazed over. No encouraging signals. No nods or facial interest.

My story then slowly dies. (And believe me, it would have been a good story, had they decided to tune in).

I feel angry that I ever decided to go out for dinner with this ‘friend.’ I feel drained, used and essentially, unmotivated to ever organise another catch up.

Do you also experience this with certain friendships? Are you left feeling drained after catching up? If so, what do we do?

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65 thoughts on “Friends Who Don’t Ask You Any Questions

  1. LoveAsAlways says:

    There’s a particular friend of 11 years that is like this with me. At first I would get really upset, and sad, however with time I learned to just let it go. We have friends of every type, the friends who listen and ask the questions and you can spend hours having meaningful conversations with, and then there’s the friends who will sincerely always want to talk about themselves. We are left to wonder, well…how is this friendship supposed to work then? In my case, I realize that she is just not good at conversations, but she’s a loyal friend, she’s stuck around for a long time, and IF I sincerely solicit her advice on a personal matter, she WILL listen then, and she will ask me the questions and offer me her help as my friend, but when it comes to trivial matters she simply won’t ever ask much about my life but the simplest questions and then move back to her life. Sometimes I just think I’m boring or not a good story teller and that maybe I read way too much into people’s body language and cues, and perhaps give up too quickly in telling my stories. I think modern culture is to blame too. People are forgetting how to show genuine interest for others, people are becoming more and more selfish everyday, more concerned about themselves and their problems than they are about others. I say we continue to take the lead and show interest in others first, truly listen to them, and continue to demonstrate we are good friends. Perhaps one day they will learn from our example. I can only hope haha.

    Liked by 9 people

  2. Yes. And yes. So, I stop investing my energy in that relationship. As an introvert, I have only so much social energy to expend and have learned to not waste it on those who don’t bring to my table the same interest and caring I bring to theirs.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. I can totally relate with you Kiara. When it comes to relationships, I find that I crave intimacy and authentic connections. I find myself in situations similar to yours being open and allowing friends to take up space by listening and being genuinely present with them. I also feel the same way when they seem disinterested in being the same way back.

    It took me a while to realize that not all people can invest in relationships the same way I do. Not all people can reciprocate the same quality of friendship that I can give. Though there are a few gems out there who, after some time, would also give the same way I do.

    I think that they do care about you it’s just that the only thing that they can give to you in your current friendship is up unto that level only. In my experience, honoring and accepting what the other person can give of themselves will make your heart more at peace.

    You have to discern well whether or not you want to grow a relationship. If you feel like you are being undervalued maybe it’s to rethink your relationship with this person. Meaningful communication is key for relationships to grow – and it’s give and take.

    Whenever I feel drained in situations like this I just if I have been a good friend myself, and if that’s a check then all is good!

    Keep Safe!

    Liked by 7 people

  4. Baitdigger says:

    Kiara do you think your friends see you as the ‘therapist friend’ ?The one who does listen, really listen and is interested in their lives? My wife is a counsellor both natural and qualified. She loves to talk, she loves to listen and even before she qualified people gravitated to her and unburden themselves without thinking that it should be an exchange, a two way process. Maybe you are the friend they feel comfortable sharing with and forget you have experiences to share in return ? Neil

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Tilly Haines says:

    I can definitely relate – I’m thankful to have some really good friends in my circle. I don’t have many – as I was too busy working two jobs at uni to really socialise loads, but I do have some really good friends.

    I have noticed during lockdown though, the ones that put in the most effort and message and ask how I am, compared to the ones who are sort of in their own little bubble. Admittedly sometimes we are just busy – so it can be a challenge to find the time. But I’m really starting to value friendships that are really 2-way a lot more now.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. You are not alone in this. I also had made terrible choices of friends. I never knew their true self until the moment they start showing their true colours. So, i thought i was attracting all the wrong kinds. Then one day, i was in trouble and three people showed up and stood by me. I realised that these were the only ones worthy of me and my attention. With that i started being more happy, peaceful and left with a lot more of time. To find the right ones, all one has to do is look closely when u find yourself in trouble, observe who comes forward, keep those, dump the rest!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. My parents-in-laws do this to me. And only me. I don’t see them doing this with other family or friends of theirs. We don’t live in the same city with them (thank God for that). And I normally only see them once every year or two. Outside the ‘how are you?’ at the very start, they will not ask me a single question of my personal life. Even if I’m spending time with them for a few days, staying at their place, etc. Unless you count, ‘would you like more coffee?’ a personal question. 🙂

    It was problematic at the beginning (and for awhile after that). I understand how you felt after having dinner with your friend – I felt the same way. For years. At first, I tried to just tell them about what’s been going on in my life. But they didn’t seem interested. After awhile, I accepted it but just felt very bored in their presence. These days I purposefully stay quiet to see how long they would notice. And let my mind wander to all sorts of things. My mind goes on vacation.

    I am an ambivert. I can be very social and ‘on’ when I need to be. But then I retreat when I am drained. I’m also a hyper-sensitive person – so I naturally consume people’s emotions and body language. It’s part of just being very empathic in nature. And my PILs talk a LOT. About their problems, their friends problems. But they actually do not talk to ME when we’re visiting. They talk to my husband only – and maybe a friend who is also over visiting. I’m normally left to just sit there on the sidelines as expected to be the quiet wife. It’s worse because normally I feel it with older Chinese Asians feeling I am the Asian wife who should just stay quite and subservient. But my in-laws are Caucasian – I don’t think there is an intent on their part for the subtle racial division but it’s somewhat comical when you witness the picture.

    Anyway, point is, I get REALLY bored. So I do not look forward to visiting and often spend more of my time drinking wine than I normally do.

    One time, it was a long afternoon after we sat there for hours with them, it got to the point where everyone was just watching TV. So I decided to take my book, go out to the porch and read for a bit.

    I found out later, my MIL was so miffed and offended. I don’t let that stop me though – if I’m not part of the conversation I shouldn’t have to stay.

    After 16 years of marriage, I had it. I was in the midst of business trips and planning our family vacation to Europe. My daughter was studying for finals. The weekend before school ended which was when we were to leave for Europe, my husband happened to turn 50. Now, i”m not one for parties and growing up and he was okay with having a bigger celebration after coming back from Europe.

    My in-laws bought tickets to come surprise him on that weekend without planning with me. They just called to say ‘hey we’re coming – all 6 of us!’. I was so upset. And very tired.

    So… I let them have it. Especially as I found out they had been planning this for several months to ensure my SIL would not be traveling for business at the time. After 16 plus years they still didn’t get my job. They knew so little about me. Or… they simply did not care.

    I will say, however, once I said my peace they’ve been much more mindful of the boundaries they are allowed to cross with me. I had to have an uncomfortable conversation with them but I did not let them get away with flimsy excuses nor allow them to try and turn it around and against me. I stood my ground.

    They don’t have to like me – I can accept that. But they do HAVE to respect my boundaries and treat me at least decently because I am married to their son. As well as one of two equals in charge of my household. In return, I treat them with respect as well, of course,

    Sorry for the long story – your post really sounded all too familiar for me! Thank you for letting me share my story. I admit it was a rant as well – but it’s also funny in a sad sort of way. Sad in, “how are people like this?”

    As for your friend, though… it is up to you how much you want to invest in this relationship. I did go to a really good workshop that talked about the limits of our energy. We only have so much energy to expedite on a daily basis. We can be polite (always good to be polite as a way of exercising our own control) but if this relationship brings no value to you, it’s okay to distance yourself.

    If this relationship is worth saving, then perhaps you may need to have that uncomfortable conversation. At the end, the person may see the light or not care. Either way, you will get an answer to whether this is a true friend or not.

    I believe in time we all learn who we can count on. Even after being jaded by certain people, I believe it’s still worth keeping our circle open and allowing people to come in.

    I’m curious, do you reach out to this person or do they reach out to you to get together?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I think we all have a set of friends who are more interested in talking about their lives than listening to our stories. I had the same problem with my flatmate. She is an amazing person but our conversations were always lopsided. She’d tell me her stories but lose interest as soon as it was about me. 🙈 I ended up confronting her one day and she made an effort to change.
    But with other folks who are not really close I just keep them as texting buddies. 🙈

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Clandie says:

    Yes and yes! I’m all gassed up to give then this hot gist and no encouragement! I just stop because it is tiring. I don’t even give them the opportunity to get their eyes ‘glazed’. I just stop talking and note it down. No more hot gist for you sweetie. No more.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. You know what drains me, when people are always “tired” and “have to much to do” and “go to work” and “cook” and “clean” and “shop” and do everything that everybody else does, but for some odd reason for them it’s worse, because they are human. We all have fairies who do our crap for us and we sit in a mansion! ***Ugh rant over*** you brought the worst out in me! Lol

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Wow. I am so glad I came across your blog. I relate so much to what you’ve written here, I could’ve written it myself. This has happened to me a lot over the years with friendships that I’ve figured maybe I need to move to find my own people, haha.

    I understand so well your frustration and I’m sorry you’re experiencing this as well. Wish I had some advice on it. And I look forward to reading more of your blog. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I was just discussing this very phenomenon with someone today! Friend-to-friend therapy and catch up sessions should be a two-way street, not a one-sided affair. Over time, these “one listens, the other doesn’t” interactions drain you and wreak havoc on your self esteem. Do not be afraid to walk away from this type of friendship and seek out people who value you as a person and what you have to say.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Interesting thought! I don’t think there any cut and dried answers in life. Life isn’t 2+2=4 😊
    Listening with compassion is a great soul quality. I am a friend, philosopher and guide to many. With those persons I am absolutely fine if they don’t ask anything about me. But with others – if done repeatedly; I wish them well and withdraw.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I usually give up and withdraw, thinking you can’t really make people interested if they aren’t. Maybe they won’t know what they did wrong, but I don’t feel it’s my job to educate everyone. There are more people out there who are genuinely interested – I guess it’s just a case of finding them.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I had a friend that who not only didn’t care about my life and my stories, but would outright say she didn’t care. Friends like these are not worth losing sleep over and I decided to leave the group and now I have a much better group of friends. I love your blog graphic, by the way!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Now that you mention it I do have one of those. I’ll call them an acquaintance not a friend for obvious reasons. But its the exact same situation – when they tell a story it’s all excitement, but as soon as someone else contributes about their life or experience the eyes glaze over and person A checks out. Glad you brought this to my attention as I really hadn’t thought about it until now. Now there’s one less person on my to do list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment! I agree. Nurturing the important people in your life is lovely thing to do. I hope those who struggle with it can learn how to be better friends. Take care!

      Like

  17. goodness you’ve touched a nerve here — lolol because I am all too guilty of ‘misery loves company.’ I love your post as well as each of the replies to it here. But before I get all frothed about who I like & don’t like & such, about whether I’m just insecure or not outspoken enough or whatever enough which includes that maybe I don’t say the right things to encourage open conversation — all these things I know are best relegated to ‘don’t be so hard on myself’ & assume I can read the minds of others’ — I’d like to touch on something I don’t see mentioned yet. that’s the fact that nothing beats time. ‘generally, when I generalize, I regret it’ is an all-too frequent truth in my life. some people grow on me. some people are #@(& conversationalists & maybe even feel like enemies, but when I need them they’re there. so generally haha, I try not to truly cut anyone off, but I do try to care for myself by allowing myself a bit of distance if I don’t find that spending time with them to enhances my day. so many people, so little time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment, da-AL. I think what I’m realising from these comments is that it’s probably less to do with us and more to do with the friends who don’t chose to actively listen to us. All we can do is hope that they are okay too. Caring for yourself in each moment is essential. If nothing else, this post has showed us that we are not alone in this feeling. Take care!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi Kiara, I do have a friend or two who do this. It takes me a while before I notice they are not interested in my stuff but once I notice I am turned off. I think it doesn’t even matter if you have a super interesting story to tell or not, there needs to be space for a two-way street. A one sided relationship is good for no one and when I have been to giving with these types of folks in the past, I eventually ended up getting burned. So I just put less effort into them. I will still give my time and energy when it fits for me but nothing more. Follow your intuition. Its excellent you recognize when this is happening!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. This happens to me often and you are right, it leaves you feeling drained and basically upset. I have one particular friend who just kind of launches her conversation on me as soon as she comes through the cafe door and every time my husband asks how was our meet up I just sigh and say it was okay. I really want to cull this so called friend but I don’t have many friends so I stick it. Even when she texts me and asks me how I am and i say I’m struggling I get no reply for days. You sound like an amazing friend so make sure you get the same in return.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I find your post very enlightening because I think I could sometimes be seen as this type of non-interested friend when in fact I am quite the opposite. I am happy to share much of my life when asked but often find it difficult to ask my friends specific questions. I believe this stems from two things, 1. I used to have very low self esteem and did not feel worthy of asking for more information than I was being offered, and 2. I want people to feel comfortable sharing with me and do not wish them to feel I am trying to invade their privacy. I like to ask general questions, especially if I have not seen them for a while because I worry about accidentally triggering a strong emotional response. I am sensitive to this and therefore allow my friends to direct the conversation a lot of the time. Good post. Thanks 🌸🍃

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for this post Laurie. It is so interesting to hear this from the other perspective. Thank you for sharing this. I think that makes a lot of sense and I actually hadn’t thought about it like that before. I truly appreciate your insight. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Kanchana says:

    It’s pointless to have such friends who have absolutely no interest in you or your life. No, I don’t have such friends. I’m very lucky that way. Or may be I have moved away from people who aren’t interested in me. I make an effort to ask my friends about them, how they have been. I check up on them and they do the same. I think in life to deserve good friends, one needs to be a good friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Wow awesome Kiara – so, so many comments that you have received on this! Oh and by the way, love your name too! It is so close to my grand daughter’s name “Kiana”.

    Anyway, about your situation, I know I have had lots of times in my life where I have wondered to myself “does anyone actually ever connect on a real level”? I absolutely am not a fan of superficial, shallow, small talk conversation either! I don’t mind as much if it seems to be one-sided but I want it to be real. I like to know how someone is really doing. I like to connect on a heart-to-heart basis. But when this doesn’t happen, and you are right, there are a lot of folks that still seem to be quite asleep, I do my best to just remind myself that I get the experiences that I need. When I have so-called uncomfortable experiences in my life, I try to always remember what Eckhart Tolle has taught me – “The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation, but my thoughts about it”.

    So I remind myself that who ever I am with is ultimately doing their best and when they know better, they will do better and cannot do any better until then. I remind myself to look for the good in everyone and I always find it. I do my best always to take my focus off of me and not to get lost in my ego. Not saying that this is what you do, but I know what works for me. There is a light inside of each and everyone of us and some have a brighter light than others. By me, accepting them unconditionally, and just listening as you do, I know that eventually, that person’s light will begin to shine brighter too. When a log is placed next to a log that is burning brightly, it burns brighter too. So when your friend experiences your light, his or her light will begin to shine brighter. It’s awesome that we have the kind of power to make this happen!

    Again thank you for your courage to connect and discuss openly what’s going on inside of you.Take care and have a wonderful day Kiara!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts Linda. This was truly insightful to read. I love what you wrote… “when a log is placed next to a log that is burning brightly, it burns brighter too.” Take care!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. When I read “Codependent No More” and “Boundaries” (both of which address people-pleasing) they changed my life as an adult. Not only did I realize I had codependent tendencies that needed to change, but I also realized that some people in my life are narcissists, and that it’s ok not to keep investing into that relationship. Even if they DID ask me something, it would only be to turn the convo back to themselves and their stories. I’m sorry you had an unfulfilling day out. I understand the drained feeling. Recently I have become friends with a gal from church who has already twice in the past year surprised me with pick-me-up treats when I mentioned I was down or in pain, and I realized WOW it feels good to have someone be doing the sweet kind friendship things that I normally would do. Friendships that are two-way are SO enriching, and you’re worth that kind of friend.

    I would say at times I myself am caught in my own head, and my friends have had to put up with my self-focused near-sightedness during a season of anxiety, pain, or depression, so I wouldn’t cut out a friend if it wasn’t her normal nature to not ask me a question. Heck, I’ve had to point out to my husband that at times I have asked him many questions about my day, and not heard directed back at me. (Well, he’s likely on the spectrum so is not always aware of the social things like, “you actually need to say “thank you” to baristas who are people and have feelings, too ya know.” lol) But maybe addressing this with your friend will help you practice speaking up for yourself before you decide to ditch her altogether? Much luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Aim. I agree, it is so important and enriching to pursue two-way relationships, while also being aware of and sensitive to the issues that your friend may be feeling that may be unbeknownst to you. Take care!

      Like

  24. First I want to thank you for subscribing to my blog. You seem to be more of an introvert to me which means an extrovert will sense an open door to talk on and on about themselves.You deserve better. I know I can’t talk for more than a minute about myself without feeing guiltly about hogging the conversation. I have many questions for you because you are part of the audience I am trying to reach with my YA novel “Stars of Aquarius.” If had lunch together you would be so busy answering questions your burger would get cold.
    Have you heard of Susan McCain? She wrote a book for us introverts. “Quiet:The Power of Introverts in a World that can’t Stop Talking.”
    In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.
    She has appeared on Ted Talks.

    Have a beautiful day, Kiara.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Hi there. I scrolled through the comments and I was wondering if I should leave a comment or not, but here we are as blogger to blogger/ support to support. 😉

    It took me years to realize that I was the ‘free therapist’ for many of my ‘friends’. When I realized just how far some people went in using me, but most of all, how far I had let myself go in order to keep bonds and actually please others, I got extremely mad and disappointed at myself. I let them use me, because then I was liked.
    Now that I am older, and I can say a bit wiser too, and upon realizing being alone and lonely are two completely different things, I actually cleaned up my contacts some years ago (sometimes I still do a little spring cleaning) and also researched myself a little bit more.

    I know not what I want, but NEED in order to have healthy relationships and thereby to be content with myself and my life. For my self worth and happiness, I know where to set boundaries and I can distinguish healthy from toxic relationships. And since I see mental and physical (miss)use the same, I cant allow people to use me, not in any way, if they realise it or not. That is my worth, my value.

    Of course, extending a hand to one in need is always on the table ;), but there is a clear line between helping and solving. That is the phase I am in right now, and it is great to have so much mental freedom and peace just by choosing to surround myself with people of which I know we can grow and build together.
    I hope you too can set up healthy boundaries and feel like you can build with the ones close to you ^^
    Stay safe~

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Great thoughts, even if they are sad. I’ve been guilty of oversharing and not giving the other time to reciprocate. But generally, I’ve found that my true friends, not acquaintances, are willing to put up with this knowing I truly care about them.

    Thanks for dropping by my blog and following.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I have had this same feeling and happening. I then wonder if I am boring, repeating myself, wait… I’m invisible! But then I think some people are just so full in their brains and preoccupied with their own ‘stuff’, they can’t hear my voice. I try not to take it personally, not always easy, for sure. Thank you for your words, I think it will help me to be a better listener!! Happy sunshiny day to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. A lot of wise comments with this Kiara and your piece so well written. I see one thing: a friend that truly enquires and listens is such a rare treasure these days, and so desperately needed too; perhaps it is hard to fault someone for seizing it and greedily keeping it going. Your reward is knowing that you blessed another’s day: no such reward extends to them. Still I will pray for a real friend to reciprocate just for you.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Well written, Kiara, I hear what you are saying; I have experienced this many times. Some people find conversation easy, and some people struggle. Some are wrapped up in their own little worlds and struggle to break out of that mold. I have a friend who always talks about herself and her problems, she obviously needs someone to listen. Yet when I need support, she will certainly provide it. The people who continually drain you with their negative talk never acknowledge you in any way, contact you or reciprocate in any way. You are gaining nothing positive from this relationship. Then I would say, step back and let go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment, Jane. I feel comforted by the fact that many people experience this… I agree with that, you need to reflect on what what you are both bringing to the table. Take care 🙂

      Like

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